Tuesday, 1 November 2016

18 (well OK...19) months

You know what sucks about not blogging for a really long time?  You end up with this gigantic list of things you have to blog about, which makes the concept of actually sitting down to write said blog post way more intimidating than it would have been if you'd just been blogging in bits and pieces all along.

Let's just make this easier on everyone.  Bullet points!!

  • Q turned 18 months at the beginning of October.  I've been pretty excited about the 18 month milestone because everything I read told me that it would be around this age that we could finally expect a "language explosion" and he'd finally get more verbal.  Boy howdy, has he!  It's incredible!  It seems like every day he's got a new word and although it's sometimes frustrating to know that he's trying to tell me something I can't understand, more often than not it's incredibly gratifying to KNOW what he wants and be able to give it to him!  
  • More on language: For a long time both M and I were "Dada", but in the last month or so he's started using "Mama" on the regular and it's pretty damn awesome.  He can do a whole zoo's worth of animal sounds (although he doesn't actually know the words for a lot of them yet), on top of the basics like hi, bye bye, car, down, apple, go, hot, more, no, and all done.  Some words I don't even know he knows until he pulls them out of nowhere, like the day he pooped and then turned around and pointed at his own butt and declared "dih-tee"!  Or the day he pointed at my amethyst necklace and matter-of-factly stated "puh-ple".  He also has his own made-up word for water ("ati") which I'm glad I figured out since one of his newest obsessions is asking for water in an open cup.
  • Speaking of obsessions, Q is definitely fitting all the boy stereotypes.  He absolutely loves all things that go, including cars, trains ("coo coo!") and airplanes.  He has a pile of toy cars and the first thing he does in the morning after has something to eat is go grab a few and drive them around the coffee table.  Animals are also a big hit.  We took him to a petting zoo a couple of weekends ago and he took off at a dead run towards the miniature horses, alternately screaming at them with excitement and repeating "Hi! Hi! Hi!" at them.  
  • Q is still a VERY busy kid.  As in, that's the single most common adjective that absolutely everyone uses when describing him.  If we have a weekend where it rains the whole time and we can't get in at least a little bit of outdoor time, I know it's going to be a long weekend because he just gets bored inside despite all the different activities I try to engage him in.  He loves the playground, and is very adept at climbing up the stairs and going down slides.  He's even (cue minor heart attack) started trying to climb up some of the other features like ladders and rock walls, although obviously we're always close behind spotting him.
  • As much as he loves moving, he's also started to really enjoy books again.  He'll go pick one out and then kind of back into you so that he can sit on your lap and you can read to him.  Lately he's started cracking up when we read "Goodnight Gorilla" and get to the page where the zookeeper's wife turns on the light to find the gorilla in her bed.  I can't tell if he really understands that it's funny or if he's just reacting to how we read it, but it's hilarious.
All in all, I'm absolutely loving this age and how much fun we have together.  I know the terrible twos are soon to be upon us, but right now he still doesn't really get too upset if we stop him from doing something or tell him no as long as we can distract him with something fun, so I don't know how I'm going to handle it when tantrums start to become a factor.  He's just a good natured kid who loves being around people and brings a genuine smile to peoples' faces when they meet him.  I love that about him!

A quick update on my personal uterine situation: after my miscarriage in July, I basically bled for two solid months.  Some days it was barely spotting, and others it was heavier.  I kept hoping with each day that I was passing all the retained products, but with each weekly check they kept telling me I had HCG in my system and they could see a small area where it looked like I hadn't cleared everything out.  Unfortunately by that point the remnants were so small the doctors didn't recommend a D&C anymore, saying it was likely they'd miss it anyway.  They finally told me to just wait until I finally had a period, which was good because I was getting really fucking sick of taking time off work to go to the clinic every week for follow-ups.  Finally in September I had a GIGANTOR period (I seriously leaked through my grey pants at work, despite wearing a tampon AND heavy pad.  Horrors!) and after that went back for a final follow-up where they at long last told me everything was gone.  I haven't had a period since, and it's been about 6 weeks but I'm pretty sure I ovulated about 2 weeks ago so it should be any day now.  We won't even think about going back to Prague for an FET until I've regulated a bit more so right now that doesn't seem like it will happen until the spring.

Finally, since you may be wondering why there are no pics to accompany this update, I've decided that the time has come to stop posting Q's photo on the blog for his own privacy.  I do update Facebook once in a while, so if you're not already friends with me on there then please send me an email and we can set that up. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Just a horse

A couple of months ago M and I started talking about having a second child.  We'd always hoped for two kids, and with four good quality frozen embryos waiting for us in the Czech Republic the decision to go back is a no-brainer.  Even so, talking about it and actually doing something to get the ball rolling are two totally different things.  Knowing all of the problems and hurdles I encountered the last time around (my RE promising to help and then backing out, finding a particular type of BCP that no one in Canada uses on short notice, trying to find someone to do a Day 10 lining check and give me the results same day as opposed to sending them to my GP a week later)...the thought of dealing with all of that again was just exhausting and discouraging.  So although we talked about it, that was about all we did.  I just wasn't ready to face the logistics of organizing a foreign FET just yet.

In the meantime, though, I suggested to M that maybe we could try naturally.  Ever since my period came back post-baby, I'd noticed that it had been a lot more normal and regular.  Gone were the 25 day cycles and week of pre-period spotting that I'd had before Q.  Now I was having what I'd call normal 28 day cycles, and although I wasn't deluding myself into thinking I was a normal fertile person, I'd seen one too many "unicorn" bloggers with spontaneous accidental post-infertility BFPs to discount the idea entirely.  You know, the mythical ones that get spontaneously pregnant after years of failure or after having a successful IVF pregnancy.  Maybe I could be a unicorn too!  So we started trying, the old fashioned way.

And it worked.  But only briefly.  This story doesn't have a happy ending, for those who would otherwise stop reading now.

In early June, my period was four days late when I finally decided that it wouldn't be totally crazy to take a test.  I peed on a stick, and wasn't completely shocked when it came back positive.  And while we were both happy, any excitement we had was tempered with an awful lot of realism.  After all, I'm 40 years old.  Even if I didn't have demonstrably crappy eggs, my risk of miscarriage would be upwards of 30%.  With  my infertility history?  It had to be higher.  Not to mention the risk of chromosomal abnormalities or other pregnancy complications.  

On top of the worry, another feeling that didn't completely surprise me was a healthy dose of guilt.  I'd always told people who knew about Q's donor egg origins that I had no intention of trying for another baby with anything other than our frozen embryos.  Since Q's donor is anonymous, something that I think about a lot is how he's going to feel about not being able to find out much information about his genetic maternal side.  Will it bother him, or will he not care?  If it does become something that's an issue for him, I always thought it would be better for him to have a sibling who is just like him to share those feelings with.  But now, I was potentially bringing a new baby into our family who would be genetically mine.  Would he resent this in the future?  Would he feel different?  Would he feel somehow like he was "less than", or that he hadn't been enough for us?  Those questions pricked uncomfortably at the back of my mind at night when I was lying in bed.

In the meantime, we didn't let ourselves get too excited about things.  We didn't tell anyone, and we talked about it only rarely.  No plans, no names, just a vague reference to a February due date and the occasional "how are we gonna manage with two?" when Q was being particularly rambunctious. 

Because of my infertility history, my GP agreed to send me for an "early" ultrasound at 8 weeks.  I'd been starting to feel pretty nauseous, so I was actually fairly optimistic going into it.  But when the technician didn't offer to show me the heartbeat, I figured something was off.  My GP called later to confirm: there was no heartbeat.  Everything was measuring on track, though, so it must have stopped not long before.  Which was somehow even sadder.

I decided to take misoprostol to move things along, since we were heading to our annual beach vacation in Maine in a week's time and I really didn't want to be miscarrying while I was down there.  It wasn't fun, but it seemed to work as advertised.  I had plenty of nasty cramps, passed a ton of huge clots and then the worst of it was over.  

Mentally, I felt surprisingly ok.  I guess it's hard to wallow when you have a 16-month old demanding your time and attention, and obviously having Q already in our lives has helped to soften the blow.  If we don't ever manage to have another baby, we have him and that's more than we ever thought we'd have in the first place.  Plus the guilt I felt over him being the only donor baby was gone, too.  If we do manage to get pregnant again, it will be with the frozen embryos from our egg donor.  He won't be different. 

Unfortunately, though, when exactly a new transfer can happen is up in the air.  I haven't informed my Czech clinic about any of this yet, because it's still not over.  I found out at a follow up appointment today that my beta is still 952 and there is tissue left in my uterus that is being fed by blood vessels.  I was offered a D&C, but M's parents are still in Maine so we have no babysitter which means I can't have a surgery under anesthetic since M can't be there to take me home.  They gave me misoprostol again, but warned me that the likelihood of it working the second time around is pretty low if it failed the first time.  I can wait a bit longer but if nothing happens in the next two weeks, I should have surgery to avoid any risk of infection and preserve my ability to carry another baby.

Strangely, after everything that's happened over the past month, hearing that the misoprostol hadn't worked and that I might need a D&C was the straw that broke the camel's back.  I cried for the first time since this all happened.  And I cried a lot.  I'm not sure how much of it is for the baby we lost, and how much of it is for the baby we want that is now put on hold.  We had originally hoped to do a FET in Prague in the fall, but that's obviously not going to happen now.  So unless we want to go in the middle of winter, we're probably looking at spring at the earliest.  I feel completely and utterly stupid for even thinking that we should try naturally.  That I could be one of those unicorn bloggers.  We won't be trying again.  It's not worth it.  If we hadn't, we wouldn't be in this position and I'd be planning a trip to Europe right now.

Because I'm no unicorn.  I was just pretending.  All along, I've always been just a horse.


Monday, 25 April 2016

One year old

So yeah, I'm almost a full month late with Q's one year update.  For excuses, choose any of the following: a) both he and I have been sick pretty much non-stop since he started daycare, b) I've been back to work for three weeks and am finding the transition to being a working mom super hectic, c) due to a) and b) I've been in bed by 9 o'clock most nights and blogging has definitely not been a priority.  Whatever.  Now, on to the good stuff!

Stats:  At his one year checkup he was 20.5 pounds and 30 inches.  He's grown quite a bit height-wise, but has gained only about a pound or so since his last checkup.  The pediatrician didn't say a word about it, and I'm chalking it up to the fact that he learned to walk at 10.5 months and has literally not stopped moving since.  I gotta get a Fitbit for this kid.  I figure he logs more steps than I do most days!

Taking a brief rest in the dog bed.

Eating:  Right now I'm still breastfeeding first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.  I never had any firm plans about when I would stop, although I'm definitely not in the extended breastfeeding camp.  I'm surprised I'm still doing it at all, actually, but I've learned that when you have a kid that wakes at 5:30am and your alarm doesn't go off until 6, it's kind of handy to be able to bring him to bed and stuff a boob in his mouth for a little while before starting the day.  As for bedtime, nursing is part of our nightly routine but I'm sure I could cut it out any time.  I was out one day last week and M managed just fine without ta-tas, so this will probably be the next feeding to go.  Although I do like my cuddles at the end of the day, since it's one of the only times Q is happy to lie still in my arms and be snuggled.

Regular food wise, we're still doing well.  He's taken to cow's milk really easily and will drink either that or water with meals or snacks no problem.  Q isn't generally picky, although I've discovered that he can be unpredictable about when he'll eat something.  For instance, pasta with chicken can be amazing one night, but if we have leftovers of the same thing a night or two later it ends up being thrown on the floor to the dog.  He feeds himself pretty much everything now except for stuff that has to be eaten with a spoon (i.e. yogurt), in which case two spoons are a necessity because he's constantly grabbing for the one you're trying to feed him with.  He also really really wants to eat whatever it is the adults are eating, or he throws a mini-tantrum.  M's mom was passing around appetizers one evening before dinner at their place and Q seemed interested.  I tried to break him off a piece of my cracker but NO SIREE he was not having it.  We couldn't figure out why he was losing his mind until M's brother helpfully suggested that maybe he wanted to take his own cracker off the plate.  Which turned out to be exactly what he wanted to do.  This kid definitely has a determined streak, that's for sure!

Your phone.  GIVE IT TO MEEEEEE!

Sleeping:  Sleep is actually a ton better now that Q is in daycare.  They ended up transitioning him to one midday nap, which means I don't have to deal with fighting to put him down anymore since on weekends he's zonked enough by noon to go down without a fight.  Although as I've learned from many parents, he still sleeps better/longer for them that he's ever done for me.  This past Friday he took a three hour nap at daycare.  I can literally count on one hand the number of times he's done that for me.  Actually, no hands.  Because it's zero.  Regardless, he comes home happy and rested and then goes to bed happily at 7pm and sleeps through.  If he wakes and fusses we know there's something wrong (i.e. teething, getting sick) because he does it so rarely.  I'd still love to sleep past 5:30am sometime in the next year or so, but hey let's not be greedy.

Clothes:  He's still in mostly 6-12 month stuff at this point, although anything that has a crotch snap is starting to look a little tight.  He's probably going to be in mostly separates from this point out, since he's way bigger on top than on bottom.  He can wear 12-18 month tops but his little skinny waist and short legs mean that he's still wearing some 9 month bottoms.  So much for all those cute matching outfits people gave us!

Diapers:  Still Pampers Baby Dry size 3.  Although he's had a couple of blowout poops at daycare in the last week or two, so the next time I pick up a box I may try size 4 and see how we do.

Likes: Bathtime, every possible kind of fruit, playing with all kinds of things that aren't toys (remotes, phones, keys, the entire contents of the kitchen drawers and cupboards), climbing stairs, general mayhem

What?  I fit.

Dislikes: Sitting still, being stopped from doing something that will inevitably result in injury (like standing on the seat of his push toy)

Milestones:  Q has been on the move pretty much non-stop since he started walking.  Before I went back to work, I felt like 87% of my day was spent trying to stop him from accidentally killing himself, and the other 13% went to essentials like feeding and changing him.  He's an incredibly physical kid, and people regularly express surprise at how well he's charging around for his age.  On the flip side, I feel like his communication skills are lagging a little.  He still doesn't have any words (not even mama or dada), and trying to engage him in activities like reading or singing songs is pretty much an exercise in futility, as he'd much rather be emptying the spice rack or pushing the dining room chairs all over the house.  For a short while I scared myself thinking that he was showing signs of autism (since he regularly does things like ignore me when I call to him and he prefers playing with household items over soft toys or stuffed animals), but thankfully Isabelle talked some sense into me.  He's definitely communicating in other ways, such as lifting his arms to he picked up and waving bye-bye, and he understands a ton.  For instance, one day he took off his own sock and when I told him to put it back on, he just kind of draped it over the top of his foot and looked at me like, "What?  This is the best I can do."  He also loves to roar when you ask him what sound a dinosaur makes, which is so cute I can't even stand it.  His pediatrician would like to hear him babbling more, but honestly we talk to him all the time so I don't know that there's much more we can do at this point.  I'm keeping an eye on things, but he's so social and interactive I keep telling myself I have no reason to worry.  He warms up to people pretty quickly and loves being out and about where he can give big grins to everyone (just ask Gypsy Mama, who got a few snuggles when we met up for lunch a couple of weeks ago).

Illnesses:  After having made it all the way to 11 months with Q never having a fever, he made up for it by catching every bug known to man after he started daycare.  He's been sent home from there at least three times in the past 6 weeks (including on my very first day of work) with fevers, and we've made two emergency room visits for inconsolable crying which of course always seems to happen on the weekend.  The worst part is that Q actually ended up missing his own birthday party because he was getting sick again.  It wasn't going to be a huge affair, but my parents were coming for a visit so we were having some family and a couple of close friends over for an early dinner and cake.  A friend of mine who has done some cake decorating classes offered to make him a smash cake, and I made a big crockpot of chili and had games planned for the three other kids who were going to be there.  

Look at this piece of art!

Instead, M and I ended up taking turns trying to soothe Q (who had refused to nap that afternoon and went into full meltdown mode by the time people started arriving) and my mom and MIL basically made sure everyone got fed and were entertained for an hour before they went home.  It was an unmitigated disaster!  We ended up in the ER later that night with a feverish baby, while the beautiful unsmashed cake went into the freezer and the gifts went unopened.  The following weekend we had just the grandparents over for round two, so Q finally got to smash his cake and open his gifts.  It sucked at the time but I guess it'll make a good story to tell at some point down the road!

Tastes just as good a week later.

Looking forward to: Finding our new normal.  It's been challenging trying to balance everything now that I've returned to work.  The two hours between 5 and 7pm are filled with so much stuff (commuting, day care pickup, dog walking, dinner prep, cleanup, playtime, bathtime, bed) that we're still figuring out how to manage it all.  The crockpot (which I used a lot before anyway) is becoming even more of a staple, and certain favorite meals are going to have to be put to the side or saved for weekends only because anything that takes longer than a half hour to put together just isn't going to happen on a weeknight anymore.  I honestly don't know how single moms or people with more than one kid manage to do it all!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Transition

It seems insane to me to think that this time last year, I had just started my maternity leave.  I was ginormous, uncomfortable, excited and impatient.  I left work shortly before Q's due date so I could get a few things done around the house in the event he decided to show up early.  Unbeknownst to me, he was on the extended stay plan.  Once I packed the freezer full of pre-made meals and finished cleaning everything that stood still, I spent the next two weeks alternating my time between sitting on my butt and walking trudging waddling around my neighbourhood, hoping to shake him loose.  We all know how that ended.

In preparation for my return to work, we've started transitioning Q into daycare.  We were very lucky to find a center near us that came highly recommended by M's cousin, who sent both her boys there.  Child care is at a premium in Toronto, so much so that more than a few women I work with have been forced to take a couple of extra months of unpaid leave to bridge the gap between the end of their paid leave and the date they could get their kids into daycare.  On the first day, to familiarize him with the environment, we spent an hour there together as if it was a sort of play group.  The next day I left him alone for an hour.  The next day he stayed until just after lunch.  By the end of the week he spent the better part of a whole day there.

So far he seems to be doing really well.  Every day his caregivers tell me how good he's been, how great he ate and napped (!?!), and how happy he is.  Drop-offs are a little rough, but what's surprised me the most has been my own reaction to this whole thing.  We started transitioning him a little bit before my leave ended both so that he'd have plenty of time to adjust, and also so that I could get a bunch of things done (spring cleaning, closet overhaul, etc) before going back to work.  I thought I'd feel a huge sense of freedom, but instead I've felt more than a little lost.  The first day I left him for an hour, I went grocery shopping without him for the first time in a year.  When he was smaller he would just sleep in his stroller, but ever since he was old enough to sit strapped into the cart, our weekly grocery trip has been a fun excursion.  I'd talk to him and tell him about everything that we were buying.  He'd chew on my grocery list or keys or anything else besides the three toys I'd brought for him.  He'd grin at strangers and charm the pants off of anyone who took the time to greet him.  Without him riding along, I felt lonely.  There was a tiny ache in my chest.  I missed my shopping buddy.  And while I've gotten a few things done around the house this past week, I haven't been nearly as productive as I thought I'd be.  I've spent more than a little bit of time thumbing through my phone, looking at his pictures and giggling at his videos.  Or I've just stared off into space, enjoying a little bit of peace and quiet while simultaneously counting down the minutes until I go pick him up.

I guess maybe this transition period is just as necessary for me as it is for him.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Rough patch

I know I'm overdue for a post.  I keep thinking about it, telling myself I'm going to write something, but the honest truth is, I didn't think anyone would really appreciate reading what I have to say.  Because I'm not in a very good place lately.

I knew that getting a baby to sleep (and getting some sleep yourself) was one of the biggest challenges for new parents.  Hell, sometimes it felt like that's all anyone ever said to me when I was pregnant.  "Sleep now, because you won't anymore when the baby comes!  Har har har!!"  So when Q was born and slept so well right off the bat that we needed to use an alarm to wake him for feedings,   I counted myself lucky and was very hesitant to even mention it to other new moms for fear of seeming smug.  I knew it wasn't anything I'd done or hadn't done.  It was just how he was.

Fast forward ten months, we've now been pummelled with various sleep regressions, teething, illnesses, developmental milestones, and travel.  You'd think I'd have baby sleep somewhat figured out by now.  And yet, you couldn't be more fucking wrong.

Things haven't been good on the sleep front since December.  I mean, Q's never been a very good napper, but at least nighttimes were going OK.  Until they weren't.  It started with very early wakeups (as early as 4 or 4:30am) and a complete refusal to go back to sleep.  Then naps started to spiral out of control, with Q fighting them tooth and nail and sometimes only going down for as little as 30 minutes twice a day.  Naps finally started to lengthen again due to some concerted nap training effort on my part...and then nights fell apart.  He would wake at random intervals in the middle of the night and require an hour or two of rocking and singing to go back to sleep.  Some nighttime sleep training seems to have fixed that (for now)...but we're right back to early waking and nap hell.  As soon as I work on fixing one thing, something else goes sideways.  I feel like one of those cartoons where the character is in a boat or a submarine and it springs a leak, so he puts his hand over it.  Then another leak springs up, then another, so he uses his other hand, then a foot, then another foot and before you know it he's tied up in knots, he's out of appendages and the boat is sinking fast.

At this point, I feel like I've read every single thing on the internet about baby sleep, and napping in particular.  I feel like I've tried it all.  Blackout blinds, check.  White noise, check.  No pacifier or blanket or lovey, since he's totally uninterested in any of them.  I've rocked him, I've shush-patted him, I've tried co-sleeping.  I've done Ferber's controlled crying and full-on extinction cry-it-out.  I've tried more awake time.  I've tried less awake time.  And finally, last week I threw in the towel and called a sleep consultant.  She was quite lovely and suggested that our free initial 15 minute phone consultation might in fact be all I needed to get Q back on track, as she thought his problems were caused by overtiredness and that I simply needed to tweak his wake times to make them much more drastically shorter than I'd ever tried.  So then I did that.  And it worked, blissfully, for three short days.  Then out of nowhere (and with me having done absolutely nothing differently, and following the consultant's plan exactly), he just flat out started refusing his afternoon nap entirely.  As in, not having it at all.

Today, for instance, was particularly heinous.  Q woke at 5am and resisted all efforts to be put back to sleep.  He took a 30 minute catnap from 9 to 9:30am, cried for an hour through my first attempt at an early afternoon nap around 12:30pm, and then happily babbled his way through an hour long stroller walk at 3pm instead of being lulled to sleep like I hoped.  That's 30 minutes of nap sleep, total, all day.  Not enough in anyone's book, no matter what sleep expert du jour you ask.  Even if he was trying to drop to one nap, which every resource tells me it's way too early for, that nap certainly isn't meant to be a 30 minute one.

Admittedly, I'm not sleep deprived the way I would be with a newborn who's waking every 2 or 3 hours all night.  I can go to bed early and stave off the worst of the effects of being up at 4 or 5am every day.  My frustration level is through the roof, though, and I'm afraid that it's turning me into a terrible mother.  On particularly bad nap days like today, I basically never get a break.  I have no backup, since all of my family lives out of province and even my in-laws are a 2 hour drive away.  I have no one who can come over and give me a few minutes to take a shower or get dinner started or (heaven forbid) relax, or any of the other million things that normal moms must do while their baby is napping.  I don't ever have a chance to recharge and as a result I end up burning out fast, which means that instead of doing important stuff like playing or reading or singing to Q I'm sitting on the floor zoning out and basically doing the bare minimum to keep him from killing himself by sticking his finger in a socket or accidentally throwing himself off the stairs.  I get frustrated with stupid little things that shouldn't (and don't normally) really bother me, like Q ripping off his own bib at dinner and getting food all over himself.  On a good sleep day, it's cute and Facebook-status-update worthy.  On the fifth day of him letting him CIO for an hour for an afternoon nap that never happened (thanks for nothing, sleep consultant), it's yell-at-your-baby-then-feel-like-a-piece-of-human-excrement-for-doing-so worthy.

But the frustration isn't even the worst part.  The worst is how it makes me question myself, and my own abilities as a mother.  I mean, if I can't get my baby to sleep, how is he supposed to grow and thrive?  How is he supposed to develop properly?  If I can't even do this basic thing, certainly I don't even deserve to be a mom.  Maybe infertility was the universe's way of attempting to stop me from doing this thing I was never meant to do.  And instead I went and circumvented nature and now I have this baby I wasn't supposed to have and I'm just going to end up fucking him up despite how much I love him and want nothing but good for him.

And then there's the times I'm so tired and frustrated that I don't want to be around him at all.  Which is scary and guilt-inducing in a whole different way.  Because there are people who would give ANYTHING to be in my position, pregnant after one try with donor eggs, now with a healthy thriving beautiful baby boy.  And then I feel worse than a piece of human excrement. 

So that's where I'm at.  I kept waiting to climb out of the other side of this pit of sleep suck, and write a hilarious and insightful post on sleep training and nap training and how we all survived it.  But at this point I'm starting to think this is going to be as good as it gets, at least for a while.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Nine months

Q is nine months old today!  As promised last time, here's an update on where we are.

Stats:  He hasn't had an official weigh-in since his last doctor's appointment a few months ago, but my unscientific method (hop on scale, hop off, hop back on with baby) suggests he's 20 or 21 pounds now.  I've tried measuring his height myself and I keep getting 27 inches, but that's what he was at his last checkup so I figure I must be off at least a little bit.  Granted, I usually try to do it while he's standing at his activity table and he immediately turns to grab the measuring tape, so he's not making it easy on me.  His 9-month checkup is next week so we'll find out the official stats then.

Nicknames:  There's still nothing really specific besides honey, sweetie or baby, although an extended head cold meant that I was calling him "Booger" or "Booger Nose" for a few weeks there.  "Little man" seems to have emerged as well, but I'm really all over the map.  We also both call him "buddy" a lot, which is super confusing for the dog.

Neither one of them can figure out who I'm talking to.

Eating:  At 6 months we initially tried baby-led weaning (BLW), which involves skipping purees and letting baby feed himself with foods that are easy to  grasp in a fist.  Like Jane, I got fed up with the mess and the amount of food getting wasted so we mostly did cereals and purees for a little while until Q's fine motor skills developed a bit more.  Within a month or so, though, his pincer grasp had improved and it was clear that he wanted to be feeding himself so we started giving him more and more finger foods.  Now he's pretty much eating by himself 95% of the time.  The main exception to this is if we're going out to eat and don't want to deal with the mess, or if the restaurant has those wooden high chairs that don't have trays for us to lay his food on, in which case I'll spoon feed him some chunky store bought baby food.  For the most part, though, he eats what we eat.  For instance, last night was meatloaf with roasted squash and steamed green beans, all cut into small pieces.  Also, THIS KID IS A BOTTOMLESS PIT.  It frequently amazes me how much food he can put away (i.e. it's not uncommon for him to put away an entire pear at lunch, on top of cheese cubes and toast or rice rusks).  I'm still breastfeeding as well, although it's been getting harder and harder to make sure he takes full feedings since the world is just so damn interesting and he's the most distractable baby ever.  On the frowny side, he's still feeding at night.  He usually wakes himself for a dream feed between 10:30 and midnight, and then he's often up again around 4 or 5am at which point I nurse him back to sleep because it's either that or spend 45 minutes rocking him with a 50/50 chance of success of going back to bed.  Everything I read tells me that he doesn't need these night feedings any more and if I was really committed to it I suppose I could work on cutting them out, but in the wee hours of the morning it's honestly easier to do one quick feeding that takes 10 minutes instead of dealing with a fussy baby for a half hour or more.  He also empties both boobs so it's not like he's just waking and suckling himself back to sleep.

Sleeping:  Oh sleep.  If I had only known how much I would think/talk/read about sleep once I had a baby!  It's such a moving target.  For a long time Q was going to bed at night and putting himself to sleep without a fuss.  Then, in October/November I went to visit my family for 3 weeks while M was on an extended business trip.  When we got home, Q was a bit fussy around M so we decided that M would do the bedtime routine for a little while so they could bond again.  Somehow, this resulted in Q needing to be rocked to sleep all over again, so we're currently in the process of some sleep training to get him back on track.  We had some success around 4 or 5 months with controlled crying and timed checks, so that's what we're back to.  As for naps, somewhere around 7 months Q finally started taking naps that were longer than 30 minutes.  This seems to have coincided with him dropping his third nap, which kind of happened organically since he was sleeping longer in the afternoon and stopped needing it.  The one thing we've never been able to achieve, though, is putting him down awake for his naps.  I mean I can, but he'll cry for a good half hour before he finally goes to sleep.  I've had a lot more success rocking him to sleep for these, and we had an awesome little routine going for a while there with him taking 1 to 1.5 hour naps at 9am and 2pm.  The past few weeks have been weird in general, though.  Over Christmas he started waking every 2 hours and getting up for the day at 5am no matter what we did.  This week night sleep has gone back to semi-normal, but now he's fighting his morning nap like crazy, and this nap used to be the easy one!  He's been going through a huge developmental burst lately though (see the Milestones section below), so I have a feeling he's going through a bit of a 9 month sleep regression and I'm crossing my fingers that we can work our way through it quickly.

Clothes:  Some brands have 9 month sizing, which Q fits into perfectly.  Others have 6 to 12 month sizing, which seems odd to me since that's such a huge range.  Q seems to fit most of that stuff OK, although he's on the long and lean side so occasionally 6-12 month items are too short for him lengthwise but baggy for him in the body.  One thing I love is that his larger size clothing is more like "real" clothes (think sweaters and pants instead of one piece outfits) so I find he looks like a real little boy instead of a baby now.

Sweater WITH ELBOW PATCHES!

Diapers:  Still Pampers Baby Dry size 3.  He has the occasional leak at night, but I attribute that more to odd sleeping positions or something rather than the diaper being overly full, since other times it's practically bursting in the morning and yet he's dry as a bone.

Likes:  Food (especially Baby Mum Mums, mom's spaghetti, and ALL THE BLUEBERRIES), bathtime, playing peek-a-boo, being turned upside down or tossed in the air, Skyping with my mom/sister/niece, chasing after Buddy, and putting iPhones in his mouth.

Dislikes:  Being in the car when he's not sleeping, having his nose or face wiped, sitting still, not being allowed to put iPhones in his mouth.

Milestones:  Q started crawling on Halloween night, just a few days shy of his 7-month birthday.  Within days he had pulled himself to stand for the first time.  Then he kind of plateaued for a little bit, although in the past week or so it seems like he's had another big developmental boost.  He got a push toy from my mom for Christmas, and within moments of standing behind it he was walking it across the floor with the hugest smile on his face.  The next day he started letting go of it and standing unassisted for increasing periods of time.  He hasn't ventured to take any steps yet, but I have a feeling we're going to have a toddler on our hands before too long.  Terrifyingly, in the past week he also climbed up stairs for the first time (with a spotter, of course).  He's pretty fearless about trying physical stuff, which is probably going to give me a lot of new gray hairs in the coming months.  Other recent new skills include clapping and what we think is some rudimentary waving.

At my last update I was worried about his communication skills since he still hadn't babbled with consonants at 6 months.  Of course, he started doing it probably a week afterwards and now he's regularly yakking away with all kinds of gibberish.  He also seems to understand his own name (he'll usually turn when it's called) and some simple commands like "no" or "give me a kiss" (which is gross and slobbery and pretty much the awesomest thing ever).  He hasn't really seemed to have any stranger anxiety at all and still loves smiling at everyone he sees when we go to the supermarket or the mall.  He's a real little extrovert!  No idea how his two introvert parents are going to handle that one down the line.

Illnesses:  The end of November/start of December was one big haze of snot and coughing.  We all either had one really long cold or a whole bunch of colds one after the other.  Q hates the snot sucker, but thankfully the humidifier seems to have worked wonders or else no one would have gotten any sleep for a while!

Looking forward to:  In anticipation of being cooped up in the house this winter, I've registered Q for a couple of activities starting next week including a music class and swimming.  I hope he likes them!  Otherwise, I've just been having a ton of fun watching his personality emerge more and more over the past couple of weeks.  He's started playing more interactive games, so now rather than simply sitting on the floor with him and watching him whack stuff together or put it in his mouth I can show him how to actually play with his toys and make them do the things they're supposed to do.  It's so cool and makes me even more excited to see what he's got up his sleeve next.

A little quiet, Mother, please.  I'm working on my blog.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

The year everything changed (and kept on changing)

Well, 2015, it's been a helluva ride.

I don't just mean that because it's the year we finally got to tell infertility to piss off as we welcomed our baby boy to our family.  Although of course that's a huge part of it, but it's really just the start.  Looking back on the past 9 months with Q, it sometimes blows my mind just how much change we've gone through on what seems to be an almost daily basis.  How can time seem to pass so slowly at times (I'm looking at you, 3am with a crying baby) and yet whiz by at others?  

When I have a quiet moment, I often catch myself reminiscing about certain stages or phases that Q has gone through in the past 9 months, or things we used to do with him that we don't anymore.  For instance, when he was first born he was such a sound sleeper that we used to keep his bassinet in the living room for the entire day, laying him down to nap in it while M and I (and often my mom or MIL) puttered about, watched TV, made dinner or did chores.  In the evening I'd feed him and then he'd fall asleep on M's chest as we sat on the sofa watching TV.  I'd doze off too, and M would eventually wake me and together we'd carry both Q and his bassinet upstairs to our bedroom for the rest of the night.  Over time, we started putting Q in the bassinet in our room at his bedtime, and we'd come up to bed later.  Then we started putting him in his crib in his own room, although when we went to bed we'd fetch him and transfer him to the bassinet just because we still wanted him close overnight.  Now, he's in his crib all night.  The bassinet still sits in our room, empty save for some baby blankets that Q no longer uses.  I'm pretty sure he wouldn't even fit in it anymore, and yet I can't quite bring myself to put it downstairs even though it would free up a ton of space.  It's as if moving it will somehow erase the memory of those early days.

Some changes have been momentous, like on Halloween night when all of a sudden we had a crawler.  Days later, he was pulling to stand.  Others have been more gradual, like Q (gloriously, blessedly, finally) stretching out his numerous 30-minute catnaps into two (mostly) solid daytime snoozes.  With each change, the old way of doing things disappears, our routine shifts, and we establish a new normal.  Then it all changes again.  Change IS the new normal.

I really owe you guys a proper update on Q and his development, and I really have no excuse other than now that I finally get an hour or two to myself in the middle of the day it's really damn nice to get to have a nap or read a book or just in general not feel like I'm rushing to get everything done.  I'll do a full-on 9 month update in January, I promise, if for no other reason than because I really want to document stuff for myself as well.  

In the meantime, I just want to wish everyone a (belated) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Wherever you are in your journey, I wish you joy and happiness for 2016.  And if that seems impossible, at the very least a smidgen of peace and the fervent hope that next year everything will change for you too.