Thursday, February 25, 2010

We're here!

Well, I had everything all planned out for yesterday so that it would somewhat fit Chubbers' schedule. For the most part things went well, although obviously not perfect (I didn't expect perfection). She took her morning and mid-day nap at home before we left. Then right after her mid-day nap I got her up, fed her and we took off for the airport. I pumped on the way there using the nifty medela pump and save bags which are a lifesaver when you don't want to have to wash out extra bottles or don't have the option to do so.

I was hoping Senorita Chub Chubs would nap on the way to the airport, but no such luck. She was bright eyed and alert up until we were about to board the plane. She got a little fussy for bit but then I put her in a sling and she ended up napping for about 15 minutes in that until the plane took off. My husband fed her on take-off and she did really well. In fact she was great the entire plane ride. No fussing or anything and she ended up napping for about 30 minutes on his lap. There was a screaming baby across the aisle which made us feel so much better knowing that if that happened, we were in good company. In fact there were a LOT of babies on this flight (all of which were in the back part of the plane with us and most were crying) so my nerves were calmed by that fact alone. I felt bad for everyone else though!

We tried feeding The Chubs again when we landed but she wasn't interested. This meant that she had to wait until we got to the in-laws to eat again. I was worried about that since it was a long time for her to wait but we had no choice. Once we got to grama and grampa's house we fed her immediately but she was so tired from not really sleeping since 2pm AND being 2 hours past her bedtime that she didn't do very well and was very fussy. I was afraid since she was so off schedule, overly tired and hadn't eaten very well that day that she wouldn't sleep well last night but she was a trooper and did a 9 hour stretch (from 9pm to 6am), ate then went back to bed until 8:45.

It's very clear today that she's a little cranky from getting off track of the norm, but I think by this evening she'll be back on schedule and in a little better of a mood! She's currently napping in the other room getting her beauty sleep.

The weather is beautiful here and just what I needed. I haven't experienced a sunny 70 degree day in months and I'm looking forward to laying out and soaking up the sun in the next several days that we're here. I'll post some pictures when I have them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And we're off!

We're off to Arizona tonight. It will be our first trip with The Chubs and we'll be flying. I'm super excited but also super nervous! Not only will I be taking a tiny little Chub Muffin on the plane during the peak of her fussy period, but I will also need to figure out how to discretely pump along the way. Fortunately my husband purchased a car adapter for it online so if anything, I can pump on my way there and home. There is also a list about a mile long of things SHE needs for the trip that I need to pack. This girl is already high maintenance like her mama. My husband sure is in for a fun 18 years ahead. I may not be able to post much on our trip but I'll try. If anything I'll have a long novel to write when we get back that will undoubtedly be flooded with pictures of the little Senorita. Stay tuned ...

And just because I couldn't resist, here's a picture of a dress we got for The Chubs to wear in Arizona. I can't wait to get some better pictures of her there without a spit rag behind her (and a huge saggy diaper):

Monday, February 22, 2010

Am I dreaming?

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, the Chub Muffin has started sleeping 7-8 hour stretches lately. I have welcomed this change with open arms (even though I still need to pump at 4am). Last night The Chubs made it 9 1/2 hours. I'm still in shock. She slept from 10pm to 7:30am. I must feel really rested right? WRONG! Whenever Senorita Chub Chubs sleeps longer than normal I immediately freak out. "Is she still breathing?", "Is she sick?", "Did she choke on her own spit?". The list goes on and on. Thank goodness for our video monitor. I must have looked at that thing a million times last night just to make sure everything was ok. So instead of enjoying the long stretch, I spent it in bed constantly panicking about her well-being and today I feel about as rested as I did the first few weeks we had her home.

Recently I started following Babywise to the "T". For awhile I had been fairly lax about it and wasn't seeing a whole lot of improvement at night with the Chubs. I decided a few weeks ago it was time to get down to business and I partially attribute the success of her long night stretches to this. Especially since the doctor told us not to expect her to sleep through the night until she was 12 or 13 lbs. Considering she may not be there until 6 months I was a little overwhelmed at the time. I understand she could relapse back to 5-6 hour stretches at any time and somewhat expect her to when her schedule gets all screwed up in the next few days as we travel to Arizona, but now I have resolved to ENJOY it when she sleeps in instead of freaking out constantly whether she is still breathing or not. I'll let you know how I do with that...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

All Dolled Up

Grama and Grampa are in town this weekend and one order of business was to find Senorita Chub Chubs an Easter Dress. We didn't actually end up coming home with a dress but we did come home with this:

As you can tell, she loves it. She was a good sport as we put multiple large floral arrangements on her head.

The Chubs: "I'm glad you're finding this SO amusing. I'll get even with you later as I blowout all over your sweatpants."

We also ended up with some adorable outfits for her to wear in an upcoming photo shoot courtesy of my uncle (one of which matches the above headband). I'm really excited about this since he is an amazing photographer and is willing to do this for us out of the kindness of his heart. I was also excited to finally be purchasing some 0-3 month clothing for The Chubs. I'm hoping in another month she'll fit in it since Newborn is finally getting a little tight and she's starting to get a tad self conscious:

"Does this onesie make me look fat? Do these 1-2 size diapers make my bebuns look big?"

And finally, one more cute picture just because:

(Have you noticed our little Chub Muffin is always wearing a bib? And have you noticed it always matches? Gotta look cute even when you're projectile vomiting.)

8

At three months old, the magic number is 8.
8 is:
  • The number of pounds The Chubs weighs, give or take a few ounces. We'll find out for sure on Monday at our pediatrician appointment.
  • The number of hours she sleeps in one stretch during the middle of the night. She goes to bed around 7, we wake her to eat at 10 and then she sleeps until 5 or 6am, feeds, then goes back to sleep until 7:30 or 8.
  • The number of outfits she goes through everyday between blow outs and spit ups
  • The number of dumps she takes a day (we are the lucky ones with the baby that is still pooping with every single diaper)
  • And finally, the number of times she headbutted my husband in the chest this afternoon while trying to lift her head. She's got the lifting down but isn't so elegant about bringing it back down again.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Multitasking

I think we would all agree that it's hard to do this:


If you are doing this at the same time:


(smiling, not laying buck naked in a towel)

That is why mealtime recently has not been the most productive around here. Apparently I'm the most hilarious thing that has ever walked this planet (that, or I just look funny). Either way Senorita Chub Chubs can not get through a meal without taking several brief intermissions to smile at me. She's trying to be the first baby to be able to do this and eat her lunch at the same time. So far we don't have much success in that area. Sure, her tongue continues to move in a rhythmic pattern, and milk spills all over her chin, but something tells me nothing is actually transferring to her stomach. I'm so glad I can provide dinner and a show for her each and every time.

Why Senorita Chub Chubs?

The above picture shows what we call "bath face". Clever name huh? And yes, we did come up with it all on our own. The Chubs makes this face every single time she takes a bath. It's a pleased and very alert expression with a hint of chubbiness (notice the double chin and pudgy cheeks).

That's not where she got her nickname though, I just wanted to show a cute picture.

Ever since we brought the little Senorita into the world, my husband and I have gotten very little sleep. Even when he doesn't get up to help feed her, he is subject to hearing me climb in and out of bed and to the melodic buzzing of my pump at 3am in the morning. When he does not sleep well, he has been known to talk in his sleep very animated and very loudly.

We've had some very deep conversations in the middle of the night as he lays his heart out on the line.

Example:

Him: (almost yelling) "WOAH! I guess nothing is getting blown away tonight!!!"
Me: "What?"
Him: "The chairs, they got blown away last time!"
Me: "They did? What chairs?"
Him: "Yeah, the black ones!"
Me: (noticing he is clearly talking in his sleep, roll over and pass out)

Another Example (this happened after we got our video monitor):

Me: (crawling back into bed)
Him: Where is she?
Me: In her crib where else would she be?
Him: On the tv screen!
Me: What?

I later found out what he meant was he wanted to see her on the video monitor but because he was half asleep didn't know how to say that.

When The Chubs was going through a growth spurt and I was up every few hours at night, this really took a toll on his sleep (and yeah I guess it effected mine as well....)

Me: (climbing back into bed) Wow, she took 4oz!
Him: (almost yelling again) Woah!
Me: Yeah, I gave her 2 1/2 but she still seemed hungry so I heated up more and she just kept eating!

About 5 minutes later:

Him: (in a high pitched falsetto tone) Little Miss Chub Chubs!
Me: Who are you talking to?
Him: Her!
Me: (laughing)
Him: (embarrassed because he's starting to wake up) Babe... don't laugh at me.

And so was born the beginnings of the Chub Chub name. The Senorita was added in place of "Little Miss" one day when we went to a local mexican restaurant with her for dinner.

So there you have it. And one more picture just for good measure:

Crib Mattresses are the new Board

When Senorita Chub Chubs was a newborn, she had the most flawless, perfectly shaped head. It hadn't even suffered any trauma from coming through the canal. This was because she was so small (or because I have incredible birthing hips).


Recently she is resembling the ancient natives of the Chinook tribe:


Except, she's decided it's much more attractive on the back right side of her head. She has cleverly used the extra firm mattress in her crib to achieve this look instead of a lame board the woman is using in the picture above. That is SO prehistoric.... (insert eye roll)



Looking to the right is her favorite. In fact, even if you dangle something really exciting (like a plastic ring) to the left, she simply shifts her eyes instead of her head. She's found the loop hole. You can't outsmart The Chubs.

(Yoohoo, the camera's over HERE!)

Am I concerned about this? Not really. I mean, she's not planning on entering any beauty pageants in the near future. At least I don't think she is. I should probably ask her.



"Mother, GOSH, stop taking so many pictures of me. On second thought, shoot away! I'm having a good hair day."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Toilet Training on the Prince Lionheart

What is this, you ask?


Why, it's a Prince Lionheart of course! What? You thought it was a Bumbo? Well, so did I when I picked it up at a garage sale for 5 bucks. However, upon further observation (looking under the seat) I noticed it is a cheap rip off. And how fitting that this royal thrown would serve two purposes. A) A prop to help Senorita Chub Chubs learn how to sit up and B) a potty training device. You may be confused as to why I would consider "B" as one of its purposes. This was all The Chubs' idea (she's a clever one). You see, almost every time I have her sit in it, I hear a loud squirting explosion from down under. I can relate to where she's coming from. Who wants to poop lying down? Have you ever tried it? I haven't but I can imagine it would be very hard to get the proper muscles to bear down, plus you don't have gravity working with you. I really do have a brilliant little daughter who will most likely be using the toilet by the time she's 4 months old.

(Not so) pumped

As I mentioned before, The Chubs spent the first several days of her life doped up on anti-seizure medication. The nurses at the hospital where I delivered were convinced the activity they had witnessed from the Senorita was seizure related and to not risk possible brain damage, which seizures can cause if left untreated, she was given a very high dose of this drug that left her a very very sleepy newborn. Sure, most newborns are very sleepy the first days of their life, but most do not have a tube down their throat to help them breath either.


It was my goal all along to breast feed. I had heard the gospel of breast milk from a breast feeding class I had taken and knew that "breast" was "best" so I was bound and determined to make this work. I had heard the horror stories from other women. How could something so natural be so difficult? I had told many people that I would not give up and make it work. Those women that couldn't get breastfeeding to work were just lazy quitters.

Now that I was faced with an intubated and severely sedated infant, I was starting to see the challenges. Even once she was extubated and had full use of her mouth again, the medication was still so strong that she could barely stay awake to eat. Nothing I did would rouse her from her grogginess. This went on for days and days. Lactation consultants would drop in almost daily and work with me. We did everything but pour ice chips down her diaper to get her to stay interested and alert enough to take a full feeding.

Even worse than getting her to stay awake at the beginning, were the scales they used. Once she was stronger, they started weighing her. Her pre and post weight was supposed to reflect how much she took from me. Many times it would say she took a negative ounce. Did that mean she burned a full ounce off while she was eating? I found this hard to believe as milk dribbled out of her mouth and spit up stained my shirt, but they would continue to keep us at Children's hospital until the numbers reflected that she was eating enough. I felt like a prisoner and I was desperate to get my baby home and start living a normal life away from alarms, IV's and oxygen tanks.

We tried the bottle. The normal flow was too fast for her and she would turn blue because she couldn't take a breath amidst the swallowing and gulping. It seemed as though she did much better at the breast, but it also appeared (at least to the doctors and nurses) that she just wasn't eating enough, or anything for that matter, from the breast. It was time to try something new. I knew that if we could find the right nipple for a bottle we could show them exactly how much she was taking each feeding without messing with the scales, and most of all, we could finally take her home.

With a lot of patience and pacing on our parts, we were able to get her to accept a bottle that was specially designed for small and pre-term babies. Finally she was eating an amount that could easily be measured by the nurses and as long as she kept it up, we could bring her home in a few days. During those days I had one mission; get my child home as soon as possible. This meant I was exclusively bottle feeding The Chubs pumped breast milk. It was working and that was really all that mattered to me at the time.

However, I continued to be pressured by the nurses to "try" breast feeding her. I tried to explain to them how if I breastfed her, the scales would say she wasn't taking enough and it would extend our stay, but they continued to push. At this point my flow had gotten a lot faster with the combination of pumping and previous attempts at breastfeeding with the Senorita and she was now choking on my milk when I tried to feed her. This created a new problem since they do not usually let you go home if your baby "bradys" a certain amount of times a day. (this means their heart rate drops which usually happens if they choke or hold their breath for a certain amount of time). Clearly, things were not going well and it is extremely hard to pace an infant on the breast as opposed to a bottle. Finally I struck a deal with the nurses that I would try breastfeeding 3 times a day and they would not do pre and post weights if I offered the bottle to her after a feeding session to make sure she got enough.

In the end we finally too Senorita Chub Chubs home and in all honesty I felt much more comfortable feeding her with the bottle once we were home. Here was my reasoning:

A) I had witnessed on the monitors what her heart did when it went into bradycardia. I did not feel like I was in control of this when I was breastfeeding her and it scared me to death knowing I didn't even have a monitor to look at when I fed her.

B) Most breastfeeding sessions would end in tears on both of our parts. She would choke, start crying and push away with almost every feeding then proceed to do a mondo spit up all over me because the flow had come too fast.

C) Since she was so small when we left Children's (about 4 1/2 lbs.), it was critical she gained weight. The only way to be sure she was taking enough was to see the measurements in a bottle.

For 6 weeks I diligently continued to try to breast feed at least 2 times a day to see if she would magically take to it so I could stop pumping. For another 6 weeks after that I offered it to her occasionally with a bottle as a back-up. Now in her 13th week I continue to work at it but it seems all too clear that she prefers the bottle at this point.

I have to admit there isn't a lot of support out there for Exclusive Pumpers. Most women either breast feed or formula feed with a bottle. You won't find many that exclusively pump. There are many challenges that go along with my choice. For instance, when we travel in a few weeks, I will need to find a family bathroom at the airport to pump at and won't have any options on the plane. Breast feeding in public is widely accepted where pumping in public definitely is not! When I get The Chubs up for her middle of the night feeding, I have to change, feed her, put her down, pump for 15-20 minutes, clean the equipment and store the milk before I can go back to bed again. And during the day time instead of getting some "me" time as soon as I put her down for a nap, I need to pump, clean and store again.

I'm not trying to play the "woe is me" card, but I do welcome gifts and chocolates to lift my spirits.

But in all seriousness, it was never a choice. Breast milk is the best for The Chubs so that is what she's getting. And until I become a dry well, or the motor on my pump goes out, I will continue to provide her this liquid gold. I may not be pumped about all the hours I've spent chained to these motorized suction cups, but this is my life for the next several months and I've accepted it.

Now for a picture:




JUST KIDDING!

The next Dalai Lama or a killer interpretive dancer? You decide.

The Chubs has shown great spiritual depth since she arrived in November. We anticipate big things for her in the future.

Exhibit A: "Praise Hands"


Exhibit B: "Humble Meditation"


Exhibit C: "Interpretive Dancing"


video

Her future's so bright she needs shades.




Let's skip the work out and grab some donuts

This is how my daughter feels about exercise:

I think this is the one thing she actually inherited from me. I've never been a fan of exercising and have been known to make this exact same face when my husband asks me if I want to go to the gym.

Tummy time for The Chubs is my equivalent of the stairstepper on level 5. Sure it gives you killer thighs but oh the agony, and wouldn't it just be much nicer to skip the work out all together and exercise the taste buds with a nice big chocolate chip cookie? I think this is where Senorita Chub Chubs and I are going to get along very well. We both have a passion for food.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Take a picture, it'll last longer

Hi my name is Ellie and I'm a pictureholic. I'm one of "those" moms that take a million photos of their precious baby in the same pose. You know the ones that if pasted together could create a short silent film? See exhibit below:

Or how about this one:


And now it gets ridiculous:
"One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song? "

No, that isn't just 10 copies of the same picture. Those are 10 different pictures that I felt were necessary to take at the time. Looking through my camera it appears that I have dozens of the same photo. Will The Chubs' baby book be filled with copies of the same exact pose over and over again? OF COURSE NOT! I have thousands of photos containing dozens of different poses! And if you think it's not worth it, just look at the photos I got out of these marathon photo shoots:

SEE!!!! Makes it all seem worth it huh? Hey, I saw that eye roll ...

All about poop

I never knew that once I brought a baby into this world that my life would somewhat revolve around excrement. Let's start with labor itself. I heard many women freak out about the possibility that they might poop while giving birth. To me, this wasn't a big deal. I'm a fairly modest person so I planned all along to simply have my husband and other medical professionals in the room when I popped our first child out. What was the big deal? It's nothing the doctors haven't seen before, and if my husband was brave enough to see me crown, he was surely brave enough to watch a little poo slide out. Because I had an epidural, I had no sensation or indication of whether I had pooped during labor. In fact in the midst of pushing that is pretty much the last thing on your mind (at least it was for me). After bringing Senorita Chub Chubs into the world (and throwing up a few times post labor) it finally occurred to me to ask my husband if I had pooped. Being the sweet man that he is, he replied "just a little bit". I don't know whether that was the truth or not. All of a sudden a feeling I didn't expect to feel overwhelmed me... utter embarrassment. My handsome, dashing husband had watched me poop! It finally sunk in and I finally "got" why women feared this.

I wasn't the only one pooping. Senorita Chub Chubs pooped immediately when she was set on my chest. Her first order of business entering the world (made her daddy proud). She didn't stop there. When the nurse came to give her her first bath, she had a continuous flow of poop that just wouldn't stop coming. I think the nurse was secretly annoyed since she had to keep stopping to wipe those cute little bebuns.

Fast forward to Children's Hospital and a jaundice little baby girl. Because she was doped up on anti-seizure medication, it was incredibly hard to get Senorita Chub Chubs to stay awake and alert enough to eat. I had many lactation consultants hovering over me, we even brought in an occupational therapist to try the bottle with her. Nothing seemed to be working and since this medication had a half life of 6 days, the critical first several days that most women have to work on breast feeding basically went to waste as my little girl was fed through an IV and core pack.

For a day or two she vegged out under the bilirubin lights with her stylish shades. And then a monumental day came. I heard a squirt and an explosion of gas. When I went to change her diaper there was the most beautiful glob of black tar I had ever seen. "She pooped!" I exclaimed in a far too excited tone. But in the back of my mind there was still something looming over me. I had not pooped yet. It was something I was dreading, considering I could barely sit down without letting out a small cry. Later that day I spent 45 minutes on the toilet hoping it would magically pop out. Hey, I had been able to push a 5 lb. baby out in a matter of minutes, why couldn't I squeeze a much smaller mass out just as quickly (if not quicker)? With many tears, grunts and "why me, oh God"s I finally did it. My daughter and I had our first poops since the hospital on the same day. It was a good day.

My daily obsession lately (well, I should say ONE of my many), is the color of my daughter's poop. My husband hears about this far too much because I think I make a comment about it each time I change her diaper. If it's green, I freak out. Why? Because I have done some very educated research through Dr. Google as to what this means. I have come to a few conclusions. A) Our daughter quite possibly and probably has a milk protein allergy and B) my breast milk doesn't not have an adequate balance of foremilk and hindmilk.

How do I have a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance if I'm exclusively pumping you say? Well, I'm not sure. Recently I've tried pumping longer to get out as much hindmilk as possible. However, I just changed her diaper and yep... still green! I also have not had any cows milk for weeks now. I'm contemplating trying to go without dairy all together and see if that helps. If you ask my husband he would say I just need to listen to our pediatrician who says there is nothing wrong with a breastfed baby having some green poop because it simply means it didn't hang out in the bowels as long. Sound advice, right? And considering I'm known by my husband as "lightning bowels" (I'll get into that later), it would make sense that my daughter would also have this "condition". I wish I was the type of person that could just accept that, however I tend to be a "fix-it" type of gal. I wish someone had just written an owners manual for Senorita Chub Chubs so I could reference it when her naps are cut short, she projectile vomits all over her clothes or she fusses for no apparent reason. And the common words of wisdom that "every baby is different" is absolutely no help at all. (If you haven't noticed I love using quotation marks)

Bet you haven't read this much about poo, well EVER. Hope it didn't stink too much.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Living in spit

Seriously, spit is everywhere in this house. It's on my shoulder, in my hair, on my pants. It stains our rags, her bibs, her clothes. It's caked around her lips, even crusted under her nose. It's on her sheets, on my hair ties, under her chin, at the nape of her neck.

At first this concerned me. Especially after the episode she had in the hospital. I was worried she would choke, turn blue and I wouldn't be able to revive her. Fortunately that hasn't happened and as she grows stronger every day she learns how to cope with it and so do I.

Senorita Chub Chubs spent the first 7 weeks sleeping in our room. Frequently during the night I would hear this: *grunt* *grunt* *gurgle* *slurp* *gasp* *swallow* *gasp* *swallow* and repeat. To which I would spring out of bed every.single.time. hold her up pat her back, wipe the spit off her chin and set her down again. Now since this happened at least 10 times between feedings you can imagine how much sleep I was getting. At 7 weeks we decided it was time to put her in her own room, especially since she'd proven to us that she could recover from these episodes on her own. The only problem with putting her in her room is that now we were using the monitor and since the monitor picks up every little sound, we were now hearing this: *grunt* *grunt* *gurgle* *slurp* *gasp* *swallow* *gasp* *swallow*, only magnified and I didn't have the option of turning over and taking a peek at her to see if she was ok.

Enter Video Monitor

I heart our video monitor so much. It has given me the gift of sleep. Not only can I just peek over at the monitor to make sure whatever strange noises she's making aren't serious BUT it also isn't as sensitive as our previous monitor. In fact it only picks up noises that are as loud as a casual conversation which is all I really want to hear anyway since it usually indicates she's waking up. This video monitor won't do the laundry for me, or wipe the spit that is running down my arm and pooling at my hair tie, but it will help minimize all the spitty noises and gurgles coming from my darling little baby's mouth at 2am. She doesn't seem to be bothered by the spit and now I don't have to be either!

Baby and Beyond

"OK, so you're pregnant. Where do you go from here? Sit down – take a deep breath – and "veg" for a bit. Squelch the urge to panic. Give into the excitement and joy. Scream if you need to. But above all, give yourself a chance to assimilate the news. You have plenty of time for planning – the baby won't be born for nine months or 40 weeks, give or take a few days or weeks."

Thank you familyeducation.com. There was definitely much excitement and joy on my part and a good deal of screaming (all good might I add). However all the planning in the world couldn't have prepared me for what was to come.

To start out I had morning sickness. Big deal right? Most women get morning sickness at some point during their first trimester. Unfortunately mine lasted all day and ALL pregnancy (and a few hours after labor to boot). This was a clear sign the baby was healthy. That is what I continued to hear over and over again. I calculated that I probably threw up over 700 times during the 9 months that I carried Senorita Chub Chubs. I spent hours over the toilet. I remember having to plan things around throwing up. Would there be a bathroom close by? Was there a plastic bag as a backup? Did I have enough saltines and granola bars in my purse to hold me over?

I loved the tips I received from people. "Have you tried saltines" (no, what in the world are those?? I have never heard of such a thing!), "what about ginger ale?" (you mean there is an ale beverage that contains ginger? Tell me more!), "did you ever consider sipping on some ginger tea?" (you speak as though ginger has some famed tummy calming benefits.), "have you tried eating small frequent meals" (actually I have been shoving my mouth full of KFC chicken thighs and mashed potatoes amongst my dry heaving, is that a bad idea?). According to most of the population, their morning sickness can be all but cured by munching on carbs and ginger (in any form) throughout the day. This was not the case for me. In fact even after being given a prescription for my nausea so that I didn't lose so much weight that I dehydrated, I still was throwing up an average of 4 times a day and nothing, absolutely NOTHING sounded good. Meat was the biggest culprit of all along with milk as a close second. Nothing was my friend. As Frodo says in Lord of the Rings (yes I am a huge nerd) "I have forgotten the taste of strawberries, the taste of bread..." I had forgotten what it was like to enjoy food. But it was all worth it.

At right about 30 weeks my fundal height was measuring small. Just to make sure everything was alright, my OB performed an ultrasound. I was assured it was probably not a big deal, everyone carries differently. As the ultrasound tech took measurements she was fairly quiet. Then finally at the end said "Well, they aren't going to like this. The baby is measuring 2 weeks behind." This was the beginning of an IUGR diagnosis that eventually lead to a 37 week induction due to risks of a failing placenta and a stillborn baby. During my final 7 weeks pregnant I had dozens of NSTs, ultrasounds and check ups. Our baby continued to fall off the growth curve. Not many women can say that labor was the easiest part of the entire process but for me it was. I was in labor for about 20 hours, but when she was ready to come I only pushed a few times and 10 minutes later we welcomed Senorita Chub Chubs into the world.

She was a perfect 5 lbs, 17 1/4" long. But she entered the world with several blisters on her that caused concern and we were quarantined into our room for the rest of our visit in the hospital until they could figure out if they were bacterial or viral. Then she had a choking episode that turned her blue and almost caused the nurse to hit the code blue button. She recovered on her own but left us scared out of our minds to bring her home the next day. A few hours later she had another issue breathing and was admitted to the NICU. After further observation the nurses were convinced she was having seizures. We were told she had one of 3 things: A stroke in the womb, bacterial or viral meningitis, or herpes. There was apparently no way any of this was benign and so she was rushed to Children's Hospital where we lived for the next 2 weeks on pins and needles not knowing if we would ever take her home with us. In the end, all tests came back negative (and yes, Michael Scott, in this case a negative is considered positive) and we brought home a sweet chubby bundle of joy on December 3rd sporting the cutest nasal canula.

The Baby Background

This post could also be titled "How we got to where we are now, and the baby we have to show for it", but I figured that was a little bit long.

We all know how easy it is to have a baby. Movies, songs, sex ed, and tired looking women have all done an excellent job of explaining just how simple (dangerously, they might add) it is to get pregnant. In fact in some cases just looking at a member of the opposite sex will do the trick. And what a better ending to a movie than a positive pregnancy test, or a cute crying little bundle tucked up in his/her mother's arms with a beaming father smiling and staring down at his precious miracle (ahem... "Four Christmases"). So having been educated by many reliable sources, I was under the impression that when a man and woman loved each other very much, a baby would miraculously appear into the equation. (Don't worry, I'm not implying that I skipped my sex ed class).

A few years ago my husband of 2 years and I decided it was time to add to our family. It was exciting and scary but we were ready to take the next step. Months went by and much to our chagrin, nothing was happening. Then more months went by and sooner than we knew it, it had been a year without success. Was it me? Was it him? Was it both of us? What in the world was the problem? I thought I remembered hearing somewhere that if you relax it would just happen. After thousands of hot baths, hundreds of vanilla scented tea light candles, massages from my wonderful husband, yoga class, prayer and meditation, a mexican riviera cruise, and dozens of dips in our 90 degree pool, I had a new reason to stress. Why wasn't relaxing helping??? Now I don't know if you have ever stressed about relaxing but it's pretty unpleasant.

Finally it was time to see a specialist and get down to the nitty gritty. My uterus looked "beautiful". Phew, well if we couldn't have children at least my reproductive organs were attractive. She could find no issues with my ovaries either. It was time to run some other tests which included testing my husband and his super swimmers. I can't fully describe just how awkward it is to smuggle a sperm sample in your coat pocket and pull it out for the receptionist in front of a waiting room of people. Unless you've done it, it's probably hard to fully appreciate. More embarrassing is having to explain to her what it is, when it was taken and ask whether it seems to be warm enough still.

The results were in and my husband's sample passed with flying colors. In fact, there were enough in there to repopulate the entire country. So with my attractive uterus and his athletic sea men, why wasn't a romantic courtship of sperm and egg commencing? After further blood work came to reveal that my 20-something eggs appeared more like old bag ladies, than sexy young firecrackers, it all came clear. We needed something more than just a long vacation, or an adoption to sidetrack us from this thing called "infertility", we needed medical intervention.

The doctor suggested IUI with clomid. All I knew about clomid was that it made crazy women even crazier. Since I thought I had already maxed out with the crazies, I figured this wasn't a big deal. Fortunately I felt very little side effects. When the big day came, my dear husband was excited about seeing his swimmers under the microscope. Something told me this wasn't commonplace, but we asked anyway. The andrologist was extremely accommodating and let him take a peek. I seriously wish I could've taken a picture of this.

The day I was supposed to test to see if the IUI had actually worked, I spent in bed crying and convinced it hadn't. I was Debbie Downer to the extreme, plotting out our timeline for the next IUI "...if we could even afford it (boohoo)". I "knew" my body so well that I would know if I was pregnant or not and I "definitely" was not. That afternoon I received a phone call from the nurse with "good news". After that... crying, laughing, screaming... all the emotions a psychotic emotional wreck would normally demonstrate simultateously. And so began our journey with baby.

My next post will go into greater detail about the pregnancy and journey until we finally brought baby home.

3D ultrasound of Senorita Chub Chubs

Why I jumped aboard

For months now I have contemplated whether or not to start a blog. There seemed to be many reasons not to. For instance, do I really have time to talk about the mundane and not so mundane things that happen to me from day to day as a first time mom who barely has time to shower, sleep and sometimes even eat? Would my stories actually be interesting enough to capture the attention of anyone other than my dear husband who (God bless him) does not roll is eyes at me from sheer boredom each time I ramble off another detail of our daughter's nap schedule that day, or the color of her poop? But the writer in me couldn't stand passing up another chance to talk about all these things in greater detail and go a step further to put them in writing so if anything, we can have a documentation of what our lives were like during the first year of our firstborn's life.

Whether you're bored at work and having nothing better to do, or you're interested to know what it looks like to be a stay at home mom with a bright-eyed, spitting, poop factory that despite the gory details brings the most joy and love you thought you could ever have... then read on. I promise to overshare and brag incessantly about the cutest baby that has ever graced God's green earth.

(just in case you needed proof)