Thursday, February 25, 2010

RIP to Grandma

My grandma passed away this past Saturday. Being the oldest granddaughter, her and I were extremely close. She was so good to me and so good to my son. I told her I was pregnant last year on mother's day. At the time, she was fairly sick and had been in and out of the hospital a number of times before finally being moved into a nursing home. I told her that she had to make it until December and she said she couldn't make any promises.

She obviously lived until December and even felt well enough to come visit us in the hospital. She ooed and awwed over James and said he was the prettiest baby she'd ever seen. A few days later once we were home, she came to see us again and took such joy in hold her great-grandson. She had 5 kids, 9 grandkids, and 2 great-grandkids already, so she was a pro with James.

A couple days before Christmas, my mom and I brought James to see her at the nursing home. We dressed him in a Santa suit. When she saw him, she was so proud that she asked us if she could sit in her wheelchair and hold James while we pushed her around the home. She stopped everyone in the hall, saying, "What do you think of my little Santa baby?" Even though she was never able to breastfeed any of her kids, she was so proud of me for it. She kept telling random people at the nursing home, "Doesn't he look big and healthy? It's because she breastfeeds him."

She started getting sicker after that, but we still squeezed in a few good visits with grandma. She bought James a $1,000 savings bond and was so excited to give it to him. She said, "You'll never really know who I am, but your mommy will tell you." It was so sad and true. Once she got really sick, we kept coming to visit, but she wasn't well enough to hold him anymore. Even as recently as a couple weeks ago, she told him that she was trying to get stronger so she could hold him again.

Last Wednesday, she was taken off all her meds and put on morphine to control the pain. The following morning, she was conscious and alert for the last time in her life. I happened to be there with James. She was having a hard time making sense of things and kept asking if she could take her hospital gown off. She was so terribly confused, but when I put James in front of her, that made sense. She remembered his name and mine and played peek-a-boo with him and I was lucky enough to capture it on film.

We buried her yesterday. I gave a eulogy, which was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I'll miss her terribly, especially as James continues to grow. She was an excellent mother and every time I think about taking a shortcut with my boy, I'll remember that grandma's watching, so I'd better do it right.

I go back to work on Monday, which is a dark cloud hanging over me. I'd really been hoping to spend some quality time with my boy, but the last two weeks have been a whirlwind of sitting in the hospital and preparing for the funeral. Even though I technically go back Monday, there's an event tomorrow that I planned, so I'll be gone from 9 am until 3 pm, so it's almost a full workday. Boo.

Here's the peek-a-boo video, as well as a picture of me, my mom, James, and my grandma on Valentine's Day

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Keeping It Real

I was inspired by a fellow blogger's post today about how there's so much pressure on moms to act like they have their acts together. In an effort to show the dark underbelly of new motherhood (and no, I'm not referring to my stretchmark-riddled underbelly), I'd like to do a post about the things that have just plain sucked.

First off, my relationship with my husband is suffering under the strains of new parenthood. The reality is that being a mom is a crap-ton of work. I know that and almost any other mother out there knows it, but I'm not always sure that husbands can understand it. To compound matters, I'm chronically horrible about wanting things done and expecting my husband to read my mind. It's not really that I expect him to be able to do that, it's more that I refuse to be a nag. Sure, I could straight-up ask him to watch James every Saturday from 8 am to 10 am, thus granting me the supreme luxury of sleeping in, but that would involve nagging him and I'm so afraid to do that, so I suffer in silence until I reach my breaking point.

Said "breaking point" this week involved me getting up in the wee hours of Sunday morning, feeding James who apparently thought that 5:30 am was an appropriate time to become uber-alert, complete with smiles and cooing. Cute, right? Well, not with so few hours of sleep under your belt. I kept wishing that Brett would hear the baby and come spend some time with him so I could sleep. He never did and I ended up attempting, through tears, to read James a story.

I just got the book "Babyproofing Your Marriage," in hopes of dealing with some of these issues. I did tell Brett that I simply need more help. Oddly enough, I'm also looking forward to being back at work because it seems like an equalizer. If we are both working full-time, there's no reason we can't both help equally with house and baby care.

Some snippets of suckiness:
  • I have internal hemorrhoids from the baby and have not been able to have a peaceful bowel movement in almost three months. I went to the doctor yesterday and began a four-step process of having them fixed.
  • We've had sex just once since the baby was born. It didn't hurt, but my boobs stared spewing milk partway through. If you want to feel unsexy, try gaining twenty pounds, having stretchmarks everywhere, and leaking bodily fluids onto your partner. This explains why we've only done it once.
  • My grandma is in the hospital dying right now. She's been in and out of the hospital for the past month with congestive heart failure and liquid-filled lungs. We finally decided to just keep her comfortable and let her go.
  • I go back to work in just one week. I love my job, make decent money, and frankly live a lifestyle that requires my income. That doesn't really make it any easier to imagine being away from my little man for 10 hours straight.
I know this all sounds kinda crappy, but I do want to keep it real. As fantastic as motherhood is (James slept 8.5 hours straight the last two nights, by the way), there are some crappy times.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

So far, James hasn't been a great sleeper. He'll usually give me one 4-hour stretch at the beginning of the night, then 2 and 3 hour stretches after that. He really surprised me this past weekend by sleeping for 6.5 hours! We had dinner with friends Sunday night and stayed kind of late. I assumed he would sleep in his car seat or in my arms once 8 or 9 rolled around. He nodded off occasionally, but was awake most of the time. We finally got home and got him into bed around 11:30 pm (way too late, I know). The great thing was that he slept from 11:30 pm to 6:00 am!! I was so shocked that he was suddenly able to sleep so long.

I thought it was probably just a fluke, but then last night he slept from 9:30 pm to 4:30 am, 6 whole hours!! I'm so excited that he's getting to be a better sleeper.

In other news, I've started pumping after the first feeding of the day in order to get a stockpile going for when I return to work. I am apparently closely related to dairy cows, because I have some serious milk production going on. I can usually feed James, then still get 6 to 7 ounces pumping. I feel blessed to have such great supply, especially since going back to work is supposed to reduce your supply.

I have noticed that James tends to cough/choke a lot when he first latches on. I called my LC and she said that I may have a forceful milk ejection reflux, which means that once my milk lets down it comes out too fast for James. We've also been getting lots of green stools lately, which she said is a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and may be related to having too much milk. When James nurses, he never can drink enough to get to the good, fatty hindmilk. She suggested block feeding. This means that I'll divide the day into four-hour chunks and only nurse from one breast for an entire 4-hour block. I'm hoping this makes it easier for him to feed and maybe relieves some of the crazy leaking I have going on. I leak all over the place. I woke up Saturday night and my whole shirt front was soaked, as well as the sheets where I'd been laying. Gross.

I was thinking of trying Lilypadz, silicone nursing pads that completely prevent leaking by applying light pressure to the breast. The LC said they increase the risk of plugged ducts and mastisis, so I'm not sure I want to try them. Anyone out there on the interwebs have any ideas to manage leaky boobs?