Friday, June 29, 2007


No, I'm not referring to my Fourth of July plans, since we don't have any. I'm referring to the longshoreman-like farts and robust bowel blowout our little boy had yesterday afternoon. This came as a relief to all of us, not just him, since he'd been extra-cranky all day long, refusing to take naps and engaging in other sorts of nonsense. This was unlike him; his cries of LA LA LA even drove me to tears at one point. But once he'd finally worked out his, ah, issues, he was a perfect angel for the rest of the day/evening. And let me give a shoutout to my husband, who came home early to help me deal with the angry lad. So far, today seems better - we had an issue with the most recent nap, but I think that was due to the crap (ha! crap!) swaddle I'd executed, so I fixed it. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, this experience made me realize that if I were given a choice between having breastfeeding difficulties and having a colicky baby, I'd take the former. I'll pretend that I was given that choice.

In other news, I had a moment of complete perspective distortion this morning. As you know, I am home the whole day right now since we're hewing pretty closely to the schedule the baby nurses implemented. They're down on the whole leaving-the-house thing until the baby has his routine down and also until he's had his shots. So when is napping, I spend a lot of time on the Internets, or listening to a book on the CD player, or reading the New Yorker - all with the TV on CNN on mute in the background. Lately, there's been a bunch of coverage of floods, this pro wrestler murder-suicide situation, etc. So today when there was news of a foiled terrorist plot, my first reaction was that at least there'd be something interesting on TV. I have since recovered my sanity and should point out that I do not wish terrorist attacks on anyone.

I've also noticed that whenever is sleeping, I always think I can go run an errand or take a walk. Then I remember you can't do that. Ideally, this initial sense of freedom will simply go away and I'll forget I ever felt it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Back in bedness

You know how some people can come up with witty, bon-mot titles of posts or articles? Yeah, I don't have that talent. Sort of like how I have never once come up with an idea for the New Yorker cartoon caption contest, even though when I read the entries later on, I think that I should have thought of them.

Anyway, last night was our first night back in our actual bedroom and our first night of being solely in charge on the new schedule. obliged us by sleeping from 8:30pm to 4am. You'd think that would be good, right? Wrong. I kept thinking he was dead and had to check on him a few times. I also got up at 2am to pump, so it wasn't the most restful night. But it was GREAT to be back in our real bed. I'm hoping the little guy will keep sleeping that long and I'll get used to it. He ate at 4am and was fussy until 5 or 5:30, but then he kindly went back to sleep (after much soothing by my husband) until his appointed wake-up time of 7am.

Yesterday, my husband worked from home, but today I'm on my own. I feel very housebound. The great thing about having hired help here the past couple of weeks was that I could pop out to take the dog on a walk or run an errand in the roughly two hours I have free between feeding/pumping sessions. Now, given our adherence to the schedule, though, I am not really supposed to leave the house with the baby. I probably will do so once a day, however, or I'll go insane. I need to locate a babysitter. And childcare options for when I return to work. I very much want to get back to the gym soon - I am about 10 lbs above my normal weight and have been for several weeks. Since I won't be breastfeeding forever, I need to work it off the old-fashioned way: by sweating and not eating so many cookies.

I have cut out one pumping session per day. This is a step taken for my sanity and also for eventual weaning. The 11am and 2pm pumps had been very unproductive, so I cut out the 11am one yesterday and got the same aggregate amount at the 2pm session. I hope this continues. God, I am boring myself with this breastfeeding crap.

I also got another injection into my incision yesterday. Man, that stuff burns going in, but it feels great afterwards. By which I mean that it feels like nothing afterwards. Ah, sweet nothing.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Six long, hard, bitter weeks of parental bliss

One of my father's favorite go-to jokes is to say on his and my mother's anniversary (the 39th of which occurred this week) that it's been X long, hard, bitter years of marital bliss. I have appropriated that construct for the title of this post.

Six weeks ago, right at this same time, we were pulling into the hospital parking garage (or "ramp," as they say around here) and walking into Labor & Delivery. It's hard to believe. Time has passed very slowly in some ways, very quickly in others. I'm relieved we've made it to this milestone, where things are a little easier and you at least get some gummy baby smiles in return. When smiles at me, I don't know how I could feel any happier. I hope you have all experienced this or get to experience it in the not-too-distant future.

It's too bad that you can't know these things in advance, like that your third IVF will work or that your baby will start smiling at five weeks or that breastfeeding won't go that well for you. Knowing those things would be rather useful for one's decision-making and morale. Alas, that isn't the way things work.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The big-time

That wry onesie was given to by Jane, formerly of Jane's Calamity. She's now officially blogging for about her twins. So check out Baby Squared. Bookmark it. Read it again. Submit insightful, witty commentary. Repeat process.

In other news, the second baby nurse departs in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. Then it's back to reality for us. We'll be in charge again in the middle of the night. The sting will be dulled by the fact that we'll get to move out of our guest room back into our bedroom, where the baby nurses have been staying because of its proximity to the nursery. The sting will also be dulled in that we will cease hemorrhaging cash for the moment. We'll resume hemorrhaging cash when I return to work and we need a babysitter or daycare for 25-30 hours a week.

Speaking of stings, I went to the OB on Friday because I had developed a painful lump in my abdomen above my incision. The diagnosis? Unbearable cuteness. Oh, wait - that's's condition. For me, it was apparently something called "trigger points" - nerves overfiring and creating scar tissue, or some such nonsense. The cure is basically to get injected with numbing medication repeatedly until the problem goes away. And, boy, did those injections sting! I'll have to get more of them tomorrow, too.

The OB also told me many stories of other OBs quitting breastfeeding after not too many weeks, and she said they all felt much better after being done. This did make me feel better. I am forging ahead for the moment, but who knows how long it'll last?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nearing the end

I would really like to continue to do partial breastfeeding, but these plugged ducts (or whatever else is the culprit) have caused a major supply drop for me, and I think I may be done sooner than I want. I am a little surprised at how much grief I feel over this; it's just as bad as what I felt over infertility, even the second failed IVF. I was just so sure breastfeeding would work for me (and my rack is robust right now - what the hell is in there if it isn't milk?). The things I worried about were sore ni.pples and leaking and a bad latch and all that other stuff that everyone gets - I didn't get any of that. I never even considered low supply. It's another one of those things that 5% of people get, and I manage to be in that 5%.

I'm trying to retain some perspective. I have a beautiful, happy, healthy baby. And it's nothing compared to other stuff that's going on with people I know. One of my best friends got a mammogram recently because her mother had had breast cancer at an early age, and they found precancerous cells all over the damned place. She then got a genetic test, which showed she has the BRCA2 gene mutation. So she's having a double mastectomy next week and has to have her ovaries removed by age 40. And another good friend's mother is very close to dying from metastatic brain cancer that began as a non-smoking-related lung cancer. So my life ain't so bad.

Still, I just feel so much more on the verge of tears than I have since my one day of postpartum hormones crashing. I have therefore been compelled to make a list of pros and cons of quitting breastfeeding.

- Baby doesn't get benefits of breastfeeding, such as, oh, brains and health.
- I don't get benefits of breastfeeding, such as effortless weight loss and natural birth control (ha! like I need that!).
- Bottlefeeding requires use of both hands, unlike breastfeeding, which allows for reading, remote-control-handling, eating, and one-handed typing.
- I would lose my bodacious rack.
- Intense guilt, feelings of inadequacy, jealousy/bitterness over others who successfully breastfeed, etc.

- No middle-of-the-night pumping. In fact, no pumping at all.
- More time to interact with the baby since I wouldn't nurse, supplement, and pump each session.
- Anyone can feed the baby - ie, I could leave the house for more than an hour or two at a time.
- I could sleep in a position other than flat on my back. No more plugged ducts.
- I could eat fish that contains mercury.

The pros are compelling but are all very me-focused. And one thing I've grown accustomed to with pregnancy and now nursing is that my diet affects two people. And I kind of like that. I've always been more responsible with other people's property than my own.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Oh, sinful formula...

S0ren had his pediatrician appointment today, and he was over 10 lbs. That's more than a pound in the past week. Mmmmm, formulicious.....

A Fine Balance

First, look at that little frog! One thing you sort of know but don't really know in advance about having kids is that you begin to destroy the earth in earnest. Baths, laundry, baby accoutrements that involve electricity, and air conditioning to keep the nursery cool all add up BIG. And that doesn't even begin to address the millions of diapers we're adding to landfills. We are bad people.

Anyway, the title of the post refers to a Rohinton Mistry book (please note: I read it well before Oprah picked it) and also to my feelings about breastfeeding. This may be a spoiler, but the fine balance the book refers to is between hope and despair. And that's what the past two days have been for me re: breastfeeding. Two nights ago, I pumped 3.5 ounces in one session - while that would be a shitty session for some, it was a banner session for me. And then yesterday morning I soothed the young lad twice before his naps, and this pressure to my chest resulted in no fewer than FOUR plugged ducts (three left, one right). This, in turn, led to dramatically decreased output, which means right now we're looking at giving mostly formula later on today unless things pick up. I've tried everything and even managed to clear two of the three ducts on the left side by nursing on all fours (highly undignified), but I still have one on each side, and my pumping output is suboptimal. Now, I just want to make it to six weeks, which would be next Monday, before I start to wean (which may result in more pluggage).

The thing is, I like nursing the little guy. I would like to do what another low-supply gal I know has done - she nurses in the morning and the evening and pumps once during the day. Her son gets mostly formula, but she's still giving him some antibodies and enjoying a good nursing relationship (as they say in breastfeeding circles). It just seems as if it's more important for me to be able to hold and carry the boy rather than breastfeed him. It sucks not to be able to do both. Stupid reproductively challenged body!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A great milestone

Our little guy is smiling away, though it is a little unpredictable as to when he does it. He is way more into people and faces all of a sudden, which is charming. Once he starts smiling, he'll do it a bunch, but it's sort of as if he forgets he can do it during the times in between.

Baby nurse #2 is here to replace the newborn specialist. She seems perfectly nice, but I don't think she'll be nearly as awesome. At least we've had a week of varsity, however, before moving to the JV. My husband is going away for a night this week, too - another milestone to reach.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tummy time

Pictured above is what the newborn specialist calls modified tummy time. The baby doesn't go entirely on his recently filled stomach, so it keeps him from spitting up as much, and it also makes it easier for him to raise his noggin. I find it very enjoyable.

S0ren slept two longish stretches last night and had only one middle-of-the-night feeding (at 2:30am or so). He was down from 8:30pm until then, then slept from 3:00 to 6:45 or so. What a good boy! He seems happier and fuller, and our household veritably hums with contentedness at the moment. The newborn specialist is a miracle worker! Let's hope this pleasant state of affairs continues when she leaves. I got up once last night to pump (instead of two or more times), which felt incredibly indulgent.

In less positive news, I've determined one cause of my frequent plugged ducts: holding the baby. Yep, when I hold him to my chest or burp him or wear the Bjorn, I get plugged ducts a couple of hours later. That's bullshit.

Back to happier news: S0ren has begun smiling, though not at me. He smiles often (and big) at the newborn specialist, and he smiled at my husband during bathtime last night. He also smiled at himself in the mirror, and I think I caught him smiling at the ceiling. I'd like him to smile at me, but I'm just glad he's smiling at all, so I can wait my turn. One of my friends has a baby about five weeks ahead of S0ren, and she said the same thing happened to her - the baby smiled at her MIL first, then her husband, then smiled at her about two weeks later. Babies!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Meet's alterego, Henry Swadsworth Shortfellow. This tight swaddle is pretty miraculous, I have to say, as are the related soothing techniques from this book, which the night nanny uses. Our little guy is also now on a three-hour daytime feeding routine, which seems much more humane to me (and my chest) than the two-hour routine. We are, however, chasing each feeding with formula, which means he's getting more like 50/50 formula/breast milk. But so be it.

I also may have spoken too soon about the dom.peridone. Although I pumped three ounces at one sitting a few days ago, that hasn't happened again. Maybe it's time to up the dosage. Meg, however, is having a better time with it, which is awesome!

My husband and I slept in the same bed at the same time for many hours last night - the first time in a month. How about that? I still didn't get a ton of sleep because I was kind of listening for the baby and also had to get up to pump. Also, we have become addicted to watching episodes of The Shield on DVD, and we stayed up later than necessary last night. We also finally signed up for Netflix and have several other series ready for us to watch (The L Word, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood). Yay for TV!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


The newborn specialist (aka baby nurse) is here, and things are already going well. Let's hope they continue. Tonight, we sleep. I have to get up to pump, but no more sleeping on the couch. Ahhhh......

Monday, June 11, 2007

Weighing in

We had a pediatrician appointment today, and S0ren had gained more than 10 ounces since last week. Yay! I think he is getting about 70% breast milk, 30% formula right now. The d0mperid0ne seems to be helping a little, knock on wood.

The next appointment is in a little over a week. We are to maintain the current feeding/pumping drill.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Enjoying it while it lasts

I think that when the baby nurse arrives, we will no longer be allowed to have little babies fall asleep on our chests, since she adheres to the Baby Whisperer methods of scheduling and sleep training. I know this is for the best, but it sure is cute to see snoozing away on my husband (or local friend TLB), and it is warm and cuddly to have him fall asleep while nursing.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pardon me, but did you call my baby a girl?

Pictured above is on his outing to the bakery yesterday. I think I overstimulated him, since he wasn't that into feeding or napping later in the day. And at the height of his freaking out, the tornado sirens went off, and we had to go to the basement. was displeased. He ended up chilling out, though he was wide awake at four a.m., which I informed him was not helpful.

Today, we had a more limited schedule. We went to the grocery store, where the teenaged clerk asked how old "she" was. I suppose's practical, gender-neutral clothing is masking his undeniable masculinity. We also took a walk. For the first time, I had to control both the dog and the stroller. It was a bit of a catastrophe, but it will improve, I suppose.

We also tried the side-lying feeding position again today with a bit more success than before. I hope to add this to my repertoire soon, opening up tens of minutes of potential napping.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Like Dom Perign.on.....

My dom.peridone arrived from the South Pacific on Weds. I've taken two doses so far. It seems as if it takes a few days to see improvement and a few weeks to get up to maximum effectiveness, but some lucky gals see improvement sooner. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My good men

Last night, my husband took a long shift so that I could sleep for four full hours. I then was able to sleep even more - maybe two to three additional hours - while I was on duty and was sleeping. I feel a million times better today than I had been feeling. I may nap shortly, too.

Of course, this luxuriant sleeping came at a price - I didn't nurse AND pump at every feed overnight. I just did one or the other. If I pumped, we gave a bottle. This may affect my paltry supply, but so be it. I feel so much better today, even if my husband surely feels worse.

T minus six days until the baby nurse gets here, too. And only two-point-five more days that I am on my own with, since my husband will be here this weekend and will work from home on Monday. This morning, and I went to meet up with some other new moms at a bakery. Everyone has their own issues. One has a baby who eats around the clock, with no stretch longer than three hours, even after eight weeks. Another has a baby who sleeps well at night but won't nap during the day, which she spends crying. Another woman with a toddler said she'd had to supplement like me. It was so nice to get out of the house and commiserate.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

First bath's umbilical cord fell off a few days ago, and last night we finally made the leap from sponge bath to real bath. It went pretty well until I got water in his eyes.

In other news, it is very hard to get dom.peridone here. I am ordering it from a possibly sketchy internet pharmacy now.

The baby nurse arrives one week from today. I can hardly wait! My mother-in-law is still here today and part of tomorrow, but then I'll have several days solo. I definitely feel a great deal of anxiety about this.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Well, that was no fun while it lasted

I've already quit the Reg.lan. The side effects were pushing me to the verge of a breakdown - I'm not kidding. Crushing, crushing exhaustion (to the point that my eyes would roll up into my head), combined with anxiety, the jitters, and insomnia. Cruel! I stopped taking it today and already feel a million times better. Now, I just have to convince someone to write me a prescription for dom.peridone. My OB doesn't do it since it is not officially approved by the FDA for lactation help. I will have to order it from some sketchy Internet pharmacy, perhaps.

We went for a weigh-in today, and had regained up to his birth weight, which is good. We've been stuffing him full of breastmilk and formula. I have another fucking plugged duct today, if you can believe that. Anyway, his head circumference had also grown - that's my boy!

The pediatrician said we should keep doing what we're doing, but that it's okay for him to sleep a four-hour stretch at night. If we can get him to do that, it would be great.

My parents left yesterday. I cried. My mother was so incredibly helpful that things are going to be a bit bumpier now. My mother-in-law is here for a couple of days, and my husband is working from home today, but by Weds. afternoon, I'll be on my own for real. I hope I can hack it. My main issue is what to do with the baby when I'm pumping - if he's fussy, this is complicated.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Another day, another plugged duct

I realize this is getting to be one long whine, but, MAN, do I feel as if there are a lot of obstacles between me and successful breastfeeding. Today, another plugged duct has appeared, for no apparent reason. We went to see a lactation consultant today, and I got to use the Med.ela Symp.hony hospital pump - so nice! So quiet! If I can start getting more milk, I may have to rent one. It doesn't talk like the PISA.

Anyway, I am now on Reg.lan. One of the side effects is fatigue - just what one wants when one is already sleep-deprived. The LC today told me that I could actually get dom.peridone here, which I didn't realize - maybe I should've done that. The should work in a week if it is going to; if not, I can quit it and try the domperi.done, which doesn't have any side effects, apparently.

Neither one always works. I am getting to the point where they just don't know why my milk supply isn't where it should be. I may be in the 2-3% of women who have an inadequate supply. Nice. Not. I have come to peace with the idea of formula supplementation, which we are now officially doing. I just don't want to totally unravel and do only formula (if I can help it) for at least three more weeks. Or, really, at least one more week. My expectations are scaling ever backward.

I hope you are all doing well, though!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Why is my body so retarded?

So I went to the pediatrician today, and had LOST weight since Tuesday. Yep. And meanwhile, my pumping output keeps getting worse and worse. I feel as if the nursing itself is going well enough, so maybe that's why pumping is low, but, MAN, am I discouraged! All that work, and the baby loses weight. Clearly, my body is not up for anything procreation-oriented.

We will almost surely have to add formula supplements for the near term. I'm looking into a prescription for Reg.lan as well to boost supply, but it has some side effects that don't look great. You just take it for a week or two, though.

I can't tell you how discouraged I am. UGH!

Too bad his dreams never came true

When I think about having kids, one thing that's always appealed to me the most (aside from having someone beholden to look after you when you have Alzheimer's) is the hilarity of things that little kids say. Today, my mom told me a story about my brother when he was little. She asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. "Macho," he replied.

I look forward to that sort of stuff.