Archive | June, 2013

12 Weeks Postpartum

27 Jun

It’s been 12 weeks since I gave birth to our little girl. Here’s how things are going:

Physical Recovery

I feel more and more like my old self every day. Albeit, a weaker and less fit self but it’s still nice.

With Travis traveling a lot for work now and Emma not liking her carseat a whole ton, running, and working out in general, has really taken a backseat. Hopefully I’ll figure out how to squeeze something in but I’m just trying to be patient right now – it’s only for a season. Emma and I do take a short walk every day so I’m not a total bum.

I had started to take birth control with a low dose of estrogen (Lo Loestrin) but when I went to get my prescription filled after finishing the sample pack, I discovered that our insurance didn’t cover much of it, so it would cost me almost $90 a month. Um, no. So I’m going to start taking a generic progesterone-only pill that my insurance will cover.

I still have a lot of breakouts on my face, though it does seem to be slowly getting better.

I still have the linea negra, though that is also starting to fade slowly.

And finally, I’ve started sleeping on my stomach again! I mostly sleep on my back and side still because of breast fullness but that’sbgotten a lot better than it was even a month ago. Oh how I’ve missed sleeping on my stomach!

Body Weight / Image
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I haven’t lost any weight since my 6-week postpartum update, so I’m still 7-8 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. I bought a few new pairs of pants that I can wear to work, a couple pairs of shorts, and some looser tops, so I’m not feeling tons of pressure to lose the weight – and I’m pretty sure it’d be darn near impossible anyway since some of it comes from having grown 2 cup sizes (pregnancy and then breastfeeding). And though I would love to tone up my stomach, it’s just not my focus right now. I’ll get there eventually.

My eating habits haven’t been the greatest either. With Travis gone, I’ve been surviving on leftovers and easy things like cereal, bagels and toast. I do have dinner with friends on a regular basis so that helps me eat healthier meals (since they’re cooking). My plan is to cook healthy meals while Travis is home, with enough extra to give me leftovers for lunch or dinner while he’s gone. I’m also going to try to eat more fruits and veggies.

Emotional

The emotional aspect of motherhood is still hard for me. There are some days when I love being a mom and feel optimistic about the new pace of life – those days are a breath of fresh air that help rejuvenate me. But other days are a struggle. I long for the old days of freedom and ease. I feel isolated at home and totally unsure of my decisions as a mother (specifically regarding Emma’s sleep habits). I get discouraged because I don’t have time to do things like workout or cook dinner.

But I’ve been reminding myself of 2 truths for encouragement:

One, I will never again have this much time to devote to one child. I won’t be able to sit and hold Emma or her siblings for naps when she’s older and not an only child, so instead of wishing this time away so that I could do laundry or dishes, or an exercise video, I should enjoy it – it’s only temporary.

Two, the words of James: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

My main struggle is faith – am I truly trusting that this is how God wants me to spend my time? Or do I think there’s something more noble, fulfilling and worthy of my energy? Not every woman is called to be a mother, but I am. And after my calling as a wife, there is nothing more important for me than being a mother. It may look differently than I expected (and it does!) but it’s exactly what God expected and planned for me. I’m still learning how to let go of expectations and joyfully embrace the reality that God has ordained for my life. I’m sure it’ll be a lifelong lesson!

God is using parenting to teach me self-sacrifice and to find my joy and worth in Him alone. I am being shown how much of my identity and self-worth has been tied up in being productive and doing things I’m good at – or at least things I know a lot about. With those reassurances stripped away, I am completely dependent on God’s help and grace. There’s nothing like the feeling of helplessness to drive me into God’s arms. So for that, I’m thankful. And I’m praying that God would continue to help me embrace my new reality and joyfully make these sacrifices for my family, as well as give me the wisdom I so desperately need.

And that’s where I’m at 12 weeks postpartum!

Learning Our Parenting Style

21 Jun

I’m supposed to go back to work in 2.5 weeks. This has caused me to panic just a bit.

I feel like we’re just finally getting to know Emma. For the first 3 weeks of her life, she was pretty easygoing and slept quite a bit. Then we had the month of her crying almost all day, every day, due to her swallowing too much air during nursing. When she started feeling better, we were on vacation for 2 weeks. So we’ve really only been at home with Emma alert and happy for about 2 weeks – and Emma’s almost 3 months old!

With my return to work looming, I have been feeling pressure to get Emma on a schedule – though we have been following the routine of eat-play-sleep for several weeks, it was at different times everyday. Emma went to bed at a different time, meaning she woke up at a different time. So each day was different. Returning to work, I’ll have to leave the house at a specific time, which means getting Emma up at a specific time. And with Travis traveling for work a lot this summer, I’ll be on my own for many of the days I work. I think a schedule would also be helpful for my friend who is going to be taking care of Emma, so she doesn’t need to constantly guess what Emma wants.

The only problem is, putting her on a 3-hour schedule hasn’t been working. I’ve discovered that Emma’s maximum awake time (from the end of one nap to the beginning of the next) is about an hour and 15 minutes – and that means starting to try to get her to sleep for her nap after about an hour. She’s not awake for very long but anything longer and she gets really fussy and it takes her a very long time to fall asleep.

So she’s awake for about an hour and 15 minutes, and her naps are usually 45 minutes long if I put her down. If I think she needs a longer nap, I’ll hold her for the first 45 minutes and then put her down. She’ll usually sleep an additional 45 minutes that way, but sometimes she wakes up when I try to put her down. Sometimes I’m able to get her back to sleep for a longer nap but lately, I’ve just been feeding her after 2 hours if she’s wide awake. Emma has taken longer naps in the Baby Bjorn, but I think she’s getting to the age when she’s too interested in what’s going on around her that she has to be really tired to sleep in there now.

And we’re still rocking, bouncing, and shushing her to sleep with a pacifier and swaddle, both at bedtime and for her naps. I don’t really see a way around that yet without lots and lots of crying – and I could totally see her being one of those babies who cries so hard they throw up. I’m not ready to go there – and I’m not sure I ever will be. I’m mostly hoping that as Emma gets older, her need for that amount of help to sleep will decrease. I know there are plenty of people who would say that we’re teaching Emma to depend on props for sleep, and who knows, they might be right. But right now, we’re parenting with the philosophy of “It’s not a problem until it is.”

Otherwise, it’s easy to drive yourself crazy. I know because I’ve been driving myself crazy. I’ve read about 6 different books on how to get your baby to sleep, plus countless blogs and forum posts. I’ve been so unsure and confused as to what I think we should be doing with Emma that I’ve changed my mind probably about 100 times. I’ve been tempted to laugh/cry when I hear people say, “Do whatever you know is right for your family.” Um, that’s exactly what I don’t know and what I’m trying to figure out. Travis has been very encouraging and laidback, reminding me to just focus on one thing.

The most helpful book I read was Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. It helped me see that going from being rocked to sleep and held during naps to being put down awake and sleeping on her own for naps (she does fine at night) would be a very big and unwelcome change for Emma. So instead of overcorrecting for everything we ‘shouldn’t’ be doing (I have more thoughts on parenting shoulds that I’ll share in a later post) with Emma, we’re taking it slow – focusing first on getting her to sleep in her Rock ‘n’ Play for naps (meaning we get her to sleep and then put her in there). But again, if I can tell that she needs a longer nap or would wake up if I put her down, I just hold her. That’s why I haven’t been blogging a ton! Though I am getting pretty good at writing posts on my phone (which is what I’m doing right now).

So what’s my plan for returning to work? First, I decided to take my full allotment of FMLA leave and not return to work until July 30. This will give Emma another 3 weeks to mature and me an additional 3 weeks to figure out how best to mother her. That way, hopefully I can leave Emma with my friend without worrying about her crying all day – not fun for Emma or Charlotte. But maybe the 4-month sleep regression will make that a hard time to go back too…

Second, I’m continuing the eat-play-sleep routine on a 2 to 3 hour schedule. It has been very helpful for me personally to be ok with feeding Emma every 2 hours if that is when she wakes up. It has taken so much pressure off to not have to make her get to a certain time. And I’m not frustrated when she wakes up after 45 minutes because I expect it (though I hope that she extends her naps as she gets older).

Last, I’m going to stop worrying so much. I’m going to surround myself with similar-minded mothers – those who didn’t let their kids cry it out but can testify that they eventually grow out of whatever phase they’re in. And most of all, I’m going to trust God to guide me and give me the wisdom I need to be the mother that Emma needs and that I’m called to be. Parenting is just one more aspect of the Christian life that requires a moment-by-moment dependence on the Holy Spirit and relationship with Jesus. I don’t have to fear ‘messing it up’ with Emma because God is actively at work in our lives. This verse has been a great comfort to me recently:

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Parents – how did you decide on your parenting style?

Emma’s Dedication

20 Jun

Last Sunday was Emma’s dedication at church. Our church has them only once a year, alternating between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, so as you can imagine, there were a lot of other families up there with us – probably 10-15!

If you’re wondering, a dedication is in lieu of a baptism. Travis and I (and our church) believe that a child should be baptized when they’re old enough to understand the gospel and accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

Here’s what we as parents committed to during the dedication:
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Emma started fussing during worship before the dedication so I walked the halls with her until the dedication started and got her to sleep. But she definitely wouldn’t have been there only baby crying up there! It was actually kind of funny how much noise they were all making.

It was fun to get Emma all dressed up but I was sad to discover that the 0-3 month dress I had brought for her to wear was already too short! It was more like a long shirt. Our little girl is getting so big.

Anyway, I hope that one day, we get to celebrate Emma’s baptism with her. That’s our greatest prayer for her – to have a personal relationship with Jesus!
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Running!

17 Jun

Slowly but surely, my body is getting used to running again. Here are my recent runs:

Grand Rapids – 5/31

grrunI did easy run/walk intervals on a trail near Gunn Park. The running portions were between a 10:30 and 12:30 pace. It was a beautiful day and I saw Minnesota through fresh eyes, since it’s sooo different from Colorado.

20130531_121634 (Large)Dandelions!

20130531_123101 (Large)Lakes!

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Rochester #1 – 6/5

timberidgeThis was another easy-paced run, interspersed with walking breaks whenever I felt like I needed them, on a couple of cul-de-sacs near my parents’ house. My running portions were around a 12:30-13:00 pace.

I couldn’t get over how lush and green everything is. The lawns look like they’re a golf course!

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Rochester #2 – 6/7

deerwoodI didn’t have a ton of time for this run, so I decided to make the most of it and do some speedwork. I still did run/walk intervals but the running portions of this run were between 8:50 – 9:50. The Map My Run app says I got up to a 7:45 pace but I’m not sure I believe that.

First Run with Jogging Stroller! – 6/13

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Emma’s pediatrician okayed me running with her in the jogging stroller since our carseat snaps in. But Emma is still not a huge fan of being in her carseat for anything, so I’m just starting small by taking her for a jaunt around the block. This was a very easy-paced run, but I pushed the stroller with my right hand and shook a rattle with my left to keep Emma from crying. She started to crack after just .3 mile.

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Anderson Park – 6/13

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This was actually in the evening of the day I took Emma out in the jogging stroller and was my best run since pre-pregnancy. I treated it like a tempo run with walking breaks – the running portions were done at paces between 8:30 and 9:30. Granted, they were only for about .1 mile each but still. It was fun to run fast again!

I still haven’t committed to any races but I’m thinking about doing a sprint tri relay with some friends at the end of July (I’d do the running) and I’d love to do a 10K or half marathon in the fall. But Travis will be traveling a lot for work this summer so I’m not sure how much running I’ll be able to do. For now, I’m just thankful for any time I can get back out there!

Memorial Day in Minnesota

16 Jun

For Memorial Day, Travis, Emma and I flew into Minneapolis and met my parents, brother and sister-in-law for lunch – it was my brother and SIL’s first time meeting Emma. She wasn’t in the greatest mood because she had had a long day of travel and naps being interrupted. We got takeout from Cossetta’s for lunch – I was still doing the non-dairy thing, so I didn’t have much of a selection (but that’s typical for most restaurants). I ended up getting minestrone soup and artichoke salad. It was tasty, but it didn’t fill me up. I think I ate about 5 Larabars that day.

After lunch, Travis, Emma and I headed up to Grand Rapids, where Travis’ parents live. Everyone except Travis’ mom had already gone up to their cabin on Lake Namakan in Voyageurs National Park on the US/Canadian border, but she stayed to go up with us. We stopped about an hour from Grand Rapids to feed Emma, sitting behind a gas station in the minivan we borrowed from my brother – such is the reality of parenthood. We got to Grand Rapids and unloaded our stuff, I fed Emma again and then we all went to bed.

At Travis’ parents’ house, there are 2 bedrooms downstairs. When it was just us down there, we put Emma in one room while we stayed in the other, so that we didn’t hear every little sound she made. But for part of our time there, someone was using the other bedroom so we had Emma in the room with us. Probably the worst part about having her in the same room was that the door on that bedroom is the squeakiest one ever. After putting Emma down a couple of times and her waking up shortly afterward, I asked Travis and his dad to please fix it – which apparently required them to take the door off its hinges and make all kinds of noise while I waited in the dark bathroom with a sleeping Emma.

On Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, Travis, my mother-in-law Beth, Emma and I made the 2 hour drive north to Crane Lake, to Handberg’s Marine where they launch their boats, and pick up/drop off people going to the cabin – the only way to get to their cabin is a 30-minute boat ride. We put all our stuff in the boat, and put Emma in her infant life vest. It was a little big.

IMG_4580 (Large)Don’t worry – we took it off after taking that picture. She wasn’t a fan of having her cheeks squeezed together.

The boat ride there was very uneventful, thanks to Travis’ brother Matthew’s good driving. \

For the next 3 days, we spent a lot of time outside, holding Emma.

IMG_4598 (Large) IMG_4591 (Large) IMG_4596 (Large)The weather on Sunday was really nice, but it was cooler and windy the rest of our time there. I wore pants and a sweatshirt pretty much the whole time, but I also spent most of my time in the shade.

IMG_4604 (Large) IMG_4608 (Large)Even though having a baby meant I spent a lot of time in our room feeding her, I got to go on a boat ride, walk to “Whiskey Point” near their cabin where a bunch of empty booze bottles have collected over the years, play bocce ball, sit around the campfire, and shoot a .22 rifle at pop cans (I missed though). Things are always pretty low-key up at the cabin.

On Wednesday, we made the trip back down to Grand Rapids for the ‘weekend of Matthew’ – his birthday was Thursday, graduation on Friday and open house on Saturday.

We went out to eat for Matthew’s birthday with his girlfriend and girlfriend’s family. Emma fussed a bit at the beginning but Travis got her to sleep and everything went smoothly then. At this point, I was still doing the no-dairy thing and man, it is hard to find stuff in restaurants that don’t have dairy and still sound appetizing. But I made it work. I got a grilled chicken sandwich and fries (At that point, I wasn’t worried about any trace dairy ingredients.)

IMG_4653 (Large)On Friday, I went on a 2 mile run near their house (more on that in a separate post) and then went to Matthew’s graduation that evening.

IMG_4667 (Large) IMG_4702 (Large)Emma got all dressed up, though we quickly discovered how impractical dresses are for little babies.

IMG_4684 (Large)Travis and I were able to stay for the entire ceremony but I did have to put Emma in the Baby Bjorn and stand in the back of the arena. The things we do for babies.

Saturday was the open house. It ended up being cold, rainy and windy, which was a bummer, but it was fun to see some of Travis’ relatives again and have them meet Emma. I had her in the Baby Bjorn again for the first part of the party because she was being fussy and everyone was busy getting stuff ready, but later she got a bottle and others got to hold her.

Sunday morning, Travis, Emma and I drove back down to the Twin Cities because Travis was flying back to Denver and I was meeting up with my parents to go down to Rochester for a week. Emma had a very rough start to the car ride but she finally fell asleep.

IMG_4775 (Large)My time in Rochester was pretty low-key too. My mom and I sat around and talked a lot, played with Emma, watched Scandal (I’m now officially hooked!), organized their basement a bit, and went shopping at the grocery store, Trader Joe’s, and the mall. I also got out on a couple of more runs, which was really nice. AND for Mother’s Day, my awesome mom treated me to a haircut, highlights and some new clothes.

20130608_102409 20130608_102331I finally have mint green jeans! I’ve been wanting some for over a year.

We also tried some new stuff from Trader Joe’s:

20130608_060738It was all delicious. I had forgotten how amazing the Crunchy Cookie Butter is.

So how did Emma do with being away from home for so long? Really well overall. She LOVES being held and there were lots of people willing to do that – so she lived it up but might have gotten a little bit too used to it. She’ll only sleep about 45 minutes in her bassinet for a nap right now. But she still consistently sleeps between 5 and 7 hours for a stretch at night in her bassinet, which is awesome and has helped me feel more human.

And that was our trip to Minnesota!

Flying with a 2 month old

10 Jun

As I’ve mentioned, almost 3 weeks ago, we flew back to Minnesota for my brother-in-law’s high school graduation. It was Emma’s first plane ride!

Since Emma and I were there for 2 weeks – weeks during which she changed a lot – the flight out was a much different experience from the flight back.

But first….

Luggage and Check-In

Southwest allows 2 free checked bags so Travis and I both checked a duffel bag (Emma’s stuff was in mine). We also checked Emma’s Rock ‘N’ Play Sleeper in the box it came in and her carseat/base, since we weren’t going to use it in the airport or on the plane. I was concerned about the carseat getting thrown around and coming tumbling down the luggage chute but the airline treated it as an oversized luggage item and covered it in plastic, so it wasn’t a big deal at all.

We didn’t bring our stroller because it’s bulky and Emma prefers the Baby Bjorn anyway. The only thing we carried on the plane was the diaper bag.

Check-in went smoothly because I had researched what we needed for Emma ahead of time – Southwest just asks for a child’s birth certificate to verify their age. I would assume that most airlines are the same but I’m not sure. They stapled Emma’s “non-ticketed lap child” boarding pass to mine.

Flight Out to Minneapolis

Emma was 7 weeks old for the flight out there and did really well.  We carried her through the airport and security in the Baby Bjorn (you can keep babies in a carrier for security – they have you go through the metal detector instead of the full body scanner and then wipe your hands for residue). She slept through pretty much all of that.

We got on the plane during family boarding and chose a window and middle seat. We flew Southwest so it was a full flight. I kept Emma in the carrier until we pulled away from the gate and then got set up to nurse her, which I did as soon as we started to take off. She nursed for about 20 minutes, we put her back in the carrier (on Travis that time) and she fell right back asleep.

Denver to Minneapolis is only a 2-hour flight so Emma was still sleeping when they announced that we were making our final descent. We quick woke her up and I started nursing her to help her ears pop with the change in altitude. I could tell that the way down bothered her a bit more than the way up had. Once we landed, I burped her and she started to cry. We put her back in the carrier and she settled down within about 5 minutes (though it seemed like longer).

I had to bounce and walk with Emma while we waited for our bags and she was kind of fussy for a few hours after that but she was just coming off her rough swallowing-lots-of-air weeks so that might’ve been the main cause.

Flight Back to Denver

Over the course of our vacation, Emma became a lot more alert. A few days before our flight back to Denver, when she was almost 9 weeks old, she started wanting to be entertained and getting bored easily. So I had a feeling the second flight wouldn’t be as smooth-sailing as the first. Fortunately, my mom flew back with me and Emma so I had help with our stuff and moral support for the flight. (Travis had flown back the previous Sunday because he had to work.)

I had planned to give Emma a bottle after discovering the challenge of nursing in a cramped airplane seat. We put her milk in a small cooler and I took the contents out for going through security, which worked fine (the 3 oz rule doesn’t apply to infant milk or formula). On takeoff, Emma took the bottle fine, but she wasn’t satisfied with it, her toys, pacifier, being bounced, rocked or even in the Baby Bjorn. So I ended up nursing her for about 15 minutes anyway. That took care of the first hour of the flight.

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My mom and I hoped that nursing Emma would put her to sleep but she wasn’t interested in sleeping even though she was tired. We tried her toys some more – a couple of rattles that she really likes – while she lie on her back on my lap and that kept her entertained for another 15 minutes. Then about 30 minutes before our scheduled landing (when we had started descending anyway), I nursed her again. She didn’t really settle down until I could stand up with her in the Baby Bjorn as we were deplaning. But almost as soon as we started walking around the airport, she was out.

So flying wasn’t completely without incident but it went well overall I’d say – which is good because we’re headed back to Minnesota for the 4th of July! I have to take advantage of my maternity leave while I can.

Emma: 2 Months

7 Jun

Our little baby Emma is 2 months old today! It’s hard to believe that that much time has gone by already. I go back to work in a month. 😦

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During our Minnesota vacation, Emma has been quite busy! She has:

* Flown on a plane for the first time
* Ridden for 6 hours in the car at once (with stops for nursing)
* Gone boating 3 times, crossing into Canadian waters
* Gone out to dinner at a restaurant
* Attended a high school graduation and open house
* Shopped at Trader Joe’s, the regular grocery store and the Apache Mall
* Gone on a long walk with Grandma K and mommy
* Been bathed 3 times in 3 different tubs/sinks
* Spent lots of time outside at the cabin
* Been held almost all daytime hours by loving relatives
* Drank many bottles of expressed breastmilk

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At 2 months, Emma:

* Gets excited about things she can see, like the mobile on the swing my parents have, people’s faces, and noisy rattles – her little arms and legs really get going!
* Loves to lie on her back and kick or have her legs bicycled
* Smiles often
* Talks when she’s starting to get sleepy
* Is starting to want to be entertained when she’s awake
* Likes getting a bath but not getting out or having lotion put on
* Eats 4-5 oz per feeding, or nurses for 45-60 minutes
* Generally follows an eat-play-sleep routine – she nurses every 3 hours for 45-60 minutes, plays for 30-45 minutes and sleeps for 1-2 hours
* Often nurses every 2 hours in the morning
* Sleeps for 4-6 hours as her longest nighttime stretch

We don’t have Emma’s 2 month pediatrician appointment until next week so I don’t know her growth stats yet, but I’ll post them when I do.

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