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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Every 2 Hours

Baby E Sleeps - 2.5 Weeks Old

Baby E is going through a new developmental stage in his life, and we're not so sure what that is exactly.  He just likes to wake up every 2 hours in the middle of the night (every 1.5 hours towards the end), which is a little out of the ordinary for my little guy. Last month he was consistently sleeping one 4-5 hour stretch in the middle of the night.  Since last week he has been restless and waking up frequently, too frequently.

Eating every 2 hours around the clock was part of the everyday routine a few months ago.  Now that I look back, I have no clue how I took care of him on such little sleep. I'm having a difficult time adjusting back to this routine, and the lack of sleep is definitely catching up on me.  I feel defeated most mornings trying to add up my hours of sleep, 30 minutes at a time.

In addition to waking up every 2 hours, Baby E hasn't been sleeping too well.  If we're lucky, he will stay sleeping until it's time for his hungry tummy to wake him up. Lately we're not so lucky, and he wakes up after sleeping for only a few minutes. Then I go back to comfort him until he falls asleep.  A few minutes later he is crying again because he woke up.  This goes on for about half an hour sometimes until he finally sleeps for good.  It's a lot of work for both baby and mommy.

I am no super human, and I need help every now and then.  That's where I give in and call my dad to come over.  He enjoys spending time with his grandson, and I enjoy an extra hour or two of sleep in the afternoon.  :)

I hope that Baby E will eventually go back to sleeping longer stretches in the middle of the night.  I'm looking forward to getting more than 1/2 hour to an hour of sleep at a time.  One day, one day.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Baby & My In-Laws -- Continued

Entry originally written on Sunday, August 7th...

The story of my in-law's lack of involvement continues this week with an interesting development.  H's sister came on Thursday to babysit while we went to run some errands.  We were nearing in on 2 weeks without a proper trip to the grocery store, and our poor fridge reflected that.  She informed us that her parents were quite upset with us.  The reason?  We were not doing our part to bring Baby E to visit his grandparents.

Stop right there.  Whatttt?  Why can't they come over?  Oh they just pulled the stupid culture/tradition card out, and I call that complete bologna.  As a reminder, my in-laws only came to visit once after we came home from the hospital during Baby E's first week of life.  Since then we have been on baby transportation duty to bring Baby E to my in-laws.  Not cool.

So here's their argument -- now that we're old enough to get married and have a family of our own, we need to take care of them.  My own parents remind me of this all the time, mainly because they are old and retired now.  According to my in-laws, part of taking care of them means that we have to bring Baby E to visit them.  In the beginning we happily obliged because we figured that their schedules were a bit hectic with work.  Then weeks passed and eventually that led to months without any interest in seeing their grandson.  Okay that's not true.  They wanted to see their grandson, but they didn't want to give in and come over to our house.  Sounds silly, right?  Stupid culture crap.  It was okay for us to meet up at a buffet and have dinner together, but it was not okay for them to come over to our house where Baby E spends most of his life. Stupid!

A day later my FIL decided to visit "out of the blue."  Then my MIL came the day after that.  What?!?  Oh yeah it must be H's sister who told them how much Baby E has grown.  They had to eventually give in, right?  How else are they going to see Baby E roll around?

H has to remind me that it is their loss if they don't want to visit.  They are the ones who are missing out on his milestones.  They are the ones who are almost strangers in Baby E's life.

Am I supposed to feel guilty?  Maybe.  I am depriving my in-laws of grandson time because I won't make the effort to visit them.  Actually I would make the effort if they made an effort on their part.  My original plan was to visit them every other week if they showed interest in coming to visit us.  Scratch that plan and throw it out the window.  It's not us. It's them.

I don't think they fully comprehend how much of a production it is to get out of the house with a baby.  Here is the run down...

  • wait until Baby E wakes up from his nap, feed him, change his diaper
  • prepare bottles with breast milk
  • put together pump bag (pump, flanges, battery pack, etc.)
  • pack diaper bag (diapers, cooler bag for milk, bibs, changing pad, wipes, etc.)
  • time it just right & pump as soon as H starts feeding Baby E
  • put baby in car seat while we run around the house 
  • wash bottles and pump accessories right before heading out the door
The biggest obstacle for us is my pumping schedule, Baby E's milk supply, and his eating schedule.  I need to pump every 2-3 hours, and it's not very convenient most of the times when we are out.  Baby E still drinks every 2 hours, making it difficult to run the simplest of errands.

They even said that if we can run errands with the baby, then we can visit them on our way home.  Let me remind you that they live 20 minutes away from us, and their house is not on our way home from any shopping areas.  We would have to go out of our way to visit them, and it would be a huge inconvenience on our part.  Oye.  Plus we usually run errands during the work week, often coming home around 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM.  What was once a simple trip to Costco takes twice as long.  It's not easy with a baby.

I just want my in-laws to understand.  Leaving the house isn't easy for us.  It would be much more convenient if they could take some time out of their week (no, make that month) to visit their grandson.  We are new parents, and we're still getting the hang of it.  Be nice.  That's all we ask.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Debbie Downer Moment

I went to H's high school reunion this past weekend.  I had a good time and enjoyed the well organized festivities.  It got me thinking about my own reunion.  At first it was a no brainer.  I would most definitely go to my reunion, but that feeling has changed. I don't think I am successful enough to feel adequate in such an environment. Everyone asks the same questions...

Where do you live?
What do you do?
Are you in a relationship?  Married?  Children?

My answer?  I live in the same city I've lived in my whole life.  I am happily married and have a pretty awesome little family.  What do I do?  Well... I'm a stay at home mother.  *whomp, whomp, whomp*  Ouch.  Way to put myself down.

I went to college.  I graduated.  I was jobless for a year, and then I worked but not in my ideal environment.  Now I take care of my family.  It's not much to brag about.

How do you define success?  For some, I can be considered successful (graduated college, married, living in a house, raising my baby).  To others, I am lacking (not very career oriented/never had a career, not contributing financially to family income, etc.). Personally, I don't feel very accomplished.  I don't feel good about myself.  I am a failure.

Maybe part of it is being socially accepted.  In our society, women are supposed to be super humans.  They juggle having a family and a career.  Am I less of a person because I don't work?  Maybe that's how I feel.

Do I want to work right now?  No.  I want to stay home and take care of my baby.  I want to be there for him and provide him with the best of everything.  I want to be there when he smiles.  I want to be there when he cries. He is my world.  I can't imagine putting him in daycare and missing out on 40+ hours of his life every single week.

*talks to self* Yin, stop being so sad.  Suck it up!  You have a great life.  Don't worry about what others think.  You have many years ahead to do what you love in life.  It doesn't matter that a career never developed straight out of college.  You wouldn't have been happy anyways.  You want to make a difference in the world and feel good doing it.  That is mighty hard to do that when companies only care about making money. You care about others.  Take it one step at a time.  You're a mother, and your baby loves hanging out with you.  Your husband is awesome and supports every single thing you do.  Right now focus on being the best mommy and wifey ever.  Don't sweat the small stuff.

*takes a breath*

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Being a Mother...

Posing for a picture with Baby E at his first Newark Nite

It's 6:30 AM, and I have only had 2 hours of sleep.  I am a mother.

After picking up Baby E from Uncle Anthony & Aunt Melissa's house, we came home around midnight.  I immediately went upstairs to pump for 30 minutes.  I then stayed up another 2 hours to pump again, afraid that I would wait too long between pump sessions.  I fell asleep for 2 hours and woke up again to pump.  I pump to provide my son with food.  I am a mother, his mother.

While cleaning my pump parts and preparing bottles, I hear Baby E cry.  It is time for his feeding, and I cannot go back to bed.  I feed him.  I change him.  He is not very happy with me.  Maybe it's because he is still sleeping and doesn't understand what's going on.  Poor little guy.  H comes over to calm him down.  He is now awake and ready to finish eating.  My heart melts just looking at him.  I am a mother, his mother.

I went outside in the rain to spray down his dirty diaper.  I touch poo more than the average person, and I don't mind it.  I wash diapers on a daily basis, and I feel good knowing that his bum is healthy.  I am a mother, his mother.

Now I can't go back to sleep.  I am hungry, so hungry.  Even though I can't say that I breastfeed, I do exclusively pump.  I burn calories just like those mothers who actually breastfeed.  I didn't eat nearly enough yesterday.  It wasn't by choice.  It was by circumstance.  Did you know that I need an extra 500 calories a day?  While pregnant, I only needed an extra 300 a day.  I actually eat more now than I ever did when I was pregnant.  I have quite the appetite.  The kind of appetite that is keeping me from sleeping.  I am a mother.

My job is to be the best mother possible to Baby E.  My work hours are not limited to the weekday from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.  I work around the clock, often lacking much needed sleep.  That's okay because I am his mother.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mastitis, I Hate You

Baby E is so precious and makes my struggles worth it

Entry written on Wednesday, August 3rd...

This is the second night in a row that I've cried after my midnight pumping session.  I cried and cried and cried.  I have reached an all time low.  I have no one to talk to about this... so you guys get to be my lucky audience.

I have mastitis, and it started on Saturday night.  In simple terms, it is a breast infection.  It starts out like an ordinary clogged duct, which I am all too familiar with. Then throw in a horrible fever, chills, and the inability to function.  So far there is no happy ending in sight.  I went to the Emergency Room in a panic.  I needed to get my hands on a prescription for antibiotics as soon as possible to prevent the infection from getting worse.  Many hours of lost sleep later, I got my hand on the drugs I needed.  By then my fever had gone down.  The chills went away.  The clogged duct was still clogged.  Three days later, and it is even more clogged than before.

I'm at an all time low.  I can't stand being forced to pump every 2 hours around the clock to get rid of this stupid clogged duct.  If I don't, then it can lead to abscess.  At the rate I'm going, that can very well be in my future.

I desperately want this to go away.  My infected right breast hurts each and every time I have to pump.  I can feel the pump pulling on the clogs in attempts to loosen the blockage.  I hold on to the little bit of hope that maybe this time it will finally unclog.  I listen intently for the sudden swoosh of milk that empties into the bottle.  I don't hear it.  I just feel intense pain.

Pumping every 2 hours means that I lose a lot of sleep.  I'm still taking care of Baby E, but I'm not 100% there.  My mind is focused on the pain.  My body is deprived of sleep. If I sneak in an extra hour of sleep, I feel extremely guilty.  What if I had woken up earlier to pump?  What if that was my opportunity to get rid of my pain?  Pumping every 2 hours means that my pump session at midnight that lasted almost an hour long will have to be followed by another pump session at 2 AM.  I only get an hour to rest before it starts all over again.  To save my sanity, I spend most of my sessions pumping for 20 minutes.  I don't have the effort and time to focus on unclogging the infected breast at each session.

I feel alone.  I don't have anyone to talk to about my problems.  My husband is the only person who I can reach out to in the middle of the night and bawl my eyes out.   But... he has work in the morning.  He is a super human and goes to work during the day and takes care of Baby E and me at night.  He falls asleep around midnight or later, only to wake up 6 hours later to get ready for work.  He hates to see me in tears, but I can't help it.

Happy Mom = Happy Baby?  Well I'm not so happy anymore.  I can't give Baby E the attention he needs when I'm suffering.  I want to quit pumping.  I wish I could just quit cold turkey right now, but I fear the medical problems that would result from suddenly quitting.

No worries.  The good news is that the infection is gone (I think), and I feel much better.  The clogged duct slowly disappeared, which is a tad different from usual.  I had a milk blister get in the way of my recovery.  Boo.  I'm just glad that my boobies feel better. Oh the joys of exclusively pumping!  My dad also came over this week to help me take care of Baby E since I wasn't feeling so great. Yay for help!  Yay for family!  Thanks goes out to my sister for bringing me to the ER on Saturday night. As for quitting, I might be closer to that point of giving up.  I'm just not quite there yet.