Sunday, October 23, 2016

Two Month Update

Atlas is officially two months old, and I am feeling pretty emotional about it. I'm not sure why. Two months isn't a major milestone. Maybe it's just because he has changed so much.

Every day used to drag on very slowly, but now, some days go by quickly. Some days, I actually have energy to take care of Atlas, myself, Nym, AND get things done. The other day, I went to Target IN THE RAIN, and managed to get four boxes of diapers, one box of wipes, and a baby carrier, with Atlas in his car seat in the cart and all the boxes teetering around him. Everyone stared (but no one offered to help, of course). I treated myself to a dairy-free latte at Starbucks afterwards. Maybe, just maybe, I am getting the hang of this new life.

Over the past two months, we have had to go through some major adjusting. At first, everything was wonderful. I was high on life, loving my new little bean, and not feeling the exhaustion. But after a couple weeks went by and Atlas started having some issues, reality set in. I healed very quickly physically, but mentally, I started to slip.

It wasn't just rough because of the sacrifices I had to make. Atlas was just not right. We had some feeding issues that were partly my body's fault, but there seemed to be more to it once my body finally regulated itself and the problems continued getting worse. I think, at first, a lot of people thought I was looking too deep into things that all "normal" babies do, like spitting up and being fussy, but I just knew he wasn't right. He was fine the first week or two, and then he started to seem in more and more pain. When he started projectile vomiting, I knew the reflux was worse than we originally thought. The doctor started him on Zantac, which he hated and spit out every time we gave it to him.

Almost immediately after that, he started having really bad diarrhea. Sorry to be graphic, but it was really bad, and he was in a lot of pain every time he went, which was several times a day. Last weekend, he started passing blood in his stool. Yeah. I almost had a panic attack. I called the doctor on Sunday, who insisted it was just a virus and his little butt was probably irritated. I'm sorry, but this doctor had been dismissive since the beginning, and CLEARLY something has been getting progressively worse with him, so I made an appointment with the nurse practitioner, in addition to his two month checkup with the doctor I like best at the practice.

Long story short: They are both 99% sure he has an allergy to dairy and possibly soy. Most kids grow out of it by age 1, but some don't. I hope Atlas is part of the lucky majority. Nearly EVERYTHING has hidden dairy in it. Things you wouldn't expect. Bread, crackers, cookies, any processed food I might typically buy at the supermarket, not to mention the things I love to eat for dinner (penne alla vodka, anyone?). At least this will force me to eat healthier. The doctor said that if things don't seem to be improving after a couple weeks, to cut soy out as well. If worse comes to worse, I can switch to special formula, but that will probably cause another set of issues.

Despite living dairy-free being difficult (I am VERY MUCH a pizza girl), I feel A MILLION times better than I did before. I might finally have an answer. Atlas might finally feel better, and that's all I've wanted. Since cutting dairy out a week ago, I have seen small results already. Not as much blood and throw up, thank god, and he has been giving me an almost FIVE HOUR STRETCH of sleep some nights! Only he's doing it from 7pm-midnight, so I'm not getting much sleep, that little jerk. But HE is, which has made him a much, MUCH happier baby.

And if all goes well, I am pretty sure we will be going home for Christmas. :)

Atlas's major milestones:
- Weight: 13lbs. 5oz. Almost double his birth weight in just two months. They look for them to double it in four months. What a meatball.
- Length: 23in. Average.
- Took his shots like a champ. Knew he would.
- Rolling from tummy to back!!!! Officially. He does it almost every single tummy time. SLOW DOWN, you little rebel. You can't run away from me. I'm your mommy. I am the head rebel in charge here. You are never escaping.
- Sleeping "through the night" sometimes. Sleeping for five hours is what they consider a full night's sleep.
- Smiling a lot, especially at us. Eric got home from work the other day, and Atlas broke out in the biggest grin. He recognizes us!
- Following objects all over the place
- Batting at toys
- Sleeping in his rock and play for naps... sometimes. ;)

And Friday night, for the first time ever, I left Atlas alone with Eric while I went to dinner with some other new moms (they both survived without me). Yesterday, my little family got lunch at P.F. Chang's (the lettuce wraps are dairy-free!) and went to a cute fall festival with Kristin, Ben, and Chloe. Atlas slept in his new carrier most of the time!

I think I may have gone insane if I didn't always have Kristin checking on me and that New Moms group to go to every week. It is really important to have supportive people around. If there is one thing I've learned over the past couple months, it's that you can't be afraid to ask for help and advice. You need to follow your gut and do what's right for you and your baby, but you don't need to do it alone.


We've been really into Halloween around here.

Nym sitting at attention, guarding us from the new neighbors who were talking outside the fence... lol. Good girl.

I went back to my Dancing for Birth class with Katie and baby Valentino! Meaghan, our instructor, ended up being a labor nurse for both of us. It was good to see her and get some exercise!

There was only one girl at our New Moms group last week, so all of the boys had to try to win her over. Atlas is in the bottom left. You can tell it's him because 1. He has monster/dino feet, 2. He's fussing, and 3. He has resorted to violence by wrestling the poor little 3-week-old. He has my temper, I guess...


Terrible quality picture, but his expression cracks me up.

New Moms! My first night out sans-Atlas was a success! We had a BLAST. I believe the "most experienced" mom in this photo has a 10 month old, and I have the youngest. It is so great to hear what to expect from these ladies, from crazy stories to health and feeding advice to how to fly with a baby. Most of what they say is "It gets easier." I hope they're right!

Atlas took a nap in his new carrier and let me enjoy a beer at the fall festival. :)
Little monster pumpkin head!




I love them very, very much.



Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ups and Downs

I have good news and bad news.

After forcing his arms into the swaddle, even though he hates it, Atlas has learned to nap in his rock and play. Sometimes, he'll nap for awhile, sometimes not, but he's learning. I felt comfortable enough to leave him with Kristin while I went to the salon to get my hair dyed, and he napped and took a bottle for her. We went to the doctor for a reflux appointment, and she prescribed him Zantac, which I felt so optimistic about. I did an interview for the local news about the Dancing for Birth class I took leading up to Atlas's birth, so Atlas will be making his TV debut this week. He looked super cool, I might add, in his beanie and Chuck Taylors and "Chicks Dig Me" onesie. I went to my New Moms group like usual, where Atlas actually was content laying on the ground and doing tummy time like the rest of the awake, alert babies do every week. I took him to Kristin's briefly, and Chloe held him and read him a book. He rolled over a few more times this week, because he is a rebellious little devil and wants to run away from me as quickly as possible, probably by the time he turns 6 months old. Eric and I were able to eat dinner and watch a movie together while Atlas slept for THREE WHOLE HOURS on Friday night!

So I thought I was going to be on cloud nine today, but I'm not, because everything went downhill at the end of the week. Atlas started having much worse GI issues than before. If I was really ruthless, I'd describe it all in detail and post pictures, but I am feeling kind and have no energy to torture you poor souls. I will get no enjoyment from it, which is completely unlike my dark, twisty self, especially at Halloween time. That's how over this current situation I am.

The doctor says he has a virus, but I know that isn't it. I just know. After putting his symptoms together, from the time he was born to now, and analyzing my own diet when things took a bad turn, all signs point toward a milk protein sensitivity. Maybe that's not it, but altering my diet is something I have control over, so it's worth a shot. I can't sit here and feel helpless and confused anymore. I started cutting out dairy completely yesterday. I went on a dairy-free shopping spree today and spent 45 minutes in Publix reading nutrition labels on every single thing. I am giving up PIZZA, for gods sake. Do you understand the level of love that is? No? I didn't either, til I had Atlas.

I can sit here and complain about feeling tired and lonely and isolated and like a bad friend due to my new mom status, but I really just want my kid to feel better. That's all I want. I will sit in my house for the rest of my life with NO PIZZA if it means he will feel better. And the reflux meds will take at least a week to work, so I am still holding out hope.

Well, there's your weekly update. Next time I write, I expect to have LOADS of AMAZING things to say. He gets his shots on Tuesday, but I fully expect him to handle them like a fucking champ, because he is my son, and therefore has badass-ness flowing through his veins!

Squish.
First 3m outfit: DINO PJS! I swear I'm not smothering him. Sometimes he just passes out in very strange positions. Also, I see where Atlas gets his unintentional flipping of the bird from... my bad.

Purple hair, because I can. Linny got pink streaks on the same day. My mom feels like she "failed as a parent" lollllll COME ON, MA!

Right before he rolled over! And then had a massive blowout!

How can he sleep in these weird positions? He looks like a little inchworm.

Cuddle time makes us both feel better.

Mommy's little mummy!

Hanging out with Dad.

Decked out in Eagles gear! 
Wish I had fallen asleep during that game, too...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hurricane Matthew and Related Shenanigans

Unless you've been living under a rock the past week, you know that Florida got nailed by Hurricane Matthew a few days ago.

Eric came back into town last Tuesday, and man, I have never been so happy to see him. My mom was a huge help, and I would have died without her while Eric was gone. Like, I may have actually died from sleep deprivation or jumping out a window or something. I severely underestimated how difficult it would be to take care of a grumpy newborn with issues, a giant dog, and myself, all alone for six days, on top of being upset and depressed that I wasn't in the Jerz with my friends and family. Even with my mom here, I started to feel very overwhelmed and lonely, and jealous of Eric, if I'm being honest. He was able to go be there for our friends. He got to see everyone. He got a break from taking care of Atlas (although I know he missed him and worried about him), and he got FIVE WHOLE NIGHTS OF UNINTERRUPTED SLEEP, without changing diapers or staring at a newborn to make sure he wasn't choking on his own vomit.

I was really glad to see him on Tuesday night.

The whole time he was gone, I had been keeping up on Hurricane Matthew and giving him updates about it, which he seemed to just blow off. But Tuesday morning, it seemed like the forecasters were pretty positive we were going to get slammed. I told Eric he needed to get gas on the way home from the airport, even if it was 11pm, and give me a list of things he thought we needed. When he got home and watched the local news with us, which was all about the hurricane and how to prepare, I think he finally understood it was going to be bad.

My mom and I had gone out that day to get a bunch of food and water. I managed to snag the last cases of water at Publix. I may have cut off another lady to get to it. I may have used my stroller as a weapon while zooming up and down the aisles. Whatever, no shame. When you're out with your newborn who shouldn't be around a lot of people yet in an insanely crowded supermarket, you get ruthless.

So, we were pretty prepared. But our house doesn't have shutters (in Florida, most of the homes have hurricane shutters), and with Eric gone and me having to take care of Atlas, there was no way for me to get plywood and bolt it over our huge sliding glass doors. We were lucky Ben and Kristin said we could bring our whole little family there, including Nym and my mom, whose flight home got cancelled.

Let me tell you, it is pretty terrifying when you have a Category 4 storm heading your way, your house doesn't have protection, and you have a new baby. We moved everything that was on our patio inside and put all our most valuable things inside my bedroom closet. It seemed to be the safest place away from wind and possible water damage, in the event that the house flooded or the windows broke. I had resigned myself to the fact that I may lose everything, including my home. But as long as we were all safe, that's all that mattered.

We went to Kristin's early on Thursday morning with a ton of food, water, clothes, baby supplies, and games of course. Even though we were at the home of good friends who also have a young kid, it was super stressful taking Atlas for his first overnight stay somewhere, especially when I had to prepare as though we might be there for days if our house was damaged or lost power.

In the end, everything was fine. We managed to survive a hurricane cooped up with a toddler and a newborn. We managed to survive the hurricane, period. We hung out, ate junk food, watched Chloe interact with Atlas, and played Dominion. Everyone slept through the storm, even though it was pretty loud and scary. Their house didn't even lose power. The next day, the only damage we saw was debris everywhere and downed trees. Our neighborhood had lost power for a bit, but besides that, all was well. Central and northern Florida were not so lucky unfortunately, but I am really grateful the storm decided to skip over us and make landfall elsewhere. I think our house would've been fucked otherwise.

Now, my mom is gone, and Eric and I are going to finally get settled in to life with a baby, all by ourselves. No plans for family to visit anytime soon, and no plans for business trips for Eric in the near future. We started off by taking Atlas out to lunch for the first time. It was the first beautiful, somewhat-cooler day (85 degrees is cool by South Florida standards, okay?!), so we sat outside at a very uncrowded Yard House. He slept for half the time, but as soon as our food came out (of COURSE...), he woke up. I survived feeding him in public while enjoying a delicious lunch and a pint of Funky Buddha Sweet Potato Casserole beer. It couldn't have gone any better!

Happy boy! His head looks so big here hahahaha
Little squishface 
Doing some intense hurricane prep at Publix
Atlas has yet to learn how to nap on his own. In my desperation, I bought a secondhand vibrating bouncer. Finally, FINALLY, he will sleep for just a few minutes somewhere other than my chest. And when he's awake, he will let me put him in there for a bit and look at the toy bar that goes on top! 
Waiting for Daddy to get home from the airport.
He's home! 
Smiling at Daddy 
This was my room when I first moved to Florida and was a hobo in Kristin's house. Now, I feed my baby in here. Who woulda thought?
So tired he fell asleep while I was changing him.
Taking Nym out before the wind really picked up.
Chloe says to Eric: "No work! No work!" Lollllll
Chloe was so good with Atlas. She helped me change his diaper, held his hand, said "It's okay baby!" when he cried, and gave him lots of hugs and kisses.
Tummy time the morning after the hurricane.
Dozing in his rock and play for a few minutes. 
Some big trees down across from our house. Luckily nothing hit the buildings.
Atlas took his wubbanub and fell asleep with it!
And he took it again while awake the next day! But not since :(
Having fun in the jungle. He didn't even throw up this time.
Lunch.
I opened the shade for these photos. Then, I closed it and guarded him like a hawk. NO GERMS ALLOWED! Ha.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

It's been a really rough week. I'm not even going to talk about it, because I honestly don't think it will help. I don't want to think about it. I know, "It gets better," blah blah blah, but this isn't a new mom issue. I don't give a shit that I'm not sleeping. It was never about that. I care that Atlas is in pain and unhappy. I care that I have to miss important moments in the lives of my friends and family. I care that I have no social life (compared to before, anyway) and feel isolated. I care that I can't do anything around the house. I know, "Let him cry," but do you think I will get anything done with a screaming baby? No. I'd rather snuggle with him all day. DUH. Because I DO appreciate these times and love Atlas to death. I signed up for all these issues when I chose to have a kid, and they suck, but the love... what every parent says is true. I have never loved anything as much as I love Atlas and our little family, which makes all the hardships worth it, although it doesn't make them less emotionally painful.

Atlas has been changing so rapidly, mostly for the better. He's bigger and stronger. He rolled over today. He's only 6 weeks old! I didn't even think that was possible. And he is SO much more alert. He looks around with his blue eyes wide open and brows raised, completely amazed at the world around him. I started pumping the other day and he is learning to take a bottle, but he has started spitting up very often, and even projectile vomiting, which upsets him. He grunts and squirms all night long in pain, but at least he isn't crying and nursing all night to cope with it anymore. He does have a meltdown for a few hours every evening, but bath time makes him happy for at least a little bit. In the morning, after he wakes up and feels better, he is super smiley and happy. Seeing that much joy in his face makes me cry happy tears, because I know that he is still okay, even if he seems like he's not half the time.

Music mat time

Snuggling on the couch

Getting interested in things, like his soft lion that rattles and crinkles.

He looks like such an old man hahahaha

I think the wrong person is asleep here...

Napping on mommy as usual

Used the monitor for the first time! I never let the video turn off, and I have the sound up all the way all the time. Basically, I'm a nervous wreck.

Aunt Katherine came to visit for the day! <3 

Play time with Dad

Squishface

Little rebel

Hanging out with Nym. You can't see his face, but he's fussing in the carrier. He decided he hates it as of last week...

Mom mom came back to visit!

Nym loves Mom mom, too!
Famsquad bedtime

First bottle

Fell asleep on the mat during tummy time

Getting comfy

Doing pushups. Strong little dude!

Raccoon pjs and making Mom feel better with cuddles <3

I want to nap, but not in the carrier, because that would allow Mommy to actually get things done!

Used to hate diaper changes, but he loves his changing station now

6 weeks 3 days old, rolled over and was quite pleased with himself. Mommy, on the other hand, is terrified...