Friday, April 30, 2010

NIAW, still close to my heart

This week is National Infertility Awareness week. As I sit here watching my daughter squirming in her crib after another short nap, (despite how tired she may be), I can feel nothing but overwhelming thankfulness for the gift that she is. My heart goes out to all of the deserving women out there that have struggled with the heartache of infertility for so long and have a heart wrenching desire to be a mother someday.

A little over a year ago my husband and I were in that terrible place; not knowing when or if we would ever have children. You can read our story here. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever been through. Not only is infertility terrible, but all the unsolicited advice you receive coupled with endless birth announcements and baby showers is enough to make you want to curl up under the covers and ignore the world for an indefinite amount of time.

The most common mistake people make when dealing with people that are struggling with this condition, is to try to "fix" them without showing compassion or understanding. I can't tell you how many times I was given "advice" on how to deal with all my heartache. Some of the most common phrases include "Just relax, it will happen", "Maybe you could just adopt", and "If it's meant to happen it will". This is about as helpful as telling someone that's dying that it's "meant to be". A woman's desire to have children is so deeply ingrained in us, that to have someone basically play it off as if it's not a big deal, is about the most unloving way you could possibly handle the situation. Grieve with those who grieve, and rejoice with those who rejoice. Infertility will not be fixed by some canned answers or a vacation. And unless you are a practicing reproductive endocrinologist, please keep in mind that a listening ear and some support are the best things you can offer someone who is going through infertility.

So if you know someone this week that is struggling with infertility, give them a big hug and let them know how amazed you are at their strength. Some of the most amazing women I know have dealt with infertility. Check out some of my favorite people who are still waiting for their miracles: Melissa G, Melissa P, and Carli. Love you girls.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Inconvenience of Natural Disasters

So everyone would probably admit that there aren't any natural disasters that are convenient, but when you have a baby, the inconvenience increases ten fold.

The other day The Chub Muffin and I were hanging out, blowing spit bubbles and waving our arms around (thank goodness there are no hidden cameras in my home. However I suppose if there were, I wouldn't know because they'd be hidden) and I heard our weather radio go off. It said their was a tornado warning in our area and to "take cover immediately". It was about time for the Senorita to go down for her nap so she was already in a fairly foul mood. Immediately I took her down to the basement in her bouncer, but it was cold, so I need to bring in the portable heater.

After that I ran upstairs to get her paci because WOE if we were stuck down there without one of her most precious possessions. Then I grabbed some of her blankets to help keep her warm. Then I realized I should bring some extra milk down in case we were stuck there for awhile. This reminded me I should also grab my pump and pump horns just to cover my bases, in case, you know, we were down there for an indefinite period of time. Then I grabbed her precious haberman bottle since even in the most dire circumstances she wouldn't accept my boob. Then I realized, I needed my cell phone; some sort of communication with the outside world. Then I remembered I should grab my laptop, in case my cell phone couldn't get reception and so I could check on the weather and converse with my husband via google chat. Then I realized I didn't have any diapers, so I ran up and grabbed her diapers, wipes and butt paste. Anyway, you get the idea. By the time I had grabbed all of these items the warning was over and it was "clear" to go back upstairs. Half her nursery was in the basement at this point.

The good news is there wasn't ever a tornado. The natural disaster ended up being me (and the entire basement bedroom).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Teething - The party that never ends

As I've mentioned here and here, The Chubs has been in a major funk for the last few weeks. Eating very little, sleeping very little and just generally being a fussy little muffin. We've had a few evenings of inconsolable crying, many days of 15 min. naps, and so much nipple biting I'm having sympathy pains for the bottle.

Last week I decided, that was enough; we needed to visit her pediatrician and get the low down on this situation. Everything looked great. She appeared healthy. No fever, or any other signs of anything viral or infectious. The conclusion was drawn that she is teething. I've heard that babies can teeth for months without even a tooth showing up. I have a feeling this is what we've been dealing with. It's apparent she is in some sort of discomfort and all signs point to her mouth as the culprit. Especially when she fusses during the middle of a feeding and chomps down multiple times on the nipple. On further inspection, it does appear that one of her bottom front teeth is trying to make it's appearance. Her gums are slightly raised and whiter on one side. She loves it when we rub her gums and sometimes this helps her to finish a feeding without screaming bloody murder.

And I admit, I drugged my child last night. I gave her a tiny dose of Tylenol to ease the pain. And you know what? She slept beautifully for her final nap and was a completely different baby before bedtime. All happy, and smiley and an all-around attention hog. She was like "Hey, look at me dad! Watch me roll over, and grab this ring, and giggle when you play with me. Aren't I the cutest most angelic thing alive?" And of course he bought it, because how couldn't you? She was an absolute joy to be around. So the moral of this story is not that I need to drug my child on a regular basis to keep her happy, but that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and this is just a phase. A phase that could possibly go on for months, but hopefully with a few pleasant breaks along the way. And maybe that lazy tooth will just come in already and get all of this agony over with. I've heard the first is the worst. Anyway, while we're partying it up over here in teething land, help yourself to some delicious cold wash cloths and some frozen paci's, because it may be a long time before this party ends.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Look at the nipple on that thing!

What is this (you might ask)?


Why it's a special needs bottle. You know the kind for kids with cleft palates, or other feeding issues (AKA the only bottle my daughter will drink from). You may recall my story regarding breast feeding issues and our experience with the Children's Hospital NICU. This is where The Chub Muffin was first introduced to the Haberman bottle. She was having some issues with eating at the time. I wasn't successful getting her to breastfeed and a regular bottle nipple had a flow that was just a little too fast for her. This was all fine and good at the time, knowing that there were special circumstances and she would eventually have the "suck, swallow, breath" coordination down.

After a few weeks, she had it down pat. No need for that weird looking bottle anymore... right? WRONG! The Chubs refuses to eat from any other nipple now. She's gotten so used to the shape and flow that she's a nipple snob. And the best part (other than the fact that we get strange looks everywhere we go), is that this "special" bottle costs a whopping $30. To purchase ONLY the nipple without the extra parts is a whopping $17! So until we can convince her that long nipples aren't the shiz, and that "big girls" use normal looking nipples (that still never look anything like the real thing, but you know), we're stuck with the weird glances and shocking statements like "WOAH, look at that nipple!"

I just used the word "nipple" 8 times. Time to wash my mouth out with soap.

Friday, April 23, 2010

(Thump) 3 times on the ceiling if you want me ...

What is that noise? A 500 lb man doing jumping jacks on the roof? No it's my tiny 10 lb. daughter lifting her legs up and thumping them down over, and over, and over, and over again during nap time.

It took me awhile to figure out what this noise was. A few weeks ago I told the Hubs that I thought there may be a loose shingle on the roof because I kept hearing this thumping noise coming from the ceiling. We just had our roof replaced about 2 years ago because we used to have this problem all the time. Combine a west facing house with a cheap roofing job and it was a recipe for disaster. As time went on and I heard this noise even on calm sunny days, I started freaking out. Was someone on our roof? Was some disgruntled neighbor kid perpetually kicking a soccer ball at our house? Then with a slight adjustment to our video monitor I'd start to see two little feet lifted high that would disappear out of view about the exact same time I heard the noise.

This pretty much eliminates our need for the video monitor we spent $140 on. I can tell by just listening whether she's awake or not. These chubby little thighs mean business.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Giggles

I've been trying to get this on video for awhile now but it seems like every time I turn on the camera she gets distracted by it. I finally got it on video today! Not her best, but at least a little something to show the relatives.


video

This Just In ...

The Chub Muffin has finally rolled over. Despite her efforts to ban tummy time, she couldn't escape it. It's a good day, despite our teething woes which I will post about a little later.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Compare Snare

I think any first time mom is guilty of falling into this trap. You know, the one where you try to measure your child against another for one of two reasons. A) You want to confirm how great your child is, because let's face it, you, your husband and entire extended family agree that he/she is absolutely brilliant! - or - B) You want to find something new to worry about and lose sleep over because hey, Billy Joe over there is doing A, B and C and your child hasn't even done AA yet (ok, enough with the bra size references).

Well guess what? I'm over the comparing. No, really I am. Many people say they're "over it" when they really aren't, but I am taking proactive steps toward just enjoying and focusing on my child and not spending hours obsessing or worrying about what she is or isn't doing. The first thing I've done is unsubscribe from Babycenter updates. You know the ones that say "your child is probably doing this by now... yadda yadda yoooo" When I used to read those and I'd come across something that The Chubadub wasn't doing yet, I freeeeeaked out. And in turn, my husband would roll his eyes and sigh (a minor source of conflict in our marriage).

Another thing I've done (quite novel actually) is start to listen to Senorita Chub's pediatrician. Imagine that! Instead of using Doctor Google, and various community forums filled with obsessive mom's looking for trouble, I've decided that maybe since her pediatrician actually knows her and exactly what she is and isn't doing and is fine with it, I can be fine with it too. Oh sweet revelation! Sweet mind freeing goodness!

So - I am banning myself from internet searching and oogly googling. My little muffin is 5 months old now and I am going to enjoy every minute.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Cups Overfloweth

Literally. This is the part where I break down and cry because the only bras that fit me look like something my grandmother might wear (nothing against my grandma - she's still got it going on). This weekend I decided that I hate the 3 nursing bras I have. They provide pretty much no support anymore and they're U-G-L-Y... they ain't got no alibi. Before pregnancy when I was a DD, I would complain that all the cute bras were made in the smaller sizes and BLAH BLAH BLAH! I didn't know how easy I had it. I would kill to be a DD right now.

So in I marched to Bosom Buddies to check out their selection since most stores don't even carry my size. They would probably look at me, laugh and send me toward the door. I was under the impression that I was now a 34 G. That in itself was depressing. So I found some bras that weren't hideous and tried them on. THEY WERE TOO SMALL!!!!! Now there is a distinct difference between a G cup and an H/I cup. Not just the size itself but the magnitude of ugliness that you reach once you cross over. I went from "hmm, these are decent looking" to "HOLY mother of flesh colored shaplessness! You expect me to wear this and pay half a months salary for it?!" Oh no they di-in't. I was starting to regret the decision to have the lady come see if the G size was fitting ok. I thought it looked fine, yeah maybe a little snug, but the styles of the G cup were tolerable. Once she took a look and said "No way jose" and pointed me toward the H/I section I had a mental breakdown.

Oh and did I mention that the straps on these things are wider than state of Texas? That leaves me with a very limited wardrobe this summer (Like I'm going to actually wear tank tops with bra straps like that!). As if it wasn't already hard enough to find shirts that don't make me look like I'm working the corner.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Taking a Jillian Michaels approach to tummy time

Ok, no more Mrs. Nice Guy. Why? Because MNG gives in, aims to please, and lets you off the hook when you don't feel like working out. For the past few months I've been fairly easy on The Chubs. If she starts fussing after 30 seconds on her tummy, I take her off. Where has this gotten us? Absolutely no where! Recommended tummy time is 15 minutes a day. We probably do 4 minutes on a good day if you combine all the sessions together.

Today I took more of a Jillian Michaels approach with her. She was on her tummy for probably about 45 seconds, and started to whine. I immediately told her firmly. "Look little muffin, babies all across the country have to do this same exact thing everyday. You are not the exception. Do you want to roll over? Sit up? Eventually crawl and walk like ME?!? Well it's time to buck up and take this like a man (or in your case, small infant Chubadub). No more excuses!"

I wonder if I could hire Jillian to make an appearance on our tummy time mat, and talk some sense into my lazy little girl (without the profanities por favor).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Has my child slept today?

Hmmm. not sure. The last confirmed sleepage occured at 4:30am promptly following awakage at 4:45am. The rest, I'm kind of hazy on the details. I fed the Chub Muffin at 5am, then put her down. Knowing she had a full tummy, a clean diaper and was safe in her crib, I crashed. Before I went back to bed however, I checked the monitor and she was awake. An hour later when the Hubs' alarm went off I glanced at the monitor. She was awake. I slept a bit longer thinking it would be ridiculous for her to be awake so soon to eat since I had JUST fed her not long ago, but when 7am rolled around and I looked at the monitor again... AWAKE! I stumbled out of bed like a drunk woman on 16th street and made my way for my pump horns. My lovely husband got up and went to feed The Chubs (bless his heart).

After staying up with her for play time and putting her down again, I promptly made my way for the bed, looked at the monitor. She was awake. Fell asleep into one of those really deep sleeps where you are trying to shake yourself out of it so you can do something and you start dreaming you're actually moving parts of your body to accomplish your task but when you fully wake up you realize you haven't even budged. When I finally snapped out of it enough to actually move my arm toward the monitor, I looked at it. She was awake. Looked at the clock realizing it was ridiculously early for her to be up from her nap, so I turned up the volume, turned over and fell asleep again. The rest of the story is basically a repeat of the above paragraph, including me dreaming about checking the monitor a hundred times and then finally waking up enough to do it in real life. Each time I checked she was awake - all the way up until her next feeding time which I then stumbled out of bed (drunken style) and made my way to her room. The entire time I fed her, she rubbed her eyes over and over and over again until I had to check to make sure they were still in their sockets. She also kept pushing the bottle away and biting on the nipple. All signs point to this not being a hunger issue considering she's still not eating that great. So now I'm wondering... constipation from the new vitamins we're giving her, or teething? I think I've taken her temperature a million times in the last few days just to be sure and it's always a perfectly normal 98.4ish. So I think we've pretty much ruled out illness, but I suppose that could still be a possibility.

I think we need to trade places. She can stay up all hours of the night (and day) and put me down for naps. I wouldn't complain. 3 naps a day, 12 hours of sleep at night. Sounds amazing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

That's what I get ...

... for even MENTIONING the 11 hour stretch. It was a fluke; both glorious and elusive. I was up the next night at 2:30am feeding a baby that had been tossing and turning for awhile while doing several tongue thrusts like a thirsty man in the desert. She then decided to wake up at 5:30am, as if the 2:30am wake up call wasn't enough. So last night we went back to our primitive ways of feeding her before we went to bed, and by golly she made it until 6:30am. We won't be giving that late evening feeding up just yet, much to my chagrin. (I love using old lady words BTW).

Something is still very off with her. Miss cranky pants continues to eat less than stellar and nap poorly (and the nipple chewing has become a part of our eating routine). I have noticed that she is more drooly lately (apparently spell check doesn't know the word "drooly"), and has a few other signs of teething so who knows. I guess it isn't impossible for a baby her age to teeth this young, but woe is me if she starts this now because the journey ahead does not look fun (considering we'll have to go through this at least 20x). I have a growing sympathy for Mama Tiger Shark.
Is it weird that everytime I get an email like this I immediately run for the babywipes?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tribute to The Chubs

Ok, so I'm not a natural born video editor. It's pretty cheesy but here's what I came up with using some free software and a compilation of videos from when the muffin was born, until now. Enjoy!

video

11 Glorious Hours

For the past few months we've been putting The Chubs down at 7pm, then getting her up to feed her at 10pm before we go to bed for the night. Everything I've read says not to drop this feeding until they are consistently sleeping in until morning. As I mentioned in my last post, The Senorita has been waking early lately so I wasn't sure it was time yet. Last night, however, I was exhausted. I wanted to go to bed around 9, but if I was going to feed her at 10, I'd have to wait at least another hour and a half before that happened. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I feel incredibly fortunate that The Chubs has been sleeping so well at night and I know many have it much worse. I just decided that maybe it was time to test it and see how things went. Afterall, we'll never know when she's capable of sleeping 11-12 hours unless we stop getting her up to feed her in the late evening.

I put her down at 7pm as usual and then just let her sleep. I knew the consequences of this were a potential 3-4am wake up call for a feeding and I was ok with that. I had her bottle prepared and I was mentally prepared for it as well. So mentally prepared that I woke up at 2am, 3am and 4am just anticipating the feeding. Why do I do that to myself?! Anyway, The Chubs continued to sleep until 6am (a half an hour later than when she's been waking up lately)! That means she slept an 11 hour stretch. I didn't hear one peep from her the entire time and each time I checked the monitor at night she was sound asleep (Usually she stirs at night every once in a while but falls back asleep again within 10-15 minutes)

Now I'm wondering if we should've done this earlier. Either that or I'm jinxing myself. Only time will tell. You may hear from me tomorrow as I eat my words (and 5 cheeseburgers at the same time).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Biting

It's times like these when I'm ok with not breastfeeding (these times are few and far between so I'll take it). Lately Senorita Chubs has decided that biting the bottle nipple is so much better than actually eating. In fact, feeding time has become play time. She starts by eating maybe a half ounce. Then it's time to bite down, smile, giggle, move her arms and legs around, let out some gas, fill her diaper, play with the bottle with her hands, bite down some more, turn her head and look at the fan, look at the wall, look at her hands ... mainly anything that doesn't involve eating. Lately because of her poor attempts to eat, she wakes up at 5:30am ready to start her day. This is not my favorite time to be up in the morning so I usually just feed her and put her back to bed. But instead of having a quick 15 minute feeding session, it turns into 30 minutes as I try repeatedly to get the bottle in her mouth and keep it there long enough for her to eat a decent amount.

Of course I am looking at the positive in all of this. She is biting on a plastic nipple and not my own. For this I am grateful. I'm not grateful, however for these marathon feeding sessions where she eventually refuses the bottle entirely and starts fussing - even if she's only taken a couple of ounces. Could she be teething? I don't know, seems a little early for that. Sick? Possibly, but she's not overly fussy when she's not eating. Reflux? She's on prevacid so I would assume that is taking care of that issue. So, if anyone has any ideas as to what is causing her to eat less, and chew more, please let me know so we can "nip" this in the bud.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Shedding

Lately I have been shedding hair like a bearded collie in the heat of summer. It's pretty gross to run your hand through your hair and get huge chunks tangled in your hand. And you know when there's a hair on you somewhere that is tickling your arm, or back etc but you can't seem to find where it's coming from? That happens on a whole new level now. Hopefully I won't be bald by May. At the rate I'm shedding I could probably weave a small rug for our front door.

In other news, The Chubs is finally rubbing her hair thin on the back of her head. She has yet to get a bald spot (she had a lot of hair to begin with) but now it's looking like this guy:


(really long on top but short on the sides)

She achieves this look by rubbing her head side to side at a rapid speed (sometimes it looks like someone pressed the fast forward button on the video monitor). I'm not sure if this is her way of soothing herself to sleep (try it, it makes you dizzy and lightheaded so why not use it as a sleep aid?), or if she just enjoys a great neck stretch. It is possible she just got tired of the way I was styling her hair and took matters into her own hands. I mean, who wouldn't want to look like the guy above (or is it a woman? I'm torn.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Loving Every Minute

Now that The Chub Muffin is sleeping well at night, taking decent naps, and so much more interactive, I couldn't be happier. Those first few months of marathon feedings, sleepless nights and reflux were hard. Her first few weeks of life were the hardest of my life when she was at Children's. Between the constant worrying, and lack of sleep, I was looking forward to a little bit of normalcy. Don't get me wrong, I was still so excited about her arrival, beyond thankful for the precious gift God had given me after years of uncertainty as to whether we would even be able to have a child, and a loved, loved, LOVED being a mom (something I had always dreamed about).

But right now, I have to say, life is good. Every time I get her up from a nap she smiles at me so big, my heart could burst right then and there. When I swing her around she giggles. She watches me wherever I am in the room, hoping I'll come over and play with her and when I do, a huge grin stretches across her face. She kicks her legs and flails her arms when she's excited. She talks and talks all day long, and we carry on conversations together. She concentrates so hard on what we're doing and when she can, tries her best to imitate (even when she doesn't have the coordination). She rubs and rubs her eyes when she's tired and buries her head into my chest when it's nap time. She is such a happy baby and such a joy to be around.

If I had to dream up what our first child would be like, I couldn't have dreamed something so wonderful. Thank you God, for my precious baby girl.

Picture Perfect

I'll post more about our Easter weekend later , but first wanted to share a family photo my uncle took that pretty much sums up the blog in general:

If this doesn't say it all... I don't know what does.