Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Welcome to Motherhood

It's been a while since my last post... Why you ask? Cause I've been freakin' tired, that's why lol. It's actually getting better but it has definitely been an experience. Being that I have friends and family members with babies on the way I'd like to share my experience thus far... Now don't get me wrong, every pregnancy and every baby is different and I was one of the not so lucky ones who got both ends rough. We all know my pregnancy was full of complications, the birth of my son was complicated (not too complicated but very far from what I had in mind), and as if it's not difficult enough to be a single mother, my son came with his share of complications. Let me give you a run down...
Week 1:
I arrived home from the hospital with out any pain killers to get me through the day/evening trying to recuperate from a c-section. Because I live in a cheap-ass town (OK it really isn't "cheap-ass" but that is how I felt when I was in pain and our local HEB pharmacy along with all the other pharmacies closed at 4pm or earlier). Because we live in the country, our roads are bumpy and when your uterus has just been sliced open and your skin is held together with a strip of glue (That's right, no stitches or staples), it literally feels like you're going to bust open. From day 2, Matthew had tummy trouble. He screamed for hours off the top of his lungs and to make matters worse I had such a hard time getting in and out of bed because of the pain... Remember, I had NO pain killers, and I'm sure there are some tough chicks out there who can do it with out pain pills, but I NEEDED them. My son went home eating less than 10 mL of formula, therefore he wanted to eat every 2 hours or less. He has gradually made his way up and is now eating every 2.5-4 hours. I tried having him sleep in the bassinet but that didn't work. I finally got my pain killers and it still didn't help, but you gotta get over it 'cause you have a whole new person you're responsible for. THANK GOD FOR MY MOM!
Weeks 1-3 were all pretty much the same. Matthew cried for hours, day in and day out. His tummy was hard and distended, he would scream when he had to pass gas or have a bowel movement... and as we would later find out, he is allergic to milk protein and soy, making him very gassy, thus causing him to scream ALL THE TIME. He was inconsolable, I rocked him, sang to him, bounced him, cradled him, caressed him, and NOTHING worked. We tried chamomile, salvia, warm olive oil on his belly, Karo syrup, gas drops, gripe water, warm tummy compresses, spent over $150.00 in bottles trying to find the right one (Dr. Brown's, Avent, Playtex Nurser etc... we finally stopped with Playtex VentAire)... you name it, we tried it and no relief. I tried breast feeding but since I hardly lactated, I tried using a pump and between both breasts I would get less than 10 mLs... That wasn't even enough to feed him. I was exhausted and frustrated and I knew my baby could feel it. My mom would come help, all he needed was a change of arms. All I wanted to do was console my child and I couldn't. I started to feel like he preferred my mother over me (I realized later that the baby could sense my frustration, my being tense made him more tense, but of course he loves his Grammy). I started to feel inadequate, I couldn't lactate, I couldn't give birth to my son much less see his birth since I was put under with general anesthesia which means I didn't hear his first cries, and I couldn't console him. I even questioned if I had post partum depression. It was really rough, I had my days where I cried because I didn't know what else to do. But seriously... crying doesn't get you anywhere. Matthew went through 5 formula changes and I quit trying to pump since I was completely exhausted. With him waking up every 3 hours to feed (which means he sleeps for 3 hours and I sleep for 1.5, IF THAT, after a diaper change, burping, rocking him to sleep, and however long it takes me to fall asleep). He had his bad days and he had slightly better ones.
Weeks 4-7
All of the above minus the self pity. I'm not sure if he was actually a little better or I was just used to it already... actually, I was just used to the constant crying and the frequent feedings. Matthew started to have blood in his stool. At this point he was on Similac Allimentum already which is already pretty sensitive. That's when his pediatrician said he had a reaction to that as well. Here we go again, my baby is a month old and another formula change. This time, Enfamil Nutramigen. We started off with powder and yet he seemed to get worse so I switched him to the ready to use version of the formula. He seemed to tolerate it much better. If it's the same formula, why does he do better with one over the other? I spent over an hour on the phone with Enfamil since his pediatrician said there was no difference (he was pissing me off because he didn't seem as concerned as I was). It all boiled down to a probiotic in the powder that isn't in the ready to use. If probiotics help his tummy, why was it doing the opposite? Finally after 6 weeks and trying anything and everything I finally figured out that he can tolerate the powder if I prepare it in advance, therefore the formula has time to breakdown more (IDK that's just my opinion) and there is less air in the mix. He is still fussy but it is way more tolerable than before (I'm just hoping his caregiver can handle him). I can now sing my son to sleep, play with him, listen to him coo, see him smile, etc. One of the downfalls to his tummy troubles is that he now required to be rocked to sleep and he NEEDS to sleep with me. No bassinet and no "by-my-side sleeper" (tiny cradle that you can put on your bed. That's what happens when he practically has lived in our arms for a month (not cause we were trying to spoil him, but console him) Oh yeah, and I changed pediatricians, that other one pissed me off and I just didn't wanna deal with him anymore. The new pediatrician said he could possible have acid reflux so she prescribed him some medication to help for that, he may eventually see a GI doctor... I'm thinking that's our best bet.
Although we've been through a lot in such little time, I cant say I know it all. We (my mom and I) are still learning and will continue to learn. But here is my advice, take it if you like, no hard feelings if you don't...
(These first ones are passed on from my friends) Be patient. Don't give up on yourself, you're stronger than you think. Remember your baby is new and sometimes it takes a while to get to know each other. Don't be afraid to get a second opinion. In regards to diapers, I prefer Pampers swaddlers over huggies little snugglers...due to leaks. Matthew just upgraded to a size 1 and well I have bought Pampers baby dry to test them out since you get more for your buck... not too bad. If you have a colicky baby, I use Colic Calm (found at CVS, homeopathic, does not contain sugar, alcohol, or sodium bicarbonate, but makes baby's poop very dark) and Wellements gripe water (found at Wallgreens, organic and has sodium bicarbonate, but no sugar or alcohol), some people swear by them, I was just looking for a ray of light. Formula is expensive especially when you have so many changes and leave many cans unused or partially used. Sign up at Similac or Enfamil website, you get coupons and they will even send you formula samples (usually a can or 2 if you're lucky). Use coupons, it's a money saver, BABIES ARE EXPENSIVE. So much for my 12 days of Dooney and Bourke this Holiday season lol (Although, I think I deserve a push gift or two from myself, but I have my eye on a Burberry bag, we'll see ;) ) Don't buy crap for convenience, I learned that the hard way... Money wasters... Car and Nursery Bottle warmers (baby doesn't wanna wait 15 minutes for bottle to warm... get your ass up and warm it, I know you're exhausted, just make sure you check the temp, it took me a while to get used to it)... make sure the formula allows warming, Enfamil Nutramigen has probiotics that are no longer present when warmed... it kills the bacteria or something. I also ordered a travel wipe warmer from walmart.com... Prince Lionheart travel warmer... only has room for 3o and they run out quick. I figured it was perfect for home and travel since it has both wall connection and car charger. We didn't have then growing up so I'm you pretty much dont need one. I bought it cause I thought I could take it with me when we go to town, it has a car charger, but with all the baby stuff you have to carry, I usually forget the warmer. Just get the big one if you insist on a warmer.

Things I love

I LOVE the Diaper Genie, that's just my opinion. Arm and Hamme makes these little poopy bags for the poopy diapers for when you're out on the town (Thanks Amy). Johnson & Johnson hand and face wipes, $2.50 for 25 count but they are a good fresher upper for the baby. Pampers Sensitive wipes... they supposedly dont sting and since Matthew's formula makes him poop like 8 times a day, his bottom can get raw (I'm considering switching to Huggies wipes (sensitive) since they are thicker). I have yet to find large receiving blankets so I use the ones I stole (YES I SAID "I STOLE") from the hospital. I kept three lol ;) While they aren't soft like the ones from the store, you can still swaddle your baby and have leg room. Huggies makes disposable changing pads (Because I now have a budget, if he doesnt poop or pee on it and I usually dont put his bottom down on it, I re-use it (I think only 8 come in the pack). I love anything I can get from Target but since it's an hour away, I gotta settle from our crappy selection at our local Walmart... And let m tell you, I'd rather order online cause they dont have JACK! I cant even find the ready to use formula that my son is on. I'm iffy on the bottle sterilizer... that's roughly 25 bucks you can save when you can just boil... I bought it anyway, it's pretty convenient nonetheless. Those blue pacifiers from the hospital are ugly and they get hooked, so if you plan on using one, take one of your own. Oh yeah... outings WILL NEVER BE THE SAME! I cant really think of anything else at the moment, I'm sleep deprived... Can you blame me? lol. One more thing... Don't be afraid to ask for help or look for communities online where you can communicate with other mothers going through the same issues you are, it helps to know you're not alone. As for me, I'm scheduled to return to work this coming Monday, Let's just say I'm not too happy. I wish I could be a stay at home mom, at least for the first year, but I'm not that fortunate.

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