Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lactation Cookies--A Bonus Post

After two weeks of freezing my milk, I now have enough frozen milk for twelve 5-ounce bottles.  I also pump and refrigerate enough milk for Jackson to have a bottle at least every other day.  Frozen milk is off limits until August when I go back to work.  Even if I am able to freeze 30 ounces a week from now until August, that will only be enough to get us through a month.  (10 weeks X 30 oz=300 oz.  That makes 60 5-oz bottles.  If Jackson needs 3 bottles a day while I am at work 5 days a week, that is 15 bottles per week. That means I'll only have enough milk for 4 weeks.)  Obviously I will still have to pump at work, but I really wanted to get a large enough stash to last the first 2-3 months.  I guess that is not realistic? I decided it was time to finally make those lactation cookies, in hopes of increasing my milk supply and pumping output.

Here is the recipe, courteousy of my sister:

1 cup crisco/butter/margarine
1/2 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
2t vanilla extract
1/4t salt
1t baking soda
1/2 C whole wheat flour
3/4 C white flour
2 T brewers yeast*
2 T milled flax seed
1/4 C wheat germ
2 C oats (quick or old fashioned)
1/2 more or less of chocolate chips/butterscotch or my far, toffee

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine sugars & crisco until smooth. Add eggs & vanilla, mix well.

Combine all remaining ingredients, excluding oatmeal and chips/toffee until smooth.

Add oatmeal and chips/toffee and spread onto foil lined, large cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes, cool and cut into bars.
After visiting a couple of stores, I gathered the plethora of ingredients the recipe calls for:

I was a little unsure of the consistency as well as the thickness of the cookie while spreading it on the pan.  I was interrupted by a phone call, dinner preparations, and a hungry baby, but managed to get them in the oven before dinner. 

Jesse, aka "Butter Fingers", took them out of the oven for me. 

I was so furious at the whole ordeal.  I eventually managed to laugh it off, but I had to take Jackson upstairs and play to avoid saying more foul things than I did.  I am tired of stressing over a nonissue.  My milk supply is fine.  I don't know why I have to plan and control things so much.  I just struggle with worrying that I won't be a good enough mother when I go back to work.  The least I could do is make sure I can feed my child!

A few hours after the cookie fiasco, I drove my happy self to the closest grocery store and decided it was time to get my brewers yeast in an alternative form.


That's right, after an entire year of abstinence, I twisted open a cold one.  I nursed Jackson before putting him to bed, then downed one beer guilt free.  A toast for pumping...

Joining the Gym--Tuesday, May 31

Jackson and I were wide awake and talking at 7 a.m. this morning.  This was his third night sleeping in the crib from 8/9 p.m. until 6/7 a.m. with two night feedings.  I ordered The Happiest Toddler on the Block DVD for half off on BabySteals the other day.  It also came with a white noise CD to use during the night to promote better sleeping.  Jesse downloaded it on his iPod and we played that last night.  I'm not using it again because Jackson didn't sleep any longer and all I could hear on the monitor was "utero sounds" and static, making it difficult to hear Jackson. 

Our day wasn't terribly exciting.  Housework included washing a load of baby clothes and a load of diapers, folding clothes, stuffing diaper inserts, soaking and rolling the cloth wipes, and unloading the dishwasher.  Jackson had a massive diaper blowout which resulted in an impromptu bath.  I watched Rent on TV and sang and danced with Jackson.  (I literally know every word to every song after falling in love with it on Broadway seven years ago.)  Jackson and I had brief tummy time.  We had our usual story time and I let Jackson "play" (aka hold) with his first toy today.  I always read to Jackson with him propped up in the recliner so he can see the pictures.

People generally comment about how alert Jackson is.  I think it's just because he opens his eyes really wide and focuses on specific objects.  Since I've posted pictures of him smiling, furrowing his eyebrows, and crying, I thought I would post his typical gaze.

After dinner I went to the local Sport & Fitness gym.  Jesse is an inactive member at this gym and I know they offer discounts for CMS teachers.  I went ahead and joined because it is the cheapest membership fees around and there's no starting fee.  I really want to go to the gym around 9:30 every morning because they offer Zumba classes Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday and a strength training class with weights on Monday/Wednesday/Friday.  I wanted to check out their "Child Watch" to see if I would be comfortable bringing Jackson.  When I went on the tour I asked the nursery worker what their policy was on bottle feedings and diaper changes.  She was quick to smirk, "We don't do that.  This is Child WATCH."  There was a young baby screaming in a tiny play pen in the corner the entire time.  I guess I won't be taking any morning classes until Jesse is off work for the summer!

Jesse was in an incredibly pissy mood all day.  We fought over finances at dinner and at one point he said, "This is what is going to make us separate."  Umm, I didn't know we were going to separate?  I guess the stress of end of year, teaching a tough group of kids, and fatherhood has taken its toll.  Jackson refused a bottle while I was gone to the gym and ended up fussing most of the time.  I think that was the icing on the cake for Jesse.  Time for the boys to go to bed so I can have some peace!

Fat=Need to Exercise--Monday, May 30

The family dinner last night was entertaining as always.  We enjoyed grilled pork chops, corn on the cob, potato salad, and homemade ice cream.  Our family was able to see firsthand how contagious Jackson's smiles are.  I think his cousin, Levi, is getting more comfortable around Jackson and he interacted with him more.  I can't wait for the time when both boys are able to run around and chase one another!  Jackson had several crying bouts, but nothing too serious.  I tried yet again to get a decent family photo.  This was the best one, and indicative of Jackson's overall mood as the evening progressed:

Since Jesse had the day off today (thanks, veterans!), we went to eat lunch at the Chinese buffet.  The buffet is quite a good bit cheaper for lunch during the week, but we obviously never get a chance to go.  We also had a coupon for this particular restaurant.  We left shortly after I fed Jackson.  There were so many crying/ screaming babies and toddlers it was hard to hear.  (This isn't the typical atmosphere, but apparently lots of families wanted to eat Chinese on their day off.)  Thankfully Jackson was peaceful and able to take a nap during half of lunch.  I told Jesse that I used to say, "You will never hear my kid cry like that."  Now I say, "Those poor parents.  I hope their kid calms down soon."  Ha!  How things change.  Not sure why I thought I could control every sound a child makes...

A very close college friend is getting married at the end of June in the mountains.  The couple has invited us to attend the rehearsal dinner as well as the ceremony and reception.  Jesse and I had planned on making it a a really long day trip, but now that we're going to both events we've decided we might as well stay the weekend.  I looked online at all the hotels in Boone but the cheapest I could find was $185 for two nights.  (This is a big tourist spot and rates are more expensive in the summer anyway.)  Jesse finally found the name of the sleazy hotel by my old apartments that rented by the hour.  I called and "reserved" a room with a full size bed.  I don't think the guy even wrote my name down and he didn't ask for any credit card or contact information, so this might backfire on us.  Either way, they charge a flat rate of $40 a night so that is $100 cheaper than the least expensive hotel.  And like Jesse pointed out, I seriously doubt they fill every room.  I'm not sure how we're going to sleep in a full size bed now that we've been sleeping in a king size bed, but we'll work it out.  Bring on wedding season!

Later on in the afternoon I was determined to find some shorts that fit.  Clothes shopping is the only thing I won't do with Jackson.  It's too much of a hassle to try and carry him around and go in and out of the dressing room trying on items.  I have the one pair of green shorts I bought last week and lots of elastic yoga pants.  I tried on over ten pairs of shorts today and none of them were flattering.  I did end up purchasing one pair of jean shorts that was decent.  I tried on lots of shirts, too, but they only accentuated my back fat.  I don't mind the extra skin and fat in the stomach area.  Seriously, I expelled a human less than two months ago; a leftover belly is inevitable!  It's the back fat I can't stand. 

Yikes!  Where did that come from??

It's upsetting because I know I'm not making healthy food choices and any exercise routine I had has become nonexistent.  I've decided to make up my own 30/30 Challenge.  The idea is to have a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio every day for 30 days.  I'll start Wednesday so that the challenge will take place throughout the month of June.  I already made Jesse take the dreaded "before" pictures to motivate me, and I'm posting them here to hold me accountable.  Maybe by my birthday I will feel a bit healthier and begin to tone my body.  I would like to have 30 consecutive minutes of cardio, so I may have to wait until Jesse gets home.  It's not really effective if I have to stop and start frequently. 

I've gained and lost muscle and weight many times over the years, but I've always had a gym membership.  After paying and not going to the gym, Jesse and I finally cancelled our membership.  I really need one now because it is blazing hot outside so I can't just pick a random time to go run in the neighborhood or on the greenway.  I'm contemplating paying for Zumba classes as that was one of my favorite forms of cardio.  But if I do that, I might as well just join the Sports and Fitness gym for the same price.  The only thing about the gym is I will have a 12-month contract vs just a month of Zumba.  Realistically, I don't know if I'm going to commit to a year when I'll be working full time and wanting to spend as much time with Jackson as possible.  I don't mind spending an hour a day at the gym this summer but I would feel guilty not seeing my baby most of the day once I go back to work.  It's just another thing I have to figure out how to balance.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Big Boy in the Crib--Sunday, May 29

Jackson ended up sleeping in his crib the whole night last night (8 pm-6 am).  It started out as a trial run.  Jackson was incredibly fussy yesterday evening, crying at a volume that is out of character for him.  We had already put his pajamas and night diaper on him and were following the 5 S's (swaddling, side/stomach, shushing, swinging, sucking).  It took longer than usual to calm him but he finally fell asleep at 8 p.m., an hour earlier than normal.  Since Jesse and I weren't ready for bed, I put him in the crib because that is where the monitor is located.  

Jesse and I headed upstairs an hour later and Jackson was still sleeping peacefully.  We agreed to let Jackson sleep in the crib until the first feeding.  It took me a while to fall asleep as I was closely listening to every little sound coming from the monitor.  Jack didn't wake up to eat until 12:40 a.m.  I fed him in the recliner in the nursery and laid him back down in the crib after burping him.  He slept until 4:45 a.m. when I fed and burped him again before putting him back in the crib.  I paced the hallway listening to him, then went downstairs to pump and start the dishwasher.  I still couldn't sleep so I brought Jackson in our bed and laid beside him.  He awoke at 7:30 for his final feeding before we all showered and dressed.

I wanted to cuddle with him so badly but I know he needs to able to sleep on his own.  I slept on the floor of my parent's bedroom every single night until I was 9 years old.  I refuse to let my children do that!  Just like the bottle, I want to introduce the crib before Jackson is too set in his ways and won't transition smoothly.  Jackson was so cramped in his tiny cosleeper; he had just a few inches of room to spare and he kept hitting the sides.  I was surprised to see that Jackson had wiggled both of his arms free from the tightly wound SwaddleMe and had squirmed himself from directly under the mobile to the bottom corner of the crib.  I didn't think he could move that much.  I quickly untied the crib bumper at 1 a.m.  This is how I found him at 6 a.m.:
After not cuddling with my baby during the night, he's been in my arms almost the entire day.  As soon as I dressed Jackson for church, he was smiling, cooing, and playing.

We sit in the back pew at church now so I can nurse discretely and we can leave to change his diaper without walking in front of anyone.  Jackson was fighting sleep and began crying loud enough for Jesse to take him in the parlor.  Of course Jackson fell asleep immediately after the service.  Five different people came up to us after the service to admire Jackson and say how much they enjoy hearing him.  He is the only infant in the congregation and everyone adores him.

The woman who sat directly in front of us asked me how long I planned on breastfeeding.  I replied, "Hopefully, as long as he wants to."  She smiled and began telling me how she breastfed her son until he was 2.5 years old and that her son used to walk up to her and say "milk, milk".  I'm passionate about breastfeeding and certainly respect her choice, but I don't think I'll be nursing long enough for my son to walk up and ask for it!

Jackson is currently napping in my arms while I type.  Jesse is exchanging my windshield wipers for me.  (I can't handle multiple Wal Mart trips in one week.)  We are going to enjoy a cookout with the in-laws later this evening.  I'm crossing my fingers that our second night in the crib is another success.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Seven Weeks Old--Saturday, May 28

Jackson slept from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m., nursed, then slept from 2:20-6 a.m!  I am considering introducing the crib when he is 8 weeks old, which is one week from now.  This seems to be the age when most people transition to the crib.  We'll try to get him to sleep in the crib the first 4-5 hour stretch, and then put him in the bed with us afterwards.  I say this is the plan, but both Jesse and I are dreading putting Jackson in the crib.  I love having him between us.  I just don't want him sleeping between us when he is a toddler.

Jesse mowed the lawn before it got too hot while Jackson and I played and ate inside.  Suddenly Jesse came in hollering, "We need to move!  They've found us!"  I clearly had no clue what he was talking about until I actually saw him.

One of Jesse's biggest fears--SNAKES!
I've been on the search of brewer's yeast to make lactation cookies.  (Trader Joe's, GNC, and Vitamin World don't carry brewer's yeast.)  The recipe is simple enough but I didn't have any of the important ingredients like brewer's yeast, milled flaxseed, or wheat germ.  Jesse drove Jackson and I half an hour away to the closest health food store that carried these ingredients.  Jesse was also on the search for lavender and tea tree oil to put in our cloth wipes solution.  Jackson seemed captivated by the various items on each shelf.  He was so alert and content, rarely looking away from the shelves.

Unfortunately he wasn't nearly as captivated by the car ride home!

After we returned home Jesse made slaw and began dinner preparations while I fed and changed Jackson.  Jesse also practiced his photography skills on the floor while Jackson and I had tummy time.

I am finishing up the blog and Jesse is grilling hamburgers and hotdogs.  So ready to enjoy dinner, dishes, and cuddling.  Hooray for 3-day weekends and an amazing family!

Grumpy--Friday, May 27

I have been in a bad mood all day for no apparent reason.  The smallest things are just sending me over the edge.  I didn't go anywhere.  I followed our extremely mundane routine of showering, dressing, nursing and changing Jackson, eating breakfast, and so on.  There was the usual watching TV, reading, unloading the dishwasher, and washing/drying a load of cloth diapers.  And of course, more nursing and diaper changes.  I think the weather helped attribute to my poor attitude as I had planned on going to the greenway but it rained all day.  (Obviously I hadn't checked the weather report.)

Once Jesse got home we discussed where to go eat for our weekly date night.  I have a new appreciation for louder restaurants where I know any potential cries will just blend in with the surrounding noise.  Since we were eating between 6-7 p.m., we knew there was a good chance Jackson would get tired and grumpy towards the end of the meal.  Today was Jackson's first outing in the rain.  He has been in the car while it is raining, but we've somehow been able to avoid carrying him in the pouring rain...until today.  Only his legs got wet.

Even though I had just gone to Wal Mart yesterday, we went by again to get some windshield wipers.  I only remember mine don't work when it is raining and I can't see.  Convenient, huh?  Anyway, I made Jesse run in while I sat with Jackson so we didn't have to go out in the rain.  Jesse came back with windshield wipers that fit a Toyota Camry.  Too bad they don't fit the Toyota Corolla that I drive.  Grr...

Jesse wanted seafood so we went to the Mayflower.  I've discovered that most booths are not wide enough for the car seat to fit, but fortunately we could move the table at this particular restaurant.  (We ate there a week before my due date and I remember struggling to fit in the booth then, too!)  All went smoothly.  We brought a bottle of expressed milk just in case, but Jackson didn't need it.  He was content with his pacifier while we happily ate yummy shrimp and fish.

My mood became increasingly foul throughout the evening and I got Jackson ready for bed alone while Jesse watched TV downstairs.  The highlight of my day was watching The Wedding Planner on TV after everyone else fell asleep.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lunch Dates--Thursday, May 26

It was a busy day for Jackson and I.  Our big plans included three different lunch dates before heading to Jesse's school so he could show off Jackson to his coworkers.  We were both fed, cleaned, and dressed by 9 a.m.  I was hoping to be able feed Jackson again before we left, but he was asleep.  Jackson slept the entire forty minute car ride.  I was mad when I realized twenty minutes down the road that I left the camera at home.

Our first stop included lunch with Emily, my niece/godchild.  After checking in at the office Jackson and I waited outside the cafeteria to surprise her.  Em was excited to see us as well as to be able to bring her friend over to the special table where guests sit.  I kept Jackson in the carseat so that I could rock him and give him the paci to buy time before I had to feed him.  (It had been two hours since his last feeding so I knew he'd be getting hungry.)  We sat near a door that led to the office.  This random little kid came running by, tripped over the carseat, and threw up all over the floor about two feet away from Jackson.  UGH!  Staff members cleaned it up so there was the lovely aroma of vomit and chemicals while eating.  This is why I didn't want to take Jackson to a primary school!  Besides seeing Emily, a highlight of the lunch was seeing my sister-in-law April and her younger children who came to eat lunch my nephew who is in kindergarten.

I had just enough time after lunch with Emily to nurse Jackson in the parking lot before heading off to Christopher's school.  I had eaten lunch with him just days before Jackson was born, so his teacher was excited to meet Jackson.  His teacher and I made quick small talk (as we are both 5th grade teachers) before I found a seat.  Fifth grade humor is right up my alley and Christopher's friends crack me up.  They were having a staring contest with Jackson and amazed that he rarely blinked.  I wish I enjoyed eating lunch with my own students as much, but I just want a break from them during the day. 

I changed Jackson's diaper in the car before heading off to my third lunch date with my sisters at Shrimp Boat.  (Note: Lunches were over the course of three hours and I grazed each time.  I didn't binge with three full meals.)  Jackson was fighting sleep and was moderately fussy.  Jackson can scream his head off, but as long as I'm not alone with him in public I don't feel paranoid.  I don't know why a crying child makes me feel guilty and judged when I'm alone, but it does!  We all took turns passing children around while laughing and eating.  Random fact, it costs $0.27 to get a refill at Shrimp Boat.  Who knew?

I was hoping to visit my great aunts since I drove right by their assisted living apartments.  I fed Jackson again in the parking lot before heading in to the apartment complex.  It was a completely random visit and neither one of them were home.  I wasn't surprised since they are the most active, fit 70 year-olds I know.  I did visit with some elderly ladies in rocking chairs on the porch.  Old people just love babies!

I arrived at Jesse's school immediately after dismissal and ended up in the car-rider lane.  Oh well!  I eventually found a parking space and carried Jackson inside.  I recognized most of his coworkers from the wonderful baby shower they through us.  They all took turns admiring and holding Jackson.  I fed Jackson once more in Jesse's classroom before driving another half hour home. 

Once home, we spent some tummy time and played on the play mat.  I was excited to see Jackson hold onto one of the toys, then turn his head while I was talking to him.

Jesse and I cooked dinner together, ate, cleaned dishes, and relaxed on the couch.  I love seeing Jesse interact with Jackson, especially now that Jackson is smiling and making different sounds.  Have I mentioned how much more I love and respect my husband now that he is the father of my child?

Fortunately this picture was taken minutes before Jackson vomited obscene amounts of milk.  Seriously, it should have won some kind of spit up award as it required a full wardrobe change for both Jackson and Jesse.  Might as well call it a night...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Play Time--Wednesday, May 25

Jackson had a rough night last night with a choking incident around 2 a.m.  It was scary enough to get Jesse and I both out of bed trying to alleviate his gagging.  He was sobbing and gagging.  I had to suction his mouth and hit his back really hard.  The rest of the night I let Jackson sleep on my chest or right beside me and I just watched him.  After Jesse went to work I moved the co-sleeper and pillows out of the way and Jackson and I took up the whole bed.  We slept until 9:30. 

Jackson was content in the crib while I showered and dried my hair.  Jackson has been losing significant amounts of hair and he has been struggling with the dreaded cradle cap for a few days now.  I've tried to use a warm wash cloth and a tooth brush to scrub his scalp, but I think that makes his hair fall out even more.  We haven't tried baby oil or dandruff shampoo yet.

After we were both dressed and able to eat a late breakfast, we watched the season finale of Glee.  I began the wash cycle of diapers and loaded the dishwasher.  After another nursing session and diaper change I put Jackson in the car and we headed off to Wal Mart.  Jackson was content in the car but once I placed him in the Ergo he started to cry.   I needed to make a return so we had to wait in the customer service line.  My face was flush as his cries got louder.  I knew he was fighting sleep so I just swayed and shushed as loud as I could until he fell asleep a few minutes later.  I swear, time slows down when he cries in public. 

After receiving store credit, I hit the baby aisle in search of a play mat.  Of all the things we were given, this is the one item I wanted but didn't have.  I know Jackson needs to be stimulated with color and noise that he can interact with.  I also purchased some rechargeable batteries since I have already blown through a pack of AA batteries for the camera.  It was after 1 when we left the store so I made an impulse decision to go through the drive-thru.  It was time for both Jackson and I to eat again as soon as we got home.  Once he was settled I put the play mat together.  So far the cats seem to enjoy it more than Jackson does, but he was very content.  He isn't really grabbing specific objects, but he looks around happily and makes lots of noise.

I was surprised to receive a phone call from my sister (who is a mother of 8) to ask me about pumping.  I have probably called her over a hundred times asking for advice throughout my pregnancy and these first few weeks, it is ironic for me to be able to provide any knowledgeable input or answers.  So far I have 40 ounces of milk frozen (eight 5-oz bags) and am still able to give Jackson a bottle every other night and nurse exclusively (except the occasional bottles).

Seven o'clock is notoriously known as the fussy hour.  We try to have dinner and dishes taken care of before 7 so we can try to comfort Jackson.  He just fell asleep while trying to get his pacifier back in his mouth.  Unfortunately we need to wake him soon for bath time and pajamas.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sex--Tuesday, May 24

I cannot tell you how much I've missed physical intimacy and affection with Jesse.  My OB asked me to refrain from sexual activity until the standard 6 weeks postpartum.  This has been no easy task.  I wasn't worried or nervous, though I knew it was likely to be uncomfortable.  Well, it was definitely uncomfortable, but amazing.  Marriage is all about trusting one another, especially at vulnerable moments.  I will simply say that you would NEVER know a 14 inch head fit through there!

I've stated before that I will not be using contraception.  I know it is highly unlikely to conceive while breastfeeding.  With that said, I literally felt nauseous afterwards and prayed that I wouldn't get pregnant right away.  I can't imagine having two kids under the age of one!  I had to look online at the trusted KellyMom site to reassure me.  Research shows:
Exclusive breastfeeding has in fact been shown to be an excellent form of birth control, but there are certain criteria that must be met for breastfeeding to be used effectively.  Exclusive breastfeeding (by itself) is 98-99.5% effective in preventing pregnancy as long as all of the following conditions are met:
  1. Your baby is less than six months old
  2. Your menstrual periods have not yet returned
  3. Baby is breastfeeding on cue (both day & night), and gets nothing but breastmilk or only token amounts of other foods.
I meet each of those conditions.  And by the time Jackson is six months old, I would like to get pregnant.  If anything, I am worried that I will have difficulty conceiving.  I don't want to have to give up nursing to create the family that I want.  From what I've read, it's very difficult to conceive right away even after your periods return while you are still breastfeeding.  I think I am a minority in the fact that I want to conceive soon.  I figure, whenever I get pregnant, I'll have another nine months to prepare mentally and physically. 

How could I not want another baby when I am greeted by this sweet face throughout the day?

Home Alone-Again--Monday, May 23

Today was the third weekday that Jackson and I were stuck at home while Jesse drove my car.  Jesse called the auto body shop and was told that it would be a few WEEKS before the parts come in from Japan to repair his car.  His next phone call was to the insurance company to request a rental car. 

Since I had nowhere to go, I watched the Glee marathon I had recorded in between laundry, dishes, feedings, and diaper changes.  I rocked Jackson or had him in my lap and danced during each song.  He was smiling with every song.  Normally it makes me go crazy being stuck at home, but we had such a busy day yesterday that it was nice to crash at home.  I put Jackson in the shower and took the worlds fastest shower and scrunched my hair up with some mousse before he even fussed!

Quick recap on yesterday:
Our church had a pot-luck breakfast to honor the high school graduates.  We gorged on country ham biscuits, danishes, fruit, grits, and breakfast casserole while socializing with our church family.  Jackson is all smiles lately so the church members just ate him up!  After church I was able to meet up with some friends for a late lunch yesterday.  It was my first purely social outing with just Jackson and I.  I knew Jackson would be hungry but I was hoping he would eat in the restaurant.  After only ten minutes on the road he was screaming bloody murder.  I had to pull over in a parking lot to feed him.  By the time we got to lunch Jackson was completely passed out.  He never woke up the entire two hours we were there, even with being held and passed around.  It was really nice to enjoy lunch (banana nut french toast with maple whipped cream) with friends, especially when Jackson was sweetly sleeping.  Jesse's mom, Jan, came over in the evening to admire her growing grandson.  I was proud of myself for being able to calm his cries, nurse in front of her, and show off the new diapers.

Once Jesse came home after work we drove to the car rental shop to get a rental car.  Since it was already getting late Jesse went through the Chick-Fil-A drive through.  We ate dinner and got Jackson ready for bed with a bath, story, pajamas, and nursing.  Last night he slept 5.5 hours straight!!  I'm hoping and praying he will do the same tonight.

Cloth Diapers--Sunday, May 22

Over the weekend, Jesse and I spent time going through Jackson's clothes and diapers. 

When I was pregnant, my sister demonstrated how to use the different types of cloth diapers (flats, prefolds, fitteds, pockets, all in ones).  Jesse and I preferred convenience over cost and decided to go with more user friendly diapers (i.e. no safety pins or folding).  I liked the fitted diapers for newborn because they have an indention for the umbilical cord stump.  My sister-in-law generously gave us some Thirsties covers so we only had to buy some newborn fitteds to get us through the first month or two.  After lots of online investigating we decided that a one size pocket diaper would be the most practical and cost effective once Jackson grew out of the newborn size.  Seven hundred dollars later and we now have a large enough stash to diaper Jackson and any future children.

We had still been using newborn size fitteds up until this weekend.  The newborn fitteds are supposed to fit up to 15 lbs, but they aren't long enough to cover Jackson's front and back.  The past few days he has leaked urine from the front a handful of times.  We made the switch to our BumGenius 4.0 One Size Pocket diapers.  They are so much easier and fit great!  I spent half an hour snapping all 24 diapers to the right size and stuffing them with inserts.  The diapers are much more absorbent, are vibrant colors, and easy to use with only one step. 

I don't know why anyone wouldn't consider cloth diapering with these!  You have to pull the insert out of the pocket diapers to wash them, but after a dozen diaper changes, I have yet to touch any urine or feces.  In fact, after washing dozens of diaper loads, I have never touched any poop and rarely had to directly touch a saturated diaper.  I don't know why cloth diapering is so taboo for some people???  It saves money, is less irritating on baby's skin, easy to use, and environmentally friendly.  The upfront cost is overwhelming, but it only takes a few months to match the price of disposable diapers, and then it's basically free.  Our water bill only increased by $4 last month with washing diapers every other day and Jackson's clothes/linens twice a week.  It's amazing to think that we won't spend a penny on diapers with our next child. 

Going though Jackson's clothes was sentimental and humorous.  We have not purchased a single outfit as we were blessed to receive HUNDREDS of clothes in all sizes from our siblings.  It's amazing how many outfits Jackson has already outgrown.  We replaced most of the newborn and 0-3 month outfits with 3-6 month outfits.  Some of the outfits were absolutely absurd!  Our favorite was a rainbow speedo with a matching visor and shoes.  
Don't Even Know What to Say!  Hahaha

As we pulled out the newborn outfits we began discussing another child.  Jesse and I both want a daughter so badly.  (Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if we have a house full of boys!)  I thought it was adorable that Jesse said, "We're going to have to formula feed Amelia so I can spend all my time with her."  As much as Jackson is a momma's boy, if we are so blessed to have a daughter, she is destined to be a daddy's girl.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Six Weeks!--Saturday, May 21

Jesse asked if I was going to quit blogging or change my blog title.  I don't think I'll quit blogging anytime soon.  I love looking back and already being able to see how much my baby has changed, along with my mentality.  I titled the blog "Surviving the First Six Weeks..." because I know the first six weeks are supposed to be the toughest-physically and emotionally.  Everything was so overwhelming the first few days, I just kept thinking, "If I can just make it through the first six weeks..."  After six weeks, I am considered strong and healthy enough to return to work.  I can resume any activity I ever did before I was pregnant.  The crazy hormones return to normal after six weeks.  I should feel confident and have a routine.  So....what exactly has changed in 42 days?

Jackson has become fairly predictable.  His day usually begins with eating, diaper change, and getting dressed around 8:30.  He spends most of the day in my arms, the Ergo/Moby Wrap, swing, or bouncer.  He eats like clockwork every two hours during the day.  Depending on when he wakes up, he eats either every odd or even hour for 10-15 minutes.  A diaper change immediately follows every feeding.  Jackson generally naps for 30-45 minutes in between most 2 hour cycles of eating; the rest of the time he is very alert.  Jackson tends to get fussy around 7 or 8 at night.  We get him ready for bed between 8-9 every night with another diaper change, feeding, pajamas, swaddle, and lullabies.  He typically eats and has a diaper change around 12, 3, and 6 a.m.

Some of Jackson's quirks:
He is extremely vocal at all hours and will randomly start yelling (not crying/in pain but yelling as if he has something really important to say that we must hear).
Now that he is frequently holding his head up, he violently flops it back and forth like a fish out of water.  He'll slam his head on our shoulder, chest, etc.
Jackson is like a grown man when he wakes up, grunting and stretching for several minutes before he actually opens his eyes. 


As far as recovery goes, all is well.  I assume my stitches have dissolved.  Post partum bleeding only lasted 3.5 weeks.  It took us nearly three weeks to get rid of thrush, and I still have shooting pain in my nipples the first 20-30 seconds that he latches.  My milk supply is stable and my boobs don't change drastically in between feedings.  My energy level is completely normal.  (Now I need to actually get off my behind and start exercising.)  While I technically get plenty of sleep, it is in 2-3 hour increments which isn't as restful as one would think, but I don't feel exhausted during the day.

I feel grounded and stable.  I have gained so much confidence as a mother in the last six weeks.  I haven't had an emotional breakdown since Mother's Day.  I no longer want to scream at Jackson in the middle of the night every time he wakes up or if he won't latch right away during the night.  I don't cringe at the idea of being a stay at home mom or feel trapped when Jesse leaves.  I'm not afraid to go out in public or drive with Jackson in the car.  I'm not uncomfortable nursing with a cover in front of others.  I don't stress out every time I hear Jackson cry. 

The biggest lesson I have learned as a parent is simply to do what you think is best for your child, whatever that may mean.  There are hundreds of different opinions on every possible topic about raising a child.  Books, pediatricians, family members, online forums, etc will all advocate different practices. You might feel pressured that a certain thing is "right" or "wrong", but as long as it is for the benefit of your child, there is nothing "wrong".  Sometimes you'll feel like a failure and sometimes you'll exude confidence (all within the same hour).  The most important thing is to do what works for you.  And what worked yesterday might not work today.  Just keep trying, because you know your child best.  I think every mother, regardless of experience, is just trying to figure things out.  None of us have all of the answers but all of us are willing to do anything for our children.

To celebrate surviving the first six weeks of motherhood, I got a real hair cut.  I've been wanting something different for a few weeks now.  It wasn't my usual Great Clips haircut, but a nice, expensive haircut from an actual stylist where I got a shampoo, cut, and blow dry.



I can't wait to see what else is in store for my family over the next six weeks, months, years, decades...

Re-learning a Few Things--Friday, May 20

After I change and dress Jackson each morning I've been putting him in the crib for 10-15 minutes to introduce the crib and hopefully ease the future transition.  He is completely entranced by the crib mobile.  He just stares and makes sounds as it spins around.  I'll start letting him take a nap in the crib before too long since we put the monitors in the nursery.  (I'll take the bumpers off first.)  I'm not sure when we'll attempt sleeping in the crib through the night, but I don't suspect anytime soon.  As long as he's nursing every three hours, I don't see the point in moving him to the crib.   

I used to be able to put him in the swing if he was fighting sleep during the day, but it hasn't worked in soothing him lately.  His new favorite thing to calm him is the bouncer.  Unfortunately I can't simply strap him in the bouncer; I must use my foot to vigorously rock him.  This motion works like a charm to soothe him and is so much easier than rocking him in my arms forever.

Jesse and I used to have date night every Friday.  Of course, Friday doesn't bring the same sense of relief now that I'm not teaching.  There is still some relief though because I know I can spend time with Jesse on the weekends and I don't feel like a single parent.  We haven't gone out for our Friday dinner in almost two months.  (Exactly six weeks ago today Jesse was driving me to the hospital at this precise time!)  We decided to go to our favorite Mexican restaraunt tonight.  We went shortly after I fed and changed Jackson.  I don't know what we were thinking because Jackson is pretty fussy every night around 7 p.m. and tonight was no exception.  We forgot to bring the paci so I literally ate with my left hand while rocking Jackson in the carseat in the booth with my right hand and letting him suck on my pinky finger.  He honestly only let out two cries in the restaraunt that weren't even that loud, but it still made me nervous that he was going to start wailing.  We were going to order fried ice cream but I was just ready to leave.  That was a good choice because Jackson belted out some major cries in the car.  We made a quick stop by Dairy Queen so I could get my ice cream fix before heading home.  Overall, it was a successful date night, but not carefree like it used to be.

It dawned on me yesterday that we hadn't given Jackson a bottle the entire week.  I've been so concerned with pumping and freezing milk and Jesse has had such a rough week I didn't give it any thought.  Jackson  had a bottle almost every night for two weeks, then nothing but the breast for several days.  He wanted absolutely nothing to do with the bottle last night when Jesse tried to offer it to him.  He just kept gagging over and over and crying harder than ever.  Jesse got so frustrated he slammed the bottle down on the coffee table and went upstairs while I was left to nurse my screaming child.  I was upset because we ended up having to pour four ounces of milk down the sink after leaving it out too long.  We're going to try again tonight with just a few ounces and pray for the best!

Yesterday's Wreck--Thursday, May 19

Jesse got in a fairly bad wreck yesterday while driving home from work.  He was not at fault, though it was certainly terrifying.  No wife wants to pick up the phone to hear sirens in the background and her husband abruptly say, "I got in a wreck.  You need to come here.  I've got to go talk to the police now."  Not knowing what to expect, I tossed Jackson in the car and sped away.  While listening to the radio traffic report along the way, the reporter announced the exact location of where I was driving as a place to avoid due to an accident.  All things considering, if he had to have a wreck, things truly went in Jesse's favor because:
  1. Jesse was not injured.  (Though the other driver broke his arm!)
  2. A police officer was behind Jesse and witnessed the whole thing.
  3. Despite being pummeled across three lanes of opposite traffic, neither car was hit by oncoming cars.
  4. Jesse did not flip his car over, though the police officer told us she was just waiting for that to happen.
  5. The other driver was driving a company vehicle so insurance is not a concern.
  6. Jackson was not in the car. 
  7. The police paid for towing expenses.
  8. Insurance should cover everything minus the small deductible.
  9. I was home and able to get Jesse.  (I would not have been if I were working.)
  10. I am not working so Jesse is able to drive my car indefinitely.
Word travels fast, because there were four phone calls from auto body repair shops soliciting services before 9 a.m. this morning.  Jesse received 24 pieces of mail from chiropractors and attorneys in one day. 

Even though the carseat didn't look damaged, my sister informed me that we can no longer use it.  I looked online to see what the guidelines are about car seats in crashes and repeatedly found these rules:
The use of a child restraint must be discontinued if it has been in a severe crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is not necessary to replace a child restraint after a minor crash. A minor crash is one that meets ALL of following criteria:

* The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
* The vehicle door nearest the child restraint was undamaged;
* There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
* The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
* There is no visible damage to the child restraint.
Since Jesse's wreck does not meet ALL of the requirements, it is considered a severe crash.  Therefore, we must replace the carseat we just bought two months ago.

Now that the shock and scare has worn off, my sarcastic husband joked, "Well, you missed out on a sweet life insurance settlement."  Um, thanks, but I'd rather have my husband than pay off the house!  Yesterday was another reminder to hold your family just a little bit tighter because you never know what might happen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When Did I Become Crunchy?--Wednesday, May 18

I could seriously cuddle with this kid all day. 

I always predicted I would be a very regimented mom who would make my baby sleep in the crib and let him cry it out.  Even with my students, I've never been very nurturing.  I rarely even let my kids hug me.  I don't veer from rules and discipline.  I never envisioned myself so passionate about cloth diapering, baby wearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and natural childbirth.  And yet, I can't begin to estimate how many hours I've spent reading and educating myself on these topics. 

Before reading The Happiest Baby on the Block I was concerned about spoiling Jackson and making him overly dependent upon me.  But the truth is, he is solely dependent upon me right now.  I am the number one person who feeds, dresses, and cleans him.  I was his life support for 9 months and I will continue to care for all of his needs.  So if he wants to mold onto my chest and take a nap, I am happy to let him. 

Jackson is destined to be a momma's boy.  Jesse teases me that I will never like any girl Jackson's tries to date and God help when he wants to get married.  I am already terrified at the thought of him joining the military or moving far away.  I want to enjoy all these years being the number one woman in his life because I have a feeling it is going to go by too quickly.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Evolving Marriage--Tuesday, May 17

We've had an uneventful day.  All I've done is laundry, dishes, feeding, and changing diapers.  Well, that along with watching parts of the Law and Order SVU marathon.  As I've stated before, it's impossible to watch TV uninterrupted these days, so it takes me an hour and a half to watch an hour long show.  Jackson has been refusing to nap the past few days.  The only time he'll sleep is if I put him in the Ergo and continue about my day.

Now that Jackson can wear most of his 3 month clothes, I've been having fun dressing him each morning.  Today he wore a green soccer romper.  He's made such improvements in his neck control, I couldn't resist putting him in the bumbo.  He was doing a great job until I got the camera.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, I think you can get the idea from this one:

As much as I've been pumping, I haven't actually frozen any milk.  Today I cleared out a drawer in the freezer and poured the bottles of refrigerated milk from the past three days into 5-ounce storage bags.  I now have 20 ounces of milk in the freezer and 15 ounces in the refrigerator.  My goal is to daily pump 5 ounces of  milk to freeze in addition to the 5 ounces for Jesse to give Jackson a bottle at least every other day.  That's an awful lot, so I'm not sure if that's a realistic goal or not.  I am going to make lactation bars to try and increase my milk supply with the hopes of increasing my pumping output. 

I wouldn't say that having a child puts a strain on our marriage, but it definitely changes things (in both good and bad ways).  I find myself getting irritable with Jesse.  I know teaching is exhausting, but so is caring for an infant.  I love him more than I ever have before, but we've had extremely few conversations that didn't revolve around Jackson.  And it's not like he's the one making the money necessarily because I am on maternity leave and still getting paid.  I spend 75% of my day solely caring for Jackson and the 25% of the time that Jesse is home and awake, he wants to be with Jackson.  (Of course in those few hours Jesse is available I am still the one changing and feeding Jackson!)  There's not really any time for us left.  I'm not sure how to balance being a mother and a wife.  I think my only role right now is as a mother--a tired mother. 

Laundry is folded and put away.  Dinner is cooked and dishes are washed.  Time to enjoy the evening.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Post Partum Check--Monday, May 16

Today was the first day using cloth wipes.  I didn't anticipate how much work goes into preparing the wipes.  You have to soak them in a soapy solution, wring them out, roll them up, and place them in the wipe warmer to keep them moist and easy to store.  It seems quite extravagant to use warm, wet towelettes on an infant's behind.  Whatever, it's cheap, easy, and sure to feel good.   

Jackson has been holding his head up most of the day now, unless he is tired and fighting sleep.  I think it's still too early to introduce the bumbo or the exersaucer, but it definitely won't be long now.

Jackson says, "Thanks for dinner, Mom."
Today was my post partum check.  (I have no clue why it was scheduled at 5 weeks instead of 6 weeks.)   I scheduled it for 4 p.m. so Jesse could watch Jackson.  The appointment was brief.  They checked my blood pressure, took a blood and urine sample, and performed a vaginal exam to check my cervix and press on my uterus.  The obstetrician reviewed my options for birth control.   I asked him what the earliest time was to safely begin trying to conceive and he quickly replied, "medically speaking, as soon as the placenta comes out".  I have decided to rely on breastfeeding and spermicide as birth control.  Those methods are not 100% reliable and I am okay with that.  Because Jesse and I do want to conceive again within the next year, it doesn't make sense to take the mini-pill or have an IUD inserted.  If I become pregnant in the next few months while exclusively breastfeeding (which is highly unlikely), I'll just consider that God's will. 
My doctor told me I'm free to exercise and have sex as much as I want, but to go slow if either hurts.  I can't tell you how much I want to do both of those things, but I don't know when or how anymore.  I can't just go to the gym for an hour after work or go for an impromptu run anymore.  I haven't really worked out in nearly a year and I am at my heaviest weight (as my Ross shopping trip reminded me yesterday).  I just want my body back to where it was last May.  As far as sex goes, I desperately miss the intimacy but flabby skin and stitches does not increase anyones sex drive!  Sex would solely revolve around Jackson's schedule.  I'm nervous about my breasts leaking or Jackson waking up screaming.  I can't imagine that would go over well in the heat of the moment! 

I am especially tired tonight, but not sleepy.  I've cooked, cleaned, washed and hung the laundry, and dealt with a fussy baby most of the day; now I want to unwind.  Jackson sleeps the best and longest between 9 p.m.--1 a.m.  I know I need to sleep then, but I just want to relax by myself late at night.  I'm so sick of people telling me to sleep when he sleeps.  It just doesn't work that way for me.  It drives me crazy when people assume since I stay home I can just nap all day.  Not hardly...

Do You Want Some Cheese with that Whine?--Sunday, May 15

I strongly recommend the Rest Assured Sleeper.  Between our new co-sleeper and the swaddling, I've been sleeping much better.  I still wake up to feed and change Jackson around 1:00, 3:30, and 6:00, but I am able to sleep soundly in between feedings without being kicked, cramped, or worried about rolling over my child.

King Size Bed--Room for the Whole Family

The smallest things have seemed to upset me today...

We began our day with the usual Sunday breakfast.  I was disappointed to discover that Jesse accidentally used vinegar instead of oil when making hash browns.  Yuck!

It was my turn to sing in the choir, which meant Jesse held Jackson in the pew until I came down from the choir loft.  I prepared a bottle just in case, which was good since Jackson ended up eating it all.  The pastor commented to me, "Jesse is a great father.  Jackson hardly cries when he is with him."  In my mind I thought, "I didn't know crying was equated with poor parenting.  Does he not think I'm a great mother?"  I know the pastor was just complimenting Jesse, and I totally agree that he is an amazing father.  I just think he could have phrased that better.

For whatever reason Jesse has been craving Arby's roast beef sandwich so we went through the drive through after church.  I ordered a chicken salad sandwich but was upset to discover they gave me a turkey sandwich with mustard, mayonnaise, and onions (all of which I loathe). 

After lunch we went to Wal Mart to buy one of those dishwasher baskets that you put the bottle nipples and lids inside.  Washing bottles has become a pain now that we're giving Jackson a bottle every day.  Jesse ran into Babies-R-Us to get a wipe warmer and cloth wipes while I went to the neighboring Ross to look for some clothes.  I'm so tired of the maternity clothes being too loose and my old clothes being too tight.  I spent about 30 minutes of hell trying on dozens of skirts, pants, and shirts to little avail.  In ten months my chest increased from a size C to DD and pants changed from size 8 to 14.  I still think I look okay, but I'm getting more and more frustrated trying to get dressed each morning.  I did purchase one pair of long shorts that were somewhat flattering. 

Once home, we planned our menu for the week ahead.  Jesse went grocery shopping while I fed and changed Jackson, folded laundry, and changed the sheets.  Nursing while sleeping creates some nasty sheets (think breastmilk, spit up, sweat).  I helped to put away groceries when Jesse returned.  Instead of loose kernels he bought microwavable popcorn.  While this seems ridiculously petty, I nearly cried because I wanted our usual popcorn cooked on the stove.  After fighting back tears over a disappointing breakfast, lunch, and clothes shopping trip, I made Jesse call his mother and ask her to pick up popcorn while she was out.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were already on their way to visit, so it wasn't a completely ridiculous request.   My sister-in-law brought all kinds of goodies for Jackson and I, so thoughtful!

Our evening ended with the usual tradition of popcorn and Extreme Makeover Home Edition.  Jesse has ever so kindly reminded me that I'm on night duty again...as if I need reminding, considering I am ALWAYS on night duty...AND day duty.  Thanks, dearest! 

Graduation Day--Saturday, May 14

My baby is five weeks old today.  I swear it seems like he should be five months old.

Today was my long awaited graduation ceremony.  So much has happened since completing my coursework and thesis this past February; the actual ceremony seems long overdue.  I am proud of the work I completed and the impact my studies had on my teaching.  It feels really good to say I have a Master's Degree.

It feels even better to take Jackson to Montreat.  Montreat is a college as well as a conference center.  It instantly feels like home every time I drive through the stone gate.  I have been involved with Montreat summer camps every year since I was 13.  Jesse and I were chaperones for my former youth group this past summer.  It was there that I first suspected I was pregnant.  That suspicion was confirmed with a positive pregnancy test the day we returned home.  I pray that Jackson will be able to have such positive experiences at Montreat one day and feel God's love, just as I have.

We prepared for the day by packing the diaper bag, preparing two 5-ounce bottles (of breastmilk), and feeding and changing Jackson.  The drive was just over two hours so we were hoping Jackson could go without eating.  Jesse needed to stop after an hour and a half to use the restroom so I went ahead and changed and fed Jackson in the car.  We were back on our merry way.  We had planned to leave early enough to be able to enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of my favorite Italian restaraunts in Black Mountain.  I had to meet in the auditorium for directions and lining up an hour early, so Jesse met up with my sisters, nephews, and his parents.  The actual ceremony was quite dull and long.  Jackson consumed one of his bottles, slept, and was held by family members.  Afterwards, we walked around the campus and took pictures.

Happy Family

The Three Sisters with Our Sons
 My sisters joined us for dinner at Denny's.  Despite very poor service, we enjoyed lots of laughter and cheap food.  Jackson consumed his second bottle before we even ordered.  I would be absolutely lost without my sisters and husband, so it was very fitting that they were able to share in another milestone moment. 

By the time we were finished eating and ready to drive home, he was hungry again.  Having not nursed in eight hours, my boobs were heavy and engorged.  I had to manually express 3 ounces of milk into a bottle before he was even able to latch.  Before long we were on our way home.  Thirty minutes later and we had one majorly screaming baby.  I pulled over to get gas and Jesse sat in the back seat to offer Jackson the pacifier, blanket, and comfort. It rained the entire way.  My body was so tense trying to see the dark, wet roads.  As soon as got off the interstate I pulled over and made Jesse drive the last ten minutes home.

Jackson was once again hungry but I geuinely felt like my chest was going to rupture.  Jesse gave him the 3 ounces I had expressed while I pumped a whopping 10 ounces, then offered Jackson my breast.  Now that we are unpacked, bathed, and changed we are off to bed!

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Miss My Class!--Friday, May 13

The swaddle was a success!  Jackson slept 4.5 hours, was awake for 45 minutes, then slept another 3 hours, awake another 30 minutes, and slept 2 more hours.  I used the shushing, swinging, and sucking to get him back to sleep fairly quickly after the diaper changes.  Hooray! 

While I was nursing Jackson this morning I noticed how much of his hair had fallen out in my hand when I was holding his head.  He had such thick, dark hair when he was born.  My poor baby is going bald!

I've been nervous all week about taking Jackson to school.  Our kids take the End of Grade tests next week so I wanted to wish them well.  I hate that I'm not the one administering the test since I've worked with them all year, but Jackson has certainly become number one.  Three years ago I started an EOG ice cream party kick off for the 5th grade to get them pumped.  I had talked with my colleagues ahead of time and agreed to bring the ice cream at 2:45. 

I dressed Jackson in this adorable outfit.  He only wears shoes on special occasions.  ; D

I made sure to nurse from both sides right before we left so I didn't have to worry about feeding him at school.  He was sleeping so I just carried him in my arms and ran into Food Lion on the way to get a couple gallons of ice cream.  I snuck up on my class through the back door.  The kids were ridiculously excited to see me and they didn't even know I had Jackson with me.  I miss teaching so very much!  I didn't let any student hold him but they patted his feet and tried to hold his hand while he was in the carseat. 

We enjoyed company and ice cream for 30 minutes before the bell rang.  I walked the kids out and then let the staff pass him around.  He was starting to suck on the back of his hand so I knew I had best be leaving so I could avoid rush hour traffic and a screaming, hungry baby. Thankfully I made it back home in perfect time and fed him before he began to really cry.

Since Jesse beat me home, he took it upon himself to box up the SnuggleNest and exchange it for the Rest Assured Sleeper at Babies-R-Us.  I find it somewhat unethical that he returned something we've used nightly for the last month, but I'm glad we didn't waste $40.  We debated back and forth about which co-sleeper to buy when we first came home from the hospital.  We decided on the Snuggle Nest because it promoted an ease of nursing since there were no rails.  Unfortunately, as Jackson grew in length and strength, the lack of rails allowed him to constantly kick and pivot himself sideways.  In the past few days he's even been able to  turn himself upside down, fully outside of the Snuggle Nest.  The good thing about the Rest Assured Sleeper is that it fully encloses so Jackson can't possibly kick himself out.  It has three settings on lights, a greater variety of music (womb, lullaby, meadow), and it vibrates!  I will have to physically sit up and pick him up to nurse, but I feel more secure that I can't roll over him.

Jesse grilled hamburgers for dinner tonight.  I sure love a good Carolina burger!  We plan to cuddle on the couch as a family and watch game shows.  Tomorrow is going to be a very big day with our first road trip (2 hours away) and my graduation ceremony for my Master's Degree. 

The Happiest Baby on the Block--Thursday, May 12

I guess the lack of sleep is catching up with me, because we didn't start our day until 9:45!  I just refused to finish sleeping at our usual 8 a.m. time.  We dressed, ate, and Jackson enjoyed his usual morning swing time.

I decided it was finally time to brave Wal Mart with Jackson.  We only needed gravy mix and doughnuts (breakfast night!) so I thought it would be a good trial run.  I of course waited until he had finished nursing and I had a chance to change his diaper.  I packed the diaper bag just in case, though I didn't anticipate being out long enough to need it.  Once we got there I put him in the Ergo and walked around.  I found other things to buy, including Lansinoh nursing pads, which are WAY cheaper at Wal Mart than they are at Babies-R-Us. 

While I was already out, I drove across the street to Books-a-Million.  Jackson slept peacefully snuggled up beside my chest in the Ergo.  After reading so many great reviews, I was on a mission to get The Happiest Baby on the Block.  I saw Baby Wise, which is a very controversial book that outlines a structured schedule dictated by the parent and not the child.  I went ahead and purchased both books.  There was a lady parked beside me at Books-a-Million who was eating her lunch in her car.  She saw me go in the mall and she was finishing her lunch when I returned to the car.  She came out and said, "Wow!  You've got this mom-on-the-go thing down pat."  Such a silly comment, but I was just beaming!

It was nearly 3 p.m. when we got back home.  I read about 30 pages in The Happiest Baby on the Block, folded laundry, and fed and changed Jackson while Jesse napped.  The book is intended for babies with colic, which Jackson hasn't indicated any real signs of colic thus far.  I wanted to read it anyway because everyone just raves about the various techniques to calm a baby in minutes.  The book outlines specific ways to soothe a fussy baby with the 5 S's:
1. Swaddle
2. Side/Stomach position
3. Shushing (white noise)
4. Swinging
5. Sucking
I'm excited to read more and try the techniques tonight.  For now dinner and bath time awaits...

1 Month Check--Wednesday, May 11

Quick stats from Jackson's 1 moth check up today:
Height-23 1/4 inches, 94th percentile
Weight-11 lb, 1 oz 80th percentile
Head-15 1/4 inches, 60th percentile

The doctor asked standard questions about his eating, sleeping, lifting his head, response to noise, following with eyes, etc.  He said to be on the look out for Jackson rolling over since he is so alert and active.  We go back next month for weight/measurement checks and immunizations.

In retrospect, I am totally impressed with how smoothly everything went this morning.  I didn't over analyze anything, which is rare.  I just quickly tossed things in the diaper bag, put Jackson in the carseat, and drove off.  (Our first appointment we spent 30 minutes getting ready before we even left the house.)  There were no issues with the taking the carseat out, waiting in the office, undressing or changing him, etc.  I think this was the first time I felt confident about going out.  My next big test is taking him to school this Friday.

We had a rough night last night full of constant eating and not sleeping.  Jackson and I both took an hour nap when we got home.  Jesse is cooking dinner tonight and it's my turn to go to choir rehearsal.  (We decided to alternate who gets to sing each week.)  So excited to participate in pre-pregnancy activities and get out of the house by myself for a few hours!

Our favorite naptime position

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thoughts on Being a Career Mom--Tuesday, May 10

I've been thinking a lot about my students as the End of Grade tests are quickly approaching next week.  I want to be at school so badly to go over those last minute reviews with my kids and instill the confidence in them that they will succeed.  My mother-in-law asked me on Sunday how my first week alone with Jackson was and I said it was okay but I would like to be able to work.  Then this morning I was reading a post on BabyCenter about mothers of newborns wanting to go back to work.  I copied some of their responses because I thought the women beautifully articulated exactly what I think and feel:

"I feel like there is more to me than being a mom and when I deny myself all parts of myself than I am not as happy and I feel like something is missing." 
"I know that in my case, I work at a profession that I'm very good at; I can anticipate and control most of what happens in my day.  On the other hand, life with a newborn makes just about everybody feel out of control.  You can't control when your newborn eats, sleeps, or poops, and you often can't tell what LO needs (especially during those fussy times when she doesn't seem to want anything except to cry)."
"I think for me it was just that work was something familiar that I knew how to do!  Being a FTM, having a baby around the house was all new, and I was not nearly as confident about being a mom as I was about work.  The more I bonded with my DS, the more confident about being a Mom I became!"
I feel good about my decision to go back to work next year, though I'm sure it will be difficult to do so in August.  I love that I live in a time period where it is acceptable for me to work and for my husband to stay home.  I also love that I am able to have this opportunity to bond with my son and grow in confidence as a mother.
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I literally watched TV and curled up with Jackson all day until Jesse came home.  Of course there were lots of diaper changes and feedings in between, but absolutely nothing else.  We were very content!  Jackson has been smiling so much today.  I know it's still early for real smiles, but he definitely smiles when I talk to him.

I was really impressed that I was able to pump 7 oz at one session in only 10 minutes.  I've never pumped anywhere close to that amount, so that is really exciting.  Unfortunately, the 4 oz bottle we had prepared for Jackson wasn't enough to satisfy him so I know his appetite is increasing.  I am curious to see how much Jackson weighs at his 1 month check up tomorrow.

Even more evidence to indicate how large my baby is growing-he can fit in several 3 month outfits.  I know some brands run smaller, but he is definitely outgrowing newborn clothing and even some 0-3 month clothes are tight.  We put him in these adorable 3 month pajamas after bath time tonight.  Now off to bed...