Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Loving time away?

This weekend we took our normal Memorial Day weekend trip down to North Carolina, north of the outer banks on a small island called Bells Island.  My in-laws have a trailer on the water and a bunch of friends.  Everyone is "camping."  Where camping means, sleeping in an air conditioned trailer with satellite t.v., a kitchen and bathroom with shower as well as spending the day sunning yourself and riding on sailboats and jetskiis...well usually, unless you are a new mom (or dad.)

We drove to the in-law's in VA Beach early Thursday morning when Kayla got up to eat at 4 am.  We left by 5 am and got there at around 8:15-8:30.  Kayla slept most of the way and wasn't too fussy until the end of the drive, so no stopping.  Point mommy and daddy.

When we arrived I fed her and put her down for a nap so Justin and I could run a few errands before heading down to the Island.  She slept for about an hour and a half or so (after SCREAMING when I tried to put her to nap on a bed) we ended up just setting up her pack n play so she could nap there.  Point Kayla. AND point mommy and daddy (she DID nap pretty well.)

Our friends little girl, Kayden.  She's SUPER adorable and just loves babies and was just so cute with Kayla!

When we got back, Justin's Dad had left work early so he was on his way home.  We weren't sure if we were leaving right away or not so we tried to pack up the cars in case.  We ended up leaving soon after my father-in-law got home and arrived at the island after a 45 minute drive or so.  Kayla slept most of the way and was relatively well behaved while we walked around and introduced her to some people, and saw some others for the first time since she was 4 weeks old.  Point mommy and daddy.

We started our bedtime routine, where she tried to eat the bowl that was housing the rice cereal.  She went to bed with a little bit more crying than normal, and the four of us got to go spend some time at the campfire.  Point mommy and daddy.

Kayla woke up screaming at around 2:30, when I finally gave in a fed her, then she proceeded to poop in a clean diaper I had just changed.  She also woke up again and pretty much for good at about 5:45 am.  Point Kayla.

My in-laws got to experience what I like to call "morning Kayla."  "Morning Kayla" is AWESOME!  She is the best, happiest, giggliest baby ever and she gives you the world's best smiles.  She is almost NEVER fussy.  While they spent time with Kayla, Justin and I got a little extra shut eye.  Point mommy and daddy.

Saturday, Kayla went down for 3 naps.  Nap 1: about an hour, worse than normal.  Slightly cranky in between first and second nap while laying outside in the shade.  Nap 2: 2 hours with large screaming fit in the middle that lasted about 30-40 minutes.  Slightly cranky again.  Nap 3: about an hour and a half.  Not normal napping and slightly crankier than normal.  Point Kayla.

Bedtime routine went as planned, but was later than normal Saturday night.  Kayla woke up at 2 am fussing and went back to sleep after about 10-15 minutes.  Woke up to eat at around 4 am, peed/pooped again and fell back asleep until 8:30 am.  Point mommy and daddy. (Is anyone keeping track?)

Sunday, Kayla took three naps again, the longest being about 50 min to an hour.  She was quite cranky and I spent most of the day going back and forth between the trailer and the water (actually I spent most of the weekend doing this.)  Point Kayla.

Ruffle Butts!!!!  Swoon...

We decided to take the trip back to the in-law's house for that night and leave early in the morning again.  Kayla did great with this.  Slept until 4 am and slept most of the way home again.  Point mommy and daddy.

Since then, she napped horribly yesterday, has been super fussy (as in literally screaming whenever awake) and had a hard time falling asleep.  Yesterday, I tried to put her down for a second nap around 1:30 pm...she screamed...and screamed...and screamed until I gave in.  We also tried to give her rice cereal with formula and formula from a bottle last night....she HATES formula.  She literally screamed every time she even attempted to swallow it.  2 points Kayla.

Today has been slightly better.  She is napping quite well and going down pretty easily with 5 min or less of crying, although the crying seems a lot worse to me...more than just fussing as before. Even though she is sleeping well, she is still super fussy while awake, pretty much the whole time she's awake.  This is really abnormal for her.  I'm just worried something is wrong with my baby... Point Kayla.  But also point mommy and daddy.

Point total:  Kayla 7, mommy and daddy 8...I can't believe we eked that one out. :)

Things I learned this weekend:

  • I'm am NOT that mother that enjoys taking a weekend trip where everyone else holds my baby and coos over my baby and plays with my baby.  I don't want a break from Kayla.  All I wanted this weekend was 15 minutes alone with her.  It's hard to not get that when you are used to it all the time.
  • I do not enjoy the island as much as a mom...at least not as a mom of a 4 month old.  When she is a little older I'm sure it will be better, but I didn't have as much fun as usual this weekend.  (And I know my in-laws read this blog and it wasn't their fault at all!!!  It was just hard for me.)
  • I have a significantly shortened fuse for almost everyone in my life since becoming a mom.  Small things regarding my baby irritate me and sometimes it's hard to hold my tongue.  Good thing I have a great relationship with my in-laws!
  • I never, ever, ever want to miss out on seeing "morning Kayla" ever again.  Good thing my job is one where I can work evenings.
*Photos compliments of my father-in-law since I didn't have the energy or desire to pull out my camera and I was too busy with the back and forth thing.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Driving Miss Daisy

I've realized a couple things since becoming a mom.

1. When you have a child, you no longer matter to anyone.  Everything and anything revolves around the little one.  This is ok most of the time, but sometimes you start to feel pretty insignificant.  So significant others and families of new mommas, make sure you take some time to make sure she feels loved, and not just for being the new family member's mom.  And not only on mother's day and her birthday.

2. I still drive pretty much like I did before I had Kayla.  A little bit above the speed limit (yes only a little unless I look down and didn't realize how fast I am going, when I promptly slow down.)  Other drivers always annoyed me a little bit before, especially people that are extremely aggressive drivers and come up to my tail end quickly to try to get me to move out of the lane.  Here's what I say, listen, I'm going more than the speed limit, I'm passing these people on the right, so you can just not get your panties in a wad and wait or go around me.  However, since having Kayla, the one thing that has changed is these types of things annoy me A LOT more now.  Like I feel like shouting at them, "I have a BABY in the car.  If you do ANYTHING to put my child in danger, I'm going to ....(insert idle threat here.)"  Your protective instincts are really heightened after having a child.

Update on thrush:
Remember that post I wrote about NOT having a fussy baby about a week ago?  Yeah, well thrush makes my baby SUPER fussy.  I've been using the Lotrimin for me and the Nystatin in her mouth after almost every feeding.  Yesterday was the worst day I've had with her in all 4 months.  She literally screamed at me for 85% of the day.  She didn't nap as well as she has been and she was basically inconsolable.  Today has been significantly better, and I'm blaming this fussiness on the thrush and increased gassiness (also caused by the thrush.)  I'm feeling a lot less sore when feeding her and I think her mouth doesn't have as much white in it, but I can't really tell as she insists on sticking her tongue in the way whenever I try to look in her mouth.

We've started feeding her about 2 tbsp of rice cereal mixed with 1 oz breastmilk by spoon at night.  The first night was pretty rough but last night she just gobbled it up.  We have also been "dream feeding" her when I go to bed around 10 pm.  So far this seems to be making no difference but it might be because she hasn't been feeling well because of the thrush.  Hopefully, a weekend away at the island will help us all get some rest and get back on track.

I try to take pictures of her fussy faces because, honestly, they make me laugh :)

She loves chewing on Sophie.

Monday, May 23, 2011

MD Update

We had Kayla's 4 month doctor's check up today.  Let's just say, I understand why people always brag about their children now.  I'm so proud of how far she has come, and really, how far we have come as a family.

The nurse always does all the measurements first so without further ado, here they are:

Length: 25 inches (about the 70th percentile)
Weight: 13 pounds 5 ounces (about the 30th percentile)
Head Circumference: 16 1/4 inches (above the 50th percentile, I think she said around the 70th?)

Basically, she is taking after her dad in the head size area.  The nurse said she just has lots of brains, Justin said that's from me.  :)

When the nurse practitioner (if you recall, her name is Theresa) came in we talked a lot about feeding and sleep.  Basically, she said it was fine if we wanted to give her some rice cereal.  We should start with once a day and the go to two if she seems to like it.  We also need to try more cereal with less milk and try to feed it to her on a spoon.  So we will probably start trying that.  Also, she said we could maybe start some fruits/veggies around 5 or 5.5 months (squash or something else that I can't remember were her suggestions.)

As for sleeping, this is one point of serious pride for me and Justin.  We've worked really hard the past week and a half on promoting her independence and falling asleep on her own and our efforts are really paying off.  Our only question was if we should still be waking up at night to feed her.  She said some babies do still need to wake up but we should try a "dream feed" when I go to bed around 9 or 10 and hopefully she would sleep until 6 am without waking.  So this is step number 2 (after the rice cereal).

Once again, Theresa said that Kayla looks great, was so impressed with her strength and Kayla even showed off her rolling skills, while no of us were paying attention.  Don't worry, nothing happened.  I tried to have a talk with her before the appointment saying she wasn't allowed to do that, but when has she listened to me before??  Theresa also said that she wouldn't be surprised at all if Kayla was sitting up on her own at or before her 6 month visit based on what she is doing now.  Wait a minute, can we just take this one day at a time...the days go by too fast as my little girls keeps growing!

The only thing that came up was that it seems that Kayla and I have a little bit of thrush.  It might explain my increased soreness and Kayla's fussiness the past couple days so hopefully the medications will help with that.  I couldn't really expect to go for four months without one little issue with her could I?

Basically, she's the best baby ever.  Theresa didn't say that in so many words, but that's how I interpreted it!

Thanks to my new friend, Lauren, for showing me what I can do with editing!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

4 months ago today...

4 months ago today, at 12:15 am, my water broke.

4 months ago today, a little person, now known as Kayla Marie, was giving me the worst back labor pains I could have ever imagined.

4 months ago today, a midwife challenged me of all people to push my baby out in 5 pushes.

4 months ago today, at 10:16 am, Kayla was welcomed into the world by one too many people in the delivery room. :)

That day, 4 months ago, didn't go as I planned or wanted it to go.  But I wouldn't change that day for a second.

Today, 4 months later, I have a daughter who makes me so proud already.  The smallest things can make you proud of your child:  being able to fall asleep on their own without a binky and without you rocking them to sleep, rolling over no matter how uncoordinated, tracking anything and everything that catches their eye, whether it is you or the black and white dog.

4 months ago today, I would never have guessed that someone's little giggle could fill my heart with so much joy and love that nothing else matters.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

When you've been blessed...

with a fussy baby, you just have to embrace it.  This is the post I've been thinking about since Friday.  But after taking Kayla out a few times in the past couple days I've realized something else.

Only you think your baby is fussy.  And even if your baby is fussy, you ALWAYS think they are way more fussy then they actually are.  I guess this is probably because as a mom (or dad) you spend all your time with your little one, so even slight fussiness seems like the end of the world, because you are the only one there who can calm them down.

I went to lunch with some very good friends on Friday, one who hadn't met Kayla yet.  I talked to her afterwards and she said something along the lines of, "Kayla was so good, I can't believe you said she was fussy!"  And then today, a friend at the volleyball tournament said, "Is she always this calm?"

Case and point.  As Justin just said to me, "I just think she's like you and she wants what she wants when she wants it."  I'm not sure if this is a compliment or not...

Anyways, my point is this:

I can't speak for moms that have colicky babies, or moms who actually have fussy babies.  Actually, I can't really speak for anyone but myself, and I definitely do not have a fussy baby.  Yes she fusses sometimes, but almost always it's for a reason.  She's tired, she's dirty, she's hungry, she's bored, she wants to be held or she wants something new to look at.  And inevitably the reason she is fussy is because we are still learning each other's ways.  I am still learning what she needs, when she needs it.

And sometimes I make mistakes.  I get frustrated when she is screaming and I can't figure out why, only to give in and change her diaper and realize, yes, she DID pee a crap ton in the half hour she has had this diaper on.  Basically, it's pretty much never her fault and always mine, but that's ok.  I get the feeling that's how I am going to feel for the rest of her life.  And I'm fine with that, because the smiles, giggles, hugs and opened mouthed kisses are her way of telling me, "It's ok Mommy, I love you and thanks for finally changing my diaper."

Here are a couple photos as belated first mother's day photos.  Justin took one and I took the other.  I also recently realized it really doesn't matter the quality of photo Justin can take, because I can always make it closer to a photo I want with editing.

I've been trying to learn more about editing my photos in Aperture, however, I don't think my version of aperture does that many things.  These are the best I could get for today.  I will soon be getting Photoshop on a loan from my mom so I can really learn how to make my photos great!

Kayla is really getting good at tummy time, and sometimes when she is "fussy" it's because she WANTS to be in this position!  She is now pushing up to her hands (not just her elbows), she is a back to tummy rolling expert, and she is getting much better at getting back to her back from her tummy.  Before we know it, she'll be really moving!  Goodbye blissful time period where I don't have to have my eye on her for every second; I can't even leave her on the bed or couch anymore for a second...such is life!

Until tomorrow, when I will definitely be posting because it's a special day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bittersweet Weekend

So, Kayla has been doing pretty well on our new sleep training.  At night, she usually only cries for less than 10 minutes until she falls asleep.  We've had 1 or 2 rough nights after rough days, but they haven't been so bad.  Last night was night #4 on the program.  I had decided she didn't really need or like the rice cereal over the week, but I decided yesterday to maybe try it again.  I was alone with her all day yesterday since Justin played volleyball.  She took 2 one hour naps and one VERY long 2 hour and 20 min nap in the middle of the day.  I started our 30 minute bedtime routine at about 6:30 and gave her the small amount of rice cereal mixed with 2 oz of breastmilk along with 3 more oz of breastmilk.  She cried for about 12 min, fell asleep for a few minutes and cried for about 5 more minutes before falling asleep.  This sounds like more crying than normal but it was actually great because I didn't have to go up and calm her down or soothe her...she did that on her own!  And she slept without 1 whimper until 2:10 am.  This is a HUGE step because she's always crying about an hour after we put her down and we often have to soothe her back to sleep at least once before midnight.  I love progress, it makes my patience and her crying worth it!

The reason the weekend was bittersweet is that on Saturday night, Kayla actually slept quite well and woke up at about 1-1:30 am to eat.  After she ate, I put her back in the pack n play and back to dreamland she went.  While she did that, I tried to figure out why I was super dizzy and nauseous.  I then proceeded to pray to the porcelain gods for the first time (not due to alcohol) in I don't even know how long.  It was horrible.  I think I got food poisoning from something I ate on Saturday.  Needless to say, being sick in the middle of the night when you infant is actually SLEEPING sucks pretty badly.

We are both doing great today though, and Aunt Meg comes home from her very long time away.  Mommy is pretty freaking excited she doesn't have to walk Samson anymore.  Also, Dirty Diaper Laundry is having a "flats and handwashing challenge" for cloth diapering moms and for moms who are on a tight budget as an example of how you can cloth diaper for little money even without a washer/dryer.  I'd love to participate, but I don't actually have any flats.  Flats are basically old school cloth diapers.  It sounds horrible I'm sure to some of my older readers who used these, but since I have been trying to learn all I can about cloth diapering and I'm slightly obsessed (much to the dismay of my husband and our pocketbook), I've been reading up on flats.  I totally want to try them with some covers (new and ones that I have) but we don't really have the money to buy more diapers right now.  Lots of moms like them a lot because they are soft, easy to wash and quick drying and you can use them in many ways, like stuffing your pocket diapers, as an insert in covers and you can fold them like a kite or origami and use a pin or a snappi like "old school" diapers.  Oh to have money right now...

Lastly, if you are a mom, or are interested in blogging/mom bloggers...you seriously need to check out Kelle Hampton.  She writes the most inspiring posts, shares some photography skills and inspiration, and always is showing me websites and cool things I can buy (I have a problem).  I have her blog linked on the right side of my page but check it out here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Do you have someone in your life who, every time you look at them, the amount of love that fills your heart makes you want to cry?

I do...

First Blogger Post

So I figured since I'm trying to make some changes in my life, it might be a good idea to make some changes in my blog!  My main reason for switching over is that I can post videos of Kayla to Blogger where I can't to Wordpress.  Both sites have their pros and cons, but with my increasingly mobile little one, I thought videos were an important feature.

I'm going to try to make this blog a little bit like a second (or third) job.  I'll hopefully post some info about cloth diapering in a page at the top, monthly photos of Kayla, maybe a photography page and if any of you can think of any other good pages I can add, please make suggestions in the comments.

If you followed my Wordpress blog from Facebook, I haven't figured out if I can automatically update to FB from Blogger, so if you want to get updates on new posts, please go to the left side of the page and enter your email address so you can stay on top of "A Hales Life."  By the way, I really appreciate all of my lovely friends that follow my blog!!

Lastly, please check out my wonderful friends blogs and just GREAT blogs I follow and other links on the right side of the page (including our SmugMug page of photos and my "old" Wordpress blog.)


I've been thinking a lot about regret recently.  Next Sunday, Kayla will be 4 months old, and already there are so many things I wish I could go back and redo.  We have started this sleep training and she is still struggling falling asleep for naps, but nighttime has been a million times better, and naps are significantly longer.  Now she is sleeping all the time, it feels like.  And she is so much happier and more alert when she is awake.  This combination is making me really wish she wasn't sleeping so much and I could spend a lot more time with her.  I know I was just complaining about the lack of sleep and now I want her to play with me more, but you can't fault a Mom for wanting to spend every second of every day with her learning, growing, giggling daughter.

Four months ago, so many drastically different things were important to me.  I had a very detailed list of t.v. shows each night of the week that I needed to watch.  I was trying to figure out where to go and what to do on the weekends (and what to drink.)  Of course, my husband and my family were and still are very important, but that's not my point.  Now, I could care less what is on the t.v. and I don't think I've actually watched a full show or movie in 4 months.  I don't need to know what happened to Gabby on desperate housewives or House, or the endless reality stars on all of my guilt pleasure reality shows.  I just don't care, because listening to the sound of my daughter giggling and seeing that little smile that melts my heart is so much more important than what's happening on Glee (although I still like this one, and Kayla likes the music.)

Anyhow, back to regrets.  I would give my right arm to go back 4 months and prepare myself better for the arrival of our daughter, so I could have coped better with all the huge changes.  I wish I would have taken to heart all the information my older patients and my friends and family were throwing at me.  I wish I could go back and write a blog post every day detailing all the amazing new things I was experiencing with Kayla, because now, I'll never be able to remember.  I wish I could go back and take more pictures for myself at the hospital.  I wish I would have insisted on someone taking pictures of me and her instead of scolding my sister for trying to take my picture during labor.

I would have taken classes or learned more about photography much sooner so I could have some amazing photos of my newborn, instead of my amateurish attempts at good photos.  I wish I had forced my camera into the hands of my husband, because I didn't even get a photo of my daughter and me on my first mother's day.

Most of all, I wish I could go back in time and cherish every blessed second of being up with Kayla, working through breastfeeding together, figuring out her personality, learning her sleep patterns and her cries, and cuddling with her every chance I got.

So I have a lot of regrets, but from this moment forward I am so determined to make my life into what I want it to be despite every "down" moment.  I can guarantee that I will spend every second that Kayla is now sleeping peacefully researching, reading and learning about photography so I can finally maybe start a little business doing something I truly love.  I promise I will shove the camera into my inexperienced husband's hands, because I don't care if the photo is good; I just want a photo of me and my daughter.  I know that as Kayla learns to put herself to sleep, her tears tear at my heartstrings like nothing I could have ever imagined, but that smiley happy baby that wakes up from a long restful nap and smiles at me and hugs me makes it all worth it.

And I can't wait.  I can't wait to have a semi-fresh start and minimize my regrets and maximize my happiness by not worrying about the insignificant things and by focusing on what I truly want for my life and my family, instead of what I think I'm supposed to be doing.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th...A Week in Review...

Monday May 9th, after a pretty rough weekend, I woke up and spent another long day alone with Kayla trying to put her to sleep and her being extremely fussy.  After we got out of bed, I put her on her playmat on her tummy since this is the best time and least fussy time for her.  While she did some baby push-ups and looked at her toys, I was searching online for reasons for my 3.5 month old's sleep regression.  In the midst of my google search, I heard a small bang.  I looked up and Kayla had rolled over!  I missed it!  I was so excited I gasped and cheered and she cried because I scared her.  The day led to another night of waking up every 2-3 hours.

Tuesday, May 10th.  After another rough night, I woke up to a text message from my friend Christy, mom of Kayla's friend Ella.  She wanted to know if I wanted to grab lunch in Tyson's.  I was hesitant because Kayla has been so bad at napping and so fussy for the past few weeks, but I know that she seems to do better when I get out and I needed a reprieve.  So out to Tyson's we went.  Christy and I had a nice lunch at Panera where Kayla was super well-behaved, but got a little fussy towards the end.  We then went to visit Dad at work and meet a few people who hadn't had a chance to meet her when she was 2.5 weeks old.  Again, this all led to another poor sleeping night.  We tried to give her some rice cereal this night to try to extend her sleeping time.  (This made no difference.)

Wednesday, May 11th. I woke up again after a pretty sleepless night.  I put her down for a nap around 8:30 and she slept for her usualy 30-40 minutes.  When she woke up, I fed her and we played for a little bit, but after about 30 minutes she got super fussy.  I was at the end of my rope.  I was talking to my mom and she told me that she thought Kayla just needed to cry a bit and wear herself out.  So I gave in, I changed her diaper, kissed her, told her I loved her and that I was sorry.  Then I put her down in her crib awake, turned on the monitor and left the room.  She cried, and I cried, for about 20 minutes.  Then there was silence at the other end of the monitor.  I went up to check on her and she was asleep!  And she slept for an hour and a half!  When she woke up she was happier and less fussy.  I fed her and we played and in the afternoon, I did the same thing.  Put her down and walked out of the room.  This time she only cried for 12 minutes and she slept for another hour and a half.  We tried the rice cereal again at night, and we put her down awake in the crib and she cried for about 10 minutes and fell asleep.  Then she woke up after an hour, then again after another hour, and another and we fed her and put her back to bed.  She still woke up every 3 hours, but she went back to sleep in her pack n play much quicker.

Thursday, May 12th.  Another sleepless night but a little bit of hope.  I read a nap book my mom bought for me online and then my good friend Miranda sent me a PDF book about sleep that we are now following.  This morning, she napped for about 30 minutes then was crying pretty intensely so I changed her diaper and put her back to sleep.  I woke  her up after another 50 minutes or so because I wanted to go to baby and me yoga.  We took the trip down and Kayla showed off her rolling skills.  She rolled in BOTH directions!!!  She got a little fussy toward the end of yoga but not too bad.  When we got home, I put her down to play after feeding her and she was rolling all over the place!  Each time, I clapped and told her how great she was.  I'm so proud!!!  She took another nap going down pretty easily then we determined a new bedtime routine and decided to start it at 6:30 pm so she was put down for bed around 7.  She fussed for around 15 minutes and fell asleep.  About an hour later she fussed again, serious crying this time so Justin went to calm her down and back to sleep she went.  And she slept until 1:30 am.  And then again until 5:30 am until waking up for the day around 7:30.

We aren't using the pacifier.  I like the book Miranda sent me because the author reminds you that you aren't making your child cry, you are letting her cry.  And although it may be so hard for you to do, you are doing what is best for her by teaching her how to put herself to sleep and how to get good uninterrupted sleep so that she can be fully rested and ready to take on the day.  So I am hopeful about this sleep training.  The day time naps still aren't quite great, but the book says naps take a little longer to develop than nighttime sleep.  I think we are on the right track...PLUS my baby is rolling over!!! :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sleep and Schedules

I keep hearing from everyone, 4 months, you get a new baby.  Everything changes.  Unless this happens overnight, this is NOT happening with Kayla.  We are regressing, significantly...

We are now lucky if we get 3 straight hours of sleep at night, and we are also lucky if she just goes back to sleep on her own.  A month ago she was sleeping 4-5 hours a night at least and going right back to sleep after eating.  I would try to show you her "schedule" here but honestly, I can't even make one up that's even similar to what happens with us.  The ONLY things that are consistent are usually a 7-7:30 am wake up (but even this isn't always true because if she wakes up at 5 or 6 to eat she sleeps until 8 or 8:30)  and anywhere from 9 -10 nap.  Now this nap pretty much dictates the rest of the day because it can be anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour and 45 minutes.  So here is a sort of schedule:

7:00-7:30 Nurse, play, smile, be the best baby ever

9-10 Nap anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hr 45 minutes

10:15 (or 10:45 or 11:00 or 11:30) wake up, nurse and play some more, or just cry because she's still tired and won't go back to sleep

11:30 (or 12:00 or 12:30 or 1:00) Nap (usually for 30-40 minutes because I refuse to nap any longer)

Sometime in the early afternoon: Nurse, play, fuss/cry

Sometime between 2 pm and 3:30 pm: Nap for another 30-45 minutes

Sometime around 3 or 4: Nurse, play

Sometimes between 4:30 and 5:30: take a 30 minute nap.

5:30-7:30 Nurse, be awake and start to get increasingly and inconsolably fussy before we feed one last time around 7:30 or 8:00 and start our bedtime routine (which is pretty limited to saying goodnight, 1/2 swaddling and rocking/sucking to sleep.)

Often she wakes up an hour after going to bed, and then it's anybody's guess when she'll be up first, usually between 11 and 1 and then about every 2-3 hours after that.

I literally am losing my mind.  I feel like the worst mom ever and she cries tears way too often for my liking.  We have tried adjusting her bedtime.  We are using the 1/2 swaddle because I really don't believe the full swaddle is helping us anymore.  I still think very much so that she is teething.  She has rolled from tummy to back and back to tummy (almost) this week.  She rolls onto her stomach in the pack n play.  We tried adding a little bit of rice cereal to a bottle last night.  I've tried talking to my mom and my friends and I've read a couple of books and researched online.  I feel SO hopeless.  I feel hopeless for us getting sleep but more so I feel hopeless that I'll never be able to make her my sweet happy baby I see in the morning all the time because she refuses to sleep no matter what I do.  Most of my frustration is not because I'm tired (although I am and that doesn't help me be a calm, soothing mommy), but because I want her to be happy and healthy and feel safe and secure with me and Justin.  If I had to wake up every 3 hours to calm her down or feed her or whatever I wouldn't care as long as she was happy during the day.

I also want to put up her crib and move her to it...I'm just saying...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

First Mother's Day

Dear Kayla Marie,

I never expected you to enter our lives this early, and I don't think I was quite ready.  But I never knew you could love someone so much, even when they were a little bit of a surprise.  I love you despite the constant night wakings, the frequent "pooplosions," the terrible napping, the stubbornness when it is time to go to sleep, the high-pitched shrieking, the way you claw at my neck mole with your nails, the way you pull on me when you are eating, the way you pull on my hair and refuse to let go, how you sometimes hate to cuddle with me, how you spit up so much I have to wash your burp rags as much as your cloth diapers, how you roll onto your stomach when swaddled and scare me, and how you stick your tongue out when I'm trying to get you to suck on your pacifier.  And I love you because you have taught me unconditional love, you have taught me patience, you nestle up to me after eating at night, you smile at me with the pacifier in your mouth when I'm trying to put you to sleep, you giggle when I blow bubbles on your tummy, you always seem to find me in the room when someone else is holding you and then you always smile at me, you pout your lower lip in the cutest expression, you chew on your tongue, you grab my chin when I bring my face close to yours like you want me to be closer, you put your arms around me in a pseudo-hug when I put you on my shoulder, you always give me the biggest smile of the day right away in the morning, and the way your wrinkle your forehead constantly trying to look up.

So, even if I get nothing and do nothing on this first mother's day; even though you woke me up at midnight, 1 am, 3 am, 5 am and 8 am, and even though I have a feeling you will still only nap for 30 minutes today, I know this will be my most memorable mother's day because the greatest gift I could ever ask for is you, and I already got that.  I love you more than you will ever know, and you are by far the most precious, amazing and perfect surprise I could ever have wished for.

Love, Momma

Thursday, May 5, 2011

To write or not to write...

So, I am not going to really update you on my cloth diapering experience much today.  Although, I now own the equivalent of 29-30 cloth diapers (that sounds like a lot but I'm kinda into it now and could buy more if we had the money...and I still do laundry every other day.)  We are almost exclusively cloth diapering except at night, because I'm afraid.  I have this fear that she is going to wake up in the middle of the night, not because she is hungry but because she is a heavy wetter.  My yoga/cloth diapering mom friend, Elle, suggested I "double stuff" the pocket in the diaper...basically put another layer of insert in to soak up some extra wetness.  Maybe we'll try it out soon.  But I will update soon about my newest cloth diapering experiences.

But the purpose of this post is something really totally different.  Initially, I started this blog so that our (read "my") large family can sort of stay up to date on the goings on in our little family's life since they are so far away.  I started to use it as my sounding board for my excessive sarcastic wit during my pregnancy (well, I think I'm funny :)).  Then when Kayla came, I still have those sarcastic posts but I have felt a little bit lost on what exactly to write about, therefore, not writing as much as I would like to as this is sort of my journal.  I finally feel like I'm ready to talk about why I think this is.

I've recently received comments from a few friends who have told me they really love my blog because I have a "tell it like it is" attitude.  I don't B.S., as they feel that a lot of times, new moms are so doting and in love with their perfect lives and their perfect babies (I'm paraphrasing here.)  I can't tell you how nice it is to hear from relatively distant friends how much they love reading my blog.  So in the spirit of full disclosure...

I'm pretty sure I've had a mild form of post-partum depression since Kayla was born.  It started out as baby blues, and nerves and lack of confidence and just general anxiety for something that was thrust upon me sort of when I wasn't ready for it quite yet.  Then it lingered, and lingered, and lingered still.  I've been denying it because there have been so many ups and downs and unless you are a mom who has had it, you wouldn't understand how hard it is to admit.  Because how can you possibly be depressed when you were just blessed with this amazing miracle, right?  And if you know me at all, I'm a total perfectionist, and I'm stubborn and I like to get my way and always be right.  I can admit my flaws.  So for me, having PPD really wasn't an option in my mind.

But EVERYTHING made me cry, and sometimes still does.  I have a hard time falling asleep at night because of anxiety about how long I'll be able to sleep and, now, if Kayla will roll onto her stomach in her swaddle (which she seems to be really good at) and suffocate herself.  I feel like I'm a different woman than I was when my husband married me, and not always in a good way.  I feel like somewhere in this journey, I lost myself, and it took me a long time to find myself so it's a little frustrating.  I still get frustrated with Kayla when I'm trying to put her down for a nap when I know she is tired and she just won't stay asleep.  Then I feel severe guilt because, come on Melissa, she's just a baby.  Sometimes, I don't want to leave the house when she is fussy, and sometimes, I just get so lonely during the day.  Sometimes, I feel like a terrible mom because I just am so frustrated and upset I have to put her down to just let her cry because I need a second to breathe.  Sometimes, I just want a 15 minute nap.


It's getting a lot better.  I don't think it helps that our lives are in limbo right now.  I want this little stage to end.  I want to be settled in one place with my family so we can develop OUR way of doing things and figure out what works for us.  I am so blessed with an amazing husband who would and is doing everything he can for me and our daughter.  I am blessed with an awesome family who is always there if I need them.  And I am blessed with the most perfect daughter, despite the lack of sleeping and the neediness.

So, I'm so glad I can use this blog as a sounding board to get my feelings out.  And I'm even more glad that it is enjoyed by at least a few people.  I'm thankful I can vent and write about the difficult parts of being a new mom, but I also hope that those that read this blog see that I truly love my family, my daughter and my life, even when things are really hard.  I'm glad I can be totally honest about everything, because in the end, I wouldn't change one single second of it if I couldn't have Kayla.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A little belated...

Happy Birthday Aunt Lauren!!

Saturday was my little sister's 25th birthday.  She is the most loving, smart, compassionate, feisty person I know and I'm so glad Kayla will grow up with one of so many great role models in her life.

I know she's a little lonely in Milwaukee, but hopefully not much longer.  We love you Aunt Lauren!!

Sorry for the lack of posting.  If I get a chance later today I'll update on my cloth diapering and my severe lack of sleep...sigh...