Tuesday, September 30, 2014

baby test: find out if you're ready!

When the fine folks at Women's Hospital let me leave with this brand new, helpless newborn I couldn't help but think they'd lost their minds.  I had no idea what to do with him.  It seems to me that they should make you take a test (both written and practical) before they let you take your baby home.  I wonder what that test would look like:

Part I:  Written  (Multiple Choice)

1.)  Your baby is crying.  You've already fed and burped him.  What might you try next?
       a. Change him.
       b. He must be bored.  Give him a Nintendo DS.
       c. Make him some hot tea.  Tea is soothing.

2.)  What should you feed your newborn baby?
       a. Breast milk or approved infant formula.
       b. Surf and turf
       c. They make baby food, right?  I've seen it in jars.

3.)  How many times a day should you feed your baby?
       a. On demand.
       b. Three square meals a day.
       c. Every hour.

4.)  How should you bring your newborn baby home?
       a. In an approved infant car seat, mounted properly in car.
       b. In your arms, so long as you wear your seat belt.
       c. That's what a luggage rack is for, right?

5.)  How should you entertain your newborn baby?
       a. Sing songs, make faces, use age appropriate toys, etc.
       b. Take him bowling.
       c. If he's bored, give him a Nintendo DS.

Part II: Practical

Demonstrate in under five minutes how to change a meconium filled diaper.  Points deducted for insufficient wiping, getting yourself peed on, and improper placement of the diaper.

Answer Key:
If you answered mostly a's, congratulations!  You're ready to bring your newborn baby home!  If you answered mostly b's and c's, sorry.  You cannot take your baby home.  You may never be ready to have a child and they may come and take away your pets as well.

Friday, September 19, 2014

it still wasn't easy

When I found myself pregnant after our third miscarriage, I went into it fully expecting a fourth miscarriage.  We’d had all the testing done and everything was normal.  There was no obvious medical reason I kept miscarrying.  However, I never for a second thought that this pregnancy would work.  Imagine my surprise when it did.

It wasn’t an easy pregnancy.  Not because of the hyperemesis, a possible hiatal hernia, gestational diabetes and shingles.  Not because I was a walking Physician’s Desk Reference of symptoms and ailments.  Not because of all the appointments, ultrasounds, NST’s that go with having a high risk pregnancy.  Not even the fact that it was labeled as “high risk.”   It wasn’t an easy pregnancy because I was terrified.

I knew, now, how many ways a pregnancy can go wrong.  Because when people open up to you about their miscarriages, suddenly there are additional stories of friends, of cousins, of coworkers that lost their baby at twenty weeks, twenty six weeks, thirty seven.  I now knew that my early term losses weren't as bad as it could be.

I made it through the first trimester by trying to forget that I was even pregnant.  Even after two good ultrasounds in a row (we’d never had two in a row with heartbeats), I felt no relief.  Into the second trimester, there was a long period of time when I would have no ultrasounds or even appointments for over a month.  How would I know what was going on in there?  How would I know my baby was still alive?  I bought a fetal Doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat and that got me through until I could feel him move.  Once I started feeling him, one would think that it would be easier but one would be incorrect.  Because babies go to sleep in there for long periods of time and after a few hours of no movement, I would have to poke him or drink a sweet, cold drink or as a last resort break out the old Doppler and listen to the heartbeat.  Even as late as the third trimester I would lie in bed waiting for movement before I’d get up in the morning, and think about how many times I’d felt him throughout the day.  I can honestly say that I never fully relaxed through my entire pregnancy.

Even when I went into labor, I wasn’t worry-free because of all of the complications that could possibly arise during the act of labor (also who relaxes while they’re in labor?  It freaking hurts).  I didn’t relax until the doctor said, “He’s out!” and I saw my little baby, the color of Eyore, with his ten toes splayed out like a startled cat, screaming his head off being lifted onto my chest.  Then I relaxed. 

Of course, then began a whole new world of worry… But that’s for another time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ted's 30 day performance review

I recently conducted Teddy's 30 day performance review.  Overall he did very well.  I wanted to share some of his accomplishments with you.

EATING:  Exceeds Expectations
     From the first day Ted was a great eater.  He's worked his way up to 4 oz at a go and lasts about 3-4 hours between feedings.  If I had one criticism, it would be those cluster feedings - eating 2 oz every hour and a half just won't cut it.

SLEEPING:  Meets Expectations
     Aside from a few nights of 6-7 hours of sleep at a stretch, Ted has still needed one middle of the night feeding.  This is to be expected and he certainly shows that he has what it takes to eventually sleep through the night.

EXCRETORY:  Exceeds Expectations
     Ted can fill a diaper, while eating.  Not many of us can say that.  (Although, frankly, not many of us wear diapers).  He also manages to do it up to seven times a day!  That's certainly an achievement we can appreciate.

BURPING:  Meets Expectations
     While he can occasionally let out a belch that would make a grown man proud, it's not a regular enough occurrence to warrant an "Exceeds Expectations."

ATTITUDE:  Below Expectations
     The hour a day that awake Ted is content is great.  However, a large portion of the evening is spent in tears, for no discernible reason.   Now if we can stretch the happy time two or even three hours of happiness a day and decrease the crying time to under an hour, then we will be where we need to be.

MILESTONES:  Exceeds Expectations
     Ted has achieved awake smiles, first to Pooh Bear and then to me.  As I wasn't expecting this until at least 6 weeks, he exceeds expectations in this category.  He can also lift his head for up to twenty seconds at a time and turn it from side to side.

OVERALL:  Exceeds Expectations
     Ted is an excellent baby.  His cuteness is unparalleled, despite the cradle cap and baby acne.  He sleeps incredibly well at night and only wakes up to eat, which is appreciated by all of us.  He's gained almost three pounds in five weeks and over two inches in length.  Overall he has exceeded our expectations.

     Increase feeding amounts to 5 oz at a time with a minimum time between feedings of 5 hours.  Increase sleeping time to 7 hours nightly.  Decrease number two diapers to under 3 per day.  Master head control and increase neck strength.  Roll over.  Sit up unassisted.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

rotten mood rant

Rotten mood!  I can't explain it except that Ted wanted to party at midnight last night and it took me an hour and a half to get him to go to sleep.  Then I couldn't fall asleep until I took half an Ambien, then I was groggy for the five o'clock feeding so Ed did it.  Then he decided to super-groom himself at 7 in the morning including, but not limited to- buzz head, shave face and neck, shower, etc. in the master bathroom.  Never mind that the fan was on high and the door was closed, I could hear everything and didn't go back to sleep until 8:30.  For an additional hour, which on top of my four and a half, isn't sufficient for me to be in a good mood!

My parents and sister are coming today and I'm excited about it and hope I can shake this rotten mood!  Rant over.

Friday, September 5, 2014

glimpse into an evening with a newborn (long run on paragraph)

Ok, so baby has been crying since 4 unless you hold him and hold the pacifier in his mouth since he can't seem to do it on his own.  Husband comes home at 6:30 and you eat dinner in shifts so one of you can feed the baby and one of you can eat and then you switch.  You think that eating will calm the baby but he obviously has different ideas and continues to cry so you burp him but he continues to cry so you change him but he continues to cry so you put him in the swing at medium-high speed and he quiets, calms, falls asleep!  For twelve minutes.  Then he starts to cry again.  So you burp him again, thinking maybe there's still one in there and he lets out a belch that would make a grown man with a beer belly swigging Bud from a can blush and then he starts to cry (if he ever really stopped).  So you lay him down and try holding the pacifier in his mouth like earlier, but he cries around the pacifier and doesn't ever close his mouth.  By this time it's 8 and time for husband's fantasy football draft and you know you can't count on him for at least an hour maybe two, so you keep trying everything you can think of.  Burp, change, pacifier, play time, swing, vibrating bouncy seat, pleading with baby to sleep.  By this time you think, he's been awake too long.  He's over tired and fighting it.  But what can you do about that?  So you hang on until draft is over even though you want to throw husband's laptop across the room because you know he enjoys this (the draft, not his wife pleading with the baby to sleep).  Also you know that the second the draft is over you will hand him the baby and go take a bath.  And when it finally ends this is exactly what you do.  You even, feeling very magnanimous, make a bottle and warm it for husband to give to baby before you hotfoot it into the tub, the sounds of baby cries getting fainter with each door you close.  You can't even hear it at all over the sound of the water!  Twenty minutes (maybe forty) later, you emerge feeling refreshed and able to hold a fussy baby, but what's this?  Husband backs quietly out of baby's room, a smug smile on his face, and silently shuts the baby's door.  He's asleep.  What the what?  You don't even care.  He's finally asleep.

Monday, September 1, 2014

happy birthday ed!

In honor of Ed's birthday today I wanted to dedicate a post to him.  My husband is the kind of person that gets teased a lot and generally takes it with a smile.  The teasing is always good-natured and I will admit that I partake in teasing him from time to time.  The thing is, Ed has a lot of quirks that make it easy to tease him.  Also the fact that he takes it in stride and doesn't get upset about it makes it fun for all.  But this post isn't meant to tease him.  I'm going to talk about his amazing qualities and not his quirks and foibles.

While I was pregnant Ed was very supportive and good about humoring me or helping me or whatever was called for.  The times I went to the ER and got admitted into the hospital for dehydration and vomiting were tough on both of us and I acknowledge that.  But since having Ted I've seen his true good nature shine.  He is great with the baby and helps out with everything from diapers to feeding to burping to comforting a crying baby.  He is a true partner in this uncertain adventure we've embarked on - parenthood.

Ed is almost always positive.  The rare times he gets down (and we're all entitled to them), throw me sometimes and I try to be supportive to him as he is to me when I'm down.  The truth is, I think he's more empathetic/sympathetic than I am.  He's great about trying to get me to talk to him if I seem blue for whatever reason.  It's getting easier for me to tell him.  (My usual M.O. is to keep everything inside until I start randomly crying hysterically for a seemingly small reason, but really it's about much more that I just can't articulate).  Ed is a good Christian with a strong moral fiber and sense of right and wrong.

In truth I couldn't have married a better person nor picked a better person to be the father of my children.  This is not to say that everything in our lives is perfect, but it's the sum of all the good and bad, funny and not so funny, trying and easy, that make our life together interesting.