Friday, December 12, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I know it's been ages since I posted last, but now I have something to share and a moment free to share it.
So we had our first professional pictures as a family done today. I just wanted to share some with you... but first, I'd like to set the mood. The following is a quote from the TV cartoon series Family Guy:

"You all think Christmas just happens. You think all this goodwill just falls from the freakin' sky, WELL IT DOESN'T! IT FALLS FROM MY HOLLY JOLLY BUTT! So you can cook your own darn turkey, wrap your own stupid presents, and hey, while you're at it YOU CAN ALL RIDE A ONE HORSE OPEN SLEIGH TO @#$&! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming! *Burl Ives croons Christmas tunes*

Our little dolly, Grace Anne, already 5 months-- HOLY SMOKES!

"Wait... what do you mean there's a fat man that comes down people's chimneys?!"

I love mah hubby!

After the reindeer suit, Grace was D-O-N-E and we were both trying to get her to calm down, which resulted in some suprisingly sweet & tender pictures:

Thanks again for letting me share with you. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Two-Step in Time

There's a rhythm & flow to all things. Days come and go, weeks and years pass. It is a basic concept we all come to learn and accept...
not this time!

After I put Grace down for her nap today, I started going through the clothes on the kitchen table that were graciously handed down to us from Andy's younger sister. Her girl has grown out of them, and isn't expecting any brothers or sisters in the near future. These clothes have sat on my kitchen table since September. Yes, I'm a bad housekeeper. I've been meaning to pack away the ones that are too small or too light for our cold winters. Slowly I went through the piles (Grace's own clothes, freshly laundered, as well) and felt very sad as I folded and placed tiny onesies, swaddle sacks, and jammies in the plastic tote at my feet.

My baby is growing up... this is profoundly depressing to me. I knew she was going to grow up, that life would march on, but I miss that tiny bundle of easy-to-please, custard-smelling, sleeping 20 hours out of the day newborn. I still remember her snuggled against my chest at the hospital, still so new and miraculous. I miss those first moments fiercely.

Don't get me wrong, though. Grace's smile and laugh is the best, but I can't help but feel that time is falling away too fast. Why can't they stay a tiny newborn for just a little longer than they do?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Guilty as Charged

Last night was one of the first times I felt guilty as a parent.

If not for what little common sense I have, I would not hesitate to wallow in my self pity and think "Gosh, I must be the worst parent EVER."
But I am almost positive there has to be at least one parent out there who is worse at this game than I am.

For the first 3 months of my daughter's life, I've managed a happy, healthy baby, and had the good fortune to think to myself, "Yay! I don't entirely suck as a parent". Afterall, you can't entirely suck if your kid is still alive & kicking, right?

First, I want to be upfront and say how adamant I am about breastfeeding my children. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed Grace until she was at least 6 months old. Unfortunately, my supply has been dropping without any reason I can think of, and my poor baby has slowly been starving. I try to tell myself that I've always been able to feel her ribs, and not be entirely paranoid over it. I was just so determined to keep breastfeeding her exclusively and not give in to the urge to supplement with a bottle of formula.
So, you can imagine my dismay when I gave in to that urge last night.

I've been sick for a few days now, with a low grade fever, and last night I was dehydrated, and "the girls" were high and dry. The fight to get Grace to sleep at night has been gradually been growing more and more tremendous, mainly because she's so hungry I think. The last few nights she was waking up every hour, which is how I got sick in the first place (you try going two nights with minimal sleep at the start of cold & flu season and see how healthy you stay, lol).
Usually she's awesome about sleeping straight through the night, but it's gotten to the point where hunger is overriding that habit. She even started refusing naps.

So I broke down last night & gave her a bottle of formula. I felt terrible about it, but I wasn't about to let her go to bed hungry another night. Both Andy & I needed rest. Andy's been such a champ this week about taking care of two babies, but I think it's starting to get to him.

The decision to supplement, and with what, wasn't easy. I called the after hours pediatrician hotline and asked them what formula would be best to do the deed with, keeping Grace's reflux in mind. They suggested the soy based sample I had on hand at first, but weren't entirely sure. I had several sample cans from the hospital-- two cans of Enfamil with Lipil, and two cans of Similac, one of them soy based.
Eventually the nurse called us back to tell us which one specifically to get (something AR), but to stick with one formula for at least a week before switching to see how Grace would react to it.

So far she seems to be handling it well, she even slept in till 8:15 (booyah!). I was able to pump 5 ounces of breastmilk out this morning, so that was a good start. However, I only managed to get 2 ounces at the next feeding, so I made another "I'm a horrible parent" decision. I combined it with two ounces of formula for a four ounce bottle. I guess some breastmilk is better than none, right?
At feeding #3, my supply is found wanting again, so I'll be repeating the process when Grace gets up from her second nap.
Holy cow... her second nap... I can't remember the last time she slept twice in the same day!

As for a solution to the low supply problem, I've been taking fenugreek capsules and More Milk Special Blend. More Milk tastes & smells like Satan's behind... not that I personally know what that smells like, but it really reeks. I haven't been taking it this week because I've been sick, and had a hard time stomaching food for a day or so, so I am waiting until I'm better to get back on the stuff.
I guess if you're a huge fan of intense black licorice, you'd probably go for it, but I think it's as nasty as spinach, coleslaw, and other commodities I tend to gag on.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sleep is for the Weak

I've dreaded this day for a long time.
I'm sick.
I'm a mom, and I'm sick.
I'm a mom, I'm sick, and there's no one but me to care for the baby right now.

Sure, it's just the common cold, but nevertheless I feel pretty crummy.
I just want to sleep. Problem is, my three month old is refusing to take a nap for whatever reason. She'll fall asleep in my arms, but the second I put her in her swing (where she usually naps), she's wide awake again, crying, and we're back to square one. She's fed, dry, and she's got to be tired. She usually has her nap from nine to noon, but here we are pushing one and she's yet to fall asleep.
I'd bang my head on the desk, but I'm pretty sure I still couldn't tell the difference in pain between the throbbing head & sore throat I already have.

The worse I feel, the more convinced I am that motherhood is next to sainthood.

How on earth do you other women do it?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Trick Pony

I know I'm LONG overdue for a post, so here goes...

Y'know how I said at the end of my last post that my day revolves around my daughter's poopy behind? It's true. Around that time she was having some bowel problems. I guess we are both trying to get regular. She would go several days without pooping, and at the very climax of the pressure, she would be inconsolably fussy. You could tell she was uncomfortable. She kept doing this for weeks, and I finally got tired of it. The tricks some of our friends had shown us to help relieve her were not working... it was time for medical intervention!
After my 6 week postpartum checkup, I took Grace downstairs to the pediatrician's office. I cried to the nurse like an idiot (who knew poop could get a mom so emotional?!), and she took us into one of the rooms. She showed me a last-resort type procedure that I like to call The Trick Pony. It involves a q-tip and vasoline... I'll leave the rest to your imagination.
I stopped & got some lunch afterwards, and about 20 mins after I got home, Grace had an atomic diaper-- HOORAY!
The next week she had her 2 month checkup and first vaccinations. The nurse was impressed with how curious Grace was. She said Grace is one of the most alert babies she's ever seen. She is a funny baby, and seems happiest when we are on the go ("Places to see, people to meet!"). I have a feeling she is going to love shoulder rides, and sitting by herself in the shopping cart.
Anyway, she has steadily been getting more regular and tends to have a poopy diaper every other day now. She does better when I eat better, which I should probably do more often. I've gotten really terrible with my sugar control lately, and really need to re-commit myself to staying on top of it. Just like a year ago, I need to do it for my baby.
Speaking of which, one of my friends is thoroughly convinced I'm expecting #2 just because I incessantly crave soft serve vanilla ice cream.

In other news, Grace started laughing on September 13. She doesn't do it very often, but when she does, there's no mistaking it for anything else. It's a laugh if you ever heard one! She also carries on conversations with people in baby gibberish, and is starting to roll over.

I turned 26 last week, and Andy's grandmother passed away that day. We went down to California for the funeral. I was grateful to have Andy's brother & sister with us in the back of the van we rented, they were troopers & kept Grace entertained for the 12 hour drive. It is making me seriously reconsider my desire to fly to New York for Christmas. The rolling changes in pressure & elevation in the car bothered her as she would seem to get the fussiest right around the time our own ears were about to pop. As adults it's something we're all used to, but I can't imagine the discomfort it would be for a baby who's never experienced something like that before.
Now I know why babies cry on planes.

Friday, August 22, 2008


This last week has been okay. We started giving Grace baths every night to see if they would help her sleep longer. We've started to get into a routine where she gets a bath at 10 pm, nurses around 10:30 or 10:45, and (like clockwork) is sound asleep in her crib at 11 pm. She sleeps through until 5:30 or 6 am. I pick her up, change her diaper, nurse her, and back to sleep she goes until 10. She also is pretty reliable about having a 3 hour nap in the afternoon. I've been trying to keep her awake longer between them. I think we are up to almost 2 hours.
Yesterday she napped from 2p to 6:30p. I even got a nap in!
It's been nice, I've been able to start catching up on chores. My mom will be here next week for Grace's blessing (christening), so she can keep Grace entertained while I get even more stuff done around the house.
The only time I am not amused is when she decides to pull her catnap trick, where she'll doze for 20 mins - 1 hour, then be up for several. By the time bathtime rolls around, she is in baby meltdown, full blown crying and all. I don't know why she does this, but she seems to do it at least once a week, and there's little we can do to soothe her enough so she'll go to sleep.

We picked up some special Johnson's lavender bedtime bath stuff last night to see if it would help Grace sleep even longer. We got her down at 11 last night, and she slept till almost 7a. Apparently the stuff is "clinically proven" to help babies sleep longer. I will keep trying it over the weekend. If it's consistent, I may move her bedtime back an hour or so, so Andy & I can get to bed even earlier.

I get about as much sleep as Andy does now. I'm up shortly after he leaves. Who would ever have thought that a woman's clock is set by her child's needs? Indeed, the sun rises and falls on my daughter's poopy behind.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday's Lesson

It is my belief that we lived with God before we came to earth. The reason we come to earth is to receive a body and learn all we need to in order to return & live with Him again.
With that understanding, I am also coming to believe that babies are a facilitator in our lessons. Why else would the Lord cause us to bear children if it were not to learn the sweet and divine lessons of pure, unadulterated, Christ-like love, sacrifice, and patience?

Grace officially turned 1 month old yesterday. In the last 30 days, I have gone from "Where the #%*@ is the return policy on this thing?" and being terrified of her waking up, to feeling a physical love and joy for this new person in my life. Sure she's got pipes & can scream for 4 hours straight if she wants to, but she's also very sweet and just as much a ham outside the womb as she was inside.
She's starting to make more coos and random noises now. Last night she peeled out a squeal that was pretty funny, and this morning she sounded like she said "Ah-kay!", like "Oh, good, diaper's changed. Okay, let's go".

She cracks me up sometimes. Her gas grin is still the best.

Thank you, Grace, for beginning to help me learn true love-- the kind of perfect love where, for the first time in my life, I expect nothing in return.
Thank you for testing my patience... it would not learn to stretch otherwise.
Thank you for helping me begin to understand sacrifice-- a few hours of sleep deprivation here, want of a shower after a good sliming there-- I've learned to put off things I want right now until I know you're happy and safe for the moment.
And thank you especially for you. Because of you, I love your father more. It is so profound knowing we created something so beautiful together.

Now if only I could find a good alternative to wearing a nursing bra 24/7... this thing is driving me nuts!

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's the Little Things...

I have a confession.
Some days when my baby is inconsolably fussy, and I can't figure out what's wrong, I get so frustrated that I wonder where the heck the return policy is. You were so much less complicated to deal with in my belly, I think. How much happier was I before all of this!
But then there are moments when she's laying on my chest, snuggled close to my heart and sleeping soundly... the light from the window grazing softly across her face... the little things like that, that make it worth it at the end of the day.
I am eternally grateful for family & friends who keep teaching us little tricks that help save our sanity. One of the major ones has been learning that babies DO have an off button! Thanks to The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp. Such a life saver. I cannot thank Mike & Kathy enough for loaning us that DVD as well as their swing.
Then last night a friend came over & showed us some other tricks to help Grace get rid of some major gas problems. She had been so fussy the last few nights... we were actually up till 4:30 in the morning on Saturday night, and she had been keeping us up till 1 & 2a nights before that. We didn't know what to do for her, but I was pretty sure it was gas. Mylicon/simethicone doesn't do anything (at least it didn't seem to). She also hadn't had a poopy diaper since Tuesday. I know it's okay for breastfed babies to go for a week without a poop, but Grace was not a happy camper. So it was such a relief when our friend showed us some tricks to help get that gas out of Grace's belly-- mainly knee/leg crunches, and belly massage. A backwards football hold & spank (as kinky as that sounds) worked very well, too. Within an hour of our friend leaving, Grace had a full diaper. I hosed her off in the tub with glee.
After a nice warm bath, and massage with baby oil, she conked out for 7 hours. It was wonderful to see her at peace again, and to get ourselves to bed at a reasonable hour as well.

The next time we are at our wits end, I want to remember the little things:
How her breath smelled so sweet, like fresh baked custard, when I first started breastfeeding her. I love custard.
I love to get lost in her eyes.
I love the soft little tufts of hair that stick out on the edge of her ear. I know it won't be there forever, but it's so funny & cute.
I love how she grins when she's falling to sleep. I know it's just gas, but again... it's so cute & funny
I'm amused at how vocal she is while breastfeeding. It's like a cat possessively feeding. I try to carry on a conversation with her when she "talks" like this. She also seems to enjoy stroking her face, and often me at the same time.
I love the soft little sigh she sometimes makes: "Ah-woo".
I love when she's asleep, it means she's happy and comfortable enough to find peace.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Big, Loud, Irish Labor...

...was surprisingly peaceful.
You may have seen those television shows that depict the young mother in the throes of labor, screaming and cursing her husband, but I am here to say it does not have to be that way.
Grace Anne was born July 9 at 5:19 via vaginal delivery with no cursing of her daddy, whatsoever. Thanks to the hypnosis techniques I had learned, I made it to 7 cm dilation with no drugs, and was never in pain. All I felt was intense pressure, like the worst menstrual cramps one can imagine. I felt like I was being squeezed through the eye of a needle, but there was never pain.
The evening before, I had to go in for a gel application to my cervix to help jump start dilation. I then returned 6 hours later for another dose. They were going to let us go home, but Grace started having a little trouble, so we were kept. Andy slept much of the night & my Mom was there, up filming every few hours. At about 3 am or so, she came and sat by my bed, and I think that's probably the most special time I've ever spent with my mother.
My contractions started to change a little then from the braxton hicks belt tightening sensation I was used to, to the cramp-like contractions.
At 8a they came in and got me on the IVs, started pitocin to jump start contractions, etc. Their blood glucose machine was a beast & I felt like it was going to eat all my blood. My poor little fingers almost couldn't bleed anymore by the end of the day, it took such big samples.
At 10:50a, my water broke all by itself. This got me really excited. Within an hour, I was dilated to 7 & not having as much fun anymore. I did get an epidural, but it didn't hurt, and I only had a very low dose. It makes me wonder if I could maybe make it further the next time around.
4:30 we were ready to push. Grace was really struggling, so they had to put on an internal monitor (which I'm not too happy about since the doctor ended up just yoinking it out, along with a patch of Grace's hair... my poor baby got scalped!)
Near the end, the doctor, nursing team, and my husband began singing my favorite hymn, Come Come Ye Saints. That was really special to me.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, here's part of the first verse:
"Come, come, ye saints. No toil, nor labor fear, but with joy wend your way. Though hard to you this journey may appear, Grace shall be as your day..."
By then, the doctor told me to stop pushing, and a few minutes later he dangled a very fuzzy baby girl in the air by her ankle. She stared at me, blinking, before they whisked her off to the sidelines for clean up.
It happened so fast that my husband didn't get the opportunity to cut the cord, which I really wanted him to do.
During the birthing, I tore pretty badly, and the doctor did an episiotomy. My birth plan pretty much went out the window, and I felt the doctor had a bit of a negative view on things, but I was glad I had a healthy baby. I still feel that I had a satisfying birthing experience.
After I was sewn up, I was finally able to hold my baby.

Not long after, Andy went with her to the nursery for further clean up, and I was brought a tray of food. I didn't get to eat it right away, as they were letting me recover, but I was ready to rock and roll. They took out some of the IVs, leaving only one in to my relief, and then took me down to the room I'd be staying in.
I was enjoying a lovely turkey dinner when Andy returned with our little girl. She had a little purple bow in her hair, I was sold.
We roomed in with our baby the entire time.
Sitting was really uncomfortable, so they got me a doughnut cushion. I called it my tush cush. I also had lots of ibuprofen & percocet.
We were released Friday evening. Grace slept all the way home, and didn't wake up till 9 or 10.

And of course we had a perfect stay in the hospital, and a chaotic first night home. She woke up at 2 and wouldn't go back to sleep. My mom finally came in to us & took her at 6 am so we could get some sleep. She was a perfect guest the entire time. I wish she could be like that every time she visited. Maybe now that she has a grandbaby, she will be. :)
A couple days later the baby blues kicked in.
Nobody really takes the time to warn you about the baby blues, or the fact that you will cry uncontrollably without reason or warning. I think I'm starting to come out of the woods now, but rough days when Grace is inconsolably fussy tend to set me back. It takes a conscious effort to eat and take my meds. If I don't, I tend to get really depressed. Getting out helps too, and so does chocolate.
She gained her birthweight back and then some by 2 weeks, and the nurse was really impressed at how strong she was while doing her PKU test. She can hold her head up for short periods, and it took both of us to hold her down on her belly for the test. Her cord stump fell off on Tuesday, and I'm glad cuz I think it was starting to bother her. She would yelp if I turned her on her belly wrong.
Anyway, that's about all. I've been meaning to post this and updates for a long time.
Grace is fussing now, time to go feed!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Hurry Up & Wait

You've seen them before on the freeway and around town. That exciting, sporty red convertible racing by... they're in a hurry to get nowhere fast. Behind the wheel is the "Hurry Up & Wait" guy.
I spent the weekend in a funk because of this. Not from being passed by a sporty car I can't have, but a similar concept. I know it's silly to get all huffy over something so petty, but I couldn't help but feel really down.
You see, I have had repeated dreams where I went into labor the weekend of June 28. It was a warm June night, and so intensely vivid. My water broke and we rushed home to grab the hospital bag that we had not yet thrown together. I was very calm in the dream, but hubby was running around like a headless chicken. I found it highly amusing.
I believe the good Lord has endowed me with the gift of dreams & visions. I have had similar dreams of other people, things that happen in their lives. The dreams bear truth when they are vivid and intense, and are rarely wrong.
So you can imagine my disappointment when June 28 comes and goes and I still have no baby to run to for a 2 AM feeding & changing.
I know you must know the feeling. It's happened to all of us, I'm sure. Your parent tells you that you're going to do something very exciting together on a certain day. Naturally you get worked up and look forward to it for months. Then the day comes, and your parent says "Sorry, scout, some other time."
Then you feel betrayed, very sad, and angry.
So I spent Sunday pouting at my Heavenly Father, asking him why he would show me such a dream if it was not going to happen. I prayed for answers, feeling so very hurt. I had been so excited that I was having a dream for myself for once, instead of being a vassal to others. The answer was clear and blatant throughout church:
Humble thyself and submit as a little child submits to her father. Be patient.
But it's hard to be patient when you're terrified of the alternative. It's ridiculous but I'm developing a deep fear of being induced, from all the terrible things I hear about pitocin. I don't want hard, painful contractions that don't give you time to breathe in between each one. I want the natural ones my body creates & instinctively knows how to cope with.
Ever since we finished the nursery, every little ache & twinge gets us squirrely. Hubby was all worked up Saturday morning when I woke up with lower back pain, in addition to light cramping, stronger contractions, and loss of appetite. I told him to calm down. He's sleeping in my crater, and I'm breaking in a new one, ever since we switched sides of the bed. It's not uncommon to get a little back ache when sleeping in a new spot. You've probably experienced similar when sleeping in a hotel bed while on vacation.
So why did I have that dream over & over? We had nothing ready when the birth happened in them. Hubby said it was a message from the Lord to get ready.
A message to hurry up & wait.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Amazing Nursery Transformation-- PART 3

We finally finished the nursery nook (and the crib) at 1:30 last night!

Prepare for an overload of pictures...

Her night stand:

We found these really cute, whimsical zebra banks that make great book ends! (and consequently helped us start a college fund for Grace )

Close up of her lamp, monitor, and a stuffed tiger ("Tiger Lily") I've had since I was like 4:

Andy marks where the blinds will go:

The curtains go up:

Installing the curtain holdbacks:

Holdbacks up:

I love my husband's butt! :

Marking & hanging the all important princess sign:

Hanging the cross-stitched name I made for her & cute butterfly pic:

Marking & hanging the hand-made copper picture my grandma made for me when I was very young (like 4):

Hanging Eeyore!:

Hanging cute clock we found:

Starting to add accents:

(The corner where the changing table will go):

Close up of fluttering butterflies on curtain:

Andy couldn't have been more excited about this crib. He's convinced it's HIS crib

With a crazed look in his eye, the box opens!

There were soooo many layers of styrofoam in that humongous box!

"Look, honey, it's the instructions!"

That made him laugh:

Found the real instructions:

The doo-hickey goes where?

Down to business:

Silly Andy hams it up for the camera:

Back to work:

What was really in the giant taped "instruction" box:

Yay, I get to help now!

The crib that Andy built:

I finally get to put the bedding on:

Our beautiful new crib:

A shining stars unicorn we named Luna waits for Grace's arrival:

Hope you enjoyed. We're just waiting on our changing table to arrive.

We've had some other excitement in the last few days, but I'll post about that a little later. I'm pooped!