Monday, November 29, 2010

Happenings

Well, last Tuesday, after a particularly hard night with a fussy baby and realizing she'd only slept a cumulative 8.5 hours in a 24 hour period (as opposed to the 12-16 hours recommended), while her mama was still convinced the problem was that she couldn't sleep, her daddy observed her spitting up, the fact that she'd be almost asleep then something would jerk her out of it, and that it seemed like her stomach was upset, and decided it had to be something else. After that realization, (why'd it take so long? Why'd she have to keep getting worse and worse before I realized?) we were on the phone with the pediatrician, and before we knew it had an appointment that afternoon for our first "problem" doctor's appointment. We saw a new doctor on this visit and I really liked him, and after he'd heard little Adria's symptoms and checked her out, he decided it sounded like reflux, gave me a little advice such as certain foods to avoid and positioning to let gravity help little Adria's digestion, and we got a prescription for some reflux medicine. Nearly a week later, I'm happy to say it seems like it's really done the trick--her spit up isn't nearly the problem it had been, she's feeling better and overall less fussy, and praise the Lord she's been able to sleep!

Granted, since as it turns out I'd been nursing a sick little girl, it did ease some of my frustration about her being unable to sleep. I'd gotten away from putting Little Miss down if she was crying at all, and so she insisted that I hold her and rock her until she fell asleep. The problem was that even as she was improving, she wouldn't fall asleep easily, and she'd cry whenever I went to put her down. My running joke was, "What's the quickest way to wake up a sleeping baby? Put her in the crib!" So basically I ended up holding Adria for about 3 days, but after consulting 3 different very trusted mommy friends, I decided there was no other option any longer--for my sanity I had to put her down! She was healthy, clean, well fed, had been burped and even cooed at and played with--it was time to put her down and allow her to cry it out. On Friday I started with her naps in the middle of the day so I was well enough rested that I could go through the process with her, and so I put her down in her crib, clean and comfy, and I started the timer when she started crying--10 minutes. I sat in my rocker in the room with her, like I said, to go through the transition with her as opposed to just throwing her in the crib and walking away (an ugly thought that sometimes accompanies those three little words--crying it out). After 10 minutes she was still crying a little and I picked her up and rocked her and kissed and held her and told her everything was alright and that I loved her, and then she went back in the crib and I started my timer again. And during that second 10 minutes, she fell fast asleep and slept for over an hour! Just enough encouragement for me to keep going with it. So... we are a family that's trying to let our little lady cry it out. I'd say it's been marginally successful so far, but I have seen a definite improvement in her nap times, and finally I'm able to go to the bathroom on my own! And obviously I've been able to get online again, even if it's just a little at a time! :) So I think that's a good thing!

But, the fact is, from these 2 happenings, my baby is happier. Her stomach isn't hurting her anymore, she's still eating well (by the way, she weighed in at 10 pounds at her doctor's appointment! My sweet growing girl!), and now she's sleeping much better. Within days of starting the medicine and about the same time I began allowing her to cry it out, instead of a look of concern I began to see the first signs that she might want to smile, and today, it happened for real! I saw my baby's sweet smile for the first time today, and I have to tell you (completely unbiased), it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Hope to get a picture soon, but for now I'm just cherishing that beautiful face every time I see it, and thinking about her happy smile while we're getting through the crying times.

I love her to pieces, feeling good or bad, sleeping well or not, but I'm oh so happy that she's happy! :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

A fresh look

In light of some of the recent frustrations I've aired here, I feel like a little pick-me-up is in order. I traveled to Dublin with little Adria 2 weekends ago for her to meet her great grandparents, and here are some of the picture we got.















And oh yeah. I'm posting this while she's taking a nap! :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

We all fall apart sometimes

So it's official. I really DON'T know what I'm doing! Jason and I agree that Sweet Baby A has become... well, Fussy Baby A in the last few weeks. I don't necessarily know what's different, but after today it's clear that's not the only thing I don't know!

I thought (and still think) she gets fussy because she's tired. I think it's a symptom of her tiredness, and she's not necessarily fussy in her own right. It's good to have an idea about the cause, but it still does little to help when the nerves are jangled and after you've been cuddling with a peaceful, sweet, snuggly baby, she all of a sudden starts wailing in your ear. And there's nothing you can do for her.

I'll admit it. I've been getting frustrated.

So today, while trying to "put her down for a nap", after she roused herself up and started kicking her little legs and wailing in my ear, I could feel myself getting TOO frustrated, so I had to do it. I put her in the crib, sat back down in my rocker, and just let her cry. I didn't even look at my watch--I think it was 15 minutes or so, maybe more. She finally did "cry it out," and I was so grateful. And I thought since weariness has been her underlying problem, I let her sleep and sleep and sleep. Schedule was out the window today.

She slept for nearly 3 hours! What does that tell you about my sleepy baby?

Alas, she awoke no less crabby than before. My brilliant plan, my throwing the schedule out the window, to no avail! And, I still had that same fussy baby, only now she almost certainly wouldn't nap any of the rest of her "cycles". Which of course she didn't. So her frustrated mama was back to the nerve jangling ear screaming, and she ended up crying in her crib today probably a lot more than either of us would have liked!

So... what did I do to soothe the fussy baby? I nursed. On demand. And I'm sure at least 2 extra feedings snuck in there today. Which is kind of ok, since she slept through one during her earlier, massive nap. But which did little to help regulate any other kind of cycle for Little A for the rest of the day. Grrr...

But really it's no surprise what just happened. About 9:00-9:30 p.m., I demand fed Little A, the only feeding since about 10:00 a.m. that happened to be on schedule, and what do you know? She went right down. Same pattern as our usual schedule. Sweet Baby A. Now what does that tell you?

Every now and then I just fall apart. I still don't know why she's started fussing, and why she struggles with her naps so. I still don't know what to do to make things easier for her. I still don't know whether rocking her to sleep during the day and nursing her to sleep at night is better, or letting her cry it out is better. There is so much I just don't know. I think and I wonder, I hope and I pray, I search the internet, I hear differing opinions, but the fact remains--I just don't know.

Perhaps tomorrow its back to the drawing board. Or perhaps it's just back to the schedule. Lord, help my baby to sleep! And I'm just going to keep doing the best I can. On schedule.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Month Day Adria! (11th letter to my daughter)

Dearest Adria,

I like to call you "Little Peep", because every once in a while, awake or asleep, a tiny peep will escape your lips, seemingly out of nowhere! And that's exactly what it sounds like: "Peep!" I love your little peeps!

We could also call you "Little Squeak". I actually think if we were Native Americans, that's what your name would be. Needless to say, you squeak, too. This happens more when you cry--it's kind of like "Wah, squeak! Wah, squeak! Wah, squeak!" I hate it when something makes you cry, but at the same time, I think most everything you do is cute.

I love watching you wake up in the mornings or when you've had a good nap. You love to stretch and yawn, and after a while, your eyes will open, tentatively, one first. Then you'll squint them both open. And when you're waking up you let out this series of little toots! (I also like to call you "Tootie".) The record for this so far is 4 toots.

You LOVE to eat. I think you play more when you eat than any other time. Granted your main activities are still eating and sleeping, but there's a little bit of playtime in there too when you'll want to snuggle, or we'll read books, or you enjoy some tummy time. But you do a great baby bird impression, and since I don't think you can always see where your mouth is aiming, your misdirection is sometimes pretty fun to watch, especially when you're particularly excited.

In the middle of a deep sleep you will sometimes flail your arms about as though startled. I wonder what you're dreaming about that startles you so. And sometimes you sleep with your arms up in the air. It looks like you're about to start directing a music concert any minute. But--you're still asleep!

You get the hiccups multiple times a day. Your daddy thinks it happens reliably after you eat, before your nap. I'm not sure it's always so reliable, but it definitely happens multiple times a day. They don't seem to bother you, though--you've had them for months before you were born, too!

You HATE your bath. You're hating it less and less, but still, the hatred is solidly intact. We've tried lots of different things, but the thing that seems to work best at this point is just dipping you in and wiping you down as fast as possible! You don't seem to mind snuggling afterward, so I know you forgive us. And I know being clean doesn't REALLY hurt. Even though it may seem like it does.

You ALSO hate the car seat. Possibly more than baths. But that would make sense, because you stay in the car seat longer. Unfortunately I don't have many tricks about that one to make it any more comfortable for you! You do however, have great taste in car music!

You smell like milk all the time. Consequently I do too! (I should probably do more about this, but as I mentioned--you hate those baths!) So now it's funny to me when people say how much they like the way babies smell!

You love to snuggle after a good feeding. I love it that you'll put your arms around me (as far as they'll go!) and hold on. I never want to move from that position after that. You usually get tired of it before I do.

Your favorite place to hang out, most of the time, is on Daddy's chest. I think he's particularly good at bouncing you! Or he smells better than I do.

I love our night time feedings. Of course I love my sleep too. But I love you more. And being with you more. You've started skipping a night time feeding here and there, and I have to tell you, I miss them when you skip. While I'm looking forward to solid nights of sleep, I know I'll be sad to see our special times together go.

You are a month old. You are fabulous! And I love you all the way from here to the moon. And back.

Love always,
your mama

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A mother's midnight prayers

Oh Lord, give me the energy to get out of this bed to go take care of my baby!

Whoa! Was that a shoe I just tripped on? You've got to be kidding me!

My God, this incredible gift that you've given me is so overwhelming! I know you must love me so much, to share something so beautiful with me, and I do love her so much, God. I know that's the highest responsibility you've given me as her mother, and I do! Oh, God, how I love her!

Lord, help me to know what to do with her! When I can't get it right, when I can't comfort her, when I can't be with her, Lord, you get it right for her, comfort her, be with her! God, even though this life has its share of difficulties, I feel like you've chosen me for happiness, and I so pray that you choose her for happiness and blessing! God, choose her for your family, and reveal yourself to her and take care of her all the days of her life, please!

God, this job is more than I can handle, and I need your wisdom, and energy, and your love to flow through me to her. We're in over our heads financially, and God I don't know how you're going to put everything together, but won't you keep on taking care of us? Help me to figure out daycare, God. How can I go back to work and leave hr with someone else? I'm going to need your help with this one. And be with her Dad, Lord, and continue to pour your love out to him and reveal yourself to him.

I'm so glad I have you, because there's just so much in this life that is out of my control.

God, whisper over me the way I whisper to her, "I've got you". Let me relax and lose myself in you. I need you, Lord how I need you. In addition to all the things I think I need, just love me. Just let me rest in the shadow of your wings and let myself go in you.

And oh, God, don't let her wake up now! Let her sleep!

Wait a minute. Now seriously? He's snoring?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Supermom!

...I am not.

It's the most fun to remember all of the incredible and amazing things about this new adventure with my little darling, but to tell the truth, it's really been a challenge, too!

Like the night she nursed for an HOUR and still wasn't satisfied, and I finally just put her down and endured her screaming... for whatever reason she just was wound up and wouldn't settle. Oh yeah, and her dad was out working that night, but not late, so after she finally fell into an exhausted sleep, I waited up a bit for him (and by waiting up I mean stayed up until 10:00!). And once he got home and we got to share a little quality time, something just came over me--this NEED to cry. And so I did! (He is really great when I cry!) And all I could say about it was "I'm tired!" No other reason for the emotional outburst... just TIRED and needed to cry about it!


Or the trip I took her on to go and check out some daycare centers. I'm not completely convinced, but I think she hates her car seat. And I can't make any sense out of it--it's the same angles as her bouncer, which she loves, etc. Maybe she just doesn't like being strapped in? Anyway, her head was always bouncing around in her car seat, so we got this "insert" which is a bit more snuggly and keeps her head from flopping around. Well, I get her in the car seat, Jason gets her into the car and settled (which I couldn't do on my own), and off we go. As soon as I pull into the parking lot of Daycare #1, she starts screaming! Well, I pull out and start looking for Daycare #2, thinking the driving would calm her down and then I could go in there, but she just continued screaming and wouldn't calm down! Very difficult when you're driving, and there's really nothing you can do to tend to her. And when you get a little lost, and disconcerted when you find you've crossed the line into the next county! And even more so when you finally decide to pull over and find there's nowhere to stop! Sigh. I finally did get stopped and sat in the back seat with her and pulled her out of her little chair--and she was drenched in sweat. She'd been BURNING UP back there the whole time in her snuggly little seat! Bad mama. I apologized profusely to her and ripped out the inner of the inserts and got her cooled off before I started moving again. Here's one cool thing about babies and their mamas. Even if it's YOU that's subjected them to something torturous, like incessantly driving around several counties lost in an inferno, they still love you and allow you to comfort them when you finally realize what's going on and pick them up. Even for a hot little baby, she's still so snuggly, and I think she forgave me!

(P.S.--this pic was taken previously... NOT while trying to gain control of the aforementioned situation!)


And it's taken me WEEKS to figure a few things out, like nursing! Remember that hour long nursing session I mentioned? Well apparently you don't HAVE to keep nursing them until they pull back or end up spitting up all over you! (Although the spit up is now a legitimate problem of its own.) She's on a pretty predictable 2.5 hour schedule for eating during the daytime, but if I let her go as long as she'd like, it'd practically be time for her to eat again by the time we got finished! I think she's getting what she NEEDS now, but not in excess. She finally got a look at what the downstairs of our house looks like now! So. Glad for the both of us I figured that one out!

And poor little darling, I think I've had her so worn out from not figuring out what "putting her down for a nap" actually meant. That means that you, as the mama, actually put her down for nap time, so she can sleep! (I'd been letting her fall asleep when she wanted after a fussy time in her bouncer, and bouncing her within an inch of her life until she got through the fuss and fell asleep on her own. Worked fine, except for having to bounce her in order for her to fall asleep or stay asleep, and except for her waking up 20-30 minutes later.) I finally calculated it and even if she slept at every "feeding cycle", which she didn't always do, she was probably getting a total of 2.5 hours of sleep during the daytime--not nearly enough for an infant! Poor little thing! No wonder she'd be fussy and grouchy at times. She needed me to be the MOM and put her down for a nap! (Incidentally, I'm still working that one out and she's still not completely keen on the idea either, but I think it's going to work out just fine.)


So... while I'm not yet Supermom, it's enough that I'm still working on being mom. And even despite the setbacks and "oops" moments, I've LOVED that title, we're still learning each other better every day. And I don't think I've ruined her yet!