January 2012

Went back to my parents’ home for the first time since Allie was born. Some relatives met us there yesterday. I brought Allie to meet Grace’s parents (5 houses up from my parents’, but they’re moving to NorCal soon). All the adults were charmed. She’s charming when she’s out. She smiles, coos, flaps her limbs for the audience. She collected lots of red envelopes, which made me feel guilty. She also napped on her tummy on my parents’ couch for 2.5 hours, then poopied afterwards as I fed her. She was great at her second Gymboree class today, too. She’s not like this at home except for the hour after she wakes up around 8am (during which she charms me with her smiles, singing along to my singing to her with coos).

Mornings are still hard and stressful. Naptimes are worse. I cry nearly every naptime as I can’t get her to stop crying and go to sleep for more than 3 minutes at a time. She’s taking longer and requiring more intervention to go to sleep at night and in her early morning feedings, too. Awareness, I suppose.

Right now Mr. W had put her to sleep on a cushion in the living room on her tummy and they’re napping together. I tried that tummy thing earlier this afternoon and failed and went nearly deaf in a ear as a consequence. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to do anything. Even something I took for granted, breastfeeding, nearly put me to tears in two afternoon feedings as she pulled away after a few sucks and cried “leh.” I have milk, so I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m scared to do the frantic research I did with baby sleep, because that had messed me up so badly, put me in a tailspin, gave me more things to worry about, feel inadequate at accomplishing, confused me with more conflicting theories and tactics.

I’m looking forward to my first psych appointment on Thursday.

If I cried uncle, will Allie hear me?

I failed in getting Allie to nap in her crib this morning. She wailed and wailed, and I lost it. I was holding her in my arms sleeping up against my shoulder when Mr. W came back from his massage around 11:30a, and I refused to hand her over because I was afraid she’d wake up. She didn’t nap more than 30 mins or so at all her naps yesterday, and it took forever to put her down in her crib, and she also refused to go to sleep last nite and Mr. W ended up having to swaddle her to keep her from flinging her arms and legs about in her fits on her back, and he rocked and held her, and she didn’t fall asleep until more like 11:30p despite our maintenance of her bedtime “routine” at between 8-8:30p. I was just defeated this morning, and mouthed to him, “I can’t do this.” I felt like I was an utter failure at the one thing most important to me to get right — her sleeping schedule. Then I sobbed as he quickly took Allie from me and told me to go upstairs and take some time for myself. I cried but still came down to clean up the two spots of Dodo vomit (which thankfully was on tile this time). There’s just always stuff to do.

The afternoon started the day better; after a feeding we took her to San Juan Capistrano for a late lunch and stroll, and she didn’t fuss in the carseat the entire time. She smiled at me, spit up, and admired her dangling bugs hanging over her carseat. We ate at the Hummingbird Cafe (Greek) at the Capistrano train depot, and altho they didn’t give us the pita bread that was supposed to come with the Greek salad, or the chips that was supposed to come with Mr. W’s gyro, we didn’t care. I convinced myself that the worst that could realistically happen was that Allie would cry, and that’s not gonna kill her. Mr. W said this is the right perspective. But somehow at night when she’s not sleeping, we’re all tired, and Mr. W has to get up in a few hours for work and I can’t get her to stop screaming, it FEELS like the end of the world.

When we came home, she I let her nap on me since she so badly needed sleep from her crappy night sleep and naps yesterday. Mr. W took her from me and put her down on a sofa cushion after half an hour and she stayed asleep on her stomach (fully supervised by us). This happened TWICE, two naps, the first about 2 hours, the second this evening was an hour including the half hour she slept on me. Too bad we can’t place her on her tummy in her crib for night sleep.

After she woke from the evening nap, she was crabby and screamed. Mr. W gave her gripe water and after that, she tooted, calmed down, and he read a Dr. Seuss book to her on his iPad. She sat there in his arms quietly, sometimes cooing along (as she does when I sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” with her). Then I started my nighttime routine to put her to bed earlier. Unfortunately, I added a lavender baby oil massage to the routine and she was probably too hungry to tolerate that. She cried “leh” so I tried to dress her. The onesie shirt would NOT go on. She started screaming at the top of her lungs and for the first time since I had her, I got PISSED. I eff-worded all over the place and used it as an adjective, adverb, noun, however I could use it. Mr. W told me the baby oil made the clothes stick and I shouldn’t have altered my routine. Anyway, with a raging headache and now sweaty, I calmed down enough to feed her at 8. She burped each time easily, was sleepy, and when I put her down and exited, she was mildly awake. I expected her to cry and that I’d have to go in her room for another long night of pacifier-stuffing, but I wanted to take a break and wash my face, remove my contacts first. I didn’t hear her. Either I’d gone deaf, or…I peeked in the cam…she was ASLEEP. AT 8:30p. This was the earliest she’d gone to sleep for her nights, EVER. Even when I finished a feeding at 8:30p before, she fussed and kicked until 9:30p, earliest.

Thank you, God. Thank you, Allie. So I’m now having dinner standing up in the kitchen.

~ Watching My Baby Daughter on the Babycam ~
You smile sweetly in your sleep
And I smile right back
10:18p 1-26-12

Allie seems to have some trouble settling into sleep. She kicks around and sucks on her fists for awhile first. It used to be a minute or two; now it seems like half an hour. Even after her middle-of-the-night feedings which thankfully is only one during early morning (between 4 and 6am), she doesn’t go right back to sleep anymore. It takes her 10 minutes or more during which I watch her anxiously as I pump behind the feeding. This morning, I had to go back in mid-pumping and feed her on the other side because she started fretting after being put down despite not being awake enough to take the other side the first go-round. But she did have her last feeding last night at 8:20p-ish, fell asleep finally around 9:30p, then didn’t wake for her next feeding until 5:45a-ish. Sounds like a good night of sleep, but I had insomnia. Mr. W was snoring next to me, the cat was asleep, the baby was asleep, and I laid there counting down the hours I had left to sleep before her next waking. I wondered about herbal teas and whether they stained teeth like regular tea. I wrote haikus in my head looking at her tummy going up and down on the baby monitor. Then at 10:45p, the stepdaughter came home. She has a habit now of coming in by opening the garage door which is right under the baby’s room even tho she doesn’t park in the garage, so it makes me jump and anxious to see if the garage opening and closing woke the baby up (it usually doesn’t unless the door between the garage and house slams). The garage door didn’t seem to wake Allie up, but the conversation the stepkidlet held on her cell phone in a normal [daytime] volume of voice as she walked in the house, followed by the bathroom and bedroom doors closing downstairs, did. The baby fell right back to sleep but I was laying there stuck listening to the conversation in the dark downstairs about some discussion held about drugs as the stepkidlet walked around the kitchen talking. As soon as she went back into her room and closed the door, her voice was muffled enough for me to finally fall asleep. I wish we had more carpeting downstairs for noise control. *sigh*

Mr. W suggested that maybe now that Allie’s sleeping better and longer through the night, I’m more rested so I’m less tired. Maybe. But I still took a long time to fall back asleep after Mr. W got up at 4am, since I still expected the baby to be up at that time. She wasn’t. So I laid there listening to his kitchen noises, occasionally checking the baby monitor. She slept through it all, it seemed. She usually sleeps through Dodo’s yowling now. (Not meowing, the loud echoing deep “owwwl” he does repeatedly right outside her door after he eats. I still don’t know why he does that.) I’ve been able to cut the yowling down by turning on my cell phone in the dark and flashing it in his direction. It distracts him and makes him aware there’s someone there so he stops the howls. I finally fell asleep after Mr. W left the house, but had nightmares of showering at my old bathroom at my parents’ house, knowing I was alone, and noticing suddenly that a darkness was creeping over the bathroom. The door to the bathroom was opening, and I thought quickly for a rational reason like the cat, but I knew Dodo wasn’t at that house. I freaked out and tried to scream. Then I woke up, saw it was past 5:15am, checked the baby on the monitor, saw she was well asleep still. And then I worried that she was sleeping TOO long and would throw off her schedule. I’m a headcase.

I’ve been reading Dr. Marc Weissblug’s book “Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Understanding Allie’s sleep and nap needs better, I’m now following his advice, which is basically to respect the baby’s own natural sleep rhythms and to go with it. The result is a more even-tempered child as she isn’t cranky from fatigue. (She’s definitely in better spirits, as long as she doesn’t have gas issues. This morning, she didn’t even cry when she woke up at around 8:15a; I happened to look at the monitor and saw her cheerily playing by herself, looking around, smiling, kicking, so I went and picked her up for breakfast.) She’s now taking her 3rd nap today in her crib, which is what allows me to post this, and also what allowed me to write and send the below email (on my cellphone) with photo to my mom and Mr. W during her 2nd nap earlier today:

“Allie is practicing disco-dancing positions in her sleep. My research has found that babies 3-4 months begin to need earlier bedtimes (which we’ve seen because her fussy times get earlier at night) & begin to develop a naptime between 9-10am. 4-6 month old babies begin showing a regular naptime in the afternoon also, between 12-2p. The last couple days, I’ve noticed Allie yawning around 10a & I’ve put her to nap in her crib. She wakes from that nap in less than an hour, but with the pacifier, she can be convinced to sleep until about noon, which of when I feed her again. She starts getting fussy & yawning again around 2p, so I put her down for her nap again, also in her crib. Right now is the 2pm nap. She goes down pretty easily, but is still noise-sensitive. Pacifier helps. There may be another short nap later in the evening, according to the book about child sleep I’m reading, but it’s more unpredictable. I’m going to try putting allie to sleep earlier at night to see if her night fussing is due to being over-tired, even though the book says to expect up to 2 night feedings with the earlier bedtime, the first 4-6 hrs after feeding (betw midnight & 2a, which had happened brogue when I put her down early) & the 2nd about 4a-6a (her usual middle-of-the-night feeding time). I’m hoping she will still continue to skip the first of these 2 feedings. The payoff is that at around 6 months, she should be sleeping 12 hrs thru the night, from 6p-6a.”

Thank you to our neighbor who recommended the book, saying our entire block used it on their kids and it was life-changing for all of them.

Yesterday I dropped the $50/month upgrade membership to the super duper gym in favor of a $80/month membership for Gymboree. Flip Flop Girl had said Gymboree gives free classes and that it’s a good time to meet and talk to parents of other kids in Allie’s age range. I looked up our nearest baby gym, it’s about a 15-minute drive, I signed up for the free class immediately, and off I went yesterday. I didn’t make any new best friends, but people there were very nice. Allie was the youngest but not the smallest (by any stretch) in this category of 0-6 month babies. The interactive class was basically 45 minutes of singing and play with everyone seated with their babies in a circle, all designed to stimulate baby’s eye tracking and other motor skills. We put color props in our babies’ hands and on their bodies for tactile development, colorful transparent scarves over their faces to play peek-a-boo, we had them do a collective tummy time over a big mirror on the ground (Allie was the only one with what appears to be zero head-up skills, but that’s cuz she hates tummy time at home), bubbles were blown at them to get them to reach and touch, a giant colorful parachute was spun over their heads as they laid in a circle looking up, the babies were rolled over and bounced gently on the big exercise ball (i.e. birthing ball, i.e. core strengthening ball, depending on which context you’re in). The instructor and parents sung through the entire thing with songs that matched actions we were doing with the babies (yes, “Wheels on the Bus” was one). One parent to my right said that when her baby was 2 months, she couldn’t bring herself to come to a thing like this; the instructor also said Allie did really well for her young age and it being her first time as I guess most first-time babies get overstimulated and cry. Despite this class being at an awkward time for Allie (it’s usually during the time she should be napping, and ends right when she’s supposed to have her next meal so she’s hungry), she DID do really well. She smiled and cooed and looked around, watched the other babies, and tracked most thing I put over her.

I haven’t been to an adult gym since the 2nd trimester of my pregnancy, so it’s only right I swap something I’m not using for something that’s teaching me what I don’t know how to do (interact with age-appropriate education with Allie). Since it’s month-to-month membership with no cancellation penalty, it gives me something to do three days a week until I get back to work.

Mr. W suggests daily that I quit work forthwith. It’s too unsettling to consider at this point. I get the logic points, that most of my salary will go toward paying someone else to watch the baby, and who better but a parent to watch her own baby? But work is more than just an exchange of money for me. It’s social, I still feel a sense of obligation to my staff, and it has a huge thing to do with my sense of self-worth. I’ve been financially independent since very early on and I am loathe to give up that comfort. Plus, full-time childcare is temporary until Allie goes to school; quitting my job in this economy is permanent.

Sometimes you have to make a choice — eat, sleep, or pump? At 4am, I expected Allie to be up as her last meal was 8:20p (the pacifier thing worked this time, she fell asleep about 9:30p, rousing once but Mr. W kept me from going in and forced me to not look at the monitor, and she fell back to sleep for the night after 2 audible whines), so when Mr. W got up around then to go to the gym, I was unable to fall back to sleep due to my high anxiety level. She kicked around and roused silently a little in the other room, but went back to sleep. After checking email on my phone and brushing my teeth and washing my face (so I can feel good I took a little advantage of free time), I finally chose sleep, too. It took me over an hour to fall asleep. It seemed that as soon as I dozed, she woke up. It was just before 6am and she cried for a meal. I went in, fed her, put her back down in her crib, and she went back to sleep after more of the kicking around in silence. I chose to pump this time, so I’m still up now after pumping, labeling and storing, rinsing out the pump parts. Now I’m considering breakfast.

I heard the stepdaughter downstairs while I was pumping upstairs. When I was in the kitchen storing/rinsing, she walked out fully dressed and I asked why she was up so early. “I have to go to the museum [for a class]. Why are YOU up so early?” I almost laughed.
“I’m ALWAYS up this early with the baby,” I said and explained what I’d done so far.
“Is she up?”
“She’s probably kicking around right now.”
“Is my dad with her?”
“No, your dad left at about 4:30am.”

I hope one day soon Allie can sleep as well through morning noises as the stepkidlet.

Mood this morning: been feeling alone and kinda abandoned when Mr. W left. “You’re not alone, you have your baby,” he said. That’s why I feel alone. I still feel incompetent and am so fearful I’ll inadvertently, unknowingly do something or not do something and screw up her sleep pattern or developmental pattern and she’ll be a difficult baby for the next however long until I figure out how to correct it again. That’s why I read way too much research/books on baby sleep, trying to prevent “mistakes,” altho all the reading on opposing theories just further confuses and conflicts me. I know there’s no permanent mistake I can realistically make at this point, but that doesn’t settle me.

Allie had another ghastly night, but not as ghastly as the night before. I fed her early, 8:30p-ish, and it took her from 9pm-11:30p to stop fussing/crying and fall asleep. Because Mr. W took today off to go with us to the pediatrician for Allie’s 2-month check-up, he took bedtime duty from me. I think he said she finally fell asleep as he was holding her at 11:15pm and he put her down in her crib at 11:45p where she finally slept. Rebecca said something about the new moon. Mr. W and my mom think she was overstimulated from the activities of the weekend.

At her pediatrician’s office, she got her vaccinations (finally). She cried a little, but nothing nearly as horrid as her screams of mommy-eardrum-and-heart-slaughter yesterday morning that reduced me to sobbing as I tried to exercise her legs while changing her. Her doctor thinks the sleeplessness may be a result of her messed-up routines in the day of those fussy times given her young age. If she were older he might think she’s teething. She checked out healthy and fine physically. Here are her stats:
weight: 12.5 lbs (85th %)
height: 24 inches (93th %)
head size: 15.35 inches (56th %)
The doctor noted she “runs a little cool.”

I asked him about sleep training and he said it wasn’t necessary this young, but at 4-6 months when their memories are more acute, parents have to be more careful the routines made and habits formed. He said at this point, the “cry it out” methods at naptimes and bedtimes are not recommended because babies’ needs are biological and not due to “spoiling” or “habit,” and if ignored this early when they’re trying to learn who’s there for them, they may develop a hard time bonding thinking no one responds to their needs. This is different from letting them fuss just a little as they’re put down. Leaving them for a couple of minutes to see if they’re just fussing in-between sleep cycles, or as they fall to sleep, is one thing; leaving them in there until they cry themselves to sleep for 45 minutes is unproductive. He said to be careful of books and methods written by people who don’t have scientific research to back up their advice. He thinks up until 4 months or so, I can pretty much follow the baby’s own schedule for naptimes; if she seems sleepy around the same time each day, to keep her on her own schedule and enforce those naptimes. I’m reading a book recommended by a neighbor about sleeptraining by Dr. Weissbluth, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child,” which says to apply a 6pm-6am sleeping schedule at 4-6 months. My doctor thinks that if we find that too early of a bedtime, to not worry about it. It’s not as detrimental as Dr. Weissbluth makes it sound if we don’t follow baby’s brain development sleeping patterns like a sleep Nazi.

He likes Aquaphor for keeping baby’s skin moisturized. Said Johnson & Johnsons’ stuff is too watered down and altho easy to apply because it’s easily absorbed, it doesn’t really do much for baby’s skin. As for the red rash-like lines between Allie’s neck folds, he said it’s skin irritation from the skin folding in on itself, sometimes trapping moisture so it rubs itself raw, and to apply a modest amount of Aquaphor to the areas twice a day to help insulate and prevent the chafing.

Oh yeah, and burping after the middle-of-the-night feeding: Dr. says to give it a try but if she doesn’t burp in 3-4 minutes and she’s asleep (my usual problem), go ahead and put her down to sleep. It is unnecessary to keep her upright for 10 minutes after these feedings to reduce spit-up; lack of burping doesn’t cause spit-up and if there’s such a big bubble on top that it would cause spit-up, she would’ve burped it out pretty quickly within the 3-4 minutes of trying. This cuts down on the length of my 4am feedings.

Daddy & Allie engaged in deep conversation about the efficacy of sleep training at this young age of 2 months:

Spoke too soon. Just when I was convinced she was better and I was better, she had one of the most difficult nights. For the first time since I started putting Allie to bed in her room and crib weeks ago, she refused to go to sleep after her 9pm feeding. (Yeah, I’d planned on putting her to bed earlier but the stepkidlet invited her new guy over and he’s an amazing pianist so we made him give us a little private concert.) I had to resort to the pacifier thing, only for the first time, that didn’t work. It put her to sleep pretty efficiently, but within minutes (or less), it’d fall out as she fell asleep, and instead of staying asleep, she’d wake up and bawl. I would get up and reinsert the pacifier. This cycle continued from 9:20p until past midnight. I was losing it. Mr. W finally got out of bed and helped me try different things, so we changed her diaper, tried to burp her, I fed her off-schedule around 12:30a, we played music, picked her up, put her down, comforted her, nothing helped. She kept crying. I ended up praying through my tears. Mr. W finally tried turning on the vacuum cleaner to full blast and that put her to sleep in about 10 minutes. When I turned it down to just the air refreshening mode after that, she jumped, but stayed asleep. It was already past 2am. She didn’t wake up until after 7am, but it was a bad morning, too. She would only eat one side, so I pumped the other side as I held her in my other arm; the hand pump leaked milk on me (I was already leaking on my own anyhow), then as I was aghast at why the pump was leaking, I felt more liquid on my left and realized Allie spit up (a lot) on my right. I had to clean us up, clean the pump parts and store the milk, all that as she wailed. She wailed in the morning so loudly and consistently, for hours, that she was screaming long and hard at the top of her lungs. I must’ve cried 3-4 times this morning. My mom immediately took the rest of the day off and came over, and Allie is now sleeping on her as she and I chat and she fills me in on all the grownup stuff that was going on in my childhood that I wasn’t allowed to know back then. At least some bonding came out of this.

I think I may have regressed back into the postpartum depression thing, though. My mood matches the rainy gray weather outside.

I’d thought her “witching hour” was getting shorter and more occasional, but I was wrong. She’s witching away right now. She’s tired, but instead of sleeping, she’s fighting it and screeching in between sobs. I don’t know how to get her over it. Some experts say that babies need to burn off energy before sleeping, and that the way to do it before naptime is to cry because that’s the only way they have to expend energy. Since her fussy time is about 2 hours before her 9pm feeding, I’m going to try to advance her bedtime feeding to 8:30p to see if that would help. Maybe she’s hungrier earlier because supposedly milk supply wanes in the evening; maybe she’s sleepy earlier than we’ve been putting her down. Either way, an earlier bedtime feeding should do the trick. I hear some people put their babies down at 6pm and the baby sleeps through till 6am.

I learned from talking to Payroll downtown that I can use any benefit time (vacation, sick personal, special paid leave) for my CFRA baby bonding time EXCEPT sick time…unless I am personally sick. I don’t have enough benefit time to cover the time I have off for CFRA, so since I have the days off already approved (they HAVE to give me up to 12 weeks by law), whatever I can’t cover will be taken without pay. My OB and my family doctor, whom I saw on last-minute apptmt last Friday, both referred me to the psychiatry dept, so I made an appointment for their earliest available day in early February. I hadn’t wanted to take the time for counseling when my OB recommended it because I didn’t have anyone to watch Allie and I knew I didn’t want to get on psych meds anyway due to my breastfeeding, but now I’m thinking they can give me the medical note for work to say that I DO have postpartum issues and that I need the time off, which would then qualify me to use sick time. BTW, my family doc diagnosed me with “adjustment disorder with acute anxiety.” He said my auditory hallucinations (hearing a baby cry as I drift off to sleep, which wakes me up with an adrenaline jolt so strong I’m laying there gasping for air with my extremities tingling) are symptoms of the anxiety. He didn’t want to put the label of “depression,” postpartum or otherwise, on me without my seeing the psych department for it. I did tell me about work stressing me out on this issue and he said the counselor should take care of that and get me off for longer if I need to.

My moods are getting better, though. Her inconsolable crying isn’t getting to me as much anymore, probably because I now know and finally believe that it’s temporary; she’s sleeping pretty solidly at night in a predictable pattern (she goes down after her 9p feeding and wakes up sometime between 4a and 6:30a for her next feeding) so I’m getting a nice block of sleep at night as well. After I put her down in her crib and turn out the lights, I’ve gotten into a habit of hanging out in the dark in the recliner next to her, texting my cousin Jennifer or Diana asking about how each others’ evenings went, how the babies behaved. I’m there just in case I need to pacifier-plug her to help her sleep, but I don’t usually need to. She frets a little (not cry, just sorta whines), but within minutes to maybe half an hour, will fall asleep. I usually fall asleep in the recliner when she does, checking on her here and there through the camera app on my phone since it has infrared, and waking up at 11p-ish and going to bed myself. If Mr. W is going to work in the morning, he gets up between 4-5a which is when Allie gets up, so I’d do a feeding, then I’d pump and/or hang out with him downstairs a little and have a little breakfast, then I may go back and nap until her next feeding between 7a-8a. Mornings when I’m alone with the baby is hard cuz I have to fit in my breakfast, pumping, storage, cleaning out pump parts, all before she wakes up for the day.

Going out with her is becoming less anxiety-ridden for me, though. She’s usually good unless she has an extremely dirty diaper or she’s hungry. If I have to, I’d feed her in the car or the drive home is pretty hellacious. She cries in the carseat and even tho she falls asleep with the car moving, she’ll wake up and continue crying where she left off when the car has to stop due to a red light/traffic. Saturday, we met up with my cousin Jennifer, her husband Brad, and baby Alexandra at Downtown Disney. It was a long day for us; we went out at noon to buy a new baby carrier wrap (Baby K’tan) that we liked so much we bought one for each of us, and that was when my cousin contacted me. We then had lunch out, I fed Allie in the car, then we went to Downtown Disney. Mr. W wore Allie around in the Baby K’tan and thought it was the best thing invented:

Funny; when Allie was up and gazing around, Alex was dead asleep in her stroller. When Allie fell asleep and Mr. W wore her facing in, Alex woke up so Jen wore her around on their Ergo carrier. The two are rarely both awake at the same time. We didn’t get home until close to 6p and it was a good day out, altho she came home and still had her fussy time before her last meal.

Today is Asian New Year’s Eve. We met Rebecca at Seal Beach for lunch and she got to meet Allie for the first time. Allie loved her right away, must be the calming presence. Allie nearly fell asleep just with Rebecca holding her, and before we left, she and Rebecca had this whole conversation. It was adorable, with Allie cooing and smiling at Rebecca in response to Rebecca’s questions and comments to Allie. I told Rebecca that when I’d first met my cousin Diana’s daughter Elle at 2 months or so (Elle is now 2.5 yrs old), I felt like I knew her when I held her. After that, my arms felt empty, which had never happened before, not that I’d ever held many babies. And then when I spent a little time at Elle’s house for the first time a couple of weeks ago at the Cousins’ Day Out at the Park, Elle came up to me despite having nearly no contact with me, and wanted to hug me. I lifted her up on my lap and she chatted with me, then kept handing me all her favorite toys. Her grandma and my cousin Jennifer were surprised, commenting on how much Elle apparently likes me. Rebecca said that Elle and I have had past lives together; we were sisters in one and in another, we were mother-daughter, altho she wasn’t sure which one was which. I got excited and wanted to tell my cousin Diana, but was afraid it’d freak her out. Rebecca said that yes, it would, and Diana and I have had a past life where we were sisters, too, and there were some jealousy issues that she’s not sure if Diana ever resolved so it may still be something remaining in this life, so to not tell her at this point. I could understand how, even without her having past life jealousy toward me, it could be awkward, too. I mean, this is HER baby, and her baby and I shared a past (or two)? Okay, so I’ll keep it to myself. But it’s kinda cool to think about how some souls know each other and just keep incarnating together to meet up over and over again.

Then in the evening, my parents and maternal grandma came over. It was a very lucrative New Year’s for my baby’s first time. We are now leaving the Year of the Rabbit (Allie’s year) and entering the Year of the Dragon (my year).
“MY red envelope!”

I think the routine is working — Allie still had a fussy period last nite (albeit shorter and less emphatic than it had been in the beginning, and the best part: both Mr. W and I are now emotionally unaffected! We just comforted her if needed, and we ourselves were comforted with the thought that the more energy she expends right now crying, the more tired she’ll be later.) between 8-9p-ish, but Mr. W was able to put her down for naptime on the couch on her back before she woke up into her fussy period. She didn’t sleep long, maybe half an hour or so, but she was able to fall asleep in a strange environment with lights/TV on, with just about a minute or less assistance from the pacifier. I nursed her for the last time at 9pm, she went to sleep in her crib shortly after with minimal fussing and no assistance from the pacifier (I would say most evenings now she doesn’t need the pacifier to go down for the night), and skipped her usual 4am feeding. She instead woke up crying for food at 6:10a-ish. That’s 9 hours between meals! My breasts were not comfortable, but I pumped behind her morning feeding to store and felt much better. She’s now back to sleep, but it’s anyone’s guess how long she’ll stay down since she’s used to getting up between 7a and 8a with a 4a and a 7a feeding. This later morning first feeding throws her schedule off.

Pumping is still a mental game; I “power-pumped” at the advice of my cousin with 10 mins on, 10 mins break, 10 mins back on, and the first pump behind her feeding only got me 1.5 oz total; the 2nd pump after the break (during which I brushed my teeth, washed my face, got dressed for the day, cuz you can’t afford to be unproductive with precious free minutes with an infant) yielded another 2.5 oz so I was able to store 4 oz in the freezer for future use. I power-pumped last nite for her evening bottle feeding, which I was to do in lieu of breastfeeding, and got out 4 oz total, also. I look forward to a day when I don’t have to power-pump and could supply enough milk first round. The 1st pump behind a feeding doesn’t give me a letdown anymore, but the 2nd one does. I got my Medela Harmony handpump in the mail yesterday; my cousin Jennifer feels it gets out more than the electric pump. I haven’t tried it, yet, but I did take it apart, disinfect all the parts and put them back together to familiarize myself.

I have no idea how pumping is going to work when I get back to the courthouse after maternity leave; finding a place to pump and store the parts may be difficult. I’m going to have to ask for longer and very regular breaks when we’re in trial, too. I guess as a last resort, I can borrow a reporter’s office and their mini-fridge. =P I know that law provides that in a workplace with 50+ employees, a clean private mother’s lounge is required to let mothers pump at work, but the building is only so big and they can’t just build a room.

Speaking of work, I received second-hand an email between downtown Payroll Dept and our in-house administrative secretary Patricia who does payroll for us. I had carefully planned for usage of my time so that I could maximize my maternity leave, but apparently a Payroll clerk downtown changed my time and instead of letting me use sick time for this CRFA (baby bonding time), and I have tons of sick hours, she switched it to use vacation time, which I have a very limited supply of. The reason I want to use sick during CRFA is because I will NOT be allowed to use sick after the 6 weeks of CRFA is over, so at that point I HAVE to use my limited vacation. This way of using my time has been approved by my supervisors and later by some other downtown department; I don’t know where she gets off changing it despite what I’d put on the maternity leave form. Patricia didn’t think it was right, either, and wanted to make sure I got a copy of the email. Yet another stressor. I’ll have to call and see if I could make this Payroll clerk change my time usage back to the way I’d intended it. Apparently she’d changed it as of January 9 without my permission. That means I’d run out of vacation time very quickly and the rest of my time off would be without pay. I had a hard time falling asleep being upset/stressed over this last nite/this morning.

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