Initial Thoughts on Attachment

When I was pregnant, I read a good deal of books on both pregnancy and babies. Some of what I read related to attachment parenting, and although I liked the idea, I was not sure to what extent it would work for us. Now that I actually have my baby and have been with her for a few months, I can comment on how it has been working so far. I am no Mayim Bialik, but I am definitely doing many things AP-style.

Co-sleeping

Before she was born, we got an Arm’s Reach co-sleeper crib. When we were in the hospital after Audrey’s birth, she slept with me in my hospital bed because I was in pretty bad shape so I wasn’t going to be up and down getting her out of the bassinet whenever she needed to nurse. Once we got home, it was pretty much the same situation – it was at least a week until I could move around semi-comfortably. It was just easier to have her in bed with me. After that, we just couldn’t get her out of the habit… she would sleep in the bassinet or in a crib for naps, but at night she just sleeps much better, deeper, and longer in the bed with us. And when she sleeps better, I sleep better. Her co-sleeper is now used as an expensive shelf holding baby wipes, washcloth for night feeding messes, her toilet, and some other random baby items.

Elimination Communication

We started EC a few weeks after Audrey was born, once I felt physically well enough to work on it with her. Audrey caught on right away and would pee the minute I set her on her little Baby Bjorn potty, and it got to the point that I was catching all of her poo’s! Once we started getting out more and then starting work and day care, it got harder. Audrey started going poo more in her diaper, and now I am trying to get back in the habit of pottying her at predictable times. I think the most important thing with our new schedule is to make sure I potty her before we leave and whenever we get home, and whenever she wakes up in the morning or after naps. I am hoping that if I am consistent, then part-time EC will be successful and I can have her potty-trained very early!

Baby-wearing

I thought that I would do this a lot, but now in practice I really don’t wear Audrey too often! She does not want to be worn all the time, and when I try to wear her while doing household activities, she kicks around and whines until I take her out. She does, however, like being worn in the Moby Wrap sometimes while I am grocery shopping or the like. She is far too strong and active to deal with it for long though, so I can only really wear her as long as she will nap! And now her naps are 45 minutes max…

Breastfeeding

…Check! 3.5 months and counting. Audrey refuses pacifiers and bottles, so I think it’s safe to say there is no nipple confusion. In fact, I think I may actually shun the wisdom next time around that says you should hold off giving your baby any nipple substitutes, because if I am going to work, it will be much better if my baby will actually drink out of a bottle! Luke actually just discovered that he can get her to drink from a cup… If he pours the milk in her mouth she’ll drink it down. She just doesn’t want to suck on silicone! I don’t know how this one is going to end up- I don’t have a plan for weaning. I am probably just going to let Audrey nurse as long as she wants it, and wean at her own pace. I intend to breastfeed exclusively as recommended for at least six months, and start feeding her solids sometime between 6-8 months when she seems interested. I know Luke is pretty eager to start giving her food, but it’s important to be patient, wait long enough before we start, put some thought into the foods we start her off with, and take our time with weaning!

There are a lot of things I do that are not really attachment parenting… I watch TV, and Audrey will to. I know it’s good to limit or even ban screen time for babies and toddlers, but I figure if she is playing and interacting all day then a little screen time won’t hurt. I just know that in the future, we are definitely going to have to set limits on TV and computer time so it doesn’t get out of control!

Daycare

Also, I am a working mom. I did not give up my career for a variety of reasons, so Audrey is spending a few days a week at a great little day care near home and work, she’s hanging out with Luke on Wednesdays, and I am working from home on Fridays. Before I went back to work I took her everywhere with me- shopping, social events, etc. so she became comfortable with a lot of situations and people early. She is getting used to going to day care now, and what I have realized is that despite our lack of a strict parenting style, Audrey is a perfectly attached baby. She knows who we are and loves us, and she knows we’ll be there for her so she does not freak out when we part. She is comfortable with the ladies at day care and only whines if she is hungry or tired, and when I get there she seems content and is happy to see me. Since she is starting at such a young age, I foresee no reason why she would ever get separation anxiety going to day care or school.

Link Love

Uh oh… here’s a Link Love that I never published! I had to edit my text a little bit because I talked about after the baby comes haha…

Joining the World of Motherhood

Audrey in blanket from Meg

I don’t even know where to start talking about the last week and half since my baby girl Audrey was born. I guess I’ll just go stream of consciousness with this post!

I had tried to anticipate what motherhood might be like, but I never realized that it would feel as natural as it does. Obviously I try to live naturally as much as I can, but I thought this transition would be much more difficult. Audrey latched on right away and fed on colostrum for long stretches until my milk came in after just a couple days. My mom arrived from Minnesota the day after she was born and is here for a couple weeks to help out. We came home from the hospital when Audrey was two days old and settled into something of a routine.

Audrey in a sling!

Audrey is an eating, pooping, sleeping machine, so a lot of my time is spent simply bonding with her and tending to her needs. Also, after a physically (not emotionally!) traumatic birth, I am forced to lay low and recover. I am moving around much better than I did at first, but I am now in the phase of recovery where if I stand up for a little longer than I should my nether regions just start throbbing. Hopefully by next week sometime I’ll be ready to sit in a chair, and maybe even take a short walk!

I would like to confirm the advice to new mothers to limit visitors in the first few weeks. Everyone might want to come see the baby, and maybe that’s totally okay with you, but just make sure there are only a couple people at a time and that their visits are brief. With all the hormones gushing through your body and your limited mobility (whether you have a c-section or a vaginal birth, you are going to need some time to recover!), having the added pressure to entertain or having other people holding your baby for hours on end can be very difficult!

When Audrey was four days old just about Luke’s whole family came over. I was concerned that Audrey would get overwhelmed, but luckily she was asleep the whole time… it ended up being me who was overwhelmed. After a few hours of noisiness and activity, I started freaking out a bit. I went in the bedroom and cried so nobody would see me upset, then came back out when I had calmed myself. They had started playing board games and Audrey’s cousins and Godfather were fighting over who would hold her next and I couldn’t hold it in… My sister-in-law saw me crying and it slipped out, “I just want to hold my baby!” She immediately grabbed Audrey away and brought her to me, and while I brought her into the bedroom to nurse she made everyone leave. I felt really bad about the whole thing and didn’t need everyone to leave, I just needed a little time with my baby girl!

So lesson learned: short visits with just a few people (ideally people from whom you are comfortable baby-snatching when you want your kid back!) until your hormones are regulated!

Audrey & Grandma Celia on the ball

A huge blessing this past week has been my mom… having her here has helped me enormously. In the first few days we were back home it hurt just to get up and down so she was bringing me food and drinks and mothering me as I was trying to figure out how to be a mother myself. She’s been taking care of all the stuff I would normally do like laundry, dishes, cleaning, and cooking, plus some stuff that who knows when I would ever get to! Plus, we discovered something interesting… I spent a lot of time sitting on my exercise ball towards the end of my pregnancy because my tailbone hurt and I was trying to keep my pelvic floor and thighs strong. Apparently Audrey remembers this, so when she is fussy, her grandma will hold her and bounce and it calms her right down!

Audrey & Daddy Luke

Luke has been a wonderful father and husband despite having to go back to work almost immediately. He is just as obsessed with Audrey as I am and is happy to change her and do whatever he can to help. When we were in the hospital he changed all the diapers because it would have taken me just as long to get out of the bed as it would for him to change the diaper! He was also changing the night diapers and I would feed her, but now that I am feeling better I am doing more night diapers since he has to go to work in the morning and needs the sleep. He loves holding Audrey and recognizes all her noises… he’ll bring her to me as soon as she starts asking for booby!

I started pumping to get my milk supply up for when I go back to work, and about once a day Luke offers the bottle to Audrey. She knows what to do with it and will suck on it a little, but definitely not if I am around! We just want to make sure that when she starts daycare she’ll accept a bottle. I am also considering giving her a pacifier. I was going to wait a while longer, but it seems like a lot of the time she just wants “comfort booby” where she’ll just suck for a few minutes to put herself to sleep- she’s not really hungry. One of the big reasons for not introducing a pacifier too soon is to eliminate confusion and establish breastfeeding, but our breastfeeding relationship seems pretty well established and she definitely knows the difference between my breast and the bottle.

Finally, a little about Audrey herself! She is such a sweet, good baby and only fusses if she needs something or is gassy. She gets the hiccups a couple times per day, but breastfeeding gets rid of them right away! I wonder if sucking on a pacifier would have the same effect? When she’s on her tummy, Audrey can push up and hold her head up for a good 5-10 seconds. Also, she can sleep through anything: The Expendables, vacuuming around her, shrieking voices… so glad we don’d have to tiptoe around her!

Personality & Pregnancy

This is just my own little theory, but I think that pregnancy brings out the extremes in a woman’s personality. There are a couple of my own traits that I think are enhanced during all this… my inquisitiveness and my introversion.

First, I tend to be curious about the world and my relationship with it… when I get interested in a topic I can’t read too much or find out enough information about it. I’ve been doing that every step of the way through this pregnancy, and while some may say, You’re driving yourself crazy! I actually think it keeps me sane, I like to feel informed and prepared.

Next, I’ve always been interested in psychology and personality types. Introversion and extroversion are not so much about being shy or outgoing… I definitely don’t consider myself to be a shy person. They are more about how you get your energy. Do you feel more happy and energized after a night out with friends or a family gathering- being with people socially? Or do you feel more refreshed after time to yourself- reading, shooting photos, doing whatever it is you like to do?

I am much more the latter… I love my friends and family, but being around people leaves me exhausted. I am finding that especially now at the end of my pregnancy, I want to be alone as much as possible. I don’t want to answer the same questions over and over again (How are you feeling? When are you due? Do you have any feelings of whether it’s a boy or girl? Do you have names picked out? Are you ready? Are you excited? When do you think the baby will come? Where are you having the baby? Oh, aren’t you worried there will be a problem? Do you have the nursery all set up? Are you going to go back to work? How long of a maternity leave do you get? What are you going to do with the baby when you go back to work? Aaaand many more…) – I know people mean well and are just being nice and making conversation, but it’s exhausting and I just don’t really want to talk about it. I also don’t want to struggle trying to come up with alternate conversation topics (or try to follow conversations I’m not really interested in) because my pregnancy and the baby are pretty much the only thing on my mind… As selfish as I may seem, I’d rather just avoid social situations all together and distract myself with episodes of Gossip Girl on Netflix, cleaning, pregnancy exercises, reading forums, etc.

Luke has been so supportive through all this… he doesn’t mind all the research I do because I just tell him the interesting stuff so he doesn’t have to do it himself! And when I don’t want to go out or do anything, he’s totally fine with it- he’s gone out a couple times without me (totally fine with me!) and is now with me declining invitations and just watching TV with me and making sure I’m comfortable. Whatta man! 😉

Happy New Year!

Last night we spent the evening in and I managed to stay up for the ball drop (check out my photo blog post here!). It was a pleasant evening, and low-key just like I wanted/needed. I was having strong, frequent contractions all night again but ignored them and sat on my ball for much of the night- as I projected, they went away again while I was sleeping so glad I didn’t say anything! One thing I’ve learned and mentioned before is that even if you are having strong, not-BH contractions, it does not mean you’re in labor.

To think I was all worried that I’d go before 36 weeks and have to go to the hospital! Well, today is New Years Day and I am 38 weeks, 4 days pregnant. I am not looking forward to going into the office tomorrow, but just a few more days and it will be that perfect timing I was hoping for! I have to remind myself, though, that even though I have been having all these contractions for a couple weeks now, the baby could still wait a few more weeks before he/she is ready to come out.

I am debating with myself about when I want to start maternity leave… If I don’t give birth by this weekend, do I want to go to work next week when I am “due” on Friday, or just start leave after this week? Or maybe plan to work on Monday and Tuesday then start leave? I have a bunch of projects coming in soon that my coworkers will be taking over, so if they come in early enough I might be able to handle them before I leave. I just have this feeling that as soon as I am gone, they are all going to come in and my poor coworkers will be slammed! The good thing with my office is it is only 10 minutes away so it’s not a big deal to go in or leave if I need to, a lot of my work I can do from home, and I can just work up until I go into labor if I want as long as I keep them updated.

The baby is wide awake now and kicking up a storm, wishing everyone a happy new year!

Thanksgiving Weekend & The Baby Shower!

Thanksgiving weekend was amazing! I only get to see my family a few times a year, so it was fantastic to have everyone (except my brother who had to work all weekend… boo Black Friday!) out and sharing a roof!

Thanksgiving day was probably the most exhausting for me. We cleaned, set up all the tables and decor, and cooked a ton of food before hosting 16 people for a feast. It all went very well, but I was so drained on Friday! We were hosting even more people – 20 – for the dinner, but it was way less work because Luke and a couple others were handling the lobster and everyone was bringing a lot of sides to supplement the lobster and leftovers. All I made was a casserole with the leftover turkey. We also set up the Christmas tree and got the house all festive! I spent a lot more time on the couch during this party just relaxing, and we had Elf (my favorite Christmas movie ever) playing before dinner. Lucky for me, my mom and mother-in-law made themselves busy with dishes after both feasts, so that helped me out a ton!!!

I loved seeing all our little nieces playing together, and every little girl under the age of 10 thinks I am having a girl!

After the family fun of the precious couple days, Saturday we had our baby shower! It was not like any baby shower I had ever been to before, it was more like a wedding reception haha. I wanted it to be co-ed because my family was in town and I wanted Luke there (it’s both our baby, after all!) so my in-laws hosted it at the same manor where we had our East Coast wedding reception. There were about 60 people there, lots of food and a bar!

It reminded me how much support we have, and how many people love this baby before it’s even born. We are so blessed!!!

We, of course, got a lot of presents for the baby- a lot of the stuff we needed, a few things to return, and some gift certificates to get what’s left! What was cool was after the shower, there were tons of Cyber Monday sales so I was actually able to get a bunch of stuff from our registry that we didn’t receive as gifts for a good deal. Now that we have a crib, car seats, a stroller, and all the main stuff, I feel much more prepared for the arrival of our little one!

Everyone left on Monday morning – Liz, Tony and the kids by car, and Mom and Dad by plane. After I dropped my parents off at the airport, I got a flat tire on the highway on the way back. What a cliche… pregnant lady stranded on the side of the highway haha. Luckily Luke came to my rescue, and when the hole was too big to patch, he had a tow truck come and drove me back. He replaced the tire the same day, and currently my car is at the shop getting tuned up! All things considered, that could have been way worse, but it was a clear day, there was no traffic, big shoulder, and I was able to pull over easily before my rim had any damage.

I did get a little choked up when I remembered I nightmare I had involving myself in a car wreck, tons of traffic, and Luke trying to get to me to no avail. In my dream I got thrown from my car and was bleeding on the ground. I knew I was critical but could feel the baby kicking and knew it was OK, so all I was thinking was that I needed an ambulance so they could cut the baby out of me to save it. Terrifying!!! Thank God it wasn’t anything like that, and we are both totally fine!

All in all, my long weekend was fantastic. I loved seeing my family and friends, and just being surrounded by so much love!!!

Giving Thanks

This is a very busy but fun week for me this year! My older sister Liz, her husband Tony, their two beautiful daughters Honor and Sailor, and their poor old dog Buster packed it all up in Minnesota on Friday night and began the road trip out here. We weren’t sure if they were going to visit some family in NC before coming up to NJ for Thanksgiving or if they would come straight here, but after the first stretch of the long drive, they opted to come here! They rolled in around 3am on Sunday and after settling in, we all went right to bed.

I have to say, Honor and Sailor are amazing little girls. Honor is four and Sailor is one and a half, and they are both so warm and open. We try to Skype regularly, so there is not a second of hesitation when they see us even though we only get together a few times per year. Luke commented, “I hope our kid loves us as much as they do!” I am so astounded seeing how they grow and see the world… I feel so much joy and love when I am around them that I can’t even imagine how I will feel when we have a child of our own to love and protect.

I only had a couple days of vacation time left for the year so I took them Wednesday and Monday, since we weren’t expecting anyone to arrive until Tuesday at the earliest. Yesterday I worked, had a chiropractor appointment (I swear, this is helping me so much!) jetted to the grocery as fast as the NJ rush hour traffic would allow, and got back in time to host the girls for our DWTS girls night! It was a lot of fun having Liz there and having the girls make an appearance (Honor even went around and gave everyone a hug and a kiss good night!), and then hanging out and chatting for a bit when the show was over and Tony And Luke re-emerged.

Today I am at work again before my super-long weekend! My parents are arriving tomorrow morning and the weekend will be filled with family, friends, and general gaiety! I will miss my brother who is stuck back in MN for work, but I am so overjoyed to have the house filled with people that we love. We are hosting Thanksgiving and the Black Friday Lobster Feast – a tradition we started a few years ago – and then the baby shower is on Saturday!

I am just so thankful for all of the people in our lives that love us and care for us, and who love this baby before it has even emerged.

31-Week Update

The baby is due in two months! I can’t believe how time is flying, and I am happy about it because there is a lot to look forward to. My family will be coming into town in just over a week, and I am so giddy to see them and share Thanksgiving with them! I am very independent and love my new home out East (when there’s decent weather and power, that is!) and my family here, but sometimes I just long for the company of my parents and siblings- the familiarity of what I had growing up. After that is Luke’s birthday, Christmas, New Years, and then baby Shim‘s birthday!

On Saturday we had an appointment with our midwife and we spoke about all the things coming up… We have our childbirth classes scheduled with our doula in December, and we need to get certain things for the birth including a childbirth kit (ordered- check!) and a variety of food to sustain me and my “staff” during labor. Judy measured my blood pressure (still low!) and my belly, and told us that the baby should be about 7 – 7.5 lbs when it is born. She also still thinks, for whatever reason, that the baby will come early! I hope that she is right on both counts… a healthy, small-ish baby on or before the due date (January 11) would be perfect.

Yesterday Luke and I took the hike out to IKEA to get some much-needed furniture! We spent a few hours there and got the media console/storage cabinet for the living room that I have been wanting for a long time, then a dresser for the bedroom, a dresser for the loft, 4 stools for the kitchen, and 2 high chairs- one folding with no tray (pulls right up to the table!) and one solid wood with a snap-on, easy-to-clean plastic tray. The rest of the day we spent assembling all these various pieces… all I can say is I am sore and exhausted from all that work, but am pleased at the results!

I have a LOT of stuff to do this week and weekend in preparation for Thanksgiving weekend, but it will all be worth it when I see our families all together celebrating this joyous holiday!!!

FEARS: Life Changing

I am reading the book Birthing from Within which was on my midwife’s reading list. The book encourages mothers-to-be to think about their worries and fears related to pregnancy and motherhood. I’m sure I will have many more as time goes on, but I want to start with a particularly relevant one now.

The many ways life will change after becoming pregnant

I have always been pretty independent- I loved living by myself when I was single, and traveling the world alone. I liked not having to check in with or answer to anyone, being completely selfish and doing whatever I wanted to do. A lot of that changed when I moved out to New Jersey and in with Luke. I was suddenly in a very serious relationship… partnership, really. There was someone who cared where I was and what I was up to, our animals needed attention, and the big house needed cleaning.

That still wasn’t a big deal- I enjoyed my life change and was fine with the responsibility. We still party and drink, I have girls nights, attend CrossFit classes, do photo shoots with friends, have impromptu barbecues, and plenty of other things. We just have to make sure we take care of the animals, feed ourselves, and keep the house relatively tidy.

My lifestyle is about to change dramatically. I will have to stop drinking and doing crazy CrossFit classes. I will spend time researching baby stuff and preparing for the arrival of the little one. Once our baby is born, I will have to keep the house much cleaner and spend a lot more time doing laundry. I won’t be free to come and go as I please- any time I go anywhere I’ll have to plan a bunch of extra time to get the baby and its stuff ready. I’ll never travel with one small purse again!

When you have a baby, you suddenly have a LOT more responsibility, and quite honestly that makes me nervous! As cute as they are when they’re little, I might just be looking forward to the time when the baby is not so utterly dependent… old enough to run around and play, entertain themselves, and maybe even help with the chores!