6 Weeks

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Today is the official 6 week mark since Miss E joined our family.  At times it feels like it has flown by, and at other times it feels like time is crawling.

Let’s recap a few lessons I have learned in the past 6 weeks:

I can survive on less sleep than I ever imagined.
I have never been more sick and tired of spit up.
Miss C spoiled us when she was a newborn.
I could hold Miss E for every nap if I let myself.
I am not someone who can just “let the housework go” even though life is crazy.
I hate hand washing bottles and pump supplies.
It doesn’t matter how bad a night or day is, when Miss E smiles it melts everything away.

I am sure there are more lessons I have learned, but that is all I can think of right now.

One of the big parts of being 6 weeks out is going back to the doctor to have everything checked out.  I had my appointment yesterday morning.  This 6 week check was very different from my 6 week check with Miss C.  When I went for my first 6 week check, I was a starry-eyed new momma.  My baby girl was perfect and our lives were rainbows and unicorns (with one occasional hiccup every now and then).  The only bad part about that check up was that my stitches had not dissolved and had to be plucked out by my midwife.  NOT FUN!

This 6 week check up was much different.  The doctor came in and of course oohed and ahhed over the little nugget.  Then she started talking to me about how things were going.  We talked about how hard it is with two kiddos, and how hard it is with days and nights mixed up.  She asked how I was doing physically, and my answers were good.  I shared my concern about stitches not dissolving (which they did… woo-hoo!), but besides that all was well.

Then she asked how I was holding up mentally.  At this point it took all my strength not to burst into tears.  In all honesty I am not too fond of the momma I have become in the past 6 weeks.  I have become snippy with Miss C.  I become angry and mad at night when the little nugget won’t sleep.  I am not handling things well at all.  Then the guilt sets in if I ever have to ask for help.  I have shed my fair share of tears.

Once my doctor saw and heard my concerns, she recommended an antidepressant.  I talked to her about running and how that helps, and she agreed that it was the best thing possible for me.  She still recommended the medication to help take the edge off things.  I have been on antidepressants in the past.  I hate the stigma that is associated with them.  I am not a fan of being on them, but I know that I am not happy with myself right now.  I need as much help as I can get.  Running will remain a big part of my therapy, but for now I need the additional help of medication.

My hope is that I am able to come off of them in the next 6 months or so.  It takes about 6 weeks for them to reach their maximum “working power.”  Hopefully once we have some sort of schedule, and I am back to work, then I will be able to wean off them completely.

Admitting my mental health struggles is not an easy thing to do.  It is a part of me that I cannot erase, but it is a part of me that I can use to help others who struggle as well.  I realize that some people’s view of me will change with this, but if I am able to help someone out there who thinks they are alone or who thinks they are damaged because of their struggle, then it is all worth it.

The mixture of medication, exercise, and support from family and friends is the best thing for me right now.  I am still working on completely coming to terms with the fact that I cannot do this alone.  Someday I hope to take the medication out of the equation, but until I am healthy enough to do that, I will do whatever it takes to be the best momma I can possibly be.

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Menu Plan Monday

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Even in my absence, I have still attempted to create a weekly menu.  It is definitely more difficult to follow through with the meals now that we have a newbie around here.  For instance, today we had some high class frozen pizza for dinner.  I managed to eat mine on the couch while nursing the little nugget.  I am just pretty darn proud of myself that I did not drop any on her.

It has been a slow process getting back into the routine of cooking every night.  The first week of being back from the hospital we were grateful to have multiple families from church bring us meals.  Some were even gracious enough to provide multiple meals that could be frozen.  After that, we had some gift cards from Christmas that helped fund some meals out.  Not the most healthy, but definitely very convenient.  Now we are at the point of just trying to eat in and not spend money on meals.

The worst part is making lunches.  I hate making lunches!  I like lunches to be easy and light.  I don’t want to spend a lot of time making them or feel like we are just eating dinner during the noon hour.  Because of this, they end up not being very healthy. (Mac and cheese, frozen ravioli or pizza, grilled cheese, etc.)  Today we did do leftovers from last night, so that’s good.  But none of us are big fans of leftovers.  I guess we just need to suck it up and deal with it.

I am at the point now that I feel like I make the same meals every week.  I have been sticking to meals that are easy and that I know everyone likes… although after eating them week after week, I don’t know if everyone still likes them.  So, without further ado, here is our menu for the week:

Monday: Roasted chicken, stuffing, potatoes
Tuesday: Crock pot BBQ pork sandwiches
Wednesday: Chicken stir fry
Thursday: Spaghetti
Friday: Tacos
Saturday: Crock pot roast and veggies
Sunday: Crock pot lasagna

Using the crock pot definitely helps during the witching hour.  Dinner can basically be completely done.  All I have to usually worry about are the sides, bread, and drinks.  That way I can deal with a fussy baby.

What is on your menu for the week?  I would love some new meal ideas!

Hard Work

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I ran today.  It was hard.  My legs were still sore from Wednesday’s run, but I ran.  I went farther than I did last time, although I am nowhere near what my old mileage was.  I also went faster, although I am nowhere near what my old pace was.  I ran more than I did last time, although I used to not have to stop and walk at all.

There is a lot that is not what it used to be.  I am coming to terms with that.  My physical fitness is not what it used to be.  My life is not what it used to be.  My body is not what it used to be.  Things are much different right now than they were a year ago.  We are still working on finding our new normal around here.  I do know that I want my new normal to have parts of our old normal intertwined… including my running routine.

I am about to do something that scares me so much… I am going to start this journey with a before photo.  We always see the beautiful after photos, but a journey doesn’t just end.  It is a culmination of hard work and determination.  So, without further ado, here are my before photos.  (They were taken today before I went on my run.)

I can’t believe I am putting this out there on the interwebs for everyone to see.  I am almost 6 weeks postpartum.  I know that a lot of people will see this and say that I look fine, but I am not happy with it.  I need some major toning.

I hope that by putting this out there for everyone I will be more motivated to get my rear in gear.  I plan to be back with updates, maybe monthly or so.

Anyone else out there starting a challenge or working on making a big lifestyle change?

Good Night, Tough Day

Well, we had a great night last night.  No screaming.  No fussing when I put Miss E back to bed.  It was a good night with multiple chunks of sleep time for this momma.

Unfortunately that did not lead to a great day today.  My mom took Miss C for the day, so I thought it was going to be a day of getting this house back in order.  That was not the case at all!  We woke Miss E up at 8:30, and I fed her/burped her until about 9:30.  Then we had some play time, and I put her to bed at 9:50.  I put her in bed awake, but she screamed.  I rocked her until she was calm and put her back in bed awake again.  She was still awake at 10:30.  I rocked her again until she was calm.  It appeared that she fell asleep around 10:45, but she was just kidding.  I finally got her our at 11:20.

When I put her to bed and she appeared to be asleep, I went ahead and pumped.  So when I got her out at 11:20, I gave her a bottle.  She ate almost 4 oz., although she spit up a great deal of it.

I put her back in her crib at noon (awake), and she finally fell asleep until 2:15.  During this time I made lunch, took a short nap, edited some photos, did some laundry.  I did not get anything picked up… and stuff is taking over this house and driving me crazy!  I look around the house and am about ready to cry.  I hate clutter and mess, and that is all that I can see.

Once Miss E woke up (at 2:15), I fed her.  Then Hubs and I loaded her up and headed to my parents’ house to have dinner and get Miss C.  By the time we got home it was after 7:00.  I fed the little nugget, and we went through about 3-4 outfits because of the spit up happening all the time.  She was finally a crying mess, and I decided to go ahead and put her down.  I put her in her room around 8:30.  She fussed for a bit, but calmed herself down and has actually been asleep since about 8:45 or so. (Almost an hour).

I could have been cleaning, but instead I have been looking up workout plans, messing around on Facebook, and really just wasting time.  Now that it has been an hour of doing nothing, I feel pretty guilty about not doing anything.  I guess my to-do list will again wait another day.  Maybe tomorrow I will get most of this junk picked up and put away.

Did you guys get anything done today that you wanted?

The Next Day

So, as you know we started a routine with the little nugget yesterday.  We left off around 8:40 with a cluster feed that had started at about 6:00.  Well… that cluster feed continued until 11:00!?!  Ridiculous!  Miss E would fall asleep either nursing or burping.  I would put her in her crib and five minutes later she would be crying and mad.  I would nurse again, and the cycle continued for hours.

This is where I will make some enemies… At 11:00 I finally shut off the sound of the baby monitor.  I couldn’t handle the crying anymore.  I left her in her crib to cry while I curled up in bed and watched. (We do have a video monitor, so I could watch her without hearing her screaming.)  I know there are many people out there who think this is a horrible thing to do, but after 5 hours of nursing, swaddling, and screaming, I had reached my limit.

At 11:15, in tears, I texted Hubs (who was in the basement) and told him I didn’t know what else to do.  He offered to take her downstairs and put her in the swing.  I thought it would work, so I let him try.  I knew nothing else of what happened until they came in the room at 4:00 for me to feed her.  I thought she had slept that whole time, but boy was I wrong…

I asked Hubs this morning (after I let him sleep in until about 10:30/11:00) how things went and if she slept the whole time.  His response was a resounding NO.  From the time he took her down there until about 12:30, it was the same thing.  She would fall asleep and then wake up screaming.  From about 12:30-1:30 he let her sleep on him and then finally put her in the swing, where she then slept until 4:00.  So in the end she slept for about 2.5 hours in the swing.  That is her nightly routine… 2.5 hours.

I fed her at 4:00, and put her in her crib at 5:00.  Here is the good part… She slept until 8:15!  That is over 3 hours in her crib!  Woo-hoo!  I can totally handle that!

Today has been pretty similar to yesterday.  She put herself to sleep in her crib for her first nap this morning, which is awesome!  Again, she woke up in a puddle of spit up after just an hour.  She took another nap at 11:35, which I woke her up from after 2 hours.  At 2:35 I put her down in the basement with Hubs.

And what did I do?  Here’s a hint…

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I went for a run!  And it felt amazing!  If I am completely honest with you, running is my anti-depressant.  I was diagnosed with depression many years ago and was on medication for a while.  Then I just dealt with it as it would come in waves.  I found running about a year and a half ago, and it has been my lifesaver!  I ran my first 5K race last March, and then stopped.  We had had two miscarriages, which I thought could be due to my weight.  I wanted to gain some weight to see if that helped.  Then I was so sick with morning sickness that I didn’t run during the summer.  Then I was too pregnant, tired, etc. to try and pick it up again.

But now I am back!  The postpartum hormones have been terrible!  They have been easing in the last week or so, but for the first few weeks it was bad.  I cried a lot.  I was not a very fun person to be around.  I was questioning if we should have even had another baby.  I knew what was going on, so I have been counting down until I could run again.  The run today did more for my mental health than any medication out there.  I feel refreshed, strong, able, and amazing!  I am so lucky that the weather has cooperated and made it possible for me to get back out there!

My run was slow (and included quite a bit of walking).  It was short… just 1.17 miles.  And I was sucking wind the whole time.  My legs feel like jello now.  But I am so happy to be back!  Now, here is the fun part… GOAL TIME!

We have 12 more days left in this month.  I do not feel that I could run everyday, or that it would be a healthy decision to do that.  I want to set a goal of running 6 more miles this month.  That will be 1 mile every other day.  It is a very small goal, but I really think I can do it!  Do you want to join me?  I would love to have some of you make a 6 mile goal with me!  (Or whatever mileage you would like).  Just let me know, and I will help you be accountable. 🙂

And with that long winded post, I am out of here!  The weather is beautiful, and I have an antsy 3 year old who refuses to nap… I think it’s time to play outside and wear her out!

EASY Routine

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As I mentioned in my last post, Miss E has her days and nights mixed up.  I have been doing some searching online for some routine ideas to help us get something more structured figured out, and hopefully sort out the sleeping issue.  I found the “EASY” routine on many websites and thought we would give it a try.

Basically EASY is an acronym for “Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your time.”  It is a 3 hour cycle, although our little nugget didn’t stick to it exactly today.  (If you want to see a pretty page with it all written out for you, check out NoobMommy.)

Here is how our day went (is going)…

8:25: Woke up for the day and started Round 1:

8:30: E- First feeding
9:05: A- For our activity, we just talked to Miss E and Miss C showed her toys.
9:30: S- I put Miss E down for her nap drowsy.  She was not completely asleep, and fell asleep very quickly and easily without much crying at all.
9:30: Y- I know I should sleep when the baby sleeps, but I started laundry and got a few things done around the house.

Round 2:
10:30: E- Miss E woke up in a puddle of spit up, which means her nap was not as long as possible.  I went ahead and fed her, but she fell asleep quickly.
11:05: S- Nap #2… Again she went down quickly and without much crying.  I don’t think she was finished with her nap from round 1, so she was still pretty sleepy.
11:05: Y- I did get a super short nap during this time.  We also ate lunch.  I blogged, did some more laundry, and really just relaxed during this time.

Round 3:
12:55: E- Ate again. (She usually averages about 30 minutes for a feeding, but this one was long.)
1:45: A- For this activity time, she was awake and alert.  She did some tummy time and just looked around.  (Not much real activity at 1 month.)
2:40: S- I did not do almost a full hour of activity.  She had a bit harder time falling asleep this time around.  I will usually rock/sing to her, then put her in her crib.  If she cries, I let her cry for about 10 minutes or so, then try again.  She is getting better at crying herself to sleep, which is nice.  Hopefully she will self-soothe on a more regular basis soon.
2:40: Y- I tried to take a nap, but Miss E did not take a long nap at all this round.

Round 4:
3:20: E- Ate again. (Usually I change her diaper in the middle of her feeding, so she is not actually eating this entire time.)
3:50: A- Tried to talk to her, but she was not happy, so we tried feeding again.
4:05: E- Ate a bit more, but fell asleep nursing.  I woke her up, but I didn’t want to keep her up since her last nap was so short.
4:30: S- This was a good nap, finally!
4:30: Y- During this time I cleaned out the fridge (my one goal for today).  I also folded some laundry.  Unfortunately there was a bad incident during this time.  Miss E woke up crying, so I went in to rock her.  During the 5 minutes I was in there rocking her, Bandit scratched his head open.  He was on the mend from scratching his head open about a month ago, so we are back at square one.  Luckily I still had everything from the vet, so I cleaned it, sprayed it, and gave him some medicine.  Stupid dog!
We also had dinner during this time.

Round 5 (It’s been a long one and a tough one):
5:50: A- I changed Miss E once she got up, and she was happy as a clam just lying on the floor, so I didn’t rush to feed her.  While I was talking to her, I could tell that she was trying so hard to find her voice.  She did manage to coo a few times!  I love that she is starting to interact some!
6:05: E- Regular eating session
6:40: A- Bath time! She loves being in her bath.  She does not like getting in her bath and getting out of her bath.
7:00: E- Here is where things get rough.  We are in the middle of a cluster feed.  I am ok with this, because hopefully it will fill her up enough to go a few hours without wanting to eat again.  And hopefully that means this momma can get a few hours of sleep without being awoken.
7:25: S- I tried to put her down to sleep, mainly because I had to tuck in Miss C.  Miss E was not happy about it, but she did cry herself to sleep for a little bit.  Eventually I did rescue her and fed her again.
8:00: E- Cluster feed some more and fell asleep nursing.
8:25: S- Put her in her crib.
8:30: E- Feed some more.
8:40: S- And here we are: caught up with the present time.  She fell asleep nursing, so I put her in her crib.  She stayed asleep, until I started writing this sentence.  (It has been about 4 minutes of her sleeping).  I will let her cry for a few more minutes, then go back in to feed again.  Wish me luck!

Today I have felt somewhat successful.  Miss E has been awake more than more days.  The routine is easy enough to follow, so hopefully we can keep up with it.  In the past, I have usually only gotten a single 2.5 hour chunk of sleep.  Then I will get little cat naps here and there.  I am hoping for more longer chunks of sleep tonight.  I guess I will keep my fingers crossed and let you know how it went tomorrow.

Good night to all!  May you get more sleep than I do!

Hello Out There

Nothing like disappearing for 3.5 months, huh?  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?  If I am completely open with you all, life has just gotten in the way.

In the 3.5 months that I have been gone, there have been a lot of things happening… The main one being that we had a baby!  A little over a month ago (on Jan. 12), we welcomed our little nugget, Miss E to our family.  Believe me when I say that she has turned our world upside down!  She has yet to figure out that nighttime is for sleeping long periods of time, and daytime is for being awake and sleeping for shorter periods of time.  If anyone out there is a baby whisperer and can just gently let her know that, I would be forever thankful!

Since Miss E has come into our lives, Hubs and I have been on maternity/paternity leave.  Hubs is on leave until March 9, and I get to be home until March 21.  It has been a huge help to have him home all this time.  I am not looking forward to him going back to work in a few weeks.

Life around here is all about survival at this point.  I keep hoping that we will figure out a routine of some sort, but no luck so far.  I do have a few loose goals that I am trying to work toward and hopefully things will get easier sooner rather than later so I can focus on them more.

Here is what I am working on now:

  • Financial:
    Hard core debt payoff has been put on hold for now.  Instead we are working on bulking up our savings, as my unpaid time off will come out of my July and August checks.  My goal is to have $5,000 set aside for those two months.  We currently have $3,800, so I think we will make it!
  • Health:
    Exercise: I am currently about 15 lbs away from my pre-baby weight.  I am honestly not concerned about the number though.  I am more interested in toning everything that has gotten flabby.  I should be cleared to exercise again next week at my 6 week postpartum appointment.  I am counting down the days!  I hope to run a 5k with my BFF this fall.  It is going to be tough to get back to that level, but I think I can do it!
    Eventually I would like to have a calendar of some sort with some toning, stretching, and running days all mixed together.  That is a ways away though, so I think I will just focus on the running.
    Eating: I am addicted to sugar.  There, I said it.  If you know me, this is not hard to believe at all.  I love super sugary coffee drinks.  I enjoy pop.  I love chocolate, candy, cookies, baked goods, etc.  If there is sugar in it, I love it!  I know what this is doing to my body, and it’s not good at all!  I need to cut back on sugar majorly!  What I have done in the past is allow myself one “treat” each day.  If I get a coffee in the morning, then no sugary snacks or drinks the rest of the day.  If I want a dessert after dinner, then I can’t have anything else all day.  I think this is the smart way to do things, as I am not completely depriving myself of sweets, but I am definitely cutting back!
    I also need to eat more healthily in general.  I want to start making one healthy change to eat meal.  Instead of ground beef, use ground turkey.  Eat a fruit at breakfast.  Increase my serving size of veggies at lunch. Etc.  I think that is an easy way to make healthy changes without having to completely revamp everything. (Which I have tried and failed.)
  • Around the House
    I know, I know.  I have a newborn.  I need to let my house go and sleep when the baby sleeps.  No one cares what my house looks like… they know I am busy with a baby.  Well, that would drive me crazy!  I simply cannot do that.  I usually try to come up with one thing I want to do the next day and consider it a win if I do it!  Here are some things I want to accomplish:

    • Clean out the fridge
    • Menu plan and grocery shop every week
    • Box up 2T clothes that are still in Miss C’s closet
    • Box up maternity clothes
    • Budget each month
    • Balance the checkbook each week
    • Keep up with laundry (one load a day)
    • Pick up at the end of the day

I feel like all of these chores are doable.  They are not pushing myself too much and are ones that don’t take a whole lot of time.  If I keep up with doing one a day, then my life will remain organized and in order.

Those are all the major areas that I want to focus on at this point.  I have some personal goals that are not as front and center at this point, but that I try to keep up with as best I can right now.  I also know that once I go back to work, I will have some work goals that I will want to add to these.

I think my #1 thing to figure out at this point is to get Miss E to figure out her days and nights.  It’s been really rough not having much sleep each night.  Wish us luck!