Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zayd's One Month Birth-a-Versary!

Our day started around 3 am. And I don't mean, we woke up, ate, and went back to sleep. The little tyke was up, crying, eating or looking around for many many hours after our 3 am jump start. Apparently, Zayd was dying to watch the royal wedding. (Which I did - the bride looked great but did her sister look better?)

He ate again at seven and then refused to eat until 1pm, which made mommy slightly insane. He also pretty much refused to sleep for the entire day. Maybe he was staying awake expecting a birthday party??

All of the chaos of this very special day resulted in mommy (that's me) almost spiraling out of control. On a frantic call to Jenny to complain about all of the other "incompentent" health care providers supposedly "providing healthcare" to me and my peanut, anger turned to tears turned to panic, turned to Jenny asking if I was going to be alright and if I felt I needed a hospital intervention. "No, Jenny, I am not actually crazy." She believed me. (Phew.)

What a day.

But, we shared some special moments. We had lots of snuggly time in the evening and there is nothing better than co-sleeping with my almond joy. And, after a 3am push out of bed, there is pretty much nothing better than sleeping at all!

Anyway, to mark his birth-a-versary (and, I suppose, the royal wedding) Mommy crafted a little hat for the lentil. He was none too happy about it. Here is our day in photos.

At first, we were terrified of the hat.

Then we were pretty angry about it.

But eventually, we screamed ourselves exhausted.

During our evening walk, we were still exhausted.

But by the first day of our second month, we had figured it out!

Lastly, lets consult the book and be sure to record all of the little talents Zayd has picked up during these last (and first!) 31 days.
  • He can coo!
  • He can definitely lift his head and survey the world around him. He can even hold his head up for minutes on end while you are holding him against your chest.
  • He can focus on my face! And I adore focusing on his.
  • The little lentil weighs 8.6 pounds! Wow!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Where We Go to Think

When we are awake and not crying, the little lentil likes to head to his loveseat and stare out the window, read books, or talk to mommy and daddy. It is where we have spent many hours these last four weeks. Happy four week birth-a-versary my little almond joy!

Having deep conversations!




Having a man chat!

Crying! (OK, sometimes we cry on the couch, too.)

Falling in love!

Zayd's First Easter

Mommy was very very excited about Zayd's first Easter. So excited that she almost celebrated it on Saturday! (Mommy is a bit turned around with her days and dates and times, oh my!)

Anyway, it turns out that Easter means nothing to Baby Zayd. He refused to take a picture with his little wind up bunny and chick-a-dee with a backpack. He didn't mind his "Some Bunny Loves Me" diaper, but he will probably outgrow it before Memorial Day, if not Friday.

But, in any event, we must mark the occassion. Here is the best picture from Mommy's amateur Easter Day shoot.

As you can see, the little lentil was so upset that he knocked over bunny, turned bright red, and tried to suffocate himself. But isn't his little hair swirl adorable?

There is always next year...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Attention: Men

Mostly, women read my blog, but I am going to assume that this post might help some new mother out there, someday. This one is for the men. I might be going out on a limb here, but in my nearly 4 weeks of experience, men like babies to be awake, alert, and playing. This has been true regardless of the babies current state, and has been proved true with Zayd's dad, nana (Urdu for maternal grandpa), our 87 year old neighbor, and the manny.

First, here are some pictures of a sleeping baby. If a baby is assuming any of these positions - eyes closed, all snuggled up, arms limp - he is asleep. It probably took his poor mother a lot of shh'ing, rocking, and soothing to get the little tyke to drift off to sleep.

When you come across a baby that appears to be asleep (or, for that matter, close to sleep), do none of the following:
  • tickle his feet
  • count his toes
  • pinch his cheeks
  • bounce him
  • make loud weird noises ("WHAZZZUPPPP?", for example)
  • pull his ears
These things might wake him up, thus making you the mother's newest enemy. Don't do them. If you come across a sleeping baby
  • in your neighborhood
  • at the baby's home
  • in the grocery store
be especially careful to mind the list of DON'Ts printed above.

Wondering what to do with a sleeping baby? Try the following:
  • a very soft kiss if you are related to the baby
  • a soft pat on his back
  • resting a calm hand around his teeny head
  • telling the mother how cute he is
If you just aren't sure about the proper way to proceed with a sleeping baby, just ask its mother. She will know and be happy to provide you with guidance and advice.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Out of Doors

My little lentil simply loves going outside, and its no surprise because so do his parents! We have incorporated two walks into our "routine" and even like to do one feeding outside on the back patio, usually while Pops is tending to the yard or our potted plant collection. Want *this* colicky baby to give in to his nap? Head out of doors!

Sometimes Daddy does laps to calm the chickpea down.

And mommy spends lots of time singing, ssh'ing, and reasoning with her almond joy on the patio.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Something I Adore...

...about being a mom.

Getting to here my delightful husband sing to our baby.

Generally, I love the dramatic increase in singing and music that Zayd has brought into our lives. Nani comes and sings, I have been singing for decades, and now Sam has joined in the fun. We live in a merry, cheerful, sometimes musically-inappropriate little house in Mahncke Park. The baby loves "Baby Goes Bob Marley" and I like him to here a little B.o.B at times too!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Growing by Leaps and Bounds

We had an emergency trip to the pediatrician yesterday - the emergency being that the baby had cried for so long that Sam and I had lost our minds. We were trying to wrap our heads around this colic/milk allergy/soy allergy/gas symphony debate and just weren't coming up with answers, simply more questions. So, we packed up and headed to the pediatrician and I was pretty sure it would be a waste of time. (I am happy to report that it wasn't a waste and that we have really settled on a wonderful pediatrician.)

So, that brings me to the first of Zayd's many milestones - the little tubby has gained one pound and four ounces! I know you probably don't see the chunkiness I see in his 7 pounds 9 ounces, but just look, he has chubby cheeks!

Apparently this is a remarkable feat, all this weight gain. He gained 18 ounces between his one week and three week check-ups. Way to go little guy! (This might help contribute to why he spends all of his hours either sleeping, eating, or crying - he is eating so much more than other babies! Maybe his crying hours just seem prolonged because he has so little unclaimed time after he's fed and rested? **Probably not**)

Second milestone: my dear little baby lost his umbilical cord in just 6 days. It says in the book that it can take up to six weeks. Not for little Zayd - here he is on his one week-a-versary.

Now, I know that I am his mother so I think he is simply incredible even when all he is doing is blowing spit bubbles, BUT yesterday even the doctor commented on how he has remarkable neck strength. This little guy can pick his head up off your shoulder and look around. And he has pretty much been doing that for weeks now. No photo though...

Lastly, and this I can't quite understand, the little lentil has the ability to move around quite a bit for not even recognizing his own hands. Sam put him down on the Baby Einstein mat last week and the chickpea just flipped himself over. I wouldn't necessarily say he knows how to roll over, but that when he is colicky enough, he can thrash himself into just about any position. Strange! Yesterday, I set him down with his friend the Panda and walked to the next room. (See the first photo.) When I came back, he was facing a different direction. I can't explain what happened because I wasn't there. But *someone* moved my baby and I can only presume it was the baby himself...

I will keep you posted on his other amazing feats!

(Oh, and for the record, with his stellar weight gain there is simply no way that my almond joy has an allergy or intolerance to anything - milk or soy. So, that means we have the colic, ladies and gentlemen. I know. It's a tragedy. But there is nothing to be done but buy earplugs and cross off the weeks from now until four months when he will hopefully begin to enjoy *some* waking hours without crying... Actually, we are trying some treatments that I might write about later but there is no known cure or explanation for colic, so we are just on the ride till he lets us off.)

"Daddy dressed me!"

Doesn't my hair look awesome?!?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Please God....Don't Let it be Colic

Zayd has been having some trouble lately. It seems his little belly is just full of gas. So full that he wakes from a deep sleep to yell about it. That sometimes, he refuses his meals. That he is spending an increasing number of hours upset. Which leaves mommy very very upset, to say the least. My biggest concern is that he knows that I am trying to help him, that I would do what it takes, if only I could. I think he sort of gets it; at least I'm by his side through the downs.

Step one was gripe water. He takes it six times a day. Step two was the addition of Mycilon drops. He has those whenever he eats and doesn't get gripe water. Next, I gave up dairy to see if it might be a milk protein allergy to cow's millk. We think we can rule out reflux as he has only spit up three times in nearly as many weeks. So, that leaves me terrified that I will have What to Expect's textbook definition of colic - somehing like 3-5 hours of screaming a night that lasts from age 3-12 weeks.

I know that I am, but I don't feel completely equipped to battle colic for the next 66 nights.

Tonight's solution (see above) includes baby wearing while bouncing on a yoga ball and blogging about mommy's frustration. This is actually working out much better than yesterday so I have hope!

I called Jenny last night in hysterics and she offered to come by the next time he is "colic-y" and help us sort it out. What an amazing woman! I don't know how mothers do it without midwives. Some people think I did it the hard way without drugs or doctors but with the support I get, this really feels like the cushy path to motherhood. So, here's to Jenny, who both me and my little lentil absolutely adore! I am sure that we will get this figured out before too long. Because even if I am not completely sure I know what the heck I am doing, I have faith that Jenny does. Around the Mammen household lately we have been seriously considering offering Jenny some sort of rider where we can call her with questions for the next 18 years.

Wish us luck for a peaceful and either
  • non-gassy
  • productively gassy
evening and night ahead!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Risotto - A Life Lesson

Today we had a lot of firsts. Two of the most defining for me: 1. My first trip out of the house alone in more than three weeks. 2. My return to cooking - the first true meal I have prepared post-partum.

I needed to run to Central Market for something and thought I might pick up some prepared food for dinner or lunch tomorrow. Before leaving, I gave the fridge a once over and noticed that we had gorgeous fresh asparagus left from the weekend. Veganomicon helped me come up with an awesome meal that would eat up the last of our fresh produce: mint, basil, green onions, ginger, and asparagus. But I would have to act fast to get the shopping and the cooking done before little Zayd-Monster woke from his long afternoon nap. I am not sure why I abandoned the wonderful idea of picking up something, but the thought vanished when I discovered the uncooked asparagus.

While in Central Market I ran people over with my cart and then casually tossed "Sorry - I have a newborn at home and have to hurry!" over my shoulder as I sped by. I picked up the remaining essentials and more than a pound of tabouleh (no idea) and rushed home.

Then, I set about dinner and Sam was off to the gym. This was my first time completely home alone with the baby for multiple hours and somehow (in my crazy mind) I had decided to make a risotto. Not just any risoto, a risotto that required I prepare my own broth using a bouquet-garni of garlic, fresh lemon grass, and ginger simmering in a concoction of liquids. As I made the broth, my nerves were calm, but when it came time to start the 35 minutes of continual stirring necessary to not COMPLETELY RUIN risotto, I started to feel frazzled. What would I do if Zayd woke up? Why am I cooking something that leaves absolutely no room for error? Why do I have five pots out - even the asparagus tips and shoots had to be cooked separately to ensure even doneness throughout. What am I doing?

In the end, the risotto was DELICIOUS and I made it all work even though Zayd woke up about 10 minutes shy of my 35 minute stirring meditation. I even had the kitchen pretty much cleaned, the baby fed, and back to sleep by the time company and Sam arrived back home. But, I think I need to learn my lesson from this adventure as if the risotto hadn't turned out. I must find a way to allow myself the easy route, at least once in a while. There is no need for risotto. When Sam ate the risotto, I guarantee you he had no idea how much effort went into it. And he doesn't care. And Zayd doesn't care. And I am going to work on not caring quite so much about EVERYTHING and trying to let SOMETHING slide.

Zayd's First Friend

Zayd hates HATES having his diaper changed. Or being undressed for any purpose, really. Though he does love being *in* the bath tub. That's my water-birth baby!

Well, yesterday I discovered a successful distraction - Peter the Puppy! (Named by Mom.) I think this is Zayd's first official friend! (And just look at my Chicken Little's legs - so adorable!)

Zayd is already telling him secrets...

Slideshow of Zayd's Photo Shoot

Umber from The Umber Studio put together this awesome slideshow of pictures of the three of us. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nani Left Today


So, my mom left today and I am going to miss her dearly. She was so great with the baby and I loved having her around to pamper me, also. But, I suppose it is time to get to the business of being a family of three.

I have a number of fears! How and what will we eat? Who will console both the baby and I when sheer pandemonium is breaking loose? (Having two non-hormonal helpers has proved a godsend on two separate occasions.) Who will I talk to while Sam runs the errands of the house? There are a lot of unknowns and it makes me a little trepidatious.

But I have to focus on the wonderful part - I suppose real life begins today. A life where I am a mom and Sam is a daddy to one awesome little boy. A life where our goals and ambitions overlap in ways they simply never have before. And a life filled with lots of three person snuggles on the couch.

Emerging from a Babymoon

Hello folks! I have missed you!

I don't really know what to write about today. I haven't had the time to plan something in particular, so this will be a stream of consciousness post.

The last two weeks have been mostly spectacular. My little almond joy is just adorable and really is such a great baby. I think I am a lucky mom. He eats like a fiend but I guess that is what happens when you feed on demand! The last few nights we have had several three hour stretches between feedings. For those that have never had a newborn (or a newborn like mine), that might not seem amazing but as far as I am concerned, 2 or MORE hours of sleep at a time is AMAZING. Specifically, last night was 8pm, 10pm, midnight, 3 am, 4 am, 6:45 am. When I write it down it doesn't look so spectacular but believe me I felt happy about it during the night. Especially because I know that my little one WANTS to be up all night. That was his fetal schedule and should be his schedule now. That being said, at this age (or for the weeks to come) I don't believe in trying to alter his schedule. I don't care if he knows day from night and I rather him be eating well, sleeping well, and happy.

That is one thing I have come to decide - just do what makes him happy. I believe that he is too tiny to spoil and that the best thing I can do to stay sane myself is meet his every whim. Would you like to sleep in your bed, my bed, in my arms, or in the swing? There is no wrong way to sleep. Will you be comforted by sucking on my pinky finger? Here it is little guy! You like it in your car seat? Well, then you can stay there even though SuperBaby says that is a no no. He's happy, I'm happy, the Mammens are happy. Who could ask for anything more?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Zayd's First Photo Shoot

We had Zayd's photo shoot yesterday with a wonderful photographer from San Antonio. She came by the house and spent the day with us, capturing the little lentil in his element - sleeping, crying, and gazing around.

I can't wait to see the entire proof set but here is a sneak peak I found on her blog.

I'm so happy we got to work with Umber, she is one awesome lady. I just CAN'T WAIT to go *shopping* in her studio.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Zayd's Birth Story

I am just emerging from the other side of one of the most emotionally taxing nights of my life. Nothing went right last night - the baby was hungry, not feeding, his belly hurt, his diapers were disasters, and he was simply inconsolable. We (Mom, Dad, and Nani) finally have him clean, content, and sleeping *in* his co-sleeper, so I decided to steal a few minutes to myself and write out my birth story. It is so important to me to mark and remember what was really the most special day of my life. And the sun peaking in the window and this stillness of this house after what was complete chaos for hours makes me just a tad poetic - what a perfect time to write about the night Zayd was born. This will be long, it is really much more for me than for any of you. But if you are interested, its here for the reading.

Where to begin? I think I will start with a tidbit about the week leading up to delivery-day. My Ella came to town and pampered me for seven straight days. We did everything we could to convince little Zayd that he should be born. We walked about 2 miles every day, ate tons of spicy food, and she treated me to nightly massages and reflexology in the hopes that we could coax him out early and she could meet her nephew before her last few weeks of law school took over. The morning we woke to drive her back to the airport, I knew things were different. The babies movements the night before were significantly more calm, my body was starting with the subtlest signs of labor, and as soon as I dropped off Ella I knew what I had to do - nap for the journey ahead. By noon, I was at the Birthing Center to be checked and Jenny confirmed that I was in very early labor and that I would probably have a baby by the end of the week. I went about my day and even went in to work for a short bit. At night, Sam and I did our nightly walk around Central Market - two birds with one stone - enjoyed our last dinner as a twosome at a great sushi place just down the street and settled in to bed eager for what the week would bring. By 11:17 at night, I rolled over in bed to start timing my contractions. Sometime between 10:30 and 11:17 I had gone from no significant contractions to mild ones that were 3-5 minutes apart. 11:17, 11:20, 11:23, 11:27...I was taken by surprise how close together they were but knew I had a very long way to go so I spent the next three hours trying to sleep through them. I took a hot bath, I read, I breathed, and at 2am I made Sam run to Wal-Mart to get me Benadryl. Jenny and I had already established that if my labor started in the middle of the night, I would take a single Bendaryl and try to steal a few hours of sleep before the long haul of labor. I told Sam that we were probably having a baby the next day and we both slept from 2:30 - 7 am.

Sam went into work around 7 and by 9 I had called him to come home. This was the real thing. I was eating consistently but couldn't sleep through the pain and had come to the point where I needed help. I remember at 11 am that we had already made it 12 hours and being pretty proud of us. The contractions were painful, of course. What made them confusing was how frequently they came - once they started the night before they were consistently less than five minutes apart but only lasted 45-55 seconds. It was our intention to head to the birth center at 70-100 second contractions 4 minutes apart but that simply never happened - there were no four minute breaks. I am happy to say that our Birthing Class really helped me relax my mind in those first 16 hours or so. Occasionally, I was able to go from writing in pain to asleep for the 120 second break that came between the end of one and the beginning of the next contraction. Looking back I can't understand how my body did that, other than I knew I had to and my mind did too. It makes me feel powerful to think of how in control I was despite what was a situation I really couldn't stop or speed up.

My mom and daddy arrived in the afternoon and labor was progressing quickly. I remember in the morning just wanting my mother, needing her to show up soon. But, by the time she arrived, Sam and I had been working so wonderfully as a team for so long that he was really what I needed when things were unbearable. I wanted him to rub my back and him to guide my breathing and him to sit next to me when there was just no helping the pain. This fact changes who I am and my relation to everything I had and now know to be true. My mother did help in the most miraculous way, though. By the time she was here, my contractions were a minute long with a minute break in between. That is not much time to recover or even catch your breath and I was getting worked up. My contractions were taking over and I was simply not coping. She said to me, "Go to your happy place." While I had talked about Hypnobirthing techniques, I hadn't actually practiced any. I didn't have a happy place. But it took about one second to train my mind to focus on me lying on a beach with waves crashing all around me. From that moment, my rhythmic breathing met a friend in the chant "I am on a beach" and I repeated that mantra for the next four hours. It was a lifesaver.

I can't remember much of laboring at home between my mom arriving and us leaving for the birth center. I remember that everytime I ate, I threw up. But Jenny (who Sam kept in contact with) said to keep eating and we did. I remember swaying with Sam or my mom in the bathroom, alternating between lying down for my one minute breaks and kneeling for my one minute contractions in our bedroom, and that it hurt very much. At one point, on my way to the restroom, I through myself on the floor because I couldn't stand through the contraction and Sam made the call, "We're going to the Birth Center." "Yes." I didn't have many words, but he was exactly right. It was time. It was the perfect time, in fact.

The drive there was the worst of my life and the only problem I see with spending most of your labor in the comfort of your home and birthing your baby at the Birth Center. But it is the point where I realized that there truly nothing and no other person who could finish this for me and I just had to give in, relax the muscles I still controlled, and breath till the end.

Upon arrival, I was eight centimeters. That makes me extremely proud of myself but also my mom and Sam. It was a long hard road we hauled together but it meant that baby was just around the corner. This was probably one of the worst parts of labor. Being at the Birth Center and having to wait to get back into my rythym and back to the business of labor. It was probably only ten minutes but it felt like eternity and I was angry about it. I remember that clearly, as well.

Payal and my dad spent the next few hours in the waiting room while my mom, Sam and I headed to the birthing room with our team of midwives - Jen, Jenny, and Jennifer. I kid you not. I got in the tub and Jenny told me and Sam that I was dehydrated and lacking the sufficient nutrition to birth this baby. (Vomitting was the culprit there.) She could start an IV or I could eat while in labor. I chose eating. Go big or go home. That being said, I also spit a tiny bite of my peanut butter and jelly at my poor sweet husband and remarked that I hated the jelly. The jelly I had purchased and clearly instructed him to use on my birthing sandwiches. Ha ha ha. My mom and Sam and I will probably always remember this moment. We switched to hummus after my Dad ran to HEB and returned with three tubs - Roasted Red Pepper, Olive, and Traditional. I love him. We did a contraction, a bit of food, a sip or propel or Odwalla smoothies for the next two hours. From eight centimeters to ten. The worst of it. I kept my eyes on Sam and he breathed every breath with me. I don't know why that helped but it did. I've only done this once, but I can't stress how important it is to have your partner there going through the motions with you. The world should have just spun on its head. Yes, I am the same girl that since my early twenties has been clearing stating that "Men have no place in the delivery room." Now I will say, "If you can make a place for them, and they have the courage to to fill it, there is nothing that can help you more."

So, we'd made it through transition, and I knew it. I told Jenny it was time to push. She, being a good caregiver, told me to wait and she would check. This was also annoying. I knew what I knew and it was time. She confirmed, suggested I stay in the tub, and away we went. The home stretch. The contractions were easier here and I welcomed the break. I also finally got more than a minute between the pains to catch my breath and focus my intentions. The first fifteen minutes of pushing were a little awkward but I can vividly remembering going from *wanting* to push to thinking it was the best pain coping mechanism yet! I remember two contractions where after pushing through them I yelled that I felt good. "I feel so good." And I did. I was doing it and I was so damn proud of myself. I have never felt stronger or more in control of anything in my life. I remember that during this phase, I kept my head down, my thoughts inward, and my mind was at peace. I didn't need the team anymore. At least, it didn't feel that way. (Their coaching was fantastic and this was probably only half true that I didn't need them but what I want to remember is how I felt.) I remember being able to push and exhale for what seemed like continuous minutes off of a single breath. I am not sure how accurate that is, but it felt like the air just kept coming and the ability to bear down was coupled with it.

Jenny kept showing me how far I had to go. An inch, a half inch, quarter inch. A quarter inch -- that's a quarter inch between being a mom and not. How could it not feel amazing to be responsible for that quarter inch?

With the push of all pushes, I birthed his head and while I remember the "ring of fire" it wasn't what I remember most. Mostly I remember knowing he was here. Jenny said I had to wait for the contractions to finish and push out his body and this made me frustrated beyond words. BEYOND. But she was right. I'm glad I listened - I had been working *with* my body the whole time and there was no reason to rush it along now. One last relatively easy push and I caught my baby on his way out. I am the one who pulled him out of the water and straight onto my chest. And he was perfect.

Now I am a big weepy mess. I am so glad I took the time to write this down.

It wasn't easy but it was the most miraculous, inspiring, grueling, cataclysmic day of my life and I WANT to remember it forever. I hope that if and when you each have a birth, it's one that you are eager to remember every detail of. And most importantly, that you believe it is possible to have a birth that you cherish.

Some Nickname Options

I have called Zayd many things over the last 10 months and 4 days. Some have been vetoed by Pops (a new nickname for Sam). These include:
  • Booger
  • Kitten
  • Sam would like me to add that I am not allowed to call him The Great Lord of Death but I'm pretty sure we don't have to worry about that
Now, for a list of nicknames I am running through
  • The Little Lentil (because he was once lentil sized and I love em!)
  • Almond Joy (because I lotion him with coconut oil and he smells so good)
  • Chicken Little (because of his skinny minny legs)

Friday, April 1, 2011

What a Difference a Week Makes

I never got my 40 week belly picture taken because I went into labor on Monday night - 39 weeks 6 days. But here is a picture from last weekend - just about 60 hours before Zayd was born.

And here is today. What a difference a delivery makes! I feel great and am so happy to have my little lentil to snuggle every night.

So, that is our last belly post folks - its been fun!

(Also, notice that the house is in disarray since the delivery - my belly is not the only thing to have changed.)