Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Jesus is the reason for the season! :-)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Thoughts About Childbirth

Some women love childbirth. You can read all kinds of articles on the internet by women who say it was a natural high, that they loved every minute of it, that it was even pleasurable. I went into labor hoping I would be one of those women. I really tried to not think of contractions as pain, but as “rushes” (a la Ida May Gaskin) that helped move my baby down. I tried to distract myself during contractions by singing or remembering Hubby’s and my honeymoon in Hawaii or conjuring up other relaxing images in my mind.

I was determined to do everything as naturally as possible (no drugs, etc.), and I did, but boy did it hurt! It was NOT pleasurable. The only thing in the whole process that I remember as pleasurable was when the placenta came out. I barely even had to push; it just plopped out into a bowl, and the relief I felt then was marvelous. But before that point, I had about 8 hours of light contractions, 48 hours of strong, REALLY PAINFUL contractions, and a couple hours of pushing. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, and (gasp!) I didn’t actually enjoy it very much. But getting to meet my baby was amazing.

I am writing all this because I found myself thinking this morning that someday it will be wonderful to grow another person in my womb and add another tiny, totally dependent newborn to our family. Baby boy is not a newborn any more. He can entertain himself for a while with toys, he sleeps in his own crib (most of the time), and Mama is no longer his whole entire world (although he still likes me quite a bit). :-)

Some women say, “Oh, just wait a while, you’ll forget all about the pain of childbirth.” Well, it’s been four months, and I still vividly remember the pain. I don’t think I will ever forget it. I do want more babies, lots of them, but I’ll admit I don’t want to ever go through labor again (although, Lord willing, I will do it again, because it’s worth it in the end).

I never understood the sacrifice that my mother and all mothers around the world have made in giving birth and caring 24/7 for a child until I became a mother. This is what God put me here for, to love my husband and grow babies and yes, give birth to them. I’m not saying I have no other purpose than to take care of my husband and babies, but I think that is the most important thing I do. What could be more important than raising up people from infancy to adulthood to love and obey the Lord? Then, I hope and pray, my children will pass on this godly heritage to their own children, and on and on and on until Jesus returns.

Edited to add:

For clarification:

The reasons I chose not to use any drugs were that 1) they can easily pass to the baby, with detrimental effects, and 2) any "unnatural" interventions in the labor process can lead to the need for more and more interventions, and possibly a C-section in the end--for an example, read How Childbirth Went Industrial.

I wanted to do what was best for my baby and for me, and I honestly believe that choosing the pain was the best option in my case. Besides, the sense of accomplishment I felt when my baby was finally here, and without drugs or interventions, was huge. I didn't have to wonder if drugs were affecting my baby's first minutes and hours. Baby Boy was very calm but alert, and his Apgar scores were 10 and 10.

That being said, I know there is a point when drugs or C-sections may be necessary, but the percentage of women who really need them is very small.

I'm hoping that my next labor is a lot shorter! It usually is, with the second child.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sleep Training

I made lasagne for dinner, and I am in the process of making yogurt. I have tried making yogurt with nonfat milk and didn't care for it much, so I am trying whole milk this time.

I think I will feed Baby Boy once at 10 when I go to bed, and then again sometime during the night (probably around 2). Even though it's been a week of trying to train him to sleep through the night, he still wakes up every night between 1 and 3 and cries. He goes back to sleep, but then he continues waking up, crying, and going back to sleep several times throughout the night. Last night, it seemed like it was at least once an hour. I think he really might be uncomfortably hungry. I'm not gaining anything (like a full night's sleep) by not feeding him at night, because he still wakes up and wakes us up. Maybe if I just feed him once in the middle of the night, that will keep him satisfied until morning, and we will all sleep better.

As far as I know, we are done with all our Christmas shopping, and I only have a couple more gifts to wrap.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Homemade Rice-a-Roni

Today I bought 2 shirts at Target, read books to Baby Boy, took a walk with Baby Boy in the Ergo (he hardly ever falls asleep in it anymore; he likes to look around), and started crocheting a hat (it's cold here!). For dinner I made homemade Rice-a-Roni and served it with chicken. Here's the recipe, which can easily be doubled for larger families:



-1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) butter
-1 4-oz. can sliced mushrooms
-3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
-1/4 cup chopped onion
-1 cup white long-grain rice
-3 cups chicken broth
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-3/4 teaspoon oregano


Melt butter in large pot; saute mushrooms, celery, and onion. Add uncooked rice and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently. Add broth, salt, and oregano, and bring to boil. Transfer to covered 2-quart casserole. It will look very liquidy, but the rice will absorb the liquid. Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until rice is puffy.

I have never tried using brown rice for this recipe. If anyone wants to experiment with cooking times for brown rice, let me know what you come up with.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

How Things Have Been Going

Baby Boy is sleeping MUCH better since we gave him a chance to learn how to soothe himself back to sleep. He's taken to sucking on his fingers quite a bit, as you can see in the johnny-jump-up picture below. I am amazed at how long he naps now. Before, his naps in the crib were 20-40 minutes long; now they're more like 1 1/2-2 hours. And if he wakes up at night, he just sucks on his fingers or his lovey for a few minutes and conks out again.

Now the problem I'm having is that I still can't sleep at night, even though Baby Boy is doing great. This morning, I woke up when Baby Boy fussed a bit around 1 A.M. because his diaper was very wet. I changed it and he fell right back to sleep. Unfortunately, I could not go back to sleep at that point, even though I'd only had 2 1/2 hours of sleep, so I've been up ever since. I've been mostly going on adrenaline for the last 4 months, so I think my body just needs to learn how to sleep again.

Baby Boy definitely misses his pacifier, although I think his longing for it is subsiding as he gets more adept at getting his fingers positioned the way he wants them in his mouth.

Something strange that I was not anticipating in all this is that Baby Boy at first started nursing much less. For a couple days, he would take only one breast at a feeding session, and only for a few minutes. I was beginning to get concerned that he wasn't getting enough, so I did some research and found that a baby can develop trouble nursing if his time with mama decreases rapidly. I had been holding or laying down with Baby Boy for all of his naps, and then I went abruptly to putting him in the crib for every nap. I think it was just too much all at once for him, and fighting nursing was his way of telling me something was wrong. So I've been careful to spend extra cuddle time with him when he is awake and to take a couple of naps with him. Now his nursing is better than ever. This afternoon, he nursed for 40 minutes straight. Poor little dear. So many changes in his little world, but in the long run, they are in his best interest.

I realized today that I really need to update my blogroll and reading list. I will work on that when I have a chance.

Edited to add:

Hi luvs2bmommy,

Thank you for your concern and for taking the time to join Blogger and leave me your comments.

Baby Boy has actually never nursed only 5 times in one day. The count was at 5 when I was writing that post, but I woke him later that night to give him another feeding. I'm trying to stay loosely on a 6:30-9:30-12:30-3:30-6:30-10:00 schedule, but it's not rigid, especially if I felt that Baby Boy did not get enough at a particular nursing session. If that's the case, I usually feed him again about an hour later.

This morning, I fed him at 6:30 as usual. When I was getting ready to put him down for a nap at 8:00, he was acting hungry, so I went ahead and nursed him to sleep and put him in his crib.

For the most part, I enjoyed having Baby Boy in our bed for the first few months, but now, we wake each other up and neither one of us gets good sleep, so it's better for him to be in the crib now.

As for pumping, I did it for the first couple of nights when Baby Boy started going longer without nursing, but even then, I only pumped out a couple of ounces to take the edge off the discomfort of my poor engorged breasts. They have adjusted now.

All this to say that in real life, I am still more flexible and paying attention to Baby Boy's cues than maybe it sounded like I was in my posts. I admit, it is sometimes difficult to know what to do when there is so much conflicting information out there.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Getting There!

My baby is learning to fall asleep on his own and get himself back to sleep when he wakes up! It's wonderful! Everyone told me that when I finally made the decision to let him "cry it out," I would regret not doing it even sooner, and they were right.

Actually, I think now is actually just about the perfect time to train Baby Boy to sleep well. He knows how to get his fingers in his mouth when he wants them, and he can reach for and hold onto his lovey, so he is able to soothe himself better than he could have a month ago, when he couldn't control his hand movements as much.

Success (So Far)

I fed Baby Boy at 10 P.M., and he fell right back to sleep. He woke at 1:30 and I heard him filling his diaper. I successfully changed his poopy diaper in his crib, in almost pitch-blackness (a first for me--I've never changed him in his crib before, but I am determined to not get him out of the crib until 6:30.) Not bad, if I do say so myself, seeing as we use cloth diapers, and double at night. At least we have velcro diaper covers, and not pins. He cried for ten minutes after I changed his diaper, then I comforted him and he started sucking on his hands and fell asleep. WOW! I just pumped some milk, and now I'm going back to bed.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Starting Tonight?

So I fed Baby Boy at 6:30, and he was asleep by around 6:45. In the next hour, he woke up a couple of times when his pacifier fell out. I dutifully plugged it back in, but when it happened again at 7:45, I decided to experiment. I let him cry for 10 minutes, then went in and soothed him until he was quiet and calm, but he started crying again the moment I left the room. I went in 10 minutes later and soothed him again and gave him his lovey. He grunted a little, as if to say, I don't want this lovey, I want my binky, but when I didn't give him the pacifer, he stopped making noises and held onto his lovey. He murmured and made baby noises for a little while, but didn't cry for a whole fifteen minutes. At 8:20, he broke out in a wail, but it only lasted for two minutes. He's been pretty quiet for almost twenty minutes now. I hear him sighing softly every once in a while through the monitor. I can't tell if he's asleep yet, but he must be close.

My plan is, I will wake him up to nurse at 10 P.M. and only 10 P.M., and then go to bed myself. If he wakes up before that, he'll have to soothe himself (with a little help from me, but not his pacifier) back to sleep, or just cry until 10. Then I want him to sleep until 6:30 A.M. I'll have to talk it over with Hubby, who is out at the moment, but who should be home soon. We really weren't planning to start this tonight, but so far, so good.

Considering "Crying It Out"

Okay, so we're considering letting Baby Boy start "crying it out" so that he will learn to sleep longer at naptime and nighttime. He only takes about 30 minute naps when he's in his crib, but if he's laying next to me in bed, he naps for a couple hours. This tells me that he probably needs longer naps than the 30 minute naps he gets on his own in his crib, but he doesn't know how to get back to sleep when he wakes up after 30 minutes. And he'll sleep a couple of hours solid when we put him in his crib at night (with a pacifer) but wake up if the pacifier falls out. He's still "nursing" a couple times a night--well, more like just wanting to cuddle up next to me and suckle from thirty seconds to a minute or two and then fall asleep in my arms.

I've been talking to a lot of blogosphere and "real-life" friends about the issue, and almost everyone recommends "crying it out." They all say it will be harder if we wait until he's older, and I've been hearing "horror" stories of hyper-attachment-parenting parents who never made their kids cry it out and now the kids, at five or six years old, still wake up several times a night wanting mommy and daddy.

I have started getting him on a 3-hour schedule during the day. Today I nursed him at 6:30 A.M. (his usual waking time), 9:30, 12:30 P.M., 3:30, and 6:30. I put him right to bed after the 6:30 P.M. feeding. Is 6:45ish too early for a baby's bedtime? Also, is only five feedings too few for a almost-4-month-old? If/when we do start training Baby Boy to sleep through the night, should I feed him at 6:30 P.M., let him sleep for 3 hours, feed him again at 9:30 P.M., and then make him cry it out/sleep through the night? Will that confuse him if I nurse him the first time he wakes up, but not subsequent times?

If we do decide to start sleep training Baby Boy, Monday would be a good time to start, as Hubby is off work next week and has few other obligations, so if we're both walking zombies for a week, it won't be as much of an issue.

In all of this, we also might "pull the plug" on Baby Boy's pacifier altogether, because he is way addicted to it and needs it (he thinks) to sleep. Hubby and I are tired of getting up a dozen times every night to stick it back in his mouth when he loses it and starts fussing in the night.

There's a steeper learning curve to being a parent than I thought there would be.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thoughts on Ephesians 4

I took a long nap with Baby Boy today, so even though it is after ten, I’m not really tired. Baby Boy has been sleeping well in his crib for about two hours, and my hardworking hubby is fast asleep as well. I took the opportunity of having some alone time to spend it with the Lord in His Word. I have been reading through Ephesians, one of my favorite books of the Bible. Tonight I read Ephesians 4. The verse that stood out to me the most was verse 6, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” I know the passage is mainly about living in unity with other believers, but this verse just started me thinking about how God is in me, and how I can draw on His strength, His love, His patience when I am so short of those qualities myself. When I’m feeling wiped out, and my husband needs me, or my baby needs me, and I feel like I’ve been giving-giving-giving all day and night long, God will help me deny my own desires (for sleep or time by myself) in order to serve my husband and child. And there is joy in coming to the end of myself and needing to rely on God to get me through the next thing. I have so far to grow in this area, but I feel blessed that God loves me enough not to leave me miserable in my own selfishness, but to teach me to be more like Jesus.

Another verse that struck me was verse 30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” I know I have been guilty of grieving the Spirit several times in the past couple of months by stubbornly refusing to pray because I wanted to go my own way in a certain area, and I knew that if I prayed, God would change my heart. I don’t want to grieve the Spirit by turning my back on God for a day or two because I want to be selfish and grumpy. I need to be quick to pray, quick to do what is right, quick to submit to God and to my husband (who always points me back to God).

Things to Think About

I know we will eventually have to train Baby Boy to sleep better and longer (actually, I'm naively hoping that one night he will just sleep 12 hours and be a great napper and nighttime sleeper from that point on!). I read this post on "crying it out" from Candice and I think it's awesome that she is having good results with her son, who is about the same age as Baby Boy. But I am a wimp about hearing my baby cry. Plus, we have a one-bedroom apartment, so Baby Boy is in our room which would make nighttime cry-it-out sessions pretty harrowing for Hubby and me. Hmm...what's a girl to do?

I enjoy Mountain Mama's nutrition advice--Nutrition 101 (Part 1) and Nutrition 101 (Part 2). I always eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, so lately I have been soaking the oats overnight in water with a tablespoon of lemon juice. I would love to start drinking raw milk, and we actually do have local sources, but it's around $6/gallon. Yikes!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Preparations

Today Hubby and I did some Christmas shopping and enjoyed peppermint mochas from Starbucks. I also wrapped two packages (lots more to go!). We have our Christmas tree and nativity scene up--that's probably all the Christmas decorating we'll do this year.

Baby Boy started producing tears today. I noticed them when he woke up from a nap. He has been sleeping a little better.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ongoing (Lack of) Sleep Saga

I am blogging one-handed again as Baby Boy takes a little snooze in my lap. The good news is, we've finally found a way to get him to sleep in his crib instead of only with us in our bed. Baby Boy has never been able to sleep well on his back, so we finally got a sleep positioner that helps him stay in place on his side. He's slept great with it, although he will rarely stay happy in the crib without a pacifier, and wakes up when it falls out of his mouth. I probably plugged it in about two dozen times last night when he started to squirm, wanting it. So the bad news is that I am not sleeping well at all...about 3 hours total last night, but that was in bits and pieces. Even when Baby Boy is doing fine, I lay awake listening to the light snores and other sounds he makes in his sleep, wondering if it's worth it for me to try to get to sleep when he'll probably wake me up one way or another in a few minutes.

Baby Boy is still nursing twice a night. He's a chubby 17 pounds, so I know he has some reserves and doesn't really need nighttime nursing, but I'm clueless how to get him to stop waking up wanting to nurse. Plus, I'm not entirely sure I want to cut out nighttime nursing, as we're currently using only the lactation ammenorhea method for child spacing, which requires nighttime nursing to be effective.

But something's got to give. Does it have to be this hard? Will I ever feel rested again? Any ideas or encouraging words will be quite appreciated today.