Thursday, February 28, 2008

Leah is 3 weeks old

I can't believe it's already been 3 weeks! It sort of seems like she was just born yesterday and it sort of seems like she's been part of the family forever.

My parents left yesterday and Shafi is taking a few more days off. But yesterday was my first day home alone with Leah. My friend Erin stopped by for a bit in the afternoon, but other than that it was just the two of us. We had a nice day. We went back to bed after my parents left at 8. And then we hung out for awhile after the 10:00 feeding - making faces at each other. Leah was particularly hungry yesterday and was requesting milk every hour and a half or so. But then by nighttime, she had worn herself out and slept quite well for an every 3 hour feeding shedule overnight.

It was a bit more challenging to get things done around the apartment with no one else here. Leah wasn't so sleepy during the day, so it was hard to sneak in a shower and lunch. But I managed.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Date night

My parents are in town - my dad arrived to join my mom this afternoon. And they offered to babysit tonight while we went out to dinner - then they went out to dinner. So Shafi and I had our first date night since Leah was born. It was nice to get out for a bit and talk over dinner, rather than rushing through so that we were able to get down our food before Leah beckoned.

And since I hadn't had sushi in 9 months, we went to our favorite local sushi place - Iron Chef House. It was very good.

We did find that we spent most of the time talking about Leah - such exciting things as her diapers and her gassiness. But we decided that's the normal course of things. When we were dating we talked a lot about our individual pasts and about work and such. Then it was wedding talk. And apartment talk. And now it's baby talk.

We got a little dressed up and took some family pictures before we went. Our first family picture:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Leah's First Snow

There were a few flakes a few days ago - but this is the first real snow since Leah was born. We're supposed to get 5-7 inches in NYC today - and I'd say we've probably gotten most of that already.

So we bundled Leah up in a swaddle blanket and wrapped a nice hand-knit blanket around her (courtesy of the mother of a friend of my mother). And we took her out to the deck just for a minute to get a couple pictures of Leah in her first snow. It was also Leah's first trip across the hall to the deck, but obviously that's much less momentous.

She didn't seem to mind the cold - she was so bundled up she probably didn't even know it was cold. But it's kind of a sleety snow at the moment, and she definitely didn't look too happy about the flakes/drops falling on her face. She didn't cry, but she had this none-too-please-a-little-confused look on her face.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Leah's First Real Bath

Up until now Leah was just getting sponge baths. We were putting her in the tub with the sling across it but not putting any water in it - just using washcloths to soap her up and rinse her down. But yesterday morning her umbilical stump fell off. So last night she got her first tub bath.

She was so cute when we put her down in the water. She didn't look happy exactly, but curious and not unhappy. Then we started washing her and I guess it became familiar and she started screaming. She wasn't too upset, but she definitely cried and screamed a bit for the entirety. Once we finished and wrapped her up in the towel and dried her off she calmed down immediately.

Overall I think she liked it better than the sponge bath. Once she gets a bit more used to it she might even like it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My chubby baby

OK - maybe that's an overstatement. But we went to the pediatrician yesterday for a weight check - Leah gained 8 ounces in 4 days! She's up to 6 pounds, 9 ounces - almost her birth weight. The doctor was very pleased - and amazed.

So I must be doing something right. We'll continue this schedule for a couple more weeks - every 2 hours by day and every 3 hours at night - and have her nice and well fed when we return to the doctor on March 7 for her 1 month check-up.

My mother is here visiting now and Shafi is back at work. All is going well, although Shafi misses Leah while he's away all day.

We've had a few visitors now. Anyone else who wants to come visit - give me a call or drop me an email. We are happy to see people and have everyone meet Leah - we're just trying to keep it to one a day to keep it manageable for us.

Been a bit busy lately, so we haven't really taken any new pictures - but we'll make up for that over the next few days - get some with Grandma and some with Shafi & I - and of course if she does anything especially cute, we'll try to capture it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Good routine - good baby

We've got it down now. Not to jinx it or anything, but hopefully Leah will continue to follow the schedule we've set. We're feeding at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m., 11 p.m., 2 a.m., 5 a.m. And she's sleeping between feedings with very little fussing - no waking us up between feedings overnight. So I slept in 1.5 - 2 hour stretches 4 times last night - probably about hours 6 or 7 hours. If I add a nap or 2 today, I should be all set.

She's also letting me set her down in the crib before she's fully asleep. I set her down last night within about 2 minutes after swaddling her after a feeding - so I'm able to maximize sleep time for me - and she doesn't seem to mind - puts herself to sleep pretty quickly.

Not too much else to say. Shafi took her out for a walk by himself yesterday, which was nice. And he was very excited to be "that dad." Said he was getting looks from the women on the promenade and wasn't sure if it was because he was pushing the fancy Bugaboo stroller or because he was a dad out alone. I told him they're all looking on with envy - "Who's that handsome dad taking care of his infant all by himself?" I'm a lucky woman.

And here's my amazing little girl looking cute as can be after a feeding.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Making progress

We saw the pediatrician this morning. Leah has gained - but only an ounce. She said she would have liked to see 2-3 ounces, but it's possible that Tuesday/Wednesday she lost a little more, since we didn't see the lactation consultant until midday Wednesday.

So she's giving us the long weekend to see if we can get some good growth - and we'll go back midday on Tuesday for another weigh-in. She asked a lot of questions about her diapers and demeanor and seemed happy with our responses. She's getting lots of dirty diapers - poop is a mustardy consistency and color - and she seems to be peeing often. We can tell the volume difference versus prior to Wednesday. If we'd known how much was supposed to be in a diaper we would have known she didn't have enough before.

We also got a chance to ask more questions, which was nice. That little rash on her chin - breast burn. Probably because she's sometimes fussy and takes a little while to latch on. But could just be general skin irritation - should toughen up and go away. We asked for advice on handling her peeing while changing her diaper. She said we'll just have to get used to faster changes - so I guess we'll get better with more practice.

After the doctor, we went and had brunch at the diner. Leah's first restaurant experience went well. She was sound asleep in the bassinet the whole time - so we ate in peace. And the diner wasn't too crowded at 11 a.m., so we felt like it was safe enough to take her there.

We're continuing to get our routine down. The doctor recommended streamlining the feedings so that we can do every 2 hours during the day and every 3 at night - things like just having her feed at one breast per feeding. It's making things much better. We did feedings at noon, 2, 4, 6, and 8 - and Shafi is handling the diapers and such. She's staying on the breast for about 25 minutes and because she's eating before she's too hungry, she's less fussy and latches on faster - so I'm getting a good hour and a half between feedings - allowing me to get more done and also nap more. And she's sleeping pretty well between feedings, so we were also able to sit and have dinner together.

So - all is going well here. Enjoying our time bonding with Leah.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's been 1 week!

I can't believe Leah is already a week old. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday and sometimes it feels like we've known her forever. She is such a happy baby - and now that she's well fed - she sleeps like a champ.

We're discovering why people with babies have to do laundry so often - and we're glad that her Grandma got her so many clothes. She's decided to pee everytime we change her diaper. When we open it up and then wait a few minutes, she doesn't go - and just when we decide the coast is clear - she pees. We've been keeping a disposable pad on top of the changing pad so that we can just toss it and put another one down - but it doesn't always work. The pee seems to either go down - and sometimes past the disposable pad - or up and onto her t-shirt or onesie. So we've been washing clothes and changing pad covers pretty often already.

If anyone has advice on how to avoid this problem - please leave a comment or send us an email!

Leah's GG (Great Grandma Louise), for whome she is named, sent her first Valentine's card. Very cute. We're sure she loves it - and we'll put it in the scrapbook to remind her later.

And on another note - I have to brag on my fabulous husband this Valentine's Day. He wished me a happy valentine's day when I came back to bed after the 3 a.m. feeding - very sweet to think of that in the middle of the night. And almost as soon as he got up this morning, he presented me with my Valentine's / thanks for bearing my child / 5th anniversary (coming up April 1) present - beautiful diamond stud earrings. They're really good quality brilliant cut stones set in a 4 prong platinum setting.

(OK - that's not my actual earrings - but they look about like that.)

NY has warmed up a bit today - 45 and sunny. So we're going to go for our first walk this afternoon - hit the Promenade and then I'm thinking stop for ice cream on the way home (for me of course - don't worry - I won't be giving Leah her first ice cream for quite some time).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What a difference a day makes

Just a couple days ago I was so excited that my milk had come in. Then yesterday I was so upset that Leah still wasn't getting enough to eat and was losing weight. And today the lactation consultant came and turned it all around.

She was great - not one of the preachy militant lactation consultants - very down to earth and very nice. I gave her the history - the ups and downs of the past 6 days. And she said she knows Dr. O'Connor and feels comfortable that she'll be in agreement with the recommendations she's giving me. And she agrees that if I'm not getting enough milk then we'll need to supplement with formula. need. This morning I pumped a full ounce and by the time the lactation consultant came, I had quite a bit ready to flow. The lactation consultant said that we needed to use a different position so that Leah would have less trouble getting her little mouth onto my very large breast.

She got me set up with pillows to position my arm on and Leah positioned at my side on top of my arm. We lined everything up and then I brought Leah up towards me while facing me - and after only a couple of tries - she latched on! And then she stayed on and ate vigorously for 30 minutes. The lactation consultant tought us how to listen for whether she's swallowing - she was - the whole time. So obviously that means there was enough milk for her to be able to eat continuously for so long. Then she took the other side for about 10 minutes.

The lactation consultant answered many other questions we had and wrote down some instructions in case we forget. She also recommended some dietary things. More grains and greens, oatmeal, mother's milk tea, and dark beer (1 per day). And she asked us to call her on Friday and let her know how it goes at the doctor's office. If it goes well then she would just like to know - and if not, she'll be glad to come Friday afternoon or Saturday for another session.

But so far so good. I was mildly nervous that it wouldn't be so easy after she left...but I've fed Leah twice since then...and both times went very well. Also, while Leah was a happy baby before - she is even more so now. She hasn't fussed at all - even when being changed and dressed. She's been sleeping in the crib - even letting us put her down before she's fully asleep and putting herself to sleep.

And she had her first visitor today. My Uncle Howard was in town for a business meeting and stopped by this afternoon for about an hour. She slept soundly the whole time he was here, including while being passed back and forth from Howard to Shafi to me.

Visit to the pediatrician

Leah had her virst visit to the pediatrician yesterday. It's only about 5 blocks away but it was 20 degrees out, so we got her all bundled up. She wore a newborn sleeper, which is a bit big but not too bad. And we put her in the carseat with a blanket and the boot pulled over it. The carseat attaches to the stroller (the Bugaboo of course). We decided the car seat was cozier than the bassinet in this brutal cold. And we already know she likes being in the carseast. She didn't seem to notice the cold and slept most of the ride.

Dr. O'Connor started by asking what questions we had, which was nice because we had a lot. She answered them all. Nothing too exciting to sharr there. Although for those wondering, we did ask how long it takes for skin pigmentation to come in. She said it'll be gradual over time and we really won't know how dark she'll be for a year or so.

We stripped her down and the doctor examined her. She said she looked good - nothing to be concerned about from the physical. Then she weighed her and she was only 6 pounds - so she lost another 3.4 ounces since leaving the hospital. Then the doctor had me feed her so that she could see how that was going.

It turns out that she's not latching on quite right. We solved the problem we were having early on but created a new one. She's not holding onto enough of the areola, so she's not pulling down enough milk. The doctor worked with me for a few minutes and we got her to latch a few times, but she wouldn't stay latched on. The doctor said it will just take some work. We go back to see her on Friday and hopefully she'll be on the way back up. If not, we may need to supplement with some formula.

So I spent quite awhile yesterday afternoon and overnight trying to get her to latch properly - same result - short time on without much sucking and then she pulls away. We decided yesterday evening that we should try a lactation consultant. We called the woman listed in the brochure from NYU who is in Brooklyn. She has availability later this morning and is coming around 10 a.m. So I decided that in the meantime, I should pump to try to bring my milk in and I think I'm better off giving her expressed milk from a bottle instead of letting her latch on wrong, which is doing a bit of damage to my nipples.

This has brought to our attention that she definitely wasn't getting enough because I'm not yet producing enough. The first time I pumped I got over 2 ounces, which we split over 2 feedings, because she seemed to not be ready for all of it. We intended to increase that gradually. But since then, pumping every 3 hours is only producing half an ounce at a time. We've been giving her that, and it does seem to sate her somewhat, but she should probably be getting closer to 2 ounces at a feeding.

We'll see what the lactation consultant can do as far as getting her to latch and also what she says about how much she should eat and whether we should supplement with formula to make sure she's getting enough. We do want her to grow - and at this point if we're bottle feeding her some anyway, I don't think supplementing would do any harm. The doctor said she has lots of patients who have to supplement in the beginning and by 6 weeks they are successfully exclusively breast feeding.

So - I remain optimistic - if sore and tired.

And for your viewing pleasure - here are some pics of Leah heading to the doctor in her stylin' Bugaboo (thanks Great Uncle Howard) that is attached via an adapter (thanks Grandma & Grandpa Mecklenburger) to the Graco carseat. And the very cool Skip*Hop diaper bag (thanks Jess) is hanging from the handlebar.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Leah's First Bath

As I'm sure any new parent will agree, bathing an infant is a bit daunting. But they should be bathed every couple of days, and Leah's last bath was just before leaving the hospital Saturday morning - so Monday was time for her first bath at home.

All went swimmingly. We set her up in the sling in the Fisher Price Rainforest Bathtub (thanks Eilisa). We had cotton balls, washcloths, J&J head and body wash, and a towel at the ready. We set up on the kitchen counter to be near the sink but at a comfortable height.

I wiped her eyes with the moist cotton balls. And then I held her in the tub wrapped in a towel while Shafi handled the lathering and rinsing. Then I did the drying. We did exactly as we learned in our infant care class - washing one section at a time while covering the rest of her with the towel to keep her warm.

I wouldn't say that she enjoyed the bath, but she didn't seem to mind it as much as I thought she would. As per the suggestion of the nurses in the hospital I kept a finger in her mouth for her to suck on. This trick seems to work any time she's crying - diaper changes, getting her to sleep, etc.

She smelled nice enough before we bathed her, but now she smells extra nice. And we're feeling good about having accomplished the first bath successfully.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Got milk!

So after being so good at nursing, things seemed to change early Sunday morning. Leah's lips and mouth were very dry and she was fussing and wouldn't latch on. I was able to get her to feed a little by wetting her lips and mouth with a little water, but I was concerned what was causing her lips to be so chapped and whether it could be something other than just dryness. After debating for a few hours I finally decided to call the pediatrician around 10 a.m.

Of course I fear being one of those parents who calls with every little thing, but Dr. O'Connor answered right away and was incredibly nice. She asked a few questions and said it sounds like she's getting a little dehydrated. She said I should try pumping and if I couldn't get at least half an ounce to give her than I should give her some formula.

I pumped - nothing. So after discussing with Shafi a few times over the course of the morning and early afternoon, I finally decided that Leah needed more than I was giving her at the time and it was worth supplementing with formula just a little bit until my milk came in. We had gotten some Similac ready to eat bottles as part of a free diaper bag that they provided at the hospital (sponsored by Similac, of course). Leah gulped down a little formula and I pulled the bottle back when it started to run down her chin a little. She just stared at me for a few minutes - surprised by the new feeling probably. Then we burped her and put her down and she slept soundly for a couple of hours. She only took about half an ounce and it seemed to do the trick.

I was then able to get her to nurse a little bit at the next 2 feedings, but not much, and her mouth was still a little dry. We gave her formula twice more - both times she took about half an ounce. And then she had a couple of very wet diapers. We could really tell that she must not have been getting much before because her diapers had been just slightly wet - big difference.

Around 5 a.m. I sat down to try to nurse her again and she stopped fussing much faster. Yes, you guessed it, my milk came in!

She's now had a couple of good feedings - 15 minutes on each side and seemed quite full afterwards. And for the first time I've been having to wipe a little dried milk off of her lips and cheeks and chin. But she's burping well and not spitting up at all.

And the added benefit to all of this was that I got 2 stretches of 2 hours of sleep. So we're feeling much happier here today than yesterday.

We've got an appointment to see the pediatrician at midday tomorrow, so we'll see how Leah's weight is then, but I'm much more confident that all is well.

I'll continue posting new pictures on my Picasa site, so check back often.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Leah Amira Imran

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. For a few days there wasn't anything new to share. And then, as you know, life got very exciting! So here's a really long one. If you are only interested in the pictures, here's my Picasa site - please check back often, as we'll be posting regularly.

Wednesday evening at my 39 week check-up, my blood pressure was up and Dr. Ho was concerned that it, along with a couple other things, were early signs of pre-eclampsia. She consulted with Dr. Markoff, who also came in to talk to and look at me. Thankfully Shafi was able to join me for the appointment, as it was of course a bit stressful to hear that things were not going along as perfectly as they had been.

The docs decided that since my due date was so close, we would be safest to go ahead and induce labor. They asked if we had a preference for Thursday or Friday and we decided to go with Thursday to get it over with, rather than sit and worry for the next day and a half. Dr. Ho was on hospital duty for Thursday, so she told us to come in to NYU at 7 a.m. the next morning and she'd see us there.

We decided to tell only immediate family what was going on - and a couple key work people - as my maternity leave would officially begin the next day and Shafi would be taking off a week and a half or so.

Of course we got little sleep that night, but got up at 6 a.m. and took a cab to NYU Medical Center. We were right on time at 7 a.m. and were already in a room in the Labor & Delivery ward by 7:10. Shafi then went down to Admitting to take care of paperwork while they got me into a gown and bed and started an IV. We then had an hour or so to wait for the doctor to come and check me and order the pitocin drip - the drug that induces labor. I was about 3 cm dilated and still 70% effaced - so only a slight change from the day before. My blood pressure was fine, but we weren't going to call off the induction at that point.

They started the pitocin around 9 a.m. The anesthesiology resident stopped in and I filled out the consent form so that if I decided I wanted an epidural, I would be able to call for it. I decided to play it by ear and see if I needed it rather, than starting the epidural at the same time as the pitocin.

We then pretty much just sat around for a few hours watching television and reading. I was having very mild contractions and wasn't really having any pain. They gradually increased the pitocin every 20 minutes or so. And all of a sudden around noon I started to feel the contractions. They came on very quickly and were only about a minute and a half apart. That's when I asked for the epidural. Shortly thereafter my water broke - but just a little - giving me a trickle every couple minutes. Dr. Ho came in and checked me and I was around 6 cm and 80% effaced and she went ahead and further broke my water. I had a couple big gushes and then continued to leak fluid - which was normal.

I was on a fetal heartrate monitor and contraction monitor the entire time, and the baby's heartrate stayed within the normal range - so none of this was bothering her. I also had a blood pressure cuff on that activated a few times an hour - and my blood pressure and heartrate stayed normal. They came in to do the epidural around 12:30. There was an anesthesiologist with the resident, but he was the one doing it. I guess I should have objected, but it seemed fair that residents have to learn and NYU is a teaching hospital.

They had me sit on the side of the bed with Shafi in front of me in a chair. I leaned forward on him and he helped support my shoulders and head while I curved my back out so that they could put the epidural in. Every time I had a contraction they would wait until it was over to proceed. The numbing shot was a bit of a sting, but not too bad. Then they told me I'd feel pressure but not pain as they inserted the very large needle into the epidural space. I thought I was feeling pain, but with everything that was going on, it was hard to tell. Then I suddenly had a shooting tingly feeling down my left leg. I told them immediately. It happened about 3 more times and they decided they needed to start over. This time it was the anesthesiologist putting it in. She was much faster and more proficient than the resident of course, and all went well.

As I had feared, they told me that they had accidentally gone past the epidural space and into the spinal space - one of the risks of getting an epidural. They went over with me what some of the risks are - the main one being a "spinal headache." They said they'd check on me later and the next day but to let someone know if I had any problems. Luckily - I did not.

They started me off on a low dose and said we'd know after about 5 contractions whether it was enough. It wasn't. They came back and added more and waited with me for it to take effect. It took quite awhile until I had relief. Then my right leg was getting numb while I was still feeling contractions on the left. Eventually it evened out and by 2:30 I was no longer in any pain but was pretty much completely numb from about the waist down.

I was feeling occasional pressure from contractions and pressure as the baby continued to descend. They had me sit straight up with my knees out the sides - almost indian style - to help encourage the baby to continue to drop. The doctor came back to check me about 4:00 and said she was surprised I wasn't feeling the urge to push - the head was "right there" and I was ready to go. I guess the numbness had stopped me from feeling the pressure enough to know it was time to push, but no problem, I did have enough feeling to be able to push.

The nurse then told me when each contraction was starting and she and Shafi stood on either side to help hold my legs as I pushed. 3 times for 10 seconds with each contraction. It took 7 sets of pushes and just under 30 minutes and Leah was born at 4:41 p.m.

First her head came out and they told me to pause as they suctioned her nose and mouth. Then they told me to push gently and she came flying out. Dr. Ho clamped the cord and Shafi cut it between the clamps. And they put Leah right onto my chest. I definitely didn't know how great it would feel until it happened - and I was not at all bothered by her not having been cleaned off yet. She was perfect. She was alert right away but didn't cry much. She just looked up at me and at Shafi. We put her to the breast just to get her familiar, but she wasn't really ready to feed yet.

While this was going on I delivered the placenta. It seemed to come on its own - I didn't have to push. I really wouldn't have known it was happening if they hadn't told me.

Then they took Leah to the warmer just a couple feet away - still in the room - to weigh her and clean her up a bit while the doctor cleaned me up. I had a 2nd degree tear that she sewed up, as well as a couple of "bleeders" that she had to tend to first. I was starting to get feeling back at this point and it was a pretty uncomfortable half an hour or so. But having just had a beautiful healthy baby, I wasn't complaining too much.

We got to spend a couple hours in the room before being moved up to the Post Natal ward. We made a few phone calls to let immediate family know and we both got to spend quite awhile holding Leah. I tried to feed her but she wasn't latching on well. They told me not to stress about it too much - we'd keep trying and I could meet with the lactation consultant the next morning.

Shafi took to fatherhood like a pro. He held Leah and talked to her. He tried to help as much as he could when I tried to feed her. And of course he was a great labor and delivery coach all day - bringing me ice chips and hard candy, holding my hand, helping me breath through the contractions, and counting through the pushes.

Leah's first night was a bit rough on me. We got moved into a shared room in the Post Natal ward, but we lucked out and got the window side and no roommate for awhile. Shafi was able to stay until after 11, even though technically fathers are supposed to leave by 10:30 p.m. I continued to try breastfeeding, which continued to be a challenge. And we made lots of phone calls, took pictures, and sent some emails.

Of course Leah is perfect...but she seems to have a need to be held while she sleeps. Even when she seems sound asleep, she wakes up when we put her down. (Even right now, she is sleeping across my lap as I write this - it's Shafi's turn to get a few hours of sleep.) So the first night I only slept about an hour and a half plus a little dozing with Leah in my arms. She wasn't eating enough, so they told me that if I sent her to the nursery and they thought she was hungry I could either let them give her formula or they could bring her back to breastfeed. Since breastfeeding wasn't going too well and I didn't want her to have formula, I had to keep her with me. Finally around 6 a.m. I got her to sleep in the bassinet and I was able to sleep for about an hour and a half before the normal morning commotion started - announcements being made, breakfast being served, etc.

I did get a roommate around 1 a.m. Luckily she was very nice and fairly quiet - so we had no problems sharing the room for a couple days. I was luckier than she, as her baby was very sleepy and quiet. Leah has a good set of lungs I guess, as she's got a pretty loud cry for a newborn. And since we kept trying to get her to sleep in the bassinet, there were quite a few long crying episodes.

Friday morning Shafi came back around 9:30 and took Leah so that I could shower. I felt quite a bit better after that, despite my exhaustion. I then went to the breastfeeding class at 10:30. All mothers and babies are invited to attend the daily class (well, daily except Saturdays). They have you sit in a chair and feed your baby while the lactation consultant goes around to each mom/baby. If you're having problems, she spends time helping you. And if not, she just gives feedback on form and such. She also gave some general information and tips - nothing I hadn't learned in the class we took or read in a book.

She was a lifesaver. Not to provide too much detail about my breasts, but basically every time I would try to get the baby to latch on, my nipples would flatten out. The lactation consultant was able to help me get a hold in such a way that Leah was able to latch. I sat there for almost 2 hours trying to feed her. She was finally able to latch, but she would only stay on for a few seconds at a time and then I'd have to get her on again. It was painful and exhausting. But the lactation consultant said not to give up. Leah is a natural - definitely trying hard and sucking hard - so it would all work out soon. She said she'd come see me in the afternoon to see if I needed more help.

She was right - each time I nursed her, she latched on faster and for longer. By the time the lactation consultant came back to see me around 4:30, I felt like things were working well enough that she couldn't do much else for me yet. She had already told me my form was good and all of that, so it was just a matter of practice for both me and Leah.

Shafi and I spent the day trading off holding Leah and napping - and of course making lots of phone calls and sending emails. He left around 10:00 to head home for the night and get some sleep, as he'd be returning with the car seat in the morning.

The night nurse suggested that I send the baby to the nursery since I obviously needed to get some sleep. By this point, Leah was nursing well enough that I was able to do "baby on demand." Basically they took her to the nursery and whenever she showed signs of wanting to eat or no less than every 4 hours, they would bring her back in for me to feed her.

I was worried that she'd just cry all night in the nursery, but they assured me that if she was inconsolable they would bring her back to me. About 15 minutes after they took her, I went to see for myself. Sure enough she was sound asleep in the bassinet. Not sure what it was about being there versus being in my room, but she was fine. I was then able to sleep for about 3 hours before they brought her in for a feeding. The feeding went pretty well and when she fell asleep I called the nurse to come back and take her back to the nursery. They brought her back to me about 4 hours later and I fed her again.

Saturday morning was spent getting everyone checked - Dr. Shweizer came in to see me around 11 a.m. and said everything seemed fine and I should make an appointment to see Dr. Markoff in 6 weeks. And he signed for me to be discharged. The NYU affiliated pediatrician we picked - Dr. Rossi - had seen Leah Friday morning and said she was fine, so they checked with him that she didn't need to be seen again and he signed for her to be discharged.

We finally got all of our paperwork by about 1 p.m. and were able to leave. We dressed Leah in an adorable newborn outfit - lavendar velour overalls with a long sleeve T with flowers on it (thanks Kristen) and some newborn maryjane sock-booties in pink (thanks Paul & Jill). The snowsuit we had brought was definitely too big for her, but it wasn't a problem. We put her in the car seat with a blanket over her and the boot on the car seat and she was nice and cozy.

We had no trouble getting her buckled into the middle of the back seat in the cab with Shafi and I on either side - worrying about every little thing. But she was very happy in the car seat and had fallen asleep as soon as we started carrying her down the hall to leave and stayed asleep for the entire ride home.

Once we got home, we unpacked and ordered some lunch and did Leah's first at-home diaper change and feeding. All went well. We then spent the day trading off. I'd feed her and then Shafi would handle the diaper change and hold her while I took a nap or ate. Then Shafi would eat or nap while I fed her again. On and on. I sent him to get some sleep around midnight while I fed her and now she's sleeping happily in my lap as I check email and write this. In a little while I'll feed her again and then maybe attempt to get her to sleep in the crib so that I can get a little sleep too. And if not, I'll doze with her on my lap or chest until the next feeding and let Shafi sleep for a few more hours. Since she's supposed to be fed every 2-3 hours from beginning to beginning of the feeding, I'll need him a bit rested so that I can get some good day time naps in today (Sunday).

I think that's all the news for now.

In short - Leah Amira Imran was born on February 7, 2008 (the Chinese New Year - Year of the Rat) at 4:41 p.m. She weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces and measured 19 inches long. Her head circumference is 34 cm - normal for her size. I'd say she's tall and skinny - in a cute baby way. She definitely got Shafi's round face and his eyes and nose. Beyond that I think we'll have to wait to see what other traits she's gotten from the two of us.

Almost time for the 3 a.m. feeding.

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's February!

My daughter will be born this month! Seems like a good month. I've got lots of friends and family with February birthdays. And anyone whose birthday is in the next 10 days is rooting for their day.

She will almost definitely be an Aquarius. Amethyst is a good birthstone. Violet is a good flower. It's Black History Month. And there are lots of special days in February - Groundhog Day (2/2), Superbowl Sunday (2/3 this year), Mardi Gras / Fat Tuesday (2/5 this year), Chinese New Year (2/7 this year - ringing in the Year of the Rat), Lincoln's Birthday (2/12), Valentine's Day (2/14), President's Day (2/18 this year), Washington's Birthday (2/22), and Leap Day (2/29 - yes this is a leap year).

While I'm quite excited that it's February and that means that she'll be born very soon...I'm feeling incredibly impatient now. I am so ready. There's really nothing more I can think of to do to prepare. The final finishing touch I ordered to decorate the room should be arriving today. How adorable is this?! (No that's not the baby's name - ours will be personalized with the correct name - and you still have to wait until she's born for it.)

I know...officially 10 days to go until she's due. But seriously, any day now would be great. We are ready to meet our little girl!