Saturday, September 26, 2015

6 Months as Mav's Mommy | A Quarterly Update

Where has the time gone? People tell you that it will fly by but boy oh boy it still throws me for a loop. I just held my best friend’s newborn the other day and realized how big Mav really is. He’s such a big boy now. He’s not a snuggly little lump anymore. He’s so curious about the world. Always looking around and trying to figure things out. 

It’s wonderfully sad. Wonderful because he is growing and thriving but sad because I want him to stay my little baby. He’s already so squirmy. Those rare moments where he lets me cuddle him and hold him like a baby are so precious. I still rock him to sleep whenever I can because it’s a magical time. I’m his comfort. I gaze, in awe, at his beautiful little boy face and thank God for allowing me to be his mother. 

At Mav’s 4-month mark, he measured 26.25 inches (90th percentile) and weighed 15 lbs. 2 oz. (55th percentile). We had a relatively quiet month adjusting to my return to work. 

  • Drools a lot. Daddy jokes that he has rabies. Mav started wearing bandana bibs to catch all the excess liquid that soaks his clothes. 
  • Started laughing. The best, most beautiful sound in the world. I find myself working hard to find ways to make him laugh. 
  • Discovered his feet 
  • Loves to kick in the bath 
  • Grasps toys and puts them in his mouth 
  • Transitioned from co-sleeper to crib in his own room 
  • Likes to hold his bottle while he eats 
  • Sleeps 8-9 hours in his sleep suit 
  • First Party | Daryn’s Graduation 
  • First babysitter (non-family) 
  • Passed his Non-Sedation ABR hearing test with flying colors! He can hear a pin drop. 

Since Mav usually has so many doctors’ appointments, I usually have his weight and height from a visit near his monthly milestones. But this month, I’m going to have to guesstimate. Based on his measurements on 9/9 (13 days after his 5-month mark), I’m going to guess that he weighed about 17 lbs. (67th percentile) and he would have measured about 27 inches

  • Tries to put his big toe in his mouth, which is tough with his big belly gets in the way.
  • Discovered his vocal chords. He screams for joy and screeches until he coughs. It pretty hilarious to hear! 
  • Size 3 diapers 
  • 9 to 12 month clothes 
  • Two bottom teeth. Those suckers are fully visible and they're sharp little things. 
  • Started on baby oatmeal 
  • Sitting up almost completely unassisted 

Mav is wearing 12-month clothes. 12 months! I can’t believe it. My husband jokes that he’s going to be too heavy for me to carry before he can walk on his own. Maverick still loves to eat and is chunking up nicely. I’m still exclusively pumping. But we’ve almost gone through my entire stockpile of frozen milk so I’ll have to start supplementing with formula soon. Mav weighs a whopping 18 lbs. according to our home scale this morning! 

  • Loves his dog! Kicks his legs, flaps his arms and wiggles all around when he hears the pup coming down the hallway.
  • Explores mommy and daddy’s faces with his hands when he’s being held and likes to pull mommy’s hair 
  • Graduated from his infant seat to his convertible car seat (which he doesn’t like) and sits facing out in his stroller so he can see the world 
  • Smiles and kicks when we sing his favorite songs | “You are My Sunshine”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Build Me Up Buttercup” 
  • Has tried squash, sweet potato, oatmeal and banana but still loves his milk the best 
  • Sits up completely on his own and can stand up if holding onto something 
  • Learned how to splash in the bath and loves his bath toys 
  • Still hates tummy time and has a sizable bald spot in the back of his head as a result of all the time he’s spends on his back 
  • Hasn’t transitioned out of his sleep suit since he doesn’t roll over yet 
  • Doesn’t like having his diaper changed. He gets bored so he kicks and fusses. 
  • First kid’s birthday party | Lucy 
  • Pediatric ophthalmology appointment | Passed vision test 
  • First trip to the library | Mother Goose on the Loose 
  • First trip to Apple Hill

Happy half year birthday, my sweet little boy! 
The last 6 months have been the best days of my life. We are so lucky to be your parents.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I'll Never Forget

When I was struggling with infertility, I remember feeling left behind when my TTC sisters would get pregnant. It always seemed like they’d forgotten the pain and moved on…while I was still sitting in the same place with empty arms. I hated that feeling.

I want you to know that I’ll never forget. I’ll never forget the agony and heartache of infertility. I’ll never forget the sobbing can’t-catch-your-breath tears and sleepless emotional nights. I’ll never forget the difficult decisions and deep sorrow after each loss. I’ll never forget the fear in the pit of my stomach…fear that I would never know the love that exists between a mother and her child and never find happiness again. I’ll never forget the darkness that existed during the longest six years of my life. And I’ll never forget those of you who are still in the trenches… trying month after month to conceive your miracle babies.

The truth is that I’ve had a hard time finding my voice in this space lately. My past posts were all born out of my sorrow and struggle. Pain inspires more than happiness. I haven’t written because I don’t want this space to become “just another mommy blog”. Lord knows there are enough of those out there already.

I still intend to share my journey through motherhood. However, I feel compelled to continue to be a part of this community. To be a cheerleader. A dear friend. Maybe even a beacon of hope for some of you who feel alone and are on the verge of giving up on your dreams.

A very wise friend said to me the other day, “you have to find the way to keep writing because your blog isn’t about you.”

Say what? It’s not.

“No, he said. It’s bigger than that. It is about your readers. And they still need you to write and offer your perspective as someone who’s endured so much and overcome a huge obstacle in your life.”

So at 5AM, I’m sitting in my dark bedroom, stealing the only free moments of my day to write. To tell you…. you are not alone. You will find happiness again. There is a baby monitor beside me and I’m waiting for a little boy to cry for me. ME! His mommy. 

There were so many days and nights that I worried this day would never come. But it has. It’s real. This is my life. The dirty diapers. The pumping and feeding. Juggling work and family. Drying his tears and reveling in his smiles. Everything we went through to get here was worth it because he is our world.

My plea to you is not to give up. Your sunshine could be just around the next bend. Keep going. After each failure, I wanted to give up. Throw in the towel. To crawl under my covers and never come out. But I just put one foot in front of the other and kept going. Through prayer and determination, I hope that all of you who want to become mommies are able to achieve your dreams.

Baby dust to all of you!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

3 Months as Mav’s Mommy | A Quarterly Update

I never meant to go so long without posting on this blog. My intentions were to write monthly updates along with a laundry list of other topics. But life changes after you have a baby, that’s for sure. Taking care of Mav has been my number one priority. Followed by sleep. Then recovering from pregnancy and childbirth. And finally, nurturing myself and my real-life relationships. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much time or energy left for reading blogs and writing.

But I’m here now and promise not to abandon this space. It just took me a while to come up for air. The first 3 months of Mav’s life have been a whirlwind. Amazing. Scary. Awe-inspiring. Tiring. Beautiful. Words really do escape me. Being a mother is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Every day, I am so grateful to have him as part of our family. It is the hugest blessing in my life to be his mother.

For those of you who are still trying to conceive your miracle babies…DON’T GIVE UP. If the door keeps slamming in your face, try a different one. Even if it looks different that you imagined it would. On the other side is parenthood. And it doesn’t really matter how you get there. All the pain, tears, money and heartache are worth it.

Recently, I received an email from a woman considering donor eggs. She wanted to know if I wish I’d tried harder with my own eggs. She asked whether I felt like I was missing out on anything with my son.

Answer: Absolutely NOT.

He is the child that we were always meant to have. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted. Not for one second have I felt that I am missing out or that he is not really my child. In fact, if I had the choice between him or a child from my eggs…I would choose him. Without a doubt. I wanted to put that out there for anyone considering egg donation and wondering the same thing.

It’s almost over. I go back to work on Monday. Gah! I can’t believe it. Seems like the time went by WAY too quickly. I’m going to miss lil man with every fiber of my being when I’m away from him. But it will be good to use my brain and have some adult time (outside of my pajamas).

Thankfully Mav is on a pretty solid schedule and he’s sleeping about 7 hours each night (on average). So this should make going back to work manageable. His schedule looks roughly like this…wake and eat at 6AM. Play and then go down for nap. Wake and eat at 10AM. Play and go down for nap. Wake and eat at 2PM. Play and go down for nap. Wake and eat at 6PM. Play (and incorporating bath time here but we’ve been inconsistent) and go down for nap. After this nap, I usually have to wake him up at about 10PM before I go to bed to feed him so that he will sleep throughout the night.

The tough part is that he is still in our room and he's restless after about 2AM. He wakes me up a several times each night. Especially when he pops his arm out of his swaddle…pretty much every night. I’m on the hunt for THE best swaddle. Borrowing the Ollie from a friend and heard that the zipadee-zip is worth trying too. We are transitioning him into his crib in his bedroom this week after we get the Angelcare monitor hooked up for mama’s peace of mind.

For childcare, we are doing a combo of my husband, my mom and myself. We are fortunate that my mom has the summers off from work so she can help us watch Mav. It will keep him out of daycare until August. At that point, we will be putting him in a daycare for 2 or 3 days each week.

Mav never was able to latch (for reasons that I will explain in more detail some day). But I’ve been pumping and feeding him breast milk since he came home from the NICU. In fact, I produce so much milk that our freezer is overflowing and hubby complains that he can’t fit anything inside of it. But I am stockpiling in case my supply goes down when I return to work.

Although baby boy doesn’t seem to care whether his milk is delivered via breast or bottle, I still have moments when I’m sad that we never got to bond in that way. But I am so glad though that he has been able to get my milk via a Haberman Feeder.

He loves to eat so much that he complains and fusses when we were done feeding him EVERY time. Our feeding specialist recommended adding 1.5 teaspoons of formula to his breast milk to thicken it and make it more caloric instead of giving him more milk (too much fluid). Mav is eating more than 5 ounces of breast milk augmented with Honest Company organic formula every 3-4 hours.

Mav hates to be burped because he had bad reflux in the beginning. Now he is on Prevacid for the reflux but it’s his habit to hate burping so he still keeps up the fuss. But it is rather half-hearted. Sometimes I have to laugh because it is a pathetic attempt at complaining.

Recovering from a C-section is no joke. It was tough in the beginning. I’m almost healed now but boy was it hard at first. About two weeks after Mav was born, I started bleeding out of my incision site. It was brown blood so I wasn’t too worried. When I saw the doctor, she said that I started bleeding internally after I was discharged and the blood clotted inside my abdomen. The clotted blood was stuck and trying to come out. So I had to apply hot compresses three times a day and apply pressure to try to coax the dried blood out. It never came out after that initial bleeding incident so I ended up with hard knots in my stomach that are just barely starting to go away.

My blood pressure was too high after I gave birth so I was put on blood pressure medication along with my slew of pain pills. Thankfully I was able to wean myself off of all meds by around 3 weeks postpartum.

The only remaining bothersome symptom that I have is carpel tunnel in both hands. As I type this, I can’t feel my fingers. They are numb. So frustrating. I’ve been going to physical therapy and sleeping with wrist braces (when I can remember). But it still persists. I’m hoping I don’t have to have surgery for it. Ugh!

Oh by the way… I also got thrush in both of my breasts. And STILL have it. I have an anti-fungal cream that I apply four times daily. But I can’t shake it. So it is ‘oh so fun’ pumping with painful nipples. Sigh! Girl can't catch a break.

Happy to report that I quickly returned to my pre-pregnancy weight. Yay! I gained 34 lbs during my pregnancy but most of it was probably water weight due to the excessive swelling in my lower extremities. Breast-feeding definitely helped me get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I eat more now than I did when I was pregnant yet the weight just came right off. I’m trying to walk to start to building back my muscle mass but it is pretty tough to manage my time with Mav. I attended a couple of postpartum sculpt classes while I was out of work. Big accomplishment!

As for Maverick…here are some monthly milestones and pictures.

As of Mav's 1-month appointment, he was up to 9 lbs, 14 oz. I’m not sure his length, as they didn’t measure him. This put him in the 48th percentile for weight (according to the Sprout app), which was up from the 28th percentile at birth. He was wearing NB-sized Honest Company diapers and NB clothes, although he transitioned pretty quickly from NB to 0-3 month size clothes.

  • Great eye contact 
  • Hates being burped 
  • Eats 4 ounces per feeding 
  • Loves his swing 
  • Smiles and eyes dart when falling asleep 
  • Strong neck and legs 
  • Sleeps up to 4 hours 
  • Nickname “bug” 
  • First happy hour with mom + dad

At Mav’s 2-month appointment (where he received his first round of vaccines and his blood-curdling scream broke my heart), he weighed 12 lbs, 5 oz. Again, my pediatrician rarely measures his length because he said it is hard to get an accurate read. According to the Sprout app, this puts him in the 57th percentile for weight. Woo hoo! Up from the 28th at birth. My little peanut loves to eat! He graduated to size 1 diapers and 3 month size clothes. 

  • Smiles a lot 
  • Eats in side lying position 
  • Can have a cooing “conversation” 
  • Likes to suck on left hand 
  • Collects lint between fingers and toes 
  • Loves mobiles 
  • Sleeps up to 9 hours (when we are lucky) 
  • First road trip | Sonoma 
  • First play dates | baby Dylan, Venture and cousin Braxten
  • Admitted in PICU for apneic episode 
  • First drive to visit So Cal family | San Diego 

At our appointment yesterday (6 days past his 3-month mark), Mav weighed in at 13 lbs, 15 oz. This is the 60th percentile. He actually looks like a chunky baby now, which is awesome. He’s wearing size 2 diapers and 3-6 month size clothes. I'm so happy we've been able to get his weight up and satiate his crazy hunger.

  • Alert + observant 
  • Bats at hanging objects 
  • Hates tummy time 
  • Always kicking his feet 
  • Faux hawk is 2 inches tall 
  • Loves being outdoors and watching the trees blow 
  • Started teething | top front tooth 
  • Expert at popping out of swaddle 
  • First trip to the beach | Pismo Beach 
  • First time in the pool | Lake Tahoe 

I’ll do my best to update the blog more often but if you are interested in seeing more real-time updates, follow me on Instagram @dreamingofdimples as I post pictures weekly. It only takes a second to upload images from my phone so it is easier for me to keep up at the moment.

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