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30 and New Digs

Yesterday I turned 30 without too much fanfare. We had a great Mother’s Day weekend and had some early birthday celebrations over the weekend, and I think we might have a little BBQ/Bowling party next weekend, if I can get it together in time.

So I haven’t been posting here much lately… For whatever reason, I feel a little confined in the yoga blog. I’ve been feeling the need to write more about my life as a new mom, so I started writing over at jennasuz.blogspot.com instead. I may post here from time to time, especially if I’m able to fulfill my new goals of practicing at least 3 times a week.

I hope to see you all at the new place!

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baby steps

Back to the mat yesterday for full primary…

I’m sort of curious how other ashtangi mothers handled their transition back into practice post-partum? I don’t feel strong enough to take on my full practice through my second series poses, but pre-pregnancy, my instructor had me splitting at Navasana on those days when I felt too tired or rushed to fit in my whole practice. Or I could just keep on with primary, and add on my second series poses as I feel ready… Thoughts? Please share!

My body composition has definitely changed from what it was before my pregnancy. Since the water weight disappeared, I’m more willowy, I guess. The waist is a good inch smaller than it was before. Less muscle mass. A little skinnier, but softer too. Maybe because of this, my shoulders are a lot more open. Wrist binds (which were once a bit of a struggle) are now effortless, even in pasasana.

This is not at all what I was expecting post-pregnancy, but it certainly is a nice surprise.

Of course, I’m a lot weaker now as a result of this loss of muscle mass. I don’t really mind, but the “party trick” transitions are practically impossible now.

I dread twists that compress my breasts. Unless I’ve just pumped, that is.

Yesterday I stood up from a backbend for the first time in probably 6 months? Scary. I took a step or two back on the first one to regain my balance. Dropbacks were scary, too. Less effortless, less comfortable, less “hang time.” But it was a thrill. I skipped my ticktocks, but held a handstand for 6 breaths. The bandhas are slowly coming back. In fact, Uddiyana feels tighter, more pronounced. Again, maybe because of the lack of muscle mass?

Time on the mat is a little more sacred. It’s a rarity these days, and yesterday I felt like it was the only thing I had that was purely “mine,” not shared with my husband or my child.

Oh and as a side note, Tay has started practicing yoga fairly regularly. He uses podcasts from yogadownload.com on my iTunes and probably uses my mat more than I do these days. Just as I told him it would so many times before, he says it really helps his hands and wrists (carpal tunnel syndrome). I don’t say “I told you so” out loud though. I’m just happy he found his own way there.

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On the baby front, Ash has his frenulectomy today. Hopefully it helps with the breastfeeding. He is SUCH a slow eater. He’s started smiling here and there, and a few days ago he actually laughed. He’s over 11 pounds now, out of all of his newborn clothes and almost into some of his 3 month clothes. He’s quite a little chunk.

Sometimes he cries for an hour or two without reason. Tay and I take turns holding him, bouncing him, rocking him. Usually the moby and gripe water trick works, but sometimes it takes a while. I eat my dinner standing up at the bar, shifting from one foot to the other. Of course, these trying times are totally forgotten the next morning when he smiles and coos as he jumps up and down on my lap (with my assistance, of course).

I was getting my hopes up for that magical 3 month time, when a baby’s personality starts to shine and the smiles are more social, and when the fussing starts diminishing a bit… but then I remembered that we have a bit longer to wait with a preemie. He’s 11 weeks, but his “adjusted age” is just 6 weeks.

Even so, he’s definitely a little character.

congdon-4

A few weeks ago, a friend of a friend contacted me with a welcome request. She’s a photographer, and she’d been commissioned by the hospital’s NICU for some portraits of babies, children, or families who had spent time in the unit and had successful outcomes. Sort of like a morale booster for those families who have to walk those halls and spend hours in a rocker pulled up next to their new child’s isolate, waiting to take him or her home. Some of her work was already hanging in the labor and delivery wing, and in the 6 weeks we spent at the hospital, we became very familiar with these beautiful portraits.

So anyways… Mary sent me a message via facebook, and asked if we would be interested in posing for a shoot for the NICU. We jumped at the opportunity. I was already a big fan of her work, and was already considering having portraits taken while Ash was still small.

congdon-1

The shoot was quick and fun and Mary did an amazing job, despite the fact that she was just a few weeks away from her own due date! She made up a slideshow of some of our photos, and I can’t stop watching it. Now we have to decide on which prints to order… such a tough decision!

Input, anyone?

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We had a good night last night. As soon as the “witching hour” came upon us (as Antonia so accurately entitled it), I tied on the Moby wrap (definitely high up on my “top 10 must haves for new moms” list… I use this daily), and poured his recommended dosage of gripe water into a little dish. When he would start to fuss, I dipped his pacifier in the gripe water and popped it in his mouth. Then when the fussiness diminished, I pulled the pacifier out and waited.

My mother-in-law said this to me once, and it rings true so far: Just when you think you can’t take anymore, the little one changes it up and gives you a break.

For the past five nights, between 6 and 9, our peaceful little angel becomes a fussy screaming monster. Nothing we do calms him down, except for the car… Tay is driving him around town right now, giving us both a few moments of quiet.

I hope this passes soon.

quick jott…

I’m hearing little grunting noises from the swing, which means the baby is waking up. But I should have a few minutes before he really starts wailing…

Yesterday Ash and I took our first bath in the big tub together. It was so fun, he loved it. I would just hold his head up and let him float around on his back. He would get all excited and smile and then he would sort of take a deep breath and relax. That was probably the most productive thing I did all day yesterday, but I set out to have just that kind of day. Tay was gone for the day, so it was just the two of us.

We took our first day trip on Saturday down to Santa Barbara for a friends’ baby shower. Ash was great, but once we got home he was all wound up and wouldn’t fall asleep. Tay finally took him for a drive around 2 a.m. which did the trick and we all slept until 7:30. I panicked when we woke up and it was light out, thinking something must have happened to Ash. And when I saw his chest rising, I just blew him a hundred kisses and snuggled up to Tay for a little more sleep.

I can’t believe how quickly a day passes recently. I’m sure much of this has to do with the later mornings… I’m not used to getting out of bed at 9 or even 8, and even once I’ve gotten out of bed, there’s still so much more to do before I can face the day. I feel like I’m living parts of the same day over and over again.

I’ve been fitting in little cheater yoga practices here and there. I say they’re cheaters because the baby is with me, and I’m not really focused or present. Then again, even when Tay is with the baby and I’m downstairs in my studio, I constantly think I can hear him crying, so I’m not really all that present then either. I wonder if it will always be this way at least a little bit since there is now this new priority that trumps all other priorities in my life…

Anxiety taints almost everything I do now. Maybe it’s part of being a first time parent, but I constantly feel like there’s something else I should be doing that I’m forgetting. Or I’m watching the clock worrying about feeding times. Or maybe it is a part of the exhaustion?

For a while there I was thinking that maybe I was getting enough sleep because I haven’t been feeling “that” tired. But today it dawned on me that I’ve just grown accustomed to some level of exhaustion. I haven’t had an 8 hour stretch of sleep since December 16th, the night before the abruption. Even in the hospital before Ash was born, they would wake me up once or twice a night to check my vitals. I never quite understood that.

Anyways, things are about to get much worse, where exhaustion is concerned. Tay is leaving today for two nights. Since Ash is the most inefficient breastfeeder in the world, we have a system at night wherein Tay feeds him with a bottle of breastmilk and then changes him and puts him back to bed while I pump. The whole thing takes about 35 to 40 minutes. But tonight and tomorrow night, I’ll be feeding him and changing him. I just hope he sleeps and lets me sleep.

It’s been a while…

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Ash has been home for a little over 2 weeks now. I’m starting to get the hang of the whole “mom” thing, and I’ve had the chance now to bond with my little one and really start to feel that connection we’ve been missing out on. He’s doing really well at home, putting on weight, allowing us to get some sleep at night…  Although not much. I feel very fortunate that Tay and I are able to sleep in as late as we need to in order to get some extra sleep in.

He’s had diarrhea for the past week or so… the doctor thinks it could be a stomach virus, but I’m thinking it could possibly be a dairy allergy so I’m cutting dairy out completely to see if that makes a difference. I’m really not loving this whole “breastfeeding” thing, but I’ll keep it up as long as I can. I’m shooting for at least 6 months. I went last week to see the lactation consultant. Ash is tongue tied, but I’m not so sure he needs a frenotomy.  Anyone have any experience with this?

I’ve found a couple of positives to the one month stay in the NICU:

– Ash is still on the NICU schedule. He eats every 3 hours, almost on the dot. He wakes up, we feed him, change him, and then he usually goes right back to sleep. But last night must have been our lucky night, as we miraculously got a 4 hour stretch in there.

– In the NICU, the babies spend a lot of time between feedings in their beds or isolettes. Possibly as a result of this, Ash isn’t one of those babies that needs to be held all the time. He loves to cuddle, but he’s fine when you set him down.

I rolled out the yoga mat on Friday for my first postpartum ashtanga practice. I was intending to just do a half-primary practice, but once I got to Navasana, I kept going through Setu Bandhasana. It felt so strange to touch my chin to my shins and press my chest against my thighs. It felt strange to practice sun salutations without my feet spread hip distance apart. In fact, the whole practice felt a little strange without the bulk of a pregnant belly. I moved pretty gingerly through twists, as I felt a little pull at the incision area, and I skipped backbends in favor of a modified setu bandhasana. I also skipped shoulderstand and the following poses, just put my legs up the wall for a bit, followed by sirsasana and the rest of finishing. Oh man, I was sore the next day. I could hardly keep up with all the chaturangas. Hopefully by May I’ll be back in shape for Sharath’s visit! 🙂 I’m hoping to come up to the city for a few days to practice with him… We’ll see.

homecoming

After spending exactly 4 weeks in the NICU, Ash came home with us this weekend!

It happened so quickly, I really didn’t think we’d have him home until maybe late next week, despite the improvements I wrote about last time. He sort of “plateaued” last week, and was taking about 5 or 6 out of his 8 feeds for several days, just “almost there.” Just when I thought we were in the home stretch, he failed to gain any weight one night, and the doctor made a notation on his orders: Expending too many calories during feedings. Gavage at first sign of fatigue. I was heartbroken, and spent most of the day on the verge of tears.

And then two days later, on Thursday, I went in to see him and the nurse told me they were taking the NG tube out to put him on an on-demand feeding schedule to see how he did. I had seen some kids go home the next day after the tube removal, but more often, I had seen kids get put back on the tube after a lazy day of feeding. So I tried not to get my hopes up.

The next day, I was so relieved when his nurse told me how well he had been doing. “I have tomorrow off, so I’m saying my goodbyes now,” she said when we left for the evening, “I’d be surprised to see him when I work again on Sunday. Go see a movie or go dancing. Might be your last chance at a date for a while.” Still, I tried to stay neutral. I’d been hearing the “any-day-now” bit for a while.

Saturday morning, I called in to check on him. The doc hadn’t made her rounds so we weren’t sure if the discharge would be ordered. The nurse promised to call me when she heard one way or another. Taylor was not holding his breath… he left to go on a dirtbike ride. My brother called and asked if he could come down and visit, I said yes. And then a few minutes later, the nurse called and asked if I wanted to take my son home today! Um…. YEAH!

Of course, then I panicked and ran a hundred errands.

Saturday was a long and exciting day.We got home with our little man around 6, and then began the marathon first night. Ash was pretty noisy and active all night until after his 3:30 feeding. And then he slept until 7, so I got a good 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep then. Before that, I don’t think I slept more than an hour. I suspect that some of his fussiness had a lot to do with Friday night’s circumcision.

Last night was better. I discovered the beauty of Ash’s Cloud b Sleep Sheep, and the sound of “rain” kept him quiet and restful in between his feeding periods. We’re quickly realizing what the nurses had told us all along, he’s not a morning person. Again today, he slept for almost 5 hours between 5 and 10 am, so we slept in with him.

Some insights on our first nights together:

-The time in the NICU has made me a numbers girl. I prefer the calculated CC’s of a bottle. I’m scared of breastfeeding because I can’t measure his intake. I hope I can gain confidence in our breastfeeding so I don’t have to pump and bottle-feed at night.

-I need a little lamp next to the changing table for night time changes.

-I need to take Tay up on his constant offers to help. I let him sleep through most of Ash’s active times last night, and today I’m exhausted. And he’s much better at daytime naps than I am. (edited to add: did this on night two, and he was a great help)

-I need to get one of those eye-masks so I can sleep during the day while Ash naps.