I’m Still Here

The title says it all! Still no baby.

I must say it is quite fun to go out in public and freak people out, though. Well, not really freak them out, but watch their reactions when I answer their baby-related questions. Almost everyone wants to know when I am due.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a lady at the dentist’s office that went something like this:

Lady: “When are you due?”

Me: “Yesterday.”

Lady: (Wide-eyed) “Oh, are you scheduled to be induced then?”

Me: “Nope.”

Lady: (Looking even more concerned and wide eyed now) “How many babies are you having?”

Me: (Pointing to Eva) “Well, I had her and now I’m having this one.”

Lady: “Looks like you could pop at any moment!”

She then proceeded to ask if it was a boy or a girl and the name and if Eva is excited, etc. All the normal chatter that complete strangers really have no business initiating but can’t seem to resist.

I know, I know, I should graciously accept such things, but I have a hard time with strangers inquiring about my unborn child. If there is more than a passing comment or the typical “how much longer” question, I tend to get protective. If the conversation then gets directed to Eva to ask her all about how she “feels” about having a new baby, I get even more annoyed with the conversation.

Yesterday, I wanted to tell this woman to quit asking questions and mind her own business. I also wanted to tell Eva that it is ok to not be excited, that there are a million other emotions in the world she can be feeling about suddenly having a baby in the house. But I didn’t.

So, I am continuing to wait patiently for this baby of mine to make his appearance. I’m losing patience with people, but not so much with waiting.

Today Is My Due Date

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Well, I’m 40 weeks today. Still no baby, obviously. I’m still waiting patiently (for the most part).

I haven’t participated in a typical pregnancy update post yet, so I thought why not? There is no time quite like the present. Besides, if I’m lucky, I will be in labor any moment! Ha! I can keep on dreaming, I know.

How far along: 40 freaking weeks, baby!

How big is the baby: Well, I don’t know. The last ultrasound, done a month ago, guestimated him to be 6 lbs 7 oz.

Total weight gain: 5 lbs.

Stretch Marks: Well, stretch marks and I have a long history. It’s hard to tell if I have any new stretch marks, but I can’t imagine I don’t.

Sleep: About four hours at a time, minus pee breaks. I need two pillows for my head, one for between my knees, and another to hug if my husband isn’t in bed.

Symptoms/Feeling: 

  • Tired, mostly.
  • I also have a very sore lower belly and mons pubis area. It is all sore muscles. My muscles attached to my round ligaments like to cramp every once in a while as well, too, which isn’t pleasant.
  • My nipples hurt. That isn’t new either.
  • Really irritable when I am having contractions or I have been on my feet too much.

Miss anything: Wine, sleeping on my belly, jogging (it just isn’t possible these days), being able to take Ibuprofen when my back hurts. Nothing too major.

Best moment this week: Riding in the car with my husband laughing because the baby was seemingly grooving to the beat of the song. My husband could see him moving, too.

Food cravings: I am mostly interested in small amounts of food. I just want a little here and there, but I want to eat frequently.

Food aversions: Not really. I wish I suddenly hated all things unhealthy or something crazy great like that, but no. I just stay away from the bad stuff, despite really wanting some chocolate cake when it is in front of me. The gestational diabetes is under control still, thankfully. Still no medication for that.

Gender: A boy.

Movement: He has a schedule in there. There are specific times every day that he is still for about 20 minutes at a time taking a nap (I assume) and other times that he is ALWAYS active and moving. I can almost set my watch by it. Sadly, he is moving the most when I am ready for bed. This is going to be a problem I’m sure.

Labor signs: I haven’t have any contractions (not even Braxton Hicks) in a little over 24 hours now, which is actually a little frustrating. I feel like things should be getting more frequent, not less frequent. Pregnancy constipation is not an issue, if you know what I mean. I don’t know if my cervix has done anything because I am choosing not to get checked. Some extra mucus discharge is happening (gross), but nothing to write home about. I keep having these bouts of swinging from super energized to super tired.

Belly button in or out: In, but very, very shallow. I had my gallbladder removed a few years ago, and the scar from that is completely 100% visible. Kind of creepy looking. My husband likes to say it looks like my belly button is smiling. I don’t see it, personally, but that might be because I literally can’t see my belly button without using a mirror.

What are you looking forward to: I am looking forward to labor and delivery! I am ready to meet my baby boy, and I am ready to rock this labor stuff! I also get an ultrasound this coming Friday. I’m excited to get one more peek at my boy for reassurance before the big day (maybe, unless I go into labor before Friday, which I’m not counting on).

Milestones: I have been pregnant longer than ever before at this point!

Bump: See photographic evidence above that it isn’t a bump, it is a giant mountain. Mole hills be damned! We skipped that stage. I can’t walk up stairs without hitting my belly with my legs. I can’t drive without my belly touching the steering wheel anymore. I know this can’t be safe, but I can’t scoot any further back in my car because I have a manual transmission and I have to be able to depress the clutch completely.

Wedding rings on or off: On. I am glad to say I have no swelling most days. I get a little puffy around the ankles when I wear flip flops instead of tennis shoes, but that is pretty normal during the warmer months even when I am not pregnant.

Happy or moody most of the time: I guess moody, but I feel like this is such a misnomer. Pregnant women have a LOT to think about and prepare for before labor ever happens. There are so many things that need to be thought through and addressed and pondered, and it can be a lot emotionally and intellectually to sift through. I cried to my husband in the car over the weekend that I don’t necessarily trust my body to eject this baby if he needs it suddenly. That is just one example of a realistic fear that results in a “moody” moment. So, yes, I just wrote a book because of one little question. Good thing I haven’t been doing these all pregnancy.

The chain we have been using to count down the days to my due date is all used up. We left one lonely link hanging up for Eva to pull down on the day that her little brother is born. It seems strange to see it on the wall. We started with something like 245 links, and now we are down to one.

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I don’t know how soon or how long it will be before I get to write a post announcing the birth of my son, but I just want to tell everyone now that every kind word of encouragement and congratulations I have received along the way has been so unexpected and so wonderful!

When I began my journey to becoming pregnant, I didn’t expect to have difficulty conceiving. I didn’t expect to find so much wisdom, support and friendship via a blog through my infertility journey. I then didn’t expect to find so much excitement and support and wisdom when I finally became pregnant.

I can’t express to all of you how much I appreciate all of you and every like and comment you all have made! Thank you all for being my friends and cheerleaders and being better than any other source of information. Thank you all!

One last photo before I go. The picture below is a photo I took when I first found out I was expecting.

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39 Weeks 5 Days

Written in the middle of the night:

Well, I should be exhausted. I slept (intermittently, that is) about four hours total Thursday night. I didn’t nap at all Friday, instead spending the day with my mom (which was pretty great) running all over to shop (well, browse really) a little here, there and everywhere.

After picking Eva up from school, she packed some clothes and off we went to meet her grandma and grandpa on her father’s side. She is spending the weekend with them, where she will probably stay up late, eat like a horse (she always eats better for her Nana) and play with her baby. Her baby is a 10 pound (soaking wet, maybe) daschund that showed up as a stray about two years ago. She convinced her grandparents to rescue him, and ever since she has been proudly calling herself his Mama.

We went over what she would like to do if her baby brother decides this is the weekend he will make his appearance. She also has some cousins that will be visiting at her grandfather’s home this weekend as well. So, she wants to come see her brother after his arrival and then return to her grandparents until either we come home or it’s time for school on Monday (at which point my mom will stay with her at our house). She said she wanted to play as much as possible with her cousins. There are contingencies in place in case she changes her mind, though.

But, here I am at 1:41 am Saturday morning, typing…not sleeping. I am energized!

My poor brain is trying to keep up with my body, but my body has most definitely quit making sense. I have been doing some Spinning Babies activities (spinningbabies.org, a must for the pregnant woman wanting an ideally positioned baby, in my opinion), and I have completed two rounds of my usual prenatal yoga routine. I’m still wide awake.

I haven’t had a single contraction all day. I don’t think this burst of energy is the beginning of labor, but I don’t know what it is.

I find my brain to be in limbo. I’m having a hard time firmly grasping reality, unfortunately. I find it hard to believe that I am currently waiting for my son to arrive.

My son. A real baby. My real baby.

I have officially been pregnant longer than I have ever been in my life. I have been pregnant for 278 days (give or take a few). But, still, even after 278 days I forget I’m pregnant. I will stand up to make my way to a different part of the house only to realize suddenly that, oh yeah, I’m pregnant as my giant round bellied shadow looms next to me. Then I take another step and I’m reminded again as it feels like my hips might just decide to run for the hills if it means no longer having to support the wide load that I have become.

As I try to think about the reality of this tiny being locked up in my cozy uterus, I am at a loss. I suppose it isn’t going to be real to me until he is in my arms, or maybe as he’s crowning. Kind of hard to ignore reality as your hooha is being torn apart I would guess.

So, as I wander around my quiet house, I will continue to contemplate my soon-to-be reality of more late nights.

Decisions, Decisions

Today at my obstetrician appointment, my doctor was obviously disheartened to learn that I haven’t made any progress toward ejecting this baby boy of mine. As a matter of fact, she said that it seemed like my cervix was even farther back than it was two weeks ago.

She also confirmed what I suspected this morning–my son isn’t all lined up and ready to go anymore. He has pulled his head out of my pelvis and has it firmly planted in my left hip region (which she said explains the cervix feeling more posterior than it did previously).

Next Monday, I will be 40 weeks. I asked her what, if anything, will be changing about my appointments if I go past the 40 week mark. She said starting next week, she would like to begin seeing me twice a week (did I mention she is about an hour away from where we live?) to complete twice weekly non-stress tests so she can keep an eye out for a failing placenta. She said whether I get cervical checks is completely up to me. She also said that she wants an ultrasound at the 41 week mark to check everything out and check his size.

My favorite part of the appointment was here, after she mentioned his size, she paused and asked me what did I think about his size (big/small/average). I told her that I thought he was still small because I was much more uncomfortable with my daughter at this stage than I am with him. Eva was only 7 lbs 2 oz when she was born at 39 weeks and 3 (or was it 4?) days. I also told her that it had been a long time, though, so my memory is fuzzy, but it definitely didn’t seem like he is abnormally large.

She then asked me how far I wanted to go before any interventions. I told her that I would go as long as I needed to if he isn’t showing any signs of distress. I also told her that because of my philosophy on this, I wouldn’t be consenting to an induction.

If things reach a point that she thinks he needs to come out, then she would need to make sure he really needs to come out very soon as in can’t wait another day. To me, in such a situation, that would mean a c-section is in the best interest of my son. I told her I would need to see that either there is obvious distress or it is obvious that the placenta is failing.

She agreed wholeheartedly with my statement. She said she does not like to use Pitocin on someone with a previous c-section anyway, so if I did want an induction it would be guaranteed to be a long process because she keeps the Pitocin at the lowest level possible. She also told me that right now, my body isn’t favorable to a successful induction (posterior cervix, still only barely dilated). So, she didn’t see a point in trying for an induction, either.

I forgot to ask her what she thinks about stripping membranes, but I’m quite sure I already know her answer. Her stance on pretty much everything touted to be labor-inducing is that if you aren’t already favorable to labor, right there on the edge, then it won’t make any difference.

We covered some differences in policy concerning c-section between the hospital where I previously had my c-section and the hospital at which I plan to deliver this go around. The last time, the hospital insisted on leaving the epidural in place for 12 hours following the procedure. It wasn’t delivering any medication after 8 hours, but it was still in place. At the new hospital, it comes out within a couple of hours, and the medication given is more similar to receiving a spinal block. The urinary catheter stays in for 12 hours, unless I really, really want it out sooner (which I doubt will happen because the first time I got up to pee post c-section was beyond horrible for me, and that was about 16 hours post-op).

I also told her that the anesthesiologist last time gave me some kind of anti-anxiety medication as soon as my daughter was out without asking for my consent. I was not okay with this. She kind of looked shocked by this and then reassured me that this wasn’t something that happens in her OR.

I need to ask her about skin-to-skin in the event of a c-section, I suppose, but I still fully plan on going into labor one of these days soon. I still have time, and my son is still doing just fine. He has responded well to every non-stress test so far and he is still active. We have no reason to think that we won’t be able to do this naturally still.

As we were wrapping things up, she asked me specifically (which I found surprising) to name a week/end date. I told her we would just have to wait and see how things are going at 42 weeks, but that she should keep her fingers crossed that I go into labor before then. She nodded and held up crossed fingers for me. She also said she would check to see how busy things were supposed to be on the 42 week mark in the morning, in case we decide to schedule a c-section. I know she will be really, really hesitant to go any further than 42 weeks because of my gestational diabetes. I will have to be very sure that he is fine to convince her to continue without c-section at that point.

All in all, it was really nice to hear her asking me what I was thinking/feeling and then listening. She seemed doubtful that I would be able to stand the physical discomfort all the way to 42+ weeks, but I reassured her that this isn’t about my level of comfort at all and that I have been through a c-section before and being uncomfortable for a couple of extra weeks still hands-down beats a c-section recovery. No contest there. I still don’t think she believes me. But, I suppose many women need things to happen within a certain timeline for work and maternity leave and the added discomfort on top of that financial stress can result in a woman begging to get that baby out RIGHT NOW! This was definitely my reality when I was 39 weeks with Eva.

So, fingers crossed and prayers up that labor happens sometime in the next couple of weeks so we don’t even have to evaluate the need for a c-section!

Nothing But Blue Skies

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77 degrees (Fahrenheit) in my neck of the woods. It’s warm enough I feel the need to use the lovely air conditioning in my car.

Spring is almost here, which quickly gives way to Summer for us. I am looking forward to wearing flip flops on a daily basis without getting strange looks. I have already embraced the flip flop season since it now requires I hold my breath to tie my shoes. Some people don’t seem to understand why I would wear flip flops when the thermometer clearly says 45 degrees.

I just realized I am a little over a month away from Eva’s 7th birthday. I’m not ready for her to be that old.

But that’s it for my randomness today. I hope everyone can enjoy some sunshine soon!

39 Weeks (Well, a few hours shy, anyway)

The end is in sight…I hope.

This baby boy of mine has been pretty cooperative during our almost 39 weeks of adventure. Tomorrow technically marks 39 weeks.

I can tell this baby is starting to really run out of room, though. His movements are slower (except for the startle reflex moves that happen every once in a while) and more deliberate. He is obviously trying to stretch a little instead of just play.

I’m getting pretty uncomfortable and ready as well. I have made it much further than I did with Eva before hitting the “Get this baby out of me” stage. I’m hoping this sentiment will prompt my body to get everything prepped.

I’m also hoping that my son is producing lots of surfactant in his lungs since that triggers a hormonal cascade to signal readiness for birth.

You know the old saying, “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride?” Well, I think maybe that applies here. I can wish and hope all I would like.

I declined getting my cervix checked at my 38 week appointment. I didn’t want to be disappointed to hear that my cervix is still only dilated to 1 cm. I told my obstetrician when she asked if I would like to be checked, “Nah, let’s live in suspense.”

She made some joke about living on the edge and then told me a story about a patient. She has a great sense of humor, and she loves to share stories that are similar to the situation. Some of which are really helpful and others not so much, but I’m losing focus. Back to my point.

Did you know that the average American woman carries her baby 41 weeks and 3 days if left alone? I’m still hoping this week is my week.

So, what’s going on with me physically you might (I highly doubt) be asking. For those that might be curious, and let’s face it, just because I feel like telling someone (other than my poor husband who has to be tired of hearing my complaints), here is the run down:

  • I over-did it a bit the last couple of days (it was for a very important cause, though!) and the results are my first bit of swelling since my first trimester. My ankles and feet are puffy. Nothing extreme, but I can feel it.
  • My pelvic muscles are really angry at me for my over-activity.
  • I have 4-8 contractions a day, unless I’m tired or sore. It seems like my body thinks it is a bad idea to have contractions if I’m already exhausted or already have sore muscles.
  • I have 2-8 contractions every single night that are strong enough to wake me up.
  • My seasonal allergies have combined with the increased mucus production that is typical of the third trimester to create the perfect mucus storm. I am taking Benadryl at night so I can breathe.
  • My blood glucose levels are still within favorable ranges, but some days I have to eat more carbohydrates. The days that I need more food are also the days that I am contracting about once an hour.
  • Some days I have to pee every 30 minutes. Other days, I only go as often as I used to (I’m attributing this to position changes of my son).

I am still trying to be proactive about getting my ideal birth (VBAC, drug and intervention free). What I’m doing:

  • Walking daily for at least 10 minutes twice a day. I couldn’t be happier that the temperatures have finally gone up. Usually, around dinner time it is around 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside. Eva couldn’t be happier to be my walking buddy.
  • Practicing prenatal yoga as needed or at least three times a week. I could barely walk this morning when I woke up. After about 20 minutes of yoga, though, everything had stretched and relaxed enough for me to walk comfortably. It never ceases to amaze me how much of a difference it makes.
  • I am drinking raspberry leaf tea in an effort to make sure my uterus is toned and ready.
  • I am prayerful daily, making an effort to sit quietly and meditate on getting my body to open up and let my baby out.

So, that’s where things stand at the moment. I am seven days away from my due date. I’m still thinking my real due date is the 18th instead of the 23rd, though. Only time will tell when I actually give birth, but the countdown continues.

I feel the need to say that my husband is an amazing man. He has been doing much more than his fair share of the household chores. Today and yesterday he did pretty much everything around the house. My house could certainly use some deep cleaning, but the fact that he is helping so much with the daily tasks has made a huge difference for me.

Hopefully, the next post I post will be a birth announcement! If you are a praying person, send some my way if you would! I greatly appreciate all the prayers and well wishes I have been receiving both in the real world and from my fellow bloggers!

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Peaceful New Baby Plan: Nursing

mindyminix:

I know I have mentioned laid back breastfeeding to several of you in various posts. Well, here is a bit more about it as well as some very important points about managing labor and delivery pain with medication.

Thank you, Bright Hope Mom! Great post!

Originally posted on Bright Hope Mom:

I’ve been thinking about breastfeeding our second child since I started having so much trouble with the kidlet. It certainly was an occasional source of worry: what if it happened all over again? Could I handle it emotionally? How on earth can you manage exclusive pumping, a toddler and a newborn?

When we knew this little guy was on the way, I found myself asking these questions more regularly, and so, of course, the time came for me to do a bit of research. I had already read Breastfeeding, Take Two: Successful Breastfeeding the Second Time Around, and had been encouraged by Stephanie Casemore’s experience in breastfeeding her second child after exclusively pumping for her first. In this book, the author also mentioned biological nurturing (laid back breastfeeding) and I went to the internet to find out more. After reading all of Dr Colson’s publications that were available online…

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Versatile Blogger Award

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I was nominated by My Perfect Breakdown for the Versatile Blogger award.  Thank you very much MPB, I appreciate that you thought of me! My Perfect Breakdown writes about her life in an emotionally honest way that always draws me in. Thank you for sharing with us all, MPB!

As with all blogger awards, there is a set of rules to accompany your acceptance post. Here are the rules:

1. Post the award on your blog
2. Thank the person who nominated you
3. Share seven facts about yourself
4. Nominate 15 blogs
5. List the nominees and let them know

So, let’s start with seven facts about me!

1. I’m a natural blond. I have tried (unsuccessfully) to be many other things. It never works out, though. As soon as my roots begin to appear, it usually looks like I’m going bald if I have dyed my hair a darker color than my natural blond (which is pretty much any other color) because my roots are so much lighter. As a result of this life-long affliction as a blond, I have a vast repertoire of terrible blond jokes. No, I did not go looking for these jokes, if you get my drift.

2. I am only 5’2″, and I played volleyball in junior high and high school. I was a great athlete, and part of my volleyball success was because I worked on my vertical day in and day out. I could jump from a flat-footed position a full 24 inches. I was very proud of myself to be able to get up high enough to work the net at more than a proficient level.

3. Unfortunately, I have a thing about books. I have a hard time getting rid of books I have read. The purchase of a Kindle is probably the best thing to ever happen to me because I can keep as many e-versions as I would like without cluttering up my house. I still own most of the college text books from my stint in nursing school almost four years ago.

4. I have never had cable service. Ever.

5. I grew up in the country, surrounded by words. We had ducks, goats, dogs, cats and bunnies at various times growing up. We also had giant black snakes in those woods that would measure in the eight foot plus range. And I’m terrified of snakes! A giant black snake tried stealing an “egg” from one of our ducks. It wasn’t even an egg, though, it was a car part. The duck had issues (an infertile duck, possibly, which I now sympathize with greatly); she never managed to lay an egg. She built a nest and then moved a car part to her nest from my dad’s stash of things he couldn’t bring himself to part with. She sat on that car part for endless hours day in and day out. She was so serious about protecting her “egg” that when the snake showed up, striking at her and trying to get her off of her nest, she continued to sit on that egg and just raised the alarm. She caused so much noise that it quickly brought me and my brother outside. My brother killed the snake, saving her and her “egg”.

6. I didn’t learn to read until I was almost eight (at least I think 8, by what me and my mother remember). My mother homeschooled me, and she believed in child-led learning. She knew I was smart enough to read, but I had no desire to read. I avoided all of her efforts to teach me. She purchased several different curriculum programs that were supposed to make reading fun or easier or whatever, and I ignored every single one of them. It wasn’t until I realized my friend could read and I couldn’t that suddenly I began reading. I was at a 4th grade reading level within the first three months of reading. I surpassed my older brother in reading very quickly. I was reading chapter books in no time.

7. I have a love/hate situation with cooking. I love to cook good food, but it takes so much time and creates such a mess! I hate the clean-up. Plus, since my PCOS/insulin resistance diagnosis, I haven’t been cooking the foods I really love because most of those foods have a high carbohydrate content.

My fellow nominees:

1. Ben’s Bitter Blog–Ben blogs about all aspects of life with humor

2. Science of Mom–a mom oriented blog that covers different kid-related scientific studies

3. Hunting For Bliss–she blogs about life, family, motherhood and her latest adorable twins

4. Not So Quiet Momma–she blogs about being a mom, wife, teacher to her kids, and life in general

5. Sass & Balderdash–a humorous blog that covers just about everything

I am breaking the rules and stopping with five blogs. I hope all of you on those five blogs take the time to tell us a little bit about yourself!

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Guest Post: A Breastfeeding Exposé

I asked fellow blogger rceg91109 to share all of her wisdom concerning breastfeeding. She took her time and really thought about her experiences as a breastfeeding mom. I am so grateful to be able to hear about her experience breastfeeding as I prepare for a breastfeeding journey of my own.
Here is what she had to say:
I feel compelled to immediately start with a caveat: what follows is based solely on my own experiences. As you likely know well if you’ve explored this topic on your own at all, every woman’s experience with breastfeeding is unique and different, much like the pregnancy and childbirth that preceded it. But, for what it may be worth, I hope you might find some interesting or new insight related to one of the craziest times of life: having a new baby.
Now, on to the more interesting stuff!
Very briefly, about me: I am (finally!) a mother of two. I have a 5 year old, who I breastfed for about 5 1/2 months, and I have a a new baby who will soon reach 4 months old who I am currently breastfeeding. Both are girls.
In The Beginning
 
When in doubt, start at the beginning, I suppose. My girls were born in different states, at different hospitals, with different doctors. It just sort of worked out that way. But it gives me two very different experiences to draw from for our purposes here.
When I was pregnant with my first, I went in for my first OB appointment at 8 weeks. One of the first questions out of the doctor’s mouth at that 8 week appointment was, “So, do you plan on breastfeeding?”
Umm, wait. We just spent 2 1/2 years just trying to get pregnant in the first place! I’m still in shock here! And just hoping this is a viable pregnancy. The last thing on my mind is how I will feed this still hypothetical child. Cue first (mercifully short) lecture on how important breastfeeding is. Ugh.
On the flip side, with baby #2, though I was bracing for more lectures, there was only brief mention of breastfeeding at one OB appointment and everything that followed was very much along the lines of, “you can breast feed, you can formula-feed, either one is acceptable.” Very, very different, and far less stress and pressure.
The So-called Experts
I was pressured into taking a breastfeeding class while pregnant with my first. Now, wait just a minute. Isn’t this supposed to be a “natural” thing? Why do I need credentials for this? The class was mostly a waste of time. Now, I’m not saying all such classes are useless. I refer back to the caveat at the beginning of this post: “what follows is based solely on my own experiences.”
Anyway, the woman leading the class, a lactation specialist, is a woman I will never forget. Let’s call her Becky the Boob Lady. Her name really actually is Becky. So Becky the Boob Lady proceeded to tell us all about the beautiful, wonderful, practically spiritual experience of breastfeeding. Becky was and still is one of the most condescending human beings I’ve ever met. You know, the whole “holier than thou” vibe and all that. She talked to people as if they were all two years old, I swear. I remember thinking, this better not be the person helping me with breastfeeding in the hospital after I deliver.
So, of course you can guess what happened next. I delivered my little girl and was subsequently immediately harassed by Becky the Boob Lady to get started with breastfeeding. Yep, she was conveniently right there in the hospital that day. And, make no mistake ladies, they are pressuring you to feed that tiny human you just pushed out literally before the epidural has worn off, in my case. Anyway, Becky and her condescending self just sort of took over. I mean, this woman was literally grabbing my breasts and trying to shove them in my baby’s mouth. I was seriously manhandled.
And after I left the hospital, she started calling my house to see how things were going. Like, every day. I could not get rid of the woman.
It wasn’t until our pediatrician recommended a different lactation consultant that things finally started to look up. It was only a matter of days, but things still weren’t clicking between my boobs and baby #1. After expressing my frustration, the pediatrician asked if I was working with Becky. “Yes,” I said. “How did you know?” Well, of course she knew Becky. Becky the Boob Lady apparently had a rep. Our wonderful pediatrician then saved our breastfeeding experience by politely saying she knew someone else who might be a “better match” as a lactation consultant. Someone who would be more realistic and down to earth about breastfeeding, the doctor said. (ahem, UNLIKE Becky the Boob Lady) The new lactation consultant she hooked us up with was a lifesaver! Seriously, if it had not been for her, I am 90% sure I would have quit altogether in those first two weeks.
In my first appointment with this wonderful new lactation specialist, she very kindly and gently asked if she could feel my breasts to see if my milk had come in. Wait, no grabbing and manhandling? Ok, sure. Turns out, after 5 days, my milk still wasn’t in. She said that was a little late for milk to come in, but to be patient.
So I was. I met with her a couple more times. She had me try nursing my baby so she could check the latch and lo and behold, she told me to listen. She said, “Hear that sound? That’s the baby swallowing your milk!”
You guys – that was probably the most beautiful sound I had ever heard! I couldn’t believe it! I was actually doing it!
After that, it actually got easier.
Further Confusion: “Nipple Confusion”
Despite the way Becky the Boob Lady treated me, I was still pretty determined to breastfeed, so I kept trying. My little babe didn’t want to latch, though. And, my milk just wasn’t coming in. She had jaundice and was losing weight. To the point that they made me supplement with formula right there in the hospital. But don’t think they just handed me a bottle of formula and said, “Go to it!” No, no. They had me feed my tiny newborn using a cup. Because we cannot have a baby with nipple confusion. That would be a travesty. The point of no return. Or so they led me to believe.
For those who have never tried cup feeding, yes, it’s about as crazy as it sounds. What newborn can sip from a cup? Becky the Boob Lady and the nurses assured me babies get the hang of this easily. Yeah, right. I look back at the photos we have of this process in the first few days home from the hospital and I realize even more fully the insanity of this. Most of the formula just runs right down the baby’s chin, onto her chest, and eventually just onto the floor (where the dog laps it up, in our case). Oh, and a ton of air gets swallowed this way, too, so what little bit made it down into her stomach seemed to all come right back up when she burped/spit up. It’s a miracle she consumed any of it at all.
In contrast, when babe #2 had very similar weight loss issues (actually, worse – more on that later), the nurse handed me a bottle of formula with an actual nipple on it and said nonchalantly, “Here you go!” And that was that.
Breastfeeding Purgatory: The First Two Weeks or So
I’ve come to the conclusion that breastfeeding is like exercising or eating better: if you can survive the first two weeks or so, you can probably stick with it. With both of my girls, the first two weeks were hell. HELL.
I thought it was rough with baby #1, and it was. I’ve already written about most of that.
I thought with baby #2, at least I had more of a clue what was going on, and everyone kept telling me your milk comes in much sooner with a second baby. Good, I thought, because that was a significant issue the first time around.
LIARS. Liars all.
With baby #1, it took more than 5 days for my milk to come in. With baby #2, it was NINE DAYS.
Granted, I also since learned that your milk can come in later if you’ve been induced, which I was with baby #2. But still.
You know what else they lie about? How many times did I read that in those first few days until your milk comes in, all your baby needs is colostrum. Bold faced lies. My babies both had to be force-fed formula in the early days, per their doctors’ orders. Both had jaundice. Both suffered far too much weight loss. Because I had no milk to give them.
Baby #2 was even at risk of being hospitalized because of it. She lost so much weight in those first few days that we were at the doctor’s office EVERY DAY for 11 days for a weight check and bilirubin check. We were on a strict feeding protocol. She had to be wakened to eat on an ironclad 2-3 hour schedule. Each feeding I was to nurse her as long as possible then give her 1 oz. and later 2 oz. of formula immediately after each nursing session.
So, it would go something like this:
Wake baby. Possibly change diaper.
Struggle for about 15 minutes on each breast to get her to stay awake and suck on me.
Put baby down to go make bottle of formula. Baby cries.
Force feed baby bottle of formula, all the while trying to keep baby awake to eat.
Burp baby, during which seemingly all of it came right back up.
Sigh.
An hour later, go back to bed.
Sleep for maybe 60 minutes.
Repeat it all over again.
If I had let my baby try to survive on colostrum alone, they would have hospitalized her. That’s how bad her weight loss was. They actually told me that.
I remember one time at the doctor’s office during all of this when they weighed her and read the scale wrong, indicating she had lost something like 8 ounces. I felt my heart drop, thinking, how could that possibly be!?!? I was momentarily devastated. Then the nurse corrected herself. Baby #2 had actually gained a little, not lost, but that was a scary moment.
In those days I had so many thoughts of failure and fear. Especially when even supplementing with formula wasn’t getting the weight gain we all wanted. I worried that something was actually wrong with her digestive system. I remember sitting in the rocker, in the middle of the night, trying to feed her with tears streaming down my face, worried that she had an actual internal digestive problem. Feeling like you cannot feed your own child satisfactorily is a feeling of raw, primal failure at the most basic level.
Finally, the day came when the doctor said baby #2 had actually exceeded the required weight gain and we could not only stop supplementing, but we could actually let her go for one four hour stretch without eating each day! Huzzah! The following week, she allowed us to let her sleep for five hours between feedings. And then, finally, I started to feel human again. I got four hours of sleep. IN A ROW. It was indescribable.
Also, did I mention the severe pain that came with that first week or two of breastfeeding? With baby #2, the pain was so bad the first several days that my nipples were bleeding. Lanolin cream saved the day and this, too, was not insurmountable in the end. But for a while there, not only was I crying while nursing due to the emotional pain of feeling like a failure at feeding my child, but there was literal pain in my breasts bringing tears to my eyes, too. Of course, baby #2 did not like the taste of the lanolin cream on my nips, making her reluctant to even latch. Time after time I would cry through nursing sessions, the pain was so bad.
Baby #1 was a little different in terms of pain. On my left side, I never really got past the pain of breastfeeding with her. I don’t know why my left nipple was more sensitive (with both babies), but it was and is. Every time baby #1 latched on I would cringe. Like many things, though, you learn to work through the pain. I’m also told some women don’t have this sort of pain. Lucky ones.
 
Reaching Normalcy and Surviving Purgatory
 
So by now, if you are still reading, you may wonder why on earth I kept breastfeeding through all this drama. Is it worth it? Well, I’m happy to report that despite rocky starts with both babies, I have come through the other side successfully and consider both of them to be “breastfed babies,” more or less.
By now it’s abundantly clear that I’m not one of those, “Ooh, I just loved breastfeeding!” kind of gals. In my experience, though, once you get past though first couple of weeks, you do find a way to settle into a routine. I can’t tell you exactly how, as it’s mostly a blurry haze, but you just do. It takes determination. And energy. It’s hard. Yet satisfying once you find your groove. There is something incredibly powerful about nourishing your child just by what you produce in your own body.
With my almost 4 month old, we’ve reached that happy plateau. I don’t love every minute of it, necessarily, but we are making it work and it doesn’t completely suck anymore. No pun intended.
With baby #1, I breastfed for 5 1/2 months. Ideally, maybe we would have made it to 6 months, but it just didn’t happen. I hope I reach at least 6 months with baby #2. I think I will.
For me, it was and is worth it to know that I’m giving my children the best possible start in life. That was and is my motivation to breastfeed.
 
 
 
Being a Human Cow
 
Ahh, I would be remiss if I didn’t write about pumping. Breastfeeding is supposed to be such a “natural” thing. Well, you already know it isn’t so for many of us, but add in the breast pump to the equation and you take a supposedly natural thing and make it the complete antithesis of natural.
Mark my words, using a breast pump is akin to milking yourself like a cow. In fact, the sign I have on my office door at work pays homage to this idea as it features a cute cow holding a carton of milk and reads, “Milking in Progress.” (I love our graphic designer!)
Pumping causes a different sort of nipple discomfort and pain. Again, you get used to it, but it’s not a comfortable thing in my opinion. For me, pumping falls into the “you do what you gotta do” category.
For those of us who want to continue providing breastmilk to our babies once we return to work from maternity leave, pumping is certainly a necessity. Even with my first, I knew that one way people make this work is to pump and freeze as much milk as possible while still on leave and at home with baby. But with a newborn who is eating every 2-3 hours, how in the world do you do that? I could not wrap my mind around that. I still can’t. Plus, I just couldn’t fathom how you could nurse your baby, then immediately pump and actually have anything left in there to pump out. In my case, what I did get didn’t add up very quickly at all.
In those early weeks, they tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. Yeah, right. The reality is this. When the baby sleeps, you likely have the following competing options:
sleep
feed yourself
shower
pump
(I’m totally disregarding the fact that you also have mounds of laundry, bills to pay, a house to keep kind of clean-ish, possibly other children to feed or chase)  These are competing needs on Maslow’s hierarchy. To this day, I am convinced that breastfeeding moms lose baby weight faster because they literally do not have time to feed themselves. I missed many a meal in the first few weeks of breastfeeding with both babies. There was simply no time. Sometimes I opted for a shower over a meal. Tough choices.
Anyway, I tried this pumping strategy with baby #1 and did the best I could. By the time I went back to work, I did have some frozen milk built up in my freezer. Yay, me!
Except once I went back to work and was mostly pumping, my baby outpaced me very quickly. I could not keep up. Therefore, the frozen milk stash was quickly used and depleted. I continued to pump what I could during the work day and take it to day care for my baby the next day, but it wasn’t long before she was also getting formula. That was just the reality of it. I could not keep up. Eventually she was getting more formula than breast milk as her appetite increased and my supply continued to diminish. We gradually threw in the towel and weaned her altogether around 5 1/2 months old.
Baby #2 has been a different experience in this regard, though. See “The Question that Changed by Breastfeeding Life” for the secret to greater success in this department.
 
The Question that Changed My Breastfeeding Life
 
I am a working mom. By that I mean I work 40+ hours outside the home at a job I went to graduate school to be qualified to do. With baby #1, as I mentioned, my supply went down quickly when maternity leave ended. Though I had some milk in the freezer, it turned out to be nowhere near enough.
With baby #2, I was worried about not having enough milk stored up and frozen by the time I went back to work, obviously. But I also had a little more knowledge in my back pocket about the subject. I started pumping earlier (though I don’t recommend anyone try to do this until you survive the purgatory period!) after as many feedings as I could. But again, it was adding up so slowly that it was discouraging. All that time and effort, including less time actually bonding with my baby during that all too short leave since I was strapped to a pump so much, and I was getting so little milk to bank. Again, I was discouraged.
As my brain pondered this frustration, the beginnings of an epiphany started to dawn on me. What if I replaced just one feeding a day with formula? What if my baby had a bottle once a day while I simultaneously pumped and stored that milk? Was that sacrilege? Would I be a failure as a breastfeeding mom if my baby wasn’t “exclusively” breastfed?
My real question was this: in terms of the benefits to the baby, is it better to be 100% exclusively breastfed for a shorter amount of time (i.e. fewer months) or is it better for baby to have some breastmilk, but not exclusively, for as long as possible, until she is as old as possible?
I posed this question to our pediatrician. Her answer changed my breastfeeding life.
She said that babies will receive the full health benefits of being “breastfed babies” as long as they get at least 50% of their calories/feedings from breast milk. So, I could actually supplement her with up to 50% formula and she would still receive the same level of antibodies and other health advantages as a baby being fed 100% breast milk.
Cue the singing angels!!!
This epiphany struck when baby #2 was about a month old. By then, we had survived the purgatory period and settled into a groove. I immediately started replacing one nursing session with a pumping session and concurrent bottle of formula given by dad. Sometimes (gasp!) I even did this twice a day.
You guys. I have SO much more milk in my freezer than I did with baby #1! It really, really started to add up. I actually don’t have room for it all. It’s amazing! I didn’t even push the limits as far as I could have. Baby #2 was (and is) still getting 2/3 to 3/4 of her calories from breast milk and I’m confident she’s getting the maximum health benefits of being “breast fed.” I’m also confident that I will make it to the 6 month mark with her…maybe, just maybe, even beyond.
To be fair, there is one other major difference between baby #1 and baby #2 in this department. I have committed to pumping more often now that I’m back at work with baby #2 than I was able to do with baby #1. I’m at a different job now, which is part of the reason, but the real reason is my mental commitment to making time for it. I’m more confident in my ability to juggle my time during the work day to make it all work. Some days it’s damned hard, but I’m doing it. As I write this, I’ve been back to work for four weeks and so far the supply and demand has been nearly equal.
We’re doing it. And when it starts to get harder to keep up, I have gallons of frozen milk to fall back on.
And, because baby #2 is only consuming 4 ounces or less of formula each day, we’re spending very little on formula, too. The cost of it doesn’t add up very quickly at all at that rate! Granted, I have had to buy more and more of those milk storage bags, though. :)
Frankly, I don’t know how this fact is not more widely advertised to moms, especially those who are trying to build up a stash of milk in the freezer. It’s like I want to shout it to the world! It’s been completely liberating.
 
 
I’m a Slave to My Boobs
 
Speaking of liberating, or, well…not so much…I do often feel like I’m a slave to my boobs. My pumping schedule dictates my workday to a degree that is challenging at times. Needing to pump or feed baby #2 on somewhat of a schedule interferes with activities I want and need to do with my older daughter, my husband, and others. I can’t be away from my baby or my pump for more than about 3-4 hours at a time. It still interferes sometimes with my own meals. It interferes with running errands. It interferes with date night. (wait, what’s that?)
There’s just no way around this. There are times when having a formula fed baby is so, so, so much more convenient! Some people swear that breastfeeding is actually more convenient. I have not found that to be the case very often at all. But I don’t have the luxury/burden of being with my baby 24 hours a day at this point.
 
Parting Thoughts
My friends have told me that when you know the child you’re breastfeeding will be your last, as in my case, it’s harder to give it up. I don’t know that that will be true for me. I want to bond with my child in other ways. And, I’ll just say it.
I don’t really like breastfeeding very much.
My reason for being so determined to breastfeed is because I know it is the best for my baby. End of story. That’s a huge motivating factor, though. Enough to push me through the weeks of purgatory, complete with bleeding nipples, missed meals, the physical pain, the seriously inconvenient schedule. I may even be doing something next month I swore I would never do: attempt a business trip while pumping. Traveling and pumping is so daunting. I hope it works.
I guess I like a challenge. But I reserve no judgment for those who feed their babies in ways different from my strategy. Some are hell bent on a drop of formula never touching their baby’s lips. Some can’t get through breastfeeding purgatory. Some never even try.
Just feed your baby. Love your baby. In whatever ways are best for you.

New Mommy Advice

All of you soon-to-be new moms, listen up! I have something to tell you that can revolutionize your life as a new mom! I have the key to making your first weeks as a mother the most blissful you will ever experience!

Are you ready for this great wisdom?

Me too. Let me know if you figure out what it is.

In the meantime, I’m going to be that obnoxious person that gives you unsolicited advice based on her previous experience.

There are so many approaches, methods and techniques to parenting out there today. I’m pretty sure none of them really matter, though.

Sure, there are great systems developed by experts that make your child act better in public or whatever, but the bottom line is nothing can really make that bringing-home-baby transition any easier. Even for those that find parenting skills come to them naturally, like instinctual knowledge, transitioning to having this new little person in your life takes some adjustment.

Let me share some stuff with you that may or may not be helpful. Everyone is different, and every child is different. What I experienced won’t be what you experience, nor what I experience a second time with my son.

Now that we’re clear as mud, let’s get started.

Manage your expectations

I know I have heard this with many things in life, like starting a new job, buying a house, but never before has this been so important. Everything you think will happen, everything you think will be your new-mommy life, throw it out the window. Now.

It’s nice to visualize and think about the cuddling and the bonding and on and on happy moments that will (hopefully) motivate you while you push that bowling ball out of your hooha or sign another form and another check for a crazy amount as you pursue adoption, but there is a lot more to parenting a new-to-you kid than all that. I know you know this, but I’m just reminding you.

Everyone always talks about the sleep deprivation–we get it. We all know we will be tired. The parts people don’t mention is the everything in between (except for breastfeeding struggles, because that is a hugely popular topic as well).

The stuff in between is that I didn’t even feel like I was living in reality. There is this hazy period of time that happened where I was doing everything that needed to be done, but I wasn’t really involved. I know that sounds like I’m coocoo for coacoa puffs, but stick with me.

I was mostly intimidated by this wrinkly thing I was calling my daughter. I spent a lot of time changing diapers and washing bottles and trying to get milk stains out of almost everything. I knew she and I were connected, and that no one else could take care of her better than me, but it just didn’t feel real for a little while.

Until it felt real, which happened in little snippets of time every once in a while. These moments had the potential to make me want to vomit because I suddenly understood I was completely responsible for a little life.

 

There was a whole array of things that didn’t meet my expectations. Not that reality was worse or even better, but it was just different.

For example, shortly after arriving home, Eva (my daughter) managed to projectile poop in the middle of a diaper change. ZERO warning was offered. My joy and glee in the moment was so immense and so inappropriate, especially since I had to figure out how to get poop off of my mother’s couch, but she had plastered her father with some of the nastiest smelling/looking stuff I have ever seen to this day. I never thought I could take so much satisfaction out of something so terribly disgusting, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have been nearly so funny if it had been me. But this was part of my new life. Unexpected, not great, not terrible, and definitely unique.

By the way, the amount of gross that came out of her in the first week was of epic proportions and had me asking her pediatrician if she might possibly be broken. I wasn’t sure whether it was good news or bad news to hear that no, she was not broken and that yes, this was normal.

It’s OK to break the rules a little

Within a week of coming home, you will want to give that baby a bath. A REAL bath, not a sponge bath. The nurse/doctor will tell you not to immerse the baby in water until the cord stump has fallen off (so that everything clots up nice and neatly and a belly button can properly form). I wonder what they actually did with their child/children, though. I know for Eva, we only made it a week before she had a full immersion bath, cord stump and all.

The part that the nurse/doctor fails to mention when instructing you to keep the cord stump dry is that no matter how many sponge baths you give that cute, adorable bundle of baby, she will start to smell like rotten milk in about a week. She wasn’t even a puker and she still smelled like rotten milk.

There is only so much stink baby lotion can cover up.

Now, I will say that the cord stump wasn’t fully immersed for more than a moment here or there, but it still happened.

I let her sleep on her Boppy pillow. It was the only way she would nap some days, and I let her do it for her sake and my sanity.

Now, let me say that she was within my view at all times while sleeping on her pillow, but I still did it.

 

Ugh, and there it is. My need to justify such parenting decisions as a bath and Boppy pillow sleeping brings me to my next point.

Prepare to feel guilt like you have never felt it ever before

Mommy guilt is a term that we hear thrown about frequently. I think someone (me) should copyright the term because they (I) would become a millionaire, surely.

There is a reason we hear about mommy guilt all the time–it’s a real thing.

You’re going to feel guilty for that sigh of relief that escapes when the baby FINALLY stops crying long enough for you to hear yourself think.

You’re going to feel guilty when you take those extra two minutes pooping just because it is the only moments you get to yourself (wait until that baby is big enough to open doors, ha!).

You’re going to feel guilty when you realize you haven’t worn anything but pajama bottoms and various sloppy shirts for going on three days straight now. Depending on how neurotic/sleep deprived you are at that moment, you might also begin to panic that your significant other might be looking for greener pastures.

Wait for it–the baby will cry again and you will be saved from imagining a terrible place where you are suddenly a single parent, which will trigger more guilt when you realize that your significant other is right there next to you in the trenches.

You’re going to feel guilty when you gleefully get out of the house without the baby for the first time.

If you are going to the world of outside employment, then prepare yourself now to feel guilty every time you shower and dress for work. Be prepared to feel guilty every time you walk out the door, leaving that baby with the sitter. Be prepared to feel guilty and anxious every time that baby gets the sniffles and you can’t be the one to watch her every breath, move, hiccup and snort as she recovers.

Don’t get me started on the guilt that accompanies stay/work-at-home-moms, too. I have a word count limit I’m trying to work with here.

 

Take the advice with a smile and a thank you

As many women know (I know all my infertility sisters out there hear this especially), there is always someone who has something to say about reproduction, pregnancy, labor, birth and parenting. Sometimes, this person manages to give advice on every single one of those subjects. Most of the time, you just want to scream or knock a tooth out by the end of the unsolicited advice. But, not all unsolicited advice is bad.

I learned very early in my daughter’s life that I shouldn’t complain/mention anything about her other than she is “good” unless I was prepared to hear twelve different ways to fix the problem. The result of this lesson was I never had the chance to vent to anyone, ever, about anything. I didn’t want to hear the advice. I didn’t want to hear how Sue Z. Que approached a similar situation sixteen years ago with her twin girls.

The problem wasn’t really the advice giver, because the intent was always one of helpfulness. Every woman that gave me advice was trying to share her hard-learned knowledge. Every advice giver was trying to share a moment with me to remind me that I wasn’t the only struggling parent the world had ever seen, that I wasn’t alone.

I was the problem. I had an inferiority complex. I was also very skeptical. Any piece of advice from a mother that hadn’t parented her newborn in the last five years was, in my mind, obsolete. My inferiority complex also demanded that every piece of advice was a sign of my failure as a parent. Every piece of advice was confirmation that I was doing it wrong.

If I needed advice, then surely that meant I wasn’t a good mother. I didn’t have the mother instinct, obviously.

I have come to realize, instead, that I was ignoring some very good and practical tips from other moms that have stood in my shoes. Even those who have children I find to be awful and obnoxious can be sources of helpful lessons in what not to do or how to loosen up on your own parenting skills.

It’s okay to ask for help

I know you know this one, too, but I feel like I should say it again. It is okay to ask for help.

There is probably a flock of family and friends who are just waiting for you to pick up the phone to call on them for help, a break, advice or some sympathy. Those people want to be a part of your new life.

There is something about bringing a new life into your little world. I don’t know what that something is exactly, but it prompts an emotional reaction in everyone–truly, everyone, even that gnarled old man you call uncle that hasn’t smiled since his favorite team won in 1963. Emotions vary, but they are still there.

 

For example, even when my daughter wasn’t old enough for solids, I found myself on the receiving end of envelopes that contained two $1.00 bills with a quickly scrawled note stating that the money was candy money intended for my daughter. My godmother lived to far to visit regularly, but she was determined to let us know she was thinking about us.

I have no doubt that there is someone in your life that is chomping at the bit to be able to help in some way. Take them up on their eager willingness! If nothing else, maybe you can guide those intentions to something more useful than candy money for a 3 month old baby.

It doesn’t mean you failed. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mom.

I would like to think it means that you are a smart mom that recognizes her assets and uses them appropriately.

Don’t keep track of whose turn it is

Don’t argue over whose turn it is to change/feed/bathe the baby. It won’t do you or the baby any good. Do it together, if you can.

The thing that has worked for us the most is recognizing each other’s needs and communicating. If I have reached the point that a break is needed but the parenting thing just keeps going, I will tap my husband and say something along the lines of “tag”. He knows exactly what that means, too.

If Eva wakes me up at 6:30 am on Saturday and my husband stirs easily, he gets up with her. If she tries to wake him up on Sunday at 8:00 am and he doesn’t budge, I will signal her to leave him be and get up with her instead. He doesn’t sleep late, usually, so on those rare occasions when he is still soundly asleep after 7:30 am, I know he really needs this extra sleep. We both need to sleep, and neither of us feels robbed this way.

If I am still desperately in need of a bit more sleep (which happens frequently these days), then we make time for a nap. The goal is to work together, though. I don’t need him adding to my list of tasks, just as he doesn’t need it from me, either. The laundry, grocery shopping, cooking/preparing lunches for the week are all tasks we complete together, even with Eva. That girl can hang clothes like no other six-year old I know.

All of this brings me to my last point.

Learn to say no

Once you figure out what schedule works for you, treat it as sacred. You and your significant other will find a rhythm that works for the two of you that results in both of you being able to bond and sleep. I promise! It will happen!

These days, our weekends are sacred to us. We need them for family time and to regenerate our brains and bodies before the week begins again. We try not to schedule more than one activity per weekend. If we were overbooked, there would be no time to sleep in or take that nap.

When Eva was a baby, though, I remember all the invitations for this or that and you can bring the baby offerings. The problem was that to get Eva to sleep through the night, I really had to make sure to stick to a schedule with her daytime naps and her nightly bedtime. If she ended up overly tired, the results were torturous for all of us. She would fight sleep unlike any child I have ever seen. She also wouldn’t stay asleep all night either, which never made sense to me because I knew she was tired.

The result was me saying no a lot. I felt so guilty, especially since I was the only mother in my group of friends. But, in the end, I knew I was doing what was the absolutely best thing I could do, not just for my daughter but for me, too. I invited people to come to us more often as a result, and I also quickly learned who was really interested in continuing a friendship once things became slightly less convenient.

The part that surprised me the most was that I didn’t feel like I was missing out. I reveled in my time with my daughter. We made our own fun. My priorities had shifted, and I didn’t need the companionship from friends as much anymore.

All of this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take a night off every once in a while, though.

Remember those people that are just itching to help? This would be a good time to call them.