Man, I love this baby. I swear, I would be happy just chit-chatting with her all day long. I love watching her little face compute the minute changes in my expressions, or other sights and sounds around her. Life is so exciting and stimulating for her right now. It’s a wonder to experience it that way with her. I forget about this with my older kids. But they too experience things in their own unique way. Like when Ella yells, “why is everyone being so mean to me?!” She is actually experiencing it that way. I would like to give more validation to the various unique ways that each of my kids experiences life.
Kaia lives for smiles. She can be totally preoccupied and if she sees you smile at her she will instantly beam. Often when she's nursing now, she’ll catch my eyes and pop off to try to get me to smile back at her. Or, when we’re rocking her to sleep because she’s been super fussy, she’ll suddenly change her tune and start babbling and smiling at us. She’s the cutest.
And, she’s an amazing sleeper. Still not a big napper, usually only 45 mins at a time, but at night. She’s keeping the routine of going to bed at about 7 and waking up to feed around 5 and going back to sleep until 7 or 8. I’m so proud of her. She’s doing so well navigating this big crazy world as a tiny human.
She got another sickness recently. This one sent us to the ER in the middle of the night. Anders and Ella had both developed this terrible cough out of nowhere, followed by a low fever. I figured it was only a matter of time before it hit Kaia. And sure enough, a few days later, Luc woke me up in the middle of the night because Kaia was coughing and crying (she never wakes up crying in the middle of the night). She sounded like she was having trouble breathing. We called Kaiser advice line first, the consulted with a nurse, and told us to go into ER- I think because we saw retraction around the lungs while breathing. It was so scary. By the time we got there, she had calmed down, and I could tell that there was no imminent danger, but I also didn’t want to go back home without knowing that we were in the clear. So we waited out turn. Her oxygen levels were fine, and she had no fever. The Doctor looked at us like we were crazy and told us to use a humidifier. Please pay $500 on your way out, by the way. Ugh. At least we got some Children’s Tylenol at the pharmacy which is impossible to find right now, so that was a win.
Around 3.5 months I noticed my mood start dropping. Not sure if it’s hormonal or situational. My guess is it’s both. It’s been a while since I've been at home now. My business is suffering after having taken a maternity break and losing some clients. And Luc is gone most evenings coaching basketball. So, I’m not having much of a life outside of raising children. I am so grateful that I get this time with them, but while I know it’s best that we are just together, sometimes the time together is oh-so challenging. There’s no measure of success when you’re doing the job of raising children. No one pats you on the back, or offers you a promotion. Instead there’s small moments of tenderness and love. But you really have to look for those, or be present to be able to notice and experience them. They are worth everything. They are everything that matters to me in life. But during these down times, my mind plays tricks on me. I get overly critical and negative about myself; nitpicking my parenting, my social skills, my everything. Maybe there’s too much time on my hands. Or maybe it’s just my hormones. I have noticed my hair coming out in throes recently.
But what I did when in the depths of darkness of postpartum was reached out to a friend to create a postpartum support group. Because if I’m struggling, I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’m not sure a support group is the key to helping postpartum mental health, but it may be something I can do to help.
Four month sleep regression? She suddenly started waking at 9 & 2, and now that has extended to 2 & 5. And I have started falling asleep by 9.
She got another little cold, but when she’s healthy her wake windows have extended to about two hours now. When she’s sick she wants to sleep every one hour.
We take her out to do all the things now. She gets distracted nursing in public places, so I usually have to take her to the car if we’re out and about. And if she’s tired she’ll take a little 20 minute power nap with me. Her naps still only last around 20-30 mins, and she’s taking about four of them per day now.
I’ve been transitioning her to her crib. Starting with naps- which she always wakes up after I put lay her down while she’s sleeping. Which has caused me to try to change her eating habits, so she’s not eating when she’s tired and then falls asleep. So we’re trying to do the eat-play-sleep schedule. So far it’s working, but she’s needing to nurse a couple of times in her two hour wake window. And so the “sleep training” has begun. It feels a bit counter intuitive to “sleep train” this tiny precious human who is still so dependent on me for everything. So I’m listening to my intuition this time, instead of “trying to do it right,” which I often did with my first two. So far, I’m trying to get her to fall asleep on her own for her first nap of the day. I give her about 30 mins. Most of the time, she will fall asleep by then. If she doesn’t and she’s really worked up, then I will go in and nurse her. I really pay attention to how she’s doing. If she’s hysterically crying and inconsolable when I put my hand on her chest and tell her “shhhhh,” then I might pick her up for a bit. I want her to know that I’m still there for her. I’m sure this is not the quickest route to sleep training, but it feels right to me.
At almost five months now, she just slept her first full night in her crib! We started by having her fall asleep in there instead of her swing. Then at her first wakeup my husband would bring her into to feed with me, and then I’d put her in the dok-a-tot in her bassinet beside my bed. But, she started getting too big for that! So to the crib it is! It was a little sad for me. I still miss having her cuddle with me in bed, but, it’s time for her to spread her wings. 🙂
She seems to be recovering from her sleep regression too. The last few nights she has done a full 8-9 hour sleep stretch from 6:30-2:30/3:30. Glory, glory hallelujah! And then she’ll fall back to sleep until about 6:30. I’m so proud of her. She’s doing so great in this big big world.
She’s able to grab at things that she wants now. And everything goes in her mouth. We took her out to dinner to Mary’s for her first dinner out the other night. We celebrated Luc’s promotion and Anders’ excellent report card. And she did so well!
We went to her 4 month check-up, which all went well. I had Luc come with me this time because of what a nightmare her 2 month vaccines were, but she did SO much better this time. She was smiling two minutes later. It was like a 180 from last time. I’m so proud of her and how well she’s adapting to life. :) She is in the 90% for height, weight and head size. Her heart murmur is still present, but our pediatrician says we can wait until 6 months, and if it’s still present then, then she would order an EKG and have us see the cardiologist. We’ve had a scare with each kid. Anders was plagiocephaly, which we went to Oakland for. Ella was potential spina bifida, which we went to Oakland for to get an MRI. The previous two were very stress inducing, and had positive outcomes, so I’m preserving my worries until I know more at this point.
She does this weird screeching noise now. It seems to be when she’s starting to get tired. Man does it get intense! Sometimes she turns all red in the face adn her body goes stiff as she pushes a screech out. I don’t know what it is, and it’s somewhat concerning. But I’m chalking it up to how she plays with communication when she’s getting tired. I really don’t know what else it could be.
Sometimes it feels like failure because there’s no signs of success. I’m raising a baby. That is my primary job right now. How I succeed at that is only measured by me. I’m the only one seeing the day to day, and there’s no concrete reward, like money or praise, that there would be in a typical job. Nobody is giving me a pat on the back, or hiring me for my services.
Meanwhile my business is struggling- which is causing financial stress, which is causing marital stress. THIS is frustrating. THIS makes me feel discouraged. But what I’m doing IS important and IS contributing. And I’m TRYING to grow my business, which is challenging when my time is sucked up by, no, dedicated, to caring for a newborn. Additionally I’ve been mildly sick for a majority of the past month, so I haven’t been exercising much- which also makes me feel low and dejected about my body/self.
I have to keep my head high. I am raising a human- the most important job there is. It does not matter what others think or don’t think about it. How I show up for her is important. And it’s important to my other kids.
As for fitness, if I build the blocks of taking care of myself the end result will come. Each workout equals one block. And we build, one block/workout at a time; and one healthy eating decision at a time.
My marriage feels lost in the mix of responsibilities right now, but I know that this is temporary, and that we will find time and a way to connect with each other once again. Right now I need to remember he is a friend, not a foe. And to allow positive interactions rather than taking my frustrations out on him.
I’m trying to remember to soak it all in. And for the most part I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job at that. The kids are getting tired of me always being occupied with Kaia and not available to do things with them, which leads me to feel guilty. To counteract it, I try to verbalize my love with them more and let them know that it won’t be this way for long.
Mommy-ing is humbling and centering. I often feel that our lives are too busy. That all I want is to spend more time sitting with and holding my children, letting them be little while they still are in the comfort of their mother’s arms. Nothing is as important to me as the relationships that I have with my children and my husband. My meaningful relationships are the ones that really create the fabric of my life. I feel more attuned to this in the early postpartum phase. I feel less of a desire to interact in ways that do not really add to my life.
I am often overwhelmed with the joy of being the recipient of such a wonderful blessing as Kaia. A new healthy baby is such a freaking blessing. Being able to witness life in its purest, most innocent form, and watch her grow. And to be the one that she loves most, and who is responsible for providing her joy and love. It is just incredible. The most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced. And this is why we wanted to have another child. To experience this absolute miracle that knocks you off your feet, brings you back to the essence of love and life, and to watch her grow. And then it’s all put on the line because it could be taken from you and crushed in an instant. Never knowing when you might lose them is so terrifying that you I tuck it away and never ever look at it. This is why if I watch a show alluding to this, I am unemotional- because I have detached myself from the possibility of that being my reality. I refuse to consider it.