Tales of a New Mom

These are blog entries from my old JellyBeans site all about Liam’s first few months. It’s funny to look back at these now.

January 01, 2009

Happy New Year. Happy New Life.
We’ve had quite a learning curve at the Fletcher household this week. Liam turns 5 days old today, and already we’re discovering that this parenting gig is totally exhausting. His first night home he would cry every time we put him down, so James and I spent all night taking turns holding him while the other slept. Determined not to have to do THAT again, we discovered on day two that he sleeps like the dead in his car seat (hmmm…dead baby reference, I’m a terrible mother). So that night we put him in his car seat on the floor. And he slept fairly soundly, but because the doc said I should be nursing him every 2 hours, I decided to wake him up. Bad idea. We spent the wee hours back to taking turns holding and sleeping. Because we have so much to do running errands, getting things together for the house, and taking care of the baby, we haven’t had time to nap at all during the day. Bleary-eyed at midnight last night (happy new year!), we experimented yet again with the sleeping arrangement. James picked up a special Boppy sleeper that we thought would make him feel more secure in the Pack N Play. That failed miserably. We felt terrible about putting him in the car seat on the floor, so we wheeled in his stroller, attached the car seat, and gingerly placed him in it. We got in a good couple hours of sleep before the crying started, then he needed feeding and changing. A few rounds of that, and it was finally morning. Progress.

Liam has taken to nursing very well and with minimal fuss, so that’s a load off my mind. We’ve been charting all of his feedings and diaper changes like the doc told us. Never in my life did I expect to hang with baited breath at the sign of a poop. Parenthood definitely changes you, lol.

So here’s something the books never mentioned. Liam is the cutest baby ever in our eyes, but his baby farts could peel the paint off a footlocker. He reserves these little gems especially for me while we’re nursing. James didn’t believe they were that bad until he got a whiff yesterday. Lord have mercy! But at least James can put him down and step back — I can’t get away while he’s attached at the boob. Oh, the burdens of motherhood…

January 05, 2009

Motherhood is great. And exhausting.
And surreal. My friends tell me sleep when he sleeps, but in all the excitement and newness, I can’t seem to manage that. I have a feeling this no sleep thing is going to catch up to me. I’m really starting to drag ass at those 4 AM feedings. I’m also making a bad habit of falling asleep with him in the bed. Not a deep sleep, mind you, but I startle myself awake worried that I’ve smothered the poor little guy. James and I have both discovered the parental worry instinct — both of us have sat up from a dead sleep frantically making sure the baby is ok. Poor James freaked out for a second because Liam wasn’t in his car seat (his preferred sleeping place at the moment), but instead in my arms nursing.

Speaking of nursing, that’s still going moderately well. He seems to be latching on ok, and getting better at working with me. I’m hoping to hear back from the local Le Leche club, a nursing group that meets once a month. Our pediatrician got us paranoid about flu season and taking Liam to public places, but as days pass, I’m finding it less and less appealing to knock around the house all day. We’ve got a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday, and we’re hoping to make a trip to Babies R Us to pick up more things for the nursery. Woo-hoo, exciting.

And I must give thanks to my friend Julie, who prepared not one, but two scrumptious meals for us, and with enough left over to freeze and reheat later. Her kitchen is being remodeled, so I look forward to more dinners at our house with Julie and Royce.

January 08, 2009

Some setbacks
Liam had his 2-week wellness visit yesterday, and we discovered he lost another 4 oz or so. They were hoping he’d be back up to his birth weight. I’m getting all paranoid, but the doc didn’t think there was anything wrong — the way he’s eating, he’ll be back up to that weight in no time. Hopefully he’s right. Still no poops, so we had to do a suppository…ewwwww. Mom duty at its least glamorous. It seemed to do the trick, so far anyway. Poor lil’ guy.

And poor lil’ mom. I’ve been dealing with some pain in my hip that I figured was from constantly getting up from the bed all night and having no ab muscles to speak of. But last night it got so bad James had to lift me upright just to feed the baby. Called the doc today and turns out my uterus isn’t shrinking properly. Which would explain why I’m still looking rather preggers. They had given me an Rx for Motrin when I left the hospital, but I guess I misunderstood, thinking I was only to take it if I was having cramps. I was supposed to be taking it all this time. James picked some up for me today, and with any luck, I’ll be in better shape by the weekend. In the meantime the doc said lots of rest, lots of fluids. I better get back to it.

January 09, 2009

Thank goodness for that hubby of mine
I have to say, James is awesome. I knew he’d be a good daddy, but I didn’t know he’d be so good at taking care of me, as well. Because of the timing of Liam’s birth, James was able to take three weeks off. In that time, he’s been cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, changing diapers, bringing the baby to me to nurse now that my hip hurts so bad (it’s slowly getting better, but still hard to walk on), and holding him at night if he won’t go to sleep after I’ve nursed him. I really don’t know how I would have done this without him. Because of him, I can still take a long shower everyday. I can take my time getting out of bed. I can take a decent nap. He has to be back to work on the 21st, and I’m hoping by then Liam and I will have enough of a routine down for me to still get in a shower, nap, and meals.

Next week I’m off to the Lactation Center to pick up a breast pump. I think it’s time for James to get to feed the baby, a task I think he’ll enjoy. I heard from a lot of other mom’s that their husbands didn’t always know how to react around a newborn. But James loves holding him, talking to him, and cuddling him. He doesn’t even seem to mind the diaper changing. I really lucked out.

January 10, 2009

Liam is two weeks old today!
I can see why they say children grow up so fast. Already our boy is changing. I’ve been entirely too tired to take more pics at the moment — he’s making a game of keeping us up all night, methinks.

I was digging in the basement for my non-maternity clothes (I think I can finally squeeze into them…we’ll see tomorrow, heh), and I came across a treasure trove of James’s baby pics. Liam does look a lot like James, but we’ll have to wait a little longer to see if he’s got my eyes. Liam’s opening them more and more, but they’re still a little puffy. And sort of charcoally grey.

Oops, it’s feeding time yet again. Better get to it.

January 13, 2009

Messy mom, and fat to boot
As I should have suspected, even the fattest of my fat jeans are too tight for me at the moment. There’s no full-length mirror in this house, so I had no other means to assess the damage. Actually, maybe that’s a good thing — from what I can see of my now deflated and floppy belly, the stretch marks are atrocious. According to the scale, I dropped 20 lbs, but most of that was baby and, um, stuff. I’m sure weight loss will be a slow process, but luckily fitting into old clothes isn’t really a priority for me. Maternity pants are so comfy, perhaps I’ll add these to my permanent wardrobe 🙂

I am understanding now why new moms are always walking around in public with stained clothes. I used to be able to re-wear shirts two, sometimes three times before washing, but not now. Changing into my PJs at night, I see a cornucopia of milk, spit up, lotion, lanolin, and sometimes urine (our son is, er, trigger happy) all over the shirt I’ve worn. They need to make adult bibs for new moms.

Nursing is having its ups and downs. I picked up a rental breast pump yesterday at the lactation center, and I’m a bit intimidated. I’m only supposed to use it once a day, so I’d better get to it. I’m going to wait to start Liam on bottles until he’s about a month old, but it’s good to stock pile the milk in the freezer. The pump does look a bit tortuous. And I have a feeling it’s going to be uber annoying — I thought I could just hook them in, and have my hands free to fidget w/ the remote control or check my email. But I don’t think that’s how it works. We’ll see how that goes. Liam is still eating pretty frequently, but his feedings are downright abusive. Last night I got a reprieve — he only woke up twice needing feeding and changing, so it was spaced about four hours. Normally he eats every two, and he’ll usually nurse (while growling, pulling, and clawing me with his sharp little baby fingernails) for 45 minutes or so. So that leaves me with about an hour to get in a shower, a meal, update the blog, do some online shopping, or whatever, before duty calls again. I think I need to work with him on his technique, and mine, as well. I can call a lactation consultant, but they charge $125, so I’m going to see if I can get this working better on my own first. In the meantime, I try to see the humor in it. When he’s particularly fiesty, I tell him, “You show that boob who’s boss, Liam!” And when he falls asleep mid-slurp, I threaten him with wet willies 🙂 Dad doesn’t find that last one very amusing.

January 15, 2009

We are bad parents
Today we managed to get it together enough for a trip to Babies R Us to pick up more supplies from our registry. I found the adorable little dinosaur lamp I’d registered for and couldn’t order online. We also found a changing table pad and crib mattress, which were the two big things we needed to complete the nursery. Liam was pretty good, only fussing a bit when we got into the line to check out. James went to get the car, and it was then we realized we had a problem. How were we going to get all of this crap in the car AND get the baby in the backseat? D’oh! James managed to fit everything in the trunk with the stroller, and we had to balance the crib mattress from the trunk to the backseat, squarely over Liam’s head. Sure, it’s not as bad as driving around with him on my lap ala Brittany Spears, but we still felt pretty pitiful. Bad parents, baaaad!

In other news, I think James has finally landed on a nickname for Liam that I like. Since bringing him home, James has has this annoying habit of calling our son, “Stinky,” or “Boogerbutt”, or other unsavory terms of endearment. I know he means well, but while I’m calling Liam “Sweetie” and “Mama’s Sweet Boy,” he’s calling him just the opposite. So today at the store, James called him, “Baby T-Rex”, and what with all of the growling and grunting he does, and those ineffectual little arms he waves around, the name is perfect. We’ll try it out for another couple of days to see if it sticks.

In other, other news, I called my OB today because my hip is still hurting, and I’ve run out of Motrin. Everything else is normal, so we’ve ruled out any uterine problems. She instructed me to stay off my feet (so no more errands), take more Motrine, and lay about all weekend. It seems like I’ve already been doing that, but I did run a fair number of errands this week, and I do walk around the house until it hurts and I have to sit down again. So maybe I’m pushing myself more than I thought. As she put it, “You just pushed out a baby two weeks ago, so it’s normal for your body to ache right now. Take it easy!” I’m disappointed because I want to wear Liam in the sling around the house, but it’s just too much for my achin’ hip. He mostly stays in his swing or in our arms. And I really wanted to do the Mommy and Me yoga class, which started this week. But I’m sure there’s plenty of time for me to try out my “baby wearing”, and I can join the class as late as mid-February if I want. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that early motherhood isn’t going exactly as I planned it.

January 18, 2009

Liam’s great. Mom, not so great.
Liam is starting to spend just a smidge more of his time with his eyes open. We even caught him smiling today, but it was probably just an accident. He’s still pretty nocturnal, but I think James and I are hitting our stride with lack of sleep. Changing diapers remains challenging — we bought something called a “Wee Block” to cover his little weiner, but he kicks it off in a matter of seconds. James and I both have been christened, as it were, and we bust up laughing when he managed to christen himself right in the face. Don’t worry — we stopped laughing long enough to give him a little upper torso and face sponge bath. I didn’t laugh, however, when the little bugger decided to poo at me. Like a little volcano, that one. Ick.

So Liam’s doing great, but I’m not feeling too well. My hip is still hurting when I put weight on it, though not as much as last week, so I think I’m slowly mending. Yesterday I ran a 102 degree fever, so I called the doc, and she assured me it was due to engorgement. I’ve started pumping more often (gawd, I feel like such a bovine — mooo), and feeding Liam every hour and a half or so. And I’m feeling better. But I feel like I’m constantly nursing. Like every time I pick him, that’s all he wants. And it doesn’t leave much time for eating or sleeping. I’m going to a special postnatal breastfeeding workshop at my yoga studio on Saturday and I’m hoping to glean some tips that will make me feel better. Here’s hoping.

January 21, 2009

My first day alone with the tyke
Poor James last night was lamenting that he had to go to work…less because of the work, and more because he was going to miss Liam. I figured he’d feel that way, though before we got pregnant, he never would have imagined it. We finished up the guest room so he could sleep the night there — I figured our clocks were so messed up, he deserved a decent night’s sleep for his first day back. I told him we’d play by ear if he gets to keep sleeping there every night. Last night Liam did pretty well — only a couple of diaper changes and feedings. But he seems to be on an every-other-night-is-horrible cycle, so I may regret letting James sleep downstairs tonight.

This morning Liam and I got up a little earlier than usual (these days James and I stay in bed until 11 to catch up on sleep) and I put him in his swing while I did a few things around the house. I left the TV off, which was a nice change. James immediately turns on the TV when he gets up or gets home, but I prefer to save it for when I don’t have anything else better to do. Or right now, I’d like to save it for feedings, since there’s not much else I can do then, and Liam eats for almost an hour at a time.

Liam and I had a little outing this morning. I needed to go to the lactation center to pick up a new part for my breast pump. I was sort of dreading having to take Liam out, but since it was such a short errand, I could forego the diaper bag and just take him. I decided to put him in the sling instead of dragging the carrier inside, which was much better on my aching hip. And surprisingly easy to manage — I think I’ll do that as much as I can. The ladies oo’ed and aw’ed, complimented me on my very cool sling (thanks, Jill!), and gave me some more tips on getting Liam to correctly latch. We’re still struggling, and I’ve decided if we haven’t fixed it by this weekend, I’m going to make an appointment with the consultant. It’s expensive, but worth it if I can make this work without hurting me so much.

Our outing was such a success, I’m going to see about going to the movies tomorrow. Apparently there’s a special Mommy/Baby movie showing at one of the theaters in downtown Silver Spring on Thursdays, or so I’ve been told. I’m hoping they’re showing Inkheart. I loved that book.

January 25, 2009

An eventful weekend
Friday was my “hip mom” day. We had a nice break in the weather, so I bundled up the boy and we strolled up to the Lactation Center, which is just a few blocks from my house. I decided it was high time I visit the lactation consultant, and I’m very glad I did. It turns out Liam has something called a Bubble Palette, which means his hard palette dips up more sharply than normal. This explains why I was experiencing so much pain, and we’re working on a different latching technique to get him to latch on the right way. It’s tricky, but I’m hoping we’ll master it soon. We also discovered that Liam has yet to gain back his birth weight — he weighed in at 6 lbs 14 oz. Definitely not good. The LC weighed him after I nursed him, and he’d barely eaten an ounce of milk. Perhaps because he was born so early, his suck reflex isn’t very developed. So despite my big plans to wait until Liam is 6 weeks old before introducing a bottle, it’s in Liam’s best interest to start on the bottle ASAP. Thankfully I’ve been pumping for the last week or so, and I had quite a store in the freezer to draw from. Liam took the bottle with no complaints, and he seems fine going back and forth between breast and bottle, so my worries were for nothing. Our feeding routine is pretty tedious — he gets 1/3 oz from a bottle to start, I pump for a couple of minutes, then he nurses for 15 – 30 min, then he eats 1-2 oz from the bottle, and then I pump for another 10 min. Then I have to clean everything and start again in a couple hours (or less, sometimes). Doesn’t leave much time for the other things I have to get done….like find day care. More on that later.

Friday night I met James in Chinatown to have dinner with a friend of his from work. I packed Liam up in the sling, brought along my designer diaper bag (thanks Robert!), and rode the train into town. I felt so cool, heh. Liam slept the whole way, and all the way through dinner. He even slept through me putting a napkin over his head so I wouldn’t drip mustard on him from my burger. He’s such a good boy.

Saturday I went to a post-natal breastfeeding yoga workshop, which was really helpful. I left Liam at home, and a couple people in the class remarked they were amazed I was out of the house on my own this early. Is this early? James loves having baby time, especially now that he’s back to work, and I’m so stir crazy, I welcome any opportunity to run errands sans baby. Maybe I would feel differently if I had a lot of people coming to visit and giving me some more “me” time. Anyway, the class was great — I learned some more nursing techniques, did some great heart openers that helped my aching shoulders, and got a chance to talk one-on-one with one of the teachers, who also teaches the mommy and me yoga class. They’re running a promotion next week, so I’m going to try and attend the class for free on Tuesday.

Saturday night Julie and Royce came over to cook us dinner. Their kitchen is being remodeled, so we bought groceries and she cooked — a good trade off 🙂 I got the chance to try out my trendy new Hooter Hider, a special cover for nursing in public. It actually worked pretty well, though I’m sure we didn’t do our latch right. Once we have it down, I’ll be ready to do this in public for real.

January 27, 2009

Where does the time go?
Good news! Liam is back up to his birth weight! Hooray! We’re still a little iffy on this new latch, but his supplemental bottles seem to be doing the trick. I saw a new lactation consultant today (my original one was with another client), and she suggested doing suckle therapy with my finger, which will help get his tongue to press down while he’s nursing. She told me since his original due date was Sunday, I should give him some time to get better at this. It’s common for pre-term babies to have problems with latching and sucking. It’s frustrating, especially because I’m also dealing with a minor case of mastitis, so I’m hurting pretty bad. But the doc gave me an antibiotic yesterday, so I will hopefully be on the mend soon.

Liam and I went to the Mommy and Me yoga class this morning. It was interesting — sort of like a regular post natal yoga class, but with our babies laying on a blanket in front of us. Liam slept pretty much the whole time, then got fussy right when we were doing relaxation. Of course! Then we tried some baby massage, which he fussed through as well. I was able to feed and change him after class (all the moms were whipping out boobs, so I figured when in Rome, lol), and one of the moms invited me out to lunch with the group. Unfortunately, I had my lactation appointment right after class, but maybe next time I go I’ll get a chance to meet the other moms. I don’t think I’m going to sign up for the class — it was pretty stressful getting Liam fed, dressed, and ready to go this morning — but I can drop in whenever I feel like I’ve got the time.

High on my impossible To Do List is finding day care. I managed to print out some daycare listings from craigslist, and even called someone looking for a nanny share that Julie forwarded me from the Woodmoor listserv. But, erm, it didn’t pan out. The nanny was a male student from Brazil, which I was totally fine with. However, he isn’t working legally, and when the mom asked if that was ok, I told her probably not, since my husband is an immigration officer. She got real quiet…then a bit nervous. I had to reassure her I wasn’t going to rat her out or anything, lol. So, that didn’t really work out. But she very helpfully suggested I check out DCurbanmoms.com, and I did find a promising nanny share that’s closer to my house. We’ll see how that one works out.

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to staying home. I never thought I’d say that, but as stir crazy as I’ve been, it’s really hard to take Liam out and about. This new feeding schedule makes it impossible to stay out very long, and if he gets hungry while I’m out, it screws up the timing on our whole day. I think I can manage my lunch date on Friday, but going to the Mommy Movies on Wednesday mornings is probably out for now.

January 31, 2009

Accomplishments and setbacks
First the setbacks. I had to go back to the doc on Friday to get a new antibiotic because the first one stopped working. In the meantime things have gotten so painful I can barely stand it. I’m still nursing and bottle feeding him, and he seems to be doing well. I’ll know more next Wednesday after his checkup with the pediatrician.

Wednesday night my friend Renata stopped by for dinner and took lots of pictures. I knew Renata from NYC — her mom was married to my grandpa years ago, so I guess she’s sort of like an aunt, except she’s not much older than me, lol. Anyways, she oo’d and awww’d over Liam, and it was great to have another visitor. James’s parents are coming to visit in a couple of weeks, and that will be the first of the family to meet him. We can’t wait!

Friday I had lunch with Julie and a couple of her friends from work, who both have kids. I quizzed them about child care, and came away with a ton of useful information. I’m checking in to a couple of mommy groups, and found a source for screening home daycares. It sounds like child care is going to cost more than I anticipated, and with the limited number of infant spots available, I may run into some problems when I return to work. But I’ve decided there’s only so much I can do, and I’m diligently doing it, so we’ll work with what we have to when the time comes.

As far as accomplishments, I rolled up my sleeves and finally got started on the nursery. James is picking up my glider today (it’s finally ready, yay!), and I’m going to spend the weekend getting everything arranged and put away. Liam isn’t sleeping in there yet, but it would be nice to have it all set up ahead of time. For once, something done ahead of time!

February 09, 2009

Baby’s First Spinal Tap
What started as a 20-minute wellness check up ended up as a three-day hospital stay. Liam had a little patch on the back of his neck that looked suspicously like a cold sore. We pointed it out to his pediatrician, who expained the seriousness of herpes in children this small. It can spread to their brain and cause menengitis. At the words “spinal tap” I lost it, and James had to take the bus up from the metro stop to get to the dr’s office and calm me down. We checked in to the hosptial Wednesday evening, and then the waiting began. We’re both fans of numerous medical dramas, but they never convey all the waiting. Liam had a bunch of tests done, including the dreaded spinal tap, and we had to wait three days for results. He was a champ — they took his blood by pricking his foot, and he didn’t even cry. I had to stay in the hospital with him the whole time so I could nurse him. He had an IV dripping Acyclivir just in case, and I eventually gave up trying to nurse around all the tubes and switched to pumping and bottle feeding. Thankfully all of his tests came back negative. We were told that either means he doesn’t have herpes at all, or he might have had it and it healed before they could get a good biopsy for it. Either way, we need to keep an eye out for other breakouts, and depending on his age, we’ll see what we need to do.

So, it looks like I probably gave my baby herpes, the thing I was dreading. I could just punch that boy I kissed so many years ago who gave this to me. Now I know any lapse in my Valtrex spells instant breakout, so I’m going to be vigilent about taking it every day.

Now we’re home, happy and healthy. We’re struggling a bit with nursing again — his latch is still wrong, and it’s hurting more now than ever. I’m seeing the lactation consultant again this week to hopefully find something else that might work. Tomorrow we’re going to look at a day care. It’s the only one in the area with an infant opening, so unless the toddlers are juggling kitchen knives, we’ll probably go with this one until I can find a suitable nanny share.

February 10, 2009

Daycare
There’s a reason why people line up day care months before the baby is born. It’s a wonder I can do this at all while taking care of Liam. Thankfully I heard about Monday Morning Moms, an organization that vets home day cares for families in need of full or part time day care. They sent a rep to my house today, and we looked at a home daycare not terribly far from our house. It’s the only one in their network in my area that’s accepting infants. It didn’t exactly wow me, especially for the price we’d be paying, but I’m not sure what other choice I’ve got. I’m still working on getting a nanny share lined up, but if I pass up this spot at this home day care, I doubt another one will open up when I need it. They require a four week cancellation period, so if we switch to a nanny share, this could get expensive quick. I could try finding a less expensive day care myself, but cold calling places I find on craigslist is dicey at best, and at least I can count on this place being up to code. On the downside, they’re not available until the week after I need them. MMM provides backup care, so I might be able to do that. Or I may try taking care of the bambino that first week I’m back at work. We’ll have to see how he is in another month. Right now his feeding schedule practically eats up my entire day (pun intended, heh). But it might be better by then.

Speaking of which, I’ve got an appt with the lactation consultant tomorrow, so fingers crossed she can help me out. I have a feeling she’ll suggest more diligence and patience, something I don’t really have. Though, I’m surprised by the amount of patience I do muster now that I’m a mother. It’s definitely changed me.

February 11, 2009

More BF woes, but an end in sight…maybe
The lactation gal took one look at me and said, “Ouch, that’s gotta hurt.” Yes, yes it does. After going over my whole dreadful story and symptoms, she determined that I’ve got both a stubborn mastitis infection (despite two rounds of antibiotics) and thrush. Plus, Liam still isn’t eating enough when he nurses, but he did much better when I did constant hand compressions, basically squirting it in his mouth so he has to swallow. So now I’ve got a new routine — nurse on each side for 15 minutes with continuous hand compressions, then if he still acts hungry, feed him one ounce from a bottle. Then pump for about 5 – 10 minutes every other time. I bought a $10 contraption that leaves my hands free, and it seems to be working (as I’m typing this, no less, lol).

Tomorrow I’m going to the my OB where I’ll need to get some Diflucan pills to clear up the thrush, which is causing all of the stabbing pain I keep experiencing after I nurse. I’ve also got an ointment I got last week, and another medication I got from Liam’s pediatrician that I have to put in his mouth after we nurse. Ugh, he’s going to hate that. Then, every night I have to sterilize all of his pacifiers, nipples, and my pump stuff. This is not going to be fun. At all. But with any luck we’ll be free and clear in two weeks, and this won’t be hurting me any more.

This really sucks — I feel like I’m spending all of my time fretting over this and not enjoying my time home with the baby. It’s a constant hassle pumping, latching, washing dishes and aching. It has gotten a little easier now that I’ve got a routine, but it’s no less fun.

February 13, 2009

The Boob Obsession
Yes, I know it seems like I’m obsessed about my boobs lately. But you would be too if you woke up with 103 degree fever and what looks like the world’s worst sunburn on your boobs. I was shivering so violently yesterday morning, I could barely put the parts of my breast pump together. Poor Liam was screaming to be fed, and I was in tears just trying to pump and bring my fever down. James was already at work, and there’s no one I can call here, so I just had to tough it out. I’m sure I’m not the first to experience this, but it’s horribly discouraging. I’m understanding now why so many women abandon breastfeeding after the first month.

To top things off, I went to the doctor to get a third round of antibiotics for the infection (which causes the redness and fever), and the doc said if this round doesn’t cure it, I’ll need to go to the hospital for an IV drip. I’m really hoping it won’t come to that (this morning the redness had faded, so that’s a good sign), but if it does, I think I’m done with the breastfeeding. I don’t think I can handle another stay at the hospital with the baby. If my milk supply doesn’t dry up, I may try pumping and feeding him for awhile, but as stressed out as I’ve been about this, and finding day care, and realizing I start back to work in just 6 more weeks, it may just not happen. And that’s ok. If after 2 weeks of treating thrush, possibly 4 rounds of antibiotics, and 8 weeks of utter misery, I think I can rest assured I gave this the best chance I could. I’ve been told I’m tenacious, but every person has their limits.

In the meantime, I’m determined to remain optimistic. I’m still in pain today, but the pinkness has definitely faded. The doc said if I don’t feel better by Monday I need to go back in, but things are looking promising. The treatment for the thrush is annoying, but not as difficult as I thought it would be. My doctor said I have to “pump and dump” for 24 hours after taking my Diflucan, and I’m quickly running out of my frozen stash of breast milk. I bought some backup formula, and it’s looking like I’ll have to try it out today. Let’s hope Liam doesn’t have any problems with that.

Aside from this breastfeeding dabacle, Liam is doing great. He’s still on his every-other-night-is-horrible routine, but on the good nights he sleeps well. He blessed us with two 5-hour stretches this week, which is pretty amazing. Last night I got a good four hours, which is pretty good. (Though he fussed for a few hours before bedtime, which really sucked) I’ve been wearing him in the Baby Bjorn more now, and he loves it. He’ll still sleep in his swing if I put him in there already asleep, but now that he’s not sleeping quite as much, he’s not a fan. I prop him up in the boppy when I eat or pump, which seems to work…some of the time, anyway. He’s outgrowing his newborn clothes and graduating to the 0-3 month stuff. Now that he’s bigger, the sling is more cumbersome — it feels like I’m squishing him in there, and if he’s awake, he struggles. So I’m really glad I’ve got the Bjorn — he likes sitting upright and looking around. His eyes are opening up wider, and he stares at me quite a bit. He’s still not smiling at us, but we do catch a lot of accidental grins. Baby T-Rex is still an apt nickname — he does a lot of grunting and waving of his ineffectual arms. He’s getting progressively more fussy, but for the most part there’s a sound reason — wet diaper, hungry, or needs a burp — so we’re able to consol him. He loves to cuddle, and I love cuddling him, so that’s going well. His grandparents will be in town tomorrow night, and I’m sure they’ll love cuddling him, too.

February 17, 2009

Nanny share looks promising!
I met with another mommy on Friday, and after chatting for a couple of hours, we decided we were a good fit for a nanny share. She has a little boy just one month older than Liam, and we discovered a couple of amusing coincidences — that her son is named Cam, same as my nephew, and he was born on my birthday! Seems like fate! The only downside is she lives a little farther away than I wanted. But I’m sure we can work something out. So now we’re on to the hard part — finding a nanny. We each took one website to scour and call to set up interviews, which we’ll be conducting next week. We’re both out of town through most of March, and we’ll be starting in April, so hopefully we’ll have someone lined up before my trip to KC.

More exciting news! I booked my ticket to KC! I’ll be in town March 7 – 19th. I decided to extend my stay because James comes to KC March 11 – 12, then he’s in Dallas from the 13 – 23. I figured I’d rather spend more time with my family than at home alone with Liam. This way I’ll only have a few days with him on my own.

On the booby front, things aren’t looking too well. My infection seems to be under control, but I’m still getting these shooting pains after pumping. I’m on my second round of anti-fungal, so I’m pumping and dumping today. And because I’m a veritable cow, I managed to get enough milk to last him through today, so I won’t need to give him formula. But if tomorrow I’m still hurting, I’m going to see the doc again. According to my literature, I should be experiencing relief from the thrush within 72 hours of treatment, and it’s been longer than that. However, James thought that because I’m on an antibiotic, which can exacerbate yeast growth, that might be interfering with things. We’ll see what the doc says. I’m still not ready to give up — I did manage to nurse him a couple of times this weekend, and it’s so much easier and better than bottles.

February 20, 2009

Liam Meets his Grandparents
James’s parents came to visit this week. We had lots of fun sight-seeing and toting Liam in the Bjorn. Patty sat up with Liam last night for us, and the baby slept 6 hours. That’s the second 6-hour night we’ve had this week, so that’s all going well. We went on a little shopping spree, and Liam is fully stocked in cute outfits. Patty and Robert fly back home tomorrow, and they’ll be sorely missed.

In “boob news”, as it were, I think I’ve cured my mastitis, but I’m still getting these shooting pains, so I’ve got another round of diflucan from the doc to take this weekend. I’m back to pumping and dumping, and will likely have to break into the formula tomorrow. With any luck this next round will once-and-for-all kill off this annoying yeast, and I can get back to nursing again. ‘Course, then I’ve got to get the boy to actually eat enough when he nurses, which is a whole other problem. Sighh…this really shouldn’t be this hard. But now it’s this challenge I feel compelled to see through. As if I needed more to deal with…I posted an ad on craigslist for a nanny, and within 5 minutes I had nine emails from prospective nannies. That was on Tuesday, and I’ve been avoiding my email ever since. This whole things seems really daunting. But I need to start doing interviews next week because both of us are going out of town through most of March. I’m hoping this other gal will sort of take the lead. I have no idea how to hire a nanny. But just like everything else I’ve had to do the last couple of months, I just need to dive in. And it’ll all work out. Somehow.

February 23, 2009

Big Changes
I’m done. After 8 weeks of pain, misery, and utter disaster in the nursing department, I’ve decided I can’t take it anymore. I’ve seen the lactation consultant four times. I’ve had three rounds of antibiotics and two rounds of anti-fungals. And last night it was clear to me, I’m forcing a square peg into a round hole. Clearly breastfeeding is not working for us. I started it up again Saturday night after a week of pumping and bottle feeding, and by last night we were both in tears…me from the intense pain, and him from being so frustratingly hungry. Everytime I nurse him, he balls up his fists and fights. If he’s not liking it, and I’m definitely not liking it, why keep up the charade? I also can’t keep up this pumping schedule. I feel like I feed him, then hurriedly put him down so I can pump. I’ve wasted 8 weeks of precious leave on this routine, and I just want to enjoy my baby for the last 4 I’ve got left. Money will be tight with the added formula expense, but we can always dip into savings until James gets his raise in May. And I really can’t handle the stress of this on top of everything else I’ve got to do right now — hire a nanny, fly to KC w/ the baby, get tags for my car by the end of March (and with a baby in tow…this is NOT going to be fun).

I’ve also decided it’s time to retire the co-sleeper. I never thought we’d be one of those couples who sleeps in bed with the baby, but it seemed a good solution for Liam. He wouldn’t sleep in his crib or the pack n’ play because the space was too big. But now I can lay him down in his crib during the day and he’ll nap. And I’ve noticed I wake up at 4 AM at him struggling, but if I wait long enough, he’ll go back to sleep and wake up a couple hours later ready to eat. So tonight I’m going to swaddle him tight and try him in the pack n’ play, which is still at the foot of our bed. If that goes well, then we should be able to move him to the crib soon.

February 26, 2009

We had our first interview with a nanny yesterday, and it went swimmingly. We’ve got another today, and a third on Saturday, and I’m hopeful we’ll be happy with one from this bunch. Karen and I put together questions from a website we found, and it felt like a real job interview, something I’ve done in years past in my real job.

Speaking of real jobs, just a little over three weeks before I return to mine. This weekend I was feeling this tremendous guilt about sending Liam to daycare and employing a nanny. Ideally I’d love to be a stay-at-home mom for a year or two. I wasn’t sure I’d feel that way, but now that he’s here, I find that I love spending my days with him. But there’s no way James and I can afford to live on one income in this very expensive city we’re living in. In another year, when James is a GS14, we might revisit the issue. But in the meantime, this is the way we’ve got to handle things. After two weeks in a daycare when I go back to work, we’ll be starting the nanny share in April, and Liam will be at the house every other week. And because I work from home, I’ll get to check in with him whenever I want. Which is the next best thing to being home with him.

February 27, 2009

I’m finally learning somethin’
I gave Liam a bath yesterday, and because I was in such a good mood (the boobs are feeling better and better, yay!), I decided to sing him some songs. Normally he thrashes and screams through all of his cleanings, but this time he laid there obediently while I scrubbed him down. I think he actually rather enjoyed his bath, which is a first.

Today we’re off to have an adventure. If all goes well, I’ll be munching on a top-10-worthy burger at lunch today. I’ll let you know how it goes.

March 02, 2009

Snowed in and annoyed
Mother nature saw fit to dump a foot of snow on the DC metro area, so Liam and I had to reschedule his two-month checkup with the doctor I don’t like. Very annoying, especially because I have lots of questions and this doc has this breezy way of being vague and not offering any helpful advice. But he was the only doc available this week, and since we’re going out of town for two weeks, we have to go this week. I plan to come armed with a list and a pen, and I’m not leaving until everything has been addressed properly.

In nanny news, Karen and I narrowed our choice to the top one and two, and we’re checking references on both. If there’s something wonky on choice number one, we’ll default to number two. Either seem like good candidates, so we should be good. I’ve got a back up to that back up — someone new who just emailed me this weekend. I think there’s a glut of qualified nannies willing to work for our salary-range because of the dip in the economy, so that works well for us. Which kills me, because this still seems outrageously expensive to me. And in defense of my nanny choice, home day care is just about the same price. Day care facilities, if I could even manage to get through the waiting list, are bordering on the ridiculously expensive. Like, so bad I might as well quit my job and watch the kid myself. And I make a decent salary. Sheesh, kids are expensive.

Speaking of expensive, I agonized over formula at the store yesterday. Liam has been drinking Enfamil because that’s what I remembered Evie drinking. I went to Target and discovered a Target brand that is $10 cheaper, and appears to have the same ingredients and nutrients. I’m wondering now why people even bother with the name brand stuff. I have a feeling it’s all about the image of safety that a name brand offers — when it comes to kids, who wouldn’t want the best? But between the diapers and the formula and the hospital bills, one has to decide where to draw the line. I don’t necessarily want the rock bottom. We’ve discovered with diapers it’s better to go middle of the road to avoid annoying leaks and discomfort for the baby. But if Liam will drink it, and it works well with his body, why not save a little money? Lord knows we’ll find other places to spend it.

March 04, 2009

Never again
Seriously, Liam’s doctor is senile or something. Next time they try to stick me with this guy, I’m going to hold out until someone else is available. I came in armed with my questions, but he kept interrupting me as I was asking them. I had to explain to him three times about our issues with his fussiness at the bottle — he thought Liam was spitting up, but that’s not really it. He suggested we use this other gentler formula (and gave me a bunch of free samples, so that was a bonus), but when I got home, I realized the Target brand stuff I bought is the same stuff. He also suggested feeding him more formula five times a day instead of eight, which might also help him sleep at night. So we’ll see how that goes.

Then I asked him advice on flying with the baby. To which he replied, “Don’t.” Uhhh…helloooo, I asked you about this trip six weeks ago, and you said it would be fine! The doc is concerned about flu virus…and I’m sure this is a legitimate concern, but for chrissake, I can’t cancel my trip three days before I go! I’ve been planning this since his birth, and even ran it by the doc. Uber-annoying. So he didn’t really give me any practical advice — he just told me some story about some lady who sat next to him on a plane once, and she didn’t cover her mouth when she coughed, and he got sick for three days. So aside from sealing Liam in a ziplock bag, I think I’m going to have to risk it.

I also explained to the doc my problems with breastfeeding and how we’ve switched to all formula. He was pushing formula the last time I saw him, so I didn’t expect him to make a stink about the change. He asked if I could pump for another month, and I just flatly said no. I’ve painstakingly weened myself over the last two weeks so I could be done with it — the whole process of feeding and pumping was getting entirely too stressful. Not that this guy cares, or even remotely sympathizes.

Oh, and then the icing….so when he first came in, he explained that Liam was supposed to get shots today. Then as he was leaving, he said, “I’ll need to see you in two months.” And not another word. So I’m sitting there, wondering what to do. I had to pack the boy up, go out in the hall, and flag down a nurse to find out if I was done or if they were coming back in to do shots. Turns out they were, and poor Liam had to endure four shots. But he did well. No thanks to the doc, of course. Bahh! Never seeing this guy again!

PS: Liam clocked in at 10 lbs 4 oz, and 21.5 inches long. They didn’t tell me what percentile that is for his age, so I looked it up. We have a tiny baby! He’s only in the 5th percentile for height, and 7th for weight. However, the doc said he gained an appropriate amount of weight between these visits, so we’re not concerned.

March 08, 2009

Liam meets his other grandparents
Our flight on Saturday went well. Liam pretty much slept the whole way, and he was easy to transport around in the Bjorn. Mom and dad were delighted to meet their new grandson at the airport. Liam and I get to sleep in my sister’s old bedroom, which is now fitted with a twin bed and crib that Jill and Evie use once a week. Today my friend Tiffany and her son Steve came by to meet the boy — it doesn’t seem that long ago that Tiffany had her first little baby. But Steve is almost a teenager now…time flies, they say.

As has become the tradition, my dad made Liam his own little wooden box, and inside is the start of his very own coin collection, all proof sets from the year he’s born. Evie got one when she was born, too. My parents also thought to save the newspaper from the day Liam was born, so I’ll be able to put some news clippings into his baby book. I can always count on them to think of these things!

Dad and Liam are having some grandpa bonding time — Liam’s asleep on his lap, and I have a feeling dad’s not far behind, lol. So cute. Tomorrow Jill and Evie are coming over — the first time Liam gets to meet his auntie and cousin! We’re getting our photos taken on Thursday…knock on wood our babies cooperate.

March 13, 2009

Evie meets Liam
My niece, even at a precocious 18 months, is as adorable as ever. Jill and Evie came over on Monday to meet Liam, and she proclaimed, “Baby!” and pointed at his little face. Evie was a little shy with me at first — she hasn’t seen me since Thanksgiving, which is a long time to a toddler. But I got a better chance to bond with her on Tuesday when my mom watches her all day. She gnawed on two of his pacifiers at the same time, which was hilarious, and ran off with his baby blanket. Evie is talking up a storm, saying, “Cracker!” and “Cheese!” in the kitchen, and shhhh’ing when the baby is asleep. She’s also quite good at puzzles, and can even count to three. We’ve got a smarty in the making.

Wednesday morning I took Liam to Mommy and Me Yoga. It was great to see Ashley and Emily — Emily is having a boy next month — and also fun to see some of the moms I remember from prenatal there with their babies. Liam was pretty fussy, and it made it hard to do any yoga or to relax. He threw a fit during the end relaxation, and fussed all through the bottle I gave him. I met some work friends for lunch, and he fussed through some of that, too. Poor guy is pretty constipated — I’m hoping the prune juice I gave him this morning will help.

March 17, 2009

When did my life become a sitcom?
I guess life was getting entirely too easy at the Fletcher household. My mom-in-law called frantically this morning to tell me our potential nanny came back with 30 pages of criminal history on her background check. Like, DWI’s, failure to appear in court, domestic violence, and jail time. Great. Our nanny’s a felon. So Karen and I are scrambling to find a replacement. Our second choice wants too much money, so we’re left starting all over again. Now we’ve only got three weeks to do it — and I start back to work on Monday, so I don’t have as much time for research and interviews.

To top it all off, Liam is getting fussier and fussier at his bottles. This started a few weeks ago when I switched to formula, but it seems to be getting worse. So we’re off the doc’s again next week to see what’s up. I’m thinking it might be acid reflux, but who knows? I had to get pretty huffy on the phone to avoid seeing Dr. Asshole — it seems he has a lot of open appointments, not surprising — thankfully they got us in to see someone else.

Wednesday afternoon we went to Jill’s and met with Erin and her twin girls Sidra and Ginny, who are 10 months old, and into everything. All the girls were fascinated with Liam — quite the ladykiller 🙂

Thursday Jill and I attempted portraits at Target with the kids. Evie was shy at first, so we started with Liam’s. The photographer was great, and managed to coax Evie to pose for a few shots on her own. Then we sidled Liam in next to her and managed to get one or two decent shots of the two of them together. Jill and I were right next to them the whole time, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the photos. We got one good shot of all of us, too, before the meltdown. They both behaved much better than I’d feared — no outright tantrums or fits. Maybe we can do this again in, err, five more years, lol. As Jill and Evie left, Jill said, “Bye, Liam!” and Evie said, “Bye, Lee-umm!” She calls me either, “Manny” or “Anny Mimi” for Auntie Mandy. She’s really talking well.

Today I’m back at Jill’s, and while Liam naps in Evie’s crib, Evie keeps reaching her hands inside the bars and saying, “Baby…Shhhhh.” It’s so flippin’ cute. Jill loves holding Liam, who mostly sleeps in her arms. I’m sure it’s quite different from Evie, who doesn’t want to be held these days, but wants to run around climbing on things.

March 21, 2009

Reflection
We made it back safe and sound, and though Liam was more awake on our return trip to DC, I lucked out having an empty seat next to me so he could spread out and do some kicking and wiggling. I did have to calm him a little by walking up the aisle with him in the bjorn, but thankfully that didn’t take long. I met a couple of good samaritans who helped me with my luggage, and I was able to locate the car easily in the economy parking lot. Lickity-split — wish everything else could be this easy…

Upon getting home I felt this sense of decompression. I spent two weeks in KC running around every day trying to see all of my friends and family. Of course it was great to see them all, but it made me take stock of all of the things I sacrificed to move to DC. Not only was the actual move probably the most painful experience of my life (next to childbirth, heh), but now that I’m here, I’m having to struggle with the technical difficulties of working from home, the trials and tribulations (and incredible expense) of finding child care at the last minute, and the fact that we’re raising a child without the community of friends and family I left back in KC. It takes time to build up a community, and with all of my problems with breast feeding, Liam’s hospital stay, and my continuing stress over hiring a nanny, I haven’t devoted any time to it. I’m starting back to work on Monday, and I feel like I’ve hardly accomplished anything.

To top things off, James is out of town until Tuesday, so I’m home all by myself — which took a little adjusting after my whirlwind KC trip. However, I think my previous experiences when James would be gone for months at a time prepared me for this. I’m not nearly as lonely or stir crazy as most people would think. In fact, Liam and I have been running errands like mad for the past two days — I had to get some paperwork squared away for daycare, and while I was out I bought Liam this cute little humidifier shaped like a turtle, and a bouncer with lights and underwater themed sounds. I think Liam digs it, now that he’s really looking at things.

So, how am I doing here all on my own? I must admit I sort of panicked the night before I left KC — it was so nice having my parents there, and visiting with my sister, and they were all so great with Liam. But now that I’m back in DC, surrounded by the familiar things of home, I realized it isn’t so bad out here. It’s not what I pictured when James and I first undertook this baby-making endeavor, but when has life ever turned out the way I pictured it? Sure, I totally miss my family. I miss them every day. But James and I are a family now, and we’re making our own path. If the future brings us back to KC someday, that would be great. But for now I’m focusing on making a home here, and I’m sure with more time it’ll start to feel that way to me.

As is the way, James is hating his job. Which makes this whole DC move bittersweet for me. But our thinking was two-fold — James really wanted this job, and if it didn’t turn out the way he hoped, I knew I could reasonably insist that we stay put while he puts in for other positions here. I can’t handle another move, not for awhile. So James is scouring USA Jobs for positions that require less travel and hopefully less stress that are in his same pay grade. And in the meantime we’ll both have to sit in this hole that we’ve dug…the one we dug together. I bet most spouses would be angry with their husbands over this, but I can hear it in James’ voice over the phone — he misses Liam more than he ever imagined he would. His priorities are shifting, and for the better, thankfully.

March 21, 2009

Liam’s Great, by the way
Reading over my previous posts, I realized how little I actually write about Liam and how he is. I have a feeling things will be changing once I go back to work, and I want a record of how things were for us day-to-day while I got to spend just about every hour with him. So here’s a day in the life.

My little tyke usually wakes up around 6 AM crying for a bottle. Until recently this meant using our uber-cool bottle warmer, and picking him up out of the co-sleeper right next to me. But these days we’re trying to keep him in the crib, so now I go in his room to unwrap him from his swaddle, assuming he hasn’t mostly struggled free (about 50-50 on that), then I prepare some formula, take him into our room, and put on some NPR podcasts while he sucks away contentedly. He might need a burp or two after he’s done, and then we have some cuddle time. James heads off to work around 7, so we kiss and wave goodbye, then snuggle up in the bed and sleep until about 9 or 10.

After another bottle and diaper assessment, I plop him in the papasan in the bathroom while I take a shower. He usually nods off, and I can take as long of a shower as I want to. Getting ready after the shower is more of a challenge — Liam usually wakes up right before I need to dry my hair, and I’m usually scrambling with my morning routine while trying to console him. Thankfully the hair dryer usually calms him down — I even dried my hair once while wearing him in the Bjorn. I think he rather enjoyed that. I get the most smiles out of him around this time of day.

Then it’s time for me to eat, which again presents a challenge. Liam fusses every time I put him in the swing, something he didn’t do in the early days. But now I’ve got a little activity gym that keeps him reasonably occupied while I rustle up either breakfast or lunch, depending on the time. By about one he’s ready to eat again, and if I time it right, I can have my lunch while watching something on the DVR, then feed him. But it doesn’t always work that way, and many times he wants to be held while I’m still trying to eat. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spilled food on the poor little guy.

After the one o’clock feeding we can either run some errands — which requires me to pack up a bag with diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, burp cloth, and pacifiers, plus the bjorn — or I can do some work on the computer. The latter is far less stressful, especially since Liam gets pretty sleepy from about 2 – 4 PM. But on the days I do need to do errands, I find it easier to wear him in the Bjorn rather than put his infant carrier in the stroller, depending on the kind of shopping I’m doing. He does pretty well in the Bjorn, either looking around quietly or snoozing soundly.

By 4 or 5 o’clock, we’re ready to eat again. Man this kid eats a lot. Though he doesn’t seem to eat that much at a sitting, which is frustrating for me because we often waste formula. Sometimes he’ll wolf down four ounces in 15 minutes, and sometimes he fusses, falls asleep, needs burping, and we struggle for an hour just to finish 2 or 3 ounces. Hopefully the doctor can shed some light on this when we go in on Tuesday.

James comes home around 5 and Liam and James get to have some daddy time. Which is great — I can do more work on the computer, pick up the house a little, or just veg while James takes a turn. Then nine times out of ten James volunteers to cook or order dinner, and I take Liam back for some mommy cuddle time. He’s usually pretty awake during dinner, so James and I take turns holding him while the other eats. Hopefully now that we have the activity gym, we won’t need to do that as much in the future. James and I usually watch TV the rest of the night, and then around 9 or 10, you-know-who starts a fussing, and we change him into PJs and get him settled down for the night. On the weeknights James goes to sleep in the guest bedroom downstairs while I feed Liam and get him to bed. But next week that will change since I’m going back to work…not sure what we’ll arrange, but we’ll come up with something fair, I’m sure.

After Liam’s 10 PM bottle, I swaddle him up tight, rock him in the glider and play some CDs until he’s asleep. Sometimes it takes a few tries — Liam has this cute little knack for opening one eye, then springing up both when I lie him down in the crib. But eventually he succumbs, and it’s white noise box on and lights out in the nursery. Depending on the time he goes to bed, sometimes he’ll sleep through until his morning feeding. But most of the time I have to get up around 2 or 3 AM to feed him and rock him back to sleep. Hopefully that will change in the next month — we’re slowly inching our way to longer nights of sleep.

So that’s our day. It’s a wonder I squeeze in anything from my to-do list, but somehow I manage. I’m hoping when I’m back to work and Liam’s in day care, I can get a few things like hanging pictures and getting my Maryland tags done on my lunch break. Those two are particularly hard to do with the baby here.

March 23, 2009

Our day of firsts
Today was my first day back to work, and Liam’s first day in day care. It was a little odd taking a shower while the boy was still sleeping — quite a departure from our normal routine. The timing was perfect. Just as I was finishing getting ready, Liam was stirring. I was able to feed him (what little he’ll eat these days) and get him dressed before we needed to leave. He was all smiles this morning, which made it hard to pack him in the car seat and ship him off to someone else. I met another of the parents as I was dropping him off — dad Mark and son Luke, who looked to be about the same age as Liam. They seemed nice, and although Liam doesn’t really play with others, and we don’t plan on staying with day care for long, it’s nice to know there’s another boy his age in there with him. It wasn’t as heartbreaking to leave him there as I thought it would be, probably because I’ve got a cold, so taking care of him this weekend all by myself has zapped my patience and energy. The two day care gals were sweet, giving me hugs and reassuring me that they’d take good care of him.

So now I’m back to work amid some cryptic restructuring…rumors abound, and I’m told all will be revealed tomorrow. My job should be safe, but I have a feeling I’ll be adding another magazine under my belt. Should be interesting.

Tonight we have an interview with a nanny that I found on Care.com, a website I think I can trust more than craiglist because they charge a small monthly fee. I’ve got emails out to several potential candidates, and leads on three so far. So I’m hoping we can get most of our interviews done this week and get someone chosen by next week. This last minute nanny business just adds to my stress over the boy not eating and my looming job changes. If I can just get through tomorrow, things should be better — Liam sees the doc, I find out about our restructuring at work, and James comes home from Texas.

March 24, 2009

Beam me up, Mary Poppins
Thank god something goes right today! We saw a different doctor, and she was worlds better than Dr. Asshole. She prescribed some Zantac for the wee one, but cautioned that likely he’s just going through a phase that he’ll outgrow in a month or two. And it turns out he’s eating just right for his size, so even though he’s only eating one ounce in some sittings, that’s ok. She said to try not to get too frustrated, that he can sense it, and it probably makes things worse. She also recommended that I refrigerate my leftover formula, and just change out the nipple when I go back to use it. So hopefully we’ll stop wasting so much of that liquid gold.

After the doc’s we swung by CVS to get Liam’s prescription, and while I was waiting for it to be filled, I picked up Dr. Spock’s parenting book. Up until now I’ve been fervently against reading such drivel — my What to Expect book made me absolutely paranoid during my pregnancy — but being a first-time-mom with little support out here, I thought I’d flip through the pages and see what this dude had to say. I know what you’re thinking. What does a Vulcan know about parenting? Ok, maybe I’m the only one thinking that. But it turns out he’s not only informative, but pretty laid back about his advice. And they’ve updated it, so all of the antiquated stuff has been debunked and rewritten. I flipped to the chapter about feeding, and what do you know — they described his exact symptoms of fussing at the bottle, and possible reasons and treatments! So if this zantac doesn’t do the trick, I’ve got some other stuff I can try. But Dr. Spock, like our personal doc, says that it’s something he’ll likely outgrow anyway.

Speaking of doctors, we got our Dr. Horrible soundtrack today, and Liam’s in his room listening to it. I think he likes it. This will help get me through those 4 AM feedings with a little more cheer.

We’ve got a nanny inteview tonight, and I’m so beleaguered at the thought of starting this whole process over again. Why can’t Mary Poppins whiz in from the East and take care of everything? A spoonful of sugar sounds nice right about now.

March 30, 2009

Is it really this easy?
I almost don’t want to post about this, for fear of jinxing myself. Aside from his 5 AM feeding this morning, the boy has had mercy on his poor, sleep-deprived parents and blessed us with several sleep-filled nights in a row! He slept in until 8:30 Friday morning, definitely a first. His bedtime is becoming more consistent, somewhere between 10:30 and 11:30, and he’s usually up around the same time I am at 7:30. Nine hours ain’t too shabby! Plus, and here’s the part that astounds me, we’re going on night number two of me swaddling him, putting him in the crib with his eyes open, shutting the lights out, and voila, he’s asleep! Can babies really do that? Is it supposed to be this easy? I have this bad feeling that Liam is spoiling me, and we’ll be in for a rude awakening when baby #2 arrives. Yes, we’re already talking about #2, though we both firmly agree it’s best to wait a few years. James has done a complete 180 — before he was angling for just one, and now he won’t shut up about Liam’s potential little brother. Or sister, I have to remind him.

April 01, 2009

Stay at home reality
I’m at week two back at work, and now that Liam and I are settling into the daycare groove, it’s really not so bad. I’d still prefer to be home with him, but I find I really like my job, and I’m glad to be back. In a perfect world I could work and watch him all day. I’m sure most moms feel that way. And with the economy the way it is, I should probably be happy I’m employed. Technically we might be able to afford for me to stay at home in another year, but now I’m not so sure it’s a good idea for me to quit. I may find it hard to re-enter the work force, especially since my skillset is in a dwindling market. We’ll just have to see how things are next year.

In other news, Liam has a new nickname: Short Round. Named for Indiana Jones’s sidekick in the Temple of Doom because Liam is, well, rather short and round. It really does fit him.

April 03, 2009

Someone to jibber jabber to
Before I had the baby I spent a lot of time talking to myself — sad, yes. It’s just one of those things I’ve always done. Motherhood has many perks, one of which provides me a captive audience to my constant chatter. When I’m home alone with the boy, or out running errands, or taking a walk, I love to chat with him — tell him where we’re going, or what we’re doing, or how much I love him. And now he’s chattering back, in his own little baby language! I have a feeling he’s going to be talking earlier rather than later. He’s learning from the best!

April 05, 2009

Pretty flowers
This is my fourth Cherry Blossom Festival, and Liam’s first. My first time was back in 2005 — James and I were down from New York for an interview with the State Department — and after dragging James around the Tidal Basin, up to the Lincoln Memorial, and back down to the Capitol, which then resulted in a severe scalp sunburn and much whining, I promised James I wouldn’t make him go again. Ever. In 2006, James was in Cairo, and the blooms that year were said to be the biggest in years. I remember walking down from Union Station, plopping myself down on a park bench under a beautiful line of trees, dialing about 20 numbers into my cell phone, and talking to James, who was just ending his day. In 2007 a freak Nor’easter blew through and stripped the trees of their pretty blooms. I tried to get some photos, but it was pretty pitiful.

This year the weather was perfect, and about 5 billion other people thought so, too. It was a challenge negotiating the metro with the stroller — I had too much to carry to use the bjorn — but the photos made the trip worth it.

April 08, 2009

The Nanny Hunt Continues…
The week is looking up. We had a very promising nanny interview over the weekend, and another last night. We’ve got another tonight, and the possibility of one or two more by this weekend. Hopefully we’ll have our top two choices made by Sunday so we can start doing reference and background checks. I think it might be best to do our background check first, just to be safe. The sooner we can choose someone, the better. I’ve got to give 30-day’s notice at the day care, and already the nanny will be starting in less than 30 days. I wish that hefty tax refund would hit the bank soon. We’ve been dipping into savings almost every week — though, some of that is for upfront costs with James’s job that they’ll be reimbursing us for later. But still, not habit I plan on forming if I can help it.

In better news, Grandpa Bob is coming to visit over Memorial Day weekend, hoorah! He’s the last of the grandparents to meet Liam, and he’s coming just in time for the cutefest. The boy is getting so interactive. He’ll be five months old then, probably rolling over and pulling on things. And if he’s anything like his little nanny share buddy Cam, he’ll be drooling like crazy 🙂

April 09, 2009

How embarrassing
Liam’s a pretty good baby. He’s not overly fussy, he doesn’t spit up much, and I can usually calm him pretty easily if he gets upset. Until last night, that is.

We had gone to Karen’s house to do another nanny interview, and just as we were getting started, Liam woke up and started wailing. I knew he was hungry, so I whipped him up a bottle, but then realized I forgot a burp cloth. Thankfully Karen had an extra bib to loan me. Embarrassment #1. About five sucks in, Liam starts doing his usual bucking, fussing, and pulling away. Then spitting out the formula and wailing again. This zantac is so not working. At all. I find the only way to get around this is to stop feeding him, burp him, sit him up and wait for him to act hungry again, and start feeding again. Five sucks, and repeat. Embarrassment #2. All the while Karen had to do the whole interview herself, and I really couldn’t hear the answers. Liam’s borrowed bib was just soaked with formula. Finally I gave up on the bottle with one ounce to go, and I got up and walked around the room with him. He seemed to settle down, and I was even able to get him to interact with his little nanny share buddy Cameron. Very cute. And short-lived. I put him over my shoulder and took a spin. Then I looked down to see Liam had dribbled a little trail of spit up all along the floor behind me, and all down my back. Embarrassment #3.

Soaked from head to toe (I don’t know how he managed to get my pants wet) and with Liam still fussing on and off, I decided to leave my friends in peace. Thankfully, being new parents themselves, they were totally understanding. Even though every time I see their son, he’s a perfect angel. But they assured me he has his fussy moments. I’m sure they’re right. But I find it difficult not to compare myself with other parents, and my kid with other kids. I guess I should just get used to that. And the embarrassments. Oh, the embarrassments.

April 11, 2009

Flip cam is on the way!
Our tax refund hit the bank on Friday, so James ordered me a Flip Cam. It should be here on Wednesday. Hooray! Some of you may be wondering why we didn’t purchase an expensive HD cam. It turns out the ones we had picked out for Christmas have been discontinued, and the newer models are hundreds of dollars more. All I really wanted was a Flip Cam in the first place — I want something easy — and with impending nanny expenses, I didn’t have to argue hard to get it. Expect some video links in the coming weeks.

On the nanny front, we made an offer to a nanny, and she accepted. Such a load off my mind! She starts May 4.

Today I scrubbed the house from top to bottom. James leaves Monday for Dallas, and my friends Stephanie, Jack and their girl Mira are coming to town before he gets back. So we got the guest room all made up — Chez Fletcher is open for bizness — and the whole house sparkling! Probably the cleanest it’ll ever be, heh. And I finally hung pictures. It’s amazing what a difference that makes. This house really is feeling very much like home now.

April 13, 2009

Breaking Up is Hard to Do
I had to break up with my day care ladies today. I pulled the “it’s not you, it’s me” card, which for once is actually true. I don’t fault them, but the situation — I’d prefer to have a nanny, and since it doesn’t cost much more to employ one in a share, it’s the best option for us.

I felt bad. Not only will they miss him (Aster gave me a sad face and gave the boy a sweet little hug), but her sister Ilan told me it sometimes takes them three or four months to fill a spot. I wish I could recommend them to one of my friends, but hardly anyone I know out here has kids.

In other news, I drove James to the Baltimore airport this morning — such a short ride, I think I’ll fly out of BWI from now on! — and now he’s in Dallas for two weeks. This will be the longest I’ve been at home with the boy all by myself. Taking care of him alone isn’t so bad, but after about a week, I’ll wish I had two more arms, I’m sure. James usually cooks, does the dishes, and makes the bottles for me. I made sure the fridge was stocked with lots of leftovers and microwave meals in preparation for this trip. Liam’s napping right now, so things are blessedly calm. At the moment, anyway…

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