Blogged while baby naps.
3 weeks old, April 19-25: Our first choice for infant care after I return to work, the Suzuki School, requested a family interview this week. We must have failed it because there is “no availability” for the summer session and “it’s too soon to tell” if Paxton will be accepted to the the fall session. Hrmph.
Had my third appointment with the lactation consultant, Julie. We can’t figure out why Paxton’s latches are still painful. She reviews all options outside of breastfeeding with me. I appreciate that, but it seems like Julie has given up, and maybe I should too. Still dealing with painful nipples.
Went to a dermatology appointment to remove and biopsy a suspicious-looking freckle that was found while I was pregnant. I fell asleep on the table!
I call my dad, who is supposed to stay with us for 10 days, and try to ask him not to come. I’m a hot mess with this breastfeeding, plus sleep deprived, depressed and cannot deal with him and our strained relationship on top of all of that. I chicken out and he promises that he will help and I won’t have to entertain him. Dad arrives on Monday, April 24.
On Dad’s third day, I snap at him for eating food brought to us by friends and family who have visited – making a remark like “every one else who has been here has brought us food. You’re the only one who shows up and eats our food instead!” Am I petty? Yes. Keep in mind that I’m hanging on to my sanity by a thread and if you’ve had a baby, then you know how difficult it is to keep yourselves fed. Also, Jason and Dad went grocery shopping the day before and only came home with stuff for one dinner. Why wouldn’t he get whatever food he needed for himself, instead of draining our limited supplies?! Dad doesn’t respond to my comment, but walks out of the house later on that day, saying he’s going for drinks with a friend. No word from him until hours later, when he sends me a text saying that he gathered from my “lecture” that I don’t want him to stay and he’s changed his ticket to go home early. And he’s spending the night out with this “friend.” This sends me down a spiral – sobbing uncontrollably and unable to sleep even though it’s late and Paxton is sleeping (so I should have been). As much anger and resentment that I feel towards my Dad, I don’t want our parting to be on such terms. What if it ends up being the last time I see him?
Jason ends up taking an emergency personal day from work the next day, because I am such a disaster. My mom comes over the next morning, worried about me, and Dad strolls in sometime around lunch. He acts as though nothing is wrong, and starts talking to Mom and I about all he struggles with, per Parkinson’s. After Mom suggests (again) that he go to support groups and while I’m out of the room, she basically tells Dad that I’m really struggling and to cut me some slack. (Love you, Mom!! For dealing with him in the first place and for always being there when I need you.) After that, Dad doesn’t go home early, but doesn’t bring the matter up again. He goes to the store again and grills out for us twice. I could tell he was trying his best, but totally baffled on how to handle me. One of the worst nights with Paxton happened during Dad’s stay. Dad was out on a date (?) with some woman, and Jason and I were hoping to watch a movie and not be mad at each other. Instead, Paxton screamed bloody murder for about 4 hours. No relaxation for us.
I’m glad my dad got to meet Paxton and spend time with him. Without a doubt, Dad was helpful holding Paxton and watching him, while I could do other things and have a break. But the timing of the visit wasn’t good, and I have to have all my energy to work through the emotions of dealing with my dad – and I just couldn’t do it.
Back to the breastfeeding saga…Gayle, who may be my guardian angel, suggested another lactation consultant, Anne Grider, who came highly recommended by a friend of hers. I was able to book Anne’s time quickly and she came to our house to spend almost three hours with Paxton and I. Anne was very thorough and explained everything from feeding positions (bottle and boob) to newborn care to milk supply and how to better use a breast pump. One thing both Anne and Julie did was weigh Paxton before a breastfeeding and after. Anne’s weighted measurement showed Paxton was able to get some milk on his own, which was encouraging. But the pain was still present. Anne diagnosed Paxton with having mandibular asymmetry. That’s basically a misaligned jaw, which was preventing Paxton from nursing correctly (and causing pain for me). If you tilt your head down so that your ear touches your shoulder – we think that’s how Paxton was positioned in utero, for long enough to for his jaw and mouth to be misaligned. Anne said that 80% of her patients (moms who have pain breastfeeding) are dealing with mandibular asymmetry. I was skeptical (and so was our pediatrician). Why would a misaligned jaw cause all these problems? But, I trusted Anne and was also out of other options, and dutifully scheduled an appointment with Anne’s recommended oral motor specialist, Staci Copses. I’m still pumping mostly, and nursing barely at all.
4 weeks old, April 26-May 2: I discovered these nipple shield things – a piece of flexible plastic you use when nursing, which offered enough pain relief to breastfeed. A small victory!
I was stressed with driving an hour to Cumming and an hour back for our first appointment with Staci, but thankfully, my mom went with us to help. Why is it stressful? Paxton was eating about every 1.5-2.5 hours. Even if he ate right before we got in the car (unlikely that I could manage that), he’d be hungry/grumpy right in the middle of the appointment, OR in the car on the way back home. Stressssssss. Anyway, Staci ended up being incredible, and well worth the journey. She massaged Paxton’s face, neck and jaw – Mom and I were both amazed at how she calmed his cries and how Paxton let her put fingers in his mouth and try to loosen up the tightness on his right side. Staci sent me home with lots of notes and exercises to do at home. I felt a little relief from the pain, but not enough to skip the shields. I start exclusively breastfeeding on May 1, and feeling like things are going in the right direction.
I had a post-birth check-up with Dr. Zertuche at four weeks. She’s so great, and I realized that she’s the first person Paxton met when he entered this world! I am happy the timing worked out that way. She spoke with me about postpartum depression (a multiple choice test indicated I had a high likelihood for it). While I was in the thick of the depression, those first 4-5 weeks, I was aware that I was struggling, but thought it was all related to breastfeeding issues. I wouldn’t have ever thought I had postpartum depression – until I read this summary of what it feels like. I experienced almost all of those bullet points. I remember my mom saying to me, “if you don’t get better by Monday, we are calling a doctor to deal with this.” I was in really bad shape.
Jason and I were having a hard time with each other too. Every feeding session was a nightmare for me, and they were frequent. Paxton would squirm and flail his arms around, making it extremely difficult to latch. And then once we did get a latch, it was all pain for 30-40 min a boob. I was beyond exhausted, stressed, frustrated and hurting. So what do I do? Take it out on Jason, who would try to help me, but didn’t know how.
The 3am feedings were the worst. Jason would wake up and try to help with the latches, but would fall asleep a few minutes into it. Irrationally, I would get so mad at him – sleeping peacefully while I am in a literal hell. I yelled at him a lot. I also found myself getting resentful, particularly when Jason was busy with freelance work. Jason was having a hard time adjusting to this new life too, and seemed to need to escape it as well. One afternoon, Paxton was being so difficult and as a result, I was (yet again) crying. Jason was sitting next to me playing a video game on his iPad. I asked him why he didn’t care that I’m sitting next to him sobbing, and he said that he couldn’t soothe both of us (meaning, me and Paxton) all the time. Good thing we were simply too tired to get divorced! (kidding)
[I’m slow writing these posts, but rest assured that things did eventually get better and I/we am/are fine. So don’t worry!]
I had turned away most people who had asked to visit us, being the hot mess that I was, but my sweet friends Vann and Sarah C. insisted on coming by – with food, treats, magazines and an orchid. I was a mess for most of their visit, but it was so good for me to see them and be reminded that there is a life outside of feedings and diapers. I think Vann cleaned a bathroom while she was here and Sarah’s food keep us fed for days. Love y’all!
Also, we finally broke into the freezer stash of meals from my shower…SEY’s vegetable lasagna was the first thing we ate – delicious!
Paxton’s Milestones and Notables
- Snorts like a piggy when crying.
- I became obsessed with Paxton’s little feet. They are just SO cute. Especially the scrunched big toe on his left foot.
- Still smiling a lot in his sleep. On May 2, he really did smile at me!
- Classic Paxton move is to poop or pee a clean diaper 10 seconds after it’s changed.
- Puts index finger, while straightened, all the way in his mouth. (No gag reflex?)
- Baby acne for about two weeks.
- Paxton’s feet are always cold. Good thing he has cute socks to wear!
- Still scratches himself quite a bit, particularly during a crying fit. Those baby fingernails are daggers!
- Waves arms around like he’s swinging punches.
- Seems like Paxton is trying to say words already – making verbal noises.
- Quickest way to stop a cry fest: put Paxton upright over my shoulder and bounce on a stability ball. Like this:
- Grammi has a few tricks of her own, but the funniest is when she growls back at Paxton – he’s shocked to get a taste of his own medicine!
- Around May 1, Paxton is MUCH more alert. It’s nice to see a little more humanity instead of a crying, pooping baby-blob.