Archive | October, 2011

Crazy Eyes

30 Oct


I love this boy!

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Precious Memories

27 Oct

A couple weeks ago we had a newborn photo shoot with our photographer friends (who also did my maternity session).  It’s nice to work in the creative business (my husband and I make films – it’s his primary job and I help him on most events) because we have great people to work with.  I absolutely love how it turned out–the photographer caught so many great expressions and his wife was so good with our baby–I hardly had to step in to pose him or calm him during the 4-hr session.

^^my favorite!! such a beloved little boy!!

“It’s so hard to be a baby!”

Ladies, beware!!

❤ ❤ ❤

I am so thankful that we have these and my maternity photos. We have hardly any wedding pictures and I love photographs so much!! This is such a precious time for our little family!!

Just chillin

26 Oct

After a long day yesterday with lots of milk and little sleep, today I’m just chillin with my boy 🙂

Birth Plan

25 Oct

So I’m trying to finally finish writing my birth story – now that baby is almost 6 weeks old, I should probably get it down before I forget completely.  In order to understand my birth story, it might be useful to see my birth plan–i.e. the hopes, expectations, goals, etc I had for my labor and my son’s birth.  

Due date: September 1, 2011

Support people: my husband, my doula, my mom

About us: We have been married for 5 years and we’re excited to welcome our first child to our family! Mom is a PhD student at UW and dad is a filmmaker.  Mom is originally from <<the US>> and Sasha is from <<a Russian speaking country>>—that’s why you may hear us speaking Russian to each other.

 Preferences for a normal labor and birth:

  • We prefer a natural birth to avoid side effects for mom and baby. Please don’t suggest medications to me. I am only interested in pain medications and other interventions for medical reasons.
  • I hope to rely on the support of my husband, doula, and midwives for pain alternatives such as changing position, location, massage, bath, etc.

1st stage

  • I desire freedom of moment
  • I prefer intermittent monitoring of baby
  • I plan to use the shower/bath, movement, and other comfort measures to manage pain.

2nd stage

  • I would like to push spontaneously with my body as a guide.
  • Please take steps to avoid tearing while pushing—warm compress, controlled pushing, support of perineum.
  • We would like immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding between mom and baby.
  • Please allow the baby’s cord to stop pulsating before cutting.  Offer dad the chance to cut the cord if he wishes.

3rd stage and later

  • Delay all routine procedures until 1 hour after birth or after baby’s first feeding.
  • Decline hepatitis B – we will begin vaccinations when we meet with baby’s doctor.
  • We plan to exclusively breastfeed, so please do not supplement the baby with formula.

In the case of unexpected labor events:

  • If pain is too intense, I’d appreciate input from staff on relaxation, pushing positions, and other ideas to avoid medical intervention.
  • In the case of intervention (labor augmentation with medication, vacuum/forceps, cesarean delivery, etc.), please explain everything to us so that we feel calm and involved.
  • In the case of cesarean delivery:
    • I would prefer to have both dad and my doula present to support both mother and baby in the delivery.
    • We would prefer the screen be lowered at the time of birth.
    • We would prefer dad to have immediate contact with baby and brought to me.  We would love skin-to-skin contact if possible.
  • If baby must go to the nursery, dad goes with him while my doula stays with me.

We are excited for the birth of our first child! Thank you for being a part of this amazing experience with us!!

Working Mom

24 Oct

Baby’s first meeting: he came to campus with me last week and slept the whole time 🙂

I worked until I was 38 weeks pregnant; I have been working since before he was 2 weeks old.  Since I work at a university, my schedule follows the academic calendar. Since I’m a poor student, I couldn’t afford to take a quarter off.  All summer I worked full time teaching English as a second language and luckily an awesome Research Assistantship opened up this fall. The RA position allows the flexibility I need with a new baby while still giving me a very needed paycheck/benefits. And the best part – it is with the director of the writing program at our university, so it is a GREAT learning experience. I am already learning a lot about writing, our university, and the politicking that goes with doing anything at a large university.

In the past month, I’ve had a couple meetings a week and I’ve led two major events. First, I led a panel of ESL ‘experts’ in a training for new English department teaching assistants. It was a 2-hour seminar and in some ways it was not a big deal to me because I had done it before (I created it last winter for a class, I led the seminar last spring). But this time the other ‘experts’ on the panel included the director I’m doing the RA-ship with, the director of the freshman composition program, and other people with a lot of expertise and power. This part was stressful–I knew that they would be judging the work I did.

It went really well! The night before, baby hardly slept. I was pale, loony, and only moderately unprepared (I updated my power point during the night between baby’s feedings when I just couldn’t get back to sleep). All week I knew that at 3:30 on Thursday I had a big thing to do. But babies don’t follow schedules and if they’re cranky, well, they’re cranky. That unpredictability is one of the hardest things about being a working mom.

The second big thing was a conference I presented at over the weekend. It was a local conference and I had presented the two previous years, and I knew it was important to do it this year and get it on the resume. Both presentations were with others–the first with a friend and the second was a panel. I just couldn’t get my act together to prepare, so again I was left to the last minute (i.e. Friday from 10pm-12am) to get things done. I drank a bunch of coffee, got baby down to sleep, and worked!! But the coffee kept me awake and I couldn’t get to sleep. At all. So by the time I needed to wake up at 6:15am to feed baby, get dressed, and drive down to the conference, I hadn’t slept at all.

Again, I was loony, underprepared, and high on adrenaline. But it went well – I presented the two times back to back and got home to a baby that had just awakened and hungry. He ate, we settled under the covers and I slept.

I tell these stories because I’m managing – I’m managing to keep doing what I need to do for work/school/career and to care for my baby. But other things suffer. My husband works from home and he can’t just babysit/support me all the time. He has huge deadlines coming up. For now, it is working to trade baby duties, but there will be a day when we can’t do it all on our own.

One of my professors called me ‘superwoman’ and in some ways it is a compliment. I am proud of the fact that I can be a mommy and a student and a teacher. But I also worry that doing too much too soon hurts my relationship with my baby, my health, and actually hurts the plight of mothers in society. As a teaching assistant on a 9-month contract, I was entitled to 1 week of maternity leave and technically I didn’t take it. I am lucky to have this RA-ship with a director that is very empathetic to my role as a mother. I have a healthy baby and a supportive husband and a supportive university–but not everyone does. And I worry that as baby gets older that things will get HARDER: i’ll have a child with needs (and less naps). Sleep deprivation goes from days to weeks to months (to years!). The supportiveness of my university may fade as being a mother becomes normal.

When I hear about women who get to have extensive maternity leaves–a year or more in Europe, a few months in the US–I am jealous. We might have figured out these breastfeeding issues much faster if I could just sit at home and care for my baby. My home would be cleaner and my husband happier. But we don’t have a choice so we make it work. I know I would not be happy as a stay at home mom and I am so lucky to have a job, money coming in, a flexible schedule, a supportive workplace, and a happy healthy baby. So for now, I am managing and I am thankful.

5 am

23 Oct

Yeaaa! 5am!! Dance party!!!!

Breastfeeding Sucks

23 Oct

I had this whole post planned about how breastfeeding is hard. . .and it is.  But it shouldn’t be–let  my experience be a reminder that breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.  To me it is the most natural, healthy, efficient, economical and beautiful way to feed a baby.  It is such a wonderful thing to know that this little person was created completely by me.  My husband gave some DNA at the beginning, but from fertilization-on, the ingredients for every cell in this little boy’s body came from me.  Inside my  body the placenta created nutrients; now it’s my milk.  Amazing!

But it hasn’t been an easy ride.  Pregnancy was pretty easy for me–I feel like my body is breaking down more now.  My wrist hurts, I have an ingrown fingernail and toenail (I’m guessing the infection comes from my tired immune system?).  I am still very aware of things ‘down there.’ My breasts hurt much of the day.  I was still taking 600mg of ibuprofin at 5 weeks post-partum to ‘take the edge off’ feeding–Not cool.  So yesterday I finally went in to see a lactation consultant.  The final straw was Wednesday night when the babe spit up a big pile of bright red blood.  He seems to be in perfect health, so the blood is most likely from me.

So we headed in and I was lucky to get my fave nurse/LC.  She is so nice and knowledgable.  She put us both right to ease.  The babe latched right on and the usual pain hit my nipples.  It’s hard to describe: like little knives flowing through my nipples.  She checked his latch and although he likes to fold his little lips in (rather then out in a fishy-face), things looked good.  But my nipples are shiny pink, one nipple is missing a chunk of skin, and the type of pain indicated a yeast infection–thrush.  I was surprised: thrush is usually described as white spots in baby’s mouth or constant nipple pain.  But it looks like I have thrush and babe doesn’t show sympotms.  He also has a small tongue-tie that may affect feeding.  When he finishes feeding (and he feeds well! he drank almost 4 oz while there!), my nipple is shaped like lipstick–this is a sign that he’s pushing them up against the roof of his motuth.  Also not cool.

So there are a lot of little things that we can point to that aren’t quite right.  But first and foremost is the (thrush.  So she said to stop by the drugstore and pick up Monostat 7 which treats yeast infections.  After each feeding, coat the nipples and things should clear up–and they are! There’s still pain, but it is getting better.  I don’t shout out (or cry) as each feeding begins.  The other awesome thing she gave me are breast shells which are plastic cups that sit over the nipples and protect them from anything touching them.  It allows them to air-dry (thus ridding them of the warm moist environment that yeast likes) and protects them from the evils of a bra.

And so today I am much happier.  I didn’t take any iburpofin.  I did take a bit of tylenol just to ease the transition. But things are looking up on the feeding front!

Meanwhile, baby is happy and satisfied–and growing like a weed!