3 Months Post-Partum


Where does the time go, you guys? I feel like it was just yesterday I sat down, full of emotion, to write the birth story of my little girl. How can it be that she is already 3 months old? Let’s update on both, my recovery an my daughters growth. 

Me: Three months has passed and I’m still constantly in wonder of everything my body has recovered from.  I’m not back to my pre-pregnancy size but I don’t really care either.  My main concern is that Petra is healthy and fed through my breastmilk for as long as I can produce. I have gone on a couple of runs that have made me feel good but for the most part, after returning to work, I use my free time to soak in all the love from my little family.  I sometimes get hip pain sporadically but I know that will go away.  It’s hard when I feel some kind of pain to know if it’s because my body is returning to normal or if it’s just regular old post-partum pain but I’m feeling good.  I’ve definitely been trying to eat at healthy as possible since I’m still currently breastfeeding but they weren’t kidding about the cravings.  I definitely want all the carbs right now.  I don’t worry too much about it. I know my jeans will fit eventually.  Or not, I don’t know.  My hips definitely seem wider than before I got pregnant so I might have to go up a size now. 

Petra: Petra’s development has literally blown me away.  It’s amazing how much babies learn in 3 months.  Petra’s eyes have developed and she looks right at mom and dad when we talk to her.  She smiles when we make silly faces and she talks all kinds of babble and sometimes that babble turns into tiny screams, which, call me crazy, but I find adorable.  Even her screams are high pitched, she sounds like a little lady, which is weird to say but so true! She also is currently dominating tummy time as made evident by the photo above.  Hopefully that means her little back muscles are super strong and she’ll be rolling over in no time. She’s drinking breastmilk only.  We’ve definitely tried to supplement some formula to kind of make it easy in case I’m not able to pump a lot but she hasn’t really found a formula she likes so I guess I’m just working harder to pump more for her. Lukasz is staying home with her until September and the cute pictures he sends me while I’m at work absolutely make my heart melt.  No one can make her smile like her daddy!

Xo.

Karen

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The Birthday Post

It finally happened, my 28th birthday came and went.  I don’t feel 28, I don’t feel older than, like, 21.  Are there people out there that feel that way too? Just a perpetual child in a body that’s growing older?  I don’t mind getting older either.  They say you’re supposed to be wiser too.

I had a really good day!  Originally, Lukasz and I had planned to take Petra on her first camping trip but our plans fell through when we realized it would be raining all weekend at Lake George.  Breastfeeding a two-month old baby in a two-person tent because of thunder and rain? Pass.  Luckily, we live in the greatest city in the world so theres always something to do.  That’s actually one of the things I’m really excited to explore with Little Petra: just how much this city has to offer in terms of entertainment and food and culture and just everything.  We decided to hit up the Museum of Natural History and maybe go some place for dinner after on the Upper West Side. And Tatiana and Todd had the day off, so it was basically a party. 🙂

But here’s the thing, have you ever spent a whole day out with a 2 month old? After getting on the second train to take us uptown, Petra decided that some more milk was in order and it could not wait.  So after a pit stop in Central Park for a quick lunch for our baby girl (read: Breastfeeding in the park), we were back on track headed towards the museum.  Here’s a pro-tip:  Never do anything in NYC on the weekends.  Kidding!  But not really.  I kind of forget how crowded everything is on the weekends and the museum was no exception.  Petra slept a little bit and we wandered the exhibits.  I always forget how big that place is going in.  There was so much to see and so many floors and so little time and so many people.BirthdayBirthday6

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We attempted to get this picture a few times. It was kind of hard to get one without Lukasz attempting to grab my boobs, hahaha. What a goofball ❤

And for dinner, we hit up Jacobs Pickles.  It was our first time trying it and it was AMAZING.  Everything, their pickles and biscuits and fries, etc was super delicious.  We even got lucky and sat outside and they accommodated the stroller next to us.  I’m definitely keeping this place in mind for future dinners because it was kid-friendly and the food was great.  That’s one of the things I love about the Upper West Side, how family friendly the neighborhood is.

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I look like I’m throwing Tatiana some shade here but I promise I’m not. I’m probably wondering what lipstick she’s wearing because I love her!

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Half of these pictures were courtesy of Tatiana.  I could have sworn I got more but I guess I was too busy having fun, haha. All in all, taking Petra out for a full day was a little scary to think about but everything turned out great. When we got home, we were exhausted and sleepy and happy.  It was honestly the best low-key way to spend my birthday and I loved every second with my little family and friends.  What a great way to start Year 28!

xo,

Karen

Breastfeeding Essentials


My journey with breastfeeding has definitely been interesting.  Ever since Petra was born, I knew she would be breastfed.  There are so many advantages, medically and financially.  That isn’t to judge anyone that has done formula.  I know that I got lucky in having Petra immediately latch and my supply grow steady. And while I haven’t had any lactation problems so far (except one mild case of mastitis), there isn’t a day that goes by where I question whether I’m producing enough breastmilk or wonder whether Petra is getting the adequate amount of nutrition to help her grow.  She’s only at 8 weeks old but it has been a tough two months full of self doubt and a lot of work, from sore nipples to crazy pumping.  I don’t know about you guys but I very stupidly assumed breastfeeding would be easy.  Gosh, was I wrong but I did want to share the things that made it a little bit better.

1. Nipple Shields: I didn’t even know what this was until I was home from the hospital for 5 days and my nipples began to hurt from, well, Petra breastfeeding so much.  Łukasz is actually the one that brought it to my attention and I was rather impressed at his knowledge of such a thing.  Anyways, a shield is a thin piece of plastic that you put on your boob to create a barrier.  Some hate it because it eliminates the skin-to-skin contact.  Others hate it because they say it might cause nipple confusion.  For me and Petra it was a lifesaver.  My boob-skin (what?) got a break and after a few weeks of wear, I actually didn’t need it anymore.

2. Breast Pump: Oh the breast pump. I began using mine about a month after Petra was home from the hospital.  I love mine.  It was actually gifted to me by a friend who is expecting herself.  Sort of a test run to see how I like it, haha. Mine is electric although I have heard that manual pumps are amazing.  I have personally never tried a manual pump but I have no complaints from mine.  It gets the job done and it’s quick and it has two pumps attached so you can pump simultaneously.  I’ve only done that once though, it makes me nervous when at least one hand isn’t free.  Sort of negates the purpose right? Oh well.

3. Bamboobies: Boob pads! For those moments when you spring a leak the moment you hear a baby cry! No, but let’s get serious for a moment.  How weird is that? I will literally be about to hop in the shower when I could swear I hear Petra cry and bam, my body responds almost immediately.  It has settled down a bit now that my supply is established but these breast pads have been amazing.  I first got them as a sample from a baby expo and I loved them so I bought a whole box. I considered buying the reusable ones but I just can’t deal with the thought of having to wash them all the time. But I’m sure they’re great too! I’m just the laziest.

4. Water: I’ve googled a million lists on nutrition for how to maintain your breast supply and to be honest, keeping hydrated is the only thing I found consistent in those lists.  I now know there isn’t a magical food that’s going to make you produce more milk although women swear by oats, and fenugreek, and lactation cookies.  Maybe they work but I’m tired of eating oats.  Breastfeeding has made me incredibly thirsty though, but it makes sense: you make milk, you expel milk and while water won’t magically become milk, it helps to keep hydrated. Thus, my water bottle is literally always next to me.

5. Ziploc Bags: Lastly, these babies for storing milk.  I haven’t been great at increasing my milk storage in the freezer but I am trying, slowly but surely.  I remember wondering what I’m going to put the milk in and bottles are expensive and bags made for breastmilk are too. So one day while perusing the usual mom forums, I saw a mom say that she uses freezer ziplock bags.  Just make sure you get the ones with a zipper.  They’re inexpensive and they hold milk well. Bam, bought a box the next day and now I have a freezer fullllll of breastmilk.  Well not full but, like I said, slowly getting there.

This all being said, once again, I’m not an expert.  I’m just a first time mom trying to figure it out as I go along and what works for me might not work for others.  Maybe a shield just isn’t for you or maybe you prefer a manual pump, that’s all cool too.

Xo,

Karen

#MomLife

Let’s start this post by talking about sleeping habits, both mine and my daughters. Petra has gone to bed everyday for the past week at 9pm.  She has slept until about 3am, when she wakes to eat for about 20 minutes. She then goes back to sleep until she wakes up on her own, happy as a clam, in her own crib at around 7am.  I don’t know how we managed this but it has been amazing for me, to be able to get some decent sleep for the first time in 2 months.  I say “decent”, it could be better but I have no one to blame but myself.  I should sleep when the baby falls asleep and still, I am up until about midnight reading.  I never learn. Can you even believe I just spent a whole paragraph talking about sleep and sleep schedules?  This is it, guys.  This is the #momlife.

I’m fascinated by all things “baby”.  How she distracts herself, what is it that triggers her adorable smile, how many wet diapers she has in one day.  It’s all part of it, part of the glamorous life of being a new mom and having this little eleven pound nugget consume your thoughts and actions. Even after she’s fallen asleep, I can’t help but wonder what I could have done differently with our day and I really miss her when she sleeps.  It’s kind of a bummer because I know this time is so short and sweet and soon she’ll be at daycare and I’ll be working again and I’ll wish I was at home instead.

She’s such a good baby though.  How did we get so lucky?  She doesn’t cry BUT she has these little outburst to get your attention. Her voice is adorably squeaky and sometimes the only way to get her to take a nap when she’s fussy is to hold her tiny face against mine as we pace our apartment.

Petra is seven weeks old today.  Seven whole weeks! Where does the time go?  Can it really be true that she’s going to be 8 weeks old in just a matter of days?    The more time passes, the more cognizant she becomes and during playtime, my mind wanders and I think about what she’s going to be like in another whole month.  It’s so bittersweet to be so excited and yet so sad to think that time is fleeting.  Can I just hold her and she can stay this size forever?

xo,

Karen

 

I’m Still Here

It has been four weeks since I came home from the hospital and what a whirlwind of a month it has been.  I’m definitely still here, alive, a little tired but finally falling into a groove with our daughter and things are looking good. I will definitely tell you that the first two weeks after Petra was born were the hardest weeks of my life.  Not only was her feeding schedule incredibly demanding and exhausting but I did suffer from a hardcore case of the baby blues.  Those hormones, man.  THOSE HORMONES. I cried because I was sad that my life was changing so quickly but I also cried because I was happy to start this new chapter (confusing right?) and I cried because the feeling of loving a little baby SO MUCH was so hard to bear.  Like I told Lukasz, my rock through all of it, it was all just so heavy.  I tell you this because 1) I don’t want to sugarcoat anything and 2)Because I didn’t know this was going to happen.  I was worried that this was post-partum depression but after a dark couple of weeks, I can honestly tell you that I feel much better.  I feel like myself again.

Another thing that happened this month that has my head spinning and my heart bursting is Lukasz and I getting engaged.  We got engaged a couple of weeks ago out on the North Fork of Long Island.  We packed our two week old baby girl in the car along with some essentials and took a two hour road trip to end up at the very end of the fork. A quick 10 minute hike to a secluded pebble beach with crystal clear water and he proposed with the most beautiful ring.  I’m so incredibly happy with my little family and we can’t wait to start planning our festivities.  So far we have a few venue ideas and with a baby, I know it might be a little difficult to plan but I’m not bummed about it, I’m just happy in this moment.

As for our baby girl, she’s officially going to be one month old on June 11th and I’m in shock at how fast this time has gone by.  I can hardly believe that a month ago, she was experiencing her first day on this earth and now she’s smiling and cooing!  It’s amazing how quickly babies develop in their first year.  She loves being in her carrier and taking walks outside and she loves the sound of her dad’s voice and when he sings to her.  It’s pretty magical to watch and makes me love them both even more! While she’s definitely not sleeping through the night, her cycle hasn’t been terrible.  She usually falls asleep at 8pm and then doesn’t wake up until midnight to eat.  Then another 4 hours to sleep.  Wakes up, eats and wakes up for the day around 6 or 7am.  Despite the long hours of sleep, I definitely still need my coffee, like, the MINUTE I wake up.  One giant cup usually does the trick for the day.  Plus I’m still breastfeeding so I can’t go caffeine crazy like I usually do.  And lastly, I’m finally starting to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes! It’s not the first thing on my mind, but it’s a nice afterthought.

I hope to be doing more regular updates now that things are a little less crazy so FINGERS CROSSED. 🙂

Petra’s Birth Story

I wanted to share Petra’s birth story on here for a few different reasons.  Number one:  I just really wanted to remember.  I wanted to look back and remember the small details of the almost 40 hours of labor that I went through.  Number two because I needed to write and get it out of my system.  I know that having a baby and giving birth is such a big thing in life and I don’t want to be the person trying to explain to others what a big deal it is when they already know.  The thing is, looking back, I don’t think I really knew.  My personality has always been on the more relaxed side, jokingly saying that I would be the cool mom and my baby would be different and her second language would probably end up being sarcasm.  But now, none of that makes sense. Now, I don’t know what kind of person or mother I’m going to be.  All I care about is just making the right decisions.

I woke up having contractions at 6am on Tuesday, May 10th.  I didn’t know they were contractions, I just thought I was having slight pain in my back and my pain woke up Lukasz.  We laid in bed for a while before he decided to start timing how often the pain came and went. Luckily, I also was due for another OB checkup that day so we weren’t worried about going straight to the hospital.  The pain, of what I realize now were contractions, was slowly getting stronger and they were about 5 minutes apart by noon when we arrived at the doctors by a lyft.  After she checked me, she said I was definitely in early labor but only dilated one cm which would mean the process would be a long one.  Though we came prepared with our hospital bag, we ended up going home to deal with the contractions.  Doctor advised us to return when they were closer together, maybe three to four minutes. Per Lukasz’s suggestion that more walking be done, we took the subway home.

At home, I tried to not think about the pain.  I made cookies to feed myself, Lukasz went shopping for sustenance (gummy bears, applesauce, sugar, etc.) and we generally tried to remain calm expecting a baby to happen tonight or tomorrow morning.  The pain gradually got worse and every contraction, Lukasz was there to time it, rub my back and hold my hand.  We had quiet discussions, about how things would change, about how I’m taking the pain like a  champ, about the middle name we would give Petra.  It got to the point where I insisted we go to the hospital because I couldn’t stand the pain anymore and at 12am on Wednesday, after bursting into tears and begging to go, we were on our way.  Of course, after triage, they said I was still dilated only 1cm and I could walk around the hospital or I could go back home and keep laboring there. I cried when they told me. We went back home for the second time.

It’s hard to describe what happened in those morning hours.  I was exhausted and I really wanted to sleep so bad.  I laid myself down dozing off for 5 minutes at a time only to be awoken by really sharp pain that I couldn’t bear anymore.  My temper started to run short, I just wanted to not feel pain anymore.  Lukasz ran me a hot shower and he napped while I stood in there, letting the hot water attempt to soothe me.  I know it sounds dramatic but they truly were some of the hardest moments I’ve ever had to endure.  As Petra descended into my pelvis, every contraction felt like a desperate need to go to the bathroom.  Everything stayed that way until 9am when I decided we would go to the hospital and I wouldn’t let them tell me to leave.  I wanted an epidural.  I wanted the pain to go away.

The second drive to the hospital in the back of an uber was one of the worst rides of my life.  I had completely lost all need for keeping quiet and I yelled in the back of the car when every contraction came and went.  When we arrived at the hospital and they triaged me, I was still only one centimeter dilated and I cried telling them I couldn’t take the pain anymore.  They let me lie there monitoring me while the nurse checked with the on-call doctor to see if they would let me have an epidural for the pain.  When she came back and said I would finally go into the laboring room and they would give me pain medications, Lukasz and I both cried.  After setting everything up and calling the anesthesiologist, the epidural was administered and I felt the pain leave almost immediately. I mention this because I have so much respect for the women that have done this without the epidural.  I never had plans to not have it and looking back, I know I made the right choice.

Because of the epidural, they were also able to give me a dose of Pitocin, a man made form of oxytocin, to speed up my contractions and help me dilate faster.  Around 4:00pm, I was dilated only 4 cm and the doctor broke my water. Then it was a waiting game.  Time seemed to move at warp speed.  I could hardly believe that I had been going through the pain for more than a day now.  It all molded into one big lump of time. When the doctor came back at 8:15 and saw I hadn’t made any progress, she upped my dosage of Pitocin and gave me peanut shaped pillow to lay between my legs.  Lukasz decided to grab some power bars to give me energy since I had hardly slept since 6am the previous morning.  While Lukasz was gone, I began to get really bad pain and it felt like I really needed to go to the bathroom.  I immediately called the nurse who said that she would help me go but she would need to check how dilated I was first. After checking, it had only been about 30 minutes with the uncomfortable pillow between my legs, she said I was ready to start pushing.  I slightly freaked out knowing Lukasz wasn’t by my side, but after texting him, he came running and it was go time.

I feel like this is the part where we were the most blessed. After reading so many birth stories, after pouring over all the books, this is the part I was most scared of, the active labor, the breathing, the pushing with all my strength.  For some, for most, for first timers, this could take hours and I wasn’t entirely prepared to be pushing for hours.  In the end, I don’t know if it was Lukasz’s words of encouragement or the doctors calm demeanor or my need for all of it to be over already, but Petra arrived into this world after pushing for only 30 minutes. The emotion of having our daughter placed on my bare skin after being born is something I would never be able to explain. I cried, Lukasz laughed and cried and Petra cried for two seconds before calmly taking in this new world that she was a part of now.  It was, with absolute certainty, the most jarring experience of my life.

We both held her, we both stared at her and we both fell overwhelmingly in love with our little girl who was so teeny and tiny, I was worried that whoever held her, would break her.  I stared at her little face and her tiny eyes and I just wished that she would always be happy and that I would always be able to make her happy.  It so amazing how quickly that love and feeling comes over you the moment you hold your newborn baby.  Tomorrow she will be one week old.  That would be one week of me being a blubbering mess just hoping I’m doing everything right.  Nothing else matters anymore.  Just Petra.  Petra is the only thing that matters now.  I want the whole world for her.  I hope that we can do that, I hope that Lukasz and I can give her our whole world.

xo,

Karen

Welcome Petra


Please welcome our baby girl, Petra Christina Kapica to the world. 

She was born on Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 at 9:23pm Eastern Time. 

She’s 7 lb 14 oz(3560g) and 9/10 APGAR scale. 

We’re both tired but so incredibly happy. ❤️
Hello world!!
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Petra Christina Kapica przyszła na świat 11 maja 2016 roku o 21:23 w Nowym Jorku. Petra jest zdrowa, waży 3560 gramów i otrzymała 9/10 punktów w skali Apgar. Mama jest zmęczona, ale bardzo szczęśliwa

Pierrot

I wanted to write a little post about dogs.  Have you met our dog?  His name is Pierrot and he’s a 2 year-old Shetland Sheepdog.  The reason I wanted to write a post about dogs is because when big changes happen around the household, no one is probably more confused than the pets of the house.  While Pierrot is a pretty smart dog, I don’t think he knows what’s about to happen in less than a month.

In this area, I only have a small amount of experience.  When I was younger,  our family of four grew to a family of five with the purchase of one adorable cocker spaniel, named Mitzy.  She was my first dog and my everything.  We got her when she was a tiny adorable puppy from the local pet store for $500, if I remember correctly.  She was the first dog (but not the last) that made me believe that it was easier to raise babies than it was to raise dogs (Dogs poop on carpets and babies eventually learn to use their words!).  BUT, and this is a big “but”, she was cute and my sister and I really wanted a dog so we let her get away with almost anything.  She lived in the room in our backyard and she ate every bug she could get her face on.  She was absolutely wild and we were really careless.  She rarely went out on walks and, therefore, was barely socialized with other dogs and humans.  Soooo, when my younger brother was born, and I was 12 years old, Mitzy was not the kindest to him.  When my brother started learning to crawl and walk, Mitzy was forced to be outside more and more and she would jealously watch my little brother taunt her from the living room window. She would go crazy pawing at the glass and barking and my brother would start crying until one day, my parents made the decision that Mitzy and my brother could no longer live under the same roof.  I cried my eyes out the day they dropped her off at the pound.  We had her for four years and I could never get over trying to replace her with another spaniel.  I fell in love with any spaniel and their floppy ears.

Fast forward another 14 years and I met Lukasz, who already had dog plans of his own.  When we moved in together, his sister came to visit a couple of months later and she brought him an adorable one year old Sheltie.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that his timid attitude confused me, or why he didn’t really care for birds.  (Spaniels are a hunting breed; they’re all about the birds) But I learned more and more about Shelties and Pierrot grew more and more used to his new home here, with Lukasz and I.

Fast forward another year and here we are, less than a month away from having a baby, with Pierrot none the wiser.  He hasn’t had much experience with any younger children except seeing them on walks but I am unwilling to repeat what happened with Mitzy.  I have definitely been reading tips online hoping that something will stick but also half hoping that Pierrot will be so weirded out by the potato sack that will be a newborn baby that he’ll just keep to himself.  He’s also a barker, which makes me more concerned for baby as opposed to the dog.  God knows I’ve had my own sleep interrupted just because Pierrot heard someone creeping on the stairs at 3 in the morning. But despite all of that, he’s such a good dog.  He goes on walks twice a day which will be nice to have baby girl join us on. And despite some early stomach issues with his food, it looks like we’ve finally found a good food replacement to keep him happy with steady energy. I feel like he’s finally getting into the swing of things around here so hopefully the next puppy update after the baby is born will be a good one.

xo,

Karen