Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mommy Wars: Babies & Sleep & Self Soothing

You would never guess how many sleep books there are out there for parents to read. And you wouldn't believe how much your day is surrounded & focused on sleep. There are times when you are so tired of thinking about sleep, you just want to crawl in bed....and sleep. Sleep is a huge subject for any parent under the age of one.

There are also several different opinions on this matter. I am sure you will find a different version or variation of sleep in each parent.

If you were to google baby sleep patterns or something like it, you would more than likely come up with several resources referring to the Ferber Method. One of the many forms of Cry It Out (CIO). There is lots of controversy around this subject. Some think it's horrible and others want plant a big fat kiss on Ferber's face.

Don't worry, I am not even going to touch on the controversial side of it. That's not the point of this post.

Hailey has always been a good sleeper. She began sleeping through the night at about 3 months old 12 hours. She did regress at 6 months & randomly woke 1x a night (always around 11pm) until about 8.5 months old when she began to sleep through the night again. She did this all on her own, no sleep training required and I never resorted to sleep training during the 6-8.5 month period.

Why, you ask? Not because I don't believe in CIO. It's not that I don't, I just choose not to. I know several people who have done it and it's no skin off my back. To each their own.

As a matter of fact, at 10 months old I still rock Hailey to sleep every night (if she will let me! Sometimes she just wants to do it herself!). And I am not ashamed of this whatsoever. I am sure the avid Ferberizers out there are cringing as they read this!!

Self-soothing. This is what Ferber teaches. The ability for a baby to self-soothe themselves back into a peaceful slumber without the help of mommy or daddy.

Here is why I choose the route I do.

Most moms get to hold their babies right after their birth. Cuddle, kiss, stroke and begin the breastfeeding process. They get to cuddle, nurse and snuggle with their babies every 1-2-3 hours a day.

Bonding. The ultimate bonding experience is considered breast feeding (this will be another post all in its own). Even if the mother chooses to bottle feed, she still gets to hold her baby close to her as she does so.

Most mothers also get to take their newborns home with them once they are released. They are with them 24/7 from the second they are born.

Then comes my story.

My baby was born 7 weeks early. She was whisked away at birth due to her prematurity. I got to spend a total of 30 seconds with her before they wheeled her out of the room to the NICU where she stayed for the next 4 weeks.

During these 4 weeks, she was handled by 2 different nurses each day. Different touch, feel, warmth. I was not able to be there 24/7. I didn't get the breastfeeding experience most moms do. My baby was put in an isolette only to be brought out for a short amount of time to be held. My baby got to spend a majority of her first 4 weeks of life by herself in an isolette.

She had trouble eating. This is what kept her in the NICU for that long. We had trouble getting her to eat an entire bottle by herself from a nipple let alone my breast. I pumped and feed her my expressed breast milk through a bottle.

She also had reflux. And add to that too fatigued to eat by mouth and you got yourself a difficult feeding situation. I had to hold her upright and on my lap to feed her. Not only to help her stay awake but also to help the reflux so her food wouldn't come back up, slow her heart rate and have her turn blue because she wasn't getting any oxygen. Yes, I got to see my 2 week old baby turn bright blue in my arms. I had a nurse swoop her out of arms to get her to start breathing again. Makes my heart jump just thinking back on it.

My point is I didn't get to have this blissful bonding experience with my baby until she was 1 month old And even then she still needed to be feed held upright on my lap for the reflux. She screamed bloody murder when she was put to my breast and I was NOT about to stress her out so much where she would stop eating and need to be hospitalized for failure to thrive.

So yes, cuddling and snuggling with her as I rocked her to sleep was the only bonding time I got. It wasn't until she was 3 months old when I got to cradle her as I fed her.

And as far as self soothing. She knows how to self soothe. Trust me. She sleeps 12 hours at night! I hear her from time to time talking to herself in the middle of the night then drifting back to sleep. She doesn't need me to fall asleep. I just prefer and love rocking her to sleep. I love watching her sleep. It's so amazing and peaceful.

So next time anyone decides to judge another for their sleep choices (whether it be CIO or my story) consider the circumstances. You never know what someone's story is.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Skinny Mirror

Do these actually exist? If so, please pass on the info on where to get one! One thing I cannot stand is when you go in front of a mirror and view yourself in one light, then go to a different mirror and its totally different.

You think you look pretty decent. Not too much muffin top, rolls under control. Hips look marginal. Butt is...ehh..let's not turn around. Then you walk by another mirror and stop in your tracks because you are wondering who is that fat chick following you ...oh wait...that's you! WTF? I just looked skinny in the other mirror. Let's dump this fat mirror in the trash!

Then there's the skinny camera. I don't even think these exist in the slightest. You read the camera adds 10 pounds. Yeah right, make that 30! Here you are looking in the skinny mirror, feeling like the day is a skinny day then you take some pics, view them and your mouth drops to floor. So much for the skinny day! Now whenever you look in the mirror you feel like a fat hog. Great. Gives new meaning to those typical Myspace angled photos where you cannot tell the person's size. Give me angles!!!

Makes you want to clear out all the mirrors in the house and take a hammer to the cameras. Thank goodness for being able to delete on digital cameras.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Working Mom

I am a working mom. I have a full time job and a 10 month old daughter.

My work weeks consist of 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week only to come home to see my daughter for about 1.5 hours before she slips away in a peaceful slumber.

Some may criticize the working mom. Thinking we choose career over motherhood. These people have no idea what they are talking about.

I have had some people comment on how well my daughter "knows" me considering I am away 40 hours of week and cared for by others. For someone to actually think she would view me as just another random person floating in and out of her life obviously has never been a working mom. Working would not cause this type of behavior. She knows exactly who I am and actually prefers me over her caregivers (who happen to be family). I am not just another person to her.

She cries when I leave the room and whines for me to hold her once I walk in the room. Even the family that cares for her while I am at work have stated that she clearly knows who her parents are and acts different when we walk in the room versus anyone else she knows well.

Being a working mom is tough. It's not easy on the days that I work only seeing her in the morning or at night. My days off with her are amazing and make me want to quit my job so I don't have to go back.

In this day and age, especially in this economy, it is very hard to rely off of one income. I work because we need to in order to financially survive. Does this mean we should not have children? Absolutely not! My daughter has an amazing set of parents (if I do say so myself) and loving supportive family. My daughter has the privilege but being surrounded by her family and reaps the benefits of being cared for by them. Even if she was in a public day care, she would still thrive just as much as any other child.

I do not regret being a working mom. As much as I'd rather be a stay at home mom, I am happy with the care my daughter is receiving and am happy she is going to be close with several of her family members in addition to her parents!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Who thinks Miscarriage is a good thing???

Apparently I should be glad I had a miscarriage. Oh wait, and happy! Why? Simply because I have had another baby since.

Yes people, this came from an ignorant asshat. So having a live birth after a miscarriage makes my miscarriage a "good thing." Are you serious? NOTHING about a miscarriage is a good thing...NOTHING. I don't care how anyone needs to justify why things happen, when it comes to this issue, this is absurd!

Yes, this is EXACTLY how I wanted everything. Did this person even READ my blog? Did you read about the perpetual black hole I was in afterwards? Does that sound like a wonderful experience to you?

Oh AND being deathly afraid during my entire next pregnancy. Yes, I am especially grateful for that! I LOVED examining the TP every time I went to the bathroom, hoping to not see any blood. My heart would pound every time I went to the bathroom for at least the first 20 weeks. Shake your head at me if you want, call me a sissy, whatever you want but until you have been there yourself DON'T tell me how I am supposed to feel now.

Even my next pregnancy will be plagued with the same fear and the same anxiety. So yea, I am ecstatic that I had a miscarriage. Knowing that my first baby died inside of me is a great feeling. One in which I am so thankful to have experienced!

So does that answer your question?? Do you really think I am happy now that I had a miscarriage? Yes, I love my daughter with every inch of my soul. And sure I wouldn't have it any other way but to go as far as saying I am happy to have a miscarriage is the most insensitive thing one has ever said to me. I would have loved that first baby with every inch of my soul too. I consider my daughter a gift from my first baby. So, NO, I am not glad I had a miscarriage.