Category: Baby

Birth is Birth is Birth

By now you’ve probably seen the viral text between a momma planning her c-section and a birth photographer where the photographer is essentially shaming the momma for not having an ‘actual birth’. For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is a real text. I have a hard time believing a birth photographer would have this mean and visceral reaction – BUT it has prompted a lot of really cool pictures and articles about c-sections. As a c-section momma I love seeing these images! I really like the Huffington Post’s recent gallery.

Mikey was a planned c-section and I was more than happy about our decision. When our (amazing) OB/GYN said with my PCOS diagnosis and Mike’s growth history he would likely be 10lbs. That was all I needed to know to make my decision. I didn’t want to be in a situation where I pushed and pushed only to have to have an emergency c-section. I wanted Mike’s entry into the world to be as safe and with as less stress for him as possible.

Mommas – you do you. You find what works for you and your baby. Don’t let anyone tell you you ‘picked’ an easy out (pun intended) or that you’re choice was wrong.

Whether you have a vaginal birth, a c-section or pull him out of you ear – I think we can all agree that birth is birth. And in honor of my c-section – here are my favorite images.

47 Minutes

My Momma said I have to blog even in the bad times, and I am usually pretty good at that. I’ve prided myself on keeping it real because it’s important, not only for other mommas, but other women. Who wants to read about how I am super mom 100% of the time? I really am only 95% of the time and the world should know. Kidding, obvi. There’s a reason I called this blog ‘Muddling Momma’.

So, things have been super frustrating lately. At 10 months old MIke’s sleeping has become … an issue. We’ve let it go on too long and have made excuses and that is embaressing. Each night I feed him, rock him to sleep, put him in the crib once I knew he was asleep and the minute he would pop up (which was pretty much as soon as his head hit the sheets) I would whisk him away to the rocker and start over. Recently I started to feel super craptastic about this and started to feel chained to the rocker for at least an hour a night. Easter weekend at my parent’s house really made night time difficult and S. and I realized, enough was enough.

We’ve talked about sleep training before and when I’ve broached the topic on Facebook… well, it was right up there with talking politics, religion and gun control. Everyone had an opinion and stories. From ‘say good night, shut the door and don’t open it until the morning’ to ‘co-sleep until high school graduation’. Neither of these options felt right to S or me. I worried a lot about what all this said about me as a momma. Because I don’t subscribe to the traditional ‘Crying it Out’ method, am I coddling my kid? Setting him up for a life where I catered to his needs? If I didn’t cater to his every request, am I raising him to be a sociopath? Frankly, being exhausted wasn’t helping the brain function either. I know a lot of things we do as parent’s don’t make us feel good, but are necessary to raise functioning members of society.

I gave our daycare provider a call and said said the at nap time he goes into the crib ‘chats and sings a bit’, then goes to sleep. I can honestly say – I was pretty mad for a lot of reasons. First of all, I am calling our daycare provider to figure out how to put our son to sleep and secondly, because it was painful obvious Mike was playing us. Looking back on this conversation, S. brought up a good point. We, as parents, should never feel bad asking our daycare provider things like this since we are partners in our kid’s development, right? Right.

So S and I did some research and bought The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp.  It’s a great book, but it is more for a younger kid – making me a feel even worse for not starting earlier when we could still swaddle. But we took a few of the ideas including the need for the RIGHT white noise. We’ve been using timed ocean sound machine, but Dr. Karp said by his age it is more annoying than helpful. So S. downloaded a white noise app, and found a rumbly noise and played it much louder than we would have thought – about as loud as a shower.

The other tip we took was a more rigid bedtime routine. So now it’s bath, bottle, book, snuggle, sleep. That makes sense, and though we did it before – we are making it much more deliberate. The first night he slept through and it was amazing.

Then the next night, not so amazing. And then the following? Even worse.

Yesterday we were at our wit’s end. In my searching of sleep training methods (there are tons)I came across Sleep Sense by Dana Obleman and though the concepts aren’t new – for whatever reason what she said and how she said it really struck me.

I know Mike isn’t crying because he feels abandoned or is confused, but Obleman really summed it up when she said he is crying because he is tired and doesn’t know how to fall asleep – and guess what? That’s not my job anymore. No one likes to hear their baby cry, but it is easier to take when I know it’s frustration and not anxiety or fear.

She also outlined 2 options for sleep training. One is a called Camping Out which is where you sit in a chair next the crib until he goes to sleep and every few nights move the chair further away. The other method is call Checking In where every few minutes (whatever you are comfortable with) you poke your head in and remind them you are there and you will see them in the morning. S and I agreed on the 2nd option, which seemed like a doable process. We agreed we were going to stick with it no matter how long it took.

It’s amazing how anxious I was all afternoon. I was pretty convinced it would be a long, painful night. And like with everything – the anxiety and worry was worse than what actually happened. Here’s how our night went:

6:30P – Bathtime!

6:45P – Into Mike’s room for a bottle and a book. We made sure the white noise was playing through out the process. We made lots of references to going nighty night.

7:00P – Lights out! We said good night and Mike was not happy.

7:03P – S. poked his head in and said good night. Mike cried harder. We watched him on the video monitor and he was crawling around the crib, standing up and bouncing. Clearly looking at the door. Every time he would calm down, we would start the 3 minutes over.

7:14P – S. poked his head in again to say good night and again, Mike cried harder.

7:17P – S. noticed on the monitor that Mike spit up a bit. So we followed the book’s suggestion. We went in, I changed Mike’s poopy diaper, S. changed the sheets.

7:27P – S. poked his head in again to say good night and again, Mike cried harder.

7:30P – S. was watching Mike on the video monitor just in time to see him literally projectile vomit down the wall. We went in, changed Mike, changed the sheets, wiped down the wall, wiped up the floor and … started again.

7:40P -S. went in again to stay good night.

7:45P – We noticed on the video monitor Mike was laying down doing the sniffling crying.

7:47P – Mike was asleep.

47 Minutes. 

That couldn’t have been it right? I was convinced he would wake up again. Around 2AM we heard him crying really hard, and as the book suggested, we were prepared to wait 10 minutes before going in to remind him we were there. 5 minutes into the hysteria – he was asleep again. We didn’t hear another peep until about 7:30A.

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Oh. My. Gosh. 

I woke up thinking I could cure cancer, save the pandas, walk in stilettos, or do something equally amazing.

Even nap time today took, literally, 7 minutes of hysteria before he fell asleep.

This is so good, not just for him, but for S. and me. I feel like I am free from sitting in the rocker for an hour a night, and that will leave more time to hang with S., get stuff done around the house and just ease into MY nighttime routine. I was really starting to worry about how I was going explain to Mike’s college roommate why I was there every night to rock him. At some point it was just going to get awkward.

Tonight might be difficult, or even one night next week. I am not convinced we have a perfect, sleep trained baby, but damn if we aren’t moving in the right direction.

An Update

It’s Saturday right? Good grief what a week! Here’s all the details:

So I started my new job at Main Street Genome on Wednesday and it was a great day! I managed the commute in, but on the way home it took FOREVER. I had a bit of a meltdown, probably from being tired, overwhelmed and lost in DC (thank GPS. Thanks.). I pretty much had convinced myself that Mike would never know me because he would be asleep by the time I got home. And I didn’t want to be one of those mommas who work 12 hours a day and are content putting the baby to bed before catch the train back to the office. As always, that is fine for other mommas, but not me. S. talked me off the ledge (of course) and my commute times were much better the rest of the week. Plus, there is the idea that in a few weeks or so it won’t be every day. That, I can handle.

The team is great, and from what I gather no one discussed my wardrobe. Or if they did I didn’t hear about it. It’s very much a start up culture – jump in and get sh*t done. There’s a learning curve, but that’s to be expected. S. and I are figuring out the best organizational skills for us to be on top of things at home and he has been AH-MAZING this week picking up Mike from daycare, managing Charlie and getting as much done before I get home as possible. And doing it with a smile, which I always appreciate. We make a good team.

So … the diaper drive!

Guys, I am so humbled and touched by the outpouring of diapers, cash and notes. This idea sorta came out of nowhere, but the longer I look at the diapers stacked in my living room,the madder I get about the situation and the more fired up I get to do something. Especially every time I change Mike’s diaper. I can’t imagine ‘letting it dry out’ and putting it back on. I digress ….

As of today, I have 1252 diapers – almost half way to my goal! And if you count the $281 in donations I have, it might be safe to say I am more than half way there!! S. has been helping get the word out and Bruce Leshan from WUSA9 tweeted out the blog link and I got a few more hits. There is still more than a month to help me reach my goal of 3100 diapers by the end of March!
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Pass the Lysol

I promised myself I would never write an apology post for being a bad blogger. But guys? I’m sorry. This whole week has been a blur. First of all, snow. It was just 5 inches but it has screwed this whole week up. My coworker’s kids are out of school so work is a little out of sorts. Mike’s daycare is closed and S. spent 2 days home because of the feds closing and having a wicked cold. As for Charlie, it’s too cold to take him for a good walk, and too cold to venture to Day Camp. Needless to say I am climbing the walls. But mainly, I have been doing laundry because everything Mike touches has snot or throw up on it. Poor guy has an icky cold which is more time consuming than I could have imagined 8 months ago.

Yesterday was the worst. All Mike wanted to do was be held. Not worn, not laying next to me – held. Which is difficult when I work from home and have a million other things to do. I really depend on his naps which is the obvious problem. I would rock and rock him to sleep, then rock until he was REALLY asleep, then put him in the crib and he would instantly become hysterical. I even let him cry it out for 15 minutes only to go in there and he had spit up over everything – blanket, sheets, himself, everything. Cue the momma meltdown which sent us both to a warm bubble bath to try to relax. By the time S. got home, Mike was a happy baby again as if to prove I am a total drama queen and liar.

Then came bedtime. Mike fell asleep at a decent hour and slept until 9P when he woke up suddenly hysterical. I brought him to S. in bed so I could finish some work, but he had yet to calm down by the time I finished, so I brought him to the couch with me. He calmed down a bit, we wiped his nose and then I heard it. The tummy grumble. By the time I registered what was about to happen, he had spit up all over my shirt. S. came to the rescue so I could get cleaned up, but then it happened again. But much worse.

All. Over. S.

Then again. All over his playmat which you think would be great because we could easily wipe it down, but we didn’t have that kind of luck. One of the star pieces was missing and when we lifted it up there was a perfectly shaped star puddle of throw up.  At the risk of sounding gross, the beagle was very excited. Back to the bathtub we go!

 

vomit-olympics

After a bath with a fussy baby and new jammies, which we are quickly running out of with all the washing, Mike snuggled with me on the couch while S. cleaned up the mess (he scored major major daddy points considering he is sick himself). Around midnight I went to put a very asleep Mike into his crib and he INSTANTLY woke up. Back to the couch where we both dozed off and when I woke up around 3AM he went into his crib without waking up. He must have felt some sort of remorse because he let me sleep until 8:30AM.

We seem to be on an uptick today, but still very clingy and spit-uppy making any sort of productivity impossible.

If this has bought with the cold has taught me anything, it’s sometimes you just have to do what’s best for your kid and if that means sitting on the couch snuggling watching Doc McStuffins, then so be it. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. And even then I will be waiting for him to wake up in the middle of the night.

 

Footloose and Fancy Free

So remember last week when I was convinced I was screwing Mike up because I wasn’t letting him cry it out when he was waking up hysterical in the middle of the night?

And remember all the things we tried to solve the random problem? Like buying a space heater and flannel sheets? Turning on white noise, turning off white noise, turning on talk radio, turning OFF talk radio, tushie pats, back rubs, formula, water, begging, pleading? None of those worked by the way.

So why was Mike waking up hysterical all of a sudden? Here is the conversation that went at our house on Friday morning.

Jackie (6AM): Holy crap! Mike slept all night! God is good!

S.: So what was different?

Jackie: I have no idea. None whatsoever.

(later in the day)

Jackie: His jammies didn’t have feet (to S. and his momma who was visiting)

S: What?

Jackie: Last night. His jammies didn’t have feet. His feet are always covered in the footed jammies. They weren’t last night.

S: There we go!

Jackie: If we do the footless jammies and he sleeps all night again, I am going to be pissed.

(the next morning)

Jackie: Mike slept through the night. I am cutting the feet out of his damn jammies.

So my dear friends … 3 weeks of sleepless nights, a doctor’s visit, countless hours researching night terrors and sleep training and he just didn’t like his feet covered. Duh.

If I don’t laugh, I cry.

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Sleep Training Or Lack There Of

screwing my kid up

 

 

I really feel like I need someone smarter and more experienced than me to tell me what to do next with this kid. Honestly, things just don’t occur to me – like when to give solids or when to start weening him off the night bottle. I just never really gave it much thought. If it wasn’t for the BabyCenter emails Mike would still be in a swaddler eating 2 ounces of formula like he did in the hospital. Not because I don’t want him to grow up, but because it doesn’t dawn on me that things need to change. And my little bug is just so go with the flow he doesn’t usually make me think otherwise.

I joke with my Momma friends that each day is a day I wonder how I am going to screw him up. Today I’m pretty sure not starting sleep training earlier has screwed him up.

If you have been following me on Facebook, it isn’t a secret that Mikey isn’t sleeping. Well. He sleeps, just not like he should be (apparently) at this age. He goes down at 8P, wakes up HYSTERICAL at 11P and after we rock him back to sleep, he is up every hour or two after that. Some nights. Other nights it’s different, but this foolishness has been going on for 3 weeks. We’ve tried EVERYTHING – temperature, sheets, music, no music, white noise, no white noise, gas drops, Ibuprofen ….

Guys. I’m tired.

So. Tired. 

Yesterday we finally went to the doctor, who was very nice, but confirmed nothing was medically wrong with our boy. He was probably having a night terror and when we pick him up, he wakes up and for the rest of the night he cries because he knows we will pick him up and snuggle. Doc asked if we were sleeping training. Um. No. Don’t we start that when he is 10 or 15 or something?

It never dawned on me, or us for that matter, to sleep train. Don’t babies cry at night? It wasn’t a huge inconvenience to my schedule so I never gave it much thought. Until now.

Doc told us to let him ‘cry it out’ with the night terror since it will pass and he won’t remember it and you shouldn’t wake him up. For just the run of the mill waking up, he recommended the Ferber method. S. and I both have mixed reactions to that, but decided last night to give it a try.

Mike went down around 8P and he fussed a bit since he wasn’t totally asleep. 5 minutes later, I went in, patted his tush and he was out. See? Not that hard. Around 2A (!!!!) he woke up hysterical and S. and I decided to give it 15 minutes. I patiently watched the video monitor and rushed in at the 15 minute mark when he was still going strong.

But wait.

What was I suppose to do at the 15 minute mark? Pick him up? Pat his butt? Shit. I didn’t think that far ahead. So I picked him up and rocked him. Probably not the right thing, but I wasn’t sure what I was suppose to do. S. and I agreed to start researching other sleep training methods to start on Saturday night. Mike’s Bubbe is in town Friday night and it is just too much to try to get him on a schedule until it calms down in the house.

Look, it’s not that I don’t like to hear my baby cry. I hate it, but I have it in perspective. Short term pain for long term gain, as long as he is safe. I am just not sure the Ferber Method is the right one for us. Co-sleeping isn’t right for us either. There has to be something in the middle right? What has worked for your little?

 

What’s In My Bag?

The number of times I get asked daily what I carry in Mike’s diaper bag is astounding. Just kidding. No one asks. But I’m a huge US Weekly fan (judge not lest ye be judged folks) and have always enjoyed their ‘What’s In My Bag‘ series. I thought it would be fun to give you some insight into what I carry in Mike’s diaper bag. I promise, there is not one product in there that will break the bank.

What's In My Bag?

If you know me at all, I am not a huge fan of ‘baby’ stuff, like diaper bags that look like diaper bags. My Aunt hooked me up at my shower with The Cindy Tote from Thirty One. I love it because it is soft sided and I can use it again (you know – like when I don’t need a diaper bag. That time’s coming right?).

I also have a Thirty One wristlet that I think is discontinued. But it’s the right idea! A bigger wallet I can just grab out of the bag and put into a purse when I am baby free.

You always have to have a blanket/burp cloth/swaddle/rag. Always. I am a huge fan of the aden + anais line. The are huge swaddles, so perfect to cover a carseat, wrap a baby or wipe up a dribble. Plus they are pretty and Kate Middleton loves them.

My Baby K’Tan goes everywhere with me. Mike is getting heavy and lugging his car seat into the grocery store is just a pain in the neck. Plus I am never sure where a meltdown will occur, and the wrap keeps him calm. Where have I worn my baby? Walmart, Harris Teeter, home, office, winery (uh, huh), street festivals … it goes on and on.

Enfamil checks/coupons never leave my bag or purse. I have found Mike’s formula on deep discount at a few places and paired the store discount with a check and pay like $2 for a thing of formula. Score.

Thankfully Mike is still at the age where a crumpled napkin provides half an hour of entertainment. But I still like to carry a Wubba Nubba and a little toy. Even a book is good. Each page is 10 minutes of excitement!

There you have it! What’s your non-traditional must have for your diaper bag?

There’s a Bad Moon on the Right

Before I launch into my latest musings, I apologize for the long absence. It’s not like I am busy or anything! The DC metro area is in the middle of a killer heatwave and I am spending my time sweating in a dark room (keep the curtains closed!) eating take out (it’s too hot to turn on the stove!) with a fussy baby (no excuse for this one).

The other day I was rocking with my fussy baby and trying to conjure up a nursery rhyme or lullaby – and I couldn’t think of even one. Wait. I am lying. I know one verse of All the Pretty Little Horses. Since I am scared to death of horses, that song is a no go. Why don’t I know any of these songs? I had (and still do have) a cool mom. She was a younger mom and while other moms played kid friendly songs, I was rocking out to Madonna and Michael Jackson. I wouldn’t know a nursery rhyme if Mother Goose asked me herself.

Mikey does like the sound of my singing (he is the only one, which I totes understand), so I tried to sing a couple songs I knew and I couldn’t get through the first verse of any of my favorites – I couldn’t remember the lyrics! I blame my Catholic upbringing for this one. Like any good Catholic, I can recite the whole Mass in my sleep, as long as someone is reciting it with me. Left to my own devices I am lost. I can sing any Jay Z song – as long as I am singing with the radio.  Plus, Jay Z might not be appropriate for Mike in a few months. I can imagine his first word being ‘hustling’ and having to explain that one to our friends.

I am forever grateful for Pandora’s Rockabye Baby station – hit songs (why should I suffer?) set to classical music. I set it, sit and rock and sing along to the parts I do know. Which is funny when a Jammy Jam comes on like Summertime by Will Smith.

Some of Mike’s favorites? Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Three Birds by Bob Marley, Always Midnight by Pat Monahan and Mine by Taylor Swift. He’s got eclectic musical tastes already!

What do you sing your little one?

Every New Beginning Comes from Some Other Beginning’s End

I’m not going to lie – motherhood is kinda hard. I mean, rewarding, but hard. And it doesn’t help my hormones are freaking the eff out, and my body hates me since it expelled a small human. Don’t worry, I am doing well – but the first week was the hardest. Lots of tears over breastfeeding and tears over stupid stuff. Stuff like:

  • Mike is devastatingly adorable, so much so I can’t stand it.
  • Mike will eventually leave me and go to college, and I am not sure I can bare the thought of that.
  • Mike will probably get married and his wife will hate me and I will never see him again.

Totally logical and rational right? So much so, I ugly cried in my OB’s office when she asked how I was doing (I think she was referring to pain, not emotions, but whatev). I didn’t take the Zoloft prescription right away, but had them call it in when I got home.

Guess what? Life got super happier and easier. And everyday, if I don’t take my Zoloft by 5:00, tears flow. I am sure this will get better, but for now, I am thankful for drugs. I am also thankful for my family who talked me off the proverbial ledge a few times. Here’s an email my mom sent me that made SO much sense in my 6th day of being a Mommy:

I don’t know if you were having a flashback while we were just on the phone but I sure was. Kindergarten, middle school, college … I always had to have a come-to-Jesus talk with you about your unrealistic expectations. With school it always had to do with the fact that you were suppose to be learning, not showing what you know and as a result, having a meltdown about not knowing it.  You’d always cry and say, “But I don’t know this!” And I’d say, “Right! It’s called SCHOOL, and it’s where you LEARN and then you know it at the END, not the BEGINNING!”  

Mommyhood is much the same. It’s the beginning, not the end!  When Mikey is finished being a baby, you’ll know all about babies. Then you can cry over the fact that you don’t know anything about toddlers.
So it’s all okay and you are right on track.  I guess now isn’t the time to mention that this whole dynamic is why every mom deserves baby #2. 
I love you!  xoxo
So here’s to every new beginning!

Dear Husband

Dear S –

It’s almost been a month since Mikey was born (!!!) and everyone warned me that I would see you in a different way when you are not only my husband, but my baby daddy. I knew this would be true, but I didn’t know the magnitude of new love I would have for you.  It kinda reminds me of the country song that goes, ‘and I thought I loved you then‘.

You were so worried about knowing how to change diapers, make bottles and figuring out how  to relax when you hold him – but when I was being rolled out of the OR and saw you holding our son I thought, ‘holy sh*t, he’s a natural!’ – and you are. While I was highly medicated in the hospital, you handled all the doctors, nurses and questions with ease. Not to mention handling Mikey like you had known him for years.

I wonder if other fathers get up in the middle of the night regardless of whose turn it is to feed, change diapers without being prompted or whisk the baby into the nursery for some calm rocking. I hope so, because it makes not only a difference to mama, but to baby as well. I am so thankful that you always keep the bottles cleaned and the house picked up.

And as I sit here writing this post, you are on the couch with our 3 week old, holding up a mirror to him and talking. How did Mikey and I get so lucky? And to think … I thought I loved you then.