Friday Free-For-All – 08/17/18

Friday Free-For-All

Ben’s birthday is tomorrow! He will be turning the big 3-0, and we’re having a BBQ to celebrate. It will be the first gathering we’ve hosted at our house since Vera was born, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

My sister in law Emily is coming home from Prague today for a three week visit. We’re very happy her visit coincides with Ben’s birthday. It will also be the first time she has seen Vera, which will be lots of fun.

Even though I haven’t been cleared to run yet, I have cleaned up our second hand jogging stroller. My old coworker gave it to me before I left work. She got it second-hand from a friend, and very fortuitously, it fits the carseat/travel system we got for Vera. This means that I can start using it for walks immediately, and start running with it as soon as I’m healed up and Vera’s pediatrician gives us the go-ahead. I’m VERY excited, and waiting VERY impatiently.

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Soon, my beauty. Soon.

I signed up for my first postpartum race! I will be posting a bit more about this next week, but I’m just so excited that I had to tell you now. Stay tuned!

Any stroller running tips for me?

 

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Postpartum Update: 6 Weeks

Hi, friends! This post is coming at you a bit late, but I wanted to wait to post it until after my six week follow up appointment with the midwives. Enjoy!

Physical Stuff
I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect at my six week appointment, as I’m definitely not feeling 100% healed up. Unfortunately, my gut instinct was right. I still have areas that are not fully healed, and had a bit of a complication crop up that requires additional attention. I’d rather not get too detailed, but suffice to say, I’m still not cleared for regular physical activity. This was definitely disappointing, but I’m trying to focus on what I CAN do versus what I can’t. Yoga and walking will continue to be my sole forms of exercise at the moment, and that’s better than nothing.

A few things I haven’t talked about recently are my hip and my carpal tunnel. Thankfully, my right hip went back to normal immediately after delivery; I haven’t had a single twinge of pain since V was born, which is wonderful. The carpal tunnel is still hanging on a bit, but it’s way less of an issue. The very tips of the fingers on my right hand are still numb, but everything else is operating as usual.

Sleep is slowly but surely getting better. We can get stretches of up to 4 hour between feedings at night, which feels downright luxurious, but I still have to get up 3 or 4 times a night depending on when we actually go to bed. We still don’t have any semblance of a schedule, but I’m thinking that when Ben goes back to work next week, our days will inevitably become more structured.

Breastfeeding
Ahead of Ben going back to work, I have been pumping a couple of times a day to have a backup stash of breast milk. We still haven’t figured out what our schedule will be, so I want to have extra just in case. Having a stash will also make eventual date nights possible.

We’re trying to stretch out the time between feedings, as during the day V eats as often as every hour, which is pretty taxing for me. It’s just the easiest baby placation method, and I think I’m too quick to offer the boob when she may not actually be hungry. Spacing things out a bit more will hopefully help me be a little less tied down during the day.

I’m still trying really hard to keep up a balanced diet and hydrate like a boss, as both are essential to successful milk supply. I’ve been drinking a lactation support tea every morning, and some friends who had a baby in April also sent along some lactation cookies, so I have one of those each morning as well. It’s tough to say if they’re actually helping my supply or not but they taste good, which is good enough for me.

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I’m finding that I have to be pretty careful not to have too many gas-inducing foods, or else we all end up paying for it. If I have a dinner with things like beans or broccoli, poor V wakes up crying with gas pains sometime around 3 am, and requires lots of soothing to get back to sleep. We tried some gas drops recently, which helped some, but she can still get cranky.

Emotional Stuff
I’m still feeling pretty anxious about Ben going back to work and me being on baby duty full time. Even the few afternoons where Ben has been outside doing yard work and I’ve been inside with V have been a bit taxing. I can’t always go to the bathroom or have a snack when I need it because V is hungry or crying. I have a hard time leaving her when she’s crying, even though she might be perfectly fine. My hat goes off to all the single parents and parents whose spouses have limited parental leave. I can’t imagine being the sole caretaker of an infant after only a week or two. I’ve been lucky enough to have 6+ weeks of help from Ben and I’m still feeling nervous to be on my own!

Thankfully, I have a really good support network. My in-laws live minutes away, and I have a fellow stay-at-home-mom friend who lives in the same town as we do, so I’m far from alone in this. I just keep reminding myself that I’ve always wanted to do this, I chose this, and I believe that overall, it will be fun and positive to stay home and raise our daughter.

Mamas out there, how long did it take before you were fully healed after delivery?

 

Weekend Update – Getting Back on Track

Happy Monday, friends! With Ben’s return to work looming, we’re trying to get our shit together a bit. During the first few weeks of having a new baby, it was all about survival. Now that we know a bit more what we’re up against, we can resume “normal” living. We got lots done this weekend, and it felt great!

Friday
This was a surprisingly busy day. I was up super early with V, and did a little cleaning up around the house before Ben was up for the day. After giving me a break to eat some breakfast and have coffee, he headed out to mow the lawn, which has been sorely neglected since we got home from the hospital. I continued to supervise baby and do more cleaning.

Around noon we headed into town to meet my friend Stacy for lunch at Chili’s. On the way home we also hit the bank to deposit a check that’s been hanging out for weeks, which felt good. And then Ben headed out to finish the lawn while I fed and snuggled a cranky baby.

We whipped up some burritos for supper, gave the baby a bath, fed her, and watched some nerdy BBC programming on YouTube before an early bedtime.

Saturday
Once again, I was up early with baby girl; she’s usually ready for the day between 5:30 and 6 am. I grabbed a lactation cookie and made coffee while she kicked and cooed on her activity mat. After a feeding, I popped her in her Rock n Play (lifesaver!) for a power nap while I fed the kitties and power cleaned. Some friends were due to come over at 10 to drop off gifts and meet V, and our house required some additional spiffing.

After Ben got up, I made breakfast and some Oatmama lactation support tea, and worked on this blog post for a while. It’s not very often I get to just sit down with my chrome book and type without a baby in my lap or attached to me, so this felt like a total luxury.

After our friends’ visit, Ben headed out to do a MUCH needed dump trip. We hadn’t gone since before V was born, and we had garbage and recycling in very unbecoming piles in the garage. After a recent raccoon break-in (so gross), we were eager to get the garbage out of there. While Ben did the dump run and V napped, I did some dusting (hasn’t been done in forever!) and put laundry away.

Our lovely neighbor came over in the afternoon and brush-hogged some paths through our field down to the rail trail, which will make getting down there for walks and runs a lot easier going forward, hooray!

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We also made a trip into downtown Jeffersonville for the annual Festival of the Arts. We met up with our friend Nikki and her son Kalamack and strolled around for an hour or so. It was a beautiful day to be outside, and it was lots of fun to see all the wares made by our neighbors.

In the evening we had crockpot chili for supper, and relaxed with some TV. I went to bed before 10 since I’d gotten up so early.

Sunday
Ben did me a solid and got up early with V so I got to stay in bed until the luxurious hour of 7:30! After coffee and breakfast, we went for a lovely walk, putting our newly brush hogged paths to use. It felt great to get out and moving, and I felt more like myself than I have in a long time.

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Later in the morning, I got to take a shower and chill out for a bit while Ben was on baby duty. Then we swapped and I hung out inside with V while Ben went out to work on a woodworking project. Between feeding cycles, I got to work on this blog post and binge watch a few episodes of Call the Midwife, my latest guilty pleasure.

In the afternoon, we brought a loaf of homemade bread over to meet our neighbors on the other side of the house. They just own land and camp there Memorial Day through Labor Day each year. It was really nice to finally go over and introduce ourselves, and they seem quite nice.

Supper was some steak and veggie kabobs on the grill, with molasses cookies and milk for dessert. After supper, we gave Miss V her bath, and then watched Hot Fuzz for the umpteenth time. It’s our favorite movie of all time, and if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it.

Have you ever seen Hot Fuzz? What’s your favorite movie?

Friday Free-For-All – 08/10/18

Friday Free-For-All

The weather finally broke today. We’d had a string of brutally hot, humid days, but today dawned sunny, dry, and relatively cool, thank goodness! It felt nearly autumnal when I got up this morning. It made me very excited for the fall running season 🙂

We are up to our eyeballs in blackberries. Seriously. We have SO.MANY. Blackberry plants in our yard. They’re only just starting to ripen and we already have picked half a gallon. I’m excited to freeze them and have them all year round for baking and smoothies.

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We’re slowly getting back in the swing of meal planning and grocery shopping. Since V was born, we’ve been very lucky to have lots of meal deliveries, and lots of invitations to various friends’ and family’s houses for meals, but with Ben going back to work soon, we need to get back to “normal.” We did a mini plan and shop to cover a few days this week, and it felt really good. English muffins were buy one, get TWO free at the store, so we bought six packages! I love me some English muffins.

I’ve been reading blogs, but not commenting. I’m usually reading blogs on my phone one-handed while nursing, so it can be tough to make the effort to comment. I’d like to be better about it going forward, but no promises. Just know that I’m still here, reading and enjoying!

I have to confess, I’m having a hard time coming up with stuff to write about that’s not baby-related. Having a child seems all-consuming right now, and pretty much everything I do every day is wrapped up in having a baby. I’m doing laundry, feeding, changing, pumping, taking pictures, and all of the myriad activities that come along with being a mom. I’m hoping that Ben going back to work in two weeks will force me to start seeking out more stuff to do and get out of the house more. I’m also hopeful that my six week checkup next week will clear me for normal physical activity, so I can get back to running!

While I’ve got baby on the brain, do you have any questions about parenthood/childbirth recovery/babies for me?

 

Postpartum Update: Weeks 4 & 5

Happy Wednesday! I missed the one month milestone last week, so here’s my update for weeks four and five postpartum.

Physical Stuff
Physical recovery is still going about as well as it could. Thankfully, the itchy stitch situation has abated somewhat. My midwife actually called to say that the results of my test for infection had been inconclusive and that I could take an antibiotic if I wanted to, but I could potentially resolve the situation at home with probiotics and just staying as clean and dry as possible. I chose that route, as I already had a shitload of antibiotics during labor due to my Group B Strep status, and I don’t really want to take more unless it’s absolutely necessary. I’ve been taking a few gulps of kefir every morning with breakfast and so far, so good.

My discomfort levels are continuing to decrease daily, but I’m definitely still a little sore around my stitches. I’m not really bleeding anymore, just dealing with occasional spotting. I’m hoping that this will continue so I can get to postnatal yoga next week. Other than recovery related stuff, I feel pretty good physically. I can handle normal tasks around the house, and Ben and I have been walking. Unfortunately it’s been super hot and humid lately so we haven’t gotten out as much as I’d like. I’m excited to (hopefully) be cleared for exercise at my six week follow up so I can work back up to running.

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I know my straps are funky. I know how to carry her safely. Thanks!

Sleep continues to be elusive. I know the wisdom is “sleep when baby sleeps,” but I think most moms know that’s kind of bullshit. When she’s napping, I’m eating, hydrating, using the bathroom, and trying to accomplish at least one non-baby related thing so I don’t feel like my entire world revolves around her. Also, I’m a terrible napper, so there’s that. Thankfully, we’ve reached the point where even though she’s still waking up every two hours during the night to feed, she generally goes right back to sleep after, which is a blessing.

Breastfeeding
We had our one month follow up with the Lactation Consultant, and she went over pumping with us. GAME. CHANGER. I can now pump bottles for Ben to give Vera, meaning I can occasionally sleep through a nighttime feeding, or leave the house for longer than 45 minutes. Ben is also super happy that he can now, in his words, “appease” her more easily, since he has the option to feed her. She has taken to the bottle with no issues, and while pumping basically feels like I’m milking myself, it’s not uncomfortable.

Emotional Stuff
I went into town ALL BY MYSELF, not once but TWICE during week five, woohoo! I was away from the house and Vera for a whole three hours. It was emotional and weird, but also really good for my mental well being. It was nice to feel like a normal person and just go do some errands like I would have pre-baby. And then hurry home for baby snuggles 🙂

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I went and got my nose pierced sans baby!

The next hurdle I need to get over is going somewhere with Vera WITHOUT Ben’s support. Thus far, I haven’t taken any car rides with her without Ben there to help. I’m hoping to take her to postnatal yoga this week so I can rip the band-aid off sooner rather than later. Ben goes back to work in less than two weeks, so I need to be okay taking Vera in the car with me.

I have to confess, I’m starting to feel some anxiety about Ben going back to work and being home alone with Vera. I’ve always hoped to be a stay at home mom, but I fully recognize that it will be very challenging. I need to start thinking now about ways to stay busy, get out of the house, and not become a shut-in.

Miscellaneous
We took our first “road trip” down to Quechee to visit my parents because my sister Haley was visiting from Michigan. We fully intended to do a straightforward there-and-back same day trip, but we were having so much fun and my family was so excited to have us there that we decided to stay overnight! We had everything we could have needed for Baby V, so we just pulled the proverbial trigger. The only thing I wish we had brought was the baby monitor, but otherwise it was smooth sailing.

 

It feels really good to have cleared these new parent hurdles relatively early in the game. If we let it go too long it would have been easy to build it up as a scarier event than it really was.

Any wisdom from fellow stay-at-home-moms to ease my worries?

Friday Free-For-All – 08/03/18

Friday Free-For-All

We have a mouse problem. Since we moved into our house six months ago, our cats have caught and/or killed no less than six mice. And those are only the ones we know about. As we speak, they have a mouse cornered under the stove. Oh, and there’s a mouse in my car too. Shredding the napkins in the glove box and chewing on anything we leave in there. Gross. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot we can do to keep the mice out, and we’re reluctant to put kill traps down, as the cats could potentially get into them and get hurt. Any all natural mouse mitigation tips would be appreciated!

I dropped my phone in the toilet. I know. I can’t believe it either. The phone was in my back pocket, and we were just getting home from an outing. Vera was crying because she was hungry, but I really had to pee, so I was rushing to get through and feed her. I pulled my shorts down and heard a thunk. F*&#! Not only was it gross to have to reach into the toilet to pull it out, but the anxiety of whether or not it would continue to work was a pain in the ass. I know losing your phone isn’t the end of the world, but with a single income, we don’t exactly have it in the budget to run out and buy a new phone. Anyway, I immediately turned it off and put it in a baggie of rice for a few hours and thankfully it appears to be just fine.

I started watching Crazy Ex Girlfriend. I needed a new show to binge-watch while nursing, and had heard really good things about this one. So far, I have mixed feelings. While the music is hilarious and wonderful, I kind of hate the main character. Like, she’s legit crazy and not really a good person and makes terrible choices, so it’s hard to root for her at all. I’m still only on season one so I’m gonna try to stick it out for a bit, but I’m not sure I’m going to follow through until the end.

How about it, any tips for getting rid of mice?

Postpartum Update: 3 Weeks

Hello, friends! I hope you’re all having an excellent week so far. Here’s the latest in my postpartum updates.

Physical Stuff
I had a 2 week postpartum checkup about 18 days after giving birth. The midwife said that my stitches look good and are healing well, which was a relief. TMI alert, the stitches are really itchy right now, so I’ve been pretty uncomfortable for a few days, and was worried I might have an infection; I don’t, but it sucks regardless. They also took my weight, and in spite of my resolution NOT to look at the numbers on the scale from last week’s post, I couldn’t help myself. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I’ve lost 20 pounds already, leaving me with only 10 to go to get back to pre-baby weight. Again, I don’t want to place too much weight (pun intended!) on the numbers, but it was nice to see nonetheless. I’m definitely a lot squishier around the middle and I’ve lost a lot of muscle tone, but I know I can get it back when I’m ready.

The midwife approved me for easy walking, but I’m still not supposed to do any vigorous exercise. She warned against going too hard even though I might feel pretty good, and advised me to continue to think of this as a recovery period. Again, TMI alert, but sweating makes the itching worse, so I’ve been reluctant to get moving too much. She also said I’m allowed to go to postnatal yoga as soon as my bleeding stops, which I’m looking forward to. I’m still taking OTC pain meds a few times a day, but I’d say I’m dealing more with discomfort rather than pain at this point.

I’ve finally reached the stage where I’m feeling like wearing “real” clothes again versus just hanging out in a bathrobe or PJs all day. I can squeeze into plenty of pre-pregnancy bottoms, and I bought myself a bunch of new nursing tops to wear, since we are exclusively breastfeeding. It’s nice to actually get dressed, put on some jewelry, and be a normal person again. I’m planning to pack up my maternity clothes this week, which I’m actually pretty psyched about. I need the space in my closet/drawers.

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Pre-pregnancy leggings, yay!

Ben and I are both still pretty sleep-deprived, but it’s getting better every day. All I can say is, I’m glad neither of us are working right now. We still don’t have any kind of routine, but we’re managing to get about 6 hours of sleep each night in various chunks. It’s amazing what feels like “enough” sleep these days.

Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is still going well! I’m still a little sore when Vera first latches on, but otherwise it’s great. We feed on demand, which is usually every 2 or so hours, so I spend a lot of time sitting on my butt with a baby attached to me. As she gets older, feedings should space out more, which will allow me to do more. We will also be having a follow up visit with the lactation consultant this coming week to go over pumping, milk storage, and stuff like that, which will mean that Ben can help out with some feedings, allowing me more freedom. Yay!

Emotional Stuff
My hormones seem to be equalizing a bit, although I’m definitely still more weepy than usual. I don’t have “baby blues” or anything like that, I just feel things more strongly. We watched Coco on Saturday and I spent most of it crying, haha! So far I’ve been adjusting to motherhood well. Being sleep deprived is hard, and being so home bound is hard, but it’s all worth it when I look at her sweet face. The love I have for this little baby is hard to describe. Even when she wakes me up crying for the umpteenth time a night, I only want to love her and help her. Motherhood is a trip, ya’ll.

Miscellaneous
Ben and I are emerging from the “newborn bubble” a bit, which is nice. We’ve had friends over, we’ve gone to friends’ houses, we went to a free play group at my yoga studio, and we even went out to breakfast, which felt like such an accomplishment! As I said in my Weekend Update post, we’ve realized that we need to be leaving the house more for our mental health.

In order to get out more, I purchased a set of disc golf discs. I know, Vermont hippie much? Anyway, Ben already had a set, so with my discs, we can now plop Vera in her baby tent while we throw discs at made up “holes” around our yard. Vera loves being outside as much as we do, and it’s so good for our brains and bodies to see outside once in a while!

Mamas out there, did you experience itchy stitches? Any tips for relieving discomfort?