The Golden Hour

Any parent can tell you the golden hour of the day is when the kids fall asleep.  Freedom!  It’s that time where you can read, watch a show, or maybe even just clean up the uneaten food they left all over the table in various bowls… 

This week our oldest had some kind of stomach virus.  (I swear it is because she won’t stop drinking the pool/bath water.) In addition to tummy troubles, she was restless, unable to sleep well, whiny, and overall, not very fun to be around. 

The third night, I literally gave my husband a high five as we walked home from a friend’s house.  The girls BOTH fell asleep in their strollers on the way home.  I began mentally planning what to do to fill up my golden hour.

Then the little monsters woke up.

I tried all my normal tricks: breastmilk, singing, fake sleeping, the silent treatment.  We took them out for another walk at 11:30pm, hoping they would fall back asleep.  Immediately I should have known we were in for a long one when Ale, looking around at all the dark houses, exclaimed loudly, “Heeeeey! What’s going on here?!  Why are all these people asleep?!”

Here are my monsters today. They took a break from plotting my nervous breakdown to be sweet with each other.

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Mommy Sandwich Every Night

  
This week my kid had her first ham sandwich.  I don’t typically buy sandwich meat from the deli counter, and if I ever do–it is turkey.  But my first day back to work called for a sandwich, and after a bite, Ale was a ham lover.  She seems to sense when a sandwich has been made, and after a bite or two, she slides over to snatch it from my hands.

Today she asked for a sandwich, and I told her we were out.  She said, with more than a little exasperation in her voice and eyes slightly buggy, “Do we have peanut butter?  Do we have jelly?  Put it together, and that’s a sandwich!

Now it is the finish of a long day, and I am lying in bed with my sweeties on both sides.  I can’t help thinking that this is the only sandwich I want: a mommy sandwich.  I can hear both of them breathing, and every once in a while, a little snore.  Ale is cuddled in her “big girl bed,” which is flush against our bed.  She has her Barbie (with wet hair after her bath) and her baby lying beside her.  (Baby had to come to bed with us tonight, because she wanted chichi.)

My chichi monster is on the other side of me.  She’s propped up on my boppy with her arms thrown up in the air.  Her binky is lodged between her ear and the pillow, where it fell when her suckling stopped.  She’s already kicked her blanket down below her feet, but soon she will be recovered to ensure her warmth in our air conditioned bedroom.  Her breathing is a bit erratic and is interrupted by little grunts.

Some people don’t like sleeping with others.  They say they sleep better alone.  Babies sleep in cribs with monitors allowing the parents mothers to listen from afar.  It is true that I will wake up half a dozen times tonight.  Josie will nurse at least twice.  But sleeping with Mama means that her stretches of sleep are around five hours.  Ale might have a nightmare; that has been happening lately.  Mami can soothe her right away with a little pat or a song.  Victor will come to bed in another hour or so, and that will wake me up too.  Someone may need a diaper change or a drink of water.  We can’t all sleep like a baby husband, so I will be awake at the slightest change in breathing.

I don’t mind.

Being the middle part of a mama sandwich is the best job around.  In fact, you might say that despite the love we have been showing sandwiches these days, a mama sandwich is still the most popular sandwich on the menu.

A Letter to Our New Baby

Dear Sweet Baby,

I am lying in bed in the middle of the day with you at my side.  You are starting to drift off to sleep, and your eyes keep fluttering shut.    Sissy is busy, and Daddy walked to the store, so we have a few minutes of just you and me. 

   

I can’t believe how much you’ve grown in nearly eight weeks!!  You have started to fill out, and your cheeks are so chubby!  I love watching your dimples when you flash a big smile at me when I talk to you.  

Tomorrow I leave you and Daddy for the first of many days where I have to go to work.  I don’t want to leave you, precious baby.  I don’t want to think about you growing without me, but I’ve been through this before:  Your first laugh will probably be at your silly daddy.  You will roll over with him as a witness.  You will reach out and grab his nose in wonder.  You will push up on all fours with Daddy watching you.  You will walk with Daddy, talk with your daddy, and play with Daddy at the park.  One day soon, I will come home and hear how big you are because of something new that you’ve done, and my heart will burst.  I will have to fake happiness, while secretly hiding my jealously.

For the next year, you and your daddy are going to be best friends. You will reach for him when you need something.  He will be the one to dry your little eyes and comfort you when you fall down.  Daddy will be your hero, and that’s okay.  He’s my favorite too.

Mama will steal moments with you at night while everyone else is asleep.  You and I will put your sister and daddy to bed; when they are fast asleep, we will get up and sneak out of the room.  We will cuddle together on the couch, and I will nurse you until the sandman visits you with dreams too. 

  
You’re asleep now, my love, and I hope you’re dreaming of me, because you are what MY dreams are made of.  

Love,

Your mama (on the eve of her return to work)

A Birth Story, Part Four (The Birth)

When I booked the reservation at the hotel, something told me that my little girl would cut our visit short.  I completely relaxed during that final day, and perhaps that is what coaxed my littlest love to arrive: a mommy’s body doesn’t cooperate well when it is in a stressful situation.

(*See footnote for explanation of “Ding Dang Baby.”)

My contractions began at around 11pm, and I just continued to read while relaxing in bed.  They seemed pretty steady though, and I mentioned them to Victor about an hour later.  He asked if I wanted to go home.  I didn’t really see the need of abandoning our hotel room until we knew for sure this was it.  I also wasn’t in a hurry: Ale took forever to be born, so I thought we had plenty of time ahead of us.

Ale was asleep, so I just continued to monitor the situation without waking her.  Finally, I decided I would use the app on my phone.  It helped me to realize that maybe we were further along than expected.  Around 2:30am we started the process of cleaning up and packing up the hotel.  Ale awoke and couldn’t understand why we couldn’t go swimming.  She had started the day wearing her swimsuit and tutu, and at this point was dancing around the hotel room wired.  I had been telling her for a month that her sister was “coming soon,” so she was pretty unphased.  That is until the contractions were strong enough for me to need to stop and breath.  “Mama, stop!  Stop doing that!” she said more than once.

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This was our last family photo before Josie was born.  Victor was a little irritated that I wanted a photo during my labor–so there was no time for a retake!

Victor called his mom to let her know I was in labor, and I called the midwife as we were leaving the hotel.  I also notified my mom and sister, as promised.  Clearly it was the middle of the night, as both of them asked me if I was going to go home…  Umm, no, I thought I would I would just use the bathtub here.  

This chat spans a couple of hours.

I not-so-patiently checked out of the hotel.  Contractions were pretty strong, and I had to stop to breath through them several times during the process.   I would feel one beginning, and tell the middle-aged man behind the counter, “Excuse me.”  Then I would turn my back on him, walk to the wall, hold on, and breath for a minute.  When the contraction subsided, I walked back, smiled, and apologized.

The taxi arrived and I joined my family outside.  (My husband must have been a little nervous.  He let my toddler pee in front of the hotel before getting in he taxi.  No time for a bathroom break! No sir!)  The ride home was pretty quick.  I sat in the front seat just to continue making middle-aged Mexican men uncomfortable.

We arrived home and began getting the room ready.  Remember when I said I thought we had plenty of time?  Well, we didn’t prepare the room before leaving for the hotel… So there we were, 3:30 in the morning getting everything in order.  I went through the baby basket and cleaned off the table in our room.  (By “cleaned off the table,” I actually mean I swept everything into a bag and stashed it in the closet.)  I am pretty sure Victor swept and mopped.  Finally, I took a permanent break from getting the room ready to concentrate on getting my body ready.

 My contractions were strong.  I know this next part sounds crazy, so don’t judge me: As a contraction would start, I would imagine a tall skinny man.  That’s what it felt like.  The contraction was like a long line that went down my back.  With my hands braced against the wall, I would start at his head and breath my way down his body.  Weird, I know.  It helped though, a coping mechanism of sorts.  I also nodded my head as I breathed, so I am pretty sure I looked nuts too.

The bathroom was nice because it was dark and private, but at this point it felt good to stand up.  I didn’t want to bend over, lay against the sink/wall, squat on the toilet, etc.  It felt good to stand straight pushing out to my sides with both hands against the doorframe.  My midwife arrived and did a quick check on the baby.

She, her crew, and Victor worked in the bedroom to get the pool set up and filled.  I literally didn’t see my husband again until the baby was born.  My labor was requiring all my concentration, and I didn’t have a break or all the time in the world to chit-chat like I did with Ale.  Finally I asked if the tub was ready, and continued my labor there.

I have sweet memories of Ale during this time.  She would check on me during contractions.  A couple times I remember her getting right down in my face and smiling a big, fake, slightly terrified looking smile.  I was aware that she was there and needed some reassurance.  I would smile back (I think, although it was probably more of a grimace.), tell her I was fine, and let her know baby sister would be there soon.  She joined me, bathing suit and all, in the birthing tub.  My midwife showed her how to pour water on my back during the contractions.  At some point, she got out and fell asleep in the next room.  Later I found out that she refused to remove her bathing suit before sleeping.

In the pool my contractions changed.  They weren’t a tall, skinny man anymore.  They morphed into a short, fat man.  Instead of long pain, it was horizontal and stretched across my back.  The short, fat man wasn’t nearly as nice as the tall guy. The coolest thing is that depending on my pain, my midwife knew where the baby was.  She didn’t make me get out of the water to check the progress, because she could tell the labor was progressing.  She also didn’t check to see that I was dilated, so I have no idea how far along I was.

It seemed like I was in the birthing tub for hours.  Later, Tirsa (the midwife) told me it was only about an hour.  I laid down a while, like one might in a bathtub.  Then Tirsa said it could help to change my position and move my hips.  I would ask questions like, “Why is there no break?” “Why does it only hurt on one side?”  She would just answer, and we would rest until the next contraction.  She applied counter pressure to by lower back and hips during the contractions, as well as pouring the warm water over my back.  I was on my knees while lying against the side of the tub.  I remember somehow working my way from one side of the tub to the other.

I didn’t voice these thoughts aloud, but in my head I thought, “Never again.” “I understand why women like drugs,” etc.  When I started getting the urge to push it seemed unreal.  With Ale I would push, then fall asleep in between contractions.  With Josie, there was no time!  I remember telling everyone I felt like I needed to poop.  (A bit embarrassing now…)  Tirsa said, “That’s because your baby is coming!”  Someone got my errant husband, and he held me at the end.  Three contractions back-to-back and Josie arrived!  I was on my knees, so they helped her swim between my legs to the front.  I laid back, and put her on my chest.  Wow.  That feeling.  Even writing about it now makes me tingle inside.

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The hours after her birth were amazing too.

I had watched this really inspiring video about the breast crawl, and I wanted to see if it worked.  We moved to the bed and placed Josie on my chest.  It was totally cool!  Within 30 minutes she latched onto my breast.  I delivered the placenta, but it was just placed into a bag alongside of us.  I don’t remember when we cut the cord, but it was so calm in the room, it wasn’t a big deal!  I moved to rest against the wall, and we continued to work on breastfeeding.  I had (mistakenly) thought that after nursing Ale for 2 years and 4 months, I would be a pro.  Wrong.  Feeding a newborn is no task for the faint-hearted!

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I feel like I should reiterate how calm it was.  Maybe I felt calmer because it was my second baby, but the general atmosphere of the room (and the people present) was peaceful with Josie.  I had a home birth and water birth with Ale, but it wasn’t exactly the calmest environment.  In fact, Josie’s entire labor was MUCH calmer.  When it was over, I almost immediately felt like I could do it again.

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Ale meets her sister, Joselyn Victoria.  (Josie’s name is a combination of my brother, Joseph, and my sister, Jenny Lyn.  Her middle name is in honor of her Papi, Victor.)

I have so enjoyed looking back over the photos.  The following photos are of the hours/days following Joselyn’s arrival:

 

 

 

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Josie is one day old! (Yes, she’s at McDonald’s.  We took her sister there after registering Josie’s birth with the powers that be…)

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Ale’s special Big Sister cake that she helped to make. (Because only BIG girls get to cook with Mami–not babies.)

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Daddy and Josie!

 

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Sister still likes to poke the baby’s cheeks! I blame that on old Mexican women who always grab her cheeks. 😉

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Abuela and Josie; My mother-in-law is something special.  Upon meeting Josie, she THANKED me.  It still makes tears come to my eyes to think about it!

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Los Abuelos! Having them here for Josie’s birth was really special.

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Sweet girl…

* “Ding Dang Baby” is from a Jacqueline Woodson book, Pecan Pie Baby.  I read the book when I was pregnant, and I sat and cried in my office.  It is all about a sister who isn’t overly excited about the birth of her sibling.  She calls him a “Ding Dang Baby.”  I was really worried about Ale being hurt or feeling replaced by Josie.  After reading the book to my mom, we often referred to Josie as the “Ding Dang Baby.”  This is an AMAZING book, by the way.

** I am SO happy I have these text messages with Mama and Jenny.  Not only do they remind me of details, but they provide quite a bit of comic relief!

A Year In Review

Tonight marks my two year anniversary south of the border!  Wow!  It’s hard to believe that I was once that excited young gringa–jaded by the educational system and failed relationships in the north on her way to adventure in Chiapas!  Two years ago, I packed my bags for six months.  My friend made the comment that I could do anything for six months.  “Even if you hate it,” she said, “You only have to be there six months.”  Shortly before this, her husband had remarked that we would soon know where I belonged.  I remind myself of how broken I was–and how willing I was to be placed where God needed me the most.   That was December 31, 2011

20120108-172130.jpgMy first meeting in Chiapas.  These kids were the nephews and grand daughter of the lady who had the meeting.  A lady that we grew to love so much!

20120110-154202.jpgMy second graders at The American School Foundation of Chiapas spoke little to no english.  In order to teach them procedures, I had to make these signs.  I practiced not speaking at all (super hard for me, but effective).  I came to Mexico with a couple of phrases, but I had to learn fast!

My first year in Mexico proved to be exceptional!  Shortly after arriving, I fell in love… with the country!  It wasn’t long before I met my husband and we decided to tough it out.  (It helps when it isn’t that tough, eh?)  I returned to the United States without him–pregnant and hoping to land a job.  And I did!  It just wasn’t in the United States!  Victor and I moved to the northern state of Coahuila, and I began teaching here.  We struggled some those early months–mostly with money and the lack of support that I initially felt from my employer.  That took us to December 31, 2012.  One year in Mexico!

20120121-162216.jpgI always felt like it was rude to take pictures of the indigenous people in San Cristobal.  I didn’t want to be THAT gringa.  This doesn’t even really show a fraction of how wonderful and lively it is there!

20120324-204953.jpgVictor and I met in San Cristobal.  The rest is history…

(Sidenote:  My one year in Mexico is also my husband’s one year in Mexico.  He arrived just a week before me, and we are patiently waiting out his ten-year ban.  It sounds so harsh, huh?)

It’s been strange to read on Facebook status updates how horrible 2013 was for people.  I feel almost displaced from their happiness–but I do understand what it feels like to have several wrong turns on your road to bliss.  How blessed I feel to be in this country with my family!  What a full year this has been!

January 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVictor and I started 2013 with our civil ceremony.

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February 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Victor and I went to a hotel for my birthday.  Really, it was just so that I could get a good bath.  How nice it was to get in the pool!  I felt weightless (obviously, I wasn’t…)

March 2013

birth.jpgOur little Alexandria swam into the world a couple months later.  Having a water birth was ahhhh-mazing!  Being able to have Ale at home was great too!  I was able to sleep in my own bed!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAle’s first visit with the workers who were in town for Special Meeting.  She was one week old here!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpecial Meeting (Ale’s first meeting) with a special visitor who swooped in to save the day!

April 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe took Ale’s first trip to Monterrey to get her American birth certificate and passport.  We met some of the sweet friends, and Victor had his first gospel meeting!  He was astonished by all the young people.

May 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVictor made his choice to serve God known to our little church.  

June 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAle traveled to the United States where her best friend tried to eat her upon meeting her.

July 2013

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IMG_0642We’ve been to visit both families–and ALMOST all of Ale’s cousins, aunts, and uncles (short one cousin and one uncle).  This is Ale with her abuelos in Chiapas.

August 2013

IMG_0860We settled into our “new” house, and started a new school year.

September 2013

20130918-172659.jpgWe went to Alexandria’s first convention. 

IMG_0834And she cut her first teeth…

October 2013

IMG_1615Mommy’s first work trip away.  Guess who wasn’t upset at all?

IMG_1653Ale’s first Halloween–dressed as the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

November 2013

20131128-222758.jpgMy first Thanksgiving away from home.  Ale’s first Thanksgiving.  And Victor’s first Thanksgiving in Mexico!

December 2013

Ale_Dec3113.jpgAle has made us squeal with joy, and she just gets better everyday.

Poop Poop Everywhere

My husband likes to take my daughter’s diaper off and let her roll around naked.  Apparently, this is a Chiapanecan thing.  He says she needs some air on her nether region in order to keep from getting diaper rash.  And I don’t totally disagree…  BUT I can’t help but sigh in exasperation when she does it again.

Alexandria has pooped or peed nearly everywhere and on everything.  Furthermore, I breastfeed her.  So her poop is this really slimy yellow liquid.  Not exactly what you want to clean off:

1)  Our first bed–  this was the bed that we were in right after Ale’s arrival.  We moved to a different bed the first weekend.  She pooped or peed (or both), and Victor had to wash all the covers in the middle of the night.

2)  Our second bed– we change her diaper here most often.  That means this is where husband-0f-mine likes to let her air out and “exercise.”  It wasn’t long before he decided to get a mattress cover (Not a fancy normal mattress cover–but a sheet of table-cloth material from the Tela Store).

3)  Her Daddy– I like to sing, “Poo-poo on Daddy!”  When Victor lets Ale get a little breeze–he also will tend to carry her around naked. So more than once I’ve heard, “Oh no!”  Then he comes to show me poop on his leg.  “Look what she did!  She pooped on me again!” he will say proudly.

4)  Her play carpet– we bought this carpet because our floors here are tile.  I wanted to have a place for Alexandria to lay down and really get exercise.  Yesterday Victor had her naked (Do you notice a trend here?) when she began crying.  I always take my shoes off when I step onto the carpet–and lucky for me!  I found out the hard way that she had peed all-over everything!  (Seriously, how do baby girls a) pee so much, and b) really shoot it out there?)

Our daughter doesn’t have to have her diaper off when she makes one (I like it in Spanish when they talk about dirtying a diaper–that’s how they say it.)  She likes to really spread the love:

5)  All over the nice lady we stayed with in Monterrey during meeting–  I look over thinking that she’s handing me Ale just to see something dripping down into the floor.  Oh yes, explosive diaper.  All over the front of Rosario’s skirt and all over the cute outfit she was wearing…

6)  On her breastfeeding pillow–  I like to prop her up on this thing.  She holds her head up and will push with her legs.  Actually, she catapulted herself over the top the other day.  The same day I had to wash the cover–thanks to a little squirt (Not a nickname–just the verb…)

You know the one place she hasn’t made her mark yet?  On me.  I am really hoping to keep it that way…

My Amazing Husband (Is Still Alive)

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I thank my lucky stars that my husband and I didn’t really have a volatile relationship prior to the birth of our precious daughter.  Because were that the case, one of us would be dead right now.  Probably the one of us that doesn’t wake up to feed our daughter throughout the night…

See, this is the thing about a Blakley:  we need our sleep.  Alex gets sleep–she just chooses to do it all during the day.  She likes to wake up around one and stay awake until 3.  This is right when Mami and Papi are the most tired.  I think she does it on purpose.  Somehow she’s getting back at us for something we must have done to upset her.  So when Mami wakes up to feed Ale, she doesn’t mind at all.  She just doesn’t understand why (unlike every other time she nurses) Ale doesn’t fall right back to sleep.  What makes the nights so much fun?

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Honestly, I don’t mind nursing at all–it’s great!  What I don’t understand is how my husband can snore through her cries and whimpers.  He only wakes up when I get frustrated, and then it’s to impart his fatherly wisdom:  “Who told you that you got to sleep when you have a baby?”  Well, husband, one of us IS sleeping.  That’s the problem.  

I actually did get up and leave the room early in the night.  I thought, “Well, we don’t BOTH need to be awake.”  And thank goodness!  Because after a particularly difficult night, I passed her off after I fed her this morning–and Daddy had baby duty.  Mami snoozed the morning away!

Victor has been amazing, actually.  He’s totally the man for diaper changes.  So much, that I don’t remember the last time I changed her diaper.  Even during the night (if he’s awake), he changes her and sneaks her back over to my side of the bed.  It’s just those comments about being tired that really get my panties in a wad.  Really, husband?  You’re tired?!  Pssh!  One of us woke up every two hours last night to feed our fat daughter that you think is starving…  Guess who?

 

Baby Weight: Gaining and Losing

4_1_13_1Breastfeeding mamas live for the scales.  Or maybe I should clarify: they live for their child to be weighed on the scales.  (That’s if things are going well, of course.)

A week and a half ago, I decided to ignore all that I’ve read about breastfeeding.  This was at my mom’s insistence, and I wish I had done that sooner.  I knew in my gut that things were fine–so why was I holding myself to someone else’s rules?  So what if my baby sleeps longer than three hours–she eats a ton, and she’s totally happy!  She isn’t crying for more, and she looks at me with completely satisfied eyes.  (Mom will love to read this after telling me over and over, “Jania, she’s happy! Look at her!  She’s getting enough to eat!“)

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I also broke “the rules” by giving her a pacifier within 24 hours of her birth and a bottle a week after she was born.  It hurt me to see her take the bottle–as if I was less than a great mom because her breast-milk had to be pumped for a while.  It took me a while to get over that too–she was (is) getting breast-milk ..that was (is) the important thing!

I couldn’t wait  for our one month appointment–it’s still a week away!  Especially when we noticed her little double chin and chubby legs.  Yesterday we went to the mall and I voluntarily weighed myself.  (Hooray!  Baby weight is leaving!)  Then I weighed myself with her.  We repeated the same thing with Victor, and the results were consistent!  Our little chubs has gained some weight!  She weighs over nine pounds now!

It’s pretty funny: we spend the first part of our lives with people celebrating every pound we gain.  And the rest of our lives mourning when the numbers on the scale get bigger.  Glad that our weigh-in was a happy occasion for us both!

My Milkshake Brings All the Babies to the Yard

Moving past day one and two of breastfeeding–and my worries continue…

The baby seemed SO hungry!  She would cry and root around, and cry and root around.  I nursed her yesterday as much as I could with hopes of bringing in the elusive 72 hour milk.  I googled, “How do I know when my milk is in?.  Don’t bother.  It doesn’t tell you much.  What it does let you know is that Mom was right: Women everywhere apparently worry about this.  Some women say their milk doesn’t even come until 7 days!  Aagh!

The doctor gave me some comfort when she told me that the baby was latched on well.  But then she said, “If you need formula, don’t feel bad!” Strangely enough, formula hasn’t been tempting.  I just keep telling myself that God made my body, and I have all the tools I need to feed my baby.  And then I pray earnestly because I worry that I am starving Alexandria.

Victor was equally concerned yesterday–although that was probably my fault.  He would say, “She is so hungry because she doesn’t have enough milk!”  Then he would bring me water and food.  When he came home from school last night, he had an extra pep in his step.  He said, “Honey, you’re going to have so much milk!  Look what I brought you!” Then he proceeded to pull out of his bag our supper and three cans of beer.  Three different cans of beer, because he has no idea what I would like.

Apparently, he talked to his sister on the phone while at school.  She called to check to see how the baby was.  “Oh, she’s fine except she’s hungry because Jania doesn’t have enough milk.” Thanks, Love.  She told him that it was normal, and again mentioned formula.  Then his new friend (whom he just met last week) told him to get me beer.  I didn’t really have the heart to tell my husband that he doesn’t have to tell everyone my lactation problems…

I worried extra because Ale hadn’t peed or pooped all day.  All the information (which I shouldn’t have read in the first place) tells you to worry if there is a lack of waste.  So…worry is all I did!  My solution was to take her diaper off.  (We’re using the disposables that someone bought me while she’s new, and really they’re too absorbent.)  Before bed, I stripped her down and wrapped her in a blanket.  We nursed while going to sleep (which was amazing), but were awakened in the middle of the night.  I reached over to grab her, and encountered a laguna in the middle of the bed.  Phrase number one I never thought I would say, “Yay!  Honey, she peed all over the bed!”

Victor was equally excited, and playfully scolded her for all the extra work that she made him do in the middle of the night.  We moved to the other bedroom, but honestly, we were both so happy that she was eating and peeing, that we just talked in between her feedings rather than take advantage of sleep time.  Victor even started the laundry.  At one point, he had been gone a while, and I came out to see him mopping.  Turns out that worrying about her was really taking a toll on the two of us.  I gloried in being awakened every two hours to her rooting for chichi–especially when I realized that the hardness I was feeling must be my milk.  Her satisfied face makes the excruciating pain worthwhile, and my husband even said, “Now she’s sleeping because she isn’t so hungry!”

And the fun continues.  After a night of nursing upon demand, I was so happy to see her little face this morning looking at me like I was her own personal milk jug.  We’ve nursed all day, and it has paid off!  Phrase number two I never thought I would say happened midway through the day.  “Hooray!  That’s the biggest poop ever!”   I even saved it so Papi can see.  He’s going to be so proud.

Breastfeeding Woes of a New Mommy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlexandria asleep on a pillow in my lap–after hours (literally) of nursing/suckling.

Only when you have a home-birth can you be this relaxed to post an update the day your daughter is born… Man, that sounds weird.  I have a daughter?

Today was the day!  Alexandria Irene joined us after a day and night of waiting!  Funny–today was in between my day 2 choice for her birth, and my day 3 choice: St. Paddy’s Day.  I can still count her as my little good luck charm though.  I just hope her stubbornness through her birth is foreshadowing of a lifetime to come!

Wow.  Can we just pause for a moment and laugh at the fact that I wrote this three days ago.  Then promptly got caught up in my baby’s needs and was unable to post anything.  For three days…

She’s perfect, by the way.

Day two was really rough.  We started it out by calling my mama crying.  I couldn’t figure out how to get her to wake up, latch on, and try to eat.  All I could think of was that I had wasted an entire day–and that all of the breastfeeding guides, blogs, and advice tell you that you should ensure proper latch within hours of birth.  Every woman in the world feels like this when she starts breastfeeding, Jania.  That’s why so many women quit in the first couple days.  I listened to my Mama (professional breastfeeder), and got to work.

Victor actually did a lot of the work.  I tried to figure out how to hold her, how to hold my chichi, and how to get her connected.  He stood by with a wet washcloth and pestered her awake.  He pulled her lips out for me to make sure she was latching like a fish.  And he told me what a great Mama I was–and that soon it would get easier.  He has fed me (literally) for the last three mornings as I feed our baby.  It must be getting old though, because today I had oatmeal running down my chin.

When I was still expecting, we would laugh because Alexandria would always move at night.  She would be as still as could be during the day, but when I would lay down to sleep–the party began.  She seems to still think this is when Mama and Papi want to play, and talk, and sing…  Last night we went through the same thing over and over.  Her crying and acting like I hadn’t been nursing for an hour.  Me sitting up and attaching her once more.  Her falling asleep.  Me laying her down and trying to close my eyes.  Her waking up and starting all over again.  I just kept telling myself, This is okay.  The more she suckles–the more milk I’ll have.  Let’s hope that’s true–because we’re still waiting…

Early this morning–around three o’clock– I decided I would just go in the other room so at least one of us got some sleep.  Victor came too.  We were talking about how wonderful she is, when he laughed and said, “Remember when we kept waking her up to eat?”   Ha!  Trust my husband to put everything into perspective.