Monitor Madness

Despite what “they” say, we decided to move Henry out of our room a few nights ago to his own room in his own crib. They will tell you lots of things. I don’t know who they are. But I tend to listen to them until it no longer suits my needs or arguments with Allen. In this particular instance, we thought we’d sleep better without Henry in our room so it was time to ignore they. 

Allen set up the video monitor and we did some testing. Henry was ready. Forget Henry. He doesn’t care where he sleeps. I was ready. 

Okay.

I thought I was ready.

I really really was so excited to have him out of the room. But not hearing him is scary. We went to bed around 10:00, excited to be without meeps, beeps, yelps, and grunts. I checked the monitor. Henry was sleeping. Time to get me some sleep.

But sleep would not come. I kept laying there waiting for him to make a sound to prove that the monitors work, despite the fact that Allen and I had tested them. Obviously, Henry’s voice may be the only sound that might not transmit. His voice may be a weird frequency and it couldn’t be picked up by the monitor. These things made sense to me at the time. So, I laid there waiting. And waiting. …and waiting. I began to obsessively check the monitor every 30…20… 10 minutes. Still sleeping. Still sleeping. THEN. I fell asleep. 

I didn’t mean to do it! I was going to stay awake until I heard him cry. But, dangit. Sleep claimed me. I checked the monitor. He was squirming but there was no sound coming from the monitor. I KNEW IT. The monitors didn’t work with Henry’s voice! Henry, after all, does NOT squirm silently. I checked the clock. Almost 2:00am. WHAT?! ALMOST 2:00AM!? A nearly four hour stretch. That hasn’t happened! 

Full panic set in. Henry must have been crying for at least an hour. Starving. Waiting. Feeling abandoned. Guilt and terror washed over me as I bolted out of bed and ran into the hallway. 

I didn’t hear anything. The monitor was quiet. I couldn’t hear the static from the monitor. This further convinced me the monitor wasn’t working because when it works you hear a dull static sound. But, unless my ears also stopped working, he wasn’t crying.

I went into his room and, sure enough, he was sound asleep. 

Convinced the monitor would fail me when Henry needed me, I sat in the rocking chair for 30 minutes until he actually woke up and needed to eat. Four glorious hours of sleep wasted. At this point, I had no faith in the monitor and slept in the guest room which is next to Henry’s room so I could hear him cry without the monitor. I slept a little better, but not great. I was a zombie when morning rolled around. 

Though Allen knew I was crazy, he refrained from making me feel crazy over the whole incident and we agreed to do some thorough monitor testing before putting Henry back in the crib.Though this testing would only take 10 minutes, we didn’t get around to it for another two days (how does that happen when you have a newborn?! 5 minute task? It will take you a week!).

You will never guess what happened! NEVER! 

The monitor works perfectly. As Allen suspected, if it is quiet in the room the audio feed switches off or to a sleep mode of sorts. It only begins to transmit when it detects a sound. This is why the dull static would stop and the monitor would be silent, even though I could still see Henry. Convinced that the monitor was sound, we went to bed. 

Again, I could not sleep. What is wrong with me?! I trust the monitor! I kept hearing phantom baby cries and then I would get worried the monitor WASN’T working after all. But I knew that was crazy so forced myself to stay in bed. Again, I obsessively checked the monitor, but, perhaps, slightly less obsessively than the first night. I knew I wouldn’t sleep until the first time I heard him cry, so resigned to laying in bed waiting. Again, a four hour stretch of sleep. Dang you, Henry Owen! You don’t have four hour stretches of sleep in the cradle in our room! So glad you like the crib so much. Fat lot of good it does me.

But then it happened! HE CRIED! And, believe it or not, I heard it on the monitor. i was overjoyed. I thought this would be my sweet release from the monitor madness. I changed him, gas dropped him, fed him, wrapped him up, and off to sleep he went. And off to sleep I went. Except, sleep would still not come! My tortured sleep soul! I slept in fitful spurts throughout the night. Maybe getting a couple of hours stretched over the course of 8 hours. When the 7:00am feeding rolled around I was pretty incoherent and unable to function. That is when I turned to Allen and asked for help. Allen changed him, brought him to me in bed to feed him, then took him away to burp him, then stayed up with him. I turned the monitor OFF. 

I slept. 

Last night, our third night with the monitor, was better. Not awesome. But better. And it will continue to get better, that I know. You know what is kind of awesome, though? Henry seems to sleep better in the crib in his own room. I’m not sure why, and I don’t think I care why. He might just be getting to a point where he can go a bit longer without eating and that would have happened regardless of where he sleeps. But, I choose to believe the crib holds some magical baby sleeping property.

Now, just to find that magical sleep for myself. 

 

Wide awake and rocking the bear jammies!

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Chubby baby boy!

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We call this one “Angry Trucker Arm,” sure to be a Henry classic.Image

 

A boy and his dog.

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Babies Are Stressful

I love Henry. I think that is pretty clear to anyone reading this blog. This entry is going to be about the reasons I don’t necessarily like Henry (all the time).

Two nights ago we went to the bar for burgers, fries, and beer with friends. It was awesome. Of course we brought Henry. Henry likes bars. We are taking advantage of this stage of baby, the stage where he sleeps all the time and cares very little about where. In another 4 weeks, perhaps, we won’t be able to do that when Henry starts to sleep (dear God, please please let this be true) a little longer at night and we try to get him on a schedule. But, for now, we take him with us. Anyway, he was great at the bar. Took his bottle like a champ, slept some, was quiet alert some, got held by strangers some. Success. Until we got home. Now, we can’t blame the bar on the duration of the evening events, but that would be easy to do. I tried to go to bed early because I was so so so tired and Allen was going to stay up until the next feeding with Henry so I could get non-chirp filled sleep. I went to bed and turned on our noisy sound drowning box fan but thought I could faintly hear Henry crying. I decided I was delusional (because I sincerely do hear phantom Henry cries when I am trying to go to sleep, especially if he isn’t in the room with me). 40 minutes after I laid down dear sweet lovely husband came in and sounded so distraught. Not because Henry had been crying for the past 20 minutes, but because he felt so guilty about getting me up after I tried to go to sleep early. Though Henry had only eaten an hour before, he was inconsolable and seemed hungry. No big deal. Put a boob in him, he barely ate (which we expected) but he calmed down and fell asleep. Now, yes, I know you aren’t supposed to let a baby nurse until he falls asleep, especially if it is clear he isn’t eating but just using you as a pacifier. To anyone that may be judging (though I doubt any of you are because lots of you are parents and know that desperate times call for desperate measures), sleep is precious. You do what you have to do. And our pediatrician said “Especially in the first two months, you do what you need to do to get some sleep.” So there.

So, we gingerly put Henry down in fear of waking the beast and rest our little heads. An hour and a half later, crying. Fussing. I knew he wasn’t hungry. I rubbed his tummy and after a few minutes he fell asleep. An hour later, crying. Fussing. Hungry this time. Okay. 30 minutes later, done eating and changed. Henry is awake! Shoot. Okay. After rocking for 40 additional minutes after the 30 minute feeding, he is sort of sleepy enough that I chance putting him in the cradle. An hour later, crying, fussing. Again, not hungry. Sigh. More rocking and comforting. An hour and a half later, feeding time. Another hour later Henry is still awake. By this time I have said some terrible things to Henry while rocking him and gently soothing him. In my nicest and most calm voice I told him I was going to leave him in a dumpster, whisper yelled go the f*ck to sleep, told him he was ruining my life, that without sleep I would die. And then, of course, I felt super guilty for saying those things to him, despite the fact that he has no idea what I was saying and that I was completely meeting his needs for soothing and security. When Allen woke up and I handed Henry off I said “I love him, I just don’t like him right now.”

And then husband took baby and I slept for 3.5 more hours. Husbands are amazing.

As you know from the previous entry, Henry is having some food issues. We’ve cut back from a 15 minute feeding to a 12 minutes feeding to a 10 minute feeding. And you know what? Things only seem marginally better. And I am frustrated and worried. Henry eats, Henry cries. Henry spits up. Sometimes Henry vomits. We try to keep him elevated. It helps a bit. But when we put him down, crying, squirming, spitting up. I keep trying to remember that he’s in a weird fussy stage and the next few weeks are likely to be rough. Our friends with babies said so, our pediatrician said so. But when you are in the moment and your baby seems so unhappy after you feed him and he is spitting up, you just KNOW that something more is wrong. And then a minute passes by and you don’t want to call the doctor because you are now equally certain you are overreacting. And your husband is watching you go through this turmoil and basically anything he says makes it worse, including, but not limited to, “call the doctor, you’ll feel better” “I love you” “you aren’t crazy” “I don’t like the crying either.” Furthermore, it is difficult to articulate to husband exactly what the turmoil is all about because you aren’t even sure yourself, but you know you feel wound up inside. I love Henry, but I don’t always like him.

Where IS the manual for this little monster?! I don’t think I got one at the hospital. I really need help figuring out the drama queen cries from the something is actually bothering me cries.

Then, in the midst of all this frustration there are the fake smiles, the adorable sleeping sounds, the focusing on my face, and it makes it worth it.

Side note on weird baby things: newborns often cross their eyes and go fish eyed. Totally normal. It gets sorted out after a few months. Parents do not like to see their babies do this. Henry sleep with his eyes open. Not just a little open but… OPEN. I’ll post a video. Newborns tremble. They aren’t cold. It doesn’t signify anything. It is just their bodies getting used to be… you know… working. So when his leg shakes uncontrollably or his chin jitters like he’s freezing, do nothing! He is fine.

Picture time!

No no, leave me as I am. Totally comfortable here.

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AWAKE! And big. Did I mention I’m up to 10 pounds 3 ounces?

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I turned ONE MONTH old on March 10th!

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I be on my suit and tie…

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Aggressive Eater

They will tell you that the first two weeks with your baby are the honeymoon period. Your baby will sleep all the time (sure, get up in 2-3 hour increments, but otherwise will sleep all the time), not make much noise, and generally be pretty easy. This is exactly what happened with Henry. Best baby in the world. Hecks yes! We win the baby jackpot! Victory dance! Brag! 

2 weeks 1 day. JUST KIDDING, GUYS! Henry began to cry more, he became really gassy and uncomfortable and cried because he was gassy and uncomfortable, he was grunting in his sleep which made it hard for us (really, Allen, I have become pretty darn skilled at sleeping through Henry’s sounds unless he is full out crying) to sleep, getting up more frequently, spitting up after every feeding, sometimes vomiting (a LOT) after feedings, and generally being unhappy after every feeding for 30-60 minutes. 

A week and a half of this passes and it hits us… maybe this is not normal? Hmm, it seems to really coincide with feedings. 

OH. MY. GOSH. IT IS ME!! It is the feeding! Something is wrong with me, something is wrong with the breast milk, he is allergic, something I ate is making him this way, and on and on and on. 

3 weeks 3 days. I call the pediatrician and explain my concerns really hoping they would say “oh, this is normal, it will pass in another week.” because that seemed like a way better outcome than the inevitable “You have to stop breastfeeding.”

Turns out, there was an EVEN BETTER outcome. We took Henry in because they wanted to see him based on the signs we’d been seeing. We planned the visit so that we could feed him at the doctor’s office and they could see how he acted afterward. 

First thing’s first… you get to the pediatrician’s office and you strip your baby down and get him in a clean diaper. Small victory: for the first time, Henry did not pee all over the exam table when we changed his diaper! Henry was up to 9 pounds 5 ounces! Woooo! We are definitely not having a problem with weight gain. Dr. Evan’s said “We call this thriving.” Woot! High fives!

Then we fed him (and Dr. Evan’s hung out with us for a few minutes at the start because Henry is a super loud eater and I wanted to make sure that wasn’t part of the problem. It’s not. She confirmed he is definitely noisy – duh, we have ears – but that it is a good noise. She called it “singing through eating.” We call it “squeaky wheel syndrome.”) and weighed him again to see what the milk transfer is in one feeding (one thing that breastfeeding mom’s worry about – that’s right, I’ll take the liberty of speaking for all breastfeeding mom’s when I only have my own experiences to speak from – is how much the baby is getting because you just don’t know and not knowing things can be scary). So, after our regular 15 minute feeding session he was weighed again and it turns out… he ate 4.5 ounces. 

Now, that doesn’t seem like that much to me. If I was restricted to 4.5 ounces of food every time I ate I’d probably cry. And lose a lot of weight. And generally be pretty unhappy. But it turns out for a 3.5 week 9 pound 4 ounce baby, that’s a LOT of food to be eating. When Dr. Evan’s came in to talk to us she was laughing as she said “I think we found out the problem. Henry is what we call an aggressive eater.” 

In the past 3 days we’ve restricted feedings to 12 minutes and try to keep him upright (to help with reflux) for 15 minutes after eating. It is working brilliantly. Guess who’s back?!?! Quiet, happy, smiley, delightful baby. Does he cry? Of course! But he is easily comforted. 

Now, I know this won’t last, because no one gets THAT lucky. But we do plan to enjoy this stage while it is here. 

To happy, healthy, aggressively eating babies! 

Sleepy baby boy:

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Baby shades:

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Ooooh reaaaaally?

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Happy in the sunshine:

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Pattern overload:

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Learning To Let Go

I admit it. I have a problem. I am a control freak. I have been since about junior year of college. I’m not sure what happened that year that caused me to go from average regular lady to hyper productive control freak, but it happened. Mostly, it serves me well. It has taken me far in my career and ensures that vacations are well planned and organized. However, it is biting me in the ass big time right now.

Right now it is causing me to refuse help when I need it. To not take advice that is well meaning (and likely good). To hover. To hold my arms out halfway from my body to be at the ready for any bad thing that might happen to Henry if he isn’t in my arms. To watch others holding Henry like a hawk. Even Allen. To drive everyone around me nuts.

I can see it happening. I see the crash happening before my eyes and there is time to stop it and I don’t.

Breathe. BREATHE. Henry is okay if he isn’t in your arms. Allen has Henry’s best interest at heart. And if Allen wipes Henry’s butt ever so slightly differently than me, that is okay. THAT. IS. OKAY. I am not sure how to etch those words in my brain. I am trying. I am really really trying. But I am failing.

If you have advice on letting go, I sure would be happy to hear it. Allen (and others around me) would sure be happy if I actually took your advice to heart.

Sigh.

It is hard. I’ve been doing this mom things for 22 days and clearly I think I am more of an expert than anyone else.

I am pretty sure I would be happier at 4:30 in the morning if I just woke up Allen and said “Henry is wide awake and I need to sleep so can you please take him?” but instead I suffer because I worry about burdening him and what if he doesn’t do things just exactly like I would do them?

Everything would be fine. That’s what would happen.

Pull it together, lady. You’ve got people that love you and want to help – let it happen.

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Sleep, We Miss You

I can’t believe that Henry was due two days ago. Instead, he will be three weeks on Monday. Let me take a brief moment to say HOLY COW I AM SO HAPPY HE CAME EARLY. Not being pregnant only confirms how unhappy I was being pregnant. Not constantly unhappy, but generally more discontent than not. Here are a few things that are awesome about being a singular human again:

  • Bending over
  • Sleeping however I want (so long as my boobs don’t hurt… which, if I am being honest, still means I can’t sleep on my stomach almost all the time)
  • Sitting with my laptop wedged into my stomach
  • My back doesn’t hurt
  • Walking at a normal human pace
  • Sitting without grunting
  • Getting up without grunting
  • Not watching stretch marks grow each day

Three weeks (almost) in and we are learning a lot about our little monkey man (which is what Allen likes to call him and I kinda love it lots). Most importantly, we are learning how to live function on broken sleep of 6 hours and less.

Sleeping with a newborn in your room is sort of like sleeping in a construction site. Every sound is horrifying and magnified 100 times by your new parent ears. Here is a snippet of consciousness from our new nights:

Holy cow what was that sound is he going to cry why does he keep making that meeping sound oh my gosh it is so loud I will never sleep why did he breathe really fast 5 times in a row and now he sneezed twice he must be allergic to something what if I have to get rid of Cash could I do that am I capable ah crap he kind of half cried but he stopped do I need to get up and check him no I don’t think so but maybe I should and now was that a fart shoot what if it is poop I should change him if he pooped oh no no no now I haven’t heard him for a minute surely something is wrong why is he being so quiet is he breathing oh there was a big yell dang this child is noisy he will never be quiet again

But eventually you become so so so tired that even these thoughts stop and you fall asleep just in time to get roughly 37 minutes of sleep before he makes the real “Get up now cause I needa EAT lady” sounds. So, I stumble over to the cradle, pull him out, kiss his little head, tell him hello, take him into his room, sit in the comfy rocking chair, feed him while my head rolls from shoulder to shoulder while muttering to Henry about how adorable he is even at 3:00am, change him (if I’m lucky I will only have to change his diaper and not his clothes when he surprise pees on himself), swaddle him, and get back to bed 30 minutes later just to do the whole cycle over again over the course of the next 2 to 2.5 hours. We’ve gotten a couple of 3.5 hour stretches and they have been glorious, but all too infrequent.

Even sleep deprived I am trying to soak it all up. To memorize the tiny feet and the way he flails his arms when certain things happen. To pat his butt every time he gets reswaddled because it is INEVITABLE that butt patting leads to a smile and I am a sucker for that smile (but what does it say about Henry that he smiles every time without fail when his butt is patted?). To etch in my mind his drunken little face after he eats or the way he’ll be sleeping so peacefully to start panting for 10 seconds. Or the way he gets ridiculously angsty if he loses his latch and the way he looks like a large mouth bass when he tries to get it back on his own. And yes, we think it is adorable.

So, it turns out I really enjoy this mom thing. It isn’t that I thought I wouldn’t, but the degree to which I’ve been smitten by this tiny human is sometimes overwhelming. I find myself with vomit running between my boobs while Henry is crying because he is gassy and I kiss the top of his head, tell him I love him, and laugh a little as his little bottom lip quivers and it is totally and completely normal and delightful. That DOES surprise me. In fact, while I’m excited to go back to work I already find myself thinking “You only have nine weeks left! That is not much time!” and a feeling of panic will wash over me.

Oh, also, I have become that parent that I said I never would… I use whatever is lying around to wipe up whatever liquid happens to be coming from Henry’s body. If there is a burp cloth nearby (and I do try to have one on hand), I always use it. But if there isn’t, I use swaddle blankets, my robe, my shirt, etc. Last night at 2:00am when he started to pee while putting on a new diaper I even used my hand to basket the pee. I swore I would never do that. And here we are. Most days I have vomit or pee on me somewhere and I am happy to report that it is so entirely worth it.

Picture time!

Post bath recovery:

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Hashtag!

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Nana Lee and Henry:

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Crib sleeping:

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To sleep or not to sleep… hmmm:

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