The Spirit Is Willing

Hi there. Long time, no post.

I would say I’m sorry (because I am) but I have no real words to offer up in defense. I think of posting often, and have many things I’d like to say to you. But by the time I’ve run through my day of up early/commute/work/pump/commute/pick up baby/home/put baby to bed/eat dinner/sit on couch with no pants I’m totally spent, you know? After dinner is when I could totally try to make something of the dozen-odd half formed posts that live in my drafts folder, but at that point It’s all I can do to keep my eyes open while I prep the baby and myself for the next day.

As they say, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

So how about a quick run down? The baby first, because, well, she is our raison d’être.

She’s almost 9 months now. Can you believe it?!

She sleeps mostly well. We sleep trained (Ferber, which sucked massively but goddamn if it didn’t work exactly like it’s supposed to) at 4ish months. She took to it in a few days and then we tackled night feedings by once a week dropping a minute off the time that I nursed her. Once we were down to about 5 minutes per nursing session she decided waking up wasn’t worth her time and started sleeping through the night. For the most part she goes down by 7PM and wakes up around 6AM, although recently she’s been waking up around 4 or 5 which is decidedly not cool and makes me dread the end of Daylight Savings Time. We’re going to be putting her down a few minutes later every night this week in hopes that it will help recalibrate her clock. It probably won’t work, but then, I’m your resident pessimist.

She eats VERY well. She has three big bowls of solid food a day and has recently gotten the hang of self feeding via soft bits of carrot and peas and cheerios and her beloved puffs. Over the next few months I figure we’ll transition to more and more self feeding and do away with the baby food (which she LOVES).

I am working on weaning her from breastfeeding, which I am both sad and excited about.

Breastfeeding was really hard in the first few months. She initially wouldn’t latch due to her tongue tie, I had massive engorgement, she ate round the clock (seriously, she was either attached to the boob or screaming – I was her pacifier, and no plastic substitute was acceptable) and I got little to no sleep. For weeks I would sleep in half hour bursts which drove me to the very brink of my sanity. The gaping maw of insanity is a very dark and terrifying place. PPD is not a joke, my friends. Tread lightly.

On the other hand, I spent some heart achingly sweet time cuddled up with my girl, and I was (and am!) so damn proud of myself for being able to feed my daughter from my very own body. After all the shit infertility put my sense of self through, being able to nourish and sustain my long fought for child from my very own body (sorry, that needs to be repeated) went a long way toward healing.

So why am I stopping? Well, I went back to work and my supply tanked. I did the fenugreek, the water, the oatmeal, the extra pump sessions, the power pumping and blah blah blah. It helped some, but not enough and I was killing myself trying to make quota every day. So we started supplementing, which further tanked my supply, and it’s been dwindling ever since. My hope was that I could feed her mornings and nights and just not worry about pumping during the day, but Ellie just seems frustrated that she gets a measly few ounces first thing in the morning when she would greatly prefer a hearty breakfast of about 7 or 8 ounces.

And while it’s sad, it’s also exciting. If I never have to pump again it will be too soon. I might burn that damn pump. Seriously. Set the fucker on fire and dance around its charred remains. If there is anything more sucky (ha) about pumping, please don’t bring it to my attention because god almighty there is enough shit in the world.

So. The end. Sob. (Yay!)

Ellie loves her daycare. We had a few bumps as we all got adjusted, but it’s worked out beautifully. She has two sweet little friends in her class that she plays with every day and the teachers help gently encourage skills that routinely blow me away. It’s like, what do you mean she can hold her own bottle/clap hands/wave bye-bye/blow kisses/hold hands with her friend (omgsocute)/etc. I didn’t teach her that! It’s like she’s an independent person! That can be taught things! Weird!

She is crawling like a champ, and pulls herself to stand. We think she’ll be an early walker, probably by Christmas, according to her teacher. She would be around 10 or 11 months then.

And how are her mamas? We’re well. We’re both a little shell shocked from her infancy, and honestly, we’re just starting to recover. Tammy gets visibly upset if anyone mentions having another baby (because obviously it would be the easiest and cheapest thing to get pregnant) and is adamant about wanting to be one and done with Ellie. I go back and forth on the issue but don’t want to commit myself one way or another. There are pros and cons to both.

One thing that Tammy I and agree on is that Ellie’s infancy was, frankly, the most difficult thing we’ve ever done. Now though, it is so, SO fun. So worth it. This is what I wanted when I fought so long for a child. Watching her discover and explore and learn and grow. Her whole body smile. Giving her one last kiss on her fuzzy little head when I lay her sleep heavy body down in her crib at night.

Like they say, the days are long but the years are short. I hope you all are well. xo

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Milk Cow and Expectations

2 posts in 2 days! Cha-ching! I’m awesome!!

Mini drama this morning around pumping. I pump at work, and haul my pumping crap back and forth every day. Not that big of a deal, except that it’s heavy and bulky and I walk 15 minutes to the train from our house and 15 minutes to my office once I’m off the train. Ugh it actually is kind of a big annoying deal. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Mini drama. I went into my office’s “mother’s room” to do my first pump of the day and realized I had forgotten those white membrane things which, naturally, are essential to the pump’s operation.
BP membrane

These things.

In my defense, I packed my bag while my coffee was brewing this morning (therefore before any caffeine hit my bloodstream). Anyway, once I realized, I totally panicked and called Tammy, who remembered that this breastfeeding support group place (offer classes, lactation consultants, etc) has an office a few blocks from my work. I dashed over there, bought the membranes, and made it back to my office in 20 minutes.

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If you are lucky enough to have a kid (or kids) are you the type of parent you thought you would be? I’m obviously very new at this parenting thing, but I’m much more of a softie than I expected. Sleep training just about finished me. I spent the first few nights feeling like I was going to throw up. Listening to her cry is excruciating.

I also thought I’d be much more up to date on when Ellie should be hitting certain milestones (reaching, grabbing, rolling over, etc) but I actually have only a vague idea when she should be doing these things. And I really don’t care. Isn’t that amazing? Uptight, neurotic ol’ me, not lining up 20 pediatric experts to asses where my child’s development falls.

Something else I thought I’d be neurotic about is sterilization of bottles and other things she puts in her mouth. We were SUPER anal about washing and sterilizing all toys/bottles/etc before she was born and now I’m like, eh, running bottles through the dishwasher totally works. It’s hot water, right?

Of course, Ellie has confounded all of my expectations about what having a baby would be like, simply by being who she is: contrary, high maintenance, funny, particular, loving, energetic, and utterly, entirely her own person who has wants and needs separate from my own. (I know. The nerve.)

What about you all? Has anything surprised you about your parenting style?