Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not My First Rodeo

The infant stage is not easy. Having two kids is not easy. Being at the edge of baby blues/PPD is not easy. But Londo recently pointed out that I'm actually handling the Pookie's infant stage better than I did with the Pumpkin.

With the first one, I understood what was involved with having an infant... in theory. In actuality, the first child has thrown everyone I know for a loop--especially if it is a high-needs child like the Pumpkin was (and is). I clearly remember at the end of the first two weeks, during which Londo or I had to hold the Pumpkin all day and all night, I cried to both my sister and my sister-in-law and begged them to tell me when it would get better. My SIL said it gets better at about 3 months. I think I died a little. My sister said that it does get slightly better after the 6-8 week period, but that SIL was right and it really gets better after 3 months.

I didn't know what I was doing, and that lovely daughter of mine was especially needy. I didn't know what was normal and what wasn't. I didn't know how much to feed the child ("on demand" does not provide any quantitative answer, which I thought I needed) or how often.

So I recorded everything. I had a little log book in which I wrote down the time I feed her, which side and how long on each side, in addition to other details I thought might be important, like when she was super fussy or when she would sleep and for how long. I was seriously obsessed with it all.

With the Pookie? I totally get "on demand" and that's what I do. I don't bother to write anything down or worry about how much he is getting or even which side he fed on last. I'm not worried about his sleeping or his fussies or how often he's pooping. I'm not obsessed with tracking any of it. I know that he is normal, that the breastfeeding is going well and that we are doing just fine getting through these tough early weeks.

I also don't second guess things like keeping the Pookie next to me in bed when he's nursing all night (insteading of trying to stay awake to put him back in the cosleeper a few inches away). I don't worry about having a cup of coffee a day (although I'm not ready to also have an afternoon cup).

Most shockingly to myself, I don't usually freak out when he cries, even when he works up to that fire-engine-siren cry that means he's REALLY upset. When the Pumpkin would start fussing and working up to crying, I would feel this overwhelming need to grab her to me and comfort her and nurse her, even if it meant ripping her out of the arms of her very loving father. With the Pookie? It's like I have a delayed response or something to his cries and am willing to wait and see if he will settle down or can be calmed by someone else. At least until a certain point when I know nothing but nursing will calm him--and even then I don't drop everything to stick him to my breast, but finish what I'm doing and settle into a spot to nurse him.

I think this last thing is not just because I've been through the infant stage before, but also due to the different temperaments of children. The Pumpkin would go SO quickly from a little fussy to crazy upset (we called it "screaming bloody murder" and made all sorts of jokes about the bloody murder she was yelling about to keep our sanity) and take forever to calm down. The Pookie doesn't seem to get as upset (he's only once yelled about the murder which was bloody) and is generally easily soothed.

So we can all make it to and through the 6-8 week period, and then on through past the 3 month period. I will be back to work just before he turns 3 months old, and things should get easier all around by then. And right now? He's asleep in the swing, looking peaceful and letting me shower and write a blog post. We can do this. And before we know it, he'll be 2 and playing so cutely and even sleeping through the night on occasion (like the Pumpkin did last night, woo hoo!).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Question of the Week - Cheer Up

I don't think there is an exact line where the baby blues becomes PPD. I think there is a big gray, murky area that's in between the two. I'm there. In that big gray, murky area. I know a huge part of how I'm feeling is the lack of sleep I'm getting, in addition to the crazy hormones and stir-crazy feeling of limited mobility due to healing from the c-section. But I know depression. And I know I'm at that edge.

I need to do things to help myself, to keep myself from going to the PPD side of the the big gray, murky area. I really don't want to be depressed. I don't want to feel that way or put more burden on Londo, who is always doing soooooo much for our family.

Don't get me wrong, I've had some great moments and beautiful times already. I am completely in love with my daughter and my son. These three weeks have been amazing. But also really, really tough. My high-needs first child still requires a lot of our time and attention, and she is still needy and fussy and not a good sleeper. And we have an infant, who is, you know, an infant. He constantly needs to be feed and held and rocked and changed.

It's tough, and I need to do things to cheer myself up so I can get over these baby blues and enjoy my summer and maternity leave.

Which is this week's question of the week:

What do you do to cheer yourself up?

For me, getting out of the house is probably the most important thing to do. Especially when it's summer and sunny. We've been starting to take walks and hanging out in the backyard. Today Londo, the Pookie and I went to a local baby store to shop for some things (we got the Citi Mini double stroller, and I'm so excited to take it on a walk tomorrow!). I'm planning a trip to Target in a couple days, and a bookstore too. Londo goes back to work next Monday, so I'm planning on going out even more that week.

Eating sweets helps me feel better too. Partly because when I'm depressed (or even just getting depressed) I tend to lose my appetite--except for sweets. So if I eat chocolate cake, sugary cereal or ice cream for dinner, at least I'm eating something.

I know working out helps, what with the endorphins and all that. But I just don't have the time or ability (or am physically capable) to work out now. Not even yoga yet. But I'll keep walking. That's something, right?

How about you? What do you do when you are feeling down? How do you cheer yourself up?