Another Sleepless Night 

I’m getting to the point where I’m having a love/hate relationship with work. More specifically, with time off from work.
I work at a year round school, so we have a lot of breaks throughout the year – which I used to love. Right around the time you start to get exhausted and feel like there’s no end in sight, a long break comes up. I used to relish those breaks! A two week fall break, a few more weeks, and then almost a full week off for Thanksgiving, and then in three weeks we have two more weeks off for winter break. And the spring is pretty similar.

Before you get angry and stop reading, there is a downside to this. What is it, you ask? It is the all important Baby Schedule.  

My mom takes care of Ben while I’m at work. When I’m off of work, I take care of Ben (no big surprise there). But, though similar, we parent and take care of him differently, and he notices.  

This past week he was with me almost 100% of the time for Thanksgiving break. Yesterday was my first day back at work, and he resumed his schedule with my mom. Nothing much changed when I got home from work, but last night…..oh last night….it was awful.

The kid did NOT want to be put in his crib. He wanted to be held, and snuggled and cuddled. He wanted to fall asleep nursing and then stay there, boob in mouth, all night. Any time that we tried to move him to his bed – he would wake up screaming before he had even touched his bed.


At 11:00 last night (2+ hours into getting him to go to bed) J and I gave up, and moved him into our bed, where Ben slept peacefully the rest of the night. J and I on the other hand, slept horribly. We’re reduced to sleeping on our sides facing Ben. We stayed incredibly aware of blanket placement so that it didn’t get anywhere near his face. And, every time Ben woke up, stirred, kicked or twitched, we woke up lightning fast ready to lull him back to sleep so we could get back to sleep.

And when the alarm went off at 5:35 this morning….I wanted to cry. I still want to cry. I’m at the exhaustion level where the tears are right behind my eyes, but nothing is wrong other than the fact that I’m tired.

Anyway, this is an incredibly long post to say that I believe Ben is compensating for being away from me all day by wanting to be with me all night. And, as flattered as I am (obviously this means that I’m awesome), I don’t think I can take much more of this special treatment.  

I’m tired. I want a nap, but as a parent of two, that’s just not going to happen….

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Month 5

Dear Benjamin,
Stop growing so quickly! I swear these days are just flying by!!! It feels like I blink and you’re another month older. A lot has happened this past month, so I hope that I can get it all down for you.


In late October I took you in to see a lactation consultant because we were having some issues with breastfeeding. You would pop on and off in rapid fire succession. You would make a lot of clicking noises while nursing. I was nursing you about every 1-1.5 hours. Add all of that together and it was making for a lot of frustration for you and me. So, off to an IBCLC we went.
This IBCLC observed a feeding and then poked around your mouth for a while, and then gave us the news that she believed that you had a tongue tie and that it would really help for us to get that cut. Apparently, this tongue tie was also responsible for your reflux and gassiness as well.


Your Dad and I chewed over this news for a while. We were researching and thinking about what would be best for you. We took you to your pediatrician on November 4, and they disagreed about the tongue tie…..now I had two conflicting assessments, which lead me to research and think on it some more.


Finally I made an appointment for you to see a doctor who specializes in tongue and lip ties so we could get a last opinion on the situation. This doctor was a dentist in Apex, and he diagnosed you with a mild – moderate tongue tie and a severe lip tie. We made the decision to have both of them cut with a laser.


Your recovery has been rough. Three days of sleepless nights for you and me, but you’re finally on the mend and doing much better.


Since it’s started to get colder out, you’ve also developed a case of eczema. We took you to your pediatrician yesterday to get your skin condition formally diagnosed. We have a steroid cream to rub on you, but I’m also smearing you in lubriderm several times a day. Also, when you do get baths, we wash you in dove and I’ve been rubbing breast milk on you as well since I’ve read that it can help. I don’t think the eczema bothers you, but it looks and feels awful…sorry baby….


You celebrated your first Halloween this past month and you were Yoda! I was Luke Skywalker and your brother was Darth Vader. Your Dad was a party pooper and refused to dress up. However, he did get about 25 of his band kids to volunteer to follow you and Henry from house to house playing the Imperial March, so that was pretty cool. It was a neighborhood sensation, and I’ve been asked by many people what we’re going to do next year….


You’re gaining weight like crazy…..yesterday at the peds office you were 18 lbs…..That’s the same size as the turkey we’re getting for Thanksgiving….Your Gram is calling you her little butterball.


The frenectomy has screwed up your sleep, and for the past week you’ve been in our bed at night so that your Dad and I don’t have to walk back and forth 17 times a night from our room to your. But, last night you actually spent the whole night in your room and didn’t wake up once. So, let’s repeat that again please.


You’re starting to reach for things, and play with things. You love to be in your exersaucer and manipulate all the stuff it has on it. You love this soft blanket bear that we call ‘fuzzy bear.’ You still love to watch Henry, and you’re even starting to interact with him, it’s pretty cool to watch.


This past month you rolled over for the first time! Your Gram sent me a message at work that you rolled over from tummy to back, and I literally cried at my desk. I was so happy for you, and so devastated that I missed that important milestone…I know that it won’t be the only one that I miss. I hate that I can’t stay home with you and be there for all of your acheivments. I would if I could.   


I love you so much Benjamin. You are amazing and fill my life with so much joy and love. Thank you for being my awesome little boy. You definitely keep me on my toes, but that’s just another reason why I love you so. Keep growing, but slow down just a tiny bit….
I love you,
Momma

Frenectomy

Thursday evening we took Ben in to see a dentist that specializes in tongue and lip ties. This dentist was awesome, he had the best bedside manner of any doctor that I’ve ever met. The first thing He did was to go over all the symptoms of tongue and lips ties:
-Pain while nursing

-Poor latch while nursing

-Reflux

-Gas

-Excessive drooling

-Feeding every one to two hours

We talked through all of the reasons why we brought Ben to him (most of the reasons listed above). After we talked for a good 15 minutes, he examined Ben.

The conclusion was that Ben had a mild to moderate tongue tie, and a severe lip tie. It was this dentist’s opinion that he have both of them treated, and at the same time. He then offered to do the procedure right then.

J and I looked at each other and basically had a silent conversation with one another and then we both agreed to do have the frenulums cut.

The dentist went over the procedure and the recovery period. He uses a laser, and not scissors. A laser cauterizes as it cuts, so there’s almost no risk of infection, and very little bleeding. He did not want to use a numbing agent on Ben because the biggest soother to Ben would be to nurse afterward, and if his mouth is numb he wouldn’t be able to. He told us that the procedure is very quick, a few swipes with the laser and it would be done.  

Two nurses came in and they swaddled Ben in a huge blanket very very tightly, and they held his mouth open while the dentist used the laser to cut the frenulums. J watched the whole thing. He said the tongue tie took no time at all to cut, but the lip tie took several runs with the laser.

Ben of course screamed and didn’t like the procedure at all, and it broke my heart to hear him cry like he did. But, it was quick and in a matter of moments they handed Ben to me, closed the room with a screen and let me nurse him right then and there.  There was even a glider in the room for us to use.

Everything should be healed in about two weeks. There are two diamond shaped white scabs in Ben’s mouth: one where the top lip meets the gum line, and one where the tongue meets the bottom of the mouth. 

We’re to do stretches with Ben so that the frenulums don’t reattach. So, we have to take his top lip and stretch it up to his nose and hold it for a few moments. And we also have to take his tongue and stretch it to the roof of his mouth for a few seconds as well. Ben hates it, but it needs to be done.

Overall, the cost was $650 for both frenulums to be cut, which is no small fee. We’re still waiting to see if our insurance will cover any of it.

The recovery was rough for the first 3-4 days. Ben was extremely fussy. I also think it was a mistake getting the procedure done at night. I think a morning appointment would have been better. That way we’d have the whole day to make him feel better, instead of trying to get a baby that’s hurting to go to sleep when everyone is tired…

I’m glad that we got this done. I can already tell a difference in his nursing, and I see a difference at my pumping at work. I’m getting less foremilk and more hindmilk during the work day. Hopefully this will help us to continue to be successful with breastfeeding.

This was taken about 2 hours after the frenectomy

Tongue Tie Revision Consultation

This evening J and I are taking Ben to a dentist about an hour from our house to get an opinion on if he has a tongue tie.  
A few weeks ago I took him to a lactation consultant because of some BF issues. After a lengthy visit, she told us that she believes he has a tongue tie. A week later, we took him in for his 4 month well visit and discussed it with his pediatrician. The pediatrician disagreed with the tongue tie assessment and instead said that she believes that he has a bubble palate (which the lactation consultant also mentioned). So, this evening we’re taking him to someone who specializes in tongue ties and can tell us for certain if Ben has one. 

The appointment is expensive. It’s $92 just for the consultation. However, if it’s discovered that he needs to have a frenectomy, that goes towards the procedure. The procedure itself is around $360, and we have to pay up front. The good news is that they do file with insurance and if our insurance company covers any of it, we’ll get reimbursed. More good news is that if Ben needs the frenectomy, they’ll be able to do it tonight.

The frenectomy is a quick procedure; it’s over in about 2 minutes, and from what I understand most of that time is taken to restrain the child. I am nervous about a potential recovery period, and how difficult it might be. But, if it will help with his nursing, then I think it’s worth it. 

Compare and Contrast 

It’s true that every child is different, and that you can’t compare them. Even though both my boys were born in June, and just 4 days apart (Ben on the 19th, and Henry on the 23rd), they are growing so differently from each other!
Henry was always in the 20th or percentile for weight and height. He always looked little and petite. And, as far as clothes would go, whatever age he was, was what he was going to fit into. For instance: if he was 6 months old, he fit in 6 month clothes.

Ben on the other hand is night and day compared to Henry. Ben is in the 65-75 percentile for weight and height. And, he’s a chunky thing. This kid has rolls on top of rolls – it’s absolutely adorable! At Just shy of 5 months old, he’s fitting into 6-9 month clothes.  

We thought that we were going to be able to save some money by recycling clothes, but it looks like we’ll have to buy Ben a lot because Henry’s 6-12 month wardrobe is for spring and summer….not winter.

It just goes to show you that no two children are alike, even if their birthdays are four days apart….

Trade Offs

One of the hardest things for me about being a parent of young children is catching up on sleep. There are times when I desperately want to go to bed early; where I want to get into pjs and crawl into bed an hour after I get home from work. But, of course that isn’t possible. Instead, I have to make sure that my four year old has his homework done, has had dinner, and get a bath, brushed his teeth, has a story and a song and gets tucked into bed with a kiss and a hug and warm “I love yous.”
I also have to make sure that my four month old is warm, bathed, and fed. I have to ensure that he’s snuggled and loved on. I try to make sure that he’s apart of Henry’s story time, and that he’s close by when I’m singing to Henry.

Then of course there’s the house hold chores that need to be done each night. Cooking dinner, cleaning up from dinner/ doing dishes. Putting leftovers away and making lunches for me, J and Henry. Washing my pump and bottle parts, and packing my pump bag for the next day.

It honestly feels like the list is endless, and that from the moment I get home it’s all a whirlwind to get everything done, and hardly any time to just enjoy the time with my boys (including J).  

I know all of these feeling of inadequecy, sadness, exhaustion and loneliness are due to me just being tired. But, it’s part of the job right now to just make it through, and keep pushing forward. These hard times with the kids is a phase. I know that it will pass, and I’ll look back and wish I had more time with my kids as babies.  

There are definitely trade offs to being parents. Right now I’m trading sleep for the chance to love on two beautiful boys who light up my life.