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April 2007

Officially an American today!

Today Maximilien, Julien and I went to the US Embassy and registered Max as an American citizen and applied for his passport. The woman who worked on our dossier gave Max this American flag to congratulated him on his new status as an American.

One month, already...

One month ago I looked like this:

Week 37, an impresive week.

The same day a month ago I gave birth to you, Maximilien. And you looked like this:

Brand New Max

A month later and now I look like this:

One month postpartum

And look at you now:

One Month Max

My life has completely changed since your arrival.  The first few days were tough. Very, very tough. I actually thought I couldn't do this mom thing.  In the beginning the emotions were high and the physical pain was strong.  My body has taken a shock. It felt lost and empty and I needed time to understand what was happening. All the while,  I looked at you in complete awe, Max. Wondering what to do next? But as time went by you started to let me know what I needed to do. I'm learning what your cries and coos mean and I think we're really starting to understand each other.  And I finally feel like, "hey, I can do this".  You smile at me now and blow the greatest spit bubbles after each of your baths.  You love to snuggle in my neck after I've taken a shower. You always calm down when you I play you Goodbye Stranger by Supertramp. And you fall asleep when I sing you Rainbow Connection.  It's in those quiet moments when I watch you sleep is when I learn the most about myself. I understand that I was made to be your mommy and that this is my path in life.  I also understand that you have a direct and special connection with my mommy and I see it everyday when I look into your face. I often see expressions that my Omma would make and I know that you are delivering special messages from her to me.

So, here's to your first month, Maximilien.  I hope I haven't annoyed you too much with all the kissing.  Your cheeks are amazing and I can't help myself.   Thank you for the life lessons you are teaching me, I look forward to what's coming next on our journey together. Oh, and thanks for giving your dad a break with the whole peeing during the 30 seconds you are diaper-less.  I know he appreciates it and I have to say I've never laughed so hard in my life the first time (every time) you did that.  And thank you for bringing hope back into my life when I needed it so desperately, I had no idea it had been missing for so long until you came into my life.

One day at a time

Like the title of this entry states, I've been taking it one day at a time. And sometimes literally one hour at time.  Since I've let go of my worrying and my need to KNOW everything that's going on things have been much better for me. Maximilien is happier and sleeping and eating well.  Just today he smiled back at me for the first time.  I turned the lights down low so we could snuggle in bed. He had a full tummy and was babbling (something new he's started this week as well) about something. He looked over at me and focused hard on my face. I smiled at him and he smiled back! Talk about my heart leaping into my throat! I kissed his cheek and he smiled again.  The love is bursting from me now...I can't wait for him to wake up again so I can see him smile at me.

Yesterday, he had his first check up with the pediatrician. I was nervous because for some reason I thought she'd tell us that Max hasn't gained enough weight or just that something would be wrong. Yeah, I know I said I'd let go of my worry... well it's baby steps for me. The visit with the doctor went very well. Max has gained nearly 2lbs now weighing in at a chunk-a-licious 5.6 kilos or 12lbs 4oz and grew 2 inches! He walked for the doctor, tracked an object with his eyes. He didn't cry at all, he was happy and relaxed to get naked for the doctor that he peed on her too. That's my boy, peeing on everyone he meets. :)

And yesterday, Max made a new friend. He met my friend's son, Max. These guys spent the afternoon breastfeeding and sleeping.  I think my Max noticed the other Max's feet for about two seconds but then went on to have a little large and in charge moment right when the photos were taken.  The other Max was just zen and hamming it up for the camera.

Double Trouble

It's after 11pm and I've got time to blog. I can't believe it. I have so many emails to respond to and my bloglines is exploding with new entries for me to read. I'm going to sacrifice my sleep time to catch up on the Internet happenings. I can't sleep because I'm still high on the baby smiles I got earlier tonight. Ah, can't wait to see what Max does next. :)

Playtime with Maximilien

Playtime with Maximilien on Vimeo

Max discovers high contrast images. Watch how he focuses on each image and then reacts.  He particularly like the target image, it must remind him of something famliiar *wink* and the piano image. Maybe a future musician?

And you'll notice that Max is already wearing a little KU Jayhawk.  He's got the waving of the wheat down pact, I'm not surprised he's got crimson, blue and gold in his genes. :)

I am an over efficient milk machine!

Thank you to everyone who extended their advice and support from the last post. Things have been progressively better. I've changed my diet a little and have been now eating lots of fish in the hopes to pump my body up with natural goodies instead of going the drug route. I've read some other blogs where other women really experienced deeper depression feelings and I have to say that I am not there. I just need sleep. Sleep is the key.  I feel like a new me when I can get my three hours when Max decides to sleep.

Well, I had intended to blog today about how this week was going. Up until a couple nights ago, it was going great. Maximilien and  I had found a nice little rhythm and I actually felt confident enough to try to take him out to go Rue Mouffetard to look for some shoes for myself. But two nights ago I felt hot. Flu like hot. It's warm in Paris. Spring is here but not hot enough where I am sweating all the time and uncomfortable and Julien and Max were just fine.  So, I took my temperature and it was 100.5. Uh oh.  I didn't know what to do about the breastfeeding if I were sick. I panicked for about three seconds and then jumped on the computer and Googled it. Oh, how I love thee Internet.  I visited three sites that said to keep breastfeeding and that it would be just fine for the baby. If anything it's a good thing to expose him a little to what I have so he can build up his immunity. I hadn't noticed but my breasts were engorged. I just thought that they were full and I needed to feed max. He had been sleeping for nearly 4 hours and when I go that long without feeding him they tend to get super full. I breastfed him and fell asleep to wake up with the most excruciating pain coming from my right breast. It was engorged but not like it normally would be after a few hours of sleep. A friend came over and brought me soup, I tried to eat as much as I could but feeling feverish, I had little appetite. She played with Max while I took a long shower and massaged my sore breast.  After she left, I took my temperature again and it was 102.2. Not good. I laid down and called S.O.S Medcin and they sent over a doctor right away.   She examined me and immediately said I had an infected breast that it probably was  Mastitis.  She prescribed me pain relief, antibiotics and a breast pump. Yep, in France you can get a prescription for a breast pump and they will even deliver it to your house. Before the doctor left, she sat with me to try to figure out how this happened. I told her that I had been breast feeding all the time so I was surprised that this happened. She asked if I had changed anything lately and I did, in the last two days I had introduced the pacifier to Max in the afternoons when he's awake and all he wants to do is suck. I needed the break and he was content on sucking on the tetine.  What happened was that my body didn't get the message and kept making more milk, normally I would have put Max on my breast to ease his sucking urge. And me being so tired, I didn't notice that my breast were so full.  The combination of me being so run down and the slight change in our breast feeding routine threw everything out of wack.  So, last night I spent the entire night shivering and sweating from the Mastitis induced fever and breast fed Max as much as I possibly could.  As painful as it was for the first few hours, we got through it and I noticed that my breast hurt a little less today.

Honestly, when I thought things couldn't get any harder they did and I'm getting through it.  For a few minutes there I was in tears, talking to Max asking why this was happening... he just looked back at me with his little blue eyes and smiled.  I know it's hard but it's worth it. I want to do it for him but more importantly I want to do it for me. I'm living the most amazing experience in my life right now. I don't want to waste it away with tears and worry.  Yes, Ahppa... I'm going to stop worrying so much and just go with the flow.  I still feel quite bad today, physically but mentally I feel almost the best I've felt in three weeks even though my right boob feels like it's leaking needles right now. 

Max just let the biggest fart ever. And he's all laying there in bed looking up like he didn't do anything.  He is definitely my son, I'd do the exact same thing. These times are the best times, just mommy and Max moments. Can't wait for more of them to come...

Fond memories of a time not so long ago...

I wore this sweatshirt through out my entire pregnancy, though not a maternity hoodie, it stretched itself out to match my form through out the nine months I carried Maximilien. Putting it on for the first time after Max was born was strange and sad. It hung on my empty body. And it made me miss my pregnant form.

At bed time, Max likes to be swaddled before falling asleep. It must remind him of a time not so long ago when he was in my belly. It puts him right to sleep. Tonight he kept waking up so while eating dinner I put him against my chest and zipped up the hoodie around him and he fell right asleep. I have to admit feeling him against me again and the tightness of the hoodie hugging my body reminded me of those precious months we shared together within my body. Soon he will be too big to do this, I must cherish these times.


After another night of nearly hourly feedings except near 5am Max decided he needed sleep and slept until 9am.  I, expecting him to wake up at 6am and then 7am, did not sleep. I kept dozing off but then would wake up in a jump thinking, "why isn't he awake?", "is he breathing?!" and I would stare at his chest to see if it was moving up and down. I'd lay down and try to sleep but then sleep did not come.

No one tells you exactly how hard the beginning weeks of mommyhood are. I guess if they did you might change your mind about becoming parents.  No one told me how mean I'd be to my dear, loving husband who at 3am is looking to sleep as much as I am but in my mind he's had enough sleep because he doesn't have a baby who wants to attach himself to you every hour on the hour.  No one tells you how crazy your emotions get after having a baby. Yeah, there's the baby blues but I think I'm experiencing something bigger than that and may need some extra help. I'm not a depressed person have never been depressed for more than a few days in  a row. Even after my mother passed away, I felt a sadness that no one should ever feel and the world ended right there. But I somehow figured out how to keep living. Breathing. Moving forward.  But being Mom to Max is hard, people. Last night, while in my black vortex of sleep deprivation I felt like throwing myself out the window. I thought about it. Standing in the kitchen, open window and jump out. That was about when I threw all the kitchen utensils on the floor because I couldn't find the weird pasta fork to serve myself spaghetti.  Max was crying. Then stopped and looked at me with his amazing big eyes that said, "Yo, Ma... it's not so bad. I'm here for you." And magically, time stopped.  My heart skipped a beat and Julien just hugged me and said nothing. 

These feelings of helplessness and utter despair I have felt lately scare me. I've never felt so weak in my life.  Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a weak person. I fight for what I believe in. Speak up. Reach out. React. Now, I feel desperation all the time and it starts Sunday night because I know the next day my husband will leave me alone for over 10 hours with Max and I'm worried that I'm going to lose my shit. I haven't yet but I worry about it... I've limited the losing of my shit when Julien is around. I guess that's good, right?

I'm still in the middle of the baby blues funk. My body still aches from the c-section. My clothes don't fit and I've been wearing the same outfit since I've come home from the clinic:  sweatpants, tank top and nursing bra.  I just found out that all my shoes do not fit me anymore. They all just a half size too small. ALL. OF. THEM. I'd like to go out and get some shoes to wear but that would mess up Max's routine and then would deprive me of sleep and then I will turn into hysterical Aimee and I really, really want to say goodbye to her. 

But I titled this post "Amazing" for a reason. Max is all of a  sudden back to what he was doing a few days ago. Sleeping and eating and being happy.  We didn't go out today. Didn't change his little routine.  And he sleeps. So, that means I sleep. Slept for more than three hours at a time. I feel better. Sleep deprivation is horrible. But this is my life right now. My life, horrible? No way. When I have sleep, I see clearly... I see my husband who's in the kitchen right now making me abowl of yogourt and bananas  and a son that's just so beautiful, I still can't believe he came out of my body. The joy I feel right now as he is filling his little tummy with milk that my body makes only for him is indescribable.  No one tells you how amazing the breastfeeding bond really is, I guess it's because you have to live it.  I need to focus on these things so that the other undesirable feelings don't take over.  How do I find a balance? Maybe there isn't a balance right now... All I know is Max and Julien are the best things in my life right now. I'll just focus on them for now. 

The aftermath of going out

Yesterday, I took Maximilien out twice.  Ambitious of me, I know. But I felt up to it and I thought Max did too.  But today we are noticing that he's just not himself. I'll get to that in a sec, yesterday he was great. We woke up around 9:30am and I nursed him until around 10am. He fell asleep and I prepared to meet my friend, Sarah for lunch. She proposed we head to Notre Dame for subs in the park. The weather was beautiful, I couldn't resist.  Typically, Max sleeps after his morning feeding until 1pm or so. So, I though we could do it. He'd just sleep in the stroller instead of his bassinet.  We packed up everything, took the bus down to St. Michel, got lunch and parked ourselves on a bench facing Notre Dame.  Max slept the entire time. We took our time to eat and then walked back up most of the boulevard St. Michel before catching the bus near Monge to head back to my apartment at Place d'Italie.  All the while, Max still snoozing away. We made it home, he woke up for good searching for lunch.  I nursed him comme d'habitude*, he fell asleep after nursing for more than 30 minutes. It's nearly 4pm. Remember how I mentioned that his hours of follies are from 4pm to 7pm. Well, he slept through those. I had a huge craving for mussels and fries and really wanted to go out to dinner with my husband. We hadn't done that since Max was born. I know, it's only 2 weeks but it's a little luxury that I enjoy doing with my husband. So, after talking with Julien he wanted to go out too and was getting off a bit early. I bathed Max early at 6pm instead of his normal time of 8pm and nursed him until Julien got home.  This was around 8pm.  We loaded Max up in the stroller and walked across the Place d'Italie to have Moules Frites.  We made it through dinner and home before he stirred and looked for a night cap. This is where our nuit blanche** of hourly feedings and crying started.  Literally every hour on the hour he woke up crying and wanting to nurse. I can't figure out how he could be so hungry. He cried his hungry cry and searched for my boob almost instantly when I'd pick him up.  Each time I'd put him on the boob, he'd nurse for a good 20 to 30 minutes and then fall asleep. I'd try to stimulate him to get him to eat more but he was passed out and then in another hour he'd wake up and we start all over again. This lasted until 9am this morning and now he's been awake ALL. DAY. And has wanted to nurse ALL. DAY.

My thoughts? He slept too much yesterday. And going out messed up his routine.

Julien's thoughts? The pollution and noise of going out is too much for a baby his age. And something about his immune system not being able to take it.

I don't agree with my husband but honestly, I don't know... so I'm throwing this out here to see if I can get some perspective.  You guys have been so helpful in the past. Any ideas?

I'm thinking since he didn't sleep all day today, tonight he's going to sleep. I hope so, I need it.  As I type this, he's been nursing, yet again... My boobs are troopers, I tell you. Oh and I feel like crazy, hysterical Aimee today. And people, that's scary.

* Like usual
** All nighter

Routines and baby farts

We've fallen into a pattern, if you can call it that after two weeks of knowing each other, Max awakes early and wants to nurse until Julien's alarm goes off.  Julien changes his diaper and then heads to the shower while I feed Max his second breakfast. It's nearly 8am now. Julien leaves for work and Max and I crawl back into bed and sleep for a couple more hours.  He wakes up again around lunch time wanting to eat and snuggle. I nurse him and in between boobs I make myself lunch and have it ready to eat after Max has fallen asleep again for his afternoon nap.  I quietly eat lunch while watching Max sleep or with an episode of Grey's Anatomy playing and shortly there after fall asleep myself. Around 4pm, Max wakes up and wants to play. He stays awake until 7pm when he'll start to make his piggie noises meaning he's hungry and I nurse him a little and keep him awake until Julien gets home around 8pm.  Then it's bath time. We heat up the kitchen with the portable ceramic heater we bought a couple days ago.  Now bath time is fun time as Max really enjoys the water.  Julien gets to spend some awake time with Max because after bath time the only thing Max has on his mind is to nurse and go to sleep.  The bedtime session is long as he wants to eat a lot and I'm often cringing at the end because he's spent nearly 1.5 hours nursing before he's ready to call it a night. I don't know how my breasts can take but they are hanging in there.  If all goes well, Maximus will sleep 5 to 6 hours straight.

But... the last couple days, Max has had massive gas. It's all my fault, I've eaten something that has given me gas and I have passed it along to him.  He is rather funny to watch when he's working on a fart. He literally stops moving and sometimes breathing to put all his attention into each of his bowel movements.  He grunts. He growls. He bites. And finally when it passes, he's passed out. Unfortunately, his gas has been so bad the last couple nights that it has woken him up from his boob induced slumber and that means I'm up, too. 

So, diet change for me for the next couple days. Pasta. Fruit. Fish. All things that do not make me fart, I don't know if babies can make themselves have hemorrhoids from pushing too hard but I'd like my little guy to take a break from the fart-works for awhile and get some sleep.

Such is life chez nous, I analyze my son's farts and dirty diapers. I finally got a shower today and had time to do the dishes and a load of laundry and blog (!).  In 15 minutes, Max will start his 3 hours of follies.  But this is my life now and I wouldn't change it for anything.