Friday, December 31, 2010

Still here

I am so wiped lately. I have wanted to post so about so many things... Christmas, crafts, Michael turning 11 months, and more, but I'm just wiped.

So very quickly:

Christmas went really well and no one got sick! A Christmas miracle!

After coming back from Christmas Michael finally started sleeping through the night again (well, a down at 7, a dream feeding at 10:30 and then up around 5 am... so I'm still only getting about 6 hours in a row, but that's better than waking up 7 times a night). Another Christmas miracle!

Michael cut another tooth and because of the ear tubes we didn't have to put up with an ear infection this time. A Christmas An ENT miracle! (Although he did bite a bunch of kids at daycare while it was coming in. Oh well, it keeps the daycare staff on their toes.)

I turned 28 the other day and I was amazed at how many people wished me happy birthday. I pretty much get forgotten and I'm ok with that, but it was nice to hear from so many people this year.

Michael turned 11 months and is doing so great. It was fun to see him interacting with his cousin at Christmas too. When they sit together you can't tell that one is 6 months older than the other... then the cousin gets up and walks and it's pretty obvious. But Michael is walking with the walker we got him for Christmas. I don't think he'll be walking on his own by his birthday, but soon enough. I'm not worried, once he's walking it will just be harder to keep him out of stuff anyways.

I need to send out birthday invites. I'm such a slacker. And I'm not really looking forward to the party either because my house is going to be so crowded and we already got so many toys for Christmas that we really don't need more for awhile.

I need to email and catch up with so many people that it's daunting. Can I keep hiding and pretend that I'm just so busy with the holidays for another 6 months?

Michael loves cheese! We have a CHEESE MONSTER!

The project that has been killing me at work is finally done. I have always felt that they were just keeping me around until that project was finished and then they would get rid of me. We shall see. At least I won't be bringing home work every night and pulling all nighters again for awhile. (Yes, when the baby wasn't keeping me up, work was... try pulling an all nighter without coffee, it's not so easy.)

I'm so sad for Jen. I cuddled Michael a little extra last night after reading that.

The 2 best things about 2011 that I'm looking forward to is (1) getting vacation and sick leave again!!! And (2) tax returns!!!

I'm totally wiped. I've been tired a lot all year but I'm just wiped right now. After I put Michael to bed I lay down on the couch and can't even wake up to eat dinner. I guess things are just catching up to me.

Some pictures!



Cruising at Christmas


Trying to get a picture of Michael and his betrothed. We are still negotiating how many goats her father must pay us.


The Cheese Monster!


The picture I'm using for the birthday invitations. I wanted it to look rustic. My printer prints kinda dark too, so it's not that washed out in person.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa's list

It's been a long week with a thousand things we needed to get checked off the list. But after all that work we made it to the inlaws and are ready for Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hero

Have you ever been asked who your hero is? Probably as a kid you wrote an essay or something. I know that I had that assignment several times and I honestly never could think of a good answer.

I can think of a lot of good people. A lot of excellent role models. And there are plenty of undeniable heroes out there-people that have saved lives, soldiers serving to protect our freedoms, historical figures that did something great.

Despite a vast pool of acceptable candidates, I really have never had a personal hero.

The last year has been a lot for me. More than I ever thought it would. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I love being a mother. I get incredible happiness from taking care of my baby. And I thought my world was complete and I could be happy forever now that I had my long awaited baby. But that's not what happened.

Life got harder. I knew it would, I expected it to. But then it got even harder, and yet harder. This year has surely been the most challenging year of my life. Taking care of Michael was an endurance test for the first 6 months. Day care, 'nuff said. Work is crap right now and a daily task that I do not look forward to or enjoy. It's a paycheck. A paycheck that we kinda need. My parents and family are crazy, but that's not new.

And through all of this, my husband has done a better job supporting me than he ever has in our marriage. I felt he's fallen short at times throughout our marriage, he hasn't always been the rock. I wondered what would happen with a baby in tow, but he has risen to the occasion. I knew he would be a good father, but he's been a better husband this year than I anticipated.

He cooks dinner most nights. Not usually anything fancy but we've eaten homemade meals most nights because he cooked them.

He does the dishes too. Yes he cooks AND does the dishes. AND, he cleans my pumping supplies every night.

He makes the bed in the morning. I'm not a bed maker and don't care, but it is nice to have a bed made up to get into in the evenings.

He cleans the cat mess and takes out the trash. And he's such a good cat dad too.

He folds and stuffs the diapers. Yes, the secret to my cloth diapering success is that DH does most of it. He stuffs the diapers at night. He makes the wipes every day.

He does the grocery shopping. Every weekend he goes and fights the Wal-Mart crowd so that we have food. I remember before we had a baby and how we went shopping together every weekend. I always really enjoyed having a partner to help me in that task and now he does it alone without complaint.

It probably sounds like I don't do anything around the house and, honestly, a lot of days I feel like that. Really, I'm feeding Michael and taking care of him, to give a little credit to myself, that's no small task. I was also the only one getting up at night to take care of him until very recently, so it's not that I'm just being lazy, but I think taking care of Michael is probably a more enjoyable task than grocery shopping most of the time.

But the most important thing that he does, other than being a good dad, is saving me from myself. I have been at the verge of just totally loosing it and breaking down several times this year and I know that I haven't because of him. Even when I'm just upset and having trouble dealing with things at the moment he can usually step in and make me feel better just by listening to me. He'll even let me throw a tantrum at him and not get upset with me. He's taken the challenges of this year in stride. And he's done it selflessly.

And because of that, I finally know who my hero is.

Happy Anniversary to my hero. I love you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Gifts

I've heard some things on the news about this being a better Christmas, economically speaking, for most and that spending was up and such. Maybe it's because I live in the midwest and we are always a couple of years behind but I have seen much more effort to lighten Christmas financially than previous years. I wonder if anyone else has some observations about that this year.

When it comes to budgeting, I don't do so well. Most of the adults in our families this year have decided not to exchange gifts. That does save us a lot of money but it's still expensive enough.

There are a bunch of kids in the family that we still get gifts for. This year instead of buying toys that will get played with for a few minutes before being lost in the giant toy piles that these kids already have we decided to get them books. Hopefully when they grow up they will have fond memories of the books they read in childhood rather than 'that toy that broke 5 minutes after playing with it'.

I'm also really hoping that Michael gets some books for Christmas. We definitely need a few more to mix things up around here.

I also made each of the kids little string backpacks and put their books in there. So I'm giving them a little something extra that I hope that they'll enjoy and I don't have to wrap their gifts now either!


I had a 2, 4, 6, and 8 year old to make bags for. These are really simple to make and take about 15 mintues each (although I'm sure that a more seasoned crafter could do them more quickly). I made the size of bag in the tutorial for the 2 year old and made each bag after that 2" longer for every 2 years older and a little wider because the size in the tutorial is just about right for Michael (and the 2 year old that I made it for) to wear but way too small for the older kids.

I also saw this tutorial for a flat iron travel case and wish I had an excuse to make it right now because it looks so easy and fun, but I've got enough else to do. But if anyone is looking for a handmade idea....

I'm a little lost as to what to get Michael for Christmas. We ordered him this walker because he's definitely at that stage. I'm thinking about making him some felt blocks or balls or something. I know he'll get a mountain of gifts so I don't want to get him a bunch of stuff, but I feel like since it's his first Christmas we should get him some *special* gift and I'm at a total loss as to what that should be. We did order a personalized Baby's First Christmas ornament that I'm really hoping gets here by Christmas but other than that... eh.

Anyone else out there want to share what was on their holiday shopping lists?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Christmas Pageant

Michael's day care had their Christmas Pageant tonight.

There are a lot of things I could say about it and the events leading up to it, but let's stick with the positive: cute.

They got costumes for all the babies and basically had 'babies on parade' for the infants. The one year olds wore snowmen costumes and danced to Frosty the Snowman (I think they stole the show). The older class rooms sang songs. Lots of cute.


They put Michael in a gingerbread man costume. It was a little too big for him, but still cute.


This little girl is the big sister of one of the other infants and kept saying, "Michael, your mommy wants you to look at her," while I was trying to take pictures. It was so cute.

The video didn't upload. I may try again later, but it was basically just the teachers holding the babies walking around in a circle. Whatever, still cute.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Going poor...

...one copayment at a time.

Michael had his follow up with the urologist this morning and it doesn't look like we are going to need surgery but the uro wants to see him again in a year and check on his hydrocele then. It hasn't completely gone away, but it has greatly reduced in size.

On Wednesday it was deja vu from last week. Day care called me at work. Michael was running a fever and feeling bad. I needed to work so DH drove in and picked him up and took him to the ped. I thought it might be strep but that was negative so we don't know what the problem was this week, probably just a random virus. It gave him a pretty good fever and really wiped him out. DH stayed home with him Thursday and he went back to day care after his urologist appointment today.

So two dr visits this week. Two last week. DH and I were talking about it and if it seems like we are constantly at the drs office, it's because we are. The week before last was Thanksgiving and he was in that week for a cold that he got from MIL's visit (yes, she came up for no good reason and brought a cold with her). The week before that was his ear tube surgery. The week before that was his 9 month well visit. The week before that was the urgent care visit for constipation and strep. The week before that was his ENT appointment (and my ER trip). The we actually had a week off the week before that. But the week before that we started with the thrush....

Ridiculous right? I think you see my point. And it's not like I'm one of those moms that runs to the dr every time the kid sniffles. Before we go in I've talked to a nurse or two and made sure that we absolutely need to go in. Trust me, I'm trying to stay away.

I never, ever would have guessed that we'd spend so much time a the drs office. Sure, I know lots of people that have kids that are sick all the time, but those people are kinda more sickly themselves. And their kids are tiny and frail-ish. Other than the occasional cold, we are healthy people here. And Michael is probably the biggest, healthiest looking baby most people have ever seen (28lbs y'all). And he's breastfed (ROFLMAO... if that was actually helping I'd hate to imagine what it would be like without it)!

So aside from all the missed work and the small fortune we've spent on copays the other really bad consequence from all this sickness is NIGHTWAKING. I had a baby that slept like an angel from 6 weeks to 9 months. Then everything went to hell. And every time he gets better and we think we're going to catch a break he gets sick again. He woke up 7 times the other night. Sorry to whine, but I HAVE GOT TO GET SOME FREAKING SLEEP. I have to work and pretend that I'm not affected by having an infant all day long, which I am failing at, badly.

I've thought about sleep training so many times lately. I've even left him to cry it out for an hour here or there, because, OMG people, I'm about to loose my freakin mind. The problem with doing that is that it ignores that something could be wrong with him, and for the last couple of months there have definitely been things wrong. And I don't want to go through all that work only to have him get sick, AGAIN, and throw all the progress out the window.

Please Little Buddy, give Mommy and Daddy a chance to rest.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I AM a lucky girl

I take back any complaining I did about the first part of the week because on Wednesday Michael got a stomach bug and started running a fever and got diarrhea (cha cha cha) and then the vomit started.

DH stayed home with him all Thursday and I came home after a only a few hours of work to help take care of him. I wanted to be home to nurse him since he's not much for bottles and we were risking dehydration with as much as was coming out of both ends of him. Friday DH stayed home alone with him.

The poor little guy just had a awful time day and night. I don't think anyone has gotten much more than 2 hours of sleep around here in the last couple of days.

And the puking. Yuck. Poor kid, it's just awful when it happens. And it's never just once. There's the initial puke, then the follow up, and the finish up, and sometimes the bonus round. Puking is just such and awful feeling and I know it scares him when it happens. And I have been the puke receptacle of choice around here. He's thrown up on me all but 2 times. Lots of showers and laundry around here lately.

I took him to the dr. on Wednesday after day care called me. Then things were still so bad on Friday that we took him back again and he hadn't lost too much weight and since he's such a healthy size they weren't too worried but there was about an entire day when everything that went in came back out the same end. And he completely rejected solids. We did get a prescription for zofran for him which is nice to have on hand. And I'll just note that he's had his flu shots, there is some kind of stomach bug circulating around these parts.

He seemed to be all better by Friday evening and then this morning I was celebrating that he hadn't puked in long time and boom, more puke and a slight fever again. Definitely premature celebration.

I was telling a co worker about all the vomit-coated, night-waking that we have been having and she commented, scarcastically, that I was a, "lucky girl.' And I said back to her, "But I AM a lucky girl!" My baby isn't such a lucky little boy right now, but I still feel like a pretty lucky girl, even when things get messy.

---

Michael said "Mama" clear as day today! But I can't say that he totally understood that he was saying a word, so I'm not counting it but he does a lot of "ma-ma-ma" crying right now and I kid you not, the kid says "Iwantmama" when he can't see me and gets fussy, but again, I don't know that he really gets what he's saying.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oy... bad Monday, better Tuesday

After just celebrating my defeat of thrush in my last post, I pulled out my breast to pump Monday morning and immediately saw that my breast was red and hot. Lovely. I have mastitis.

I didn't treat it with antibiotics last time I got it and I thought about leaving it, but I didn't want to deal with it if it got worse so I decided to get it checked out. I called urgent care and they were packed. Then I called McSoothy and she's on vacation. Then I called my old primary and she was booked. So finally I got in at the "extended care" walk in clinic and got seen by a really creepy nurse practitioner. I kid you not, he called me "Baby" (after getting a look at my toasty knocker). It was weird. He clearly didn't know what to do (his first recommendation was anti inflammatories) but I'd called the LC and she'd already told me the recommended antibiotic and dosage so I gave it to him.

It really does seem to be a mild case so I'm not bothered by it. I think it happened because Michael skipped a few feedings over the long weekend and my breasts stayed a lot fuller than they should. Sometimes I think the universe is trying to tell me to stop breastfeeding.

I felt like mastitis was enough for Monday, but then I picked up Michael and noticed that they hadn't written down any milk for him so I asked to see the collection bottle I'd sent that morning. I'd sent a small bottle with fresh that I'd pumped Sunday and some bags of frozen milk. None of the frozen milk was touched. Only about half of the fresh milk was used and I know that there was only 4.5 oz in the bottle and some of that was used to make his oatmeal in the morning.

Nothing was written on his sheet so I asked the teacher still there what happened and she didn't know since she'd been in the other room all day. Then I caught the "manager" on the way out and asked her who manager for the baby home these days is. She said, "When something goes wrong I yell at Brit." What kind of answer is that? And on top of all of that it appeared that his regular teacher who I love and he does great with was let go so that's why she wasn't there.

That night was rough. Michael wanted milk badly but I had very little to give him since my supply was readjusting from the weekend (having too much milk for a couple of days kills my supply). I got him to take a couple of ounces from a bottle after I was tapped out. He wouldn't touch solids but was struggling for milk. I was so angry I could barely sleep.

I confronted Brit about it the next day. She'd only made one bottle for him before lunch and he refused it and she didn't try again. The bottom line of the story is that she pretty much failed Michael Monday. I told her I was pissed and he's been drinking 5-6 oz per day and that he's usually thirstier in the afternoon. They did better today and he drank 6 oz. And it turns out that his teacher wasn't let go... but since I like her I'm sure it will only be a matter of time until the management takes a wrong turn sicking it's head up it's ass again and gets rid of another good teacher.

In happier news, Michael turned 10 months today.

He knows to smile for the camera but makes a really cheesy smile now. I hope he grows back into something a little more natural.


Not really a smile, but more natural at least.




And in this round of "coincidence or the tubes" he finally started imitating sounds last week. He's working hard on making different sounds now. We can say a sound to him and he'll try to repeat it. And he still won't make "mmm" sounds normally, but when he gets upset he makes something that sounds like "mamamamama". He also thinks it's hilarious when we say "Bad Cat". This new level of interaction is a lot of fun and really rewarding.

He finally started a more traditional crawl the other week instead of just rolling. He's getting places quicker but he'd rather be up and walking but I don't think he'll get there until closer to a year.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gentian Violet for Thrush

I was so excited about this long weekend. I was going to get so much done and catch up on sleep and maybe even get a few posts up on the old blog... not so much it appears. I'm still running to catch up around here but I though I would contribute to internet by talking about treating 'our' thrush with gentian violet.

I love breast feeding. But I don't love that, for me, it has meant regular bouts of pain for one reason or another. Certainly, the early days were awful. I saw someone somewhere comapare breastfeeding to getting your toenails ripped off. That seems accurate to me. But even after healing up from the beginning, pain has never been too far off. I know that breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but I also think it's *normal* for it to hurt.

When my nipples started hurting in early October I blamed it on the cold weather and my thin nursing undergarments leading to some chapped skin and put up with it for that reason. Why it didn't alarm me that the skin was peeling off my nipples is beyond me, but again, I have come to expect pain. It was nearly two weeks later when the pediatrician spotted thrush in Michael's mouth that I realized that I'd been ignoring the obvious.

I got oral nystatin for Michael and some nystatin cream for me and I felt instant relief when I put that cream on so I was optimistic that it would work. And both of us were taking probiotics too. But several weeks later we were still fighting it. Then some more nystatin was called in for each of us. More pain of course. And I'll tell you, it surprises the hell out of me that some fungus can cause that much hurt. It felt like he was biting me at every nursing session.

But after about a month of fighting it, I was sick and tired and ready to try the internet recommended remedy Gentian Violet. But I wasn't really sure how to use it. I was afraid because I'd heard how messy it is. I read a couple of websites and then just did my own thing and it seems to have worked. So here's what I did in case anyone's interested.

I got a bottle of 1% USP Gentian Violet from the pharmacy. I used it at night before bed only. I laid out a paper towel to protect the vanity and pressed a clean cotton ball up against the bottle to get a good amount on the cotton ball (don't mess with the dip stick, you'll be up all night trying to paint it on with that). Then I applied it to my nipples. I got a good solid coating. Do not try to apply to the whole areola, that would make a big mess, just the nipple and the base of the nipple. Then I got a new cotton ball and did it to the other side. I let my breast dry for a minute (it dries really quickly). Then I put on an old t-shirt.

Then it was time to put Michael to bed. I dressed him in dark colored night shirt. I nursed him like normal. He got a purple mouth from the gentian violet. Theoretically was treating him too.

Did it get all over his face? Yeah, pretty much. This is what my baby looked like in the morning. I wouldn't really recommend taking your baby out like this unless you want stares. I did it after Michael's tube surgery since he was staying home those days.



Most of it came off by bedtime the next night. Another day later and he would be back to normal coloring. I saw very, very few purple spots on anything (mostly just clothes). I wouldn't recommend this if your baby likes to chew on your white couch, but I didn't really have any messy problems.

We did this for four nights. I'm hesitant to declare victory because you are never really without yeast, but I haven't had any pain from thrush since about 24 hours after the first application and that was more than a week ago.

So a month of unsuccessful nystatin compared to 4 nights of gentian violet... I think the violet wins. It's cheaper, easier, quicker, and not nearly as messy as I had heard. I know there is some concern about carcinogenic effects but I don't think that amount I used to treat thrush would pose a danger to either of us... and the alternative was constantly pushing nystatin in Michael's mouth and rubbing cream on me and that doesn't seem too great either.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another week down

The tube surgery went really well. We were scheduled to be the second case that morning and the first case never showed up and we didn't really have any down time waiting at the hospital since we got moved up, so that was nice. We definitely were over prepared.

He did well. He's a very curious baby so he was too busy checking everything out to notice that he was being taken from mom and dad. He was gone for about a half hour and then we were called back to his prep room and told he was on his way. After several minutes of waiting I got antsy, expecting to have my baby back already and stepped out into the hall to see a nurse being wheeled down the hall in a wheel chair holding my groggy baby. He nursed and slept for awhile and we went home. He slept on the car ride home and then took a long nap when we got home. It was a nice little break for us... well for DH, I held him the whole nap. And then he was back to himself after that.


Cutest little patient!


We haven't seen any dramatic changes from the tubes. And I wasn't really expecting any. His ears weren't that bad... bad enough, but not that bad. The biggest one is that he's not picking at his ears constantly. He'd scratched up the inside of his ears a bit before the tubes and they are healing now. And he finally responded to his name. Although it could be a coincidence, I've been waiting on him to do this for awhile and paying a lot of attention and he finally did it the other day.

And when we were at the hospital we were probably less than 50 feet from the door to my fertility clinic's office. I really, REALLY wanted to stop by and show off the baby and DH was a big stick in the mud and said no. We didn't really have time but it would have been nice since we were right there. (And I would have called first to make sure it was ok. I wouldn't just march a baby into the waiting room of a fertility clinic. My clinic is pretty small so there weren't normally many patients in the waiting room.)

MIL was really insistent on coming up after the surgery and helping out. I didn't really think that was necessary and had DH explain that it isn't that big of a deal but she was really pushing. I wasn't going to let her and then DH pointed out that we could go see Harry Potter if she was here. I didn't even know it was coming out this week. I've been living under a rock for awhile. So we let her come and we went to one of the late shows last night.

But MIL pulled her weird, 'ok, I've been here for 5 minutes, time to leave' crap again. She showed up after lunch on Thursday (I was at work, DH was home with Michael) and when I got home DH mentioned that she thought she would leave out Friday now. Honestly, I was only ok with her coming because of the Harry Potter incentive, so DH talked her into staying until Saturday like planned. Then this morning she woke up and left before even having a cup of coffee. I don't know what her deal is, but I just don't get it. It was her idea to come in the first place.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Be Prepared

I was a Girl Scout and our motto was "Be Prepared". I'm pretty sure we stole from the Boy Scouts, but it's a good motto and way to live life. And it justifies big purses.

There are a million things that I need to be doing right now, but instead I'm taking a few minutes for myself to blog. Why? Because I like to document things. And because I feel like I have really neglected myself the last couple of weeks and these few minutes are mine.

I need to be getting things rounded up for Michael's surgery tomorrow. Getting out of the house obviously more complicated than it used to be, but at the same time we've done it enough times I don't get stressed about it too much anymore. We've forgotten this or that and life has gone on. We need to be a little extra prepared for tomorrow so I do need to get on it soon.

He should only be away from us for a short time and I felt better about things when I was told that. One of my biggest concerns is the diapering situation. I wouldn't expect them to change him in that short time, but in case they did, I don't want them throwing one of our cloth diapers in the trash. So I bought a package of disposables. I figure it's a worthwhile purchase because we have this surgery to use them on, then we might use them while traveling for Christmas, and then he'll probably have surgery again in February for his hydrocele and that time we probably will need the diapers. So I expect this package will get used up. He's apparently in size 5's but I don't expect that he will make it out of those any time soon.

The other big concern is the fasting. He's a hungry boy that isn't used to being told no. I'd read that breastfed babies can be nursed closer to surgery because breast milk is easier to digest than formula so I was all prepared to argue with the nurse when she called so that he eat closer to the surgery. But I didn't have to! My hospital's rules are no food/formula after midnight but breast milk is allowed up until 3 hours before check in. So if he isn't awake already around 4 am (as is typical these days) I will go in and give him a dream feeding. Check in is at 7:30. I still expect to have a very upset baby but hopefully it isn't too bad. He bites and scratches me when he is hungry so it isn't very pleasant holding him off.

I need to figure out pumping tomorrow. If I don't feed him after 4:30 then I should be pretty engorged by ~9:30 and I'll need to get some of that out so that he's not choking on never ending foremilk. And if you fill that kid up with a belly of foremilk, you can bet that he's going to spit it back up... on you. I'm thinking that I can just take a couple of ounces off right after they take him back. And since's it's foremilk I'll just dump it which will save me from needing to take a cooler with me.

We need to take some things to keep him busy, but I doubt that he will sit and let us read him a book or something. I'm charging up the iPod in case I need to break out Trololo.

I should probably pack some baby food for after he's finished in case he wants some since we could have to stick around for awhile and it's a longer ride home. I should probably also take some food for DH and I.

The only thing that I'm really upset about right now is not having a good baby carrier to use. I've been trying out buckle carriers because they are expensive and I want to be happy with what I buy. I've tried a Beco Butterfly II and a Boba so far. I'm want to try an Ergo performance before I settle on one and I ordered it last week and paid for expedited shipping. They shipped it on Friday and it still isn't here. But, I shipped back the Boba to them on Saturday and it arrived there on Monday. Just to be clear, I shipped a package a day later and it will have arrived 2 days earlier (we are both shipping using Priority Mail so I don't know why they are so slow). W.T.H? Pissed. And I'll be breaking my back again to carry him around in my sling.

So we will be loaded up tomorrow. Pumpbag/purse. Diaper bag with cloth and disposable diapers. Food and utensils. Bag with toy/activities. Sling. Stroller (in case my shoulder gives out). Baby. Sanity.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Snowball

I'd thought of a good angle to write this post from the other day, but I forgot it, probably because I'm exhausted.

I'm exhausted because Michael is having a really tough time lately. He's teething. He has strep. He has thrush. His ears are infected. He's constipated (I don't know to say 'again' or 'still'). He's working on a bunch of physical milestones at once. He's got stranger anxiety now. Stupid time change too. Can you say snowball?

So all the above has resulted in some big problems around here. He's waking several times a night. He get's up at 4:30 am. He won't nap. He won't let you put him in the crib. If I so much as walk 2 feet away from him he cries.

It's wreaking havoc at day care too. The day care teacher can't get him to nap and he cries if she isn't paying 100% attention to him all day long. She doesn't know what to do with him and I don't know what to tell her to do. I left work and picked him up early the other day he was having such a difficult time.

This has been building over the last week but I think the time change was the straw that broke the camel's back (even though we'd been trying to transition him for the last 2 weeks).

On Sunday he attempted to not nap at all and he was nearly successful at it. When we realized that our sweet baby was replaced by a monster bent on waking the dead we tried to force him into napping by going the cry it out route. He's 9 months old, he should take a reasonable nap at some point and if he wasn't going to nap we were going to let him wear himself out until sleep came. It became clear that it wasn't working. I'm sure it could work if we stuck to it, but we just are not ready to commit to that style of sleep training yet. He finally slept after we took him into our bed and that was even a short nap (sucking on my breast the whole time). Suffice it to say, Sunday was very trying. Sunday night was worse. Monday was as bad.

After that I decided that he was working through something and we really needed to help him with it. I also decided that he's basically reverted back to the sleep routine of when he was 5 weeks old. Those were dark days for me, I could not/cannot handle a 5 week old Michael. But I can handle a 6 week old Michael so I decided that we should go back to his 6 week old sleep routine and expectations.

We moved his 10pm feeding back to 9pm and added the 2am one back. I started holding him for naps again and expecting to fail when I try to put him in the crib. Lots more nursing (I think my nipples are going to peel off soon), lots of positive attention but also some brief alone time because we have things that have to get done too (he cries during it). We let the day care teacher borrow the buckle carrier we are using right now and it helped her.

And we seem to be making progress. It's still rough but we have seen improvement. He's doing a little better at night. He doing a little better during the day. I can go 3 feet away from him without him crying now. He's still waking up at night and for the day at 4:30am but I have faith that we will get back to normal soon. I was a little worried about spoiling him but I don't think we are. Here and here are some good articles I found that relate to what's going on and I think we are taking the right course of action.

His myringotomy (ear tube surgery) will be Wednesday next week. It seems like everyone tells about the miracle of ear tubes. "My kid started talking the next day." "My kid started walking the next week." "It was a life saver." I'm not expecting these tubes to be a miracle, but I'm hoping that we will all be satisfied customers and that maybe the tubes will hit the "reset button" on him. Time for another feeding.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's just wrong

We went to Saturday night mass like normal this week. We didn't realize that it was the end of their big prolife campaign and they had a big finale dinner and such planned. So church was packed with a lot of visitors and there were a bunch of booths and vendors setup in the gathering area. Not my thing, but whatever.

And Michael is a little ham. He loves going to church because everyone smiles and laughs at him and now he starts "talking" very loudly as soon as we get in the sanctuary and it's getting very difficult to sit through a mass with him. He thinks it's the Michael Show and everyone is there to see him.

It got bad the other night. I stood him in the empty pew in front of us where he showed off for everyone and then puked! Yes, in front of everyone, puked on the pew and floor. Awesome. How embarrassing. We cleaned it up with wipes quickly and he was getting evermore difficult to handle so I took him out.

So we were out in the gathering area with all the booths and walked around and looked at things for awhile. We sat down and I tried to wrangle him during most of the rest of the mass. Another "vendor" came in during mass and set up on the table that we were next to. I wasn't paying attention until some guy started talking to him and I turned around and saw what he'd put on display. Sculptures of fetuses at varying stages of gestation.

This is not a post about abortion. If you want to read one of those, please read this. I'm not going to debate pro-life vs pro-choice or abortion or anything thing of that manner here and I don't want to see any comments debating it either. But, I absolutely draw the line when people get "graphic" about abortion. Sometimes I think the graphic becomes obscene and I can't stand that. You're entitled to your own opinion, but graphic obscenity is not ok. (And if someone leaves a comment about abortion itself being obscene, it's getting deleted, again, this is not the place for that stuff, do that on your own blog).

This type of thing really rubs me the wrong way. One day we walked into church and they were handing our plastic fetus stress balls. Since then I have absolutely stopped taking anything that the pro-life committee hands out. Why on earth would they think it was ok to hand out that type of thing?

So the fetus guy has his many fetuses on display (and for the record, they aren't very accurate representations of what the fetuses actually look like at that age) and I'm 3 feet from him trying to corral Michael with pro-life advocates everywhere. But I turned around and gave that guy a piece of my mind.

Women loose babies all the time. Most abortions are "spontaneous", i.e. miscarriages, or later on still births. They don't choose to have their babies die. Many of them have seen the remains of the child that they very much desired. And there are a lot of these women. Miscarriage and loss are WAY TOO common. I thank God that I have not lost a child and I feel greatly for the women that have. And no women should be bombarded with fetuses while simply coming to worship. Just because some women choose to end their child's life doesn't mean a women that didn't should have to be reminded in such a graphic way of the child that was taken from her. It's just wrong.

Again, I've never lost a baby, but I honestly think parenthood has increased my empathy for infertility and especially loss. With every thing my child does that brings joy to my heart I know that there is someone out there that will never know it and that makes me very sad. Seeing those dolls hurts my heart because I imagine a tiny dead Michael instead of the wiggle-worm that I have and I don't like thinking that. So I hope that I wasn't out of line telling that guy that his display is rude and unkind to parents that have lost their babies. I just don't think that kind of thing is right. You can make your point without using shock tactics.

*comment moderation is temporarily turned on*

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The merits of urgent care

Michael has had another rough week. He's been constipated since last Friday which is a big bummer since he was doing so well up until that point. And I'm still not sure as to the cause of it. But we have been trying to relieve it all week.

Finally, Thursday, I called his ped's office and left a message for the nurse. I asked that they please not call back from 1-2 since I would be in a meeting and, of course, that's when they called. The nurse on the voicemail didn't offer up anything that we hadn't already been doing except glycerin suppositories.

So that night we tried those... fail. So I called the night nurse and she talked to the Dr. on call and told us to give him a 1/2 cap of Miralax in 4 oz of milk 2 times the next day (Friday). I laughed since the only time he'll take 4oz of milk from a bottle (in a single feeding) is during a growth spurt. And they wanted him to get seen by his dr. the next day.

So we tried the Miralax at daycare. They got him to take 6 oz all day which is pretty typical but the constipation persisted.

Meanwhile, I called the ped for an appointment. The ironic thing is that he was scheduled for his well visit that day anyhow but they called the other week and rescheduled it and led me to believe that the dr was taking the day off or something. So I was surprised when I call to get in and not only was my dr. there but he had openings! WTF?! Turns they over booked the afternoon and we got bumped which ticks me off since it's so hard for us to get in there in the first place and he tends to react to his immunizations and we are due for his second round of the flu shot now and I was so happy that we'd gotten a Friday afternoon appointment.

Anyhow, the only appointment times they had left were going to be very hard for us to make so we decided that I would take him to urgent care after work instead.

This is only the second time I have been to the urgent care here, but both times I have been in and out in less than 30 minutes. They have been really good experiences. I like the dr that works there. And the copay is only $10 more than a normal office visit and I when I have to miss time off work it costs me a lot more than $10, so it's kinda a no brainer. I know when flu season kicks in that I should probably steer clear, but so far so good. Really, it seems like urgent care beats his regular clinic when the wait time is low.

Now to counter that, when I was in college I went to urgent care one time when I was feeling really crummy. I was feeling completely out of control and tired and had weird bruises on my tongue and I could barely think straight. The (idiot) dr. there spent 2 minutes with me and diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. Fibro-fucking-myalgia! I was 20 and in the best shape of my life and running several miles everyday and had just started dating DH. Life was great and she diagnosed me with that crap. I had enough mental clarity to tell her she was nuts and completely off and I wasn't even sure that I really believe in fibro. If I'd had a little more mental clarity I would have threatened to take her medical license if she dared to write that on my chart (you do not want to have that diagnosis on your medical history, insurance companies will not touch you). I basically marched out of there. The next day I went to student health. That guy wasn't much better... he diagnosed me as depressed and offered me Zoloft after 5 minutes of talking to me and I told him he was nuts. He had to call me back an hour later with his tail between his legs because it turns out it was MONO. Idiots. Of course it was mono! If I hadn't been so incredibly tired I could have figured that out. I had been running a crazy high fever, my tonsils were swollen, the weird tongue bruises, I was becoming jaundiced and my spleen was about to burst out of my abdomen and I was CRAZY TIRED--how could they have missed it?! After they figured it out, it was so bad they were going to hospitalize me until my mom (a nurse) came and got me and promised to take care of me. But I was a healthy 20 year old college student and if it ain't an STD or pregnancy, well then it's probably mono. (And yes, DH totally gave me mono, which he still denies).

So what I learned from that is that it is all about the doctor. Bad drs. are everywhere and you have to be on alert for them and do your homework. If I didn't know a little about fibro and believed that first moron it could have taken me years to realize that she had wrongly diagnosed me since I kinda got a chronic fatigue from the mono (which, interestingly, metformin cured). If I would have listened to the gyn I went to when we were ready to TTC, I probably wouldn't have a baby right now. If I would have listened to my first OB I never would have found out that I have MTHFR (and I probably wouldn't have had such an awesome birthing experience either). I did listen to a surgeon when my gut instinct told me not to one time and hung on to a POS gallbladder for a year longer than I needed to. I've got a small handful of drs that I pretty much trust now but I had to visit a lot of not so great drs to find those few and just because I 'trust' them I don't emphatically trust them. So I like this urgent care so far but I don't assume that I will always get good care from them.

Back to Michael. The Dr. told use to keep up with the suppositories... up to 4 per day (which is way over the product guidelines) and skip the Miralax. And the Dr. loaded me up on gloves which was nice of him. And Michael apparently has strep throat too, so he's on antibiotics again. Which means the thrush will probably flare back up again now.

We had good luck with the suppository later last night. I think the Miralax did help out and make things easier. We're still working on it, but things are moving a little again so hopefully he'll be over this soon. Ditto the strep.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Days of fury...

nights of terror.

Michael has gone from having 2 teeth to 5 teeth in a very short period of time (with 6, 7, and 8 not far off). This has resulted in a lot of night wakings and tylenol and nursing. All the nursing has been hard on me physically. My right shoulder, which I lovingly refer to as the Shoulder of Doom, has been on fire lately but I'm kinda used to it since it does this fairly regularly. But then my left shoulder decided to get in on the action too.

I had the chiropractor work on it on Saturday and it helped but it ain't fixed. Monday I woke up with a lot of pain but hoped it would get better throughout the day. I took tylenol at lunch and ibuprofen in the afternoon (I never take ibuprofen anymore). Then after I got him down for the night last night I was hurting so badly that I had to lay down for an hour. When I got up it hurt so bad that I could only breathe shallowly and was sobbing. It was a really sharp pain so I was worried that I dislocated something. I was so mad at myself for not getting it seen earlier in the day and now I was in a ton of pain and it was late at night.

And it hurt bad. I've given birth without an epidural and I can say that most of this was more painful than most of that. I decided that the only thing I could do was go to the ER. I took an naproxem and drove myself since DH had to stay home with Michael. I was bawling all the way in. I could barely walk or breathe. Thankfully the Alieve started to kick in (and FYI, naproxem is not such a good idea while breastfeeding, I was desperate).

I waited for hours in a very full waiting room. I was finally called back around midnight. Then I waited for another half hour. Then when the dr finally saw me I was completely unimpressed (his name, FYI, was Dr. Slaughter). He didn't really get where my pain was coming from and I don't think his exam was very thorough. He thinks I could have "micro tears" of the tendon (or something) from repetitive injury (breastfeeding a 27lb baby). He was efficient when he saw me since I explained that I had a baby at home that was teething and would not take a bottle and really needed to get home for him. He gave me a (useless) sling and prescription for diclofenac which is an NSAID that is safe for breastfeeding. It still hurts to breathe.

I finally got home and went to bed around 1 am. Thankfully Michael never woke up, probably because we gave him tyelnol at bedtime that night (we normally hold off until he wakes but I was already in a state and so was he). I think I might have slept and hour or 2. I had to get up at 5 am this morning to feed Michael so that we could take him to his big ENT appointment.

The verdict from that was that he does have decreased hearing and his ear drums are not vibrating normally from all the ear infections and he needs tubes. I agree, but I was still hoping for better. We will be scheduling that shortly. But he loved the appointment. He was flirting with everyone and soaking up the attention.

We also went over the spitting up. Our Ped's position has been that your baby is fat and it's ok for fat babies to spit up. Which is bullshit. I got so fed up the other week I called and pretty much demanded a script. Finally, we got some Zantac. We gave it to him that night before dinner and he promptly spit up EVERYTHING in his stomach. He filled his highchair tray. Yum. It was horrific and he was so upset. We haven't given him another dose.

The ENT thought the Ped was wrong for with holding the Zantac for so long and it was an issue of acid reflux as well as quality of life (hallelujah! someone was finally listening!) and contributing to the ear infections and that Prevacid was probably the more appropriate choice (rather than trying the Zantac again, which is what the Ped told us to do). So we got that script, but it has to be compounded so we are still waiting on it to be filled. I'm not the biggest fan of Prevacid and I'm a little weary of giving it to him, but we'll give it a try and I'll be on the look out for issues.

No tylenol tonight for Michael. Let's hope that we aren't in for another night of waking up screaming from the baby. No pain pills for me either (yet).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Trololo & Bad Parenting

Michael hit "more time out of the womb than in" this week. I'm not sure exactly how significant of a milestone that is, but there you have it. I didn't get a picture of him when we hit it exactly, but here is a picture from this morning. I had failed at getting him to go down for a nap and told DH to take him. He put him on the floor in the living room and the sun was shining in the front door on him and he was playing with his shadow. So happy and excited. Tired parenting turned into good times.


You've probably noticed, but I'm terrible at photography. Luckily other people are pretty good at it. So today we visited our photographer and had his 9 month photos taken. We got to take them outside at this in a very pretty park. I can't wait to see them.

At nearly 9 months we finally installed a baby gate at the top of the stairs. I've been worried that some roaming pack of judgmental moms would discover that I didn't have a baby gate up yet and call CPS on me or something. For the record, he's never gotten anywhere near the stairs on his own and we are pretty big into that thing called "parental supervision".


But props to DH. I think he did a good job on the gate. It's hard to tell from the picture but he did a great job matching the board he screwed into to the post. Bliss is protesting. (The cats can fit through the railing on the side but they can't race each other up the stairs anymore.)

And now for the really bad parenting. You all know that I don't let Michael watch TV, but for some reason I'm ok with showing him the Trololo guy on YouTube. Hey, he's my kid, I get to choose how I want to mess him up. I mean, a few minutes of Trololo can't be any worse than Baby Einstein right?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I remember the pain

I was just getting ready to leave the office the other night and a coworker stopped by and let me know that I was going to be the last one out. I asked him if he could hold up a minute and we would lock up together.

I had been wanting to ask him if his wife was pregnant yet. He told me they were trying several months ago and I hadn't heard anything and was fearing the worst. So since it was just me and him, I asked.

Things are not good. They have been told that they can't have children. Period. The end. He said his wife was having a really hard time with it. I expressed my sympathy.

We talked a couple more minutes and I asked who they had been to. Apparently it was someone in town and had done "fertility treatments." Now, there are no REs in my town that I know of. No real fertility clinics. IVF is not a service that you can find here. So they have been to one doctor and I highly doubt it was an RE.

I told him this, but he insisted that they'd seen a fertility specialist. I never asked what the diagnosis was (I want to be helpful, not nosy) but I just started listing off fertility issues and causes and treatment options. I figures if I spewed out enough there in 2 minutes time he would get the sense that there are a lot of options he didn't know about. I reiterated to him at the end that there were not any fertility clinics in this town.

I said to him, that it's their choice to pursue adoption or child free living, but if it hurts their hearts, isn't it worth a 30 min drive and a second opinion?

Finally I said that if I hadn't gone up the road I wouldn't have a kid right now. Get a second opinion.

This 7 minute conversation is haunting me just a little. I'm glad that I was able to talk to him. I really hope that they get an appointment. I feel like I did a good thing, but it really brought the pain back to the front. I consider myself pretty healed from the pain of my infertility. Having a baby made me feel whole again. But I remember the pain better than I knew and talking in person about it really brought it back.

I think it bothered me so much because they are in that time still before the "first appointment." The time when you know you have a problem and are scared shitless of what you'll be told. You need IVF. You're hopeless. It will take a long time. It will cost you more than you can afford. But then I remember the good. The coming away from that first appointment feeling hope for the first time in a long time. That first appointment renewed my spirit and I'm grateful to Dr. C for it.

And I know I was so lucky. I had my downs, but I made it through with relatively little treatment. I never had to switch drs. And even though I was mentally done with my current treatment and afraid of the next step when I got pregnant, I knew I had that next step still available to take. If I had been farther down that road I might not feel the same way now, but from where I stand, I can appreciate the view.

But wow, the pain, it lingers still.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anxious

I haven't been doing well between work and home and baby and everything else. Really not well at all when it comes to most of it. Baby is probably the most important so that's where I try the hardest, but that doesn't really cut it.

I've been talking to DH a lot about all of it. I think part of my problem is that I used to have so much time to myself to sort through it all and get my shit together and now I'm running just to keep up and I don't have time to keep all the crazy organized.

I feel this constant fear all the time. It's killing me. Most of it is about work because that is probably the thing I have the least time for and probably the most demanding thing. I totally believe this thrush infestation is from all the stress there throwing off my "natural flora". Seriously, I don't think it's normal to get thrush after 8 months of breastfeeding. I'm pretty sure that stress can do that. Better thrush than a heart attack or something.

But really, I am just not healthy anymore at all. In the head I mean. I see myself turning into my mother right now and that scares the bejesus out of me.

I had come the the self diagnosis of anxiety disorder already and then I read this timely article. I could have said a lot of the things written in it. What is so scary is how they say it is so under-diagnosed and how it's not usually diagnosed for 9 to 12 years after it starts. I know it's been going on with me for awhile. About 5 years ago when we were engaged I gained weight on purpose to try to get my husband to take pity on me and skip the wedding and just get married. It didn't work and I was just looked fat in my wedding dress. That's just one example, but it goes back even further than that... probably all the way back to when I was diagnosed with PCOS. I've been this way for a long time and I'm to a point where I just can't deal with it all anymore.

I know that there are good drugs for anxiety and I'd like to look into those after I quit breastfeeding but I don't intend to wean anytime soon. The article mentions exercise which is a good idea anyhow and I want to start making a bigger effort there, especially if it will help me. Does anyone that has been through an anxiety disorder diagnosis out there have any tips on things that I can do now that will help me?

Friday, October 15, 2010

We have thrush

It's been quite a medical couple of weeks for me and Michael.

I couple of weeks ago... or last week... we go to the pediatrician's office so often I can't even really remember, anyhow, I thought Michael was still hanging on to an ear infection. So we marched back into the ped's office. He had amber fluid behind the ear drum and the ped thought it was old fluid and not a new infection starting. He wanted to send us to an ENT to get tubes right away. I was a step ahead and had made an appointment with a highly recommended ENT that helped my coworker's kid have fewer ear infections by discovering the root of his problems rather than just putting more tubes in (the poor kid already had scarring occurring from several sets of tubes). So we are set up to go to an ENT, but couldn't get in until November, so we are still waiting. The ped seemed pessimistic about putting it off any longer, but he doesn't get to make the decisions.

Then on Monday this week I finally went to the dermatologist. I could blog about the many very WRONG things that happened at that appointment, but I won't. But after arguing with the doc for awhile, I finally got her to give me a script of antibiotics to jump start some of the massive acne infestation I have on my chest. Because this is ridiculous and I have been putting up with it for 8 months, and it hurts, and I'm f-ing sick of it. And because I'm damned a fair-skinned redhead, I got a nasty looking mole removed too.

And then, Michael ran a mild fever the other day that I wrote off to teething. But then he ran one again this morning, so I bit the bullet and took the kid back to the ped's office.

I nervously waited as he checked the left ear, then the right, and went back to the left. He asked me if I thought the ear would be better or worse... I just knew it would have to be worse because then he could do an "I told you so" and give me that look that says "You're a bad parent for not getting tubes in his ears last week like I told you to." But, miracle of miracles, it looked a ton better! I felt like I won the lottery. Sometimes it seem like all I hear is bad news lately, so it was nice to get some good.

But the bad was only moments off. Thrush. And that would explain why my nipples hurt (they are pretty bad, I'm kicking myself for not putting 2 and 2 together sooner). So we are being treated. But what a fine time to have just started a round of antibiotics! Yay. But at this point, thrush is better than another ear infection.

The good news is that Michael seems to be doing really well with it. We have been dosing him pretty good with the probiotics lately (I was hoping that they might help with his ear infections some how) so he doesn't have it too badly. And it was a good excuse to try yogurt, so he had some for dinner and really liked it.

I hope the yeast monster isn't too persistent.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Like nails on a chalk board

Michael has one of his top teeth and he likes to grind it against his bottom teeth. It's like nails on a chalk board to me every time he does it. Or more like TEETH on a chalk board.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Baby Food

I really wanted to make Michael's baby food from the start. Like breastfeeding and cloth diapering, it was the plan. And when I got a little anxious about starting solids I figured that it would be a way for me to still feel like I was providing the nourishment for him. The only problem was that I did not have the time for it at all.

I'd bought some Sprout baby food and started with it. It is really good and Michael has taken to most of the flavors well. But it's pretty expensive. I tried some of the Gerber Organic. My only complaint is that it's really watery and messier because it drips. The Earth's Best has a good consistency but a little lacking in flavor. But all in all, I don't really mind feeding him the stuff out of the packages. But I still aspired to fulfill my plan to make baby food for him.

I really wanted to use organic produce but it's virtually impossible to find a good organic selection around here. I'm not kidding when I say that Wal-Mart probably has the best selection of organic produce around here. And we don't normally make it to the Farmer's Market because Michael is napping then. So my first foray was a butternut squash from the supermarket. And boy, was that easy.

The next test was seeing if Michael liked it. The first feeding with it was not so great. He's fun to watch eat. He takes a little bite to start and smacks his lips around and gives me a funny look as he tries to decide if he like something. Sometimes he will do a whole body shiver and give me a smile or sometimes I will just get a yucky face from him. I got the yucky face, so I cut in a bunch of apple juice and had a winner. The subsequent feedings went better, I think he just had to get used to the taste/consistency of my squash.

When the IL's came the other week they brought pears from DH's aunt and sweet potatoes from their garden. I steamed up the pears and baked the sweet potatoes today. And my poor, old immersion blender has pretty much bit the dust so I will have to get a new one before I try anything else.

I mixed some pears in with his oatmeal and I've never seen him eat breakfast so well. I was a little more doubtful about the sweet potatoes because I made them fairly thick, but I gave him a taste and we had a winner.

I'm still going to use store bought baby foods. I like not having it all on me all the time. But I'm glad that I finally tried making some of my own. At least I'm stocked with some staples for awhile.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Snubbed

I'm really, really busy lately. No time for much. But here is a story from the weekend.

FIL and MIL visited this weekend to see Michael and go to our church's Fall Festival. They were planning on visiting for Sat and Sun and then stopping by BIL and SIL's house on the way home.

Let me explain how crazy I am. I get annoyed by having visitors. I don't like to clean the house for them, I don't like planning the meals, I don't like trying to figure out how Michael's schedule will be affected by them. I like visitors, I'm just annoyed by them. I try not to let it show, but there are grumbles behind the scene. And now here's the crazy, I get jealous that the IL's spend so much time with BIL and SIL and their kid. I know, I find visitors inconvenient, but then I get jealous when I don't have them. I'm not claiming to make sense here.

Anyhow, so FIL and MIL actually get to see their other grandson quite a bit. BIL and SIL live several hours closer. MIL babysat nephew quite a bit after SIL's mom passed away. They got to watch him for a whole week when BIL and SIL went to a conference. Nephew is a good traveler and since they live closer they have gone down to visit a couple of times.

MIL and FIL have seen Michael once a month on average since he was born. Although most of those visits have only been for a few hours each.

Sunday morning they called BIL to check in about dropping by on their way home. BIL let them know if they left after lunch they would show up during nephew's nap time and miss seeing him so they had better go ahead and leave now. MIL got off the phone and announced that they were going to go ahead and leave.

My heart broke for Michael. I know that I get annoyed, but I do want him to have a relationship with his grandparents. And now they were ditching him for the other kid less than 24 hours after arriving. And we probably won't see them again until Christmas (BIL and SIL will probably see them several times between now and Christmas).

A couple of minutes later as MIL was putting on her shoes and her cell phone rings. It's BIL again. I think SIL must have smacked him up-side the head. He told MIL that they didn't have to leave right then and they could stay longer since they don't get to see Michael very much. I was glad that they called back, but I already felt slighted by the situation.

They ended up leaving less than an hour later because it was time for Michael to take a nap anyhow. I would have liked for them to stay around and go to the Festival with us, but I was ok with them leaving during his nap. But I'm still hurt that they would get up and just leave with a happy morning baby right there smiling at them.

I'd like to say, "Oh well, their loss," but it's Michael's loss too and that makes it not ok. Why would you want to leave this?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

8 months

Eight whole months already! He is a confirmed roller. No desire to move forward in a precise manner what so ever. He's a big solids eater now too, but he still prefers the boob to cereal/oatmeal for breakfast. He's not a big babbler, but he's definitely expressive. He sucks on his forearm sometimes to comfort himself. I think it's more 'boobish' than a thumb or pacifier for him.

He likes to do what Mommy and Daddy do. He wasn't much of a rattle shaker but me and DH really got into shaking those rattles for him and he changed his mind and wanted to shake, shake, shake one too after that. Then the other day he was watching us wave the Cat Charmer for the kitties a bunch. The next day he managed to roll over to it and was really excited to be able to wave it around too! And the kitties enjoyed it a little too. He wants to be a big boy.

Pictures!


I know it's a little fuzzy, but it was too cute.


We let him play with the phonics magnets* after he is cleaned up from dinner. He doesn't know what do with them, but he likes them.


He's getting into looking at books, finally! As you can see, reading is a matter for the whole family.**


Of course, books are still good for chewing on too.

----

*Those magnets are for ages 2 and up, but there are no pieces small enough to swallow, the magnets are sealed in them and we never leave him alone with them.

**The cats go nuts for that book because it makes sounds and one is of a cat meowing. They think a cat is trapped inside. It's pretty funny.

Pumptastic! (part 2)

So I got fed up with my pump losing suction as the battery went down and get a new pump from Medela under the warranty. They sent it on Wednesday, it arrived on Thursday, I used it on Friday.

The first pump, I was like, "Oh yeah, that's the good stuff!" I was feeling the pull. Things were going well, I was getting just a little more milk than normal. Then midway through my last pump on Friday something changed about the cycling. I could hear a difference when it happened. Things seemed a little different, but it was hard to tell 100%. It seemed to be louder than normal too.

So Monday I began pumping and I pretty quickly decided that something was indeed off and I wasn't going to take it and called Medela again (and I did end up a couple of ounces low which is very unusual on a Monday). A normal person would probably patiently listen to all of Medela's instructions and go through a long drawn out process of replacing the pump pieces one by one, but not me. I'm just sick of this pumping crap. I want a pump that works and I want it now before I loose anymore supply. So this time they sent me out a complete new system (like you buy in the store, not just the pump and battery). They also sent me an extra set of the membranes/collectors so that I could replace all my parts with new ones (I have 2 sets). But I'm still a little fed up with this crap. The service rep told me that I could use the box from they kit they were sending me and take it back to the store and return it if I wanted too. Tempting.

So at the current moment, I have 3 Freestyles at my house.

So I used pump number 3 yesterday and today. Yesterday seemed average, but today I got a couple more ounces than I've pumped in at least a week and a half! Finger's crossed that it keeps up.

Now I just have to pack up all the old stuff and return it. And I thought that I would have to pay for return shipping, it turns out that they just forgot to send me the shipping label, so that is covered too. I have to give Medela props, customer service has been pretty good.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

So I went to the Chiropractor

I know... I write about not taking my kid to a chiropractor the other week and then let some guy crack me like a nut.

About 3 weeks ago I started having a warm sensation on my right-side-back-mid-waist-area. It felt pleasant. Like a beam of sunshine was hitting me there. And it was happening frequently. Especially when I nursed Michael or sitting at my desk at work. So there is something positional about it, but I haven't quite figured it out. My best guess is that I it's a pinched nerve.

And I've been having some more traditional back pain lately too. Something about lugging around a 26lb baby isn't great for your back apparently.

So I went to a guy that a coworker recommended. He wanted to take x-rays and we had to go through the who, "You're sure that you're not pregnant, right?" I'm REASONABLY sure that I'm not pregnant, because I think it would be UNreasonable to assume that I could be pregnant without going back to an RE, without resuming my menstrual cycle, while breastfeeding, and using condoms, and not having the time for a whole lot of sex lately anyhow. But no, I haven't peed on a stick. I don't really want to put myself through BFN for no real reason.

I have a small mis-alignment in my neck. Probably from a car accident when I was 18. He let me know that I apparently took the impact well. Um, yay. It didn't feel that way 9 years ago.

My hips aren't level either. My left hip is a little higher than the right. That makes a lot of sense. I only feel comfortable carrying Michael on my left hip. He thinks that I've always had this problem but I wonder if it hasn't been since I had Michael and the baby wearing has really made the situation more of a problem.

Everything looked pretty good. Nothing on the films really explained why I've had the warm feelings lately. But he thinks I will do well with treatment and is hoping that the warmness will be fixed... I get the feeling that he is a little clueless. I don't know that I'm buying into things 100%, but I definitely did see that I have some issues. So I will give it a chance for now.

I did talk with him about Michael's ear infections. He really wanted to treat him but the things that he was saying definitely weren't convincing me at all. He was astonished that a breastfed baby was having ear infections and almost acted like he didn't believe me that I breastfeed him. Like a breastfed baby can't possibly have ear infections. Seems a little closed minded for a person that wants me to be open minded.

In other ways that Amanda's body sucks these days, I have a workman's compensation thing going on right now. I had a rather nasty fall at work that hasn't helped the back situation, but the biggest issue is that it really screwed up my knee. I waited on getting it seen because it's a knee. They are kind hard to really hurt. I was hoping it resolve by now, but it hasn't so I'm filing a claim. It's really made that whole lugging around a 26lb baby thing rough. My HR person was trying to tell me to go to an ER on Friday to get it seen. An ER almost 3 weeks after? No thanks. So hopefully I'll get that figured out early this next week.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pumptastic! (not)

Pumping makes me crazy. I said it before, my life was much simpler before I had to pump. Probably the biggest damage done by the pump is that I worry about my supply so much more. Before, I just knew that my baby was satisfied and gaining weight and filling diapers. He is a pro at all of that. But when I pump things change. I know how much milk I make. I *have to* make that much milk tomorrow (or more) or MY SUPPLY IS DWINDLING AND I'M GOING TO DRY UP AND NEVER BREASTFEED AGAIN AND I WON'T BE ABLE TO HAVE ANY MORE CHILDREN AND THAT WILL BE IT SO I HAD BETTER MAKE MORE MILK NOW, DAMMIT! breathe Amanda, breathe.

A little crazy I know. But at the same time, it's not all bad being protective of my supply. I would be sad if I had lost it and had to quit breastfeeding Michael before either of us is ready to quit.

So every time my pumping output dips I blame myself for not doing a good enough job, or Michael and his ear infections for making it more difficult to suckle, or cough drops. And I take more fenugreek, pump more, do everything that is within my power to get it back. And sometimes this is in vain.

Sometimes it takes awhile for me to catch on to what should probably be obvious. I have a Medela Freestyle. I spent a lot of time deliberating on what pump to get. Every pump out there has good and bad reviews. I had a hard time making a decision, but what it came down to was they are very small/portable, they come with a hands free setup, long battery life, Medela is a trusted breast pump manufacturer, and my SIL managed to exclusively pump for a year with one, but mostly because that's what the LC had in stock.

But the other week, I forgot to charge the battery so I took my AC adapter to work with me and pumped off that. I pumped several more ounces than the day before. I took note. I went back in reread the reviews for the pump and noticed several other people had a similar experience. And yet I did not connect the dots.

Then I was reading Kate's blog the other day and gave her the advice to talk to Medela about the pump if she's loosing supply. After I wrote that, the light bulb came on and I kicked myself in the ass. WHY DON'T I CALL MEDELA?! I know that I get more with the AC adapter. I'd already lost several ounces of output from Monday to Wednesday this week (the battery is fresh on Monday and ready for a recharge on Wednesday night). I've been driving myself mad, blaming myself, my breasts, my child, trying to fight supply loss and the whole time I never blamed the pump! Idiot.

So since I happened to have my pump and my receipt (because I keep my FSA file at work) I went ahead and called. The customer service rep tried to blame it on the nipple shields that I use but I've already up-sized from the smalls that I started out with (breastfeeding turns cute little nipples into massive MOM nipples). And that still wouldn't explain why I do better when I plug it in. And I have 2 sets of collectors and membranes and I have the same luck with both. So they overnighted me a new pump and battery right then. Less than 24 hours after calling I had a new pump sitting on my doorstep. That was pretty easy. I will say that the rep did not mention to me that I would have to pay for the shipping to return my old pump and battery (yes, I have to send them back), but I was reading through the warranty and it says it there.

I haven't gotten to use the new pump yet, but I will update in a few days. There are a couple of slight differences between my old pump and the new one (the logo, the instruction booklets have some minor differences). I'm just hoping that a fresh battery makes a difference.

I'm hoping that this one lasts me through as long as I need it, but I kinda doubt it will. But then again my SIL did pump exclusively for a year without problems... maybe her boobs are just that much better than mine. No, no hers are not. My body is just as capable of feeding my child as hers is. I will not continue to blame myself for things that are not my fault.

Perhaps you're wondering if I had it to do over again, what pump would I buy? I still love the Freestyle for it's size. If I have to travel or pump on the go, I can't beat it. But that is rare and it was a $300+ pump and there are other ways to make pumps hands free. Knowing what I know now, I'd probably rent a hospital grade pump for work and get an Isis or something for home (I rarely pump at home). I rented a Lactina when I had all of my latch problems with Michael in the beginning. I have never really talked about it on the blog, but after a long period of denial, I definitely suffered from mastitis during those early days and I think that pump was very instrumental in keeping my breasts drained and preventing worsening of the infection. This may be a little graphic for some, but with mastitis, you have gelatinous, lumpy, and stringy milk and that pump sucked it all out. It was soooo gross. My Freestyle can't undo even a little clogged duct, it would have never been up to that task. On the downside, pump rental is expensive and the Lactina is gigantic, but if it could have saved me some mental anguish, it would be worth it. If something happens to this new freestyle out of warranty, I'll probably rent a pump again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

You know you're a mommy blogger when...

It's never been my intention to be a mommy blogger. It was always my intention to be a mommy... the blogging just happened because this kid is my world.

Anyhow, you know that you're a mommy blogger when you blog about baby poop.

Yup. Let's talk poop. I've had thoughts about other topics lately, but the poop keeps floating to the top.

Despite my pediatrician's grave concern that Michael would never eat soilds because I didn't start pushing them in utero, the child is rather fond of them now. And I'm glad because it was really helping him not be so starved at daycare.

But last week, I was starting to suspect constipation. I broke out the apple juice and started cutting back on some of the most notorious offenders... bananas, rice and apples (juice is different... it doesn't have pectin in it). But alas, it was too late.

We cut off solids almost completely this weekend. We did try prunes. The poor child sobbed when we tried to feed them to him (very unusual), so we backed off.

We peeked into his diaper with every fart hoping this would be the one. We decided that a watched child never poops.

We worked those legs... bicycle, swats, time in the jumper.

I put him in diapers that I would rather him not poo in. Kinda like line drying your clothes to try to make it rain. This has actually been rather effective in the past.

Sunday night we got a little something, but I knew that their had to be more.

Then, a little later, it finally happened. It was terrible. He howled and cried. I felt awful for him. I tried to support him in different way to make it easier for him, but it was just flat out painful. Poor baby.

And then this morning, DH was playing with him while I made my breakfast. He was whining in an unusual way. My husband is not so quick with the hints and wasn't figuring it out. I knew when I got to him what was going on just held him and he was happy when it was over and sat on my lap* playing with a toy. I finished my breakfast and then took him to be changed. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! That was a lot of shit. I thought most of it was through the night before, but I almost fainted when I saw the diaper.

Anyhow, I think we are back to normal now. He had a regularly scheduled BM today at day care. I think I'm going to be a little more regular with some juice (not much, just a couple of teaspoons a day) to keep things moving. If anyone knows how to keep a baby regular, I'm all ears.

So tonight I went ahead and ordered him a little potty. I'm hoping that if we go through this again it might help to provide a more comfortable position for him. It's probably a good idea to go ahead and introduce the potty chair anyhow.

So I hope that you all have enjoyed my story about constipation because it's about the most exciting thing in my life right now.

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*Dear Thirsties,

Thank you for your gussets.

Love,
Amanda's fat jeans

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alternative medicine for ear infections

I was complaining to a coworker that Michael still has an ear infection and she asked me if I had taken him to a chiropractor. I hadn't even thought of doing that and it made me stop and think.

I'm a cynic by nature, but I do believe that alternative medicine can benefit us. I used acupuncture while I was TTC. I bought a reiki charge amber teething anklet for my kid (I'm not so sure that I believe in that one, but it was fun).

I would really like to not have to deal with these ear infections anymore. The antibiotics are hard on his stomach and they aren't helping and then I read something like this and really wish I didn't have to give them.

I'm not sure if Chelle's idea about vinegar works or not, but it sounds harmless and easy. But the chiropractic thing really gives me pause. If you google it, there is lots of positive testimony out there for it. But then you read something about a chiropractor paralyzing an infant and it makes risking it sound really dumb.

My brother is a chiropractor. And as well as I can tell, a pretty good one. But as much as I believe in alternative medicine, I have a lot of doubts about chiropractics... which is a little inconsistent, I know. I don't normally like to get medical advice from my brother because I think he is a quack, but I decided that since my baby's spine is at stake, I'd call him and ask about treatment for ear infections.

His advice surprised me. He said it's really all about draining the eustation tubes and recommended 3 things: 1. Use a less 'sticky' formula (n/a), 2. Prop up one end of his crib (been doing that for several months) and 3. Tummy sleep him. Did I mention that I think my brother's a quack? He said he wouldn't do the chiropractics. Interesting. This from the guy that claims to have cured his step daughter's asthma. (And by the way, on my brother's clinic's website he offers treatment for ear infection.)

But I'm a little bummed. I was kinda hoping to try it, but it doesn't sound worth it. But I do think I might talk with his ped about options to treat the infections again. I'm not a huge fan of the pediatrician, but one reason that we chose him is that he's a DO. DO's are supposed to be a little more open minded and they are also suppose to do adjustments. Perhaps it will be a worth while conversation to have with him, which would be a change.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Time Travel

We did it. There are no more glowing screens in our living room.

I'm really happy now. Not so much because the TV is out of the living room, but more because I got to rearrange furniture. I live to rearrange furniture. Just moving the couch a couple of inches gets me high. And now we have all this space for Michael to roll around and crawl (still working on that one). He made good use of it the other day. I think DH and I are both really happy with the arrangement. We aren't missing the TV at all at this time and we are kinda glad that we did it now before the fall season got started.

But when I do something in one room of the house, it affects the whole rest of the house around here. So I have been tweaking things here and there. And I needed to pick up and clean anyhow. I had to relocate a picture frame and put it where a book was. So then I put the book where the stack of accumulated greeting cards resides. So I decided to sort through them and toss and save.

Going though the cards... probably 2.5 years of cards is kinda arduous. It was a big stack. It kinda made me feel like we don't send enough cards since we seem to have gotten so many.

They were basically in chronological order so I kinda took a stroll through the years as I went through them. First in the pile is our anniversary then Christmas, then my birthday and then maybe some Valentine's Day or Easter, then DH's birthday, some random thank you notes, repeat.

I got to the cards people sent us after Muffy died. I forgot those were in there. They made me cry a little. I saved them off to the side.

I got to the congratulations cards when I got pregnant. Then the shower cards from my lovely neighbors. Sweet as they were, they got tossed.

Eventually I got to the 'new baby' cards. I saved those. And I saved the cards that family members sent to Michael for Valentine's Day and Easter and his baptism. I cut a piece of string and tied them up in a bundle. I'm saving the cards to Michael from at least his first year because he might like to look at them someday. I doubt I'll be as sentimental later on.

I saved the first Mother's & Father's day cards. We worked too hard for those to just toss them out.

And last I saved the cards DH and I gave to each other. I laughed at the card I gave DH for his 29th birthday where I wrote a note inviting him to post IUI "cleanup sex*" (our BFP cycle). I put them in the card keeper in our bedroom.

I put it all away. I hated going through all of those cards. I'm just not sentimental enough about that kind of stuff and for that I feel guilty. The task is done. Until 2011.

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*DH informed me that when you inseminate cattle, you have a "clean up bull" that takes care of things just in case you were off on the timing. So we called our homework sex 'cleanup'.