Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who Needs Sleep?

Remember that song by the Barenaked Ladies?

Who needs sleep?
(well you're never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep?
(tell me what's that for)
Who needs sleep?
(be happy with what you're getting
there's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War)

Yeah, that's been in my head the past few days because Jack has not been sleeping. In turn, I'm exhausted. I should say more exhausted. I didn't even think that was possible.

It seems the RSV is creating some horrible sleep habits. For the last several nights, after going to bed Jack woke up every hour for the first four hours of the night. Then, at about 11pm, we fed him, gave the nebulizer and stayed up with him until 1am. Two hours! He has then either woken up two more times before morning, or woken up once for two hours before going back to sleep. Every time we rock him and put him in his crib he jolts awake crying. Worse, his naps have been about 30 minutes long apiece.

It turns out that the medication in his nebulizer is "wiring" him. Yesterday the doctor cut the 11pm dose of the meds, but last night Jack was still awake from 11-12 and 3:30-5:00. Today, however, today he took a beautiful two and a half hour nap and I am very encouraged. (I checked to make sure he was still alive after two hours - I wonder when I'll stop doing that?)

I hate the idea of "Ferberizing" Jack and with these horrible sleep patterns I've been preparing myself for the worst. If we do have to go that route, Tim is in charge. I can't stand hearing him cry. I've told Tim we are going to make sure Jack has his strength back before we lay the smack down. I have Ferber's book on hold at the library just in case.

On the positive side, Jack has been feeling much much better. I'd say he's even more cheerful than he was before he was sick! We had a glorious time this afternoon playing peek-a-boo and laughing ourselves silly. If only the nights would be so pleasant.

Please sleep, Jack! Please!! It's for your own good. I promise!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Let's Hear it for the Boy!

On Friday, Tim and I celebrated our 5th anniversary! In some ways it's hard to believe we've been married that long. Mostly because it makes us sound so old! We got married young! I promise!

Tim always lets me pick where we go out to eat, so for our anniversary I had him chose. His choice? AMF bowling, complete with pizza and drinks. I almost beat him once! We were so tired we were only out for an hour and a half. Then we came home, watched a movie, gave Jack his nebulizer and went to bed. Party animals, I know.

I wanted to take a moment to brag on my husband. I think he's afraid I'll use this site to not only be honest about motherhood, but to complain about him. :) Well that's not happening today.

The other day I meant to mention how Tim has been so wonderful in taking care of me while I take care of Jack. Well, I'll say it now. He's been wonderful. On Tuesday, Tim was working when I called and told him how sick Jack was. I was so freaked out by the diagnosis that Tim was concerned about me. He wanted me to call a friend and have them come over to be with me that day, but I felt silly doing that. Since I wouldn't do that, he called my friends and had them call me to make sure I was okay. Then he brought home dinner. That may not seem like much to some, but it was very comforting to me.

He's great in other ways too. You know how I said I've been feeling fat? He continues to reassure me that I'm beautiful - even though he gets really really sick of repeating himself. :)

And for our anniversary, he bought me the 25th Anniversary edition of "The Cosby Show" which I have been talking about getting for months! It came in the mail a couple of weeks ago and I guessed what it was immediately so we opened it then. I was sooooo excited and surprised that he bought it. (By the way - we're returning it because the discs are really poor quality. Most of them skip or don't work. HUGE disappointment. Don't buy it.)

Tim does a lot of stuff around the house too. He does the dishes (my least favorite chore) and washes and stuffs the diapers. He massages my feet (at times) and takes Jack so I won't run away. :) Oh, and he makes really good soup. That is also comforting.

So, yeah, I think I'll keep him around for awhile.

I love you Tim! Happy anniversary!
Tim & Jack stuffing diapers.
(I wish the lighting was better - still a really cute pic)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

When it's More Than a Cold

Hey friends.

I've been meaning to write for a couple of days, but haven't had the words. On Monday night we went over to have dinner with our friends and Jack's breathing turning to wheezing within the afternoon/evening. After an evening of my overactive imagination running through worst-case scenarios through my mind (involving CPR and an ambulance) I brought him to see the doctor Tuesday morning. He diagnosed Jack with RSV (Resperatory Syncytial Virus), tested his oxygen levels, did a nebulization treatment in the office, gave him steroids, and sent us home with our own nebulizer. He advised me not to hesitate to call or to bring Jack into the ER if I was concerned because he was on the edge of hospitalization.

I was completely overwhelmed. I had spent Monday night trying not to over-react because I know a lot of new moms over-react and then I find out on Tuesday that Jack is on the edge of going to the hospital. I suspect that if his oxygen levels had not improved in the clinic they may have hospitalized him that day.

I wanted to blame someone. Like my dad (a general practice physician) who advised me to wait until Tuesday to take Jack in. Or my in-laws who visited last week and wore Jack out. That desire soon passed (and I don't blame any of them) and I just felt scared that Jack would not get better.

But he did. Almost immediately. After the appointment, Jack took a good nap and woke up smiling and talking!! He hadn't done that for two days. We "nebulized" him again that evening and he actually seemed to enjoy it! (See pic - and no, that is not a bong)

So things were getting better. Then this morning Tim took Jack in for a follow up appointment and we found out he has an ear infection. I had no clue! He wasn't pulling his ears or anything. The poor kid is so sick of us feeding him nasty medicines, misting medication in his face, and sucking boogers out of his nose. I bet he decided not to complain about the ears so we wouldn't irritate him more. :)

I'm not sure what I'm feeling anymore. I just feel so bad for him and I'm praying he feels better soon. It is so hard to see and hear him working hard to breath. Thankfully his coughing is getting better - he no longer looks like his eyes will pop our or sounds like he'll loose a lung. And the wheezing is slowly going away.

I can't imagine what it must be like to have a baby with a chronic illness. The concern and stress must be exhausting. I'm worn out from this!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Accepting the Fat

I feel fat.


I have never had a weight issue in my life. If anything I was too skinny in high school. Now I find myself 20 pounds over my normal weight, perhaps 30 over what I would like to be, and it feels awful. Friends and family reassure me that I look great and I appreciate that, but I just don’t like what I see.


I really didn’t think it would be like this. What I thought would happen was I would breastfeed Jack and that the pounds would come flying off of me. Oh, and I could eat whatever I want too. By two or three months postpartum I would be back to my pre-pregnancy weight. That’s what people told me! And worse yet, that's what the books said! It was too easy to believe them.


Liars.


I’m surprised how much this has taken a toll on my self-esteem. It has only added to the discouragement I feel about being alone at home and unable to find a job. I still look four months pregnant, my clothes don’t fit well, and… and I just hate it. It feels lousy.


I’m trying to eat healthier. Eating more veggies at snack time and light meals for dinner. But I get so hungry!! Jack just sucks it all out of me – literally! And, on days like today when I’m worn out because Jack needs extra attention and Tim has been working four ten hour shifts in a row, it is easier to heat up left over pizza than to try to pull together a decent meal.


Working out hasn't been easy either. Up until recently, Jack was only able to be awake for an hour at a time. I could work out during a nap, but if he woke up early I wouldn't get a shower. Only recently have I been able to go on walks, but the weather seems to be confused here in Colorado and winter has come several months late.


Weary. Weary. Weary.


I wish our culture would be healthier. I wish the ideal wouldn’t be for me to be 5’ 6” (my height) and 110 pounds (way below healthy). But you turn on the tv or open an ad and all of the women are size 0 or less. It makes a normal, healthy woman feel fat. And it makes me feel like I’m failing to be what I “should” be.


So, the question is this: can I accept myself the way I am? Can I love myself even though I don't like what I see? Can I find myself beautiful with a flubby, stretched out tummy? Can I learn to see that tummy as the fabulous vehicle that brought my wonderful little boy into the world?


Oh God! Help! I need to see myself as You see me and not as I do! I need to know I am lovely. I need to know I am who You want me to be. I need to know my worth does not depend on meeting expectations – especially when they so often are my own false expectations. Please – help me trust You and Your love. I need to remember as You’ve taught me before that that’s where my worth comes from.


“The Lord does not look at things human beings look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” ~ Yahweh (1 Samuel 16:7)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The First Cold

Here is a first I wasn't anxious for. Jack has his first cold. It started with a cough the other night and has progressed to productive coughs and rivers running from his nose. He keeps swallowing those loogies because he doesn't know how to spit yet. Have no fear, those things are coming out with his spit-up which he slimed me with this morning.

Thankfully the coughing hasn't disturbed his naps or his sleep overnight too much. There have been a few painful coughs that cause him to cry. But I go snuggle him, give him his pacifier (yes, we're still using that. - he hasn't quite gotten the thumb like I hoped), rock him back to sleep and all is well again.

It's funny because I have felt more confident in caring for Jack when he has been sick than I normally feel when he is healthy. I give him tylenol to help with aches and fevers, I feed him more often to keep him well hydrated, and I cuddle with him on the couch most of the day because he doesn't want to be put down. It's as though my over-protective motherly instincts are kicking in and I'm not concerned that his schedule is off or that he is fussy. I just want to make him feel better. Maybe I should trust myself more on the normal days. I think I can try it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Overstimulated


While we haven't played with Jack as rough as Hammie played with Wren in this Baby Blues, Jack has had a lot of activity the past few days with his grandparents and uncle here. Last night we took a walk with the jogging stroller which doesn't have a shade to block out the world like our travel system does. It may be hard to believe, but seeing that many trees, clouds, and houses is overwhelming for him. After that, Jack took a short nap, then sat in his swing while we all ate dinner (more stimulating activity). When Grandma brought him to the table, he took one look at Grandpa and burst into tears. The poor kid had a meltdown. It took half an hour to calm him down.
I understand. I often feel like crying when company comes.
We're both staying home today while the rest of the family explores Denver.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

True Confession

A friend in college introduced me to the idea of a “True Confession.” A True Confession is a secret that you share that is slightly embarrassing or weird. Her example was “I sometimes like the smell of my farts.”

Well, I have a true confession. I’m kind of OCD about sucking Jack’s boogers out of his nose. Actually, I really enjoy it. There is something so satisfying about sticking that bulb in his nostril, aiming it just right and then sucking out a really big booger. Jack seems to enjoy it too. He actually giggles a little with each suck.

I got two big ones this morning.

So there you have it. My True Confession. I’m sure there’ll be others…

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Insert Plug Here

I remember thinking a baby’s cry was the sweetest thing in the world. That raspy little “aaa-aaa” made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside with its innocence. When Jack was born and I couldn’t see a thing except a blue curtain three inches from my face, I longed to hear his cries. They brought tears of joy to my eyes.


They still bring tears to my eyes—now tears of frustration.


Is it just my baby or does every baby cry when he knows he is about to be fed? Or when he’s going down for a nap – even when mommy’s so lovingly rocking him and singing a lullaby?


Let’s see, about 7 feedings and 3 or 4 naps plus bedtime – that’s 11 or 12 times a day when it seems crying is unnecessary. I can see how crying before sleep can help expel a little extra energy, but I expected that he would have the feedings figured out by now. Doesn’t he recognize that I’m going to feed him by the fact that we are sitting in the nursing chair and I’m pulling up my shirt? And yet, he cries.


Reading this, I feel like I’m heartless and should understand that Jack is trying to communicate with me. But on some days, after a broken night of sleep and naps that are too short, Jack’s cries only communicate “Insert Plug Here.”


So I do.

Which makes weaning from the pacifier a bit difficult. Like I said in the previous post, he sometimes tries to find his thumb, but when he gets really worked up his arms start to flail and his body gets all tense. If I try to help him find his thumb he just gets more mad. So, I insert the pacifier. Almost instantly everything is calm and he is half asleep…Well, that used to be the case. Now he knocks the pacifier out of his mouth in search of his fingers, can’t find the

fingers and cries. So I give him the pacifier and we start all over again. That cycle usually occurs a dozen times until he calms down.


After thinking about this some more, I think the real reason his cries grate on me at bedtime is because I so desperately want him to feel safe and calm. I want him to relax and contentedly suck his thumb. Instead he screams. Then I feel like I’m not caring for him well enough and so I give him the pacifier. His cries make me feel insecure.


At least he’s not fussing 3-4 hours every night like he used to. Now he laughs, smiles, and coos most of the day. Yes, that is good.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It finally happened!


After a month of trying out the many different ways of sucking on his hand (two fingers, three fingers, knuckles, finger & thumb, entire fist shoved into mouth...), on Tuesday night Jack sucked his thumb! I have been praying for this. It seems thumb sucking has so many promises - unlike pacifiers thumbs don't get lost, roll into nasty corners (well, not yet anyway), they are self-soothing, and I personally loved it when I was a kid. I sucked my thumb until my parents bribed me to stop - I got Super Mario 3 out of the deal!

Now, if only Jack could remember how to suck his thumb. He still has to explore before he gets it into his mouth just right and I can hear the slurp of the drool that has covered his hand (music to my ears!). And when it's time to go to sleep he starts looking for his thumb, but frustration causes his hands to clench and that thumb will not be found. I then have to give him his pacifier so he can calm down and go to sleep.

I feel a dilemma coming on. Should I continue to give him his pacifier? Or should I hold off and see if he can eventually find his thumb? These are the kind of questions that have caused me to doubt my ability to take care of Jack. I know that seems lame, but I begin to obsess over them, weighing the options until I can't think straight. Then when Jack gets frustrated I am ready to give up because I can't fix it. I can't help him the way it seems he needs to be helped.

From everything I have heard, when babies start sucking their thumbs they eventually ditch the pacifier. But right now, Jack only seems to be able to suck his thumb when he is calm. It has only been a couple of days. Will he get better? Will he always prefer his pacifier?

Not that I am against the pacifier. I was so surprised when I found out there was controversy over that. (Is there anything concerning raising kids that everyone agrees on?) No, I'm not against the pacifier - so far it has been my friend. I am just very pro-thumb sucking.

So keep at it Jack. I know you can do it!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Pilot

The other day my sister called from Minnesota and told me I needed to watch Oprah. It was about the difficulties of motherhood she said. I could hear my mom yelling in the background that it would be encouraging, so I tuned in and saw women expressing many of the things I have been feeling but have felt too timid to say.


Being a mom is hard!! No, not just hard, it can be miserable at times.


The guests on the show had interviewed many mothers, and all of the moms said they weren’t sure if they were happy. Also, they all thought they were the only ones who were feeling that way. We don’t share this with one another because being a mom is supposed to be joyful and fulfilling. Not being happy as a mom is something to be ashamed of. If I am not happy as a mom there is something deeply wrong with me.


This is definitely what I have been experiencing for the last four months. And I feel ashamed to admit that. I have felt timid in expressing my experiences and feelings because good Christian moms are never discouraged, never depressed, never angry with their babies or husbands or God. We must always have a smile on our faces, always appear put together with clean, well organized homes and clean, happy babies. To be otherwise is failure.


I am nervous sharing the truth because while I’m sure other women are experiencing the same things, no one talks about these things and what if I am the only one! Oh no! I’m such a bad mom!


In the first two months of Jack’s life I was completely overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for him. I had wonderful help from my mom and sisters and husband, but when the extended family went back to Minnesota and Tim went back to work I found myself caring for Jack nearly 24/7 and being totally exhausted.


I did not enjoy it.


There, I said it. I was not happy. Jack was fussy. I was feeling depressed from being so tired and alone. Desperate for something to distract me from life, I checked out the first season of Desperate Housewives from the library to watch while I was breastfeeding and I was hooked. One of the housewives, Lynnette, was a particular comfort to me because she admitted she did not like being a stay-at-home mom. She struggled to keep herself together and ended up turning to her sons’ ADD medication in order to have the energy to keep up the fa├žade of perfect wife and mother. There is a scene when she finally loses it, throws her kids at her friend and runs away. Her friends find her and reassure her that they have had the same moments. They too cried during their kids' nap time and were not happy. Lynette said, “Why don’t we tell each other these things?” “Does it help?” “Yeah, it helps!”


Yeah, it helps.


So I’m stepping out. I work through my thoughts and issues through writing. I always have. And I have felt that God has wanted me to share my experiences and my challenges. I am currently working on a more “professional” writing project, but I also need to blog. I need to vent. Not that it will be negative, but it will be honest. Yeah, I’m scared of what people will think. I’m afraid of what my mother-in-law will think. I’m afraid of everyone seeing the true Leah. But I need an outlet and I hope at least a few women may relate.