Posts tagged ‘update’

August 28, 2012

2 Months

Isaac

It’s hard to believe, but Isaac is now already two months old [he turned 9 weeks today, but 2 months on the 26th].  And while we continue to learn about each other and [sometimes struggle to] create our own groove, the past two months have been the most special in all my life.

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[One month / Two months]

I keep thinking maybe he’ll start looking like ME at some point, but he’s definitely a Daddy’s boy as far as looks go.

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[Two photos of Isaac + one of Ben as a baby yawning.]

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[Me, as a baby.  Any resemblance?  I thought not. Who me?]

The little guy has gone from almost sleeping and crying exclusively to giving us a few hours of smiles and bright-eyes each day that completely melt all of our hearts.

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Two month olds are still supposed to be sleeping about 14-16 hours each day, and because he takes a while to nurse [40-60 minutes, every two to three hours – which counts as awake time], it doesn’t leave much time for him to be up and playing just yet.

When he is awake, Isaac’s extremely curious, alert, playful, and generally happy.

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The kid loves bath time, which makes sense since he was born into water,

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his new cloth diapers,

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and he’s a big fan of baby-carrying and skin-on-skin contact.

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In fact, he’s rarely never able to fall asleep if he’s not being held close to someone and moving, which has been one of our biggest struggles as of late.  I knew that babies had to be taught how to fall asleep, but I had no idea what a difficult task it would be.  Isaac will sit in his swing for a few minutes, but the moment his eyes start to droop, he’ll start screaming at the top of his lungs, wake himself up, and then repeat the process once his eyes droop again.  That means Mama and Daddy have to put him in the Ergo until he falls into a deep sleep, and then put him down.  Most days/nights, though, this is the only way the little guy will actually give us some rest:

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[Worn out.]

And while we’re talking about things Isaac hates, let’s discuss the car seat issue, shall we?

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He hates it.  H.A.T.E.S. it!  Like, he’ll get himself so worked up screaming in it that he’ll turn bright red, not know how to breathe, and be covered in tears and saliva by the time I get ten minutes down the road.  It scares the bejeezus out of me so much that I refuse to take trips longer than 10 minutes alone with him.

So while the little guy may not look anything like me, we’ve got very similar – strong-headed – temperaments.  Yay.  Disappointed smile

Like I said, we’re still working on falling into our groove.

Mama

I’m finding that it’s SO important to remind myself on a daily basis that Isaac and I have only been together – with him outside the womb – for two months, and that our relationship is still in its beginning stages.  It’s a big, crazy world, and I can only imagine what he’s going through to try to keep up with everything.

And while it’s hard not to compare my son to my friends’ children, I’m learning that Isaac truly is his own little being and I can’t put any expectations on him.  I need to meet him where he is and do what works best for us.

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Every day is a learning opportunity though, and some days I find it incredibly difficult to keep up with such a demanding, high needs baby.  In those times, it’s nice to know that there are other kids out there that share his characteristics.

From AskDrSears.com:

12 Features of A High Need Baby:

1. “INTENSE” – These babies put more energy into everything they do. They cry loudly, feed voraciously, laugh with gusto, and protest more forcefully if their needs are not met to their satisfaction.

2. “HYPERACTIVE” – The muscles and mind of high need children are seldom relaxed or still. “Even as a newborn, I could feel the wiry in him.”

3. “DRAINING” – High need babies extract every bit of energy from tired parents — and then want more.

4. “FEEDS FREQUENTLY” – Not only do high need babies breastfeed more frequently, the need for breastfeeding lasts longer.  These babies are notoriously slow to wean [!!].

5. “DEMANDING” – High need babies don’t just merely request feeding and holding, they demand it — loudly.  These babies convey a sense of urgency in their signals; they do not like waiting, and they do not readily accept alternatives.

6. “AWAKENS FREQUENTLY” – You would think that high need babies would need more sleep; certainly their parents do.

7. “UNSATISFIED” – There will be days when you nurse, rock, walk, drive, wear, and try every comforting technique known to man or woman, and nothing will work.

8. “UNPREDICTABLE” – Along with their unpredictability, these children show extremes of mood swings. When happy, they are a joy to be around; they are master charmers and people pleasers. When angry, they let everyone around them feel the heat.

9. “SUPER-SENSITIVE” – High need babies are keenly aware of the goings-on in their environment. “Easily bothered,” “quickly stimulated,” “like walking on eggshells” is how parents describe their sensitive babies. High need babies prefer a secure and known environment, and they are quick to protest when their equilibrium is upset.

10. “CAN’T PUT BABY DOWN” – High need babies crave touch: skin-to-skin contact in your arms, at your breasts, in your bed. They extract whatever physical contact they can from their caregivers. They also crave motion. Holding is not enough; the holder must keep moving. If the holder wants to sit down, it had better be on something that rocks, glides, or swings.

11. “NOT A SELF-SOOTHER” – High need babies… want to interact with people, not things. Parents will often report, “He just can’t relax by himself.” High need babies need help to fall asleep.

12. “SEPARATION SENSITIVE” – In their minds, mother is a part of themselves, and they are part of mother. Mother and baby are one, a complete package. These babies feel right when they feel at one with mother; they feel anxious and frightened when not with mother.

All of these totally describe Isaac to a T, and I feel like being able to understand his personality type is going to be vital in our success as mother and son.  It already feels better to know that I’m not crazy… he’s adorable, but he definitely is tougher to handle than the average little one.

As I mentioned earlier, Isaac sleeps 14-16 hours a day and nurses for anywhere between 7-12 hours, which means most – if not all of our time is spent indoors – and doesn’t leave me much any me time… it’s enough to make a girl stir crazy, so I try to get out of the house while I’m putting him to sleep in the Ergo – walking around the neighborhood or the park nearby – but most of the time I’m so sleep-deprived and tired that I feel like a zombie.

I know that this phase won’t last forever – and I’m really grateful to be able to be home with him right now – so I’m trying my very best to be present and appreciate the long nursing sessions and time around the home.  But I won’t lie: sometimes I miss my friends.  Cooking.  The beach.  Blogging.  Turbo.  Being able to get in the car and just go. I envy my friends who have super portable, happy children.

Then again, I didn’t have a baby so that I could live a selfish life, now did I?  Winking smile

A few 2-month tidbits:

  • Isaac’s current favorites: morning time with Glammaw, bath time, walks in the ergo or k’tan, and when daddy makes fart noises with his mouth.
  • Isaac’s current pet peeves: getting out of the bath, rocking to sleep [he’d rather bounce], when Mama/Daddy stop moving, having his butt dunked in the ocean, his car seat, and certain foods that make him gassy [dairy, certain veggies/fruits, etc.].
  • Firsts this month: cooing, smiling, spit bubbles, grimaces, cloth diapers, and a few laughs.
  • 2 month check-up: Tomorrow!  This is typically the visit where keiki get their cocktail of vaccinations, but Ben and I have talked it over with our healthcare practitioners and are more comfortable refusing them for the moment [I really thought I’d be doing the dTAP, but after talking with my chiropractor more about it, I’m going to put it off – at least for the moment – because of the latest statistics out on it].
  • Average hours of sleep for Mama per night: 5-6 [in one/two-hour chunks] on nights without class; 3-5 on nights with class [2-3 times a week].
  • Breastfeeding is going much better, thank goodness… trusting my body continues to be a process, but it’s getting better every single day. I am still eating lots of galactagogues to keep my milk supply up, but it feels much less dire than it used to be:IMG_8640

[I tried everything.]

As always, I am so grateful for every single day with my son; he has already changed my entire life and taught me so much about myself and life in general.  Some days drag on and others fly by, but I’m trying my best not to take any of it for granted because I know that in the long run this will all feel as though it went way too quickly.

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Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!

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July 25, 2012

4 Week Mama Update

Here I am, a whole four weeks after Isaac La`akea’s birth, wondering where on earth those days went and also thanking my lucky stars to have made it through in one piece. 

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always wanted to be a mom.  When I was hapai – and even before that – I had all these preconceived ideas about what life would be like at this point.  I planned to write daily posts filled with cute newborn photos from the moment my little one was born, talk about how perfect my child is, how incredible motherhood is, and the ways in which I’m working on “getting my body back”. 

Oh how naïve I was.  Of course, my son is perfection; and motherhood is incredible.  As for the baby weight? I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight in a matter of days after the birth, although it’s distributed differently now.  Nonetheless, the big realization I’m having is that those things I thought would be important – like losing baby weight – couldn’t be further from my mind at this point in time. 

Pre-pregnancy I had all these ideas about what would be difficult and what would be easy once the little one arrived.  I assumed that birth would be the most difficult thing, and that sleep deprivation would be hard, but totally doable.  I thought losing the baby weight would be an issue for me, but that breastfeeding would be completely natural (I was horrified by bloody nipples but thought that would be the worst of it). 

As it turns out, I had it all backwards. 

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I feel the need to preface this post by saying that this post was really difficult for me to write.  I in no way take motherhood for granted, nor do I resent my decisions.  I am just speaking my truth, as honestly as humanly possibleBecause when it comes down to it, I appreciate people speaking their truth, and hopefully it’ll make other Mamas feel less alone if they’re going through it too. 

Here’s my honest truth: these past four weeks – as beautiful as they’ve been – have been some of the hardest in my entire life.  Every day my son and I are learning together, and it’s continues to be a journey – and sometimes struggle – for me to embrace my new role as Mama rather than woman – gone are the worry-free days where I put myself first. 

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Ben and I rode the emotional high of being new parents for over a week after La`akea was first born.  He slept almost exclusively, rarely cried, and we assumed we were doing everything correctly.  But the combination of serious sleep deprivation (we’re talking never getting more than 1-2 hours at a time, or 4-5 hours in a night), hormones, and some unexpected breastfeeding issues soon left me feeling isolated, depressed, and useless for more than a week.

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When La`akea was two weeks old, we found out that he was still pretty well below his birth weight (which is normal for the first week or so of their lives), and wasn’t actually getting the nutrition he needed.  I thought I was doing fine with breastfeeding, but as it turned out, he wasn’t latching on correctly and therefore (1) my milk production was two weeks behind the typical schedule and (2) he wasn’t getting adequate nutrition. 

I had just spent the entire afternoon the day before with my midwife, who said that he was nursing beautifully, so I felt confused as to what to believe.  But the numbers didn’t lie – plus his demeanor was also a bit sluggish and something innate told me that I needed support. 

Suddenly my perfect world felt shattered.  Rather than being a wonderful mom, I was starving my child without knowing it.  My head immediately went to the worst case scenario and I wondered if it was too late and if he had gotten brain damaged already due to my horrendous misknowledge. 

Not being able to feed my own child is the worst feeling in the entire universe, and I completely shut down.  All I wanted to do was bond with him and give him nutrition through breastfeeding, but the more I stressed about it, the less sleep I got, and the less milk I produced.  The less milk I produced, the more stressed I became.  It was a vicious cycle (that I’m still working through).  Add to that my history with depression – and the fact that I knew I was meant to be bonding with my newborn and couldn’t – made me a serious wreck, plain and simple. 

I tried everything for a week: pumping every hour (including at night, which meant even less sleep), feeding on demand and waking him up, herbs, etc.  But in the end it was my incredible friends and family who came through with a level of support I never thought possible and helped me through it.  A good friend gave me bags of her breastmilk to supplement La`akea until my milk came in, and both Ben and my mom ran around the island getting me every remedy they heard about so that I might create more milk.  They sat with me and meditated, thinking happy thoughts like waterfalls flowing with white, frothy milk.  And they held me as I sobbed uncontrollably for hours at a time while my son cried for more food. 

For over a week I sobbed multiple times a day, feeling worthless and depressed.  I refused to talk to anyone and didn’t leave the house or even shower some days because I was attached to a breastpump.  I felt even worse because during those feedings I had to hand my son off to someone else rather than taking the time to bond with him. 

And then I met with a lactation consultant who came to our house and gave me some tips on what I could do (including how to step away from the pump).  She resonated most with Ben and I because she said “the best equipment you have to up your milk supply is your baby.  You can get rid of the pump for now.”  I also got acupuncture from a good friend who has a nine-month-old, and things have slowly been turning around for us.  The amount of supplementation we give La`akea has gone down significantly and I’m beginning to trust in my body’s abilities once more. 

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As it turns out, children are incredibly resilient.  And La`akea definitely has a strong personality that is definitely growing and healthy, despite my worst fears.  I’m definitely still in it, and every day has it’s own struggles, but that completely helpless depression has washed over now and I am taking it one day at a time rather than one hour – or even minute – at a time, which allows me to enjoy my precious son that much more. 

Everyone talks about the bliss of having a new baby, and yet when I bring up my struggles to new moms, everyone seems to have their own issues as well.  I wish we could feel safe to be a bit more honest and open about the difficulties as well… maybe then I wouldn’t have felt so isolated or alone when I was going through it.  Or maybe that’s just part of the process.  It’s all really tough to talk about, but it’s so important. 

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[Of course, the bliss is powerful and having a milk-drunk baby is priceless.]

In any case, it’s true what they say: It gets better.  After four weeks, I’m finally starting to understand this whole motherhood thing.  For the first time in my life, I can say that I truly understand the meaning of the word SELFLESS. I don’t care whether I get a shower or write a post at this point anymore… as long as my son is getting what he needs.  And the numbers on my scale are insignificant now – it’s what the numbers on La`akea’s say that really matter. 

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I’m hoping to write a 4-week update focusing on La`akea soon, but for now, I’m still spending whole days in my pajamas just watching my son.  And I’m totally content with that, because honestly, life is so fragile and I’ll never get these moments back. 


Aloha Pumehana.
Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!

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