Monthly Archives: May 2014

11 Weeks Old. Where Has the Time Gone?

Josh turned 11 weeks old, and the days are flying by! I know it’s kind of a strange time to write an update. Some moms blog every week or every month, and I guess I just don’t have it together enough to be organized like that. But there’s so many things I want to remember about this time, and I thought that posting some of those details here would help me to remember in the days to come.

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I decided to write my own categories for describing Josh as of late:

Personality: Trying to sum up this growing baby of mine is hard to do in a few words. Some might describe their babies as busy, fussy, happy, or perhaps rambunctious. Josh is perhaps a little of all these things depending on the day and time, but overall what I have observed in this little boy over the past weeks is watchfulness. As soon as he started to notice the world around him, he’s content to look quietly, to watch and notice the little details in his world. I can place him in his rock n play sleeper and move it to various places around the house and outside, and this little boy will quietly sit there and look around, sometimes for hours.

Just looking around...

Just looking around…

Measurements & Clothing: Joshua is almost 12 pounds (via our home scale). He is in 0-3 month clothing and has outgrown all of his newborn clothing except for a lightweight sweatshirt I put on him during some of our cooler morning walks. He’s in size 1 diapers and probably will be wearing them at least another 4-6 weeks.

Feeding: Josh remains on a fairly consistent schedule as he eats every 2  1/2 – 3 hours during the day (breast milk only, usually nursing but sometimes with a bottle of pumped milk). At night I nurse him around 10:30 and let him sleep as long as he’ll go (which is usually not that long, 3-4 hours). He usually wants one or two more feedings during the night. I do pump and give him a bottle occasionally so that he will be used to that when I return to work. At the very minimum, he gets a bottle with half an ounce of breast milk mixed with his probiotic and vitamin D supplement before or after nursing once a day.

Multitasking: Smiling while eating

Multitasking: Smiling while eating

Sleep: This has been one of the hardest things for me to figure out with this little guy! Why, oh why? do some (most, I hear) babies have to be ‘taught’ to sleep at night? They learn to suck while they are still in the womb but sleeping at night? It’s just not that easy for us. We do have one thing going well, and that’s a set bedtime every night which is between 6:30-7 pm. Josh made this easy for us to set, because he started melting down in the afternoons and I finally figured out that the poor kid just wanted to get some sleep. He’ll sleep as long as 7.5 hours after that point, but usually 5-6. However, after that chunk of sleep, Josh seems to wake up every 1-3 hours, occasionally 4. So some friends of mine suggested waking him up for a final feeding somewhere around 10 pm, to help him switch his long-sleeping time from 7 pm-1 am to 10 pm until ? So far it’s been pretty hard to wake him up for that 10 pm feeding, even with diaper changes and playing with him. The kid just wants to sleep! And it’s only lengthened his subsequent sleep time by about an hour. So, not sure if we’ll stick with it or not. All I know is, if I ever get this boy to sleep all night I will be celebrating the next day!

"Please mom, let me sleep!"

“Please mom, let me sleep!”

Likes & Dislikes: First I’ll actually start with loves. Josh LOVES to be held and he loves stroller rides! He also loves being in the front pack (I use an Ergo carrier) which I use occasionally for walks, church, and for strolling around a store if their carts are too small for his car seat. He likes gnawing on his fists, his pacifier, bath time now and playing, but he has to be in the right mood to last long on the play mat. But he has been known to play for as long as 45 minutes or so. As far as dislikes go, he doesn’t like sudden loud noises and he doesn’t really love being on his tummy, which makes working on “tummy time” to strengthen his neck a bit of a challenge.

"My fists are so amazing!"

“My fists are so amazing!”

Pretending to like that tummy time for all of about 12 seconds.

Pretending to like that tummy time for all of about 12 seconds.

Mommy is happy that bath time is no longer a long crying event!

Mommy is happy that bath time is no longer a long crying event!

Health: When Josh was born, he had bilaterally blocked tear ducts. After two rounds of antibiotic drops for his eyes and around the clock warm compresses, the ducts finally opened on their own. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but probably about 5 weeks ago. He also had a weird case of cradle cap, which didn’t present as yellow flakes on his scalp in the usual manner but in small red areas on his face, ears and a few places on his scalp. The areas were also pretty dry. I emailed the pediatrician about it and sent a picture along, and he told me to apply hydrocortisone 1% on the red areas twice a day. I did, and it cleared up within one or two applications of the stuff! Eventually, the cradle cap (along with a nasty case of infant acne) cleared up on it’s own and his skin looks great again. For a while there I was concerned that he was getting eczema, and so far I’m glad that this is not the case. As for the colic, it’s a lot better, but he still struggles with it, especially during the later night hours. I’m still avoiding dairy and giving the probiotics, as well as occasionally gas drops. I’m really hoping it will resolve completely on it’s own by the time he is 4 months old, as most cases do.

Work: I planned to go back to work very minimally but still haven’t taken the plunge. I know breast feeding mothers return to work and keep pumping without problems all the time. But it just doesn’t seem that simple for me. I don’t have a ton of milk, just enough really. I worry about my supply dropping if I can’t get out to pump (or even if I do pump). But even if I had a ton of milk, things could still be complicated because although I wouldn’t be so worried about losing my milk supply,  I’d be concerned about getting mastitis. So basically, it just comes down to me stopping the dithering and starting the working. I guess my reluctance in this area reveals how important nursing Josh must be to me!

Summary: These are sweet, wonderful days. The nights can be challenging, but when this little boy of mine smiles up at me and coos it makes being up a little less painful. I feel incredibly blessed to be raising this little boy. May God give me wisdom and grace to do it well.

 

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2-Month Update & Mother’s day Recap

Mother’s Day is behind us for another year. I can’t help but feel relieved it’s over! We went with my parents to their church this year and then celebrated at their house. As we were driving away from their church, I was telling my husband, “Even though I was standing there with Joshua in the front pack, there was so much emphasis on it being “Mother’s Day” that I couldn’t help but just think of the women in the service who had lost a child, or their mothers, or who were in the same shoes as me last year.” And there are so many other reasons why this holiday could be little more than a painful reminder of this fallen world we live in and relationships we wish we had, or were different, etc. On a personal note, I guess I thought it’d be different this year– now that Joshua is here– but in reality I think I still have some PTSD left over from years past.

Church service aside, it was a wonderful day. As we were scrambling to get out the door and make the hour long drive to my parent’s church, hubby gave me a gift and a card. His card was so incredibly thoughtful, it made me cry. He thanked God for being ‘generous’ with us by giving us Joshua. I cried because our God is so incredibly generous. When I opened up the gift from my hubby I found a beautiful necklace with the initial “E” on it for my name. I absolutely love it!

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After the church service we went over to my parents for a mother’s day brunch followed by an early dinner so that my sister (who was working) could be there for the latter part of the day and not miss it all. We ate a LOT of good food that day! Some of the festivities that day included my dad setting the barbecue on fire on accident (amazingly enough I think it actually made the Tri-tip taste even better), me mowing my parents grass for almost two hours and almost running over seven bunnies (they were baby jackrabbits–I guess they didn’t get the memo that a big loud riding lawn mower coming their way = RUN AWAY!), and of course lots of playing with Joshua. My mom will take every moment she gets to snuggle with him, which is why I was able to get outside and do some yard work on their property.

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My mom with Joshua.

My mom with Joshua.

In other news, Joshua got his 2-month vaccines on Monday. He did great and wasn’t even very fussy that afternoon or evening. No fever either, which I was thankful for. He weighed in at 11 pounds, 4 ounces, and measured 21 3/4 inches long. He was in the 17th percentile for weight and in the 87th percentile for his head circumference (we weren’t surprised by that one–he takes after his daddy!).

Joshua’s world has expanded a lot lately as he is very aware of his surroundings now and smiles frequently. Those smiles sure do make getting up at 0’dark thirty to nurse him a lot more fun! He is also awake for much longer periods during the day time.

Joshua had a busy week last week as we made two out of town trips to see a friend visiting from Oregon and another trip to Northern California to see a good friend who still hadn’t been able to meet him yet. For both trips he slept the entire time in the car–this mommy was incredibly thankful for that!

Joshua’s colic has been getting better. I did start him on baby probiotics (as well as cutting out dairy completely since he was 2 weeks old) and noticed an improvement about 4 days after starting the probiotics. I had also tried gripe water and gas drops but neither seemed to do very much.

Aside from walking/jogging with friends and visiting with family and friends, our days are pretty uncomplicated. I am loving being home with Joshua and getting to spend so much time with him. I plan to go back to work very minimally soon. In my line of work, the longer you don’t work, the more nervous you become when you do return. I worked only 6 hours in January and only a few shifts in December, so I am feeling very rusty, to say the least! Hopefully it will all come back to me. Thankfully Joshua doesn’t mind taking the bottle and I’ve got plenty of breast milk stored up in our chest freezer in the garage, so being gone for the better part of a day shouldn’t present any big problems.

And here’s some pictures from the past week or two…

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The Hardest Day of the Year

At the brink of Mother’s Day comes Joshua’s 2 month-old birthday.

And I am undone. Memories of past Mother’s days filter through my mind. Images of church baby dedications come to focus. I hear the bursting applause celebrating all the mothers standing around me. A father holding a small child on my left. An expectant mother on my right. My own flat belly in view, void of children. I am left with the undeniable feeling of utter inadequacy and sorrow. Tears pooling, then falling.

As the memory fades, I think it’s safe to say that Mother’s day used to be the hardest day of the year for me.

I haven’t made it through an entire church service on mother’s day in three years. I always went into it with a light heart and the desire to honor my mother. But as the day unfolded, I was a tear-laden, sorrowful mess. The ache and sadness of being barren struck the deepest on Mother’s day. I desperately wanted to be a mother and to experience all that came with the title.

I spent some time on the phone today with a friend who’s in the same shoes I was in. My heart aches for her and her situation. She is facing the same familiar infertility crossroads and praying about the next step. Just in time for Mother’s day. And did I mention that she just got the news today that a good friend of hers is expecting?

And even though I’m no longer struggling with infertility, this struggle is no light skirmish. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that infertility can be a full-on battle, and it will suck every last ounce of hope and happiness from you if you are not careful. When I was going through infertility, I had to ask myself– again and again– Is Christ enough in my life? Children or no children, will I take Him at His Word and trust that He is sufficient? Will I refuse to make an idol out of having children? (Because it won’t happen passively.) Will I choose to believe that I will have joy and peace if I don’t have a future of being a mother?

I reminded my friend that sometimes being joyful is a really hard choice we have to make while going through infertility trials. And sometimes we have to choose to be hopeful about our future, even though all we may be feeling is despair. But we cannot let feelings dictate our lives, as hard as it may be when we feel like we’re only sinking into a pit of hopelessness.

I probably felt hopeless about our situation a thousand times during the years that I struggled with infertility. I failed many times to choose to be hopeful. So I do know how hard it is. But choosing to despair is never the better choice. It will take you to paths you do not want travel on, trust me.

I don’t know what the future holds, but if there’s something I’ve learned through this experience, it’s that God is a God of surprises. I never expected to be able to have children. We went through IVF and I was so certain that I wouldn’t get pregnant that I never even blogged about it. I suspected that I was headed for a hysterectomy. It was a terrifying time for me. I pleaded with God for a child, but I knew I could never “expect” God to bless me in that way. I don’t deserve children (or anything good for that matter). But God was gracious, because that is His nature and His character. Even if He didn’t bless me with a child, He would still shower mercies upon me. Just read my previous (pre-baby) blog posts for evidence of that!

Last year during Mother’s day I wouldn’t have expected that in a year’s time I would be typing these words as our precious son sleeps peacefully in his crib. But Joshua is not my peace, my fulfillment, or my hope in this life. Christ is. And if Mother’s day is a bone of contention in your life (like it was in mine), make the day about Christ. Celebrate His goodness and His perfect love for you. Hope in Him. Place your future in His hands.

Because all else will fail you. But Christ never will.

Happy Christ Day!

 

 

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