Thursday, November 25, 2010

In the interest of moving things along...

My normal routine for the last 3+ months, since Charlotte began sleeping through the night from 7pm to 6am has been to pump just before going to bed around 9:30 or 10. Then, I'd get up at 4:45 and pump again, shower, and be well into my day when she wakes up in the morning. I read somewhere (I've no idea where exactly, nor whether it was a "reliable" source or just someone commenting on something) that ovulation might recommence when more than 6 hours pass between feedings/pumping sessions. On the off-chance that my 7-ish hour break wasn't sufficient to turn my body's rhythms back on, I've decided to skip the before-bed pumping. I was only getting 3-4 ounces at night anyhow, and I think I have about 6-weeks' supply (based on her current appetite for five 8-ounce meals per day) in the freezer at this point.

I need to get away from the thought that I should be caching away as much as I possibly can. If I can somehow coax my body into ovulating without stopping breastfeeding, I'll be a lot more confident about initiating Project Sibling. I'm worried now about cutting off breastfeeding and then wasting a lot of time not ovulating; possibly wasting a lot of money on additional insurance to cover IVF well before my body is ready to try again. It's difficult to balance the certainty of caring for Charlotte against the gamble of trying to conceive again. What if we succeed and the pregnancy is complicated and I can't care for Charlotte the way I should? What if we fail and ruin ourselves financially to no end? What if we succeed and the resulting child isn't perfectly healthy and we neglect Charlotte to take care of him or her?

Maybe Charlotte would be better off as an only child. I know that C and I could be happy with just one daughter to dote on. Our lives would be simpler with just the one child. Family vacations would be cheaper. There'd be no sibling rivalries to referee. But C and I both grew up with siblings who have become the people we most trust and rely on as adults. C and I are "old." We'll be eligible to join AA*RP before Charlotte's even in high school. I want her to have at least one sibling who will share her grief when C and I pass; who will be her biggest fan in whatever pursuits she tackles in life. And, because of the donor situation, I want her to have someone nearby who's in the same situation as she is, dealing with the same identity issues that might arise when she comes to understand her genetic background. I want her to have a full sibling so she doesn't feel alone or strange or different (no more so than the typical teen angst). I don't think I'm selfish for wanting to have another child, but sometimes I wonder.

In any case, we'll see if lengthening the overnight break from milking has any impact. Our plans are constantly evolving. When Charlotte was born, I intended to breastfeed for six months. Now, I'd like breastmilk to be her main source of nutrition until her first birthday. A lot can happen in a few months. We'll see.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

a question

This is directed at women who breastfed. When did your period return after the birth of your baby? It's been 8 months here. She began sleeping through the night three months ago. I'm curious, and my internet research hasn't been helpful, offering a range between 10 weeks and 2+ years. I'm trying to plan 2011 (how quickly I lapse into pre-IF naivete), including weaning Charlotte and launching project sibling. I don't know if my period has to resume before I can start an IVF cycle or not, but it seems logical that it should. I think it's time to contact the RE to find out where my body needs to be before we can try again.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

on the move!

First, she learned to roll and pivot. Then, she learned to pivot and pull (she plays on a sheet on the floor, so when something is out of reach she can pull the sheet toward her until she can reach what she wants). On Friday, she put her butt-in-the-air sleeping pose to good use and learned to inchworm. Then, suddenly, on Saturday she started "army crawling." We can't take our eyes off her for one second now because she covers the width of the room in a millisecond (it seems) with all her combined skills.
I'd load a video, but Blogger seems to be having problems. Or maybe my connection is too slow. Anyhow, we're amazed. And C was unspeakably excited that she debuted her army crawl on his watch, while I was in the shower.

She still desperately wants to walk, and refuses to put anything but her feet on the floor if someone's nearby to provide balance. Once on the floor, she's always on the look-out for something or someone to climb but hasn't made it past her knees on her own.

Just in time for all this, the hardwood floor installation begins tomorrow.

Monday, November 8, 2010

as it should be

meKate is, at last, in labor! She's the first (and, so far, only) IF blogger that I've met in person, and I want so much for her labor to be memorable for all the right reasons. Please send her your best wishes and warm thoughts for a speedy and easy delivery.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

some notes so I won't forget

Charlotte thinks she can walk and stand up. Correction- she knows she can't, but insists on doing so almost constantly, which means that whoever is with her must help her remain upright on her feet. We watched her signing video this afternoon, and she "stood" for nearly 45-minutes straight. Every time I tried to ease her onto her rear, she stiffened up and looked at me like I was depriving her of her rights. She's got the strength, but hasn't yet developed the balance to stand on her own.

She's starting to try to climb to get herself on her feet. Usually, it's my leg she's climbing when we're sitting on the floor playing. She can actually get up onto her feet, but with her torso across my lap instead of upright. I think it's time to lower the crib mattress another notch.

Kisses! Hugs! When she's sleepy, Charlotte settles her head on my shoulder and wraps her arm around my neck, playing with my hair with one hand and sucking on the fingers of the other. She gives big wet, open-mouth kisses on my jaw.

We finally put a battery in the bathroom scale (the old one died more than a year ago). C has begun a diet and wanted to know what he was starting from. I stepped on to see if the numbers matched the way my clothes have been fitting. Holy bananas, people, I weigh what I did as a junior in high school. Ice cream and Halloween candy have been a regular part of my diet, and I've indulged in fast-food and drive-thru "coffee" drinks alot more often than I care to admit. Yet somehow, I've lost 60 pounds since Charlotte was born. Now that C is on a prepared-foods diet, I won't be keeping ice cream in the freezer, and I get to eat more fish and vegetarian meals than when I'm cooking for both of us (he's a meat-and-potatoes man... doesn't like much of anything that's green). I wonder how small I can get before Charlotte weans and my metabolism returns to "normal."

I had a little knee tune-up last week. They call it "surgery," but anything that can be accomplished through two teeny incisions doesn't count as full-fledged SURGERY in my book. I'm still very gimpy, and just straightened my knee fully for the first time today, but that's not the notable bit. On Sunday, my calf felt crampy. It was still crampy all day Monday, so the ortho sent me for an u/s which discovered a clot. Yippee... the non-experts scared the cr@p out of me, and sent me to the ER, in a wheelchair because they claimed that walking (I was still on crutches) might dislodge the clot and send it to my lungs. The ortho told me I'd probably be put on blood thinners, for MONTHS, which would be toxic to an infant and that my breast-feeding days were over. I was crushed, and contemplated pumping and dumping while on whatever meds they prescribed... didn't think I had it in me to stick with that plan effectively. I could hardly bear the thought that the last time I'd b-fed Charlotte was to be the LAST time. Turned out all the non-experts were overreacting and I walked out of the ER with orders to take one aspirin daily and return in a week for a follow-up u/s. As long as Charlotte has no fever, the small amount of aspirin that makes it into b-milk will not hurt her. And since I forgot to take the aspirin today (oops), and the crampy feeling in my calf has been gone since Thursday, I think this episode is over already. I'll go for the u/s on Monday and expect it to be completely clear.

Speaking of breastfeeding... my original goal was 6 months, at which point we'd wean Charlotte so Project Sibling could commence. Now I'm thinking that I'll keep on breastfeeding until her nutritional needs are met with "real" foods. I'm not entirely sure how that transition is supposed to happen, though. Here we are at 7 1/2 months and "solid" foods are just a fun thing we play with a couple of times each day. She wasn't a big fan of rice cereal, but loves oatmeal. Sweet potatoes were OK, but she makes a terrible face and gags when I put peas in her mouth. I read somewhere that by now we should be moving from the stage-1 foods to lumpier stage-2. I'm just not sure how much "food" she should eat every day, or how I'm supposed to get her interested in "eating" while only feeding her solids after satisfying her hunger with b-milk. I admit, I haven't done much research. I'm sure there's a lot of info out there (conflicting, most likely) for me to peruse. She's definitely interested in food. She intently watches C and me eat, while making "chewing" motions. She has no teeth, and even though she gnaws on anything she can fit into her mouth, I see no signs of anything erupting anytime soon.

Charlotte still sleeps consistently from 7pm to 6am (sometimes until 6:30 or 7), and almost always has 5 meals each day. A month or so ago, if she missed a meal due to an overly long or mis-timed nap, she'd make up for it the next day. Lately, though, when she misses a meal it has no affect on the next day's eating schedule. I suspect she's getting the same amount of calories in fewer meals by nursing more aggressively, and I wonder if she's going to eventually make 4 meals the norm. Her usual schedule is 6:15am, 10am, 1:30pm, 4:30pm, 6:30pm. When she drops one, it's generally because the 1:30 feeding is late. I send her to daycare with two 8-ounce bottles, and she's pretty consistent with her consumption... 6 ounces at 1:30 and 8 ounces at 4:30. I sometimes wonder if this is healthy- I see her peers in daycare with much smaller bottles. Should I feed her smaller meals more frequently? But she set the schedule, and she's definitely growing, so as long as she's happy we'll keep this up.

She's suddenly too long for most of her 6-month clothes. She outgrew the 3-6mo stuff a month or so ago, but her 6-9mo clothes still fit. She's still long and lean- there's plenty of circumference left in her outgrown clothes, but she can't stretch without stressing some seams. I bought her a few 9-mo outfits yesterday and figure those will tide her over until Christmas when either she'll be flooded with gift-clothes or I'll shop for post-holiday bargains in January. Winter clothes are way more fun than summer ones... mix-and-match pieces as opposed to either onesies or one-piece jumpers. There's nothing cuddlier than a baby wearing fleece.

Seven-and-a-half months. 32 weeks (I think... didn't count). Each day, I experience a moment so perfect and filled with joy that tears well in my eyes and I can feel my heart overflowing. I never knew I could be this happy.