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Todd at 2 days old - August 23, 2014

Todd at 2 days old – August 23, 2014

Has it already been 3 months since our #minivegan was born?  In keeping with what seems to be the new theme to this blog (part-time online journal), here’s the first in a series of month by month updates.  I’ve been fastidiously keeping records of all of Todd’s goings on since he was born.

As you know from my other baby posts, I am very detail oriented!  It’s not only because I’m in the medical profession that I’ve been charting Todd’s intake, output, sleep patterns, and more since he came home from the hospital.  I don’t want to forget anything about his precious development!

This post was originally going to include Todd’s first three months, but it started getting too long!  So, here’s just the first month…

(Note that I’m just summarizing points pertaining to Todd’s birth and my breastfeeding struggles.  For the detailed accounts and pictures, see my posts:  Todd’s Birth Day and My Bottle Baby.)



Todd was born on Thursday, August 21st at 7:08 PM.  He spent his first night in the NICU and his second night in my hospital room.  In the NICU, Eric gave him a nickname, “Ribbit,” because he made cute frog noises.

Todd and I came home from the hospital on the 23rd.  My sister and niece had been staying at our house since August 13th.  I was greeted with sweet decorations that they put up when I was gone, which made me cry!  I felt so loved.

Welcome Home Sign

Welcome Home Sign

One of many house decorations by Karin & Ashley

One of many house decorations by Karin & Ashley

Ashley & Todd - August 23, 2014

Ashley & Todd – August 23, 2014

My parents arrived with my nephew on the 24th.  We had a full house, but I really appreciated having the company and extra help during that painful and stressful first week.  My sister and her kids went home on the 26th.

My sister and her kids with Todd - August 26, 2014

My sister and her kids with Todd – August 26, 2014

On the 26th, I started having Todd sleep in my bed with me, because he wouldn’t go to sleep in the Pack ‘n Play in my room.  That saved my sanity.  I enjoyed my “little bed partner,” although it took some adjustment to sleep without moving a muscle and without using my blankets and body pillows the way I was accustomed to.

My bed partner - August 29, 2014

My bed partner – August 29, 2014

My parents went home on the 28th.  I was very emotional when my family left.  I was in the throes of sleep deprivation and my post-partum hormone crash.  I was struggling with breastfeeding and stressed about Todd’s weight loss.

My parents with Todd - August 28, 2014

My parents with Todd – August 28, 2014

  • Visitors in the hospital:  my sister (Karin), Eric’s parents (Diane & Darrel), our sister-in-law (Sandie), and my niece (Ashley)
  • Visitors at home:  Eric’s parents, Eric’s brother (Jeff), our niece (Kylie), our nephew (Eli), my parents (Carol Ann & Richard), and our doula (Serena)
  • Appointments:  Lactation (8/24), Pediatrician (8/25)
  • Todd’s weight = 7 pounds at birth;  6 pounds, 3 ounces at 1 week old.
  • 1st nail trim – August 23
  • 1st walk in the stroller – August 24
  • 1st co-sleeping – August 26
  • 1st restaurant outing (Shire Cafe, Arlington, WA) – August 28
1st nail trim, by Ashley - August 23, 2014

1st nail trim, by Ashley – August 23, 2014

Stroller Walk - August 24, 2014

Stroller Walk – August 24, 2014

The Shire Cafe - August 28, 2014

The Shire Cafe – August 28, 2014


Although my stress over breastfeeding difficulties was peaking this week and next, I do have tender memories of Todd holding onto his ears like handles when he was calmly latched on.  (When it was right, it seemed so right!  He just wasn’t getting enough to eat!)

Todd holding onto his ear like a handle - August 24, 2014

Todd holding onto his ear like a handle – August 24, 2014

Since birth, he would keep his hands up by his face.  There was speculation that maybe that was why he had a hard time getting out!  Often, I would have to wrestle with those hands when breastfeeding, because he would push away from me with them.  It’s amazing how strong newborns are!

September 3rd was another particularly emotional day for me.  There were lots of tears of heartache.

  • Visitors at home: our sister-in-law (Dallas)
  • Appointments:  Lactation (8/29, 8/31, 9/3), Cascade Birth Center (9/3), Pediatrician (9/2)
  • Todd’s weight = 6 pounds, 9.5 ounces at 12 days.
  • 1st time using Moby wrap (9/4)
Trying out the Moby - September 4, 2014

Trying out the Moby – September 4, 2014


For the first 3 days, I didn’t leave the house.  I was a slave to breastfeeding, then supplement feeding, then pumping, and the clean-up of pump parts and bottles.  Eric was a big help, but naturally the brunt of the stress was on me.  I reached another emotional low point in the wee hours of September 7th.

In the light of summer day, I felt a little better when I finally took Todd outside, to the mailbox and to briefly visit a neighbor.

For the remainder of this week (4 days in a row), Eric’s mom came over to help.  Todd gave her lots of snuggles.  I cherished the company.  I ended the week feeling emotionally loads better.


Cuddles from Grammie - September 8, 2014

Cuddles from Grammie – September 8, 2014

We purchased a swing on September 9th, and it turned out to be a vital piece of equipment.  I could put Todd down and he’d stay happy.  Otherwise, he loved to fall asleep on warm bodies!

  • Appointments:  ARNP (9/8), Pediatrician (9/9)
  • Todd’s weight = 7 pounds, 2.5 ounces at 2 1/2 weeks
  • Umbilical cord stump fell off (9/9)
  • 1st time in swing (9/10)


Since his cord stump fell off, we gave him his first bath on the 14th.  He was hesitant at first, but then he seemed to enjoy it.

By the end of this week, I stopped breastfeeding and I stopped pumping.  This meant that life started getting a whole lot better for the three of us.  Without the singular focus on simply feeding Todd, I was finally able to start caring for him.

Up until this week, Todd continued to sleep swaddled in my bed.  But then Todd started crying more when we’d go to bed.  It seemed like the right time to wean him from the co-sleeping.  On September 17th, he was able to fall asleep twice in the Pack n Play in my room.

At 7:30 PM the next night, I put him to bed in his crib.  Success!  He slept until 11 PM, ate, returned to his crib until 3 AM, ate, then returned to his crib until 7 AM.  He’s been sleeping in his crib at night ever since.

  • Visitor at home:  Eric’s mom
  • 1st & 2nd baths (9/14, 9/21)
  • Last breastfeeding attempt (9/17)
  • Active kicking day on playmat (9/18)
  • 1st sleep in crib (9/18)
  • 1st visit to a protest (Ringling circus, 9/20)
Todd on Grammie - September 14, 2014

Todd on Grammie – September 14, 2014

Ringling Circus Protest - September 20, 2014

Ringling Circus Protest – September 20, 2014


2nd Bath at 1 month old – September 21, 2014



Other things to remember about Todd’ first month:

  • scaly skin around his eyebrows
  • goopy right eye
  • sucking on his first finger
  • staring at our engagement picture above his changing table
Staring at our engagement picture - September 9, 2014

Staring at our engagement picture – September 9, 2014

  • staring at pictures on the walls
  • grunts and squeaks
  • turning head side to side during tummy time
  • at the end of the month, Todd’s bowel movement frequency had decreased, from multiple times per day to about twice.
  • carrying Todd around the yard to look at the plants, and walks to the mailbox
Eric & Todd - September 7, 2014

Eric & Todd – September 7, 2014

  • working on head stabilization by holding onto Todd’s hands and gently pulling him  to upright sitting. (See video clip below)

Next up:  Baby Todd’s Second Month…

September 18, 2014 - Bend, OR - 8 Weeks Post-Partum

September 18, 2014 – Bend, OR – 8 Weeks Post-Partum

It’s now been 10 weeks since my baby Todd was born.  I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot so I might as well put it down in writing.  This blog has become a place for me to journal, it seems!

Before I found out I was pregnant, my weight was 99 pounds.  After much discipline with diet and exercise, I’d achieved this all time low of body weight and body fat.  That sounds bad, right?  I promise I’m not anorexic!  I’m also not disordered in my eating at all.  My diet was simply nutritionally rock solid (plant-powered NSNG).  And, I was exercising for a balance of upper body/core strength and cardio conditioning.

I’ve always been an “exerciser,” never missing more than a day or 2 a week.  Eric and I were avid mountain bikers every weekend in non-ski season.  We’re avid skiers every weekend during winter.  I did yoga, pilates, swimming, road biking, walking and running.  I’m the type of person who gets depressed when I can’t work out.  My body needs to be moving!

Just before I got pregnant, I wasn’t trying to lose more weight.  I was very happy with my appearance.  In fact, I had come to the realization that- for the first time in my life- I was no longer striving for a goal.  I was there!  What next?

Next…I got pregnant!

During my first trimester, I got desperately hungry.  I also felt incredible fatigue.  There was no way I could exercise.  I started gaining weight steadily.  I didn’t fight it.  I gave my body what it needed at the time.  My legs and butt store fat the easiest, so I quickly outgrew my pants.  I bought bigger ones at the thrift store and I outgrew those too.  Finally, I started wearing only dresses that I couldn’t outgrow!

Throughout my pregnancy, I used hunger as my guide.  I ate the same healthy foods that I ate before, but I did indulge in a fair amount of junk food, especially early on.  After 20 weeks, I cut back significantly.  I gained just under ~1 pound per week throughout my pregnancy.  Once I got my energy back (late first trimester), I still didn’t exercise as much as I wanted to because I was working so much.  I was saving money for my maternity leave.

My highest weight (at week 37) was 132.8 pounds, which means I gained about 34 pounds total.  I lost a few pounds after week 37 because my belly just couldn’t fit much food in there.  It was also summer and I was craving mostly fresh fruit.

When I was pregnant, I assumed that my stored body fat would fuel my milk production.  I planned to focus on breast feeding rather than quickly losing the pregnancy pounds.  After Todd was born, I ate generously to maximize my milk supply.

As it turned out, breast feeding didn’t work out for us.  Todd’s been exclusively formula-fed since his 4th week (See “My Bottle Baby” for more details.)  Although I was heartbroken about my breast feeding failure, it was a freedom to start eating just for myself.  I was no longer eating for two.  I could start focusing on losing the extra pounds and inflating my flabby muscles.

The food part has been easy.  At home I have no temptation whatsoever to eat junk.  I’m back to my old NSNG (No Sugar No Grains) way of eating.  I’m not eating much because I’m so sedentary right now.

The exercising part has been the struggle!  I’m not doing much yet.  My pain was significant for the first 4 weeks.  (And I was exhausted!)  I started doing some light abdominal and upper body resistance work and short walks at week 5.

way overdid the walking during week 6 (up hills pushing the stroller 4 days in a row):  BIG mistake.  For week 7, I limited my exercise to yoga (twice) and a couple gentle walks.  Week 8 in Bend, OR I did a few more slow, level walks.  Last week (9) I did yoga once.  This week (10) I’ve done a little light abdominal and upper body resistance work.  Since I’m home with Todd, some days I get out of the house and some days I don’t.

My physical healing from childbirth is taking so much longer than I ever expected it would.  Superficially, my episiotomy incision seems to be healed, but perhaps I have some deep sutures that have not fully absorbed.  My scar tissue feels thickened.  Internally, I’m still swollen.  Sorry for the TMI!  (I’d like to think that I’m not alone in my experience.)

What I feel from all this is an uncomfortable pressure in my perineum.  I can tolerate household activities like standing up to cook, but I still feel moderately impaired when I walk any distance, including during basic shopping activities (especially when moving baby and car seat in/out of the car and loading/unloading the stroller.)

I have been exercising my patience!

I took a post-partum belly pic at week one.  (Trust me, the frontal view does not show the degree of pooch that was there.  And, pictures don’t show the mushiness!)

8/28/14 - 1 Week Post Partum - 118.8 lbs

8/28/14 – 1 Week Post Partum – 118.8 lbs

I’d planned to take regular “progress” pics, but it just didn’t happen.  It didn’t make sense to take pics of progress that wasn’t happening.  I won’t make real progress until I can exercise properly.

I took this belly pic this week.  The pooch is still there.  My skin is loose and my abs are weak.

10/31/14 - 10 Weeks Post-Partum

10/31/14 – 10 Weeks Post-Partum

I’ve had to re-evaluate my goals.  Whereas my old goal was to get my old body back ASAP (!!), my new goal is to just feel “normal” again.  It’s not about how “perfect” my body looks, it’s about how my body functions.

“ASAP” just aint happenin’!  I’m settling for “maybe eventually.”  Last week my weight was 113.2 pounds, which is still 14 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight.

Is my goal to be back under 100 pounds? I don’t think so. My body has been forever changed by having a baby.  My short term goal is to get back in the ~105 pound range.  Mostly, I’d like to fit into my old pants.  My biggest pants are just now starting to get baggy.

Priorities?  Now I have a baby to take care of.  Duh, right?!  That’s made it a lot easier to be patient with my healing and my body.  My concept of time is different.  The days go by so fast because I can spend hours feeding, sitting and playing with Todd.  When I do get up, it’s to cook, do household stuff…and take a shower!

For the first time in my life, I’m letting myself enjoy this slower pace.  My full time job right now is simply taking care of Todd and taking care of myself.  I don’t need to be more “productive” than that.  This is the time for me to take a break from my go-go-go lifestyle.

Honestly, who I am trying to impress anyway, when I strive for ripped abs, lean legs and a firm butt?  I look more than fine according to most!  When I take Todd visiting, friends always comment that I don’t even look like I was pregnant.  “You’re so skinny!” they say.  I doubt that Eric really cares all that much, either.  Obviously, I’m only trying to impress myself.

Bottom line:  I’m giving myself a break…which is very different from just “letting myself go.”  Like I said, my eating is back to baseline.  Without doing much exercise, I suppose I’ll find out what can be done with diet alone!

Pretty soon I’ll get a lot more disciplined with exercising.  I know I will, because it’s just the way I am.  I’ll do what I can, when I can, as I continue to heal.  And, I’m really looking forward to ski season.  We’ll take Todd to the lodge and take turns making turns!  By next spring/summer, we plan to pack him along on hikes.

The post-partum period is definitely the “4th trimester.”  Trimesters are 13 weeks!  Just like all of them (especially the 3rd!), the fourth one can’t be rushed.  I surrender…

And I’m happy!

October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014

October 31, 2014

October 31, 2014


"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

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