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.


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.


*Dear Thirsties,

Thank you for your gussets.

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.


*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'.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

3 things

1. Happy PCOS awareness month! (Who knew?)

2. Michael had his ear re-check today, and guess who still has an ear infection?! I got in with another Dr. in the group that a coworker recommended. I like her SO much better than the jerk we've been seeing. Michael spit up a little while we were there and I mentioned that he was a spitter and she said that research has actually found that stomach acid can get up the eustation tubes and causes ear infections so spitters have higher rates of ear infections. That's a little interesting, and gross.

3. I have two very bad kitties. If they weren't so cute....

Monday, September 6, 2010

The vegetarian spectrum

DH works with a guy that is married to a vegetarian. When he told me this I was excited because maybe we could make friends and hang out sometime. Then I found out they had kids... scratch that.

But now we have a kid and can hang out with the fertile world. Yay! (Conformity was the whole point of procreating, of course.)

They invited us to their house for a barbecue today. How awesome would it be to go to a barbecue as a vegetarian and know that you will have something to eat because one of the hosts is a vegetarian too?!

But we declined. There are actually a couple of reasons that we declined, but one is that the vegetarian wife is also a nutritionist. (note: This was very far down the list of reasons we declined.)

Vegetarians are a mixed bunch, each of us deciding our dietary guidelines for a number of personal reasons. Since the wife is a nutritionist, I'm ASSuming that she's a veggie for 'health' reasons. That might mean that she thinks it's okay for vegetarian food to share real estate with meat on a grill or platter. If she doesn't share the same paranoia about meat that I do it could be bad for finding something to eat.

I don't like hanging out with other vegetarians because I'm worried I won't be 'vegetarian enough' (or vice versa). I know that sounds silly, but there are so many different takes on vegetarianism that you can't just assume that people that say they are vegetarian are your kind of vegetarian. I bet even vegans have this problem.

And I hate it when I encounter veggies that wear their diet like a halo. I don't think dietary preferences should make you feel superior to someone else. Having stricter preferences than someone else doesn't give you a right rub it in other people's faces, but sometimes it comes off that way unintentionally. My diet beliefs have always been a religion for me, meaning that I take my preferences as seriously as a person takes their religion. So if you offer me something and I turn it down, it's not personal, but I just have to be true to myself. And sometimes this makes me look like an asshole. I don't not believe when in Rome....

Any other vegetarians out there know what I'm talking about?


I was in a new club environmentalism club in college. The sponsor brought a giant pepperoni pizza to the first club meeting and sat it down in front of us. The 6 or so of us all just stared at him. Finally, one guy grabbed a piece and picked off the pepperonis. We were all vegetarians or vegan. Most of us lay somewhere in the ovo-lacto spectrum of the scale. The kid that picked off the pepperoni actually would eat meat if he hunted and killed it himself. I guess we were in a different part of the hippie* spectrum than the sponsor.

*I use the word hippie a lot, but I always mean it in a loving, but tongue in cheek kind of way.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Land Baroness

or real estate mogul, what ever you want to call me.

We closed today on that land I was talking about a while ago. So I am feeling mighty powerful having my name on 3 land deeds at this point (and a lot poorer).

Although it is a slight risk taking out another loan right now, this was the kind of deal you'd have to be stoopid to pass on. This was a steal. Think of a good price for farmland, now cut it in half... we paid less than that. Yeah, your dad is also your brother kind of stupid to pass it by.

I might mention that I haven't actually seen the land in person (although I've seen the aerial and the surveys). The access to it is rough right now and I'd need to get in the truck to go see it, but we can't all 3 really fit in the truck and I can't drive a stick, so I haven't actually seen it. But I trust my husband. And again, 2+2=22 kind of dumb to let this go.

And in other news, it was BEAUTIFUL outside today. I mean gorgeous! We took a sheet and spread it out in the yard and let Michael explore the grass for the first time tonight. Raising a baby is wonderful, but doing activities like this and watching them react, it makes whatever road you went through to get here worth it. Everyday is a first something right now. The best part of today had nothing to do with getting a good deal on some land.