Two weeks in and we get our first call. Come get her, she’s fussy, refusing the bottle, and spitting up even though it has been 6 hours since her last feeding. And oh, it looks like she has blisters in her mouth. Cue panic. How did she get blisters when she’s had room temperature bottles of the same formula she’s been on for 3 weeks now? Where is Husband? Call the pedi. Who can cover my classes? What am I going to have said classes do? What am I going to do with Baby for 90 minutes until her appointment? Wait, can’t leave just yet. I need to grab all that crap that I was planning to work on over break. Quick Google searches while walking to the car.

The “blisters” turn out to be harmless calcium deposits that probably don’t bother her according to Google and confirmed by the doc. The other issues are diagnosed as acid reflux. We are given Zantac, instructed to offer smaller bottles more frequently, and sent on our way. Well. I bet if we could wring out all our clothes and burp cloths and bibs, we’d find half of what little she ate and all of the Zantac. I get that babies spit up, but this seems excessive and is something she has never done. We haven’t seen any improvement in the past 48 hours, she seems in pain, and we are worried she is going to get dehydrated from not eating enough. We’ll be calling the doc first thing in the morning, and tossing all our Spring Break plans out the window until we can get her feeling better.

Teaching keeps you busy.

Babies keep you busy. So I am busy at home and busy at work, and very rarely do I get time to myself. When I do, I’m usually preoccupied with figuring out what I can do more efficiently or sleeping. Thinking in complete sentences is difficult, so posts will continue to be infrequent, at least until Baby is sleeping through consistently and going to sleep earlier. Thank you all for your emotional support!

In the past week:

- The daycare provider we had lined up since OCTOBER bailed on us because Baby cried too much during our “meet and greet”. We had 4 days to make other arrangements. Fortunately, we got a spot at a good center. Unfortunately, we will probably fall short financially since it’s much more expensive than we budgeted for.

- Baby got her first cold, which Husband then caught, leaving me on night duty all week. I’m exhausted from running errands all day and trying to calm a tired baby all evening. This has also left me with zero me time.

- Baby switched up all her “patterns” again, so we are back to guess-and-check square one.

- A college friend cleared her schedule to come help and has been AMAZING at anticipating and completing all those household chores we’ve been neglecting and MIL created/ignored.

- I go back to work tomorrow. I see lots of tissues and caffeine in my future.

I’m still here

Trying to figure out how to handle a colicky baby, an overbearing MIL, a hyper (but loving) puppy, an exhausted husband who feels inadequate with Baby even though he is great, new medications, bills, less-than-helpful payroll personnel (how did I not realize I wouldn’t be getting a paycheck this month?!), thank you notes, laundry, baby gear (the diaper bag is ridiculously over-packed! What are all these straps and buckles and pockets for? Does she need more to look at?), my return to work (Who gets what paperwork when? What does daycare need? Lessons? Schedules? Sleep? Food?), and I could keep going but everyone else in the house is or will soon be crying and I need to figure out what to do.

I feel like there is not enough support for working families in the US. We can’t afford for me to take the full 12 weeks allowed by FMLA because it would be completely unpaid. My employer doesn’t allow women to use accumulated sick time beyond 6 weeks for a typical birth or 8 weeks for a c-section. Not that I had 8 weeks of accumulated leave anyway.

I may be feeling bitter that I have to hand my baby over to daycare just when she starts to offer some rewards for the stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn. In a couple weeks, my stress will only increase as I struggle to care for her, myself, my husband, and the 170 students I teach.

I know I’m not the first/last/only parent to struggle like this. I hate how our society continually neglects the well being and development of children. Society doesn’t exist without people, but too many of us get blinded by money and shiny things to realize our foundations need reinforcement.

A List of Happenings

- Felt frustrated in the AM that it seemed all Baby has been doing is eating, sleeping, and screaming.

- Due to snow days, the length of the school day was extended by 25 minutes from now until the end of the year. This totally screws up scheduling for doctor appointments and daycare.

- Husband gave me the afternoon “off” for my doctor appointment, which went well. Yay meds!

- First time in Buy Buy Baby because the name rubs me the wrong way (silly, I know). But holy overwhelming yet kind of awesome. I wish I would have gone earlier to comparison shop because that thing addresses all the shortcomings we’ve identified with that other thing from that other store but have already used and can’t return. Oh well.

- Our newest car has a keyless entry, push to start system. The door unlocked, but it said key not detected when I tried to start the engine. Took the key out of my pocket. Yep, it’s there. Tried again, same result. Looked around to verify I was in the correct vehicle because stranger things have happened. Tried again. An eternity later I managed to get the panic button to shut off the alarm in the car, but not the panic in my mind. Tl;dr I have no idea what went wrong or how I fixed it but I still feel apprehensive about attempting to start the car.

- Wrapped up the day with minimal screaming from Baby. It’s a confidence boost when we can actually console her. And it was nice spending some quiet, alert time with her, even if it was in the middle of the night. In the coming weeks we’ll address her day/night confusion and inability to sleep anywhere but on us. For now, I’m happy with the 24 hours of relative calm and sleepy smiles.

Baby Carrier Recommendations?

@tomes-away got me thinking after my last post. What am I going to do with this kid in the summer once I’m more mobile and she’s more alert? So far, she much prefers being held, although she will nap in her crib if she’s already asleep when I set her down. But if I set her down anywhere while she’s awake and I’m not interacting with her she will scream.

We were gifted a carrier that does face in and face out, similar to the bjorn carrier. I haven’t worn it yet since my tummy is still sensitive, but Husband wasn’t thrilled with it and Baby has not enjoyed it either. I’ve been investigating the balboa sling, which seems like it might meet my requirements: safe, comfortable, and easy to get Baby in and out. It could be helpful when running quick errands on my own to avoid using the stroller or car seat carrier.

So, #edumums and experienced parents, what are your thoughts on carriers/slings/wraps?

I have a cold and a newborn. Proper hygiene says I should limit my interactions and wash my hands a bajillion times. But said newborn wants to be held and moving and won’t fall asleep any other way that we’ve found. Then any time I try to stifle a sniffle, cough, or sneeze she wakes up. I’m exhausted. She’s exhausted. The day is only just getting started.

If you can’t find me

I might be over here, sleeping in the empty bathtub.

Numbers

- Took less than 5 minutes to roll over in bed with minimal pain.
- Got 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
- Had at least 3 bottles that didn’t result in hours of fussing and screaming.
- Enjoyed 2 hours of adorable, calm alert time (so what if it happened at 3am).
- All resulting in one bewildered Mommy (who is also getting a cold)

And now for a truly sincere Thank You

I doubt the transition to parenthood is ever particularly smooth. I’m sure the hormones and sleepless nights can make even the most prepared first time parent doubt themselves. I’ve been through the wringer emotionally and physically, and I know I still have a long road to emotional recovery ahead. I have an appointment with a psychiatrist in two weeks to get back on my meds. I’m lucky to have a wonderful support system in my husband, family, coworkers, and in you, yes you.

Writing about my feelings and experiences is a coping strategy for me. I feel blessed by the response I have gotten from my followers and readers here on tumblr. I’d start listing you, but in my baby brain fog I know I’d forget someone, and I don’t want to offend. So many of you have liked my posts, left encouraging comments, and offered advice. I appreciate all of it!

That Awkward Moment

When you see your neighbors while out on a walk and they turn around and go the other direction. Twice.

Thanks Lactation Consultant,

For calling back 3 weeks after I called you. That’s 3 weeks after the pain, stress, and constant tears led me to switch to formula. Let’s not forget the jaundice and dehydration my baby started to experience.

It’s also about a week after I started to come to an uneasy peace with my decision. Thank you, for attempting to invalidate all the reasons I have for choosing formula. Is it not enough that I feel inadequate and guilty every time I try to find information about feeding my child? Did you really need to pressure me and open up that emotional wound?

But finally, thank you for making me angry. Is it healthy? Probably not. But anger I can deal with. And being angry at your inappropriate and demeaning comments takes my attention away from feeling disappointed in myself.

I think Baby is doing better than Mommy right now. I’m a terrible patient about recovering from surgery. I’m stubborn and independent, so I have very mixed emotions about accepting help. On one hand, I need the help because I’m still sore and have trouble even just rolling over in bed. On the other, I feel guilty because I want to be contributing more to caring for Baby and running the household. My husband has been wonderful about reminding me to take it easy because “after all, I am recovering from major abdominal surgery.” But still. Stubborn.

Baby is doing her thing, and we are being typical new parents. Worried if we are feeding her too much/too little, if she’s too hot/too cold. Does that cry mean hunger? Gas? Tired? Diaper? If we’ve tried xyz and she’s still crying, what do we do? But as frustrating as it can be, it’s still amazing too. She’s already outgrown one of the smaller outfits, and every day she holds her head a little more steady. And then she tucks her hand under her head as she sleeps on your chest and you almost forget the three hours she spent screaming in the middle of the night.

I think Baby is doing better than Mommy right now. I’m a terrible patient about recovering from surgery. I’m stubborn and independent, so I have very mixed emotions about accepting help. On one hand, I need the help because I’m still sore and have trouble even just rolling over in bed. On the other, I feel guilty because I want to be contributing more to caring for Baby and running the household. My husband has been wonderful about reminding me to take it easy because “after all, I am recovering from major abdominal surgery.” But still. Stubborn.

Baby is doing her thing, and we are being typical new parents. Worried if we are feeding her too much/too little, if she’s too hot/too cold. Does that cry mean hunger? Gas? Tired? Diaper? If we’ve tried xyz and she’s still crying, what do we do? But as frustrating as it can be, it’s still amazing too. She’s already outgrown one of the smaller outfits, and every day she holds her head a little more steady. And then she tucks her hand under her head as she sleeps on your chest and you almost forget the three hours she spent screaming in the middle of the night.