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!


  1. I don't comment a whole lot but I've been a reader for about 2 years now? I believe?
    Anyways, I LOVE the first few paragraphs. Because I struggled a lot with my husband's freedom. I still struggle with it and our daughter is a little over a year old. It's still me who stays home on Friday nights etc while he goes to hang with the guys. I don't resent it nearly as much as I use to because I find this is the only time in my life that I am totally alone as Charlie sleeps and hes out.

  2. Rolling over at 1 month? That's amazing! Quite the little overachiever you have there.

    I'm with you on the clean house thing. My house never looked so good as it did when I was on maternity leave. Cooped up in the house, I had nothing better to do than vacuum and dust every single day. And Molly loved the vacuum too! They say it's the soothing white noise, mimics what they heard in the womb so it's a comfort. Apparently listening to a heartbeat on the inside 24/7 is quite noisy.

  3. I seriously can not believe a month has gone by already! I could totally see being jealous of the hubby's freedom but I guess it's just for a time so I will have to remember this. It sounds like you have a little overachiever there and cute one at that :)

  4. What is it about vacuums? Vacuuming puts A right to sleep--he's in the Rock n Play as I haven't yet mastered holding while vacuuming. I agree with you about the cabin fever--I was in the car less than two weeks after surgery (but off narcotics). I think the thing I miss the most is easily jumping in the car to run a quick errand, or a series of errands. Since we're in the 'burbs, there's very little within walking distance, so I'm often stuck at home. I'm so glad that you and Jate are doing so well.

  5. I can so relate to the freedom aspect, as I was rather jealous of H getting out, going to work, talking to adults. Ironically, he was jealous of my time with SB.
    The vacuuming, yeah, those were the days... now SB clings to me like a frightened little monkey as soon as I turn it on. (In her defense, this is a particularly loud model.)
    For eco diaper options, you could look into compostable ones; there's even companies in the area that will deliver them to you and pick up the used ones, as you're not supposed to put poopy diapers into organic trash (I can send you the link if you're interested). SB had skin problems that we couldn't get rid of from about 5 weeks on, despite prescription-strength cortisone etc. Here diapers, wipes etc. are free of perfumes etc. and her eczema is virtually gone.
    The rolling over is just amazing! How does she do that without head control? Clearly you have one rockstar of a girl at your hands!

  6. Givin' attitude in that pic. Just like her mama. :) Love it! Interestingly, here in Toronto we can put diapers in our organic trash. It makes me feel better but maybe they're just scooping out the poop and putting the rest in a landfill.

  7. Look at that sassy little CupKate! I love that nickname, by the way :)

  8. We cloth diaper, and it's act going well. Are you washing in a cloth diaper safe detergent? That's my only thought on the skin reaction. Definitely get the skin good and healed before starting though because cloth diapering when you need lots of diaper cream is a pain.

    I think CupKate wins. So sweet! Also, the rolling reaching...whoa. Smart little girl!

  9. I had the cabin fever after birth too, and I agree it's something that you don't expect (in my case it was because I didn't have a car until AJ was a couple of months old). I hope you can be out and about more soon (it is possible and it does make a huge difference). Love reading the updates, and so impressed that Jate has managed the belly to back roll!

  10. Ahh! I love your dads nickname for her!!! Also- yes!!! House arrest!!! With the boys I felt like I didn't leave our house for months- and we sort of didn't given that they were preemies. With Finley, it's been the same- but not because she is a preemie... This time it's just HARD to get out of the house! Ahh! She's beautiful and I love her one month sticker!

  11. Thanks for the update! Kate's so beautiful! I am still in awe of her arrival into the world. Sounds like she's a bit of an over-achiever. Perhaps, she takes after Mom?? Congratulations on making it through the first month! When I ran the infant/toddler program at a popular chain of daycares, we had breastfeeding moms that never introduced their babies to the bottle. Their first day of daycare was their first day on the bottle. It was hell on earth!

  12. Oh yes. The cabin fever. That's when we binge watched Breaking Bad. We ended up having a hard time leaving the house because I was pumping and not nursing. We had to plan short excursions between pumpings since it wasn't really practical or possible to do it when we were out. I remember feeling so accomplished if I managed to get one thing done outside of feeding babies and changing diapers. Hell, getting dressed some days was an accomplishment.
    We were on the same nighttime schedule. We stayed up until midnight for that feeding, woke up at 3 or 4, then up for the day by 6 or 7. It did make a difference in feeling like I was only getting up once a night.