Weeks 17 & 18

I don’t really remember at which point we stopped describing Austin’s age in “weeks” and started using “months”; but ever since then, it’s gotten a bit tricky to keep track of which week we are on!

Austin turned 4 months on February 9th, and we’re right smack dab in the middle of week 19 now, and as per usual, I don’t know where the time is going. We’ve had a busy morning today at the specialists office to find out what the best approach was for Austin’s shots. They’ve referred us over to a different hospital to receive the shots in hospital and under full-day observation, so it looks like Austin-from-Boston (lol – newest nickname in rotation and cracks me up every time) will be getting his shots in the next few weeks which will be a big relief.

Lots has been going on around here in the past few weeks….

Leap 4 

Leap 4, the 4 month regression, whatever you want to call it, this thing sucked and sucked BIG time. Thankfully our little Austin Possum managed it really well, all things considered, and we only had one extremely tough week (here’s lookin’ at you  week 17).

During week 17, my poor little baby was just inconsolable most of the day, refused point blank to nap and really didn’t want to do anything except walk around the house with either Matt or I (and even that didn’t do the trick sometimes….sheesh). We had a couple of brutal nights too where we were back to being up every 3 hours or less, and even one night where he took a full feed in the middle of the night which was very odd as he hasn’t done that in quite a while. We kind of worked up to this point starting in week 16 when he was starting to wake up a couple of times a night because his soother had come out of his mouth and he wanted it back.

I was gearing up for the long haul with the regression, but it SEEMS anyways that we’ve come out the other side of it, at least for now! Austin is back to his sunny, smiley self during the days, and it’s a “bad” night if we have to get up once or twice to replace his soother  (which, of course, isn’t bad at all!).

Naps are still a challenge for us (nap schedule? WTF is that?), but that’s nothing new and has been going on since he was born! I thiiiiiinnnnkkk you could say that on average he takes three naps a day: one arouuunnnnd mid-late morning, one arouuuuunnnnddd the lunch hour / early afternoon, and one arouuuuunnnnd early / mid evening. I say this very skeptically, and very tentatively, if you couldn’t read into that 😉 Little man basically does as he pleases as far as naps go, and I’m not stressing about it. Believe me, it’s the only thing I’m not stressing about lol. I’ve read lots of articles and even purchased one sleep training program back when Austin was only about 6 weeks old, and they insist (INSIST) on these extremely rigid nap schedules during  the day being critical to a full nights sleep (I’m talking, wake your baby within 5 minutes of the allotted napping time being over if they’re still sleeping, which just seems crazy to me). Matt and I haven’t done a damn thing in terms of regulating Austin’s sleep / nap schedule, and our little possum seems to have figured it out for the most part completely on his own, so we’re going to leave well enough alone and I guess just thank our lucky stars!

Milestones

We’re chugging along over here, and it is so much fun to watch Austin grow and discover new things and new abilities literally every single day! Ever since his big rolling spree a few weeks back, he hasn’t rolled completely over either way again, but he loves to roll from his back to his side and does this about a hundred times a day lol he’s also great at pushing right up onto his hands now from his tummy and will usually hang out like that for several minutes squirming with this lower body trying to move before he gets frustrated. I was reading that some babies just aren’t into crawling and will go straight from the ground to some form of walking, but I can tell that Austin will be a crawler (god help us all), because his little legs are already so busy trying to get his knees under him!!

The latest and greatest thing that he started doing towards the end of week 18 was grabbing his feet when he’s laying on his back! It’s hilarious and just cracks me up whenever he does it (which is a lot now!). He normally beams at me when he grabs his feet, and I now truly understand where the “happy baby” yoga pose comes from! 🙂

The next big gross motor skill that we’ve been working hard on is sitting up! Austin has been doing great with this, and now when I offer him my fingers while he’s lying on his back, I can pull him up to sitting with relatively little force, and he can stay sitting on his own while holding onto my fingers pretty well most of the time! He is so funny when he sits up, he normally lets his mouth gape open as he looks around like “well THIS is a new way to see the world!”, it just warms my heart. We still have lots of work to do before he can sit up on his own, but we’ll get there!

Out & About

I’ve been doing a little better at getting out of the house with Austin the past 2 weeks and I think it’s been good for us to get out and moving a little bit for sure.

We’re still right in the middle of this vicious cold and flu season, and I’m still completely OCD, carrying around hand sanitizer and all-but drinking the stuff before I touch Austin, but so far (BIG knock on wood), we’ve all managed to stay healthy. I know my friends and family think I’m crazy and poke fun at me for insisting that they wash & sanitize their hands before they touch Austin or come into our house, but to be blunt, I really don’t give a damn. These aren’t small stakes that we’re gambling with, and I would rather be safe than sorry, so I’ll take all the ribbing, as long as you do it while soaping up to your elbows in my bathroom sink, mmmmmkay? 🙂

We have a few weeks left of our nursery rhyme class Tickles ‘n Tales, and then we actually start swimming lessons the week of March 19th! I’m totally freaked about germs etc for this, but am just kicking that can down the road as future Sara’s problem to deal with. I’m also planning to sign us up for a sensory art class that starts in May! I’ve heard great reviews about this one, and am excited for it!

It’s a little tough for Austin and I to get out to a lot of the drop-in programs because most of them are reasonably early in the morning, and since Austin goes to bed around 9pm – 9:30pm, he normally isn’t up and awake for the day until about 10am, meaning we’ve missed the start time for most of the morning programs, or there’s no chance that we would make it there in time. One in particular I was really interested in was a program where you bring your babies (or toddlers) over to a retirement residence and have song / dance hour with the residents! Apparently it’s a real hit and the babies / residents all get a kick out of it. I’m really hopeful that maybe as Austin gets a bit older we’ll be able to shift his bedtime earlier and hopefully get out to some of those programs before the end of the year.

My Recovery

The usual roller coaster – ups and downs, highs and lows. Some symptoms have improved dramatically, others have worsened significantly.

The main thing that’s been on my mind has been an extreme, crippling fear of creating pelvic organ prolapse because of weak pelvic floor muscles. I’ve had this lingering feeling of heaviness / dragging in my pelvis that definitely gets worse the more I walk, or do any form of exercise. Ironically, it also gets much worse the more that I think about it. I apparently do not have prolapse (says my pelvic floor physiotherapist), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t develop it over time, and it’s scared me out of doing 90% of the exercise that I was doing, including walking.

I’m finding it really, really difficult (if not, impossible) to stop obsessing over every little thing that I feel in that area, and to worry about it constantly, all day, every day. The fear / worrying is much worse than the actual symptoms at this point.

My primary goal at the moment is to get onto some sort of regular pelvic floor training routine where I know that the muscles are working properly and getting stronger to support things down there. I’m hoping that this will give me some tiny iota of confidence, and will hopefully lead to me trusting my body enough to start using it a bit more.

Mexico

We leave for Mexico one week from today, and I’ve officially started packing! It’s pretty hilarious that tiny little Austin is bringing the biggest suitcase we own just for his paraphernalia lol  I think I’ve thought things through about as well as I can, and at this point I’m kind of anxious to just get going so that we can start dealing with the inevitable challenges as they come.

I really don’t think this trip is going to be very relaxing (quite the contrary lol), but hopefully the change of scenery will be nice for Austin, and hopefully we can make it fun for him even though he’s still pretty young to enjoy a resort like this 🙂

I’ll have a full report for you on the trip during my next update post! 🙂

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Well, I think that’s about all from us for now! PLEASE wish us luck on this trip to Mexico, above all, as long as our little guy stays healthy and happy, the rest of the details really aren’t such a big deal 🙂

Have a great couple of weeks – maybe we will bring back some sun with us?!

-Sara xo

 

Weeks 15 & 16

Hellooooo to February, and hellooooo to a new look for Going the Distance! The blog refresh is still very much a work in progress, but I’ve been looking to freshen up the look and feel of the blog for a while now, as well as organize the content a little better, and finally took a (very initial) stab at it this weekend. There are still lots of things that I’m trying to figure out in WordPress, so bear with me! 🙂

I’ve always really liked the transition from January to February for some reason. While I love the “fresh start feel” of January, February always seems a little more realistic, and like we’re settling into the year and can really roll up our sleeves and get into whatever goals we’ve set for the year. I took some time this week to sit back and really think about my goals for this year, and I’m feeling really excited about getting into them. I think I’ll do a separate post about 2018 goals and goal-setting in general, so stay tuned for more to come!

My Austin-Possum (lol) continues to grow and change every day, and sometimes I just don’t know what to do with myself I love him so much. I said to Matt the other day that I don’t know what we’re going to do when we have more children because I feel like my heart is already bursting through my chest and I don’t know that I can squeeze any more love in there without it bursting!!

Austin is such a good baby and has been really content for the most part the past two weeks, even though we are right smack dab in the middle of “Leap 4” according to the Wonder Weeks app (which is supposed to be notoriously bad for crying, clinging, crankiness). Normally when he’s fussy, there’s a good reason for it (he’s either over-tired, hungry, or just needs a hug and a walk-around), and we can solve the problem pretty quickly for him. I’ve hardly noticed an increase in crying / clinging / crankiness though, I’ve found him to be really smiley the past few weeks!

Sleep

Austin has still been sleeping really well for us, and we’ve been nudging his bedtime a little earlier and earlier each night so we are closer to a 9:00pm – 9:30pm bedtime now, which is nice because it gives Matt and I a little bit of time to do other things around the house after he’s gone to bed. He wakes up sometimes in the (very) early morning because his soother is out of his mouth and he wants it back, but that’s just a quick wake-up to pop the soother back in his mouth and he goes straight back to sleep so it’s not the end of the world by any means.

My sleep, on the other  hand, continues to be very disrupted, less to do with Austin, and more to do with this crazy anxiety that I’ve been having over something happening to him when he’s asleep. I’m still having a really hard time falling asleep, and wake up very easily at the slightest noise, usually anywhere from 5 – 10 times a night. I’m really trying to chill out and get some sleep because it’s really starting to wear on me.

One of my favourite parts of the day is first thing in the morning when Austin wakes up and I go into his room to get him from his crib. Normally he wakes up and starts babbling to himself rather than start crying. I wake up to him babbling, and come into his room, and his whole little face just lights up into this enormous beaming grin that just melts my heart. Sometimes I even get a huge dolphin squeal when he sees me, which just lights up my life! It’s such a great way to start the day, and even if I’m really tired and not quite ready to get up for the day myself, seeing his cheery little face always makes up for it.

I’m still dreading this four month sleep regression, but I’m hoping and praying that we’re kind of in the middle of the transition already, and that things won’t go off the rails for us too bad! We are about half way through Leap 4, and exactly one week away from Austin’s 4 month mark, so this is kind of crunch time if this regression really is going to happen! Cross your fingers for us!

Mexico

25 days until we leave for Mexico, and I’m starting to try and get my head around all of the craziness that will need to happen for this trip to be a success.

The first concern I have is making sure that we keep on our feeding / pumping schedule, and the cleanliness of the water on the resort to clean and sterilize his bottles. We will need to use bottled water to clean / sterilize the bottles, and I’ve asked the resort for a microwave, but of course they “won’t guarantee” anything for us until we arrive. As a back-up plan, I’ve ordered an electric travel kettle that folds right down and a big collapsible mixing bowl so that worst case, we can boil the bottled water and soak the bottles in there.

Sleeping hopefully won’t be an issue now that Austin is 100% transitioned to his big boy crib at home. I’m hoping that he won’t really notice or care too much about sleeping in a different crib.

I’ve bought a baby sun shade tent and a little Finding Nemo bouncer chair that I’m going to leave disassembled until we get to Mexico so that he has somewhere to hang out on the beach or by the pool that’s out of the sun. I seriously  have no idea how we’re going to navigate getting all of this gear into suitcases and down to Mexico in one piece, but we’re sure going to try!

I’m really hoping that this trip  will be a good chance to relax a little bit, even with all of this stress. It’s been a while since we went away on a vacation like this, and I’m hoping that it will be a really good chance for us to kind of exhale after all of the craziness of our first five months as a family of three.

Milestones

We had a pretty exciting event around here last week (week 15)! Austin rolled over from his tummy to his back for the first time COMPLETELY on his own, with nobody touching him at all! It was so exciting!

The very first time that he did it, I was actually out of the house and he rolled for Matt – I couldn’t believe it! We’ve been working on that roll for a few weeks now, and go figure, as soon as I turn my back, the little rascal rolls for us. He rolled again three times in a row at my parents house, and we all cheered and clapped for him 🙂

Since he went on his rolling spree last weekend, he actually hasn’t done it again since, but we’re kind of attributing that to the fact that he actually doesn’t mind being on his belly so much anymore. He kind of rests on his elbows now and is pretty content for at least 5 – 10 minutes before he starts grumbling and wants to flip onto his back. He’s also doing some pretty funny squirming with his legs that looks something like an attempt to crawl, even though we know he’s got a few milestones to go before crawling comes into the picture (sweet baby Jesus….what are we going to do when he starts crawling LOL).

Tickles and Tales

Austin and I are enrolled in a nursery rhyme group called “Tickles and Tales” that started this past week, and it was pretty damn hilarious to sit around in a circle with all of the other moms and babies singing nursery rhymes to our little guys!

Poor little Austin had had a busy morning already, and was pretty tired so started to get a bit fussy in the second half of the class, so I ended up swaying with him in my arms until he fell asleep and he missed out on the maraca fun of the second half haha….oh well, next time I’ll know better and we’ll have a more low key morning before the class. I think it will be a good thing for him to get out and interact with some other babies, and I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting a few more new moms as well.

I’m extremely anxious about this especially vicious flu season that we’ve been having this year, so I don’t love taking Austin out places with lots of other kids / people right now. I’m really looking forward to the Spring and the end of cold / flu season.

My Recovery

Oh you guys, I’m finally starting to feel better. Like, really better.

That estrogen cream that my OB prescribed me has been an absolute miracle for me, and things are really starting to heal well now that I’ve been using it regularly for about 2 weeks, and I’m extremely hopeful and optimistic that by the time I see my OB again at the start of March that I’ll be completely healed up on the outside at least. YAY!

Now that I’m finally starting to really feel better, I’m turning my attention and 100% of my effort on rebuilding my core and pelvic floor strength before I transition into more strenuous exercise. I mentioned in my last post that I was back teaching CXWORX now, and that is still feeling really good, but jumping and high impact stuff is still posing a challenge, mostly due to muscle weakness I think.

I’ve been doing lots of research and reading up on pelvic floor rebuilding, and I’ve been completely dedicated to doing some focused work on the exercises each and every day. So far they’ve been feeling really good, and I think that they will really help. My hope (and expectation, frankly) is that after a few weeks of focused work on both pelvic floor and core strength, that jumping and running will feel much better.

We are headed in the right direction folks! My OB did refer me to a specialist to check out a few things internally, but that appointment isn’t until July (seriously – what a joke. I can only hope that I was deprioritized because I’m doing relatively well, because if I was having severe symptoms and they told me July, I think I would have thrown myself off a bridge). I’m doing my best to put the specialist appointment out of my mind completely, and hey, if things continue to go well, then I may end up canceling that appointment as July gets nearer. Wahoo!

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I think that’s it for this update – we are off to Niagara Falls today with my family and Austin for the first time so that will be nice! I’m bringing along my good camera and am hoping to get some good shots of him, and all of us together actually! 🙂

Enjoy your weekend friends!

-Sara xo

 

 

 

Weeks 13 & 14

Another two weeks has sailed by, and here we are almost at the end of January! Austin is growing and changing so much every week, it is truly magnificent to watch. January feels like it’s been a busy month, with lots of people to see and things to do. There are lots of family birthdays this month, so we’ve been eating lots of cake and celebrating lots of milestones! Little Austin has been along for the ride with all of it, and loving every minute 🙂

Feeding

Honestly, not a lot to report  here, because everything is going so, so well! Austin is eating like a champ, and I can’t believe how solid he is getting! You really have to think twice when you go to pick him up now, you can’t just scoop him up without thinking about it anymore!

We haven’t had him weighed since December 15th (he was 12 lbs at that appointment), and I think that he’s probably somewhere between 14 and 15 lbs now (if I had to guess – I would say closer to 15, but you never know!). The next time that we weigh him will probably be at his specialist appointment for his vaccinations on February 20th, and by then I hope he will be over 15 lbs! Wahoo!

I’ve been pumping 4 times a day, and that gives us more than enough milk to keep afloat. My supply was getting a little bit low last week, but then I made some lactation cookies for my cousin (who just had her super sweet little babe last Tuesday by the way!) and got munching on them myself…..holy catfish did that ever boost my supply! It’s reassuring to know that if I ever do start to decline before we’re ready to stop, that I can make these cookies for a quick boost. We still breastfeed for his first early morning feed of the day (normally he wakes up for this feed sometime between 6am – 7:30am), and that is going perfectly as well. It’s pretty unbelievable to me how much we used to struggle with feeding Austin, and how effortless it is now. I’m so relieved that we’ve settled into a rhythm that works really well for us, and he seems to be thriving on it.

I don’t typically do a whole lot during the day aside from visiting at my parents house sometimes, so it hasn’t been a big deal to pump every 4 hours. I know that this could  be challenging as the weeks and months carry on though, and we start to do more and more things outside the house, or even as we go away on trips etc. I’m trying not to worry too much about it, and just go week by week.

Sleep

We’ve made some significant progress in our sleep habits this past two weeks! Towards the end of week 13, I went to get Austin from his bassinet in the morning and was horrified to see that my little nibsy had wriggled himself down to the bottom end of the bassinet and was sleeping with his little knees up around his belly because there wasn’t room for his legs. Poor sweet baby, it just broke my heart. I knew that the time had come; my little babe had outgrown his bassinet.

I’ve been dreading moving Austin to his crib and his own bedroom for a while now because frankly the thought of him being a wall away from us terrifies me, but we took the bull by the horns and kind of just went for it one night, putting him down in his crib instead of in his bassinet (we didn’t even put him in there for a nap or anything first – just threw the poor guy right to the wolves LOL). Our little champion sleeper went down right away and slept the whole night through, no issues whatsoever! HOW did we get so lucky!?

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While Austin has managed the transition to his big boy crib like a boss, it’s been his lunatic mommy that has been having a hard time. I’ve been waking up between 10 – 15 times a night in an absolute panic, stumbling out of bed like crazy and sprinting into his room to check on him, checking the baby monitor 30 times a night, laying awake and trying to hear him breathing on the monitor……it’s been wearing on me quite a bit to be honest. I always knew that I was a pretty anxious person, but I never foresaw how anxious I would be or become when it comes to Austin. It’s something that I really need to work on, for all of our health; it isn’t doing anyone any favours to have me so stressed out all the time.

My Recovery

God, what a roller coaster this all has been. I’ve been working my way back into exercise SLOWLY over the past few weeks. I started with some brisk walking on our treadmill, and even a little three minute jog, then layered on a 30 minute CX class down in our basement, and have even done a couple of low impact Step workouts with our BodyStep team.

When I first started all of this, I felt like I had set myself back a bit for sure afterwards, and was experiencing more pain and other symptoms for sure. My physiotherapist reassured me that I hadn’t done any damage to anything, that I was just exploring what my body was and wasn’t ready to do, and that I had probably just done a little too much too soon. As frustrated and upset as I was, I grudgingly agreed to dial it back and started doing simple squats every day; starting with 5. I did 5 squats a day for a couple of days, then increased to 10, then to 15, then to 2 sets of 15 etc etc….and I have to admit that it felt much better this way. Since then, I’m back to doing CXWORX now, and even team taught my very first class back at the gym yesterday at 15 weeks postpartum!

Although it is really great news that I’ve been feeling a little better, I do still have a lot of complications to deal with. I saw the OB that delivered Austin earlier this week, and she had some concerns about how things are looking / healing, and decided to refer me to a different specialist to take a look and do some more tests to determine if further surgery may be required. I’m hoping and praying that this isn’t the case, and that things keep moving in the right direction, but we will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I’m taking returning to CX as a victory, and my sights are set on returning to BodyPump next. High impact classes like BodyStep and BodyAttack will take a little longer for sure.

Milestones

Austin is using his hands like a champ now and his favourite toys are probably his multi-coloured rings which he loves to grab and shake around, and most importantly, shove in his mouth at every possible opportunity.

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OMG this little baby is so funny, every single thing goes straight into his mouth, but his very favourite things to stuff in his mouth are his own hands LOL….if he had a third hand, he would be very pleased to try and stuff that one in there too…..

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His head and neck strength is really great and we don’t even hold onto his upper back anymore when we pick him up! He also rolled over from his back to his front this week (week 15), but we haven’t been able to get him to do this again since earlier in the week. I know he is so close to rolling from his front to his back, he’s working so hard at it whenever we put him on his belly (we are guilty of probably not doing enough tummy time in a day to be honest)! He is also so babbly and talkative now, and absolutely loves when people pay attention to him and play games like peekaboo, or airplane (basically holding him horizontal under the chest and “flying him” around the house while making airplane noises LOL).

He is becoming more and more fun every day – and I just love seeing little bits and pieces of his little personality come to light.

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Trips

Eeeeeks, we are just about a month away from our trip to Mexico, and I’m starting to panic a bit and wonder what I was thinking when I booked this trip lol…..I’m super stressed about things like the water cleanliness and bug bites in Mexico, and just don’t know how we’re going to manage to sterilize our bottles and keep to our system that is working so well while we’re away for an entire week.

I’m thinking that this week I’m going to start a list of everything that we’ll need to bring with us, and I’d also like to take Austin back to our doctor for his four month check-up before we leave (four month check-up…..whaaaaat the heck is happening…..). We have our specialist appointment to test him for negative reactions to the regular vaccines on the 20th of February, and we are due to leave for Mexico on the 27th of February, so it looks like there is a good chance that we will not get the vaccines before we go away, unless by some miracle everything happens on the 20th, or very shortly afterwards, and we can sneak in for the shots a couple of days before the 27th. This all makes me super uneasy, and has been weighing on my mind a lot, but I guess at this point all we can do is our very best to keep him healthy, and to work through the process to make sure that it will be safe to give him the vaccines.

Thoughts on Motherhood and on Life 

I’ve realized more and more as the weeks go on the stark reality that is motherhood, and life really. Without getting too deep and emotional: this is hard. All of it is hard. Whether you had a natural birth and tore to hell, or a c-section birth, or a smooth and easy birth, whether your baby sleeps 12 hours at night or 12 minutes at night, whether you breast feed, or bottle feed, or your baby rolls over or doesn’t roll over, or gets his vaccines or doesn’t get his vaccines. It’s hard; so is life.

That being said, motherhood has also been the most wonderful roller coaster that I’ve ever been on, and there are so many glowing moments that make the hard parts worth it, and that truly overshadow the struggles. I’m working harder these days to really drink in those wonderful moments and not take them for granted, not just when it comes to Austin, but in general. Moments together with our family, or quiet moments alone, happy times and celebrations, and mundane conversations and day to day life. Some of the health struggles that we’ve been facing lately have really brought all of this into sharp focus for me, and made me realize that life is too short to focus on the hard parts. Just some food for thought I guess, sorry to go all Oprah on you 😉

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Well, I guess that’s it from us for now! Today is actually Matt’s birthday, so we are celebrating him today and the quiet giant that he is for our family. We would be up the creek without a paddle without him, that’s for sure!

Chat soon!

-Sara xo

Weeks 11 & 12

I guess I could really start every one of these posts with some kind of exclamation of how fast time is going, but that would get old real quick 😉

I’m writing this post right at the tail end of our 12th week and things are pretty much just a constant mad house over here! I can’t even begin to imagine how crazy things are going to get once Austin starts to move around on his own or *gasp* when there are more kids to contend with!

A lot has happened in our lives since I last posted before Christmas. Unfortunately, it was a pretty difficult holiday season for us and our family. My dad has been sick for quite some time now, and he finally ended up being admitted to the hospital on December 22nd with extreme nausea, weight loss, jaundicing, wonky bloodwork and many other symptoms. The next day, we were given a tentative diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, which was completely devastating, as I’m sure you can imagine.

As luck, fate, God, the universe or whatever other higher power you believe in would have it, the doctors had spoken a little bit prematurely when they told us their suspicions, and some more scans / tests in the next few days actually suggested that it was most likely not pancreatic cancer, but rather some kind of autoimmune disorder attacking the pancreas. Although that in itself still isn’t great news, we were all overjoyed that it wasn’t cancer, and that this disorder can most likely be treated and will clear up well for my dad. We all felt like we had dodged a pretty devastating bullet!

In and amongst all of this stress and heartache was Austin’s very first Christmas. My dad was such a trooper and actually checked out of the hospital on a day pass on Christmas Day so that he could go home for the day to be there for presents etc, and even with the difficult circumstances, I think that we salvaged a pretty wonderful first Christmas for Austin.

Matt’s dad was here with us the week leading up to Christmas, and his brother Scott was actually here for Christmas as well! We spent our very first Christmas Eve at our house (normally Matt and I go over to stay at my parents on Christmas Eve but now that we have Austin we wanted to stay at our own house for stockings etc), and Austin was an angel for presents and stockings being opened, looking especially cute for all of the pictures that we snapped (I think I took about 173,000).  I hope that we did his first Christmas justice!

Sleep

We’re still doing really well in terms of long stretches overnight, but there have been a few nights over the break where Austin would wake up randomly at 2am or 3am upset. We quickly figured out that he was just looking for his soother, and once we gave it back to him, he was out like a light again. He’s been waking up a little bit earlier too (somewhere between 5am – 6am) for a quick feed, before going back down for another 2 – 3 hours. He normally gets up for the day sometime between 9:30am – 10:00am. All in all – not too bad at all for a wee little guy! We had a hard time keeping his bedtime and nighttime routine consistent with all of the get togethers / things to do in the evenings, so I think he did really well sleep-wise all things considered.

We do have some rough waters ahead in terms of sleep. We have to transition Austin into his crib soon, as he’s outgrown his bassinet completely! Poor little guy can hardly straighten out his legs anymore, and the classic “roller coaster” pose isn’t working out for him in the bassinet anymore either. He’s a long one!! Combine this with the dreaded four month sleep regression, and I’m terrified that these long stretches overnight are going to go out the window. Here’s hoping that we can hold onto them!

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One thing that I do need to get better at is finding a way to control my crazy anxiety about him while he’s sleeping. There have been a couple of really funny nights where I wake up in a PANIC, throwing blankets and pillows all over the place, tumbling out of our bed and into the wall, half sprinting – half crawling across our bedroom floor to frantically get to his bassinet….only to find him sleeping away like a little angel … I’m a nut job you guys, a total and complete nut job. The best one was when I woke up savagely HITTING Matt in our bed to wake up, wake up, wake up because I thought something was wrong with Austin for some reason….LOL….poor Matt….

I’m not really sure why this is happening, it seems to be whenever I wake up without him crying or making noise, I’m waking up in a total panic that something is wrong or that he’s slept too long or something like that. I need to get it together because I’m pretty sure every panicked wake-up takes a year off of my life…

Feeding

Feeding has been going so well since we made the transition over to 95% bottle-feeds. He eats about every 2 hours during the day, sometimes stretching to 3, and consistently will eat 140mL per feed. I can’t believe we used to struggle so much to get 80mL into him!!

Pumping every 4 hours is a lot of work for me – but I’m happy to do it for the trade-off of a happy, well-fed baby, and smooth feeds 6+ times a day. It’s been such a gigantic relief of stress to not fight with Austin about feeds all day long. My milk supply has taken a hit for sure, so now my only worry is being able to keep up with his demands for the next few months. We’re lucky to have a huge stash of milk in our freezer from the early days when I was pumping after every single feed (*shudder* those were tough days!!), and pretty soon I think we’ll have to start dipping into that, but for now, I’m keeping up just by the skin of our teeth!

Austin is getting so much bigger and heavier now, and I’m actually excited to weigh him now (whereas I used to be absolutely terrified)! I know that he’s gaining weight well, and can’t believe how solid he is!

My Recovery

As per usual, there isn’t much positive to report on the recovery front. I wrote last update that I was starting to feel a lot better, which I was, but I’ve taken a significant step backwards since starting to introduce a tiny bit of exercise.

I’ve done three workouts in total in the past 7 days, and none of them have felt very good, and all of them have set my recovery back so that I’m in pain again most of the time. My very first “workout” was just 20 minutes of fast walking on our treadmill, with 3 minutes of very slow jogging at the end (the same pace that I was walking at). I did a 30 minute CXWORX workout in our basement as well, and then went to participate in a friend’s BodyStep assessment video at the gym (100% low-impact).

I’m really lost as to what is happening with my body in terms of my recovery. I’m at the point now where I don’t think that time is the issue, and I’m sure that there is something not healing properly based on how I’m feeling. I have an appointment with the OB that delivered Austin on January 22nd, and that day can’t come soon enough because I am so done with all of this. I just can’t wait for this to be behind me, but I’m not convinced that that day will ever come at this rate. We seem to only be standing still, or moving backwards.

Like I wrote last update, I’m just tired when it comes to this whole topic. Even thinking about it exhausts me. I just want it all to be over.

Milestones

Austin has been changing so much every week, the biggest change in him in the past 2 weeks is that he seems to have discovered that he has control over his hands. He’s learned how to take his soother out of his mouth and hold it in his hand, which makes us laugh and roll our eyes at the same time because the little monkey will take his soother out, and then cry because he wants his soother back in his mouth but hasn’t figured out how to put it back in!

I know that he is super close to being able to roll over from his tummy to his back, we’ve been practicing on our bed and I can tell by the way he’s moving and squirming that he can do it, he just needs to get the mechanics down! He hates tummy time on hard surfaces (can’t blame the guy – I wouldn’t like laying on my tummy on hardwood floors either!), but doesn’t mind it at all on our soft beds! He also loves to play airplane where we hold him under the chest and “fly” him around our house making airplane noises haha (apparently babies at this age like to see the world from this perspective – the airplane noises are just to amuse Matt and I hehe).

My very favourite thing that Austin has started doing in the last few weeks is really laughing! We have a total giggle-monster on our hands! He had let out the odd giggle here or there a couple of weeks ago, but now we have full-on laughing fits when he gets into the right giggly mood! Matt is still more funny than me apparently, but I’ve gotten a couple of good giggles out of him! I also get lots and lots of smiles, so that’s good enough for me 🙂

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Our Days

Austin and I have been spending a lot of time at home on our own during the days. It’s been brutally cold here, and I get kind of stressed out driving him with alone in the backseat (I need to get over that – I know), so it’s just easier on all fronts for us to hang out at home.

I do find it a bit lonely sometimes, but love hanging out with Austin, and he’s been really good for me during the days as well, very few stage 5 freak outs to report! We sing a lot of songs during the day, walk around while listening to music, play with his rings or his “tortuga” (fun fact – Matt and I thought that this little turtle that he got from Christmas was named “Tortuga” because that was on the box, but it turns out that “Tortuga” is actually “Turtle”in Spanish, HA), do a bit of tummy time or nap. I’m anxious for the weather to turn a bit nicer and to start getting out of the house to take advantage of some of the programs at the library and for mom & baby. We start a group at the library called “Tickles & Tales” in February, and I’m hoping that Austin is old enough to have some fun and enjoy it! We are also planning to start mom & baby swimming lessons in April!

Trips

Eeeeeeeeeks, we have our first plane ride coming up with Austin at the end of February and I am S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D (surprised? Me neither!).

We are on our way down to Mexico for a family destination wedding and I have no hot clue how we’re going to survive a trek through the airport and a 3 hour flight!! I have a huge phobia of flying myself, so this may actually be good for me because I’m sure I won’t have a second to be freaked out myself on the plane with Austin to look after!! I also really don’t want to pass this fear on to any of my babies as they get older, so I really need to keep it together.

More to come on this topic – but it’s on my mind lots already!

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I think that’s about it for our 11 / 12 week update! One of my cousins is due to deliver her baby anytime now in January, and chatting with her about the upcoming delivery is bringing me such nostalgia (can you have nostalgia for something that was only 13 weeks ago? Ha) for those pre-delivery and early newborn days. Although they were hard, no question about it, it is sad in a way to think that they are gone now.

I’ll have to come back to this post when we have babies # 2 – 4 and am ready to pull my hair out from sleep deprivation 😉

Chat soon!

-Sara xo

Weeks 7 – 10

How….I repeat….HOW is my sweet baby nearly 11 weeks old??? Those teeny, tiny newborn days seem so far behind us now, he is getting so big that he has practically outgrown his bassinet!! It breaks my heart and makes me so happy all at the same time. As with most advice, I’m realizing after the fact how true it was that I needed to soak in these precious days, even during the hard parts, because they are over so so soon.

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Every week with Austin seems to be getting better and better. Each week that goes by, I look back on and say “that was my favourite week so far!”….and then each week seems to top it after that! He is so expressive with his face, hands and legs now and it’s just impossible to be around him without smiling (at least when he’s in a good mood – which he is for the most part!). He’s started giggling now, a real little person laugh, and it just makes me die laughing whenever he does it. Normally Matt is the best at getting a laugh out of him when he makes a motor boat sound with his lips LOL….I’ve tried the same trick and just get a raised eyebrow from him, so apparently Mommy isn’t so funny……

Feeding

Sometime during week 7, we had an especially rough couple of days with breastfeeding (same old story – he just refused to eat from me and each feed caused him to scream hysterically until he couldn’t breathe), and I hit my breaking point. I told Matt, “that’s it, I’m done. I’m spent, emotionally exhausted, I tried, we tried….this just isn’t working”. I knew that my sentiments weren’t too far off the mark, because my very reasonable husband actually agreed with me.

We agreed that we would maintain status quo (trying to breastfeed each feed and then following up with a bottle of pumped breast milk) until Austin got his shots on December 15th, and then we would call it a day with breastfeeding. I would pump as much as I could in 3 sessions each day to bottle-feed him, and we would supplement the balance with formula once my supply ran out. It didn’t feel good, but we were really out of options. We had tried everything.

We had a really great couple of days with breastfeeding shortly after this decision (of course – I swear this baby understands English and once we get to our breaking point, he figures “meh, I’ll throw ’em a bone!”), but then reverted back to our same old struggles, tenfold. We had several days in a row where he was (strenuously) refusing both the breast and the bottle, and my anxiety was through the roof because I knew he wasn’t getting enough milk to support his weight. At his doctors appointment, he weighed in at 12 pounds exactly, and his rate of gain had slowed down significantly from earlier.

Our doctor was very matter of fact and said that it really wasn’t a big deal, and we needed to just pick one: breast or bottle, and it really didn’t matter which one we chose as both were good options for him. And so we did. We’ve been feeding him almost exclusively bottles of pumped breastmilk for about a week now, and while we are still struggling to get the timing exactly right, he is eating so much better, is a much happier baby, and my anxiety is gradually starting to reduce a little bit. A win for all. I’m lucky to have a ton of milk, so I only have to pump three times a day to have more than enough for a full day of breastmilk feeds. I’m not keen to use formula just yet, so will have to keep an eye on my milk supply, because if it starts to go down then I’ll have to reevaluate. 

I’m still holding onto our early morning breastfeeding session because he seems to do really well at this time when I have the most milk, and he’s a bit dozy (read: not yet wearing his sassy pants for the day), and so far this routine is working well for us. I’m glad to have at least one breastfeeding session a day just for the snuggles and am actually looking forward to this session now that things are going so much more smoothly.

I’m dealing with extreme guilt that we aren’t breastfeeding very much anymore, but I’m gradually accepting that this is the best decision for all of us. It’s a real shame that we didn’t get the hang of breastfeeding, but I’m grateful that we did have a few months at the beginning, and I’m hopeful that for future babies we may have a better shot at it now that I know more about it and have some experience behind us. For now, we’re doing the best we can for our little muffin, and I’m glad that he is still exclusively on breastmilk. I hope that we can make it to six months, but we’ll just have to wait and see!

Sleep

Oh mama, it’s been an amazing couple of weeks for us!! I really and truly don’t know what changed, because we sure haven’t done anything in terms of setting a routine or sleep training, but our little man is sleeping like a boss at night…HALLELUJAH.

It started one night at about 6 – 7 weeks when, totally out of the blue, he slept for 5 hours straight overnight. I woke up so confused and nearly killed myself toppling out of our bed and getting over to the bassinet to make sure he was okay…and there he was sleeping in his usual “arms overhead – riding the roller coaster” pose (LOL – melt my heart).

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Each night from there onwards seemed to get better and better, and his intervals stretched out from 3 – 4 hours to 4 – 5 hours….then 5 – 6 hours…..then two nights in a row, he slept 7 hours straight……and then came the 8 hour stretch?! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!

Like I said, we really don’t have much of a routine, but we do give him a big 120+mL bottle and put him to bed in his swaddle sometime between 11pm and midnight each night. He’s been going down for a nap around 9:30pm – 10pm each night, but pretty consistently wakes up around 11:00pm for his last feed of the night. Ideally, we’d love to push his bedtime much earlier, but for now, we’re sticking with what works.

I may have gotten a little cocky thinking that we were completely over our sleep woes; sometimes he’ll have a night where he’ll only do a 5 hour stretch, but usually on these nights, he just wakes up for a quick feed, and then gone down for another 3ish hours after that. This isn’t bad at all either, and we can totally function on this routine, so I’m not complaining at all.

Soooooo, so grateful over here, I know that not all babies figure sleep patterns out so easily, we are so, so lucky! Fingers crossed that it’s only onwards and upwards from here! I pretty much live in fear of this four month sleep regression that I hear so much about, but am trying to just keep my nose to the grind and keep doing what we’re doing because it’s working like a charm right now.

THREE CHEERS FOR AUSTIN, THE CHAMPION SLEEPER – HIP HIP HOORAY!

My Recovery

I feel like I’ve just been this black cloud of despair when it comes to my recovery for the past 10 weeks, but I finally, finally am feeling a little bit more optimistic.

The six-week mark was a really disappointing one for me, because I really didn’t feel even close to fully recovered, or able to return to really any aspects of my pre-baby life. I had a very dismissive doctor’s appointment at the end of week six, where my doctor really had nothing to say to me except to “give it time”, and that it would be a long road to recovery. I left that appointment so discouraged and upset. It felt like I was running in place and getting nowhere.

Weeks 7 and 8 specifically were HUGE ones in terms of moving forward with my recovery. I don’t even know what the catalyst or the turning point was, but things just slowly started feeling more and more “normal”, and I was thinking about the injury less and less every single day. I remember one day I even jogged up our stairs without even thinking about it, and realized that it didn’t hurt or feel odd one bit!

Week 9 was a harder one for me, with the return of a lot of pain, and a heavy sensation that really freaked me out. I went into the walk-in doctor towards the end of week 10 and found out that I had a urinary tract infection. Sigh. I left the office feeling like I had just done ten rounds in the ring with Muhammed Ali, and that I just couldn’t catch a break.

Once I started taking the (breastfeeding safe) antibiotic, I started feeling dramatically better in all aspects. The pain I was having started to decrease, the heaviness mostly went away, and things just started to improve a lot. I’m kind of in a new steady state now where I wouldn’t say things are improving dramatically every day anymore, but I feel pretty good most of the time.

My head is starting to fall apart a little bit in terms of my recovery and my goals. I’m starting to change the dialogue in my head to one that kind of scares me because it’s one that says “oh well, maybe you don’t need to teach or exercise anymore, maybe you can find other hobbies, you have a family now, you’re too busy to exercise anyways, it’s okay if I can’t jump anymore, you’ve always wanted to write more, learn photography ….maybe if you don’t teach anymore then you’ll have time for those things “………

Fitness and exercise was such a gargantuan part of my life that it makes me really sad to be thinking like this. In mentally strong moments, I feel like maybe one day I’ll get back to what I used to do, but I’ll admit that more often then not, I’m in the mode I described above. It’s odd really, because as I feel better and better, you would think that my head space would be improving, but for some reason, it’s been the opposite. I was bound and determined early on that I was going to make a full recovery and get back to teaching ASAP, but now I just feel lethargic about it all. Tired. Tired of the stress and the fear, tired of the sadness, tired of the dull pain all the time, tired of it all. It feels like it may be less painful to just let it all go and start over with a new passion then fight so hard and try to claw my way back to what I used to be.

I’ll be fine – really. No really, I mean it 😉 I’m trying to be patient and just believe that what is meant to be will be. Once the holiday craziness is over and we settle into our new normal again in January, I’m hoping that things become more clear to me.

Vaccinations

Holy cats – talk about stress!!!

So Austin was due to get his two month shots on Friday December 15th….but that didn’t end up happening. Like I mentioned in one of my pregnancy posts from my third trimester, Matt and his younger brother both had serious reactions to these vaccines (i.e. stopped breathing!!!) when they were babies. We mentioned this to our doctor, and asked for her opinion on whether or not it was safe to give Austin these shots, or if there were other options for us. She ended up referring us to an allergist to test him for adverse reactions to these vaccines before we give them to him, which will delay him getting his shots by several weeks. Gah.

I’m ultra stressed about cold and flu season and exposing Austin to germs, now that he’s getting a bit bigger and so, so snuggly, everyone is dying to see him and hold him and touch him (a complete stranger at my office put his little hands IN HER MOUTH pretending to “eat his hands” when I brought him in for a visit….WTF!?!?!?!? I nearly body-tackled her!!!)….and I feel like we’re just on the bubble of a cold. Stresssssssssss!!!

Thankfully our little man has been a trooper, even with strangers licking him (lol) and seems to be in good health. I’m hoping and praying that things stay that way until his allergist appointment in February.

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In general – it’s been an amazing couple of weeks for us. I truly feel like I have a little friend in Austin now, and I’m just in love with the time that we spend together all day. We will sometimes spend hours at a time listening to Michael Buble music (this child WILL appreciate talented musicians – I refuse to raise a fan of the garbage that you hear on the radio these days), and dancing around our house, or just singing along in his MamaRoo, and I will treasure those memories for the rest of my days.

I’ll leave you with some of Austin’s newborn photos that we got back from our very talented photographer….my little baby….look at how tiny he was!!!

We wish you an absolutely magical holiday season – I hope that you take the time to hold your family close, laugh lots, eat delicious food and just enjoy life completely ❤ ❤ ❤

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Lots of love,

-Sara xo

 

 

 

 

The Next Two Weeks

I’ve had my eye on this milestone for a long time – six weeks! Everything that I’ve heard / read has said that six weeks is a huge leap forward for new families in terms of confidence, baby’s development, and just overall functionality….and indeed “they” were right (whoever “they” are anyways).

When I look back at some of those really early weeks, I can really see the difference in Matt and I as parents; we’re starting to get our feet under us somewhat, and it feels really good! We’re by no means “in control” of this circus (will we ever be again for the rest of our lives? lol), but we’re not feeling quite as overwhelmed  as we were early on. HALLELUJAH.

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We had our very last midwife appointment back at the start of our 6th week (whaaaaaat?), and little man tipped the scales at 10 pounds 13 ounces! Woo! His growth has been on track and I’m so thankful that he is gaining weight well despite some challenges….

Feeding

Week five was a really tough one for us – especially early on. We had some major setbacks with breastfeeding that pushed me right to the brink of my sanity. Breastfeeding is such a drain on my emotions, it’s crazy. More than anything I want to give Austin the best possible nutrition, and I really love our snuggly time together, but every single day I think about giving up on the gong show that is breastfeeding because of how hard it (still) is. Literally the only thing stopping me from saying “F it” once and for all is how much I love my little muffin, and how much I want to do the best possible thing for  him.

For a big part of week five, Austin went on a bit of a nursing strike where he wouldn’t latch on at all, and when he did, he would scream his head off after about 5 seconds to the point that he couldn’t breathe. This went on every single feed for about 3 days, and it was just traumatic for both of us. Nothing worked – probiotics, gripe water, different positions, pumping before feeding…..we went down every avenue we could possibly come up with. We survived those few days with pretty much exclusive bottle feeding, but he really wasn’t keen to take the bottle either, it was a similar reaction to breastfeeding when we tried to get the bottle into his mouth.

Oi.

Finally, after about 3 days (and more Google searches then I care to admit), in desperation, I cut dairy out of my diet just to see what would happen. Well lo and behold….after about a day, our feeding sessions started to improve! I’ve been doing my best to avoid dairy ever since, and we’re sort of back to a good place now, but he will still only feed for about 10 minutes maximum, and is really only interested in one side at a time. We’re still doing a bottle top-up after every feed to make sure that his weight gain is still on track (sometimes he takes it, sometimes he doesn’t), and I’m hoping that consistently working at it every feed will result in us getting better and better, and hopefully eventually eliminate the need for the bottle. And if it doesn’t – then oh well. My immediate goal with breastfeeding is to get Austin at least to his two month shots (scheduled for December 15th!), and then we’ll re-evaluate from there. Next goal will be six months, and again, we’ll re-evaluate. We had a positive visit to the breastfeeding clinic during week six, and that gave me some reassurance that Austin is actually pretty efficient at getting milk from me (little man pulled 70 mL in 8 minutes and a total of 110mL in 12 minutes!), so I’m trying really hard to trust my body, and to trust him, and to keep pushing forward.

Our session at the breastfeeding clinic was actually pretty hysterical – call it my official initiation into parenthood! Austin and I had been feeding for a while, and he had started fussing, so I stood up with him and started walking around the room with him to calm him down. He was wearing only his diaper, and I was only wearing my nursing bra.

Can ya see where this is going?

As we were pacing around, he let out this HUGE, massive fart that I knew would have filled his diaper. I right away started cooing about how “that must have felt good!”, and “good job pooping”! I wasn’t allowed to change his diaper until we took his weight so that we could get an accurate read of how much milk he had taken from me during our session. The lactation consultant came back into the room a few minutes later with the scale to check his weight, and I put him down on the scale……….

Annnnnd realized that the entire lower part of my torso was COVERED (no like…..COVERED, you couldn’t see my skin colour) in poop! He had had a stage 5 poop explosion, and it was ALL OVER him, and me too! OMG. The little turkey was all smiles and giggles after that, he seemed quite proud of himself! I wished Matt had been there; he would have just died laughing!

Nickname Update

Some of Austin’s nicknames are starting to phase out, and some new ones are on the way in! “Flower” is still going strong, as is “NAKEDBABY!” (said altogether in an ultra-excited, high pitched voice). Matt has now taken to calling me “NAKEDMOMMY!” in the same ultra-excited high pitched voice when we’re getting set to feed LOL…oh the things that amuse us….

I’ve added “Wiggly-Bee” to the list of nicknames in rotation this past two weeks because he is just always in motion! He loves to kick his feet and we sometimes call him our little eel because he wriggles around so much when you’re holding him sometimes. You’ve got to keep a really good grip on him, or I swear he’ll get away!

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My Recovery

It’s a work in progress folks, it truly is a work in progress. There’s been dramatic improvement in how I’m feeling now vs. 2+ weeks ago for sure, but I’m still not quite there. I can still feel a “pulling” or “stinging” sensation when I walk too much, or move in the wrong way and the incision area is also still quite tender to the touch. I’ve also got a few minor symptoms that are making me really nervous that more serious things could be wrong internally, but they are minor, and I’m trying really hard to not go looking for trouble. God help me to stay OFF the internet, I need to for my own sanity.

I’d be lieing if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed that we are past the 6 week mark now and I’m not 100% healed. I know that there’s no “6-week fairy godmother” that miraculously heals wounds at the 6 week mark, but ever since Austin’s birth, I’ve kind of had my eye on this week as THE week that things would be back to normal and this whole ordeal would be behind us, but that just isn’t the case. Not quite yet anyways 🙂

I’m still working hard on my recovery and doing everything I possibly can to promote healing. I had my first pelvic floor physiotherapy appointment on Thursday of week six and thought that it went pretty well. The therapist examined me externally and a little bit internally and was very positive and optimistic for a full and complete recovery (although it is still early to comment at this stage). She gave me some exercises to focus on relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, because she thinks that muscle tightness is a big source of some of the residual pain that I’m having. Both her and my family doctor have stressed to me that although six weeks is the “superficial”healing time frame, internal healing and return to completely normal muscle function will take longer. Apparently six weeks is still “very early” in the recovery process. Sigh.

One silver lining of this whole ordeal is that my injury has resulted in a new love for me…baths! I don’t think I had taken a bath in about 25 years until I was in labour, but ever since our nightmare delivery, it was highly recommended to me to take regular Epsom salt baths to help keep the incision area clean and to promote healing. I’ve been religious about it, and have soaked in an Epsom salt bath for just 5 – 10 minutes just about every day since Austin was born….and I’m hooked! Not only do the baths make my incision feel so much better, but now I’m starting to love them just as a chance to relax as well! I’ve started using these amazing Epsom / Lavender / Honey bath salts and ohhhhh baby I love them. I really look forward to a few minutes to soak in a day, and think that I’m officially a bath convert!

I’m reiterating my goal here to keep me honest and hold me to it: my goal is to begin light workouts in early December (after December 7th – I want to see my physiotherapist one more time before I begin working out), ramping up towards the end of the month and ultimately to teach the new releases coming out at the gym the third week of January. Both my physio and my family doctor have agreed that this seems realistic, as I’ll be well past the 3 month mark by that point. Time will tell.

I believe. I believe. Now accepting positive vibes, thoughts and prayers…lol

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Sleeping

We are definitely making some progress on the sleep front! Over the past couple of weeks we’ve noticed a definite pattern in Austin’s sleep. He seems to be a bit more fussy in the later evening from about 8pm – 12am, but then goes down for a good stretch anywhere between 3.5 and 5 hours!! 5 hours!! That only happened once, but damn did it ever feel good lol….our days are sort of, kind of falling into a bit of a somewhat predictable routine, and it’s awesome.

Austin wakes up from his second sleep of the night sometime between 6am and 7am normally. We do our feed, and a bit of playing on his mat or his change table, he’s normally pretty alert and full of beans at this time! Sometime between 8 and 8:30am he goes back down to sleep for about another 2 hours, and then between 10am and 11am, we get up together “for the day”.

I’m kind of struggling a bit with how much time Austin needs to be awake in a day vs. sleeping. I sometimes feel like we’re always in such a hurry to get him back to sleep after a feed, and I don’t want to do that if my little monkey wants to be awake! He is becoming more and more fun every day, I love making him smile and can usually do this by “playing the bongos” on his belly, singing the itsy bitsy spider (complete with crawling hand motions up his belly) and poking him in the nose (LOL). He also loves when people make faces at him and quite often will try to mimic them back! Hanging out with Austin while he’s happy and giggly has to be one of my favourite things in the entire world; it truly makes all of the difficult parts of parenting worth it 1,000,000 times over.

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Santa (!!)

This past weekend we dressed Austin up in a cute little outfit I bought him from H&M Baby and took him to a photo shoot session that I booked way back in the Summer to meet Santa!

I was super stressed about how he would do with the session, and he was a little sleepy because he had fallen asleep in the car on the way to the shoot, but I think we got a few good shots in there for sure! I just can’t wait to see the pictures! It’s so hard to believe that this is the last few days of November….time is flying, but standing still at the same time. I can’t believe how close we are to Christmas already. We’ve decided to get Austin’s high chair as a gift from Santa this year, so we went over to Babies ‘R Us and picked it up yesterday afternoon. I can’t imagine a time when he will be sitting at the table with us, but am so excited for that milestone! Speaking of milestones…

Although “official” tummy time is kind of a fail (he usually just lays there on his belly gurgling until he gets mad and then starts crying lol), he is holding up his head really well these days on our chest and looking side to side with pretty good control! We need to keep working at the tummy time for sure, it will be awesome when he’s able to hold his head up on his own!

The First Night

Oh boy…I feel guilty even writing this.

Weeks and weeks ago (before Austin was born), my mom and I had talked about going to Buffalo to do some Black Friday Christmas shopping in the States. We normally try to get over the border on Black Friday, if for nothing else, the tradition of going. I foolishly thought that by 6.5 weeks that things would be well under control and that it wouldn’t be a big deal for me to pop out for one night and come back mid-day the next day…

While things were in complete control with Matt, I balled like a baby and was thisclose to canceling the whole thing at 11pm as we were about to leave the house. I didn’t realize how much my heart would break leaving my Austin-Bee for even a short time…we haven’t spent a night apart from each other in over 11 months when you really think about it 😦

After some crying (me – not him lol), my mom and Matt convinced me that it would be good for me to get out of the house and take a bit of a break, so over the border we went. We were home by 4pm the next day, so really were only gone for about 15 hours, and surprise, surprise, everything was jut fine when I got home to my little muffin.

I did have to carry my breast pump around the mall in a backpack on my back, and pump in the bathroom of The Cheesecake Factory over lunch to try and keep my milk supply up though…LOL…oh my life….

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All in all – it’s been a huge two weeks for us, and I’m so excited to keep rolling on this crazy train forward! I’ll do my best to update a little more frequently, as it’s easy to lose track of all the things that go on when I wait so long!

All the best to you and your families as we head into this crazy, but wonderful holiday season!

-Sara xo

 

The First Four Weeks

Sometime during my pregnancy, I wrote that “it’s true what they say, the days are long, but the years are short”. It only got more true after Austin was born – I just can’t believe that our little monkey will be a month old on Monday! He’s already grown and changed so much since he was born, and this week I had to put away some of his newborn sleepers because they just don’t fit anymore…..so sad! 😦

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I’m going to try to stay on top of regular updates, because it’s crazy how the days and weeks are blurring together, and it kind of breaks my heart that some of these precious memories will be lost in the folds of sleep deprivation and hormonal mood swings.

SO – how are we doing? We’re doing okay! Some days I feel like we’re totally kicking ass at this whole parenting thing; we have a good rhythm with feedings, Austin is sleeping well, and content for the few minutes that he’s awake, I manage to get some stuff done around the house….and other days, literally if all three of us are still alive, then that’s the victory of the day! I am very much a Type A personality, and those days are really hard for me; I’ll be honest. I’ve never been good at letting go of a plan, or at rolling with the punches, and both of those skills are so important with a newborn. Thankfully, Matt is an absolute all-star, and is much better at letting go of plans and rolling with punches. He’s picked up the slack when I drop the ball so many times in the past 4 weeks, I can’t keep count anymore.

Feeding

Breastfeeding has been an incredible challenge right from day 1 for us. Austin has struggled to latch on properly, and I’ve struggled with awkward positioning, raw / cracked / bleeding nipples and an incredible sense of failure that I’m just not getting the hang of this. I’ve felt enormous pressure (mostly self-imposed) to breastfeed vs. formula feed, but I won’t lie, more than a couple times I’ve been thisclose to throwing in the towel and giving up.

Thankfully – this past week has been a big turning point for us (I think)! Up until this week, we’ve been breastfeeding at just about every feed, and then topping up with a bottle of pumped breast milk to make sure that he is getting enough even if the breastfeeding isn’t going well. Well, this week at our check-in, his weight was up to 9 pounds 10 ounces, and he took 110mL from me while only breastfeeding for about 12 minutes!!! I seriously cheered out loud when I read those results on the scale – for one of the first times since Austin was born, I felt like I may have actually done something right, and that we were headed in the right direction!

Our lactation consultant has us exclusively breastfeeding now, no more bottle top-up. I’m very nervous about this, and to be honest, our first night without the bottle didn’t go well at all, but we’re going to keep working at it, and hopefully get to the point that it’s either breastfeeding OR a bottle to feed him, but not both. I’m glad that we did introduce the bottle early, because Austin doesn’t seem to mind switching back and forth, and I really appreciate the flexibility of someone else being able to feed him if I need a bit of a break, or have to step out for whatever reason.

Feeding is still totally a work in progress, but I feel like we’re starting to get there slowly, and we will keep working at it until we master it. I’m hoping in another few weeks that we will look back at all of these challenges and wonder what the big deal was.

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The Many Nicknames…

LOL – oh you guys…for a mama that insisted on naming my baby something that nobody could shorten or change with a nickname, I sure do have an awful lot of nicknames for my little man! Sometimes people hear me talking to Austin and look at me like I’m insane LOL…here are some of my current faves:

  • Nibs
  • Nibsy Magoo
  • Mr. Magoo
  • Flower
  • Flower-Bug
  • Flower-Bee
  • NakedBaby (said all together very quickly LOL – this is one of my favourites when we’re changing his diaper / feeding him…it just cracks me up)
  • Honey-Bee
  • Austin-Bee (what’s with me and the bees???)

There are probably more, but those are the top ones for now….sheesh, this poor guy….. wait until  he’s a gigantic teenager playing hockey and finds out that I used to call him Flower-Bee LOL…. I die….

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Sleeping

Oi…… for every time that I said the words “I’m so tired” before I had Austin….I truly and deeply apologize to the parenting community.

Some nights, Austin doesn’t do too bad, and will sleep for a solid 3 hours before waking up hungry. Those nights are totally manageable, and I’ve been REALLY lucky that most of the weeknights that I’ve handled on my own without Matt’s help have been like this. I’ve gotten pretty used to functioning okay on 2 – 2.5 hour stretches of sleep, but there have been a handful of nights from hell where our poor little monkey just can’t get settled back to sleep after a feeding, and is awake fussing for another 1 – 1.5 hours (or on particularly heinous nights like last night – 4 straight hours), meaning that by the time he does finally go down, he’s awake in another 20 minutes hungry again anyways. GAH.

Again – I’ll admit that my Type A personality makes me not so great in these difficult moments. I struggle to understand that there doesn’t always have to be a logical, and predictable reason that babies cry, sometimes they just need a hug or a cuddle, or they get hungry faster then they “should”….and I think what really is frustrating / upsetting to me is that I don’t know how or what to do to “fix” things when he gets so upset like this. Enter: guilt, stage left.

Everyone keeps telling me that things will improve sleep-wise, and I really hope that this is true for us. We’ve been sleeping downstairs on our couch for the past 4 weeks with Austin in his bassinet (one big bonus for us is that he does sleep very well in his bassinet, whereas I know a lot of babies struggle to sleep unless they are being held). I’m really looking forward to trying to move back upstairs into our bedroom (with the bassinet at the foot of our bed), I hate sleeping on our couch, and with my stitches, I find it really hard to get up and down from the couch because it’s such a deep, cushy sectional. This brings me to…..

My Recovery

Recovering from our delivery has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through in my life, and I’m probably still only 50% of the way there as of today. The first week was so hard. I don’t think there was one day where I didn’t sob until my stomach muscles hurt from either the pain, or more often from just the overwhelmingly poor prognosis for a full, long-term recovery. Google is awful. I challenge any of you to find more than 5 positive recovery stories from a fourth-degree tear during childbirth. I think I’ve found maybe 5 in total, with daily searches. I’ve probably read at least 200 stories from women struggling years later, who never returned to proper function. It’s completely and totally overwhelming, and if I’m having an emotionally weak moment, it’s enough to make me cry for an hour.

Slowly, very slowly, things are improving. I’m no longer in pain for 90% of the day or more, it’s more that sitting or moving certain ways feels a bit uncomfortable sometimes, and I can feel the stitches kind of pulling a bit, but nothing unbearable anymore by any means. I’m off all of my pain medications now (have been for over a week) and my biggest remaining challenge is staying on top of my fibre intake, because…well, use your imagination. (Sorry – TMI, I know). I’ve also been trying my best to get at least one Epsom salt bath in per day, and spend at least a few minutes with an ice pack as well, and I think both of these things have been really helping.

I hit my all-time low with recovery on Monday of this week (Monday October 30th) when I was absolutely sure that I had torn my stitches / incision open. Thankfully, my midwives were able to get me an emergency appointment with the OB that delivered Austin (and the one that stitched me back up!), and she saw me on Tuesday. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this OB – she has truly been one of the only bright spots in an otherwise very, very challenging situation. She just has the perfect balance of being so kind and empathetic, while at the same time, business-like and professional, and very knowledgeable. More important than any of that stuff is that she has 150% of my trust, and at a time when I’m feeling so vulnerable, it really puts my mind at ease to have a medical professional that I trust so much looking after me.

She examined me completely (external AND internal….dear God, I thought I would have a heart attack when she said internal, but she laughed at me and said that she of all people wouldn’t do any damage to the stitches that she had put in, so I had to trust her…and I did!). I nearly wept with relief (actually, I did weep with relief lol) when she told me that things were healing well, she couldn’t detect any issues at all, and that I had not torn open any stitches. That appointment really improved my head space when it comes to my recovery, and I’ve been more positive ever since.

It will be 4 weeks on Monday, and I’ve been told that I can begin pelvic floor physiotherapy as of 6 weeks. I have an appointment for November 23rd, and I just can’t wait to get started and feel like I’m actually contributing to my own recovery. I am really, really hoping to start light workouts again in December, and to be back in classes by January. I’m 100% committed to a full recovery, and will do whatever it takes to get there, so I’m trying to look at this as a goal of some sort (a new BHAG perhaps?!).

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My Favourite Moments

I’ve talked a lot about challenges in this post, but there have been so many wonderful moments that truly trump and overshadow all of the things that we’ve gone through this month.

My absolute favourite moments are the sleepy ones  after we finish feeding when NakedBaby (LOL) falls asleep on my chest….sometimes he will make these soft little “coo” noises, and I think my heart might just melt through my chest.

Lately, his little face has been getting so expressive, and he’s starting to mimic facial expressions like smiles, big open mouths, sticking out tongues etc, and I just love interacting with him a little bit more. He’s going to be such a fun little boy.

I just love to watch Austin and Matt together. Matt is doing such an amazing job, just like I knew that he would. He is patient, never gets flustered, and Austin just adores him. When I’m at my wits end and have tried everything I can think of to calm him down, Matt will do it in less than a minute. My favourite thing that they do is play “rocket ship”, where Matt basically grabs Austin under the arms and goes “ROCKET SHIP – WOOOOOOOO” in a super high-pitched voice as he lifts him straight up. Right now, Austin doesn’t really know what the hell his Daddy is doing, but I’m sure he will just die laughing in a few weeks! IMG_2410IMG_2395IMG_2360IMG_2356

So, all in all, it’s been a challenging, but amazing and rewarding month at the same time. I’m really proud that I’ve stuck with pumping and breastfeeding, and that Austin has gained weight so well in his first month, and all things considered, I’d call our first month as a family of three a success. November is a big month for all of us in terms of development, routine, and recovery. I am really optimistic and hopeful that by December, I will be much further along with my recovery, Austin will be further along inn his development, and all of us will be a bit more settled into our new normal.

Lots of love from the Sidders Clan!

-Sara xo