“‘Cause you got personality.”

That’s right, folks, B has personality!

It basically developed today after Daddy went to work.

We had a few visitors.  One was our friend Caroline.  Caroline is very pretty and very good at talking to babies.  B decided then and there he should insta-crush on her.  Sitting in Caroline’s lap, he gazed at her, mesmerized.  He could not stop smiling and gurgling. B is ALL ABOUT Caroline.  It is the most smile-y I’ve ever seen him!

Later this afternoon, we Skyped with my parents and he was absolutely thrilled.  He had loads of stories to tell them.  He babbled quite a bit and seemed to love listening to their voices and watching their faces.

Hello Nonnie!  Hello Poppa! You two are fabulous!  I’m excited to hang out this summer!  Me?  I’m well!  Slept a LOT of hours last night.  Did some tummy time while Mommy read “Everywhere Babies.”  Started sucking on my fists.  Graduated from muslin swaddles to sleep sacks this week.  You know…baby stuff.


Working for the weekend.

My first weeks alone with B I was definitely working for the weekend.

It is exhausting being home alone with a newborn.  And that whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” advice is just not realistic.  Generally, if B takes a nap in the early morning (say between 7:30 and 8:30), I can get in twenty minutes or so of my own sleep between pumping, feeding myself, finding a hair tie and putting on clean underwear.  Then B wakes up again for another meal and we start the process all over again.  Nurse, play, sleep.

And there are other things I’d rather be doing while he’s napping, like taking him and me for a walk outside or checking my email.

I’m definitely doing better now that we’re in week five.  I have figured out a bit of a rhythm with B during the weekdays (not a schedule, mind you, just a rhythm) but know there will be days when C comes home and the house is in chaos and we are too.  Today, for example, he came home and I was holding B in the rocking chair in the nursery.  B was on the verge of hysterics.  I was singing camp songs and what I remember of the Sesame Street theme song–B was not impressed.  The living room was littered with cardboard books and blankets.

Still, the weekends are the best.  When C is home I feel much more at ease.  If B is crying, I can hand him over (dad burps him best).  I can take a shower (take that, Janice!)  I can have C hand me my water while I nurse or he can make me a grilled cheese sandwich.

Together is definitely better for the three of us!

Little Giraffe…for all!

Benjamin has received many lovely gifts from friends and family and friends of friends and family.  It’s been incredibly touching.  He is surrounded by so much love.

A gift we received a few weeks ago from friends of Chris’s mother was a Little Giraffe ‘Luxe Dot’ Blanket.  It is gorgeous.  It is soft and warm and the ribbon around it makes me want to go back to my childhood for a night or two.


All I could think of after I opened the gift and held it to my cheek was, wouldn’t it be wonderful if they made this for adults?

And then I went on their website and GUESS WHAT?  They do.

LuxeThrow_forgrownupsSave your pennies, people.  This blanket is amazing!

(And made in the United States!)

Nursing B.

The moment B was born he was placed on my chest — his skin to my skin.  He was not rinsed off or wrapped up.  He was given to me just as he was.  It was exactly what I wanted.

I held him close while he wailed.  After a little bit, C cut his umbilical cord and the baby nurse came in.  She showed B how to latch on and gave me some guidance on how to hold him while nursing.

It was difficult.

A few hours later when we were in our room, after another nursing session,  it downright HURT.  Nursing made me cry.  The next morning my breasts were bruised.

I did not recall any of this hurting business as material from the three-hour breastfeeding course C and I took before we had B.

On day two the hospital sent in a lactation consultant at my request.  I’ll call her Janice to protect her identity because I was not her biggest fan.  The first time Janice came to my room I was in the shower and C was holding a sleeping B.  She told C to tell me that my “days of leisurely showers are over” and that she’d be back.

When she returned, Janice shoved my breasts around and pretty much jammed B’s mouth onto my nipples.  He was crying.  I was crying.  Chris was helplessly watching.

I left the hospital sore, but satisfied that B was doing well and had a proper latch.  He’d only lost 2.3% of his body weight during our stay and the normal is anywhere between five and ten percent.  I felt confident that I knew what I was doing.

Then my milk “came in.”  I suffered nearly immediate engorgement.

Holy cow.  It was awful.

C and I were panicked that we may have to go to the emergency room because the pain I was experiencing seemed so severe — heightened by nerves and hormones.  I began frantically writing Facebook messages and emails and texts to nursing friends for advice and to see what on earth this was all about.  The hospital did not warn me about engorgement and what to do to help myself when my milk came in.

I looked all over the internet for guidance.  Hot compresses before feedings, ice packs after.  Make sure the baby keeps nursing.  What if the baby can’t latch on because it’s too hard for him because there is so much milk?  Just keep trying.  Pump if you need to, but don’t pump too much otherwise you’ll stimulate over-production. How much is too much when it comes to pumping?

I pumped.  I iced and warmed.  I put a cabbage leaves in my bra.  The engorgement went away within 40 hours, but the pain didn’t stop for a few weeks and sometimes I cried while nursing, especially at night.

Then one day, at about two weeks, we turned a corner.  Things became easier and calmer.  B and I fell into a routine.  He knew his favorite position and I understood how it was supposed to feel–not exactly comfortable, but definitely not painful.

Janice, for all her short comings as a very aggressive lactation consultant, did give me one piece of good advice I’m glad I took.  ”Get a My Brest Friend.”  It’s a nursing pillow with lumbar support that clips around your torso.  It’s like a wearable shelf for your nursing baby.  B loves it.  I love it too.  It’s hilarious looking.

Overall, at the beginning of week four, I feel much better and am enjoying our quiet time nursing every few hours.  It is my favorite time of day (and night).  It is intimate and loving and I have a sense of incredible purpose knowing I’m giving B the very best of me.

“Oh I wish I were a little sip ‘a coke!”

I don’t know many lullabies.

There are a few songs I know by rote, but lullabies aren’t in my repertoire.

However, I do know summer camp songs — some very well.  They were a pretty big part of my childhood.  During much of my youth, Wednesdays after dinner I’d spend at Girl Scout troop meetings in the basement of the Lutheran church.  When I was a Junior Girl Scout, we’d begin and end meetings singing peppy fun songs that prepared us for summer scout camp.  By the time we got to camp, we knew the words and all the extra-silly verses.

Yesterday, I was driving a screaming baby boy to Wash Park for an early morning walk with two other mommies and their babes.  He was not happy, having been woken up from a quick nap so I could put him in a sleeper.

By the time we got to 8th and Corona, he was bananas baby in the back seat.  After saying things like, “Oh Benjamin, why are you crying, baby boy?” and “Darling boy, please don’t get worked up…”  I did what I had to do, and started singing him camp songs.

It worked!  By 1st and Downing he was asleep.  Or maybe he was pretending to be asleep so I’d stop singing.  Either way.

I sang, “Oh I Wish,” and “I Went to a Chinese Restaurant.”  I also sung him what I remembered of “The Cannibal King.”

The songs are silly and fun and plain strange.  Luckily, my audience didn’t seem to mind.

Maybe one day he’ll be singing them around a campfire like I used to…


Oh I wish

Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap (bar of soap)
Oh I wish I was a little bar of soap (bar of soap)

I’d go slippy, slippy, slidey over everybody’s hiney
Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap (bar of soap)

Slice of orange…I’d go squirty, squirty, squirty over everybody’s shirty…

Sip of Coke..I’d go down with a slurp, and come up with a burp…

Church pigeon…I’d get up on the steeple and go “pfffft” on the people…

I went to a Chinese restaurant (a partner clapping really bizarre song)

I went to a Chinese restaurant to buy a loaf of bread-bread-bread
He wrapped it up in a brown paper bag and this is what he said-said-said

My name is…
huckleberry full of whiskey
Chinese chopsticks ciao!

(and that’s all I remember!)

The Cannibal King (warning: PG-13 lyrics!)

The Cannibal King with a big nose ring
Fell in love with a dusty maid
And every night by the pale moon light
Across the lake he wade

He hugged and kissed his pretty little miss
Under the bamboo tree
And every night by the pale moon light
It sounded like this to me

Ba-roomp, Ba-roomp
Ba-roomp, ah-de ah-de ay

Ba-roomp, Ba-roomp
Ba-roomp, ah-de ah-de ay

We are not alone.

Week three is in full swing here and we’re all doing okay!  Yesterday we brought baby out a few times — to Chef Zorba’s and then for a long walk in Wash Park.  Denver did its thing and gave us a beautiful 70-degree Sunday after a snowstorm dumped a few inches over city rooftops on Friday.  The park was packed with runners and bikers and volleyball players.  I lost count of the number of baby strollers.

We have been experiencing what are commonly called baby’s witching hour(s) with B.  We tend to experience this common newborn issue in the hours between the late afternoon nursing session and our seven p.m. bedtime each day.  He is fed, he is dry, he is being rocked and held and loved on…and he’s crying, even screaming.  No one told us about this in the baby care classes we took.

It is difficult to hear B cry.  Period.  I love him and I want to give him what he needs.  It’s especially hard when C comes home to us and B is inconsolable.  ”Has it been like this all day?” The answer is no.  We wake up, we nurse, we play and read and lay on our tummies.  We nap, we do it all over again.  Warmer days, we take walks.  We do a lot of nursing, and that’s a calm, quiet time.

I finally got a chance to catch up on a blog I read often, &Kathleen.  She and I were a few weeks apart in our pregnancies and it was a comfort to read the details of someone who was going through a similar situation for the first time as well.  Imagine my interest when I saw this post, titled Witching Hour.  Phew.  We are not alone.

Newborns are basically on information-overload from the moment they leave the womb.  There is so much stimulation.  So much noise.  So much to learn.  It’s exhausting for them.  Because communication is not a strong suit for these little tiny babes yet, the only way they can deal with their unhappiness and tiredness after being overly stimulated throughout the day is to cry…and cry and cry.

Throw a gross green diaper or a little gas in there and the game is all over.

The good news is that this phase shouldn’t last forever and as Benjamin continues to grow, he will learn how to tell us what he needs and become better at self-soothing.  And we will hopefully figure out his signals (before we enter the hour) to put him to bed without the incredible upset.

The UN-happiest baby on the block.

Thursday was a very difficult day at Base Camp B.  Our baby was unhappy.

It started Wednesday night when I noticed some green mucus in his diaper.  We looked it up in our “first year” book and confirmed it was newborn diarrhea.  Our normally placid little guy turned into a crying, screaming, super upset baby.

From six a.m. to noon he had nine wet-plus diapers.  He was so uncomfortable and I felt terrible for him.  Luckily, it was diaper service pick-up day, so I could say sayonara to the really yucky diapers we’d collected that morning.

I  called the nurse at our pediatrician’s practice who said her only concern was B’s moodiness as he’s usually pretty low-key.  She said I’d have to give it 24 hours.

The only thing that comforted B was nursing, which I understood because every bit of food going in was going right through.  By the time C got home both B and I were were in tears.

But then, we had a pretty good night.

And after that, we had a better morning.  We slept, we ate, we slept more.  Let’s hope this trend keeps up!  Today is a snowy day in Mile High and we’re happily camped out in the living room.

Two weeks in.

Get ready for it.

This is Base Camp B.

My mom is staying in the nursery while she’s helping us take care of things and we have B sleeping in the Pack N’ Play in our room.  We hear every movement, every coo, every snort.  We respond by waking up and looking at him and whispering to each other.

“Did you see him move?”
“Do you think he’s cold?”
“Is he dreaming?”
“Should we pick him up?”
“Do you think he’s wet?”
“Should I feed him now?”

B is the center of our world.  I can absolutely understand why some parents are dubbed “helicopter.”  I don’t want anyone breathing on him, letting him cry, doubting his potential, being anything but kind to him.

When daytime comes we all generally set up on the sofa for nursing and reading and rocking.  We have B nap in the living room so he understands that the bedroom is for night sleeping and the swing is for day sleeping.  I’m not sure this is making much of a difference, but everything we read about routine says you can’t start early enough.  And as a result, our living room is baby central.

These past two weeks we’ve learned a lot about B and I imagine he’s learned a lot about us!

B likes being rocked and patted on the back, the Fisher-Price Snugapuppy SwingLook, Look! books by Peter Linenthal, walks in the park and at the gardens, and regular-flavored breastmilk.

B dislikes onion-flavored breast milk, being put down before he’s actually asleep, waiting around (for more than 30 seconds) in a wet diaper.

We continue to be in love and do not want my mother to leave us.  Please stay, Mommy, and send for Dad.

On B.

We welcomed Benjamin George to our family on his due date, Valentine’s Day, at 1:01 a.m.  He was 7 lbs. 12 oz., 20 3/4 in.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the love to take over and we’ve been staring at him ever since.  We keep saying to each other, “Can you believe WE made HIM?”  He is perfect in every way.  A beautiful little mister with dark blue-gray eyes like the Atlantic and a sweet-smelling head of dark brown hair.

On the hospital…

I’m not going to write B’s birth story here.  If you want to know more about it, you can meet me for coffee some time in the distant future and I’ll tell you all.  What I will tell you is that the stay I had after the delivery was very, very good.  Nurses are incredible people.  Every nurse we had we loved — through labor and delivery and postpartum.  I wanted to take two home with us.  It was overall a very good experience!

On sleep at home…

There isn’t a whole lot of sleeping going on here.  We are averaging probably an hour at a time.  Today, we both took naps.  At one feeding last night Chris said to me, “I feel like I just closed my eyes.”  Yawn!  B eats every two and a half to three hours and it takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to feed him.

On breastfeeding…

Well, it’s hard, but it’s getting better.  One of the lactation specialists in the hospital told us the first two weeks are hands down the hardest when it comes to breastfeeding.  That is why most women give up during this time.  Engorgement (when your milk “comes in”) came for me right on schedule and I was unprepared for how painful it was.  Of course, it all happened at night and there is no hotline you can call to see if everything you’re experiencing is normal.  Every website and book has differing opinions on how to relieve the pain of engorgement.  I was desperately writing to other friends who are currently breast feeding and looking for information I could agree with and work with.  Some books say to pump to relieve the engorgement, others say not to because you could mess with your production and end up over-producing milk.  My panic came after I realized the ONLY way I have to feed our baby is with my breasts.  I was not taught how to properly hand-express in the hospital and it was painful when I attempted it.  Finally, I pumped — twice — at three minutes at a time.  All seems well now and we’re back to it on the feeding schedule.

On lullabies…

Our pediatrician does not make rounds at the suburban hospital where we delivered, so we saw her Monday morning at 10:30, right around one of B’s mid-morning feedings.  We knew he would break down and he did, right after his temperature was taken (you-know-where).  I figured it would be just fine to feed him before we saw the physician, but I wasn’t sure.  I do imagine that second-, third-time parents just do what they need to do when they need to do it but I’m still not sure what kind of etiquette there is in the pediatrician’s office.  So we waited, as B melted down waiting for my breast.  In the meantime, I decided to hum to him.  Realizing I know very few lullabies, I did what I had to do, and hummed California Girls, by the Beach Boys.  B really seemed to like it and calmed down a bit before the PA came in and said, “Oh yes, just go ahead and feed him.”

On my husband…

What an incredible guy.  I am dreading him going back to work on Monday.  He was a wonderful birth partner and has been a natural dad and partner at home.  He and B just get each other and I will never get over my love for C when C is talking to baby or rocking him.

On B…

He is just a dream come true.  We know our lives have changed forever, for the better.

39 weeks, five days.

I received the following instant message from a co-worker today.

Hi – how are you doing?  I had a dream last night that you had your baby and then showed up to work right afterwards in a really cute dress!!!!  Everyone was asking you why you were at work and you said that you had some free time :)  haha … too weird.  You looked cute though!

After thanking her profusely for the dream compliment I had to ask her just what the dress looked like.  Because if there’s one thing I’ve really missed while being pregnant, it’s wearing dresses and tights to work.

It was a colorful stripe dress with a scoop neck and you had cute boots on with it and it was really form-fitting and you had just left the hospital!!!

My mom mentions often how she refused to leave the hospital (after having babies) in anything other than regular clothing — no maternity-wear.  Already, I know I’ll be glad to leave the hospital while it’s still winter and acceptable to wear a coat over whatever happens to my body after the birth of baby.  I’ve packed only comfortable clothing to wear home — leggings and a tunic.

I’m hoping not to be still pregnant by next Monday.  My doctor graciously informed me she will be out-of-town visiting her elderly parents this weekend so if I want to have the baby before or after Friday through Sunday, that would be better for her schedule.  Chris thinks Wednesday would be a good day because he doesn’t really want the baby to be born on the 13th of any month.  I’m going to try my best to accommodate all hopes and wishes surrounding baby’s delivery.

I’m craving sweets.  Lots and lots of sweets.

And meatballs.