October 2009

At this point in time, Little Man seems to sleep best when I “wear” him in my Baby K’Tan sling. He’ll sleep in his crib at night, too. But both times he only falls asleep if I’m holding him (or if Dude is). I want him to be able to fall asleep without one of his parents holding him but he doesn’t seem able to.

I’m not sure if it’s because he’s too young (at 2-1/2 months) or if we’ve set into motion bad sleep habits.  I’ve read online that you can’t spoil a baby before they’re six months old. I’ve also heard that, up to 3 months, a baby is in the “4th trimester” and needs to be held a LOT.  I’m going to have to ask about sleep (and feeding) habits at Little Man’s next well baby visit.

I probably should have bought more baby books with suggestions on how to get your child to sleep. I got The Happiest Baby on the Block and never finished reading it! I think it’s probably too late to implement the techniques given in the book by now. And I’m almost at the point to start de-swaddling my son since he’s beginning to be able to REALLY kick himself free.

Of course with his Torticollis and Plagiocephaly issues, I want him OFF his back as much as possible. So I’m less worried about him being in the sling or sleeping on my chest. I’m so worried about adding more pressure to his flat spot and him needing to wear a helmet.  Less so for the looks we’ll get but more for the cost of the helmet (if needed). I’m told most health insurance companies won’t pay for it (feels it’s for cosmetic reasons) and finding $3000 to pay for it will NOT be easy.

Of course I’m jumping ahead of myself.   I was writing about SLEEP today.

I wish Little Man would sleep through the night. I want to get about 5-6 hours myself!

But he wakes up at least once, sometimes twice, a night and he’s REALLY hungry. So I give him a bottle and he chugs it down and goes back to sleep for a few more hours.

I really need to ask about this. I have SO many questions for my pediatrician and I feel like I can barely get them in.

But, for now, he’s sound asleep in his sling and that’s a good thing.

I work for my family’s business so my parents, who are my bosses, are allowing me to bring Little Man to work with me.  Due to the poor economy, I’m woefully underpaid and cannot afford the high costs of daycare. So this arrangement is they way I’m going. But I have to say it’s not easy.

I’m glad I have my son with me and that he’s not being cared for by strangers—no matter how qualified and caring they may be. However, it’s really hard to be productive while caring for an infant. As I type this blog, Little Man is sleeping in his Baby K’Tan sling and I’m getting work done (with this brief break, of course). I have a Pack-n-Play in my office and a play mat. I’ve ordered a travel swing and my cousin lent me her son’s bouncy seat (he’s 14 months old now and way too big for it) and her exersaucer for when Little Man is old enough.

But I worry that I won’t find a balance between getting my work done and giving my son the attention he needs and deserves.

Is this the best way? Probably not… but for now it’s the only way.   And my parents don’t want to see us tossed in the streets without my income paying for a huge chunk of our monthly expenses, so I’m “making this work” (in the words of Tim Gunn) and hoping it all works out.

You get a look of sad looks from the other patients. Nobody wants to see a little baby needing physical therapy.  Yet Little Man is so cheerful (as long as he’s fed) and alert that one would never know there was a problem.  That is unless they looked at his photos and noticed that his head was tilted to the right in each one of them. The Torticollis is obvious to me NOW, but I never noticed a thing before my son’s two month pediatrician visit.

Little Man’s physical therapist, Mary, said to me that she doesn’t usually get the babies with Torticollis at two months and the fact that I’m bringing him now bodes well for his response to the therapy. It’s basically stretches—some that I have to do at every diaper change, which is not easy but I’m committed to my son’s health—and muscle massage and manipulation. He also needs a LOT more tummy time, but he still isn’t a “fan” of it.

The therapy to stretch and strengthen his neck muscle will also help with his flat head. And Mary said that even though the flat spot looks awful to me, it’s not the worst she’s seen that has corrected itself.  So she feels pretty confident that Little Man’s flat head will correct itself and that he should not need a helmet.  Her analogy was that of a water balloon. She said that if you lay one down, it will flatten on the spot that’s on the ground. But if you turn it, it pops back out. So I hope that Little Man’s head “pops back out”.

We’re going to PT twice a week for the first few weeks.  Last week was week one and we’re going next week, too. Then Mary is on vacation for a week.  The Monday before he goes back, November 9th, he finally will go for his ultrasounds. I hope that his hip is fine and that I’ll get good news re: his Hydrocele. But somehow I have a feeling Little Man will need to see a pediatric urologist to take care of the latter. The swelling hasn’t gone down in two months and I don’t see another few months making much of a difference.

All of this weighs on me.  When you have a baby, you want him or her to be perfect. You pray for health and you want your child to survive.  I had a crisis the first few days after Dude and I brought Little Man home from the hospital. I wanted to breastfeed but found it too frustrating to continue (and Little Man was Jaundiced and dehydrated, so I quickly moved to formula) and felt horrible guilt about giving up without truly trying.  Dude says that if I HAD breastfed, I would have been a wreck due to how much Little Man eats and he says that I shouldn’t feel guilty. I don’t anymore, but I did for a while. And I guess I’m feeling somewhat the same way about the Torticollis and flat head (not sure what “type” he has).  I need to get past that, but I haven’t yet.

Though I AM grateful that Little Man’s health issues are treatable and, relatively, minor. I hear stories of babies with heart problems. Premature babies who are in NICUs for months and months. Children with Cerebral Palsy or other health issues. And what we’re dealing with, in the grand scheme of things, is just a glitch.  But it weighs on me—and not the finances, though it IS a struggle—and I do wish that this hadn’t happened.

This blog post is pretty much a copy and paste job from my former blog that I wrote on October 16th, two days after Little Man’s two month well baby visit to the pediatrician. It’s quite relevant to this blog as it deals with mommyhood and the ups and downs of one’s child’s health. That’s all anyone can hope for—health. And I have to say that even though I had a very emotional day then, I am so grateful that my son is healthy and his issues are treatable.

This is what I wrote:

Little Man is two months old.  He went for his well baby visit at the pediatrician on Wednesday afternoon and while overall he’s very healthy and doing very well for his age, there was some “not-so-good” news.

First with the good stuff.  He’s healthy. He’s thriving.

At birth he weighed 9 lb and was 20.5 inches long.

Now he’s 13 lb 8 oz and 23 inches long.

That’s 90th percentile for weight and 50th for height. I asked if I should be concerned about the disparity (ie. weight) and was told at this age it’s not an issue. He’s not overly chubby, so I guess he’s just SOLID. My coworker calls him “Bruiser” and I often do, too. He’s just a strong baby.

He’s meeting milestones. He smiles, he laughs, he’s a happy baby, really. And he only cries when hungry, wet/messy diaper and when wants to be held. All normal and to be expected for two months.

But there was some “not-so-good” news, too. I’ll start with the most minor one.

Little Man has an umbilical hernia, which apparently is very common in babies and most times close up by the time they turn one.  I was told not to be concerned about this.

Next is the  Hydrocele he was born with. It hasn’t gotten smaller since he was around two weeks old and the pediatrician wants Little Man to have a testicular ultrasound to make sure it IS a Hydrocele and not a hernia and also to make sure all is OK. If this doesn’t recede on its own, he’ll need to see a Pediatric Urologist and could possibly need surgery. I’ve known about this issue since his birth.

Fine. But I’m having problems finding a facility that’s IN-NETWORK for my insurance that does this on babies. If I go in-network, it’s covered at 100%. Otherwise we pay out of pocket since we have a $5000 family deductible. So I’m doing some research and trying to find a place to get this done. I do know of a Pediatric Urologist, however, if he does need to see one.

Lastly are two related issues. My son has a something called Torticollis (a condition in which a tight or shortened muscle on one side of the neck causes the head to tilt to one side) and also  positional plagiocephaly, or flat head, which is due to babies spending so much time on their backs. It’s also most common in infants who have Torticollis.

Since a small percent of babies born with torticollis will also have other problems such as hip dislocation, Little Man is also getting a hip ultrasound at the same time he’s having the testicular one.

Basically Little Man needs physical therapy to correct the Torticollis. And hopefully the PT will strengthen his neck muscles and that, along with MUCH more tummy time, will correct the flat head. I’m praying for that… I don’t want him to need to wear a helmet or, worse, have a permanently misshapen head! But my pediatrician said we caught both conditions early enough and I hope she’s right.

I’d been having terrible guilt about the flat head until I read that it’s related to the Torticollis, which I had no control over. But I had a bit of a breakdown yesterday. I literally SOBBED in the shower. Part of it was due to my son’s issues and the rest was due to lack of sleep—as he also got his shots and did NOT sleep on Wednesday night (thus nor did I).

Motherhood is SO hard. And while I knew it would be, the reality is somewhat overwhelming. And I often get comments like “get used to it” re: the lack of sleep. But I’m sorry, I don’t function well on the limited sleep and it’s taking its toll.

But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I absolutely adore my little boy and am so grateful he’s here and—despite his “not-so-good” issues—is healthy.

But not for me!   My aunt stayed over last night to allow me to sleep and he slept through the night!

I’m thrilled that he did but am so jealous it wasn’t for me.

I hope this begins happening more and more frequently so I feel more rested and am better able to function at work.

I actually work for my family’s business. We’re wholesalers and have an office attached to a warehouse. And since my bosses are my mom and dad, I’m able to bring Little Man to work with me.  NOT that I’m terribly productive that way. But Dude and I are not that well off and we need both of our salaries to survive.  Putting Little Man in day care would allow me to get more work done but all of my salary would be paying for it.  So I bring him to work with me and save money that way. But how to keep him occupied and properly stimulated is not easy.

Yet if Little Man keeps sleeping through the night, I will be able to function better and will be able to get more done—even with the darling distraction of my son.

Do babies, like puppies, grow into their feet?

Something to ponder.

I think about that because Little Man has really big feet. He’s not super long (was 23 inches long at his two-month visit) but he’s heavy (13lb 8oz at same appt.). I hope he’ll be tall like his father, who is 6’2″ and thinking he’ll grow into his feet gives me hope.

I’ve blogged before… on MySpace and on another blog site. But now that I’m a mom, I decided to remain somewhat anonymous—although I plan to provide a link to this blog on my original one so my readers can find me.  And unlike my prior blog, which was a basic journal for me to get all my thoughts out, the primary focus of this one will be motherhood and how being a mom affects my marriage, my relationships and my career.

But here’s a little background info—a timeline to becoming njsweetmom.

At age 36, I thought I’d never meet “Mr. Right.” But I guess fate stepped in and I met Dude (more on his nickname another time).  We had an instant connection and our relationship became serious within weeks. We were engaged a little over a year later and married in June of 2008—I was 38 and he was 37.  Since we were “older” we decided to start a family right away.

I was convinced that I’d have trouble conceiving. Not sure why… perhaps because of my age? But luckily I found out I was pregnant the day after Thanksgiving in 2008. I had to take 4 pregnancy tests AND made my doctor run a blood test to confirm it. I was that afraid that I was NOT pregnant. But I was and I had a pretty smooth pregnancy.

Little Man was born on August 14, 2009.  He was 8 days late and I had to be induced. He’s a BIG boy… he was 9 lb at birth! I was all baby and I lost 27 of the 40 lb I’d gained during my pregnancy by one week after giving birth. I still have 15 more pounds to lose to get back to my “wedding weight” but that’s another story.  Now, at two months, Little Man weighs 13 lb 8 oz (as of last Wednesday, so he’s probably more by now) and he’s overall a very healthy little boy.

There are some minor medical issues he’s dealing with—Torticollis and Positional Plagiocephaly—that I’ll blog about later since this is my “first” post and I’d like to keep it pretty general. But Little Man is a happy (and hungry!) baby and I’m so glad to be a mom. I’ve always wanted to be a mom and finally, at age 39, I am!

However… Little Man will be our only child.  I never thought I’d say that. While I somehow knew my first child would be a boy, I always hoped he’d have a little sister. But life throws curve balls. We’re not in the best financial shape. We’re older (when I was pregnant, I was referred to being “advanced maternal age”) and, perhaps, wiser. It’s in our best interests as a FAMILY to remain a family of three—plus dog.

We want to be able to live better than day-to-day.  We want to be able to pay off our debts; save up to own a home; we want to be able to take family vacations; send our son to college; everything a parent hopes to do for a child. So we’ve decided that we’re done. I’m a mom of one.

I’m sure that will have its challenges in the future. But, for now, I’m like any other first time mom—though perhaps a bit older than many—and am adjusting to taking care of a baby, dog, husband and trying to keep up with my job. Currently I work for my family’s business and have a LOT of flexibility. So I’m bringing my son to work with me (dog too, he’s been coming for years) and it’s been a challenge thus far. Though I only started back this week… maybe it will get better? I guess I’ll see.

So this is my new blog. Hopefully mommyhood will allow me to keep it up-to-date!