Oh boy…well, here I am writing from my first class seat on the Struggle Bus! Our sweet, cuddly little Carter-Bee turned 1 month old this past week, and we have been having a really, really hard time over here with a whole bunch of stumbling blocks. BUT, before I get into all of that, let’s recap the last 3 weeks since we last touched base!
Sweet baby Jesus…. what we’ve learned from the past 4 weeks is that there is no way, literally, no way out of the baby feeding struggle. Breast, bottle, formula…nobody wins!!! With Austin, we struggled tremendously with breastfeeding, and it took us months of agony to finally arrive at our routine of exclusively pumping and settle into our routine. Carter and I have been on a completely different feeding journey, and have had our own unique struggles.
So, first of all, Carter has really picked up well on breastfeeding, and my sweet little man is actually doing a phenomenal job with the whole thing. I’m so proud of him for how well he’s done with it. The issues that we’ve been having have been mostly related to my inconsistent supply between breastfeeding and pumping (i.e. sometimes I have lots of milk, and he will feed really well and get enough from me, but oftentimes, I have hardly any milk, especially after I pump, and he won’t get enough and will be screaming hungry again a half hour later).
It wouldn’t be such a big deal that he’s hungry again a half hour later after a feed, except for two scenarios: overnight (when we’re riiiiiiiight on the brink of complete and total insanity from sleep deprivation at this point), and when he refuses to take a bottle for a top-up. We’ve been trying to do fairly regular top-ups with the bottle, but Carter really seems to struggle with the bottle, and frequently chokes, spits up and scares the hell out of me. So that really puts us behind the 8 ball when we want to do a bottle feed because I don’t have much milk, or we just want to be sure that he’s getting a full feed before bed.
We’ve been trying to get Carter to take a full bottle feed before we go to bed so that we make sure that his little tummy is full in hopes that we all might get a decent stretch of sleep. But, that doesn’t always work. So instead, we have to rely on a breastfeed session, which sometimes will do the trick for a few hours of sleep, and sometimes (many more times) it doesn’t, and he’s awake within an hour or two hungry again. Sigh.
So in summary (lol), breastfeeding is great (when it works), but it comes at the expense of our sleep, which is totally killing us. Breastfeeding is the exact opposite of everything that I try to cultivate in my life: routine, consistency and predictability. I know that it’s good for my sweet babies, and I love and cherish the cuddly time spent with them, I truly do. But I’m really getting to the end of my rope with the ups and downs of feeding. I’m totally desperate to do the right thing for my sweet babies, and if that comes at the expense of my own anxiety, then so be it. But right now, I really have no clue what we’re doing in terms of routine, and we’re just muddling through one feed at a time.
To finish up the feeding subject on a high note, all of this belly-aching being said, Carter is doing fantastic with his weight gain!! We had him weighed at his 1 month doctors appointment this week and he tipped the scales at 10 pounds 13 ounces (right on his 72 percentile curve that he’s been rocking for several weeks now)! So I guess moral of the story is that by hook or by crook… we’re getting the job done and little man is growing every day. Ultimately, that’s all that matters, so we’ll continue to muddle along feed by feed with this weird breastfeeding / pumping / bottle hybrid that we’ve got going on and see how we do!
Cold & Flu Season
If we ever decide to have more children (seriously questionable at this exact moment in time LOL), I am putting my foot down HARD and insisting that we time it so that our baby is born nowhere NEAR cold and flu season. Jeepers!
With Austin being in daycare, we’re totally exposed to most of these nasty cold and flu bugs, and our entire family (including my parents!) has been super sick on and off for the last few weeks straight. Most concerning for us of course was tiny little Carter, who came down with a terrible cold that peaked right on his one month day (January 27th). His breathing was so laboured and he was having such a difficult time feeding that by the end of the day when Matt got home, we decided to take the poor little guy over to the emergency room to get checked out and make sure that he was okay.
In hindsight, it was probably a mistake to go to ER because it was PACKED with people sick with cold and flu symptoms, and we ended up sitting with our tiny sick little baby in a crowded waiting room for over 5 hours, inhaling all of the germy goodness.
I was totally shocked that the hospital didn’t prioritize a newborn coming in sick, but I guess it was a crazy night for them (we did see an older man in pretty bad shape in the room across the hall from us when we did eventually get in after 5 hours), and plus the hospitals have all been dealing with this coronavirus scare that’s been going on right now, so I’m sure that boosted traffic a bit as well.
Long story short, we survived the waiting room, and finally saw a doctor. And of course, in true “Maytag repair man” style, by the time we saw the doctor, Carter had rebounded 150%, was bright eyed and bushy-tailed, happy and chatting away when the doctor came into the room.
*insert swearing here*
The doctor assured us that we did the right thing coming in, and that newborns struggling to breathe is no joke, so that made me feel a little better. We left with instructions to keep a close eye on him and come back if it got worse. Sigh.
Poor Austin also had a stomach flu and was home with my mom and I for 2 days this week (week 4 for Carter). He was vomiting overnight and had diarrhea as well… eeks. I THINK that we’ve managed to dodge and weave the stomach flu for now… although my own stomach has been a little bit turned this week as well… I’m really crossing my fingers that we can avoid that one. I just can’t imagine Carter vomiting and having diarrhea like that at his size.
All of this, combined with this coronavirus scare has really had us feeling like maybe it’s better if we just lay low for the next couple of months and avoid big crowded areas to try and stay healthy. Of course, I’m sure the biggest threat for all of us is really Austin’s daycare 😉
Next baby (if there is one) is a Summer baby. That’s final!!!
My recovery has been progressing well, although I am starting to get a little bit nervous that I’ve just crossed the 5 week mark, and I’m still feeling pain and soreness. I was hoping that all of this would be in the rearview mirror for me by this point, but unfortunately it isn’t quite yet. I know that we’re getting there though!
Starting somewhere in the 3.5 – 4 week mark I stopped feeling really sharp pain, and the pain changed to more of a general ache in my stomach / incision area. Admittedly, I’ve been a lot less careful with my movement ever since that point, so maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling more pain recently. I’m also thinking that some of the pain I’m feeling may be some abdominal muscle soreness, because it’s been several weeks that I’ve actively been working on NOT using my core muscles (quite the opposite of what I’ve been trained to do in the gym for all of those years!!), so maybe they’re a little bit lazy and need to get used to working again.
I saw my pelvic floor physiotherapist at the 4 week mark, and she was really happy with how my pelvic floor is functioning, how my incision scar was looking, and overall how my recovery was going, so I’m trying to hold onto that and believe the professionals when they tell me that I’m on the mend.
I’ve been getting incredibly frustrated the last little while with being so dependent on other people, and not being able to look after my babies the way that I want to while I’m trying to recover. I HATE not being able to drive the boys on my own right now because I can’t lift Austin and Carter’s carseat into the car, and although I’m so grateful for my mom coming over early on the weekday mornings to get Austin out of his crib for me and help get everyone into the car so that we can get Austin to daycare, I’m also totally desperate to have our own space as a family of 4 (something we haven’t had any of since Carter was born with the holidays etc), and to start figuring things out on my own.
I see my OB again this coming Monday (2 days away!!) for my postpartum check-up, and I’m hoping that she will confirm that my recovery has been going well, and that I’m close to being able to lift again. Here’s hoping!
It’s been so interesting watching Carter develop and change every day. It’s really taken me back to remembering Austin’s milestones and when he started to do various things as well. Carter was a bit more lethargic early on, possibly because he was a c section baby, but week 4 was a big one in terms of him being much more alert and awake!
Carter started his first development “leap” this week according to my Wonder Weeks app, which is the development of perception and really being able to focus in on objects and people. Coincidence or not, I really found this leap timing to be spot on in terms of him being especially cranky and fussy, and also the change in his perception! I was a bit worried before this leap because I hadn’t been able to get Carter to focus on my finger or follow my finger with his gaze (oh the dark places that Google took me to lol), but after this leap (part way through week 4) he’s definitely come a long way and really focuses well on things now!
Carter has been working diligently on his neck strength and is doing really great at holding his head up, especially on our chests. He’s not rock solid with this yet and still looks a bit like a bobble head sometimes, especially when he’s tired lol but we’re getting there!
My absolute favourite thing about our sweet little Carter-Bee right now are his crazy facial expressions. Right from early on, Carter has had this hilarious expressive face, and these big huge wide eyes that make him look completely horrified by something LOL I keep saying that it’s like he knows that he was born to a family with a very busy 2 year old as his big brother, and is permanently looking around like “oh holy sh*t!!”…hilarious.
Oi. I was so dreading this part while I was pregnant, and it’s every bit as hard as I knew it would be. We are so exhausted. I honestly don’t know what we’re going to do sometimes because I’m just physically not able to function anymore.
Carter isn’t doing terrible with sleeping, it’s just the nature of the beast. He will usually do at least a 2-3 hour stretch before waking up overnight, and the odd time he’s done 3 – 4 hours. I think once or twice he may have done 5 – 6 hours, but my exhaustion amnesia could be playing tricks on me there. He has been sleeping in the bassinet in our bedroom, which has been rough for Matt because he gets woken up all night and still has to go to work. Mind you, Matt has been great at getting up with me to help with feeds etc overnight anyways (thank goodness).
Looking back at Austin’s baby updates, he started more consistently doing longer sleep stretches for us around 6 weeks, which we’re coming up on with Carter but I’m honestly afraid to hope for it because it’s just too frustrating and disappointing when it doesn’t happen lol…
I’m trying as hard as I can to roll with the daily punches when it comes to sleep, but it’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s damn near impossible to keep up with Austin on a broken 5 hours of sleep every night, and I’m getting really concerned that he is going to start suffering because we’re not doing nearly as much with / for him as we used to.
“Just keep swimming” is my mantra when it comes to this (and everything really lol). I’m sure one day we’ll look back at this phase and laugh..hopefully that day is coming soon!!!
************************************************************************************So in general, as I’m sure you can pick up from this post, we’ve definitely been on the struggle bus this month, but we’re doing the very best we can, and I guess that’s all we can do. I know that it will get easier, we just need to keep moving forward! My recovery period coming to an end will be an enormous milestone for us, as will getting a little more sleep more consistently. And hopefully both of those are just around the corner!
Lots of love, cheers to February and a new month!