Friday, December 31, 2010

The one with the cold

Poor sick baby has her first cold.

She didn't want to sleep in my arms. She didn't want to sleep in the Moby wrap. She didn't want to sleep in her swing. So I jiggled her, shushed her, and put her in the laundry basket. Success?

What's the best way to help her through this cold? She has a runny and stuffy nose, a bit of a cough, but no fever. She's a bit crankier than usual (naturally), isn't eating as much, and is having a hard time sleeping. I elevated the mattress in her cradle, but other than that - I've got nothin'. She's still so little - is there anything I can do besides just ride it out?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The one with the good night's sleep

Shout it from the rooftops - Charlotte slept straight through the night last night! Woot woot!

Now, she's always been a pretty decent night sleeper since we started her bedtime routine. She'd get up once or twice to eat and usually go back to sleep easily. Usually. But last night, oh last night, it was different!

She went to bed at 10:30pm (or just a little bit before). At 4:15am I heard her stretching and sort of sleep-cooing a bit, so I got her bottle ready because I expected her to start smacking and protesting for food. I shook up her bottle, got up, looked in the playpen (we're sleeping at Grammie and Grampie's tonight) and she was FAST asleep. I shrugged and headed back to bed, keeping my ear on her just waiting for her to wake up. Even sleeping from 10:30 til just after 4 was exciting for me.

The next time I woke up was just before 6:30am because I heard people awake. I checked the time and was surprised that Charlotte still hadn't woken for food. I got up and looked at her again. Fast asleep. I stuck my finger into her open hand and she grasped it, so I knew she was still alive ;)

Finally, at 7:45am I decided to get out of bed.
Charlotte was still sleeping.

At 8:00, I checked on her and her eyes were open and she was staring at her hand (naturally). Not fussing, not smacking, not crying - just hanging out with her eyes open. So I started talking to her, asking if she wanted to wake up now, and she looked up at me and grinned.

Melt my heart.

So 10:30pm until 8am, Charlotte slept straight through. How very exciting! Now I don't know if it's a fluke (probably), but we may have to move in with Grammie and Grampie if this continues ;)

Happy rested Mommy and happy rested baby are going to finish up the Christmas shopping today, visit with uncles and aunts, and spend another fun evening with Grammie and Grampie. Hooray!

My beautiful little lovey <3

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The one with the two month update!

Charlotte turned two months old yesterday! I'd like to say "time flies", but it feels like it's been two months heh. Not that that's a bad thing, I suppose!

Hogging all the toys!

She went in for her two-month check up today. She is now 10lbs 6oz and 21.5 inches long. She had to get her first round of vaccinations today and it was TERRIBLE! Poor little lovey. I've never heard her cry like that before (obviously, because I don't hurt her) and I never want to hear it again. She screamed so much, I felt awful. We spent the rest of the afternoon snuggled up on the couch together because I just didn't want to let her go. She didn't develop a fever (hooray!) but she seemed to be in pain, so I gave her some Tylenol and she was happy and back to her normal self for the rest of the evening.

Since I'm a huge dork, I've been taking the developmental checklists we use at work and applying them to my own baby. Yes, I take my work home with me (even though I don't work there anymore *sob sob sob*).

So what is Charlotte doing at two months old? Let's see!
- watches faces intently
- tracks moving objects
- recognizes familiar people at a distance* (she gave me a HUGE pout at the doctor's today when the nurse was holding her and she saw me across the room washing off her pacifier)
has developed a social smile
- smiles at the sound of voice
- makes cooing noises, engages in vocal play*
- attends to sound
- startles at loud noises
- enjoys playing with people and may cry if the playing stops (she likes when we get down on the play mat with her)
- becomes more communicative with facial expressions and body
- imitates some movements and facial expressions (loves sticking her tongue out when we do!)

*denotes a three-month skill

She also sits supported (in her Bumbo and on our laps) and I can sometimes let go of her and she'll stay upright for a couple of seconds. She started squealing with delight a few days ago and it's adorable and hilarious, albeit sporadic. She has also been trying to roll over from her back to her tummy. She gets as far as her side and can't quite make it any further. This usually makes her pretty mad. ;)

"Hmm, now what?"

She's pretty much awesome and she's just getting more and more fun every day! Oh, and she tells the best stories :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

The one with the Christmas tree

We got our tree yesterday, brought it home, put it up, and decorated it. Hooray!
There's nothing like the smell of a fresh pine tree at Christmas time. I love love love this time of year!

Merry Christmas from our tree to yours!

"What do you mean there's a seven foot lighted pine tree behind me? Who cares! Have you seen this hand?! Amazing!"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The one where Charlotte is eight weeks old

Happy eight week birthday, baby girl!

Gee, can you tell she's a girl? Holy pink.

She is such a funny kid. She's smiling regularly now and there are certain things we can do that will pretty much guarantee a smile. She loves when we wag her arms around, blow raspberries at her (I think she likes to get spit on?), and whack her noggin with a paper towel tube - gently, of course. What a weird kid. She has discovered both her hands and her feet and will spend a great deal of time just staring at them. She still can't figure out how to get her hands into her mouth or how to touch her feet, but she's working on it :)

Another game we like to play is "pull yourself into sitting!". She loves it and if she grabs onto our hands just right, she'll pull herself up. She loves to sit and chat with us, so we pulled out the Bumbo chair the other night to see if she's ready for it. She seemed to really like it and we've sat her in it a few more times since then. Thank you so much for giving it to us, Nola!!

"Hey, what's over there?"

Still a little on the tilted side, but she loves it!
Never would have thought my eight-week old baby would be strong enough to hang out in a Bumbo, but here we are! She's got the strength for it, that's for sure. She just loves being in the sitting position. We sit with her (our knees bent up and her sitting with her back against them) all the time and she's happy as a clam that way.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depends on how you look at it) my background with child development puts me in a fun position being a mother. I love seeing what she's doing and figuring out whether or not she "should" be doing those things. There are a few things that I think she's ahead of the game with. She seems to have already learned cause-and-effect outside of her own body (secondary circular reactions) and will do whatever she can to activate her motion-activated toys. She's not completely purposeful in her actions yet, but she knows (for example) that if she kicks her legs and flails her arms hard enough, the lights and music on her bouncy chair will go off. And let me tell you, she works SO hard to do it too!

She's been cooing for what seems like forever. She's also making consonant sounds at this point - not consistently, but we definitely get "gah"s and "bah"s out of her on a daily basis. I wonder if she'll be an early talker... we'll see!

"Oh Mommy, you're so interesting!"

She finally outgrew all of her newborn sleepers (finally) and I have to put them all away now. Some 0-3 clothes are still too big for her, depending on the brand. I find Joe Fresh sleepers fit her perfectly, but their onesies are a little wide. Old Navy 0-3 shirts are fantastic and fit her great. Plus, they're soft as all heck and cheap! She's just about outgrown her 0-3 parachute pants, so I bought her another pair in 3-6 because I adore those pants. And, sadly, her skinny jeans are way too small for her ... but only in the waist. They're still too long. Weird. Her hair is starting to grow back in! Hooray! She still has a silly hairline, but the bald spots have adorable fuzzy baby hair sprouting. It's looking like she's going to keep her dark hair. I'm quite pleased about that :)

She has her next doctor's appointment on the 15th - her two month appointment! I can't wait to see how much she's grown since her six week checkup ... but I'm not really looking forward to her getting her shots. Poor babe. :(

As far as life with the adults goes, we're doing well. Boyd is home for a whole week at a time this month, plus a few 3-4 day stretches. We're trying to get ready for Christmas as best we can. Christmas cards will be going in the mail today and we'll probably put up the tree sometime this weekend. I can't wait! Charlotte saw the lights on the tree at Grammie and Grampie Joe's house and her face was priceless. The lights turned on and her eyes got wide, she pursed her lips, and made an "ooooh!" face. I wish I had recorded it. It was the perfect reaction. Today we're going to head to the mall to do a bit of Christmas shopping and just enjoy a day out.
My birthday is coming up next weekend, so my mom and Joe will be coming to babysit so that Boyd and I can go out. Hooray! I'm very excited about it. The plan is to go out for dinner and then go see The Wizard of Oz at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax. Can't wait!

That's all the news here! I'll leave you with some pictures of early morning playtime at the Chapman house. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The one with the photo essay

Charlotte turned seven weeks today and here's how she chose to celebrate the occasion:

"Oh hi! Look at me, I'm happy!"

"Hmm, or am I?"

"Yawn! I'm tired."


Lather, rinse, repeat.
Notice there are no photos of her sleeping. There's a reason for that.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The one where Charlotte is six weeks old

Ah, six weeks! It seems to be one of those "magic" numbers. You hear all about making it to six weeks and then everything will be all right with the world. Well, we made it.

"Check me out, I look so awesome in my jeans!"

Charlotte is doing fantastic. We had our six week check-up yesterday and she weighs a whopping (haha) 9lbs 5oz! I'm glad she's gaining so well, but she's still a little pixie. A month and a half old and she's as big as some babies when they're born. Her head grew 2cm and, according to the height measurement, she shrunk. Ha! We think she wasn't measured properly when she was born because A) she definitely didn't shrink, and B) she's outgrown clothes in length already so she's for sure getting longer. Her heart and lungs sound great, she's still nice and pink, and is just an all-around healthy little girl. She's still losing her hair (or maybe her head is just getting bigger? ha!) and her hairline is getting more and more hilarious. See?

I especially love the bald ring in the middle. It's AWESOME.

She is smiling more and more and seems to enjoy socializing a lot now. She loves when we just sit and talk or sing to her. She's got great focus and will look at us (and anything that has cool contrast) for longer periods of time. She tracks objects well and when Boyd moves his finger in front of her face, she moves her hand in (what we believe is) an attempt to grab at it. She's super nosy, always wanting to look around and know what's going on. She "talks" constantly when I'm feeding her which is cute most of the time, but not at 3am. I'm not looking forward to trying to get her to eat as she gets older - I'm going to have to feed her in a dark room just to get her to focus enough on the task at hand!

"Hey sun, I'm so going to have a staring contest with you!"

Her sleep is still going well, with a few rough patches here and there. She usually goes down between 8:30 and 9:30 (all depending on when she's hungry enough for that bedtime bottle) and sleeps a good 5ish hour stretch before waking again to eat. She gets sort of restless and grunty in the wee morning, but usually doesn't wake up again until at least 7am. She still sleeps in the cradle next to our bed and I'm not sure when to move her into her room. I think it'll probably end up being sooner rather than later. It'd be nice not to get disrupted by her tossing and turning and grunting so early in the morning (especially when she's fast sleep through the whole thing!)

As for me, I'm doing well. I still have a small tear that needs to heal up, but aside from that I feel good. I guess it just means more hot baths and taking it easy! I can deal with that. Now if only I had the time to do that...

That's all the news here! Today's agenda = decorating for Christmas and possibly having many a nap. Until next time...

We love to be cozy! It's the best!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The one where Charlotte is five weeks old

Five weeks!

Paying homage to MC Hammer with her awesome parachute pants.

Over the last week, she's really started showing her personality more (I think). She's awake way more now during the day, making noises and interacting with us. We got some real smiles yesterday and they just keep coming!

"Mom, you're so funny!"

"You're still so funny, hours later!"

She's still doing relatively well with her bedtime routine. Last night she had some tummy problems that seemed to throw the routine out the window but, other than that, it's been good. Tuesday night she slept straight from 10pm until just after 4am. It was awesome.

She continues to get bigger and rounder. Her big ol' head doesn't really fit in the nice cozy head rest that we had in her car seat and we don't have to wrap her diapers halfway around her back anymore. She's starting to eat more, especially in the evening and at night. We usually have to have 6oz bottles ready for her at night because she just wants more more more! Her eyelashes are getting longer and her hair is slowly disappearing from the front ... I'm afraid she's going to end up with a skullet very soon. How very sad. We need to invest in some sort of cute hair accessories stat to compensate for her weirdo hairline.

We have our six week checkup on Wednesday, so we'll have a weight and health update next week!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The one with the routine

Now that Charlotte is a month old, I've decided she needs to man up and start following a routine. No, just kidding ... but I have noticed that she's starting to fall into relatively predictable patterns of eat, sleep, and play. So, I thought maybe I could work some sort of routine into the routine that she's set out for herself.

She usually eats around suppertime (anywhere in the 5-6ish range) and then again around 8:30-9:00ish. I decided last night to try and use that late evening feeding as the "bedtime" feeding and attempt to get her to bed before midnight or later. Usually she eats again around 11:30/midnight but I was hoping to at least get her some good sleep before that. So, last night she ate at suppertime, played a bit, and then about half an hour or so before she'd be "due" to eat again (ie. before she'd start smacking and giving me the sucky face) I gave her a bath, massaged her with some bedtime lotion (mmm Aveeno), put on a clean diaper, put on clean pyjamas, and put her in her sleep sack. I fed her at 9:00 in the rocking chair and she was conked out on my shoulder by about quarter after 9. I waited to make sure, put her in her cradle at 9:30, and she was out!


Not only did she fall asleep so deeply so early, she stayed asleep until 1am! And even when she woke up to eat then, I don't think she was fully awake. She kept her eyes shut while she drank and was back asleep in her cradle by twenty after. Awesome.

However ... then she woke up at 4:30 and was all "hey Mom, wanna chat with me? Listen to all the things I have to tell you while I drink this bottle. I'm so noisy! Look how wide open my eyes are! Aren't I adorable? Mom, why aren't you talking to me? Listen to what I have to saaaaaay!"

Mommy was not impressed.

I ended up bringing her back upstairs to rock her back to sleep because I was tired and did not want to stay up at 5am. She drifted off a little bit and after a good half an hour of rocking, I decided to just put her in her cradle and she can talk herself to sleep if she so desired. The second I put her in her cradle, she was out like a light. What a goober! It didn't last long, though, so I ended up pulling her onto my chest, patting her bum while I dozed, and finally got her back to sleep and into her cradle at 6am.

At 8:30am, we were up for the day. Well ... I am. She's conked back out in her swing, just like every morning. I won't be going back to sleep though. It's time to get up, have my tea, and catch up on my internet stuff.

So, aside from her little party at 4:30 in the morning, I'd say my first attempt at a bedtime routine was a success! I also think she would have slept a bit longer past 4:30 had she drank more of her bottle at 1:00. She only had about 2oz so it didn't fill her up enough to stay sleeping. I know before this, she'd only wake up once per night and last night she was up twice ... but I much prefer her (and me!) going to bed at a regular time instead of midnight or later. That's really the only reason she'd wake up once - because she was up so late to begin with!

For the other parents out there - do you have a bedtime routine? What does it look like? When did you start working on a routine with your children? How long did it take before it actually became a routine?

I'm hoping last night wasn't a fluke and we can keep this pleasantness going!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The one with the Moby!

Happy one month Charlotte!
To celebrate you finally leaving my body, I will wear you as if you were still inside.

And you will like it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The one where Charlotte is four weeks old

Four weeks! Wow! The first two weeks dragged like crazy but the last two have gone by pretty quickly. That's exciting. I really look forward to what the next little while brings. Taking care of a newborn is quite taxing. It's like being in a relationship where the other person is constantly demanding everything from you, yet does not acknowledge that you even exist. I can't wait for the interaction to increase!

Teeny little baby feet!

Charlotte is still growing like a weed. I'm not sure how much she weighs now or anything of the sort, but I can just see her getting bigger and bigger. She's starting to outgrow some of her newborn sleepers and is fitting into some regular clothes now. She just looks more like a baby now and less like a newborn. Not that she was really newborn-looking to begin with... We're still trying to figure out who she looks like and we haven't come to any conclusions. She must just have the best of both of us because she certainly isn't one of those babies that looks just like one parent or the other. I mean, really, right now she kind of looks like a gremlin at times... but we love her just the same!

She has been more vocal lately, giving some goos and aahs. Right now she's yelling at the sun on her play mat :) She focuses really well on us these days and seems like she's trying to talk to us. Tuesday morning, I think she may have smiled at me while I was changing her diaper and chatting with her. It was pretty awesome :) She still adores her play mat and kicks her legs like crazy when the music plays. She also really likes the throw blanket that we have on the back of the couch - it's navy with yellow suns, moons, and stars embroidered. I think she really likes the contrast and will stare very happily at it while we burp her.

Her nighttime sleep pattern seems to have emerged. I try to put her to bed earlier in the evening (like around 9ish or so) but I've decided that it's completely futile to attempt to put her to bed before 11:30. It's like the clock strikes 11:30 and she's like "okay, time for bed". Otherwise she sleeps a bit, wakes up, is grumpy, has a poop, is gassy, or something that just keeps her up until then. She wakes up once in the middle of the night to eat and goes back to sleep until 7am. This morning when she woke up, I checked the clock and, sure enough, it was 7:06am. "Right on time!" I told Boyd. Hopefully this isn't a fluke and that it stays this way for a while. It's really nice to have something relatively consistent at this stage in the game.

Having a nice sleep on her dad.

She's getting so round! Must be all the flies she's catching ;)

Today she got to meet her Auntie Rochelle and Uncle Paul for the first time. How exciting! And tomorrow she will get to meet her Auntie Holly for the first time. Hooray!

Thanks for coming by, guys :)

Tomorrow is Rochelle and Paul's "congratulations on getting married!!" party and Charlotte has a brand new party dress all ready to go. Hopefully it will be a good outing ... outings lately haven't exactly been stress-free, so let's hope that tomorrow goes smoothly.

And that's all the news for this week!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The one where Charlotte is three weeks old

"I'm this big now!"

We had our three-week check-up on Tuesday afternoon. Charlotte is 7lbs 10oz now, so she's gained 8oz since birth. She's nice and pink, her lungs are clear, her heartbeat sounds great, and all seems well with her.
I'm healing well apparently.
I was asked how breastfeeding was going and, of course, had to cry and explain what happened while being made to feel bad about my decision. I was offered an appointment at the Open Arms clinic to do a feeding assessment if I wanted to give it "one more shot". I said I didn't know if I wanted to do that.

"You're done trying?"

Well, I guess so. Saying it that way makes me sound selfish and like I don't care about doing what's best for my daughter, but yes. I am done trying. I'm done having to explain myself. I'm done having all these crummy feelings come back. I want to just be able to accept what's happened, deal with it, and move on. I've had two feeding assessments with the public health nurse. I've tried everything. I hate that people think that I've just given up without trying. I don't know what else anyone can tell me or show me. Sure, feeding works relatively well when someone is helping me but guess what - I don't have four hands! I can't hold her hands out of the way, position her properly, pull her chin down, and do breast compressions all at the same time. Sorry. I don't have someone here 24/7 to be my breastfeeding partner. So just leave me alone! I've done what I can and I'm still doing what I can to make sure she's still getting some of my milk through pumping. I completely understand the importance of breast milk, but why is there such a push for breastfeeding? When I breastfed her, I didn't get any of that nice bonding that we're supposed to have. She'd fall asleep and I'd spend the whole feeding feeling frustrated trying to wake her up. I can still have skin-to-skin, eye contact, and all that when I feed her my breast milk from a bottle. I just don't get it. Argh.


In the last week, Charlotte has started focusing on things much more. She
is definitely looking at things now, especially our faces. She still loves her play mat and loves watching the light-up sun when the music plays. She's getting stronger and holds her head up for longer periods of time. She moves a ton - when we put her in the middle of the cradle at night, we wake up to find that she's wedged herself into the side somehow. When she's on her tummy, she kicks her legs so hard that I'm surprised she doesn't move forward when she does it. Super strong baby!
We're slowly easing into a routine. Nighttime is still hard and we're trying to figure it out, but the day seems pretty predictable lately. She's usually up sometime in the hour of 7am, eats, goes back to sleep until about 9:30ish, will usually eat again, spends some time awake and playing, and is usually asleep again by lunch time. She has lots of awake time in the early afternoon and usually again in the evening.
She's usually up once or twice in the middle of the night to eat and will sometimes go back to sleep easily and other times will be up for hours fighting sleep. We just need to figure out a good bedtime routine and to get her to sleep in her freakin' cradle! That's still a huge struggle. Last night she just slept with me on my chest because I was too tired to bother fighting.

That's the news for this week!

Watching the sun change colours and play music

Staring at the puppy

Hey, there's a baby in that mirror!

So goofy!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The one where things get personal

This will probably be one of the hardest posts I'll ever have to write, but I feel it needs to be written.

Today is Hallowe'en 2010. Today Charlotte is 17 days old. Today is the day that I made the decision to give up breastfeeding.

The tears are falling as I type. I hate that I had to make this decision. I'm angry. I'm devastated. I feel horrible, guilty, like a failure. This is not what I wanted at all. Not at all.

Breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your baby, they say. There's nothing in the world like a breastfeeding relationship, they say. You are giving your baby the best start in life, they say. I know all of this. Breastfeeding was always the plan. Always. I never even thought about having to bottle feed my baby. I wanted to breastfeed. I was going to breastfeed.

I knew it might not come easy. I knew it might take some learning. I was prepared for that. I was not prepared for the reality of what our breastfeeding relationship became. We had issues in the hospital. Charlotte's latch wasn't what it should be. Lines of blisters began forming on my lipstick-shaped nipples. No, her latch wasn't what it should be at all. The nurses came in to help me. Pull her in this way, hold her head that way, push her body in this way, pull her chin down, pull her lip out, her tongue needs to be over her gums, hold her body that way. It was always something and it was always something different from different nurses. She wasn't latching right but I just couldn't fix it.

We were released from the hospital regardless because I guess our issues weren't enough to keep us longer to get help. Sore nipples are common, they'll heal, her diapers were wet, she was pooping, so I guess all was fine. We came home and it just got worse. The blisters turned into bleeding wounds that turned into black scabs. I called Public Health for help and had a nurse come in to see us. She was helpful and gave me some hope that we could keep going with breastfeeding despite the bumps we were having. But, days later, her latch still wasn't improving and the pain I felt from feeding her was absolutely excruciating. I called the nurse again to come and help. She came again and showed me the same things she had shown me before. Things still weren't improving. Whenever I thought I'd have her latched properly, Charlotte would shift and pull her bottom lip in. I'd pull her chin and lip down, attempting to correct it. It didn't work. Unlatching her and trying to relatch hurt more than leaving her on poorly latched. Her diapers were still showing that she was getting enough milk and her weight gain was on track so I knew it wasn't a supply problem. She just wasn't positioned properly. I visited the websites. I watched the videos. I read the booklets. I knew how to get to her latch properly, but I couldn't get her to do it. We had our 10 day doctor's appointment and my doctor was not happy with the condition of my nipples. He told me to try a nipple shield and said that I'd have to do something if I wanted to continue with breastfeeding. We went that night to pick up a shield. I put it on and Charlotte's little tongue bent the plastic.

I sobbed. I cried for the first week and a half of her life. Every little noise she made made my heart race. Please don't need to be fed. I dreaded feeding her. The thought of having to deal with the pain again made me hysterical. I wiped my own tears off my newborn daughter's face as I fed her. I didn't feel that life-changing connection that breastfeeding is supposed to offer. I felt searing pain and growing resentment. I felt angry that other people get to enjoy their babies and all I could think was please hurry up and finish eating so I can take you off me. It was getting in the way of me bonding with her. Her being awake and with me meant pain. I love her so much, but I wanted little to do with her. Admitting that absolutely breaks my heart.

We made the decision to take her off the breast to let me heal. I pumped as much as I could and supplemented with formula for four days. I held her close and bottle fed her. I looked into her eyes and talked to her while she looked up at me. I started to feel happier about feedings. Yet, at the same time, it was horrible. She became constipated. She barfed constantly. She smelled like throw up and she was miserable because of her tummy issues. I hated what it was doing to our once-happy baby. So once the black scabs fell off and my nipples looked normal again, I put her back on the breast. For a couple of days, everything seemed to be going great. It hardly hurt anymore. She had a nice big poop and wasn't spitting up as much. Things were looking up.

Then it started again. The blisters came back. The misshapen nipples came back. The horrible horrible pain came back. The feelings of dread came back. The guilt came back. The tears came back. I sobbed over her as she fed. I was determined to stick it out, though. It hurts but it'll get better. Everyone says it gets better. The first few weeks are the worst. Stick it out.

This morning, my daughter ripped a blister off my nipple with her tongue. It was pain like I had never felt in my life. Words can't even describe it. I swore. I sobbed. I took her off me immediately, gave her a bottle of expressed breast milk, and knew that I just couldn't do it anymore. Nothing made me sicker than burping my daughter and seeing a bloody piece of my body come up with her spit-up.

Now I have to deal with the guilt. I have to deal with the judgments. I have to deal with the fact that I'm a quitter. People will look at me and say that I chose not to give my baby the best in life. Breastfeeding is infinitely superior to formula feeding and how dare I make that choice. Now my baby will be sick all the time, or stupid, or just somehow inferior to what she could have been had she been breastfed. Now I'm a bad mother because I couldn't make the sacrifice for her. I'm a bad mother because I can produce milk but I'm not breastfeeding.

This is so unfair.

I want to do it. I so want to. But I want to enjoy my baby. I want to bond with her like I'm supposed to. I want to hold her close. I want to look forward to her waking up. I want to be happy to be a mother. Breastfeeding didn't allow any of that. So what's more important?

I will continue pumping and feeding her expressed breast milk as long as I can get enough out. We will feed her the rest of the time with formula. I will hold her in my arms, stare down at her, talk to her, kiss her head, and feed her from a bottle. I will not soak her hair with my tears anymore. I will not dread her waking up anymore. If that makes me selfish, a bad person, a bad mother, a quitter, then so be it. In the long run, I hope Charlotte appreciates having a strong bond with her mommy over the fact that I had to feed her with a bottle.

To me, that's the most important.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The one where Charlotte is two weeks old

We missed her one week milestone because life a week after giving birth is ridiculously hectic and I had a hard enough time trying to find time to pee, let alone update the blog.

However, here we are at two weeks (yesterday, anyway)! Things are going okay. We're all still adjusting to our new life and new roles. I won't lie, it's been pretty rough but everyone says the first few weeks are the worst and I believe them. Hopefully soon things will begin to slow down and we'll start seeing a bit of pattern or routine emerging.

Charlotte seems to be doing very well. She's getting bigger and bigger right before my eyes! She left the hospital weighing 6lbs 7oz and was up to 6lbs 13oz just six days later so she's definitely growing well! I imagine she's probably back up to her birth weight now, if not really close to it.

"So my diapers are still a little big on me, so what? Wanna make somethin' of it?"

She sleeps for good stretches throughout the day and (usually) at night. Last night she slept from 11:30pm until 7am when I finally decided enough was enough and roused her to eat. Her naps during the day are usually a good couple of hours. We are able to put her down when she's sleeping which is very helpful - she's happy sleeping in her swing, her bouncy seat, and laying on her play mat. Sleeping in her cradle at night takes a little longer for her to settle into for some reason, but we always manage to (finally) get there even if it takes what seems like forever.

Eating is not going as smoothly as sleeping. We've been having lots of breastfeeding issues that we're trying hard to work through. Right now I'm having a really hard time with it and I'm looking forward to the day that it stops feeling like a horrible chore and starts becoming that enjoyable experience that everyone says it is.

She's generally a pretty content baby. She gets gassy and then gets really upset about it, but aside from that, she's pretty happy. She still gets the hiccups all the time and I'm happy that they're now happening outside my body. She loves her play mat and likes watching the lights and listening to the music. She likes when we sing to her and is starting to focus her eyes more and more. She grasps our fingers and even grabbed and held onto a toy the other day. She's very strong and will hold her head up for short periods of time, especially if we're holding her upright on our chests. She loves to look over our shoulders to see what is going on. She doesn't protest much to tummy time at all. She usually just ends up turning her head sideways so she can lay on her tummy and still see what's going on.

As for me, I'm doing okay. Adjusting has been really hard and I still have moments where I wonder what on earth I've gotten myself into. It's also overwhelming to have Boyd away during this time. I've been so lucky to have both my mom and Boyd's mom here to help me, but it's still hard because there's no real sense of routine yet and we all know how I feel about routine. I know it'll all come in time, but it's hard to remember that in the moment when you're exhausted and the baby is screaming to eat when she just ate twenty minutes ago and you don't want her attached to your boob for another hour because you just want to go soak your stitched up bottom in a hot bath. But anyway... like I said, I know it'll all come in time.
Physically, I'm feeling much better this week. I'm not taking any more pain medication on a daily basis and I can walk around for longer periods of time without getting sore. I think my episiotomy is healing well but I certainly don't have the courage to look. I'm not bleeding as much anymore and getting up and down isn't difficult. I've lost almost all my pregnancy weight - down from 145 to 119 - and the belly is quickly disappearing. It's really weird to see myself skinny again! It feels like it's been forever. It almost doesn't look natural because I'm just so used to seeing myself with a thick middle for so long.

We have our 3 week check-up on November 2nd so we'll see what news we have then!

"I love my turtle because we look alike!"

Monday, October 18, 2010

The one with the baby!

Thank you all for the good vibes that you sent out! About an hour or so after I posted last time, Boyd and I decided to go for a walk around the mall to try to get labour going and to go buy a puzzle so I'd have something to do while on all fours (which the midwife also recommended to get things moving).

We walked about halfway down the mall, headed to the Bargain Shop, browsed around, found a puzzle, and were just about to check out when - GUSH!!

"Um. We need to go home, Boyd"
"Huh? Why"
"We need to go home!!"

Yep, that's right. My water broke in the mall. That thing that everyone says never happens ("Oh, it's not like in the movies, it's not likely that your water will break in a big gush in a public place") happened. Luckily I had put a pad on before we left the house so that plus my clothes absorbed it and there was no clean up in aisle six. Boyd ran out, pulled the car around, and we headed home to get the bags and go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital around 4ish in the afternoon and they hooked me up to the monitors. I got a little button to push whenever I felt the baby move. At one point, I could hear movement on the monitor and the nurse asked me if I could feel that. I said no, I could only feel her stretching and pushing her butt out and the nurse told me that was actually a contraction and that it was the second one I'd had since they hooked me up. Nice! I was about 2-3cm dilated at that point and not feeling the contractions, so I sent Boyd and Mom home to get some sleep since it would likely be a long night. I tried to sleep myself, but I couldn't - too much adrenaline, excitement, and the lady giving birth in the room next door must have been getting ripped in half because she was screaming her head off. Not ideal for sleep. I did listen to my iPod and got a bit of rest, anyhow.

The remainder of the evening went pretty well. We walked around to get contractions coming along stronger. At 10:00 we made sure to head to the waiting room and watch Modern Family (because labour won't stop me!) and after that, contractions started coming on sooner and stronger. They still weren't bad, though. They felt like bad gas pains. I'd just close my eyes, put my head down, focus, slowly breathe through it, and that was that.

Around midnight, things started to get harder. I got the shakes really badly, I was feeling the contractions in my thighs as well (weird), and I felt a lot of pressure to push. All those things combined with the contractions made it really hard to focus and breathe through them. We had the nurse check me and I was 4cm dilated. She said the pressure was just that I needed to go to the bathroom and that it was okay for me to do so. As I was heading to the bathroom, she asked if I wanted anything else for the pain. I told her I hadn't had anything yet, so she went to get me something. After I went to the bathroom, she was back with a shot of morphine for me. The shakes went away, the pain in my thighs went away, and it took the edge off. It all felt like bad gas pains again and I was able to get back and focus.

Sometime around or after the 4:30am mark, I was feeling pressure again. I asked for the nurse to check me because I just wanted to know whether or not it was time to deliver or if it was just bathroom issues again. I also asked her, mostly out of curiosity, how long the morphine lasts and how much I was allowed to have. She checked me, said I was pretty much fully dilated, and it was time to head to the delivery room! Then she told me that I wouldn't be able to get anything for the pain at that point. That was no problem - the shot I had had earlier was still helping and I didn't think I'd need anything else.

So we headed to the delivery room, all excited, cracking jokes, and trying to figure out what time the baby would come. I had a teeny lip of cervix to get out of the way, so I worked through some contractions in the delivery room. They were starting to bother me in my back, so Boyd rubbed my lower back through each one. He was absolutely amazing throughout the entire experience. All I'd have to do is sort of nod my head at him and he knew just what I needed him to do to get through the contraction. I know I never would have been able to do it without him. I can't even express how grateful I am to him. Love love love.

I started pushing around 5:25am. I guessed that she would be born around 6-something and the nurse said that she thought she'd be born before 6am. All that positivity soon went out the window...

I pushed and pushed and pushed. I pushed on my back. I pushed on all fours. I pushed squatting. I pushed on the birthing stool. Nothing. She just did NOT want to come out. I was getting exhausted at this point and feeling really discouraged. I cried. I was so exhausted that I couldn't even really tell when I was getting contractions anymore. I just pushed when I felt pressure. I just wanted it to be done and done now. Minutes turned into hours. Finally, I was checked and the baby's head was transverse. My OB decided that we'd need to use the vacuum to get her out. Once that was inserted and things started to get moving, everything turns into a big blur. I just closed my eyes and pushed and pushed while the doctor pulled. I heard all the commotion around me. I felt her coming down. This was the only point in the labour and delivery that I actually got loud and I remember just crying for them to get her out of me. Everyone's voices got louder and more excited and at 9:49am, October 14 2010, Charlotte Anne Chapman entered the world at 7lbs 2oz and 21.3 inches long.

Proudest daddy ever! He definitely deserves that coffee mug :)

Hanging out together at Grammie and Grampie's house before heading home

We were released from the hospital on October 16, spent that night at my mom's house, and came home to our house the next day. We're slowly getting settled here at home. She's a very content baby and sleeps a lot (HA!). We had some breastfeeding issues that are slowly getting resolved and I think once that all falls into place, things will be just fabulous.

It's still crazy to think she's here! Remember when she was a lemon?!