Monday, 31 August 2015

A Day in Our Life

It's amazing how much and yet, how little gets done in one day...

0845 Wake up as Jate is starting to stir
0855 Head to kitchen to fill my water bottle. Tyler is sitting by his empty bowl. Open a new can and can't find the lid, which I know I washed last night as we finished the end of a can. Open the fridge to find that Husband opened a new can and already fed him this morning. Cheeky little bugger.
0900 Jate is now sleeping soundly. Hate to wake her, but it's time.
0910 Change Jate into her cloth diapers. Bring her back to my bed for feeding
0915 Watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, as I feel asleep on it last night
0945 Place Jate in the Rock and Play
0947 Make a cup of tea with the Keur.ig. Pretend not to notice that light indicating that the water reservoir is empty came on.
0950 Transfer milk pumped overnight into freezer bags. Wash bottles and throw into the sterilizer
0952 Pour cereal into a bowl.
0953 Discover Husband has finished off the milk. I guess I'm having oatmeal.
0954 Fortunately, there is one packet of oatmeal left.
1000 Watch the final segment of LWT again because it is so fucking brilliant
1020 Catch up with blog reading by reading them out loud to Jate, because it counts as reading. Genuine Greavu and It Only Takes One are her favourites.
1030 Jate has been alternating between being quiet alert and lightly sleeping, but now her eyes have been closed for more than 5 minutes. I always hate to wake her, fearing it could backfire on me
1040 Nurse her in the rocker. Husband is still on with his parents trying to talk them through online booking their flights for the trip in October. Realise he has been on the phone with them since I woke up.
1100 Time to try to put the contented baby down for a nap, so that I can go to swim practice. The pool will be closed for maintenance for a few days, so this is my only class this week. No pressure Jate! Time to bring out all the reinforcements. Disposable diaper. Swaddle. The Happiest Baby White Noise
1125 Success! She is asleep. Now just to put her down in the Rock and Play...
1130 Uneventful transfer! Quickly change into swimsuit and leave as soon as I can
1140 On the road. Whoo-hoo! I'll actually be on time and will get to do a proper warm up.
1147 Realise that I'm not on my usual route to the pool. I have no idea why I jumped on Route 13. Will blame it on "Mommy Brain" I can still get to the pool from this road, but it takes a little longer. So much for warm-up
1200 Arrive at the pool. Lena, the other (formerly) pregnant swimmer is there with her baby. I can't let it go. I'm still annoyed at her, "Oh, I'm so lucky that I'm superfertile and got knocked up without really trying, unlike those poor infertile people who spend all their money on medical treatments" comment. (paraphrased) I really wish I said something to her at that moment. I probably wouldn't be carrying so much angst. Oh well. I take delight in the fact that I'm a faster swimmer.
1235 Ugh. It's a breaststroke day. Fuck.Me.
1325 Stop at Safe.way for milk and a few other items. Enjoy a few more minutes of freedom.
1350 Jate is still asleep when I arrive home. Consider asking Husband to unpack groceries while I jump in the shower, but realise it's unlikely they'll get put away until after I shower. Quickly unpack groceries myself.
1410 Showered and changed. Notice that I missed a call from the DS regarding my return to work date. Promptly return her call.
1415 Didn't intend for Jate to sleep this late, as it's now approaching three hours and her daytime maximum is two a half. Hope this doesn't screw her up for tonight, but decide fifteen more minutes won't matter, and I quickly eat some lunch
1430 Unswaddle Jate. She wakes up a few minutes later
1435 Husband volunteers to change her. Willingly accept his offer
1437 It's a blow-out! Ha-ha!
1442 Feel badly and decide to help him. Throw the bag of cloth wipes into the washer.
1450 Nurse
1515 Sit her down on the Boppy while I fix my clasps. She seems content so we work on grasping a rattle. She'll hold it in her hands, but doesn't really reach for it. I'm trying to discern if she's smiling at me. This process feels like an Occupational Therapy session.
1550 She's getting fussy. Bounce on the balance ball a few times. Not working. Switch to the rocker. She settles down, so I start reading some of her books.
1600 Look over and discover that she is asleep. After all, she's use to the sophisticated writing styles of fellow bloggers. The Very Hungry Catapiller is way too basic for her.
1605 Place her in the Rock and Play
1610 Load the tumble dryer. Put away clothes from the drying rack.
1615 Decide a nap sounds like a good idea. Maybe I'll get some shut-eye myself
1620 Jate wakes up. So much for a nap
1630 Attempts to get her to settle are futile
1635 Since she's already pissed off, might as well do some Tummy Time
1645 Tummy time abandoned as she's really starting to wail. Decisions, decisions. Do I take her for a walk or feed her, since she'll be due to eat soon?
1650 Opt to nurse. If she's really hungry, she'll just scream her head off during the walk (plus I have to fuck about getting the pram out of the boot of my car).
1715 She seems to be dosing off. Feel this was the right call and it wasn't just because I was being lazy about taking her for a walk. Husband leaves for Cross-Fit
1730 After a little rocking, she's sleeping and ready to be put down in the Rock and Play
1735 Empty the tumble dryer and put away the cloth wipes
1745 Check email, and blog roll
1800 Time for a little cat nap (believe me, this does not happen every day!)
1845 Husband returns home and wakes me up
1855 Feed Tyler
1900 Wake Jate and change her
1910 Nurse while we watch The Big Bang Theory. We enjoy singing the theme song to her.
1915 Remind husband to start dinner
2000 Place Jate in the Rock and Play (which is kept in the kitchen, near the breakfast table)
2001 Also known as "Beer o'clock" I credit my plentiful milk supply to my daily consumption of one bottle of beer
2005 Dinner (Safe.way frozen salmon and peas) is served. I suggest to Husband that it might just be easier to make protein shakes for dinner. He actually agrees.
2020 Jate is really fussy. Her diaper is soaked. I love cloth diapers, but she does need to be changed more frequently
2030 Jate remains quiet and alert while we finish dinner and clean up
2045 Give her a quick bath and get ready for bed
2100 Husband has to take a call from his boss (who is on the east coast where it's midnight). This must be serious. Try bouncing a hungry and cranky baby.
2115 Husband finishes his call and is ready to give her the nightly bottle. He has me send a few emails from his phone for him. I wonder if his contacts will notice that these messages are grammatically correct and punctuated properly.
2130 While burping, she has another blow-out. Husband gets shat on. Try not to laugh.
2135 Fortunately, I didn't get a chance to empty out her tub. I use the sprayer to clean her off while Husband cleans himself. I'm surprised that he doesn't jump in the shower
2200 Everyone is cleaned up. While getting her dressed, Jate pees on the changing table. Sigh. She does this at least once a day. Often while we're drying her with the hair dryer. There must be something about having warm air on your bits that invites open urination. I finish dressing and swaddling her on the tummy time mat
2205 Husband reads some stories to Jate as he rocks her
2210 Tyler runs into the room and jumps in the crib. He wants to hear the story too!

2215 While Husband reads, I brush Tyler. We've been sure to give him plenty of affection since Jate's arrival, but his coat maintenance has been neglected
2230 Transfer Jate to her bassinet
2235 First pumping session of the night
2245 Wash pumping parts, get set up for next pumping session
2300 Fix cup of tea, read emails, new blog posts. Facebook.
2330 Brush teeth and go to bed. Tyler joins me.
2345 Fall asleep
0130 Hit snooze on my alarm
0139 The alarm goes off again and wakes up Husband, who tells me to get up and pump
0145 Pump. Leave parts in the sink, will wash in the morning
0410 Jate starts to stir. Hope this is just a false alarm and she'll go back to a sound sleep
0415 No such luck
0420 Start to feed. Sometimes she'll fall asleep on the breast and it's easy to get her to go back down
0445 Tonight is not one of those nights.
0450 Re-wrap her swaddle and head to the glider. Offer her the elephant Wubbanub
0455 Play "womb noises" from the white noise selection. Sometimes this works almost instantly
0500 Nope. Eyes are wide open
0515 After more rocking and stroking her cheek and face, her eyes remain closed
0530 Transfer her back to her basinet and jump into my bed
0835 Jate starts to stir and another day is ready to begin.

Monday, 24 August 2015

The Nuclear Family

I've often held that you should not host guests nor be a guest in someone's house for more than five consecutive days. However, when your parents and in-laws live on the other side of the world, it's hard to hold them to a five day maximum stay. My parents stayed with us for two weeks at Christmas, but the business of the holiday season and working during one of those weeks, helped to avoid any over-exposure conflicts. I wasn't sure how we would manage nearly five weeks together, while caring for a newborn, something joyful and yet stressful. I can honestly say that I enjoyed that time spent with my parents and I will forever be grateful for all their help and support. My parents did all our grocery shopping and prepared dinner each night. I don't think we've ever eaten so well. Although they didn't wake up with us during the night, they would offer to watch Jate or take her for a walk, just to let us shower or eat. They also consoled me when I broke down in tears and tried to install confidence that I was doing a good job.

My Dad completed the final projects for our garage renovation. I tend to forget that it takes him much less time than if we were finishing these tasks, and I almost wish we hadn't worked so hard in the final weeks of my pregnancy, as it would have left more for my Dad to do during his time. He did find some other projects, such as building new window screens (I accidentally trashed some when we first moved in five years ago, so we've been selective about which windows we leave open), fixing our wonky breakfast table and removing a small tree in the front garden to allow more light in the kitchen. My mother planted a small herb garden and worked on knitting a matching hat and sweater set for Jate. Yet, it's a weird dynamic to be an adult and have your parents living with you. One night, while Jate was sleeping, we finished dinner and I started to clear the table. My mother started to insist that I needed to go to bed. It was only 8 PM, and despite being woken up every two hours, I actually wasn't that tired. Still, my mother continued to press that I needed to go to bed. Now I was refusing out of spite. I'm 39 years old with a child of my own. My Mommy can't make me go to bed anymore. I did take the pass on doing clean up, but the next morning (and into the afternoon) the grill basket was still sitting beside the sink, unwashed...

My parents often forgot that they weren't living in a small town in Connecticut and would leave windows and doors open. Twice, I discovered that the sliding door leading to our back porch had been left unlocked overnight. My Dad would leave the front door wide open while bringing groceries in from the car, thus inviting the cats to make a break for it. Yet, what was the one door they kept closing; despite being reminded over and over again to leave open? The door leading to the laundry room and the cat's litter box... It was also frustrating driving with my Dad, as he hasn't driven a manual transmission in years. I kept having to prompt him; Shift! Shift!! SHIFFFT!!!

Yet, despite these frustrations and nuances, I was truly sad to see them go. I'm so glad they were able to spend this time with their granddaughter. Especially for my father, who felt this was his redemption as he missed so much while I was an infant. I learned that my Dad thought he'd be able to take some time off, as he was in an upper management position, but he was told, "Company policy offers three days off for death of a family member. You get ZERO days for birth." I do feel badly that my in-laws weren't able to spend that time with her. Although there is no way I would have been able to handle having both sets of parents on hand.

At the same time, it was necessary for them to leave, so that we could learn to function on our own. Husband, as a Senior Application Scientist who works from home, in a house that now contains a baby, and me as a temporary Stay at Home Mom. Just before my parents left, Myrtle sent me a book with a very British title, written by a British nurse. I skipped through the first few chapters which focused on preparing for your baby and encountered her discussion on why you should have a routine. I know there are a lot of point/counterpoint arguments about putting your newborn on a schedule, and I don't want to try to engage that debate. I was a bit put off as this author seemed to suggest that having a routine was optimal for both baby and parents and she also seem to imply that if you haven't started a strict schedule, you've already fucked up, but fortunately, you're reading this book, so you have a shot at redemption. I've heard some moms express that trying to maintain a schedule added to their anxiety and created stress. Looking at her outline, I could understand.

*Baby must be awake and feeding no later than 2 PM, regardless of how long he has slept.
*Do not feed baby after 7:45 AM, as it will throw off the next feeding
*11:45; Regardless of what baby has done earlier, he should be winding down for a nap

In addition to sleeping, she also has very strict guidelines for feeding

*If he did not finish the first breast at 5 PM, give him up to 5-10 minutes on it before putting him on the second breast for 20-25 minutes
*Give him up to 20 minutes from the breast he last fed on, while you drink a large glass of water

Oh, yes. She has you on this schedule too..

*Have some cereal, toast and a drink no later than 8 AM while baby plays on his mat
*Let baby have a good kick while you express 2 oz from the second breast
*10:30 AM; Wash and sterilize bottle and expressing equipment

I needed a Xanax after just reading this schedule. I wanted the benefits of some structure and predictability, but I didn't think I could be compliant with such a rigid routine. Most of all, I wanted our "loosely organised daily strategy" to work with our activities. So, on the first day I was able to go back to swimming, I synced her nap with my swim practice and we've anchored her other naps and wake-up time around this mid-day nap. I can leave the house guilt-free, while Husband is working while she sleeps. On a few occasions, when he's needed to take an important conference call, I've arranged to take her out for a walk or run some errands, to leave him undisturbed. We've also done some Cross-Fit classes, where one person will attend the earlier class, and the other brings her to the later class to hand baby off to the one who did the first session. This is how we're making it work. Unfortunately, the one thing we're still struggling with is meal planning and dinner prep. We still really suck at this. A baby may change everything; but not all things.

Tyler shows a mild interest in Jate;
Sometimes, he'll keep us company during feedings.

He'll occasionally baby-sit too. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

One Month

The morning after we brought Jate home, I walked into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. My hair was a mess, I hadn't yet brushed my teeth and my top was soiled with formula, breast milk, and a bit of baby spit-up. Upon entering the kitchen, I stepped in cat puke. Welcome to my new life.

For many years, even before we thought we wanted kids and before we were trying to have one, our friends who were parents warned us about what would happen. Sleep deprivation. All your time would be consumed by caring for the baby. Personal freedoms no longer exist. It was going to be hell, and we just had be willing to go into battle. To my surprise, I found that it wasn't that bad. The sleep deprivation wasn't nearly as rough as when I was pulling all-nighters during my University days. Of course the difference then was that I could go to sleep if I wanted... The physical exhaustion was worse when we bought our house and we were spending after work hours on renovation projects. A few of my postpartum patients told me that I looked like crap. I found that I had to lower expectations on what I could accomplish during the day, but performing small household chores actually helped me feel normal. The one thing everyone forgot to yield warning was the cabin fever.

There really is no consensus on when a woman can drive after a C/section. One nurse told me that the concern is more about driving under the influence of narcotics or exhaustion than worry about opening the incision. However, as I still had pain getting in and out of a car, and as I drive a manual transmission, we thought it would be appropriate to wait at least one month. Until Jate was able to take a bottle, I had to be available to feed, which could be as frequent as every hours, so I couldn't go very far from her for any length of time. Although I'm a believer that exposure to germs is essential to build one's immune system, we wanted to avoid bringing her out in public for the first month of her life, and thus I was sentenced to house arrest.

I started to resent Husband as he was still attending Cross-fit a few times a week. He asked if he could accept an umpiring assignment. Here was my answer; 'If you go and she's fine, then my answer is yes. If you go and end up leaving me with a crying baby all day, I'll be pissed at you.' In the end, I agreed that he could go, so long as he came home straight after. No grabbing a beer after the match. The day before the match he shared a text exchange with another umpire who was arranging the post-match drinking session. "Beers at my place after?" "No." Husband dutifully replied "I have to go straight home." "Oh C'mon, you can't stay for just one!" I know he was sharing this with me to show his restraint, but also to let me know that he was being pressured. As my parents were still staying with us, it wasn't so much about being left with the baby, but I was so jealous of his freedom.

My parents tried to arrange small trips to get me out of the house. Taking the recycling to the local collection point became the high point of my day. Even more exciting; the glass receptacle was full, so we had to go back another day! I just had to be patient and wait until the end of the first month. As soon as Jate was established on the bottle, my mother and I went out to get pedicures (with my Dad dropping us off and picking us up). I felt relieved when I learned that she slept the whole time we were out, but I don't feel guilty saying that I wouldn't have minded if she had woken up and Husband had to deal with a crying baby...

"Talk to the hand!'
Only one month old and she has sass

Nicknames: I'm the only one who doesn't have one for her.
Husband: "Button" My Mother: "Little Bunny" My Dad: "CupKate"

Stats: 9 lbs 1 oz, 21.5"

Eating: So far very cooperative. She latched on well right from the start and my supply has been able to meet her needs. Actually, my cup runneth over, as we discovered that I have an overactive letdown. Within seconds of her latch, milk would be dribbling out of her mouth and all over both of us. We would both need to be changed after each feeding. The lactation consultant recommended nursing in a reclining position, which helped a bit, and I would hand express about half an ounce before each feeding. I also tried nursing from just one side at a time to avoid a second exposure to the nipple fountain. We introduced a bottle of expressed milk at three and a half weeks, which she took to it, and still wanted to nurse at her next feeding. I learned that the term 'nipple confusion' is a bit of a misnomer. It's actually more about the effort required by the baby. The milk flows through the bottle faster and the baby doesn't have to work as hard. If the bottle is introduced too early, the baby will find it easier and develop a preference. If the bottle is introduced too late, baby may not be interested (possibly due to an attachment to mom?) We've been successfully feeding 1-2 bottles per day, which translates into maternal freedom! Our next challenge is to offer some thawed milk. I've read that the freezing and defrosting process can change the taste a bit, and some infants don't like it. I so hope that's not the case, as we're really banking on the bags of frozen milk in our chest freezer.

Sleeping: Not too bad. Apart from the first two nights which involved an all night session of inconsolable crying, she sleeps pretty well at night, which makes her daytime fussiness much more tolerable. She had been following an every three hour pattern, which usually occurred at midnight, 3 AM and 6 AM. This was some how more acceptable than a 1 AM/4AM or a 2 AM/5AM session, since I usually could be awake at midnight or 6 AM, so it really only seemed as if we were getting up just once a night. Our paediatrician suggested not letting her sleep longer than two and a half hours during the day, to see if she'll sleep longer durations during the night. So far, she stretched her 3 AM feeding to 4 and the 6 AM to 7, which granted us seven hours of sleep, which is almost functional.

Likes: Vacuuming! After the car, her pram and a hair dryer. The vacuum is the next object with magical baby calming powers. I'll hold her in one arm and push the vacuum with the other. Our carpets would usually only see the hoover once a week, maybe twice if they were really dirty. Now they're getting groomed every day. My floors have never looked cleaner! Who says you can't do household chores with a baby! Other enjoyable activities include peeing on her changing table and spitting up in her car seat.

Dislikes: Tummy time (which may be why she turns it into back time). Really hates having her diaper or clothes changed. Wasn't too keen on the Rock and Play at first, but now will sit for her 'quiet alert' time and will often drift off to sleep. She did not like the baby K'tan wrap carrier, and I feel nervous with it and would still hold her with one arm, which somewhat defeated the purpose of the carrier. I picked up a Baby Bjorn at a children's consignment shop (I was wary of paying the high price for one and risk that she wouldn't tolerate it) and she does much better in that carrier as it has more defined support. Still not sold on it. I'm thinking she'll like it better when she can be outward facing.

Looking forward to: When she had head control.

Milestones: The big one is that she rolled from tummy to her back at 9 days old. We figured it was just a fluke, or maybe my floors aren't level. So the next tummy time session, we videoed her on the mat, just so we would have proof on the off chance it happened again. She rolled again. Twice that day and pretty much every time we've attempted tummy time. When we decided to use a pacifier, I picked up two "WubbaNub" pacifiers that have little stuffed animals attached as I thought they would help keep the paci in her mouth. Recently, she seems more interested in the little stuffed animal than the paci, which will be great when it's time to cut her off from the pacifier, we can literally cut off the pacifier and she'll still have her stuffed toy. Our pediatrician was impressed that she will hold it with both hands, and I think she's actually starting to reach and grab it, as I seem to find it in different places.

Please ignore my precariously placed iPhone 

Diapers: I was (and still am) really hoping to use cloth diapers, but within a few days of introducing them, she developed a raw area of skin break down on her cheeks. Our pediatrician suggested waiting until she is 6 weeks old and her skin is not as delicate. In the meanwhile, we've been using Pamp.ers Swaddlers and I have to say that I really like the little line that turns blue to indicate that she's wet. It almost makes me forget about how much is accumulating in the landfill. We are using cloth wipes, which are working very well and I have cloth breast pads, but I soak though so easily that I go through them so quickly that I need to use disposable ones at night and if I go out. Sigh. I'm trying to be an Eco-mom.

Clothes: I purposely didn't get too many newborn onesies as I figured she'd go out of them very quickly, but she's still fitting in them, which means there isn't much variation in her wardrobe. My dad insisted one dressing her in the 3 month sized clothes as he felt it was easier (both he and husband struggle to dress her) but she was swimming in those onesies.

Illness: Other than the diaper issue, NO health concerns. Whew!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

This too, shall pass...

*Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post and offered words of reassurance and support. I also appreciated all the suggestions and resources. The nurse at our baby class suggested getting a balance ball, but I never got around to picking one up. I purchased one yesterday after reading so many endorsements and it worked like a charm! I am so thankful for this community!*

A day or two before Jate's first major prolonged crying episode, my mother and I took her for a walk around our neighbourhood. She fussed a bit as we buckled her into the pram, but quickly settled as we began our walk and within minutes, she fell fast asleep. "There!" declared my mother "You can take her for a walk to calm her rather than continued breast feeding..." I was immediately annoyed. I know my mother was warned by my father that the key to us living harmoniously under the same roof would be for my mother to refrain from offering any advice that would come across as judgemental or critical. Yet offering unsolicited advice and criticising are second nature to her. Something was bound to slip out. I didn't respond to her comment, but I was pretty pissed. This was a newborn baby, not even two weeks old, and she was coming across as if I were still breastfeeding a 5 year old. Yet the comment stuck in my head. I felt as if I had to justify each feeding session to my mother.

"She can't possibly still be hungry" my mother proclaimed as Jate was very fussy on a Friday evening. Husband and my Dad were picking up take-out (and having a beer or three), so my mother and I tried everything we could think of to calm the crying baby. I was in tears by the time dinner arrived. "She sounds as if she is hungry," observed Husband. At that point, even my mother relented that we had nothing else to try. I nursed her and she went onto sleep for a few hours and had an easy night. I started re-reading the booklet I received at our baby care class. While breastfeeding, be careful of well-meaning family and friends who encourage you to breastfeed less often... the book warned.

I felt horrible. I was letting my baby starve just to appease my own mother. I was determined to listen to my own maternal instincts and would feed my baby on demand, no matter how frequent it may be, which the books inform, could be hourly. I continued to feed as I ignored the remarks such as "well, she certainly has had enough to eat." However, I yielded to another well-meaning suggestion. As I was attempting to wrap Jate in a swaddle, she slipped her arms out. My Dad caught sight of this and deduced that she did not like to be swaddled and made the case for her by using a cute little voice to express how she wanted her arms and legs to be free. My Dad did have a 3 for 3 success rate for settling her just by rocking, so maybe he was right. Maybe mine was the baby resistant to wrapping. With little hesitation, I abandoned the swaddle.

The non-stop crying would continue for the next few days. My parents would offer to hold and rock her so I could shower or eat, or just get a break, but it made me feel all the more inadequate. I feared what I would do when they left to return to Connecticut, but sooner to that date, my parents were taking an over night trip to wine country with my aunt and uncle. Husband and I would be left to our own devices, or lack there of. I was dreading being on our own. This experience would only serve to confirm that I couldn't care for my child. As if on cue, Jate began screaming her head off, just as my parents were getting ready to leave. I could see them exchanging looks that conveyed their guilt for leaving me with a crying baby. "Go." I urged them. "We'll be fine" I lied through my teeth.

I was focusing on surviving hour by hour. It was time to feed her, which is the one thing I could do to calm her, and the one time when she was quiet. I had been meaning to re-read The Happiest Baby on the Block, as I really grasp the concept of the forth trimester and I was convinced that I must be missing something. There were so many positive testimonials from these methods. Since Jate didn't allow me much time to read on my own, I decided I would read out loud to her. Our pediatrician had recently suggested reading to her, "it could even be The Wall Street Journal" (as if, I would read such a conservative publication). I knew she wouldn't have any comprehension of these words, but naïvely I hoped some of the calming methods would be absorbed through osmosis.

Fortunately, the book is an easy read, and is rather repetitive. I quickly learned my mistakes; you can't half-ass any of the 5 S's. They all must be done consistently and correctly. I fastened Jate in the velcro wrap swaddle, placed her on her side in my arms while we rocked in the glider, and offered her the pacifier as I shhh'd her loudly. It took about 90 seconds (although it felt much longer), but she went from all out screaming to peacefully sleeping. It was magic. Fucking magic. This was our breakthrough. Maybe not as significant as Helen Keller spelling w-a-t-e-r for the first time, but I felt just as triumphant! I had cracked the code and could break her out of these crying episodes.

Sometimes, it would still be challenging. She could go through a crying to calm cycle a few times before finally settling down. On average, these cycles would usually last about half an hour, which was still such a relief compared to the marathon sessions of uncontrollable crying. Most importantly, I stopped crying. I no longer felt daunted by her screams. I felt empowered. I did have the ability to calm my baby and meet her needs. It even made me feel that I just might be a good mother after all.

I also decided to re-introduce the Rock and Play (after reading Dr Karp's tips for using a swing). It's still hit or miss, but sometimes she'll spend some quiet alert time before eventually falling asleep, other times, she'll fuss and we'll try something else. I also downloaded The Happiest Baby on the Block: Soothing White Noise Sleep Sounds on to my iPhone, so I have quick access to white noise. I can hear my oh-so frugal grandfather saying "I can't beleive some guy is getting money for a hair dryer recording! That ain't right. That's a rip-off!" I would respond by proclaiming it's the best $9.99 I've spent.  The walk in the pram is still the ultimate never-fail calming method. I've done so many laps around my neighbourhood that I have taken inventory on all who are illegally watering their laws, and I've ranked the houses with the best fake grass. Instead of wanting to fast forward to the end of the third month, I'm now wary of the end of the forth trimester, as these calming methods may no longer work. I appreciate there will be many setbacks and other temperament challenges. At least for now, I've been able to enjoy my baby and feel more confident in myself.