The next week was the same. Feedings, fussiness, hardly no sleep, fussiness, feeding, swollen ankles, eating with one hand. The nurse noted that Xander had lost an ounce since she weighed him last. She got concerned. I told her I was breastfeeding every 2-3 hours and for 30 minutes plus on each side. She warned us that if he lost more next week, we may have to go to the doctor...or worse, the hospital. I got worried again. Please, please, not now! I just got my baby out of the hospital! What could be wrong now?
In the middle of all this, my best friend from California was coming to visit with her new husband. I tried to be as hospitable as I could. I geared up for leaving the house with my baby for the first time. All while Chris had to work (naturally). We went to restaurants. The first time didn't go so smoothly. We went to Steak N Shake and Xander was sleeping peacefully...once I was almost done eating, he woke up and was hungry. And he wanted to eat RIGHT NOW. So, I got to finagle a crying newborn baby onto my boob while hiding behind a blanket being held up by my husband (thankfully, Chris got to come to that meal). I'm sure it was amusing to anyone with a kid that understood and I'm sure it was annoying to everyone else. Chris and I took it in stride though. First time parent experiences are always the most stressful. The next day, we went to the Indiana State Museum. I got to use my Moby wrap for the first time ever and it was awesome! Xander was close to me and slept almost the entire time we were there. He didn't start to cry until we were leaving. Then he was hungry and wanted to eat RIGHT NOW, yet again...but alas we were driving. So he got to suck on my finger until we got home. Another new mommy stressful moment brought to you by hunger.
|One of the few times he was swaddled|
|Moby wrap momma!|
One night while eating dinner with Kelly and her husband and my mother-in-law, we got seated on the main walkway at one of our favorite family restaurants (a local diner ran by an awesome Greek family). This was a terrible idea as we were eating around the same time every old person in the planet eats dinner. For those of you that didn't know it, the senior community LOVES BABIES. Every single person that walked by went "Aww! LOOK AT THE BABY!" Which is fine. I will let you look at my newborn baby in passing and ask me how old he is, but a couple of these older ladies got a little creepy. One of them got a little too close in his face and I almost had a heart attack. Then, there was another lady who got so close I was afraid she was going to try to take him out of his car seat that he was sleeping in comfortably... She lingered so long (while I had my sandwich in my hand inches from my mouth - mind you) that her poor husband had to literally drag her away from us. Lesson learned...old ladies love babies.
After Kelly and her husband went back home to California, we got another visit from our home nurse. She brought a lactation consultant with her to make sure I was doing everything I could to help Xander gain weight. The lactation consultant watched me feed him and was very impressed with my breastfeeding skills (yay for nerdy research!) Unfortunately, Xander had lost yet another ounce. Then, the lactation consultant and the nurse said the words I was dreading for the last 2 weeks. Formula supplementation. They decided that I wasn't producing enough milk and that is why my baby was losing weight. Best guess, he was a sleepy eater and would fall asleep so soon after starting to feed that he wasn't taking in enough milk and was mostly just using me as a pacifier.
Conveniently, I had a package from Similac with a bottle and a can of sample formula. I cried as the lactation consultant helped me get it ready. Formula was the last thing I wanted my baby to have. I knew he had a rough start and I knew breast milk was the best thing for him and his little body right now...but it wasn't enough for my little guy. Looking back at pictures of this time, you can really tell how thin he got. At first, I thought it was just the IV fluids getting out of his system, but he did get very thin.
|My hungry guy.|
I, once again, felt defeated as a mother because I couldn't provide enough food for my baby. I cried as I gave him his first bottle, telling myself it was for the best and my baby needed it. Xander sucked that 2 oz bottle down so fast. My poor baby was starving. He threw half of it back up because he ate it so fast and I freaked out and cried more. Seeing your baby throw up is terrifying and stressful (and I still hate it, although it doesn't happen very often anymore). I cleaned him up and he went right to sleep. He was finally full and content and I was at a total loss. My mind was spinning. I fought the sadness I felt of not being able to provide my child the nutrition he needed.
This was another moment where the universe just kicked me in the ass and told me to stop trying to control every thing. Apparently, I wasn't listening before. I HEAR YOU NOW UNIVERSE. Xander had to go to the doctor that afternoon to verify the home nurse's decision. Our doctor agreed. Breastfeeding then formula feeding. I was scared to death the bottle would ruin his latch and I would fail completely at breastfeeding. I just remembered everything I had read about how formula was awful compared to breast milk and how much happier breast fed babies were. Now, I was one of those people I said I would never be*...but it wasn't by choice.
Xander's new feeding schedule changed him completely. He was suddenly a happy baby. When he was awake, he wasn't screaming. When he fell asleep, he would sleep in his bassinet until he was hungry again. When he was hungry, he did not scream bloody murder. We finally had a baby that really did just eat, sleep, and poop...and it was glorious. His latch, I'm happy to report, is still good. He had a bit of nipple confusion in the beginning and gets a little lazy from time to time, but it's nothing that I can't handle.
* I have nothing against people who feed their babies with formula! I know formula-fed babies are just as healthy, smart, happy as breastfed babies...I just saw it as a personal failure because I was so determined to exclusively breastfeed.
So, here we are, almost 3 months in. I'm back to work. (That day sucked! But I'm doing better!) I've learned a lot about myself and about life, I've been humbled by kindness, and I've had some realizations. I've learned that my nerdy research can be really bad for your sanity. Ultimately, all of these hurdles that Xander faced turned me into The Girl Who Knew Too Much. My over-abundance of education on all of these little things, while seeming like a good idea at the time to be prepared, ended up causing me a lot of anxiety. I learned all of these possible scenarios, then picked the one I wanted and the one I absolutely did not want...then I got the one I absolutely did not want and ended up feeling like a failure. Thankfully, I don't really have time to do a ton of research on the little things anymore. Don't get me wrong, I will still look something up if I question something, but I take it all with a a grain of salt. I remind myself that just because something is thought to be the best way, does not mean doing it differently is the end of the world or wrong by any means. It's just different. As long as my baby is happy and healthy in the long-run, then I'm okay with that.
I've also learned how little sleep I can function on. Where I used to NEED 8-9 hours a night, I am THRILLED to get 4-5 now. I've learned a smile from my little guy melts my heart and makes me forget how exhausted I am. His coos and giggles mesmerize me. Every time he does something new I am amazed. It blows my mind when I realize he is experiencing things and doing things for the first time ever. He is the first thing I think about when I wake up (aside from "What time is it?") and the last thing I think about when I go to bed (aside from "Please sleep until 5:30!"). I have never felt so many emotions at once before I had him. I am so thankful for everything and everyone in my life right now. My husband is an amazing dad. He watches him while I'm at work. He is hands on, and Xander smiles at the mere sound of his voice. It melts my heart (and makes me a little jealous). I am truly happy. Broke and fat (only down 20 of the 60 lbs I gained during pregnancy), but happy. Once Xander hits 3 months on August 13th, I will be getting back on the bandwagon. I haven't decided how all that is going to go yet (in terms of when to get a fill and whatnot), but I will let you all know when I figure it out.
And that ladies and gents, the final installment of "life with a baby....so far"
|Enjoying fresh air!|
|Smiling for Daddy|