Adjusting Expectations

During the later half of pregnancy when it was apparent that this was really happening, I began dreaming about what life would be like with a new child. What kind of parents would we be? Would our baby be a good sleeper? Would she be a good eater? How long until tennis and running resumed? Olivia’s recent 2-month checkup and endless inquiries about how things are going have prompted some reflection on the first couple months of motherhood. The many thoughts floating through my head all share one commonality: the need for adjusted expectations.

Feeding:

Olivia only lost 5% of her weight upon discharge, so we thought breastfeeding must be going great aside from the normal soreness and latching battles of a newborn. Phew, one bullet dodged. However, two days later at her first visit to the pediatrician Olivia’s weight was down 12%. We were immediately pushed into formula supplementation. After a roller coaster of weight checks, visits with lactation consultants, herbal supplements and various feeding regimens, Olivia has now climbed to the 5th percentile for her weight. As such, the pediatrician advised us to continue with her current feeding regimen, which still includes a small amount of formula supplementation.

In today’s high tech world, why hasn’t someone invented a baby fuel gauge to alert parents as to their level of fullness? There are so many other gadgets and gizmos to monitor health and heart rate you’d think someone would have found a way to measure the amount of milk in a baby’s tummy. Envision a gas gauge on their forehead. This would certainly take the guesswork out of whether or not baby has received enough milk or if they need a supplemental bottle-feeding.

Dessert

Dessert

Adjusting my original expectation of being able to nurse 100% has been tough and would be even worse if it weren’t for the wonderful support and encouragement from friends. I will always wonder if our continued battles with low milk supply are a result of quickly being pushed into (and staying with) formula supplementation. We’ll just do what we can for as long as we can to keep our baby happy.

Hair Loss:

Oodles of friends warned me of post-natal hair loss. I thought I had escaped that lovely side effect since hair loss didn’t seem much worse than the normal girl-shedding phenomena. Think again. Almost exactly 8 weeks post-partum gobs of hair greeted my hand after a shower. Joy.

Co-Sleeping:

Pre-baby, the closest we thought we’d get to co-sleeping was having the baby at the foot of our bed in her beautiful bassinet. In reality she’s probably slept on us more than she’s slept in her bassinet :-/ Despite the warnings and admonishment from the pediatrician about baby getting used to her parents’ bed, when push comes to shove silencing a crying baby and getting her (and us) to sleep is all that matters. We’re doing our best to encourage her to sleep more in her bassinet both for naps and at night, but relinquishing a cuddly snuggle-bug to her lonely bassinet is tough.  That said, we certainly don’t want to end up with a toddler in our bed …

Favorite spot to sleep
Favorite spot to sleep

Schedules:

We always joked about those parents who let baby run the show and never knew what their schedule would be like. Shame on us! Someday (soon?) we’ll get back to being our prompt old selves but in the meantime it’s safe to assume we’ll be 15 minutes late and/or won’t know what time is good for a visit until that morning (even then it’s a bit of guesswork).

Returning to Tennis & Running:

By staying healthy and fit during pregnancy, I thought it would be a piece of cake to return to running and tennis in time for spring season. Ha! What was I thinking? Even if I were in shape, the logistics of running a race or playing a 2-hour tennis match some distance away from home is just too much to fathom while breastfeeding (plus there’s the fact that my tennis team is too competitive and politely refused my participation until I’ve spruced up a bit – fine by me!) For now Ben and I will enjoy tennis together (with no judgment at those errant shots) and my new personal trainer will keep me going in the jogging stroller and beyond (sit ups to baby giggles on your legs aren’t nearly so bad).

One more lap please, I finally fell asleep!

One more lap please, I finally fell asleep!

Returning to Work:

Pre-baby, I envisioned wanting to return to work as quickly as possible so as not to miss out on anything. I even went so far as to investigate part-time leave versus full-time maternity leave. How quickly things change. Amid a blurry haze of sleep deprivation, feeding cycles, and the holidays, somehow January 2 snuck upon us in the blink of an eye.  The European family-leave policy sounds quite appealing right now. Priorities certainly do change after a baby, even for us Type A workaholics. Who wouldn’t want to spend all their time with this little munchkin?

 

Accepting Help:

Perhaps the biggest adjustment of all is learning to accept help. We no longer believe that we can do it all on our own and are so very lucky to have the support of friends and family, especially on weeks that this working momma is home alone.

We’ll do our best to keep updated photos posted for your enjoyment.

New Photo Application

Status

We made the leap from Gallery2 to Gallery3.  Slow integration with WordPress kept us from upgrading earlier.  The old Gallery is still there to keep the images in prior posts working, but all future photos will only be hosted in the new one.  At some point I hope to go through and migrate all the old post images to the new application so I can get rid of the duplication.

As usual you can view our adventures by clicking on the PHOTOS link above.  Hope you like the new look.

 

Ben

Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Forgive the tardiness of this post, but pictures are finally available. More importantly, there’s finally a few minutes in the day (here and there) to write it. This Christmas was extra special in that almost everyone was here from both sides of the family. What a treat for Olivia’s first Christmas! Paula and Steve hosted a fabulous Christmas Eve dinner with delicious food and great company. Thank you for convincing us to have dinner at your house rather than the original plan of hosting with a new baby! What were we thinking? 🙂 The Yankee Swap was a huge success across the board, and the Jacob family was a good sport participating in the Danish tradition of rice pudding before the main meal.

Jacob Clan:

Cronin Clan:

Though we never made it to Fort Worth or Dallas to see the Christmas lights in the fancy neighborhoods, we did manage a few excursions with the family to help show Dane and Claire the sites during their first visit to Texas. The week included many firsts for Olivia as she ventured beyond the hospital, the doctor’s office and Grandma’s house. What a difference it is to try and do anything outside the house when you have a newborn in tow!

Christmas decorations in downtown Grapevine

Dec 21 exploration

Dec 21 exploration

 

 

 

Fort Worth Zoo

Awake for the gorillas but that's about it

Fort Worth Zoo December 22

Awake only for the gorillas. Oh well – it was a beautiful day to walk around the zoo and it wasn’t even crowded! The highlight was the baby rhino.

Downtown Dallas & Sonny Bryan’s

Texas BBQ for Olivia's first restaurant

Texas BBQ for Olivia’s first restaurant
Despite appearances this is a restaurant not a bar!

Despite appearances this is a restaurant not a bar!

The biggest adventure for all was a white Christmas. Though beautiful, it wreaked havoc on travel plans for the Cronin crew. While we spent Christmas afternoon with the Jacobs, our guests were dealing with DFW fiascoes. All ended up eventually back at our house on Christmas night after various travel nightmares of delayed and cancelled flights. Luckily for them they were able to escape our crazy household to return to their previous plans early the next morning. For some this meant heading in to work (Dad), for others it meant racing to catch a flight for the next vacation plan (Dane and Claire). After various reroutes, paying for extra flights on a different airline, and a good friend meeting them at the airport with passports in hand, Dane and Claire successfully made their flight to Vienna. It was a Christmas miracle.

In addition to having all our family together for the first time since our wedding, and having Mom here to help out the week prior to Christmas, the best present of all this year was little Miss Olivia. Christmas 2012 will certainly be hard to beat.

Click here to see more pictures from Christmas Eve, Christmas and the rest of the week.