Saturday, January 31, 2009

What I'm doing right...

Ruby has had a rash on her face and neck and chest for a couple of weeks now. It started out as baby acne but then got really crazy all over her. I've been washing her face with boiled water every day and keeping milk from running down her neck when she's eating. And in the past week it has started to dry out - except it really dried out. Her poor little face was soooo dry. I've been applying olive oil (yup, just plain old olive oil) to her skin daily and it's doing wonders! She's slowly getting a clear face again.

Still, all along she's been as cute as all hell.

Here's some feel-good Ruby pictures:

Out strollin' in the sunshine:

The shirt says "Heart breaker"

Baby skull shirt

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Do not leave child unattended

I debated on whether to post about this because I'm feeling so incredibly fucking stupid and guilty and really embarrassed about it.

Yesterday I was doing two things at once - being Ruby's mom, and making mashed potatoes for dinner. The potatoes were boiling on the stove and ready to be mashed and I was sitting on the couch with Ruby while she slept. I left Ruby sleeping on the couch and went around the corner into the kitchen. Drained the potatoes. Added milk, butter and salt. Started mashing. Heard a thump from the living room.

My heart sunk and my first thought as I spun around was "please let that noise have been the dog". Except the first thing I saw as I turned around was the dog staring in the direction of the couch. I flew across the kitchen and around the corner to see Ruby laying face down on the ground. I felt like the blood drained from me and my heart came out of my chest.

She had apparently wiggled in her sleep and slid off the couch. I really didn't think she could do that yet.

She didn't start to cry until I got to her - which seemed like an eternity but was probably only 10 seconds at the most from the time I heard her fall. I scooped her up off the floor and immediately checked her all over. Luckily, thankfully, ohhhh soooo thankfully, she was still in perfect working condition. She cried for a bit and I held her and rocked her and bawled my eyes out saying, "I'm so sorry Ruby, I'm so sorry. Mommy loves you SOOO much. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry" over and over and over again.

And the rest of the day I was a wreck. Consumed with guilt. Feeling like a big fucking loser.

I had planned on giving Ruby a bath during the day but I opted to wait til Steve came home from work because my confidence was shaken, as were my hands, arms and legs for the rest of the day. (After her bath, I ended up flooding the bathroom when I tried to pour her bath water into the sink but instead dumped it all over the bathroom counter and floor.)

I am so so sooooo thankful that Ruby is a healthy little pliable baby and she wasn't hurt in any way from my fuckup. I have been toting her around in the Baby Bjorn all morning this morning and when I have to put her down, I make sure she is strapped in tight to one of her chairs, or in the bassinet.

Another stupid lesson learned.

Tonight - we are having take out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Too many places, too many faces

We have been taking Ruby out and socializing her quite a bit - and thus far we've been quite successful. She's been to a New Years Eve get together, a chick's night, out for lunch in restaurants with Steve and I, grocery shopping, midwife appointments, strolling through the mall - and she's had lots of visitors come to see her here at the house.

She's super good in these situations too. I couldn't ask for a better baby, really.

But Sunday I feel like maybe I foolishly (and not purposefully) took advantage of her good nature in social settings.

We were supposed to get company on Saturday day night but when my guests hadn't even started the trek from downtown to my house by 8pm, I politely asked them not to come over. I only get sleep in two hour stretches and couldn't imagine having someone arrive for a visit after 9pm in the evening. So the plan was changed to brunch at 11am downtown on Sunday - in a restaurant (which I wasn't crazy about but I hadn't seen my friend in a long time so I made the sacrifice).

And then we were invited to my parents house for dinner (an hour away). I really wanted to go to my parents house because we haven't had Ruby out there yet and my brother and his girlfriend and kids would be there. (Also, my mom is great with Ruby and gives me a bit of a break).

And then since we were going to my parents house, Steve wanted to stop in at his parents house also for a visit (they live 20 minutes from my parents).

We left the house at 10:30am and met our friends for brunch. It happened to be Ruby's feeding time so my breakfast sat and got cold on the table while I fed her in a cramped booth. She wouldn't eat her entire bottle, and then for the life of me I couldn't get a burp out of her. Of course she was passed back and forth to our friends as well.

After that, we made the hour drive and went to Steve's parents house. Since she hadn't eaten her whole bottle at the restaurant she was hungry and a bit cranky. I held her and rocked her while we warmed the bottle. I fed her and burped her and had her settled down when MIL wanted to hold her. I passed her over to MIL, when Ruby started fussing again - and then she was passed back to me. I danced around and talked to her and got her settled again when MIL said "I think she wants to come back to me now". I told her that Ruby was a little fussy so maybe she should stay with me. MIL then told me that it was because Ruby was hungry... even though I had just finished feeding her. I advised that she was not hungry and MIL said again that she wanted her. So... I passed her back to MIL, and Ruby started crying again and then power puked all over MIL's sweater. She was promptly passed back to me, and I once again rocked and cuddled her until she was happy. MIL came out in a new shirt (freshly sprayed with strong perfume) and took her back from me. Ruby puked on her again and started crying again.

Everyone (except me) started panicking and asking "is this the first time she's done this??" "What's going on???" I advised that no, it's not the first time she's cried. Babies sometimes do cry - but everyone was flustering around, worrying that something was wrong. (Which annoys me and makes things worse) I think the only thing that was wrong was that the room was a million degrees hot, the perfume was strong and she just wanted to be with her mom and not bounced around. So during the last crying jag, I took her into a bedroom and shut the door. The room was cool and quiet and as soon as I laid her on the bed, she stopped crying and actually started smiling and cooing at me. My sweet baby just needed a break. Mommy knew.

So Ruby and I hung out in the bedroom for a while and smiled and talked to each other until it was time to go.

Later, at my parents house, my mom took her and snuggled her and fed her. Then my dad held her. Then my brother held her. Then she came back to me. Then to Steve while I ate dinner. Then back to me while Steve at dinner. Then my mom held her again. (No crying fits this time).

When we were leaving, my dad commented on how good Ruby is and how successful this whole trip was. I said that we'd see how successful it was during the night.

And oh I was so right to be cautious. I fed Ruby before bed and then held her and rocked her to sleep. She slept for a while but then she started tossing and turning and grunting and groaning, and crying out. And this... went on all. night. long. She barely slept. And I barely slept. Usually we have 3-4 hours between feeds and I might get 2-3 hours sleep in between. Not this time. Ruby was so unhappy all night. Eyes like saucers.

So I think it's pretty obvious what happened. The poor kid was over stimulated. And I feel pretty bad about it. I should never have had her in so many different places in the day with so many people bouncing her around. I totally took advantage of her good nature. And about half way through the day it started to feel wrong and I knew I had fucked up. Poor little monkey.

Now, I know. Lesson learned. I can still take her out and she'll be good for me - but I also know that I can not overdo it like I did on Sunday. That's not fair to her. And she and I both suffer. Her from the over stimulation, me from the mommy guilt.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bulleted update

~ I discovered that if I crank the music while Ruby is in her swing, she totally digs it. She will swing and chill out for an hour or two and I can get some shit done - which makes me feel oh so much better at the end of the day. She seems to like the rockier stuff and wakes up mad when the softer music comes on. She particularly liked Guns 'n' Roses yesterday.

~ I also tried her out with an activity mat - the one with the dangly stuff over her head. She really likes it! She talks to it and smashes the toys around and smiles lots. She gets tired or pissed off at it after about 15-20 minutes though.

~ She is still eating about every 3 hours. Sometimes 4 hours during the night. I so look forward to longer stretches between feeds. Not sure how to accomplish this.

~ Steve has started taking one of the feeds in the night. Halle-fucking-lu-ya! This practice started out very rocky and I almost gave up and did it myself. But I persevered and now it's getting much better. This provides me with a little longer stretch of sleep in the night. Except I wake up with rock hard and wet leaky boobs. I need one of those night time bras that the maternity stores all push.

~ I got my hair cut last night. Oh my god, I so needed it. I was started to get a little depressed about how I look. Now at least my hair is cute and shorter (also easier to manage).

~ Now if I could just get something done about this mommy tummy and my wardrobe. All my maternity clothes are way too big for me but my "fat" clothes are still too tight. I really don't want to spend money on new clothes right now because my body is still changing. It sucks because I've started getting out and about now (yeah!) and people want to take pictures of me and Ruby. Then when I see the pictures and I want to cry.

~ Ruby is changing so much. Every day she seems to be a little bit different than the day before. I love her like crazy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It's noon.

I am still in my pyjamas.

I have not brushed my hair or my teeth.

I haven't had a chance to eat yet today.

Ruby has been awake since 4am which means that I... have been awake since 4am.

It's time for her to eat and all I want is to do is feed her so she will go to sleep so I can have a nap. But she has only drank a little of her bottle and spits it out and won't drink anymore.

Just when I think I will never make it through the day... she looks up and me and does this:

Clever little devil.


One of my very best friends is coming to visit this weekend. I haven't seen her in quite some time and I miss her terribly. We are so good together and she's really a kick ass person. She lives 10 hours (driving) from where I live so we don't get to see each other often. Her husband is currently in the area for 6 weeks on a course and she's flying in this weekend to be with him and to visit Ruby and I (and Steve).

The plan is for her and her hubby to come out here on Saturday and spend the evening hanging out with us (dinner, maybe a drink) and then they'll stay the night and leave sometime on Sunday.

I am so excited to see her but I'm having a bit of anxiety over it as well. I'm worried about sleep and about me not getting enough of it.

Since Ruby is still on a 3 hour feeding routine (4 if I'm lucky), I only get to sleep in 2 hour stretches, ever. So I've been trying to get to bed or nap as early as I can (when/if she's sleeping) and sleep or nap as late as I can in the morning (when/if she's sleeping).

I know that if I have company here, especially a girlfriend I haven't seen in too long, I will be up late visiting.

However, Ruby doesn't give a shit how late I stay up or what the circumstances are - she still wants to eat every 3 hours. I will still be awake to feed her at midnight, 3am, 6am... And I will still have to change her diapers and then pump milk and try to get her back to sleep as soon as I can.

I am a girl who needs sleep. With the history of depression and anxiety attacks that I have, it's super important that I get enough sleep. When I don't, I can totally feel my mental health waning. For example; last Saturday I went to a girlfriend's house for a girls night (I brought Ruby with me). I was home by 10pm but I still suffered greatly because I was exhausted. Sunday I had a few unexplainable anxiety attacks and some blue feelings.

And then there's the chance that I could have a morning like I'm having this morning. Ruby was awake at 4 am and did not go back to sleep until about 10 minutes ago. Meaning, I also have been up since 4am. I'm super tired but I'm going back to bed to nap until she wakes up to feed again. If I have guests here, I can't exactly go to bed early or nap while they're sitting at my kitchen table...

I'm sure I'll survive, I'm just a little concerned about how I will handle it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Two questions and red striped socks - Updated

Ruby hasn't pooped for over 24 hours. Does anyone know anything about this? I've heard that this can be totally normal but I'm still a little concerned and wonder what I should do.


I'm looking for something that I can use to warm bottles while I'm on the go. I went to BRU yesterday but they have nothing like that. My mom said that back in the day when they used to drive from BC to Ontario they had this warmer thingy that they plugged into the cigarette lighter and it warmed up coffee, tea or... bottles - but I've not seen anything like that. Does anyone know where I could get such a thing - or does anyone have any other suggestions?


Here's a picture of Ruby in her funky red striped socks:


Because I know you were all wondering - Ruby pooped. A lot. And it was all good. And I researched online and got a few comments and now I know that this is normal.

The next thing I have to worry about now is this rash she has. It started out as baby acne but it seems to be covering quite a bit of surface area now. Down her neck, back of her ears, little bit on her chest and back and I think there might be some on her diaper parts. Is THIS normal? I suppose it probably is but you know, I worry. And I'm a rookie so I don't know what's normal yet.

As for the bottle warmer, I've found a few online (none in the local BRU). None of them get great reviews though - mostly because they take about 20 minutes to heat a bottle, but I think I'm ok with that because I pretty much know when she is going to want to eat and I could plan ahead. As long as it would KEEP the bottle at the right temp for about an hour or so. (Going to check out the one you suggested, Candi - thanks).

Friday, January 16, 2009

4 week checkup

Ruby had her 4 week checkup at the midwive's office yesterday. It was our first outing with just the two of us and I was a little nervous. I needn't have been. It went beautifully. So beautifully that after the midwife appointment I drove across town and bought dog food.

When we walked in the door of the office, immediately all the midwives started oohing and ahhing at her. She started hamming it up right away. Spread her fingers and put up both her hands as if to hold them off while she ran though all the faces that she knows how to make - and using her smile for the grand finale. Priceless.

The appointment went really well. Ruby is a whopping 9lbs11oz now! So no more worry about my skinny little baby that was dropping so much weight after she came home from the hospital. I asked the midwife if she was gaining too much weight and she said that as long as she's getting breastmilk exclusively, it's never too much. And also that she is not "fat" at all. She's long and beautiful.

We also talked about the whole breastfeeding fiasco. It was the midwife who is a little older and more laid back and who is also a lactation consultant. She told me that near the end of my frustration with trying to breastfeed, and having the pumped breastmilk working for me - she had told the other midwife to just tell me to go with that because it was working for me. She said that we have to do what we have to do and some babies just will not take the breast when they are born. The most important thing is that she is getting my breastmilk exclusively. I told her how devastated and fucked up I was about the whole thing and she said that there was no need for that extra stress on me. I did what was right for me and Ruby and that is that.

I wish I would have heard that back when I was crying 23 hours a day and ready to throw myself from a bridge for being such a "shitty mom". Alas, I guess I had to figure it out for myself.

In any case, I now have the best of both worlds because I am bottle feeding my breastmilk on a regular basis which means she's getting all the food she needs and also I can get help occasionally. But also I will sometimes give Ruby my breast. I do it when she's cranky, or if I think she has an upset tummy - or if the bottle can't come fast enough, or if I'm in a pinch. She usually latches well now and will drink for a good while. Still she prefers the bottle (obviously) and wouldn't stay on the breast for a full feed - and I'm ok with all of it.

So now we have one more appointment with the midwives before we are done with them and have to say goodbye and go out into the big scary world and actually find a doctor (since mine closed his practice last June). I'm not looking forward to that part.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1 month old

I have probably read a hundred posts from moms who exclaim that their baby is already 1 month old and they can't believe how fast the time has gone.

I never really got it until now.

Really. The time does fly by. It does just seem like yesterday that I got home from the hospital. I can't believe that she's been with me for a month already.

On the other hand, it seems like FOREVER ago that I was pregnant - even though I felt like I was pregnant for ever.

I cannot possibly imagine any other life right now. Ruby has put my life into perspective. Nothing is as important as her. Nothing is as precious as her. And just when I think I couldn't possibly love her any more, I wake up the next day and I find myself loving her even more than I did yesterday.

And today, as if to celebrate her one month birthday, she gave ME a gift. She smiled at me.

Oh yes she did.

I thought she might have been giving the odd smile here and there over the past couple of days but I could never be sure. But today we went for a walk in her stroller and when we got home, I had her sitting in her carseat all content and alert and I was talking to her and she gave me a Big. Fat. Grin.
Undeniable. Unmistakable.

A big fat grin.

I cried and laughed at the same time. It was so awesome.

Later on, we had a little photoshoot. Here's Ruby at one month old:
(note: the pants are NOT rolled up. She's just so long legged!)

I managed to convince Quincy to sit in for a few pictures but she was really none too pleased. She's not all that crazy about Ruby just yet:

And then later she needed a nap. It's hard work being a supermodel:

Monday, January 12, 2009

No rest for the wicked

I didn't get the overnight help.

I did however get a 2 hour break Saturday afternoon in which I went grocery shopping by myself for the first time since Ruby was born. It felt great to be so independent. I got a latte and strolled around the grocery store. Of course I had to phone home halfway through just to check in because it did feel weird being away from Ruby for the first time for so long.

And then later on, Steve and I went out for our dinner (for about 2 hours) which also felt great. I managed to make it through the whole outing without phoning home to check on things this time. And I had a martini for the first time in almost a year.... it was great to feel so grown up.

But through the whole visit with my mom, there wasn't any more mention from her about taking care of Ruby through the night so I didn't ask her about it. I know if I brought it up she would have said yes but because of some unpleasant circumstances during the week leading up to Saturday, my mom needed sleep maybe more than I did.

On about Tuesday she had some very unexpected, very unwanted and VERY unpleasant company show up at her house. A family member whom my dad always feels responsible for helping, showed up again (as he has periodically over the past few years whenever he's in trouble) and my dad let him stay in the basement until he could get him into a shelter. My mom despises this person already but this time he was in some really, really terrible shape (missing front teeth, sores, track marks up his arms) after living a really terrible lifestyle (cooking and selling crack, running with some bad dudes) - and my mom was actually afraid to have him in her house (rightly so). So she'd been sleeping with one eye open - or not really sleeping at all - for days leading up to Saturday. By the time bedtime rolled around I could see how tired and worn out she was so I didn't want to bother her with the responsibility of getting up in the night with Ruby. Staying at my house and feeling safe while she slept through the night was obviously something she needed badly so I just let it be.

Her "house guest" was put in a shelter on Sunday (rehab hopefully this Friday if he can stay clean and in the shelter until then). My mom spent Sunday afternoon with a bottle of Lysol, disinfecting her house. And burning any items that he may have touched.

So anyway, I feel lucky that I got to have a couple of nice breaks, and maybe next time she comes, she'll be better rested, less stressed and ready to take on Ruby for the entire night.

I do long for just one night of uninterrupted sleep though. Hell, I'd be happy with 4 or 5 hours in a row. I am getting a little bit run down from the 2 hour naps that are my night.

I've been working on training Steve to take the first feeding in the night and we may try to implement this tonight.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What would you do?

My mom is coming over this afternoon for a visit (as she does most Saturdays now).

Tonight she is staying overnight and she has suggested that Steve and I use our Keg gift certificate that we got for Christmas and go out for dinner. Oh yeah! We're going for an early and probably fairly quick dinner but still, it will be sooo nice to get out of this house and see other adults and also have a reason to put on makeup and do my hair. And also I've been craving a big juicy steak and our bar-b-cue has been buried in snow for weeks.

Ok, but that's not the "what would you do" part. This is: Since she is staying the night she has also offered to get up with Ruby in the night and feed and change her as needed so that I can sleep! I would still have to get up and pump milk once or twice but I would be able to go straight back to bed and sleep. It would be really, really great to get some much needed sleep, but here's why I'm not sure about it... I have worked out a really awesome routine for Ruby during the night and I'm afraid of throwing her out of her routine.

It goes like this: She wakes up and fusses. I feed her a pre-pumped bottle of breastmilk (which I have to warm up from the fridge). I burp her (3 times). I change her. I put her in her swing while I pump milk. By the time I'm done pumping she's back asleep and we go back to bed.

Rinse. Repeat.

And she has been sleeping about 3 hours between feeds, so I get to sleep about 2 hours each time, sometimes more.

I'm worried that if I get my mom to take care of the feeding and changing in the night, that it might throw Ruby off and we'll have to start all over again. Could that happen? I'm not sure what to do. I'd LOVE the extra sleep but I don't want to pay the price for it later on. I've seen my fair share of walking around the house at 3,4,5am shushing and rocking and willing a wide awake baby to sleep.

What would you do? Would you take the help offered and get some much needed sleep? Or would you stick with what you know and what works?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Grandma comes through

Anyone who read Money Makes the Sperm Go Round remember this post?

It was about these kick ass shoes I found online that I loved, that I really wanted to get for the baby - even before I knew the gender. And my mom questioned me about it, insinuating that they were boy's shoes and maybe not really for little girls. And I was all ruffled feathers about it. And I was worried about my mother imposing her thoughts and feelings and opinions on my child and making my kid feel bad if he or she wanted to be different and rah rah rah...

Well - low and behold guess what Ruby's grandma bought her for Christmas???

I have to say, I was/am impressed. Grandma is making progress!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm done

Enough of this second guessing myself. I'm done with it.

My little girl is growing and thriving in all ways and I love it!

And I love her.

(She might even love me.)

I'm done feeling guilty about not doing things by the textbook. Seriously, when have I EVER done things exactly by the textbook??? This is me we're talking about here. I'm still Tara!

She'll be 4 weeks old on Saturday and I think I'm finally making progress... albeit slowly. I think I'm getting to know her, and I'm getting a little routine down and it feels so good. I'm feeling stronger - both physically AND mentally.

So guess what? I'm a good mom. Maybe even a damn good mom! I'm just not a perfect mom - but really, who is? And really, who would want to be? I thought I might want to be one, (or need to be one) but when I step back and look at the big picture - nope, I don't need to be perfect at this gig.

I'm done with trying to do everything exactly right. I'm going to continue doing my best and keep on going with my instincts. Because when I look at my beautiful Ruby I realize that that has been working just perfectly for us both thus far.

Time to give myself some slack and NOT take things so seriously.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Just when I think I'm doing ok...

Just when I think I'm starting to get the hang of things, or have somewhat of a routine in place - I read something that throws me off or makes me feel guilty for something or other that I'm doing.

The way she sleeps is questionable.
The way I feed her is questionable.
The amount of time I hold her is questionable (too much, not enough, etc)
The amount of stimulus she gets when she's awake is questionable (too much, not enough, too loud, too quiet, etc)
The number of times I bath her a week is questionable.

..l.and it goes on... and on...

I WAS starting to feel good about things. I WAS feeling less guilt about, well, everything I do that isn't "textbook". And then I pick up some stupid book that tells me what to "expect" and it totally fucks me up. Why do I read it - because I'm afraid that I'm going to miss something. That she should or shouldn't be doing something that she is or isn't doing and I wouldn't know the difference. That I am such a rookie mom that I won't know if I'm doing something horribly wrong to screw my daughter up for the rest of her life...

We were/are getting a little routine going on. I was starting to feel a little more confidence in my mothering. And I am seeing progress in her size, her alertness, her personality - and dammit this should be enough. I can't let some stupid "one size fits all" book make me second guess myself and my instincts.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fenugreek and Nursing Tea

I've been on Fenugreek and drinking the nursing tea for 3 days. It's to boost my milk supply so that I can have some extra milk for storage and emergencies.

I'm taking 1000mg of Fenugreek 3 times a day and drinking 3 cups of the nursing tea a day.

Ruby has been eating every 2 hours and I'm still just getting enough to feed her each time (I also have a small surplus in the fridge). But this means I'm pumping quite often, which should also help boost my supply, right? I'm also drinking lots of water and eating much better than I was a week or two ago.

But so far I haven't noticed any difference.

I'm just wondering how long it will take for my supply to increase? And will it be all of a sudden or gradual??

Does anyone know?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Last night some of our friends were having a little New Years Eve get together. Steve, Ruby and I were invited and I was brave (or crazy) enough to actually try it.

Well, Ruby made me look like a pro. She was soooo good. We only stayed for a couple of hours, but it was just enough to get us (me) out and see something other than the inside walls of this house and test out Ruby in such a setting. It worked out beautifully.

Here's Ruby, dressed up for her first New Year's Eve party:

This morning, as I was following my little routine of feeding, burping, then changing Ruby's diaper - bleary eyed from my usual lack of sleep - I was treated to something similar to a champagne bottle being shaken and then popped, Happy New Year from Ruby to me.
I apparently didn't wait long enough between feeding and diaper changing.

When I opened up her diaper to find the usual pee and some poop, I started the process of changing the diaper. But all of a sudden, when I was at my most vulnerable with her old diaper folded up and me reaching for a clean diaper - there was the uncorking-like explosion!
First of all, I didn't know that little girls had the ability to projectile pee like that. I thought only little boys held that special power. But it didn't stop with the pee. She shit out a load like a never ending fountain! It was EVERYWHERE. And on EVERYTHING. Her clothes, my clothes, my bed, her blankets.. everywhere.

After the delightful task of stripping her down and cleaning her up, I thought I'd take advantage of her being naked and take some pictures. Hey, it's only fair.

She almost looks like she's smiling here... like she thinks what she did was funny...

I wish you all a very happy 2009. I hope it brings you all peace, love and happiness.