Hunger Pains: Are We Horrible Parents?

Image 4As I’m typing this, there is a very good chance that my left nipple may be bleeding. Is that too much information? Forgive me. I’ve been up since 4 AM this morning and it’s 11:34 PM at night (not sure if it’s still Saturday or Sunday as Friday seems to have been a complete blur).

So this is how we realized why our baby Ellie has been crying during all of her waking hours:

On Thursday of last week, on her one month birthday (the one month anniversary of the most insane morning of my entire life), I took her to the pediatrician for a check up. Excited for her weigh in, like a wrestler before a big competition, I was all chatty and smiles to the receptionist and nurses. They told me to remove Ellie’s clothing before the nurse weighed and measured her. Like the 30 days in a row prior to this doctor’s visit, she screamed at the top of her lungs as I took off her  terrycloth onesie, her kimono undershirt and then the dreaded diaper. There was no consoling her (as always). I tried the shushing, then the tapping of her back, rocking, some singing…she screamed louder and louder.

The nurse weighed Ellie and made some passing remark that she only gained one ounce. ONE ounce. In TWO weeks. WHAT? She had gained 9 ounces in TWO weeks at our last visit. This couldn’t be good. Then the doctor came in and the nurse relayed this information and the doctor quickly said, “Please re-weigh her.” And the nurse did. And again, she said, “Only one ounce gained.”

Um, what the hell was happening?

Then the nurse leaves and the doctor asks me to discuss my nursing schedule – how long do I nurse her? (forever) how long in between feedings? (there is supposed to be time in between feedings?) what am I eating? (girl scout cookies, bagels and granola bars – I don’t have time for real food) am I drinking lots of water? (trying to) am I getting any sleep? (is that a trick question?) did I ever have breast surgery (no), does the baby seem hungry between feedings (always)…then as I’m racking my brain for the answers to these questions in my sleep deprived state that don’t make me sound like a criminal parent, the doctor gets called out to an urgent patient in another room. So I’m left there sorting out these questions and The Husband calls to say he’s done with work for the day and is going to come meet me.

Ellie is still naked, so I cover her with a blanket and try patting her back, rocking her in my arms, shushing into her ear – but again, like so many days before, she is SCREAMING and her face is all pink and I’m sure everyone in the entire office must be wondering if I’m pinching her. Five minutes later, The Husband walks in and I tell him that she’s only gained an ounce and I see the look of concern on his face and I almost lose it entirely. It seems like decades, no centuries, before the doctor comes back.

I tell her that I have been nursing Ellie every 90 minutes – 3 hours during the day. Every 2-4 hours at night depending on if she wakes up. And that with rare exception, she cries about 90% of her waking hours. I tell her that Ellie seems to want to nurse as long as I will let her. She never seems to reach a state that she just comes off the boob with satisfaction. After my last blog post, I started inquiring into getting a baby swing. I read books on colicky babies and babies with reflux. The Husband and I started using the baby carrier where you strap the baby to your chest using a device that looks like a backpack and that we have walked around our apartment at all hours of the night using this thing as it seems to calm her down (or that by the time we decide to use it, she’s cried herself to sleep).

The doctor was calm and careful with her words.

“I think Ellie is just really hungry,” she said.

I wasn’t sure what to say to that. It seemed so obvious. I felt like the biggest moron that ever walked the planet. I’m supposed to be lawyer? And I can’t figure out that my baby is STARVING? The next 15 minutes we devised a plan to see whether increasing Ellie’s feeding schedule would result in a weight gain. I would need to pump my breast milk to know the quantity being fed to Ellie and then supplement her with formula. We doubled the amount we thought she was getting and would wake her regularly during the day to make sure she was getting the calories she needed. We also discovered that Ellie has “thrush,” which is basically a yeast infection in her mouth. This could also have contributed to why she hasn’t been taking in as much milk as she needs (and also could explain why my boobs / nipples have been in utter agony).

The doc asked if I had any formula with me (Ellie was still screaming) and I did have an emergency bottle in my diaper bag. She wanted to see how Ellie took it, so I whipped it out and within about 30 seconds, Ellie downed an entire 2 ounce bottle. She then started screaming again.

“Yes,” the doctor said. “I think she’s just hungry.”

We agreed to come back the following Monday for a weigh in and to see if our new plan had worked. So off we went to the pharmacy to get some medication for the thrush. When we got home, I fed Ellie 4 ounces, the most food she’s ever eaten in one sitting. She spent the next hour wide awake and NOT crying – a first for her. Then she napped for the next two hours and when she awoke and I changed her diaper, she miraculously did not cry (another first). I don’t want to jinx it, but so far, this pattern has pretty much repeated itself over the last 48 hours. This morning, she had her eyes open for another hour and actually gave me a few quick smiles. Is this the same baby?

So perhaps it will turn out that this baby is not colicky. Maybe it’s not reflux after all. It’s just that her parents were starving her to death. It breaks my heart to think of all those late nights and long days when I was shushing her from crying or the late nights when I rocked her for 2 hours in the glider to get her to stop screaming when she was trying to tell me that she was hungry. How did I not know this?

I ordered and started taking lactation cookies & vitamins, drinking the milk inducing tea bags and applying all sorts of ointments, creams and butters to help with the boob pain. I’m not sure that any of this is helping, but I’m trying. Ellie is eating like a horse. I’m relieved she’s responding so well to the larger feedings, but still feel terrible that I can’t seem to produce enough milk to keep up with her demand. Pumping is a beast of an activity, especially with sore boobs.

On a bright note, she is a completely different baby today than she was a week ago. Her face is filling out and some of her newborn clothes are getting tight. I won’t say we’re out of the woods yet until that weigh in tomorrow.

And in case you’re wondering, I’ve gotten NO thank you cards done this week or weekend. But my in-laws came to town this weekend and watched the “new and satiated” Ellie for a couple of hours so that The Husband and I could go to the MOVIES. That’s right – we did the impossible. Made it to a movie. I slept through two-thirds of it, but who cares – I was OUT. And it felt really really strange not to be with Ellie and I didn’t like it at all, especially that my cell phone didn’t work in the movie theater. The Husband told me to relax and not worry about it. Yeah, right. It’s impossible to shut this feeling off. Like there’s a limb of my body missing. A phantom limb?

Alright, Miss Ellie is stirring which means I have exactly 4 minutes to finish this blog post, take the breast milk I’ve been pumping out while writing this post and transfer it to a bottle and then the fridge, sterilize the 4 other bottles we’ve used today, change Ellie’s diaper, feed her, burp her, swaddle her and take her to her crib.

I hope Ellie forgives us for having no clue that she was hungry all this time. And I hope no permanent damage has been done. We’ve got a big day tomorrow. It’s the weigh in that could mean the difference between a happy Monday and the doctor reporting us to child protective services.

Wish us luck. I’ll leave you with a picture taken of Ellie after we gave her that first 4 ounce feeding. It’s definitely a gas induced smile, but we’ll take it.

Gassy smile?

Gassy smile?

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My Breast Efforts

Ellie's wearing a onesie from the Kardashian Kids collection. At least one of us is fashionable.

Ellie’s wearing a onesie from the Kardashian Kids collection. At least one of us is fashionable.

I’ve been trying to write this post since 5 days ago. Every time I get anywhere, the baby cries. I think she might really not like me. Or being awake. Or being with me when she is awake. Not that she has a choice.

Since I last wrote, the following things have happened / I’ve learned the following:

1. I’ve made an appointment with a lactation consultant. I keep referring to this person as a “breast consultant,” and then I think – what a great name for a job! And why aren’t there more male breast consultants? I’d think this would be a no-brainer. Things are going relatively well, but the latching is still very painful and I feel like I’m nursing so often, it’s impossible to pump on the side. Figured it couldn’t hurt to get some help.

2. The highlight of my maternity leave (besides the baby) is STILL The Sex and the City marathon on E! every weekday at 1 PM. I love this show so much (and its wonderful writing) that I tweeted about it. Well, imagine my shock and delight when Sarah Jessica Parker actually responded a couple minutes later. Here’s what she said:

@SJP: Congratulations on your new baby. What a wonderfully special time. Enjoy and try to get some rest. X, sj

Ok, so THAT was the highlight of my maternity leave (besides the baby).

3. I’ve realized how difficult it is to write thank you notes. Just when I think that I’m making headway, a few more gifts come in and I’m behind again. And the following scenario happens at least twice a day: I’ve got a thank you card finally written out. But I can’t find the person’s address. Or I know one of the sender’s names, but not both, so this stops me. Or I can’t find the stamps or the return address labels. Or I’ve got one hand holding the baby to my breast to nurse and the other hand can’t reach the laptop to look up my list of addresses. Have I mentioned how I wish I could have 6 extra hands?

4. Tummy Time should be renamed “Torture Time.” Ellie screams the second we put her down until the second we pick her up. They say that this exercise will improve her neck strength and her arms, but I’m pretty sure it’s only helping her lungs and vocal chords get stronger.

5. Breastfeeding is still HARD WORK. Even if everything WORKS – like the baby is interested in the boob, can go between boob and bottle, knows how to latch, you’ve got enough milk supply to store up feedings for the next year and there are no complications interfering with the breastfeeding – you’ve still got to do it every 2-3 hours and then pump on the side. So you’re either trying to shower, change your clothes, eat a sandwich or nursing / pumping. If there is any time left over, you’re thinking about those thank you cards.

6. Ellie loves to snuggle under my neck. There are these itty bitty moments throughout the day (and night) when she’s stopped crying and is done nursing and just wants to be held. She flips her head back and forth several times on my shoulder until she settles into the nook of my neck and freezes there, content for just a second. I breathe in her baby smell and tap her back to sleep while she takes deep breaths and then gives out the occasional baby sigh. It is the most peaceful moment of my day (or night) and I cherish these brief encounters more than anything.

7.  The Husband and I often switch off trying to comfort Ellie. This can often be a marathon of tactics composed of trial and error distraction devices. We sing songs. Perform exercise lunges while holding her in midair. We will put Ellie in a baby carrier and jog lightly in circles from the living room to the kitchen and back. Sometimes we get Wally to try and sniff her or lick her ear to calm her down. We’ll shake a rattle next to her face. Each of these things will work for 5 seconds to 5 minutes before she resumes the crying.

8. The human body is capable of doing amazing things on minimal sleep. Like cleaning up an explosive poop at 4 AM.

9. A nap is one of the most amazing gifts a person can give a new parent.

10. I have no idea how any of you parents out there do it with more than one kid. Seriously, I can’t even find time to put on clean socks some days. How is there possibly time to deal with another little human being when you’ve got a newborn around? I’ve got a little taste of it with Wally the dog. But a whole other human who needs nurturing, multiple meals, bathroom trips and stimulation? How can I complain with just one small baby to take care of? And to all the working parents out there with multiple kids? That’s another mystery. Is there an ability to actually pull oneself together enough to shower, get dressed, put make up on, prepare enough milk for a baby, commute, work all day, come home, feed baby, feed oneself and have any time leftover to speak to your significant other? Watch TV? Blog? The day needs to be extended.

Hard to believe Ellie will be 1 month old on Thursday! Where have the days gone. Alright, off to nurse while watching the Sex and the City marathon :)

My babies

My babies

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Week 3 Growing Pains

A rare moment of peace

A rare moment of peace

We have passed the 3 week mark and things have taken a turn for the crazy. At Ellie’s last doctor’s appointment, the pediatrician warned us that when the baby hit 3 weeks and 6 weeks, she would likely go through a growth spurt. Gas and fussiness could result. We had no idea the extent to which these benchmarks would affect our lives in the last 48 hours.

Ellie went from pooping 6-8 times a day to not pooping at all. After 24 hours of nothing, we panicked – read all the books, contacted the doctor, searched the web for whether this was normal. We sang camp songs to her, I went through every Disney show tune and the entire Broadway soundtracks of Les Miserables, Grease, Annie, Evita and Rent. She hates my voice – screaming and crying through all of my songs. The doc said her lack of pooping was normal. She suggested sticking a thermometer in her tush with some vaseline to stimulate her. It is amazing all the tricks and things you’re willing to try to produce some poop. So we tried this with a QTip and then some gripe water and by 6:45 AM on Monday morning, the biggest poop known to mankind came out of her tush. We were so proud. We congratulated ourselves and the baby. The Husband and I slapped each other five and did a happy dance in her nursery with Wally.

That was almost 3 days go. No poop has come since.

When on earth did our lives become completely absorbed with a baby producing a poop?

My parents came in last night around 7:30 PM to give us a breather. Ellie started crying around then and continued to seem uncomfortable through her cries on and off all night. After nursing her for an hour, she still seemed hungry, so my mother gave her some supplement formula. A half hour after my parents left, Ellie spit up the entire bottle (some came through her nose) and then cried from 11:30 PM through 3:45 this morning. It was awful. She cried, I cried. We had no idea how to help her. I tried massaging her, QTipped her again, more Gripe Water, rotating her legs in bike motion, more singing, dancing, lunges and even a bit of diluted prune juice. Nothing helped. I was exhausted and she was inconsolable. Similar to a crying puppy, there’s nothing worse than a crying baby. And almost 4 hours of crying is just about the limit of sanity that a human being sleep deprived, new parent can take.

The good news is that she slept straight through 8 AM this morning and I had to wake her up to nurse. She then slept all day in between feedings. Still no poop. We are doomed tonight. It’s 8 PM and her eyes just popped open. Funny, that’s when The Bachelor starts. Is she programmed from birth to wake up in time to watch The Bachelor?

I realize I’ve devoted this entire post to the search for poop, so on to more humane topics. Like the fact that I am eternally grateful for the Sex and the City 2 hour marathon which is on the E! cable channel every weekday from 1 to 3 PM. There is nothing better in life than being home on maternity leave with a sleeping, content baby after a night of hell watching reruns of Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big figuring out their romance. I am completely drawn into it even though I’ve seen every episode about 16 times each. Isn’t this what life is all about? When else on a Wednesday afternoon could I get away with doing something so unproductive as this? It’s heaven on a stick.

Ellie is giving me the stink eye, which means that I have to get going. It’s only a matter of time before the stink eye transitions into the occasional cry and that will lead to nonstop wailing. We’ve got our work cut out for us. My sister keeps saying that she doesn’t believe that the baby she’s met a few times could possibly be giving us any grief. Ellie met my older nephews last weekend and was on her best behavior. She’s a party girl – up all night and recovering all day.

If anyone wants to breastfeed and put my child to sleep, I’m taking volunteers. I’ll just take the next flight to the Caribbean and recover on the beach for the remainder of my maternity leave. Who wants to join me?

On another note, I met up with a fellow new mom in my neighborhood yesterday for a walk around the block. That’s literally all we did. Just walk in circles in the 50 degree weather. It was so nice to leave the apartment and be motivated to change my clothes in light of the social interaction. We noticed all of the nannies and other new moms walking around with carriages. The new moms looked like us – bags under their eyes, messy hair tucked into pony tails, chatting with each other about feeding schedules, sleep, tummy time and all lots of other new mom code words. It’s insane that this sub culture of caregivers revolving around babies exist every single day.

Alright, off to pump myself up for another banner evening…leaving you with some pics from the last week:

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Ellie meets her uncle and older cousins as her Aunt Wendy looks on.

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Ellie, expressing herself in her sleep

Ellie, expressing herself in her sleep

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It’s My Birthday, I’m a Mom of 2 Weeks, I’m Exhausted

If this woman was in dirty pajamas, unshowered and had bags under her eyes, she'd look like me

If this woman was in dirty pajamas, unshowered and had bags under her eyes, she’d look like me

It’s not even 7:30 AM yet on this Tuesday morning and I’ve already nursed  15 day old Ellie for an hour, opened two birthday cards (one from The Husband, one from Wally), used the bathroom (huge accomplishment), brushed my teeth, taken my pre-natal vitamin and contemplated taking a shower (this last one hasn’t happened yet, but the fact that I’ve thought about it is a HUGE improvement from yesterday). I’d say that I’m being extremely efficient, but since the apartment is a mess, I haven’t showered since Sunday and I’ve been wearing the same pajamas for 3 days, my accomplishments this morning are a bit subjective.

Breast feeding has taken over my life as a Varsity sport of the highest difficulty. I’ve consistently wondered why I hadn’t heard from my mommy friends before about how challenging it can be. Do they give out medals for this sort of thing? If not, they should. My life (and theirs at one point) consists of sitting in a chair for 80% of my waking hours, trying to get a fussy, sleepy or crying baby to take in my boob, which after 15 days of constant use…KILLS, quite frankly. They invent all these gooey creams, shields, gel pads, techniques, etc. for relieving the pain, but it doesn’t quite take away the sting of that initial latch. Or maybe I’m doing it wrong.

Anyhow, before wearing the same pajamas for 3 days, I was wearing the same pair of pants for 3 days. These were only changed because the dog came up on my lap while I was nursing Ellie and barfed all over my left leg, Ellie’s legs and the leather recliner chair that The Husband and I argued over purchasing. Of course now I don’t see how I could live without this chair and the leather thankfully washes out quite easily. My only woe in getting dog barf on me and the baby is that I had to finally change my pants, though you can be sure that I very seriously argued with myself over why I didn’t need to change them. And yes, I did change the baby’s outfit. She’s the cleanest, most cared for baby and we go through about 3-4 outfit changes a day and 8 diapers at least.

Week 2 is done and things are supposed to get slightly easier. She’s gained 3 ounces according to our last doctor visit, but is still not back to her birth weight of 5 lbs, 8 oz, so we go back to the doctor again on Thursday. They should greet me with confetti and balloons for any sort of weight she gains. I do steal the lollipops that are meant for the children, but they should also be handing out medals and small trophies for keeping these babies alive from week to week. Or maybe a bunch of tickets should come streaming out of the baby scale like in arcade skee ball for each gram the baby gains. And you can redeem them for things like a a 15 minute nap or a scalp massage or an uninterrupted phone call of 10 minutes. Luxuries these days.

We’ve had good nights and bad. A good night is feedings of every 2-3 hours where the baby mostly sleeps in between. I’ll go to bed around 10 or 11 PM after nursing. The Husband will pick up the midnight and 2 AM feeding shifts and then wake me around 4 or 5 to take over. Let me reiterate – this (waking every 2-3 hours to feed a fussy infant) is an ideal, perfect night. We’ve had 2 of them since she was born.

Then there are the bad nights. These consist of The Husband consoling a crying Ellie from 11 PM until 2 AM. He’ll try to feed her, but she’s still crying after. Then he’ll supplement her with formula as her tongue is still sticking out and she’s moving her head from side to side looking for something and we have no idea whether this means she’s hungry, gassy or pissed at us. After she has the formula (which has followed a large amount of my pumped breast milk), she will spit up. So much so that it comes out of her nose. This translates into probably too much food and gas. So then The Husband burps her for a while and hopes she’ll sleep, only she doesn’t sleep and the crying continues. Gripe water (for treating gas) is given with a 5 minute blissful period of quiet. This is followed by more crying. At 2 AM, The Husband is at the end of his rope. He wakes me up and I take over.

Baby is still crying and I carry her off to the nursery. After 30 minutes of crying, I stick a pinky in her mouth and she quiets. She sucks my pinky for 45 minutes and I’m scared to remove it. When I finally do remove it, she stares at me for another 45 minutes. Before I know it, it’s 5 AM and I’ve been sitting in our nursery glider for 3 hours. I change her diaper which kicks off more crying and then nurse her for another hour. By 6:30 AM, I put her down in her bassinet and she sleeps for 45 minutes. At 7:15 AM, she’s up and making those hungry (or angry?) faces and I start nursing all over again. I have no idea if it’s day time or night, how on earth I’m going to get to those thank you cards, how I can possibly find time to call my HR department and get Ellie added to my insurance plan and why my sweaters, bras and socks worn for the last 3 days are still sitting on our dining room table.

On a bright note, Renee Oteri (single mom Renee from Juan Pablo’s season) got married to her best friend of 22 years. Some say it’s really fast (4 months after the season), but not for her. She’s posted some great photos of her beautiful day on Instagram and it looks like Desiree Hartstock was somehow majorly involved in her wedding – as a witness to the courthouse nuptials. Renee looked absolutely beautiful and her new hubby is ADORABLE See here: http://www.wetpaint.com/the-bachelor/articles/2014-03-24-desiree-hartsock-wedding-renee-oteri

Also, in case you haven’t heard, The Bachelor producers announced that another spin-off of The Bachelor will be airing this summer (taking the place of the dramatic Bachelor Pad). The show, Bachelor in Paradise, will air this summer after The Bachelorette (which starts this May). It’s basically the same idea as Bachelor Pad (take the crazies from previous season and throw them together) but instead of going back to the Malibu mansion, they will be taken to a romantic tropical island and for 6 episodes, we’ll watch them make out and fight with each other. See more here:  http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/03/21/abc-launching-another-summer-bachelor-spinoff-exclusive/

Alright, my eyes are closing and my fingers have forgotten how to type, so that means it’s probably time to go. I’ve got about 30 minutes left until the next feeding and the dog needs to be walked, I have to find clothes to wear today and then contemplate whether there’s time for a shower. I’m 37 today, but it feels more like 87. Will there ever be sleep again? On a bright note, I’m still loving maternity leave and think it’s the greatest invention known to womankind besides the nipple shield.

Ellie's birth announcement.

Ellie’s birth announcement.

If I make it out of my apartment today, it will be a miracle. Actually, I can’t tell you the last time I left this place. Does going to the garbage shoot down the hallway to throw away boxes count? When I got back from doing this last night, I realized I was wearing my nursing bra with nipple shield still in place. To an unsuspecting neighbor, I’d look like a sleep-deprived, zombie version of the Austin Powers’ fem-bots with a crazy extroverted nipple. At least I remembered to put a shirt on.

Wishing you all a great March 25th. Have a drink or two or three for my birthday. Go out and party or sleep in and tell me about it.

Stacey B

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My New Job: Mother

Yawning Ellie

Yawning Ellie

Week 1 of being a new mom is in the books. I’m not exactly sure where it went. It’s still hard to believe that my pregnancy is over and there is a new human being in our lives who we are responsible for. She’s tiny and smells like fruit and makes funny faces when she’s hungry, which seems to be all the time. Our baby nurse left about 3 hours ago and so far, we’ve kept Ellie Lila Wanicur alive. This is quite miraculous considering our new rental building shut our water off at 7 AM this morning, so we’ve been living without bathrooms all day. This has required a trip to Babies R Us to return / purchase a few things but also to use their facilities. It will probably be our last baby-free outing for a long time now that the nurse is gone.

So here’s what I’ve learned in the past week:

1. Breastfeeding is hard. I used to think you just shove your boob into the baby’s mouth and they take it and suck down the milk. Simple. Well, it’s really not that simple. And there are all these tricks you can use, only you have to be lucky to find someone to show you them. And when the baby is crying and crying and crying and doesn’t seem to want to latch on, you have to stick with it. When the nurse comes 2 hours after you’ve fallen asleep after not sleeping all day because the baby is hungry again, you have to get up and nurse her even when your limbs don’t want to move and your downstairs region is sore as hell and the hemorrhoids are raging.

2. Baby’s Gas = Crying = Up All Night. We’ve discovered gripe water drops, thank goodness, or the poor baby’s gas would put us all out of our minds.

3. Nursing can hurt your nipples. When that baby latches on correctly, yowsa – it HURTS! They tell you it’s not supposed to hurt, but I think that’s only after a few days and only if your nips harden up (sorry to the men reading this that can’t relate). Some of my best gifts from friends have been these gel pads that you can put on your boobs and nipple cream to soothe them. Still, a good latch can make me howl. I hope it gets better soon. I’ve never been topless so often in my entire life. I feel like a hippie and have stopped caring if all of Manhattan can see into our living room windows to see a National Geographic milk pumping show going on here.

4. I am a cow. Because Ellie is small, I need to nurse her every 2-3 hours, but lately it’s been every hour or so and she nurses for an hour each time. Which means I have about 30 minute increments to accomplish things. Like shower. Take vitamins. Eat lunch. Go to the bathroom. Send a text message. Update this blog. I’ve got a boatload of phone calls to return and all I want to do is sleep.

5. I’m hormonal. The Husband and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary on March 13th. We went to dinner on our own. He handed me a card at the table and I burst into tears. I didn’t even read the card. Just his act of giving me something amidst the chaos of the past week set off the waterworks. Then I cried again when he gave me a beautiful bracelet with March’s birthstone (for both Ellie’s birthday, our anniversary and my birthday which is next week). I’m feeling very protective and grateful of my little family. Any time I think about any one of them (Jon, Ellie or Wally), I could easily cry.

6. I don’t want anything to change. Seriously, if I could freeze time, I’d take the sleepless nights, just so I could keep these hibernating days of nursing, cuddling my newborn and watching The Husband bond with his daughter. It’s the happiest I have felt in months. I worry about one of us getting hurt or sick and it sends me into a tailspin. Not like a depression tailspin – more of a “I feel so lucky and happy and in love with my family right now and I’m terrified of anything happening to us.”

7. Maternity leave is the greatest thing on earth. I don’t know how any new parent manages without it. I feel myself becoming kinder and more patient by the second despite the lack of sleep. No grumpiness, no bitterness, no complaining about the same thing over and over. I’m myself again. No cramming into the 6 train, no Metro North woes, no nothing. I do miss Scottish Work Friend and bunch of my colleagues at the office, but I’m sure they’d understand how much better it is for me to stay home with my little one.

8. I don’t like to be away from Ellie. When The Husband and I went to Babies R Us earlier, I hated the fact that I had to go for a 15 minute subway ride away from her. It made me tense and nervous. My body started feeling sore. I just want to be with her all the time.

9. Family is so important at a time like this. Thank goodness mine has been around helping us. Simple things like my mom bringing in groceries, picking up odds and ends for the nursery, machine washing newborn clothes (we thought Ellie would be larger, so she only had 3 month old clothes), etc. has been incredibly helpful. My sister finally got back from her family ski trip and has been here twice already. She’s in love with my daughter. Wait a second, I have a daughter? That’s so insane.

10. We have no idea what we’re doing. I think that’s the overwhelming feeling around here. When the baby cries and there’s nothing to console her, we feel helpless. I think this is normal, but it’s not comforting. We’ll take it day by day and try to figure things out (like how to use the breast pump most effectively and how to sterilize bottles and how often and how to give Vitamin D drops to Ellie and at what point can we use a baby carrier and how do we bathe her without hurting her and when do we start using moisturizer on her and where is her baby thermometer?) I feel like I need 6 extra hands as I’m always dropping things like her pacifier or the nipple shield (greatest invention ever) or because everyone keeps telling me to drink lots of water but by the time I’ve sat down, I’m lucky if I remember to have my iPhone, glasses and nipple shield. The burp cloth and water are secondary.

So that’s the scoop. Leaving you with some pics of Baby Ellie’s first week. My baby nurse, Hannah, and I decided to create our own newborn photo shop right in our apartment. Hannah did the props, The Husband took the photos and I set up the baby. We’re thinking of turning this into a legit business with a little practice. Can’t believe how expensive newborn photos can be!

Aunt Wendy meets Ellie and can't put her down

Aunt Wendy meets Ellie and can’t put her down

Our family - day 1 home from the hospital

Our family – day 1 home from the hospital

Peaceful and swaddled

Peaceful and swaddled

Ellie Lila Wanicur - 5 lbs, 8 oz

Ellie Lila Wanicur – 5 lbs, 8 oz

My Baby Doll

Attempting to use props to stage photoshoot

Attempting to use props to stage photoshoot

My nephew Andrew holds Baby Ellie for first time.

My nephew Andrew holds Baby Ellie for first time.

My sister bought her this sun hat which was way too big, but adorable nontheless

My sister bought her this sun hat which was way too big, but adorable nontheless

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Juan Pablo’s a Patronizing Fool in Bachelor Finale; Who Cares – I’m a Mom!!

Meet Ellie Lila Wanicur. Born today at 11:47 AM. 5 lbs, 8 oz. All love. Goodbye Bachelor Season, I've got a Baby to Tend to!

Meet Ellie Lila Wanicur. Born today at 11:47 AM. 5 lbs, 8 oz. All love. Goodbye Bachelor Season, I’ve got a Baby to Tend to!

It’s been a joyous, surreal and shocking day. In a nutshell, I went to sleep telling The Husband that I wanted to go to the gym this morning. At 5 AM, I woke up to some mild cramping (a continuation from last night’s cramps) and never quite got back to sleep. The cramps seemed to transition to actual contractions closer to 7:30 AM and I called my doctor at 8 AM to say I thought I was in labor. They told me to come by the office, which I did and at 8:35 AM, I was 5 cm dilated. I had left The Husband at home, not thinking this could actually “The Day.” I mean it’s Bachelor Finale Monday! Of all days of my life that I could give birth to a baby.

The doc sent me straight to the hospital, where The Husband met me. By the time I was in a cab by myself to hospital, I was contracting every 4-5 minute. Reaching the receptionist at Mt. Sinai Hospital, I couldn’t speak because of the pain. They asked me what my name was, and I couldn’t give them an answer. Filled out a ton of paperwork and handed the nurse my entire purse as I had another contraction in the hallway of Labor & Delivery. They did a quick examination of me about 20 minutes of arriving at the hospital and I was up to 7 cm.

The next hour was a blur of pain I’d like to forget. Lots of plans for The Husband and I to get through a long labor together were completely thrown out the window. I barely had time for an epidural and I had multiple contractions as they tried to give it to me. The Husband had a gig that he couldn’t miss in midtown mid-morning and I made him go, thinking there would be plenty of time for him to be back. Turns out we were wrong. My parents arrived and my mother was an absolute rock star swapping in for The Husband. I don’t think anyone needs to know the details of what happened next but by 11:47 AM, Ellie Lila Wanicur was out. 5 lbs and 8 oz – a little peanut baby. So beautiful in every way.

As I type this, Ellie is out getting her vitals checked and I’m watching The Bachelor with The Husband at the hospital. The joke of the day is that she wanted out in time for the finale. Her mother’s daughter. Love this girl already. Haven’t heard a peep out of her since Chris Harrison kicked off the night with the Live Finale. But soon I will attempt breast feeding, so time to start talking Final Rose.

Chris H has promised us the most shocking season finale EVER. I’m waiting for any sort of indication that Juan Pablo is remotely interested in marrying either of these girls. I still don’t see it. The meeting of the families was very telling – they all seem to think their buddy Juan Pablo is an over-honest, hyperactive and headstrong passionate man.

Both Clare and Nikki have declared they are in love with Juan Pablo and are willing to marry him. We don’t know what the heck is going to happen. All we know is that Juan Pablo has sent both women into tears as a result of their “last dates.” Clare is upset because she feels disrespected and like a piece of meat. Nikki’s feeling insecure and probably knows in her gut that Juan Pablo is not marriage material. Neither seems to be confident in him and yet neither can just simply walk away.

Ok, I’ve now officially ignored a newborn care class offered at the hospital so that I can continue watching the Finale. My first motherhood mistake, not my last. The nurse came in to help me breastfeed and in that time, I’ve learned that Clare is the runner-up? And she’s pissed? I think I missed something. Can someone fill me in? I saw her try to talk things out with Juan Pablo on their final date and clarify that she’s not just a piece of meat, although he still kind of telling her what she wanted to hear. I liked what Sharleen said – that Clare’s supposed to feel honored because she met his family and that she’s ignoring her gut feeling about Juan Pablo.

Clare was talking babies and possible twins with Juan Pablo and he seemed to be all about it and moving to Sacramento. But then she comes out in a gorgeous one-shouldered dress and we learn that he’s not interested in her after all. Despite their intense chemistry, it wasn’t enough for him. And unlike any other season, the runner-up is not heartbroken. She’s pissed. No passion like a scorned woman. It was the most respect I had for Clare all season when she told him off. And of course gives him the ultimate insult – that she would never want him to be the father of her children. She storms off and Juan Pablo remarks he’s happy he didn’t choose her.

But what the heck did he say to her on the helicopter? Some sexual thing? And was it my hormones or did he make some comment to her about he loves when she takes her bathing suit top off? But he doesn’t have any regrets. Because “it’s fine.”

But let’s move on to Nikki – so he chose Nikki and thankfully they forewent the Neil Lane ridiculous interaction they do every season. And now we know he doesn’t propose but gets her to be satisfied with “I like you a lot” and here’s the final rose. And we don’t hear any “I love you’s” – even though she’s ready to get married. She knows he cares about her a lot. Nikki is standing up for him at the Live After the Final Rose  - Juan Pablo wouldn’t be with her. They are both happy in their relationship.

I loved the audience’s interaction. Annoyed that Kelly the Dog Lover is back (why do they keep giving her air time?) and loved Sean Lowe’s take on watching Juan Pablo talk to Clare (hard to watch). I even like the random people who keep referring to the “red flags” that Juan Pablo set off all over this episode. Desiree and Chris look happier than ever.

But let’s go back to Nikki – she looks great in her red dress, bombshell blonde  hair but is there a person in the audience or watching the show that can’t help think that she’s blindly dating “the wrong guy?” She doesn’t strike me as someone who can’t get a boyfriend – is she really satisfied with Juan Pablo? And the big surprise is that there’s no big surprise? Or that it’s their time to be together and be themselves. They’ve been waiting for a long time to be together officially. But he doesn’t love her or he’s not ready to admit how he feels. And from Nikki’s love of skin exposing dresses and outfits, she’s ok with playing the role of happy Bachelor “winner?” Chris Harrison almost started an uproar with the fact that Juan Pablo didn’t want to share his relationship or feelings. What do you think – does the Bachelor have an obligation to tell all? Or at least tell Nikki? If Nikki isn’t confused, then maybe I’d be ok with it, but she’s not any more clear on Juan Pablo’s “love” for her but she thinks they’re happy so I guess that’s all we care about?

Andi is our Bachelorette. Was kind of hoping it was going to be Sharleen or even Sarah (from Sean Lowe’s season) who was in the audience. But at least Andi will be a little more forthcoming in her feelings for the guys and let us in on her journey, unlike Juan Pablo who all of a sudden is demanding that his relationship is now “private” despite millions of people following their journey.

So I’m left from this season a bit baffled, a bit skeptical and a bit sore of delivering a baby. I will have to rewatch the entire 3 hours again when we’re back home to really break down the finale, but in the mean time – please fill me in on what I missed and what your take on Juan Pablo is. And if you’re ok with Andi as our next Bachelorette.

At least they’re not making us wait until next fall for the season to start. PHEW.

My eyes are closing. I’m ending this in a blissful, mama induced state completely exhausted. Thanks for all of your well wishes. We hope to do a video podcast soon and introduce you to our daughter. Thank you so much for making this season of Bachelor as much fun as it was. I’ll be checking in with you very soon.

Xoxo,

Stacey B

 

 

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