Monday, November 27, 2006

Houston, we have another blowout

I was in the middle of making our dinner, ravioli. Isabella was strapped into the Baby Bjorn. All of the sudden I heard a loud brrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I knew she had left me a present. Not a moment later came the yellow stuff, down the right side of her onesie, on my shirt, on my shorts, and on the floor. Why am I even questioning whether she's getting enough to eat? Message received, yet again. No doubt. Lesson learned again and again.

When I changed fussiness into a complete smile

A few days ago, I was pulling off, since I saw that Isabella was long finished with nursing. Not long after doing so, she started to wake. She did this pouty face look and distressed look. Suddenly, I saw these big brown eyes open! Uh, oh. She was about to follow that with crying. Think quick, think quick, Mommy. I started laughing. I couldn't believe my anxiety at the thought of her crying, again . . . My laughter instantaniously changed her look to a smile, and a smile to a ear-to-ear grin!

Last night wasn't a complete defeat

Well, the bed-time routine went pretty well, I guess. I didn't give up or give in (by taking her to the breast). Troy bottlefed her nearly 4 oz. of breastmilk. Then, I bathed her. She didn't really cry during the bath itself. Ofcourse I worked hard to make the bath comfortable and enjoyable for her, by singing to her and seating her securely. Isabella cried when I was drying her off and dressing her, though. I laid her on the bed and read "Green Eggs and Ham" ten times, no kidding. Meanwhile, she was working on making a present for me, and ofcourse, I changed her diaper immediately following. I sang many a song. Still, no sleeping baby. I read "Green Eggs and Ham" a few more times, until she stopped being wiggly and squirmy, hoping she was calm enough not to scream when I turned the table lamp off.

If she still wasn't settled and started to cry, I was prepared to try some other things . . . carry her for a bit, talk to her . . . before taking her to the breast. I really didn't want to give in by taking her to the breast.

When I turned the light out, presto, she went to sleep some time after that.

Er, where is all this food going?

I swear I'm not pregnant, but why am I ravenously hungry?! Since I've been up this morning, I've had the following to eat:
  • a LARGE bowl of White Mountain Bulgarian yogurt with fresh pineapples.
  • a Pepperidge Farms Sausalito Milk Chocolate Macadamian Nut cookie.
  • a bowl of pasta with some leftover sweet potato casserole.

Now, I'm heating up some mi-fen (rice noodle) soup I made last week, complete with mushrooms, tofu, and tomatoes. Still plenty of room in the tummy.

Does breastfeeding really burn that many calories? I hope so or I'm in deep trouble.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More nursing = more pooping and peeing (blowouts)

Hope those of you who need a laugh will get one or more from the story I'm about to tell.

This past week, Monday to be precise, I took Isabella in to her pediatrician for her 2-month shots. That itself wasn't a pretty site. The nurse spent more time assuring me that they provided her with a lotion that would numb the pain of the needle poking into her skin. But, that's not the story I'm telling.

She weighed in at 9 pounds 5 ounces and 22 inches long (I think). I wrote it down in my planner, and I'm too lazy to get up and double check the stats. Anyways, I wrote her weight down and sat in disbelief. She saw the cardiac specialist four weeks prior and weighed that same amount. The story I'm telling at this juncture is that I told Isabella's pediatrician, Dr. Martin Garza, my concern that she didn't seem to have gained any weight in four weeks!

Thank goodness, he isn't one of those week-by-week or day-by-day weight-gain Nazis. He said that the last time he saw Isabella, she was 7 pounds and 11 ounces. So, based on that, he wasn't too concerned about her current weight, even though she's approximately at the 15%. I love her pediatrician; he's a very attentive doctor, gentle and thorough with Isabella, and he supports breastfeeding. He's assured me several times that she doesn't need anything else besides breastmilk for at least the first 6 months of her life.

Anyways, though he wasn't alarmed or worried about her weight, I felt like a bad mommy, like I'm doing something wrong. Since then, something has altered my mind so that I'm working harder to get her to eat more. After going to a La Leche League meeting this past Tuesday, I've been nursing or feeding her every 2 hours from start to start, no longer from finish to start. On some of the feeds, I try to cut her off around 20 minutes one side. That way, I won't be nursing around the clock. I did that when she was first home, literally, and that was not a pretty sight for anyone. Another change is that, a few times during the day, I'm having her nurse on both sides in one session.

Results? She's still a pooping and peeing machine . . ., but even more so, now. In fact, today has been, well, a shower. After I went grocery shopping mid-afternoon, I nursed her. Then, being awake and discontent alone, I put her in the Baby Bjorn. I was doing some stuff on the laptop, when I smelled her stool. As I walked to our bedroom, to change her, I smelled her poop even stronger. Even worse, as I was unstrapping her from the Baby Bjorn, I saw that she had blasted poop out of the right side of her diaper. Yikes! It was on the onesie she was wearing (good thing I had taken off the dress and bloomers she was wearing earlier), a bit on the Baby Bjorn, and on her right sock. Great.

Another time I was changing her diaper, knowing she had peed, she decided to pee again, soiling her onesie and the disposable changing pad. Then, after evening service at church, I checked her diaper before nursing. Dry diaper. I double checked by lifting the diaper. Yup, dry. So, I proceeded to nurse her, because it was time. Nursed her twenty minutes on one side and a bit over twenty minutes on the other side. Guess what happened? Well, she was still pretty awake after nursing her on both sides. Usually, when she's awake after nursing, I check her diaper again. When I picked her up, one side of her onesie was wet. She peed through her diaper through to the onesie. Okay, okay, I admit defeat. Isabella is getting plenty of breastmilk. Thank you Lord for the confirmation and reassurance.

And, no, I haven't given you an account of how many times she has pooped and peed today. It was more than pooping once and peeing twice.

A bed-time routine, hopefully

For some time now, I've realized that my attempts to get Isabella to sleep at night, by nursing her to sleep (also putting me to sleep), would have to change at some point. But, hey, one can certainly commiserate with a new mom, desperate to get her newborn to sleep . . . After talking with my college suitemate, who's also a pediatrician, I don't think we want to go through weeks of adjusting from nursing her to sleep to doing something else to get her to sleep.

Yesterday, I tried something which, I hope, is the start of a bedtime routine or ritual. I had Troy bottlefeed her some of my breastmilk. That kills two birds with one stone. Lately, Isabella doesn't like Daddy holding her in any way, shape, or form. I figure having him feed her once a day will help their relations. Second, she seems to drink more from a bottle. Full tummy = sleep baby. After Troy fed Isabella, I gave her a bath. It was more of a soak in the water for a bit time; she had a real bath the night before. Then I laid her down on the bed, yes, on her back, and I read a story (last night happened to be "Baby, Oh Baby! The places you'll go") three times and she was sound asleep. The first time and a half I read the book to her, she was fidgety and wiggly, but she calmed down as I read on, quieter and calmer with each read.

Guess what? She didn't wake up until around 7 or so this morning. Amazing, truly amazing. We'll see if the same antics work tonight, and the next, and the next . . .

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

our ever smiling little angel

and this isn't even close to her bigger smiles!

after nursing for 2 hours

I'm trying some nursing experiments . . . long story. On this experiment, I decided to let her nurse as long as she wanted or was sucking . . . until two hours passed. This is baby Isabella after a little over two hours of nursing. I couldn't leave her latched on any longer; I was super hungry! Thank goodness she stayed asleep. Yay baby.

isabella sleeping on her belly

Before you call the baby police on me, for Isabella sleeping on her belly, don't worry, we're watching her while she's on her belly. And, no, at night, she doesn't sleep on her belly.

Seriously, she looked so adorable to me, sleeping on her belly with her butt in the air.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Holding a pacifier in place when a baby keeps spitting it out

I was talking with a friend, Phyllis, who recently gave birth to her second child. We traded stories of our little ones. At some point, she told me about a friend that used some sort of stuffed animal, designed especially to help a baby hold a pacifier in his or her mouth. Parents have all different kinds of attitudes about pacifiers and whether they are acceptable.

My take? Well, a few weeks ago, when life was chaos with Isabella's constant crying, I wanted to comfort her. I discovered that she didn't so much dislike pacifiers, but rather, she couldn't keep it in her mouth. When she was in the Baby Bjorn, being held so close to my body helped her keep the pacifier in her mouth.

I really like the pacifier as an alternative (to the breast) for comforting her. My breasts were going on strike for being used for comfort. Anyways . . . enough babbling.

Phyllis quickly found out the important information for me. . . these little magic devices that help hold a pacifier in the baby's mouth is called a WubbaNub. They're so popular that they're on backorder until November 30th!

She clearly recognized her mommy and was comforted by the sight of me!

My friend Junko and I (and ofcourse Isabella) were at Musashi (they make fantastic shrimp tempura rolls) for lunch today. She was strapped into her car seat, which was snapped into her stroller. She was fussy. She was fed and her diaper was clean. The owner, who's a mother of three, put the car seat into the stroller sideways, so Isabella had a clear view of me. Much to my amazement, she calmed down immediately! She didn't need a pacifier. I didn't pick her up. I looked back at her. She smiled. I spoke with her, and she grinned and grinned. She looked at me most of the time we were eating, only to look around from time to time. She SO melted my heart. Love ya Isabella.

got a flu shot today

I've never had a flu shot, neither was I planning to do so. But, one of my friends - who's a new mom and a medical doctor - recommended that I get a flu shot. She knows I'm breastfeeding exclusively. Anyways, she thought I should get a flu shot, not just for my sake, but for Isabella's. As much as I hate needles, I did it, for her sake.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

slept eight or so hours last night!

Our little one slept some eight hours last night, without waking me to nurse. That's truly amazing. You could imagine that after sleeping so long, she was extremely hungry. Nursed her on both sides for an hour and a half to two hours altogether. After nursing her, she was so content and sleepy, when I got up, she rolled on her tummy and continued sleeping.

Then, I pumped the remaining milk out of me. Think about how engorged I was after not pumping or nursing for EIGHT hours. Even though baby Isabella drank plenty, I still had some to pump out. After putting away the milk and washing the bottles, I came back to the bed, finding that Isabella had flipped herself from tummy side down to back side down. Go Isabella!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Commiserating with another new mommy

I had forgotten that I am acquainted with a person here in the Valley that gave birth to a baby around the time I did. Ran into her at Starbucks this afternoon. She didn't have babe in hand. But, she greeted me first and reminded me that we saw each other at an art gallery not too long ago. At any rate, she gave birth to a son some five or six days after I gave birth to Isabella. Poor gal, I could instantly tell that she's frazzled, exhausted, and totally beside herself still.

To make her long story short, she had a horrible experience at Rio Grande Regional Hospital (the same hospital where I delivered). But, the treachery doesn't end there. One good thing before I go on. Ms. Martha - the wonderfully fabulous lactation consultant - worked wonders with this gal, too. Her baby is a breastfed baby, too.

So, this gal's son cries all day long, around the clock. He spits up all the time, from her account, in large quantities. She sounded so discouraged.

Though our babies are less than a week apart, I instantly felt obliged to comfort her and encourage her. Perhaps 'obliged' isn't the best word of choice. My heart poured out to her, poor thing. I told her she can call me anytime. I also told her if she wants me to come over and hold her child whilst she gains composure and sanity, to feel free to do so. Though I am only a first-time mom and a relatively new mom, I attempted to encourage her with the little I do know. Her mom was watching the little one, so she eventually had to go. Before she left, I passed her my name and number and encouraged her to call me.

I hope she does call. I hope I can offer her assistance, comfort, and sanity in some way. Blessings to you friend!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

This coming Sunday, she'll be 8 weeks old!

How is it that time is flyijng by so quickly. Labor and delivery day didn't seem that long ago, yet this coming Sunday, Isabella will be 8 weeks old (for those of you who don't like to keep try by weeks, she'll be 2 months old)! My little munchkin is getting bigger so fast.

Wearing a bra 24/7 when nursing to avoid leakages

I try really hard to discern between old wives tales and the truth, but that can be really hard. Some people warned me that once I become a parent, everyone under the sun will try to pass me parenting advice, no matter if they're qualified or not. This much is true. Once people have heard that my baby's colicky (and this isn't a conclusion I've drawn totally on my own; Isabella's pediatrician thinks she's colicky, too), one frequent response I hear is . . . is she eating enough? Why, yes, she is. Somehow people think that if she's a breastfed baby, there's no way to tell whether she's eating enough. Some of these people, I am convinced, would have me supplementing with formula, just to make sure. But, there are ways to check to see if she's getting enough to eat. See whether she's gaining weight. Visibly, it's obvious; Isabella's not short on food. Checking her diaper is another good indicator. And, yes, she has good poopy diapers, sometimes three in a row, within half an hour!

I haven't gotten to my point, yet. Some women believe that larger-chest women (C-cup or larger) should wear a bra 24/7 so the boobs won't drop and lose shape. I checked this with my ob-gyn when I was pregnant, and she said it was fine to sleep without a bra. So, I did. It's not comfortable to wear a bra 24/7, not to me, even if it's a comfy bra (like a sports bra).

I continued this when I had Isabella and when nursing was at its best. I'm not so much worried about my chest losing shape (I believe that's an old wive's tale), but I leak milk if I don't. Want to know a truth about breastmilk? They say it's at least twice as sweet as regular cow's milk. Not good to have sweet milk dropping on bed sheets, a comforter, or the floor. So, I'm wearing a nursing bra, with breast pads in them, 24/7. That's the story.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Whew. She did take a bottle

I guess those past days of giving her a bottle or so of my breastmilk everyday did pay off after all, even after a bottle hiatus. Troy fed her 2 oz. of my breastmilk by bottle when we got home from the mall. She drank it in ten minutes or less. Meanwhile, I pumped while she drank. Yay!

Got to get ready for bed and nurse her. Nighty-night!

she peed on me

We went on a family outting to the mall. Once we were parked at the mall, I checked Isabella's diaper before we were to go into the mall. As soon as I got her old diaper off, she peed! Luckily I had a changing pad underneath her, but I still got wet and the wetness travelled to the onesie she was wearing. I brought a change of clothes for her but not for me. I can hear the "I told you so"s now!

Am I pathetic if it takes another person to motivate me to eat well?

From the time I became pregnant, I was much more conscientious of what I ate. I realized that having pasta and pasta sauce everyday had little to no nutritional value. I needed to improve my eating habits for the developing person within me.

Now, she's no longer in utero. But, her entire nutritional balance is dependent upon me and what I eat. So, even if I have no respect for my body, I've want to and must take care of our little one. Don't mistaken that comment for my being a good eater all around - avoiding sweets and what-not. I don't know whether hormones are at play or what, but contrary to my pre-pregnancy desires, I love and desire sweets a lot. My confession? I go after some of those cravings, to a moderation mind you, sort of.

Back to the main point I was making, for main meals, I'm trying to make sure I have a decent meal a day. Don't read more into that than I've said . . . I do have three square meals a day. Last night, after Troy came home, he looked after Isabella while I went to Target and HEB. Some of you guys already read about me getting a bit happy at the grocery story. Anyways, I cooked us a rather decent meal for lunch.

The Changley's lunch menu:
  • baked tuna-steak - glad I got a tip from my dad not to overcook tuna. Apparently tuna cooks faster than other fish, and it can be easily overcooked. Result of overcooking tuna? Hard, chewy, and not-so-fun-tasting fish. Did I overcook it? NO! It's all gone.
  • stir-fried egg and tomato - always a hit with Troy; he loves it.
  • stir-fried celery with garlic - I've loved this dish since I was a child.
  • cucumber salad.
  • We ate all those dishes Taiwanese style, with rice (Nishiki brand medium-grain rice, if you must know).
Okay for all you food/nutrition nazies out there, I'm sure I could have included other foods with more nutritional values, but I do what I can. Leave me alone!

Oh, and I'm thinking about having peanut M&Ms for dessert, so there! I'm not counting or telling you how many. Maybe I'll have some Pepperidge Farm chocolate cookies, too!

Seriously, we enjoyed a great meal. Yum, Yum. Hope Isabella thinks so, too.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

too funny! her explosion was so loud and forceful, she woke herself up!

Can't believe Isabella actually slept for about an hour, while I spoke with a friend, Brittany (who's currently in Slovenia), on the phone. I've been off the phone for awhile now. Just moments ago, Isabella woke herself up when she exploded into her diaper! I heard her a few rooms away.

Now she's fussy. Better go rescue her from Daddy.

bye pregnancy clothes but tale tell signs of motherhood remain

Yesterday, when Emma came to clean house, I swapped my pregnancy clothes for my regular clothes, regular clothes came out of the vacuum-sealed storage bag and pregnancy clothes went into it. I'm at that awkward stage where pregnancy clothes are just too big on me, but then my tight jeans probably don't fit.

I haven't actually attempted to try on many of my regular clothes, to see whether they fit. I am especially staying away from jeans and low-cut pants. My incision is still sensitive to touch. Plus, I don't need any crying sessions over how my clothes don't fit well.

Actually this past Saturday, when I went out with Junko, I was able to wear my coudoroys. Yay!

But, I'm spazzing out over my jelly belly. Why did I complain that I didn't have a washboard tummy before getting pregnant? At least there was some semblance of tone or something to my tummy pre-pregnancy. Now, I just have a flabby belly. I feel really fat and flabby. I'm just calling it like I see it or feel it.

I know, I know, I delivered less than two months ago. Not that much time has passed. Let me have my sad, I-don't-feel-so-great-about-my-body moment! Let me grieve.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

darling Isabella

Proof that Isabella hates sponge baths

I gave Isabella a sponge bath yesterday morning. As usual, she HATED it!

Here she is, just before the bath and just before I needed to get a hearing aid from her screaming damage :) .

Here's our little princess, after her bath.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I totally love my Bravado! Designs nursing tank

Bravado! Designs is a bit pricey for me, but their products are totally fantastic. I recently purchased their new nursing tank, when they offered me a discount. Got it in black. Doesn't even look like a nursing tank. Felt like I was dressing in style when I wore it to church this past Sunday. The nursing tank looks sharp and it's easy to use!

For more on what I have to say about it, go to my blog, Some of My Favorite Shopping

Bravado! Designs: bras fit for breastfeeding

Monday, November 06, 2006

bottle or mommy? guess which one isabella prefers?!

I took a bit of a pumping hiatus, around the 27th of October. I wasn't planning on stopping for long, but between nursing her and comforting her (remember, she spends a lot of time crying and being unhappy), I wanted a little break. While I took that hiatus, she was nursed exclusively, meaning I didn't put any breastmilk in a bottle for Troy to feed her.

On the pumping note, I've resumed pumping, not as ambitiously as before. I'm lucky to pump once a day. In the past, I tried to pump nearly after every nursing. Somehow I can't muster myself to do that anymore.

This past Saturday, immediately after nursing Isabella, Troy watched her while I had a bit of time off. I picked up Junko, and we went to Starbucks. Since I've never tried that drink I saw Manda describing on her blog, caramel apple cider (Manders, I pronounce 'caramel' in three syllables, too), I gave it a try. Pretty good stuff. Will have to drink that again. Decided against caffeine. Isabella doesn't need anything to help her stay awake.

Checked in with Troy and Isabella a few times. Since he was doing alright with her, Junko and I then proceeded to go to Tuesday Morning. Yayyyyy! Though that place is so dangerous for me, so many goodies there, I only purchased some notecards. I love writing and sending notecards to people, and I needed more (I'm always needing more!).

When I got home, Troy was attempting to bottlefeed the breastmilk I had defrosted. In approximately two hours time, Isabella had consumed 1 ounce out of some four ounces! She still seemed hungry. I tried to make her wait almost an hour before nursing her. Given the hiatus from taking one or two bottles of breastmilk a day, she prefers mommy over the bottle. Not a bad problem to have . . . until I have to return to work! For now, I'm flattered and delighted. Good baby Isabella.

Ahhhhhhhh, sleep!

Isabella made record time in terms of the amount of time she slept uninterrupted. She slept around seven hours without waking me! She fell asleep without much difficulty last night, which is a most welcomed change from the previous nights. But, I paid a price for the long duration without nursing (and without pumping). I woke up quite engorged. Thankfully Isabella was able to latch on despite the fact, with some work. After I finished nursing her, I had Troy look after her while I pumped, to relieve some of that pressure!

She also napped twice today. Life is so great.

Are we drawing near the end of her colickyness? Let's not call it done, just yet. But, I am ever grateful for such a wonderful day.

Hope that doesn't mean we're in a world of trouble, in terms of getting her to sleep tonight. We shall see!

Friday, November 03, 2006

postpartum blues?

many things seem to be going well. . . isabella had over six hours of uninterrupted sleep last night. though she hasn't slept most of the day, she took an two, almost three hour nap earlier this morning. troy's offered to watch isabella tomorrow afternoon, while i go out, play, and relax!

but i'm sad! what friends - available friends - do i have to hang out with tomorrow? what have i done lately that's productive? why am i so sad and tired and exhausted and feeling useless?

i don't know what's going wrong. i have friends here, i think. . . my academic career has taken a hiatus, but so what?! somehow, i seem to care.

yet, i feel like i'm giving isabella the best gift i can provide now in her life . . . breastmilk. . .

speaking of which, time to go!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

my 6-week wellness or post-partum checkup

Yesterday afternoon, I went to my 6-week postpartum checkup. I can hardly believe that I gave birth six weeks ago! In some ways, that time has flown by, but in other ways, that time has crept by (think about dealing with a colicky baby who cries a fair portion of the day).

What happened? Baby Isabella was hungry on arrival. So, I nursed her there in the waiting area of the office.

What happened with my visit? Well, my weight and blood pressure were taken. I'm now 12 pounds lighter than I was on January 4. That is by no means a bragging point. I've lost most of my muscle mass . . . Sad and a bit depressing. And, I still have a jello tummy. My blood pressure was 100/6o. No surprise there.

Dr. Garza-Montalvo gave me an internal exam and felt my belly. Nothing alarming, I'm guessing; she didn't give me any warnings. She took the steristrips off my belly. Then came the birth control talk. She asked what form we plan to use . . . Um, so I know they give this talk to everyone, but is this really any of their business? Condoms, I said. Dr. Garza-Montalvo proceeded to say that they are only useful at all if used and not left in a drawer. Really? A thirty-one year old would never figure that one out. Thanks for the tip.

Before leaving the office, I asked her about VBACs (vaginal births after C-sections). She used to do them but not anymore. She gave me the reason she is not in favor of them, besides the risk of being sued should anything go wrong. She talked about the possibility of uterine rupture. Uterine rupture risks the life of the baby and possibly the mom (if a hemmorhage occurs). She scared the pants off of me with that talk. The chances of uterine rupture in a VBAC is less than 1%.

Got to go, fussy baby.

we have a colicky baby on our hands, says her pediatrician

The day before yesterday, I called Isabella's pediatrician. Left a message with the receptionist. I'm ever grateful that the pediatrician himself called me back, around four o-clock. I gave him the complete run down of what has been occurring with Isabella: from nursing habits to diaper details to sleeping troubles (and how much she is sleeping).

Dr. Martin Garza drew the conclusion that Isabella is colicky. Colic is defined as crying for a certain amount of time in a day, something like three or more hours. The good news of her being colicky is that colic does not hurt her. The bad news is that colic can start as early as two weeks into the life of the baby and last . . . well, he had one mother who said her baby was colicky until month six.

At least we ruled out other things, like acid reflux. He said that if our baby had/has acid reflux, she'd have a lot more spit-up and she will not want to eat. Isabella doesn't have those concerns.

What do we do? Make her as comfortable as possible, which we have been doing. Other than that, learn to wait . . .

isabella's sleeping well in the night

Our little one is sleeping quite well in the night. For the third night in a row, she's slept six hours continuously without waking me to nurse her. I'd say that's fantastic!

Can't say the same for day-time, but I'll take what I can get. Isabella is still barely sleeping during the day. She'll nap, altogether, a few hours in the day.

The good news is, however, I've discovered another position with which she's comfortable, other than putting her in the Baby Bjorn. Two nights ago, she started liking me to hold her in the upright position, over my shoulder, belly to belly.