The 2nd Month with a Newborn: Life Review

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The theme of the second month with Max was: SLEEP

Max started growing really fast – and everything completely changed from the first month to the second when it came to caring for him. He stopped just automatically falling asleep in our arms while we were doing our normal routine around the house, and instead was fully awake for many hours at a time. It was such a quick transition, and I was still a bit caught up in the newness of it all, that when he started getting extremely irritated and was crying for hours in the evening – I started to worry that he had colic or reflux.

But he was eating well, which ruled out the likelihood of reflux – and the more I read about colic, the more I realized how vague of a diagnosis it was, and I was determined to do whatever it took to make Max feel more comfortable if that was possible.

It took me a little while, but I finally figured out what was going on. There were so many interesting things going on in his world, and taking in all of these things became a priority for his body – sleep was forgotten until his tiredness accumulated and became “overtiredness” which expressed itself as crying for hours until he finally wore himself out. This tiredness didn’t reset after he slept for a long(er) period – the hours of missed sleep carried over from day to day – so his bouts of crying in the evening became more intense and lasted longer.

It is really easy, as a new parent, to start feeling guilty for not seeing the problem sooner. But feeling guilty about missing the cues that he was overtired did not accomplish anything other than as a point of self-punishment – so I had to forgive myself and let this guilt go if I wanted to find the solution and make a change to help him get the sleep he needed.

I started to become more aware of the “cycles” that he would go through during the day. He was usually awake for about 45mins – 1hr before he would start to get sleepy again, and then there was about 20 minutes where if the conditions were right, he could fall asleep and stay asleep for a long nap (about 1-3 hours). His cues for sleepiness were yawning multiple times and also a switch from being smiley and content to cranky and fidgety. If I caught the switcimg_2856h from awake to sleepy quickly enough, I could take him up to the bedroom and start rocking/dancing him to sleep.

This didn’t always work. Sometimes he woke up suddenly either just as we were laying down or at the beginning of his nap, so we would have to repeat the cycle and catch the next “sleepy time”. The more we practiced this, the more I became “in tune” with his cycle, and eventually his evening crankiness started to get shorter and shorter, until we finally started experiencing little to no crying during the so called “witching hour”.

I decided not to try to artificially schedule his nap times –

my focus was more on trying to get between 14-16 hours of sleep at a minimum per day. Some days we did it, some days we didn’t – but Max’s expression began to change tremendously – he was much happier and seemed to be enjoying himself and his surroundings much more.

Also – this month I discovered the awesomeness of nursing while laying down… sounds silly I know, but it’s a skill that takes time to do well, and boy does it help with the getting to sleep and staying asleep process. At the moment, Max is sleeping in his Dockatot at night, next to me, and when he wakes up at night to eat, all I have to do is roll over and feed him for 15 minutes, then he falls right back asleep – it is literally the best experience – I am losing very little sleep because of this (wish I had tried it sooner).

We also started going out more on walks each day – he doesn’t really like the stroller, but seems content in the Ergo baby carrier for about 30 minutes or so before he starts to get antsy to go home.

This month was really challenging for me – but I also became more connected with Max, and it does feel really amazing to have figured out how to meet his needs. Once we figured out how important Sleep really was, it changed our relationship a lot – this may be because he can trust me to help him get the sleep he needs (or maybe because I can trust myself to figure out a solution when I see a problem come up for him).

By the end of his 2nd month, he weighs 14lbs and 4 oz, and is 25 in. long.

Pregnancy Paranoia: Will I have a miscarriage?

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When you find out you are pregnant, and it’s something that you are happy about, a point of fear you may have to walk through is the fear of having a miscarriage.  Miscarriages happen often, and this is a more prominent concern for many women now that pregnancy tests can give a positive result much earlier in the pregnancy, when the likelihood of spontaneous miscarriage is still high.

“Experts” say that the first trimester or so is the time where a miscarriage is most likely to happen – and some pregnant women are never really “out of the woods”, depending on their age and any genetic predispositions or medical conditions they may have.  This 12-14 week waiting period can quickly build a small thought or worry about miscarriage into a full blown paranoia and dread.

After I found out I was pregnant – the thought definitely came up in my mind that it was possible that I could have a miscarriage.  I saw for myself how the miscarriage paranoia can begin to develop as I looked through the TTC forums and read other women’s stories.  Some of these women became so stressed and worried that every little symptom was an indicator that they would miscarry, they literally got to the point where they could not stop thinking about it and created stress-related illnesses and anxiety.

When I realized that this was a concern in the back of my mind – I supported myself by investigating miscarriage further and then taking myself into worst case scenarios to see how I would face the reality of a miscarriage.  Miscarriage happens most often in situations where there are chromosomal defects in the fetus, and is the body’s way of rejecting the development of a child that would have severe problems upon birth.  Some miscarriages are also the body’s way of protecting the mother from trauma that she would not be able to handle if the baby was carried to term.  Other miscarriages cannot be fully explained – but are ultimately the body’s way of dealing with something that is out of balance.

Realizing this reality, I supported myself to see that a miscarriage in some situations is actually better for both mother and baby – sometimes the miscarriage is necessary.  This is not a “fun” fact to face – but once I faced this reality – it was much simpler for me to embrace and enjoy my pregnancy, the time that I did have with a baby growing inside of me.  Again – it was helpful to have first faced my belief that I may never get pregnant at all (which I talked about in my last blog) – because if a miscarriage did occur, then I am grateful I had the opportunity to be pregnant even if for a short time.

This process doesn’t necessarily “protect” or stop any feelings of sadness or emotion if a miscarriage was to occur, but that’s not the point.  The point is to stop dwelling in a paranoia about miscarriage while you are pregnant, because that in itself is creating a physical imbalance and stress your body.

There are some practical things that have been linked to increased chances of early miscarriage – which I took into consideration during my research and supported myself practically to avoid/not participate in (drinking alcohol, taking certain medications, drinking caffeine, etc…).

So – when it comes to investigating and researching miscarriages – the key for me was to keep it practical, take in the supportive information, forgive myself for the fears and worries that came up, and remain grateful for the time that I do have to experience a new life growing inside of me.