Monday, October 24, 2011

Changes in Mom & Baby

It was really eager to go back to the hospital recently to drop off a tray of baked goods and a thank you card for the NICU staff. Picture this: first-time Mom lugging her "compact" stroller out of the trunk; strapping her six-week-old in his car seat to the stroller, then trying to balance a big plastic tray of baked goods in her left hand while pushing the stroller with her right hand. All the while carrying a diaper bag and purse. I trekked from the parking lot up to the main entrance where a group of elderly folks lined the walkway and gawked at the goodies and my little man before one gentleman grabbed the door for us. If I thought I was a multi-tasking guru before, I’m an Olympian now. Although I probably looked more like a circus clown than an athlete.

In some way, this thank you was my closure for the whole experience. And like I said before, I hope I never have to see these people again (unless we happen to run into them at the grocery store; just not on the 4th floor at Aultman). Naturally, none of our favorite nurses or doctors was there when we stopped by, but some of them had shifts that night.  

AJ and I ventured out again the following day for my six-week post-partum checkup. I have to tell you that this was a bit of a frustrating excursion. AJ ate at a perfect time that morning and then fell asleep before we got in the car. This meant he would likely be out (quiet) for the projected appointment at 10. They ask you to be 15 minutes early, and because AJ was so good we were there at 9:45 on the nose. Unfortunately, we weren't called back until after 10:30 and didn’t see the doctor until about 10:45. He was quiet the entire time we were in the waiting room, but started getting fussy when we were in the exam room. Then, with hilarious timing (can you see how this is starting to be a trend with him?), he pooped right as the doctor walked in and was admiring him. And I mean POOPED. You could have heard it down the hall! I left the diaper bag in the car because I didn't think I'd need it. Think again. Typical first-time parent mistake ;) Everything worked out, it was just frustrating to do everything they ask you to do and still have to wait forever … with a newborn nonetheless. While I thought these “mishaps” would be embarrassing, this is what every kid (and Mom) goes through right? And honestly, every time we’ve had an appointment somewhere he seems to have the perfect body clock that allows us plenty of time before and after. So I can’t complain. I just better knock on wood—his two-month appointment at the Pediatrician’s is just a week away!

Never thought I’d say this, but the most exciting part of my checkup was getting weighed. I hadn’t been on a scale since the day before Austin was born. I hit the 33 lb mark that day. To my amazement, I had managed to lose all but 10 of these pounds. I’m not sure what the average weight loss is after giving birth, but I was pretty happy with this. Since we’ve been home, the clothes don’t exactly fit like they did before, and I’ve been spending most of my time in pajamas or warm-up pants and a hoodie. Needless to say, it’s been hard to feel pretty at times. Of course it wasn’t going to be easy, but I had to start somewhere. Now I am working on cutting out pop and sweets and managing portions so I can try to get rid of these 10 or more.

I also started the couch-to-5K training plan mentioned in my last post. I’ve got to tell you—while it felt good to get back out there, I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of having completed the Indy half-marathon in May 2010. This body did 13.1 miles? HA. The first three outings require a rotation of 60 seconds jogging and 90 seconds walking for a total of 20 minutes. While you would expect each set of 60 to become easier, they actually made me more winded. I felt some mild chest pain and a bit of a stomach cramp with each rotation. The funniest part of this whole ordeal? Discovering that gravity is selective. When I was pregnant, that belly was HIGH. Don’t you think a 6.5 lb, 5-week preemie would have dropped before his arrival?! It was definitely a haul around work and the house with that belly, but it felt like nothing compared to what I was trying to cart around the streets of North Canton for 60 measly seconds! Long story short, I’m feeling quite out of shape. But with the help of an upbeat playlist on my ipod (including everything from Justin Timberlake to Broadway hits to Brad Paisley) and memories of the enormous emotion I felt while circling the 2.5 mile Indy 500 track and crossing the finish line, I completed the first two sessions in no time. They really do go by quickly, but I know it will take some time to build up my mileage again. And that’s ok.

Me, Emily, Benn, Kristin, Daniel and Mike after the Indy 1/2 Marathon
Me crossing the finish line!
Another pastime I need to slowly work back into is drinking wine. Seriously. I enthusiastically uncorked the bottle of Riesling from our dear friend Megan and woke up with a headache that lasted the entire next day. It wasn’t until after lunch that I realized it was likely from the wine, and quite comically, was my first post-pregnancy hangover! That’s what you get for ignoring your wine glasses for 10 months. I want to finish that bottle, but maybe I’ll wait until a weekend when Jim is on night duty with the kiddo and I can sleep in ;)

Speaking of weekends, we were really excited to get back to the theatre and have a date night! Although I have to admit I was yawning in the first act. It’s hard to believe I designed props for a show in April when I was 15-20 weeks along, and now I could barely stay awake! This was no fault of the production—called “Shakespeare in Hollywood,” as it was hilarious. I just hadn’t been out that “late” in so long! Jim even called his parents, the babysitters, to check in at intermission. And we were more than eager to show off cell phone or wallet pics of the little guy to our theatre friends all night. Yep, we are THOSE people now. And it cracks me up.

The highlight of the last week was definitely Ashland’s Homecoming. Dressed in his purple and yellow Tuffy the Eagle sleeper and cap, Austin made his first “out of belly” appearance on campus and got to meet lots of our college friends and some of my co-workers. He may have stolen the show. Especially after making quite a large poo when our friend Kevin was holding him! It was certainly an odd experience to be walking into a campus restroom looking for a changing table. This was there the whole time I’ve worked at AU, but not something I ever noticed until now. Funny how that works, isn’t it?!

Ashland University Homecoming - October 15, 2011

Speaking of Ashland, It's been a bittersweet couple of days after I announced that I would not be returning to work. This was a very tough decision for our family, but right now, I just can't fathom making the hour commute each way, especially when I usually work more than eight hours each day. I really loved my job (and my Mac laptop!!), but I have an even more important job now. And there are exciting opportunities much closer to home for me to explore in the coming weeks. Jim helped me clean out my office Sunday but I'll be back on campus to go to lunch with my former colleagues one last time. Many of them want to meet Austin, so he'll be along for the ride too. Employed or not, I still hold a special place in my heart for AU. I spent four fabulous undergrad years there and met my hubby and some amazing friends. That will never go away.

Well, today Austin is eight weeks old, and we are officially out of newborn sized clothes and diapers! All 0-3 and even some 3-6 month clothing has been washed and is ready to wear. It's been surprising how well some of this stuff fits already - rather, how quickly babies grow out of things. And I’m happy to report (knock on wood) that I think he really understands the difference between night and day, and even more exciting, his nighttime feedings are becoming smaller in ounces and shorter in time. He’s not as hungry—which means he’s sleeping longer unless he needs a diaper change. He also seems to have fallen asleep for us faster than in recent weeks. That’s not true for our daytime rituals though—he’s a spoiled little monkey that always seems to need Mommy to hold him. It means I don’t get as much done around the house, but I can’t say no to him!

Before I go, I had to share a photo of Austin with his youngest cousin, Joel, born June 3. They technically met for the first time last weekend, although, they were next to each other a few times in their mommies’ bellies before that. Can’t wait to see them grow up together. Next on the “meet the cousins” list is my Godson, Justin, born Feb. 1. So excited Austin has cousins close in age on both sides of the family.

Austin's first meeting with his cousin, Joel

Next time I’ll have updates on Austin’s two-month pediatrician appointment on Halloween (with a frightening four shots!), plus stories from family parties Halloween weekend and possible news on our cat Jordan, who hasn’t been loving the new kid on the block. Since Austin has been home, Jordan has been really lethargic and is puking more and more. If you remember a few years ago, he had separation anxiety when Jim went back to work in August, and we think a similar anxiety thing is happening now. Plus he’s on multiple (expensive) pills, special kidney food, and is pushing 17 or 18 years old. I just don’t know if he can stick it out; and the kid isn’t going anywhere, so we may need to make a tough decision if you know what I mean. Vet appointment is tomorrow afternoon.  

Until then, adios from Austintown!


  1. Aw, Jen! First, CONGRATULATIONS! What a sweetheart. And second, I'm so sorry you'll be leaving Ashland! BUT I'm really happy for you and your family - I did that commute for a month after Elvis was born and it was definitely not fun. I look forward to following your blog and hearing more about all of Austin's developments. Many blessings on ya, Jen!

  2. Thank you so much, Sarah! I am sad to be leaving too, but the drive would have kept me away from him too long as you know... So blessed for things to have worked out the way they have. I hope you and Hank (and the rest of the gang) are doing well! Take care, and stay in touch.