Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Migraines, Cluster Feedings, & Baby Blues

Several friends had warned me during my pregnancy about the Baby Blues. That they often hit women as hormones go crazy re-regulating in the 10-14 day postpartum period. It isn't postpartum depression, per se, but more a strange predictable purging of hormones.

Now I know what they were talking about.

I have been feeling really tired & tearful the last few days. It has nothing to do with sweet Iyla herself- I am loving being her mama and still appreciating being able to be home with her. It is more to do with the overall lifestyle shift & feeling a bit shackled to the house. I am someone who is always out and about, running errands, hitting up my local coffee shop, meeting friends out, etc. With a newborn, however, it is MUCH harder to freely get out- I am lucky if we make it on one small outing a day, and that one outing takes a lot of preparation!

It was surprising to me to feel my reaction to BC's golf day Sunday & then his night out last night. This morning I asked if he might consider golfing every other Sunday, such that we could have a few weekends all together or - on that other Sunday- maybe I could get a little break and have some "me" time? To which he replied "I thought we talked about this before we were even pregnant." Meaning, we'd talked about making sure we didn't change our lives/schedules based on having a baby.

Well, the baby's here and these feelings are here too. Sure, it might be due to Baby Blues, but how can one really predict how a little one will change your lives and schedules? I definitely want BC to feel nurtured and to have his boy time, but it is hard to have him gone 6 days out of the week where those 6 days all bleed into one another for me- same routine with baby, etc.

This morning's exchange led me into serious tears, leading to further talks. BC communicated- and I know he is genuine in it- that he does want me to get the 'me' time to stay balanced. The tricky part is I prefer that time to happen during the daytime hours (vs. the night- I've been going to bed so early these days!), which pretty much only leaves Saturdays right now. Since that is the only day the three of us have all together I also don't want to give up that time. *Sigh* I have to trust we'll figure this all out- if we are loving & respectful of one another's needs & keep continuously checking in with each other, hopefully we will find a harmonious balance.

My ocular migraines have also returned with a vengeance, which does not help matters in the Baby Blues department. I have had 4 migraines in the last 4 days- including TWO on Monday. If I take my flushing niacin in time once I get the flashing lights I usually don't feel much pain; however, if I have to take that niacin close to a feeding time with Iyla I don't want to risk her getting the flushing effects. So last night at 3am saw me awakening to a migraine, taking a niacin pill, Iyla waking to feed, me feeding her for 10 minutes before feeling the 'flush' come on, then taking Iyla with me down to the kitchen to proceed to warm up a bottle of breast milk while simultaneously pumping & dumping what was left in my boobs.

Iyla also started a round of cluster feeding yesterday- where she was wanting to eat about every two hours vs the typical three. Newborns do this to help up breastfeeding moms' milk supply as they enter a growth spurt, and it is common to see happen around the two week old mark. Couple this with the migraines & lack of sleep and it is no wonder I am feeling the blues!

My Mother-in-law arrives Sunday for a 4 day visit, and it couldn't come at a better time. I am looking forward to seeing her and for her to meet Iyla, and am thinking that maybe, just maybe I will see if she is up for some one on one time with the little one as I head out for some solo errands!

In closing, I bring you a few more photos of Iyla. She is such a sweet, gentle, independent spirit and looking into that little face definitely helps me through these blues. : )

Post bath relaxation

She definitely has her Papa's feet! We call those "Lambert Toes"- long & slender

Snuggle time

Monday, November 26, 2012

Two Weeks Old

Two weeks ago today I was in active labor, comfortably watching contractions go by on the monitor as I luxuriated in my epidural. We were just hours away from meeting our daughter!

At two weeks old Iyla is a great baby. She still sleeps a lot, and soothes pretty easily when fussy. She nurses well (sometimes it takes a few tries to latch, and she definitely prefers to start on the right side!) She has started a lot of grunting while sleeping the last couple of nights- where we will hear what sounds like the beginnings of a cry followed by grunts, then she is right back to sleep. This happens about 2-3x/hour. Hopefully I will get better at trusting she will actually REALLY let me know when she wants to wake, so I am not stirring with every little grunt!

This week Iyla also let me know she much prefers to NOT have her arms swaddled, thank you very much. Once I listened to that she has been peacefully sleeping with her little hands near her face.

One of the cutest things ever is that right after she feeds, she passes out hard and gets "milk smiles" that light up her face. Here I bring you the anatomy of a milk smile, followed by a brief video:

Another discovery this week was the "WannaNub" pacifier. These are pacifiers literally attached to a small stuffed animal. Admittedly I thought they were a bit silly and wouldn't be very helpful with a newborn. However, several moms on my November Mamas Board were raving about their little ones loving these, so I gave it a shot. And lo and behold, Iyla LOVES them!! She sucks on this pacifier WAY more than the other one we were giving her, and the little stuffed animal gives it more weight so it stays in her mouth longer. *LOVE!*

Iyla's heaven: arms free, passed out next to her beloved WannaNub lamb

Don't you try taking this away!

Today was our first "official" day alone at home without BC. Though technically that was yesterday, since BC took the entire day to golf & have a boys' day. This is something he has always done on Sundays, and I encouraged him to head out yesterday and enjoy. I am noticing, however, that I am teetering on a bit of envy with his days/nights out, and really have to watch that. He let me know he is going out with a guy friend tomorrow night as well, and again, I don't want to be that girl putting restrictions out there, but it is hard b/c I can't really head out in the same way, given I am breastfeeding. If given a preference, I'd obviously rather he was here hanging out with us, or we were all going out together. I have to trust this will even out as Iyla gets older- that I too can have 'me' days & times while genuinely staying happy for BC to have his.

Iyla and I did get out together today on our first maiden voyage. We had another pediatrician visit to test her bili levels. If you recall on Friday she was at a 16, and the doctor strongly encouraged us to do a formula cleanse over the weekend. BC and I followed our hearts and decided to spend the weekend with lots of feeding, sunning, and praying and see what today's test brought. I have to give Iyla huge props for her bravery with all these heel sticks- she will shriek/cry when the stick occurs then within seconds calms to a little whimper. Breaks my heart but she really does get over things quickly. If Iyla had a quote for her first couple weeks of life, it would be "I got this."

Lots more of this over the weekend

The doctor said that if the levels stayed the same, went up, or even came in around 15 she would still want us to do the formula cleanse to make SURE it was a breast milk related jaundice.

And Ms. Iyla's levels today?

13.2!!!!  Hallelujah!! The doctor told me she hasn't ever seen a baby go to such a high as Iyla (at 23 when we were admitted to the hospital) and eventually come down this far on her own. Well world, get used to the miracle that is this little girl- seems her mission here is to prove people wrong!

Iyla weighed in at 5 pounds, 15 ounces today- officially surpassing her birth weight. This means we have now graduated to being allowed to let HER wake ME during the night- no more 3 hour alarms need to be set! I will still feed her every 3 hours during the day, but we can go 4-5 hour stretches at night if that is what Iyla prefers (please, oh PLEASE prefer this little one!)

After the doctor I took a risk and decided to try hitting the grocery store. Our grocery list has been growing exponentially, and I had to get over my fear of taking her out sooner or later. I stashed a small bottle of pumped milk in my purse, but happily she stayed sound asleep the entire time! Success.

Happily snoozing in the produce aisle

Tomorrow I think we will try an outing to my chiropractor's office. I've been getting migraines again and can tell my body is a bit tweaked from birth & carrying around/nursing a baby. My chiropractor also specializes in infant adjustments, so maybe just maybe I'll have Iyla get her first adjustment as well.

Oh the adventures we'll have, baby girl!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebrating with all of our extended family here in town. I am so thankful Iyla decided to make an early appearance, so she could fully indulge in her first holiday- which she pretty much slept through.

She got a lot of cuddles!

 Uncle Andy (my brother)

 Cousin Alec

 Aunt Jeannine

 Cousin Heather & her boyfriend Patrick

 Chillin' in her Thanksgiving dress

I love the way she poses her little arms! Deep thoughts here.

Sweet moment my aunt captured- the look on my mom's face is priceless.

BC and I snuggling

The Thanksgiving feast is my favorite meal of the year- and my Aunt Sheri & Uncle Vince did an awesome job hosting in her beautiful new home in Cedar Park.

The next morning as I changed Iyla I realized her cord stump had fallen off, at 11 days old! She is now sporting an actual belly button. So cute.

Later on Friday we had a follow up Pediatrician visit to test her bili levels again. Iyla gained 2 more ounces, and clocked in at 5 pounds, 13 ounces! She is growing more and more every day. The good news is her bili levels didn't rise again, but remained the same at 16. The Pediatrician said that the only way to know for SURE if this is breast milk jaundice (which isn't really dangerous unless levels jump up, and clears in a couple weeks) is to do a 48 hour formula diet cleanse, which also tends to bring levels down. After getting a 2nd opinion from another Pediatrician friend, BC and I decided to hold off for now on the cleanse, as I would hate to have it jeopardize my milk supply & Iyla's awesome nursing. I will take her in again Monday to test her levels, and pray they are ideally lower or at LEAST remaining stable. If they have gone up I will likely bite the bullet and start the cleanse.

On the way to the Pediatrician- she is such a little squish in her car seat!

My brother is a photographer, so we took the opportunity to have a little photo shoot with Iyla. She only had one mid-shoot meltdown (didn't appear to approve of the tutu I tried to put on her)- but after a little snack was back in supermodel mode. I snapped a couple pictures with my IPhone of her in her Thanksgiving dress, working her poses:

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful, dahlings

Friday night we took Iyla on her first outing, grabbing dinner out at one of our favorite East Austin tex-mex spots-  Takoba. She did great and slept the entire time! This little one is definitely a sleeper- I have to wake her up for pretty much every meal. I am looking forward to getting the OK from the Pediatrician to just let her sleep during the night and wake ME when she wants to eat!

Iyla's first night out at 11 days old

As far as my continued postpartum recovery goes, things are getting better and better. Yesterday my hemorrhoids seemed to calm down a bit, which is a godsend. I can finally sit normally again! I am now down 14 pounds from my total pregnancy gain and my belly is starting to look more and more normal. Even the squish factor is starting to go down slowly but surely. Still have a lot of toning that could be done, and I plan to start taking daily walks with our little one to help that along.

The 12 day postpartum belly (don't mind the fresh from the shower hair!)

Today BC and I are going to put up all of our Christmas decorations- I love this time of year! He will hang the outdoor lights & put up the tree while I set up my Christmas Village & other festive decorations. I love that Iyla came right in time to celebrate all these holidays as a family. They will definitely be extra special this year!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Boo Bilirubin! And More Firsts.....

We had our follow up appointment at the Pediatrician today. Poor Iyla's little heels are starting to look like a battle ground from all the heel pricks. : (  The good news? Our little bean is almost back to birth weight! She weighed 5 lbs, 14 oz at birth, dropped down to 5 lb 5 oz at the hospital, was 5 lb 8 oz Monday and today is already 5 lb 11oz! The Pedi said I got a gold star for the weight gain- my boobs seem to be doing their jobs well. They like to see little ones' reach their birth weights by 14 days, and at 9 days old our Iyla is already an overachiever. She also grew 1/2 an inch already!

The bad news? Her bilibubin levels went up again. BOO. She got down to 12 at Dell Hospital before we were discharged, was up to 14 Monday, and came in at 16 today. So we have to go back again on Friday morning to re-check her. The Pedi said if the levels come up further we will likely do a formula diet "cleanse" over the weekend, as sometimes at this point in the game this can be breast milk jaundice (never heard of that). If that is all it takes to get her in shape- a weekend of bottle feeds (hmmm... maybe BC can take some night shifts) then I am totally game!

Iyla had a few more "firsts" in the last several days:

She had her first bath at home Monday night at one week old. BC held her while I used a washcloth to squeeze warm water over her. She was a trooper- no tears! The hooded bunny robe I purchased is huge on her, like almost everything else right now. Here she is getting dried off:

We also took our first stroller ride through the neighborhood yesterday at 8 days old. We LOVE our Bob stroller- super easy to maneuver. Iyla took the opportunity to get a good nap in.

I feel SO lucky to live just steps from Austin's Lady Bird Lake & Hike and Bike trails. The trees here are just starting to turn fall colors and we are having gorgeous weather.

And here are a few more cute shots from the last several days- I can't seem to get enough photos of this sweet little one:

We get the comment over and over again that Iyla looks like a little doll. She is such a little peanut- barely fitting into her car seat!

Melt my heart

Rockin' the sunbaths much as she did her moon baths. This kid has style!

Looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with our family tomorrow! I am grateful Iyla chose to come early so could fully partake in the Holiday. Can't wait to introduce her to the last of her local relatives- she is going to be getting LOTS of lovin' on tomorrow. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Postpartum Reflections

Today is the day Iyla was "scheduled" to arrive! Our little bean is now 8 days old, and thus I am 8 days into my postpartum recovery time. Overall, it has been going really well. My lady parts are a bit sore- the worst of which are the sweet hemorrhoids that developed, making it really hard to sit comfortably. But I have been up and about really easily since we returned home- another blessing of being able to birth vaginally.

Here are some of the fascinating things I have observed in the past week:

*My bleeding isn't bad at all. In the hospital I had the equivalent of a heavy period, but it has now tapered off to light spotting.

*My desire for sweets immediately went away with birth! So interesting. Perhaps it is Iyla who has the sweet tooth!

*My 'need to eat NOW" morning nausea, which I had the entire pregnancy, is gone and my appetite has drastically reduced. The few times BC and I have ordered food he teases me because I am still ordering to eat for two- and my eyes are definitely way bigger than my stomach now.

*I am insanely thirsty pretty much all the time.

*I've woken up several times in the night drenched in sweat. Apparently it is my body's way of expelling all the extra fluid accumulated during pregnancy & from the IV fluids I had during labor.

*Breastfeeding has a steep learning curve! Iyla learned to latch well about 24 hours after her birth (with a lot of trial and error), and my milk officially came in on the afternoon of day 3. I've already had some fun with engorgement, leaking, & extremely sore & flaky nipples. We are getting our stride down now... and hopefully it will just keep getting easier and easier. I also learned from pumping in the hospital that my left breast produces 2x as much milk as my right! And hence that is the side I am currently experiencing engorgement with. My nursing MUST HAVES are:

*Breast pads (the left is leaky!)
*Soothie gel pads that can be heated or cooled (helps with engorgement)
*Lanolin cream (great in the beginning when my nips were SO sore & flaking)
*Breast Pump
*Nursing tank tops (love the Target brand)
*Sleep nursing bra (it is like a sports bra and holds the pads nicely)

*Even though I am not sleeping much, I have amazing stores of energy and am feeling great (so far). Yes, I have sleepy moments, but the bliss of this little one energizes me like nothing else. I haven't even really been napping during the day- and at night I am up every 3 hours to feed her, and the feeding, diaper changing, & getting her back to sleep take the bulk of an hour. So sleeping 2 hours, up 1 throughout the night.

*BC has been absolutely amazing. He rocks the diaper changes & is SO good with Iyla and SO in love with her. We have fallen even more in love with one another as we watch each other blossom into parenthood. It has expanded both of us exponentially already.

*I am enjoying not being pregnant any longer. Don't get me wrong- I loved my pregnancy and loved feeling that little one inside me, but oh is it nice to have my body back! I can move so much more freely again... can bend forward and walk normally again. I feel so much lighter and free.

*I am in awe of my own body. How it produces enough sustenance to nurture another human being. How it instantly readjusts and recognizes I am no longer pregnant (as evidenced by my food & hunger shifts). But most fascinating of all? How that belly of mine keeps shrinking every day! At one week postpartum I have lost 13 pounds, almost half of the 28 total I gained. 

 One week postpartum belly. Still very squishy but shrinking more every day. And as it shrinks, my boobs just keep getting bigger! Can't say I mind. : )

And for comparison's sake, here is my belly one week ago (2 days before Iyla was born) vs. today (her one week birthday):

Hopefully very soon BC and I can start going on walks with our little one, getting a little fresh air and exercise. We have to take advantage of these 2 weeks he is home with us, which I am so grateful for!

Monday, November 19, 2012

One Week Old!

It is hard to believe our little one is already one week old. And what a week of adventures we've had!

We had lots of visitors at the hospital come to meet Iyla. Her Mimi & Grampy (my parents) were there the night she was born and came to visit us each day.

Iyla with her Mimi

 With cousins Shanny & Heather

Auntie Lisa, AKA "The Baby Whisperer"

First family photo

 Sweet baby girl

After a 2 night stay at St. David's North Medical Center, it was finally time to head home! We couldn't wait.

November 14th: Iyla tries out her car seat for the first time & heads home

We love having our little one home with us! I think she liked it too.

Once home, we discovered all the clothes we had were way too big on Iyla- even the newborn sizes! So we rocked the t-shirt/leggings look

We found the Moses Basket to be a perfect spot for napping

 More visitors! Here Julie & Lily come by to visit.
Her Auntie Carey and Auntie Dianne also came to hold and cuddle her.

November 15th, 3 days old and her first trip to the Pediatrician. Her bilirubin levels had been a bit high leaving the hospital, so we had to re-check them at the Pedi. She was a brave girl! Super alert. She lost some of her birth weight (which is normal) and clocked in at 5 pounds, 5 ounces

 As we waited to hear back from the Pedi on her jaundice levels, we did some at home sunbathing therapy

Sam could really care less about his new sister- he is a mama's boy through and through so decided to sunbathe with us

Iyla is really alert after feedings, and it melts our hearts when she looks in our eyes!

Checking out the world around her

Unfortunately the results from the Pediatrician showed Iyla's bili levels had kept crawling up and were teetering on a dangerous level. On Friday, November 16th, at 4 days old, we were told we needed to head to Dell Children's Hospital & check in for Iyla to receive light therapy. We would be staying there 2 days and nights.

 Iyla rocked the moonlight in style! Her Mimi said it was like she had a spa weekend. 

While Iyla was a champ, I was somewhat of a wreck, crying a lot throughout our stay. The first 24 hours we couldn't hold her and I had to pump milk while BC gave it to her in bottles. The teeny silver lining was that I did learn how to pump, and learned I have a great milk supply. BC learned how to give a bottle (which Iyla took like a rockstar!) & burp her.

 "What's the big deal, people?"

BC and I did take the opportunity while she was in the hospital to head out to dinner each night. We would joke in very blasé voices: "Date Night?"

Late Sunday, November 18th we were finally discharged home. We are SO grateful to be back and getting into our groove again.

Back home again, we promptly returned to our sunbathing

We had a follow up Pedi appointment today and unfortunately her levels have gone up again a bit (from a 12 to a 14), so we will be back Wednesday for another appointment. If they go up again we will likely be bringing a blue blanket home with us. Keeping prayers going we don't have to return to the hospital, especially on the Eve of Thanksgiving! The Pedi thinks it is just Iyla's system trying to re-regulate & didn't indicate she thinks a return to the hospital will be needed. Fingers crossed! The great news was she has already started gaining weight back, and is up to 5 pounds 8 ounces! These boobs appear to be doing their jobs.

So there you have it, a summary of all the excitement from the first week of Iyla Grace's life. Looking forward to seeing what each new week brings (and Universe? No more hospital stays please!)