Friday, December 31, 2010

2010


I'm sure that the end of the BEST YEAR OF MY LIFE deserves some fabulous post detailing how incredibly happy and grateful I am for my family, friends and son. However, I am absolutely exhausted this morning from yet another bout of mastitis, visit to the ER, and a son who didn't sleep. And I'm so happy to be tired to the point of hardly being able to string these words together because of the reason--my boy. So I leave you with this:

Where's the baby?
Love my squish!
Goodnight 2010!

Congrats to Jenn and Trav over at Got Love, Been Married, Now Where the Hell's the Baby Carriage? on the arrival of baby I--beautiful adoption for my great friends! 

Love to all out in bloggy land! Happy New Year!

xoxo


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Twists and Turns (revised after I realized the original was much too dramatic)

Before my husband and I got married, I went and bought a Nissan 350Z Roadster with the money I had been saving up--that in my head I had earmarked for our possible wedding. Yeah.

My sister and I lived in a townhouse with a two car garage where we parked both of our cars. On a usual morning, I would leave for work before her. However about two weeks after I bought the car, my sister backed out of the garage by swinging her car around right where my car usually wasn't--right into my beautiful, new, expensive convertible. The one I had just bought. The one that didn't even have a license plate yet. She forgot that the car was there and I was asleep upstairs. She was running late to work so she called me to tell me the news on her way. I hung up the phone and ran down the three flights of stairs to see my shiny black door with a small dent in it. Looking at it, I felt ill. I just felt sick about it.

Well this morning, without going into details, I had an accident happen. This time it was my fault. It wasn't a car.

Let me say that everybody and everything is absolutely okay. As a mom though I'm allowed to blow everything out of proportion. That being said--I've never felt the terror I felt this morning! I think I aged a year in the time it took for us to check everything over and realize that everything was okay. My husband was AWESOME though and managed to refrain from teasing me until hours later.

The thing is that while no one wants any accidents to happen, I am probably the hardest on myself about it because it was my fault. Let's fact it, I'm just one to feel guilt over even small things. Eventually, just like I got over it with my car, I will get over this. With my car, it was hardest with the first dent. When it got nicked and scratched by life, it got easier to deal with. I hope this is just the first of the many twists and turns that will define motherhood. I hope the first one is the hardest, but I'm not holding my breath!

Sigh.

xoxo

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Dear Bloggy friends,

Thanks for sharing this amazing journey with me. Thanks for being here to cry and laugh with me. Thanks for showing up and reading.




For those of you still waiting, don't give up hope.


For those of you with your little one, enjoy every moment.


Merry Christmas!
xoxo

The Bird

Compared to most people, I feel driven to follow rules, guidelines, and occasionally speed limits. This probably comes from the fact that when I break said rules or guidelines, I get the big smackdown. Smackdowns are not so much fun, so I usually carefully consider the consequences to determine if I can live with them before I choose to color outside of the lines.

So imagine my surprise when I find myself flipping child rearing books the bird. Repeatedly. And it feels great.

After going through everything we did to get baby E, I found I had little desire to read what would come after we safely brought him into this world. I didn't want to jinx anything so I limited preparation to basic things such as bathing, diapering, and breast-feeding. Yep, the girl who obsessively played doctor google with every aspect of hormone levels, aspiration techniques, and drug side effects while conceiving, didn't read jack about sleep training, attachment parenting, or some dude named Ferber.

Of course over the years I have observed the granola, don't shave my legs, sling mamas as well as the starched, life runs from my blackberry, and my child naps at exactly one o'clock types. What's great is that each one makes it work for them. What works for me is not being held hostage by some book that tells me that picking up my child when he is crying is going to scar him for life or conversely that by allowing him to sleep in a crib will create devastating attachment issues.

Another aspect that plays into this for me is that I have the luxury of not working full time and instead work part time teaching online university classes from home. So because of this, I don't have the need to create the most rigid schedule because it doesn't matter if I'm up from 10 pm to 2 am because I can sleep in shifts from 2 to 10 am. Then, I can fit in my work whenever time allows. Likewise, if I want to let my son sleep in my bed when he's wanting to be with me and sleep in his bassinet when he doesn't care either way - SO BE IT!

I'm not silly enough to figure that I won't be turning to advice from the experts at some point in my future, but the point is that I don't have to. I don't have to lock myself into some prevailing philosophy just for the sake of it. I get to be a mom and decide what is best for my beautiful kiddo.

Love it.

xoxo

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sweetpea

Some of you know of my absolute looooooove of my American Bulldog, Sweetpea. Here she is with my other sweetpea!


How could you not love that sweet face?

Other posts to come soon. I started back to teaching online classes this week so time has been very short. I'm getting into the swing of it though!

Huge congrats to ASP who brought home her dear baby O! Give her some love. We are so happy for her!

xoxo

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Letting Go

I'm not officially participating in Reverb10 since I just finished my Nablopomo month, but I've been reading a few blogs who are participating. One of the prompts last week asked about what we have let go of this year. Wow, this is a big one for me. 


One's suffering disappears when one lets oneself go, when one yields - even to sadness.  ~Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry


I came across this quote in the wee hours of a morning last month. Since then, these words bounced around as I pondered why on earth the idea of letting go makes me feel so sad, so emotional, so ready to burst into tears. Then I realized what I let go of, and I understood.


I let go of the life I thought I would have.


Life isn't suppose to take you through three IVF cycles or require a gift of eggs from your best friend. It's not suppose to leave you devastated in some crappy hotel as you receive a phone call from an embryologist. Life isn't suppose to require cold sterile rooms and thousands of dollars of drugs to create a family. In all of this, I ended up yielding to the sadness of it all. I surrendered to my despair.


After I lived those moments, I found that I stopped expecting so much. I no longer felt entitled. That made it stop hurting so much. As much as that sounds sad, it's not because what came next gave me a life better than I imagined. 


Because next? Next, I got really lucky.


My best friend donated her eggs.
A doctor donated his services.
And it worked.


The events of the last eighteen months have taken me from the depths of despair to the most beautiful moment of joy. Does that change a person? Of course. Now I a mother who has a unique appreciation for her son and a stronger bond with her husband. I wouldn't change that.






xoxo

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November

The month of November has passed with my dear boy in my life. Hands down these have been two of the best months of my life. Every day I'm amazed at the tiny little differences in his facial expressions, strength and alertness. I love watching as his belly rounds out and then suddenly disappears as he grows in length only to start over a few days later. I marvel at the sounds that manage to come out of such a tiny body. During this month, baby E managed to roll over from front to back. Smiles have started to appear at random times and are now just starting in response to us. Best of all, he studies our faces when we are close.



Love you baby boy.

xoxo

Random Question: How does one officially count 'months old' for a kiddo? Is it calendar months or groups of four weeks?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Puuuuumping!

When I said that I had had it with breastfeeding, I didn't actually stop feeding baby E my milk. I just started exclusively pumping. Despite this last mastitis attack, I am sooooooooo much happier doing this. The mastitis has nothing to do with the pumping as the previous two occurrences happened while I was nursing. Anyway.

I got some great suggestions from the blogosphere to invest in a handsfree pumping bra. So off I went researching what was out there and finally decided on the Pump Ease brand shown below.

Besides feeling a bit Madonna like with objects protruding from my breasts...


this is now my absolute favorite pumping accessory! And yes, I got it in the red polka dot version for a little cheer.

The only thing I'm really struggling with in exclusively pumping is how to handle it while I'm out and about. For now I've been pumping immediately before I leave and planning to get home within a reasonable time. I carry a hand-pump with me for an emergency but I've yet to use it. Mainly I'm still hesitating because it's not like I can just hook up the paraphernalia and throw a breast cover or blanket over me. The fact that I live in Alaska and it's already winter here kicks out my SUV as an option. So. . . I'm not so sure about that aspect. 

If you are looking for information about exclusively pumping, I found some good info at these websites:



I hope all is well out in bloggy land!!!

xoxo

another day

It's technically a few minutes after midnight (for my 30 days 30 posts) but I guess as a sick mamma I get a pass because I was busy feeding, changing and soothing my little man for the last hour! Oh how I love him!

The good news from today is that catching the mastitis symptoms of chills and fever early REALLY helps. When we left yesterday to go shopping in Anchorage, I felt fine except for a slight ache in the right ta-ta. When we were hitting our final stop, I went from okay to chills within about an hour. By this time I had on a sweatshirt, fleece, my hubby's jacket, gloves, scarf, and hat. My teeth were still chattering! We were right by the hospital on base so we decided to just head on over. 

Let me say that I really looooove antibiotics and ibuprofen to break my fever. I have three alarms on my phones going off at different intervals to keep me on schedule for the pills and pumping. Today I slept a ton but generally feel a ton better than my last round of mastitis. Apparently, I'm prone to it and just need to deal. We're thinking it's because I have dense breast tissue. Who knows?!

Thankfully I can look at this sweet little face and keep going...


xoxo

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mastitis.

Again.

Seriously universe?

xoxo

Friday, November 26, 2010

socially acceptable

Today is the first day that it is socially acceptable to be excited for Christmas. So today I give you a big WOOHOO as the tree is now up!


Since my side of the family didn't grow up celebrating Christmas, it still seems like a novelty to me to have the cheery decorations strewn about the house. For my parents, it's still a relatively new thing to help me decorate the day after Thanksgiving. So, I think it's kind of special. Grin.

I absolutely abhor shopping with herds of people so on Black Friday I happily hide in my house while others wait in the freezing cold. Have at it people! Enjoy those bargains. I'm not really sure how much we are buying for Christmas this year. Last year we kept it really low key as we were in between IVFs 2 and 3. This year will probably be the same with some small things for each of us. Even with baby E, I don't want to clutter the house up with a billion things he won't use. So we'll get a few first Christmas toys and just celebrate being with him.

My ta-tas are now tingling so I'm off to pump...moo. Christmas is coming!

xoxo

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What a day...

I woke up this morning to fresh snow coating the muddy slush from the last few days. It was the perfect way to start the day.

(you can see my sister in the bottom left corner)

Yesterday my mom and I busted out all of the prep work for the meal today which gave us a lot of time today to relax and piddle around. It also allowed time for the requisite heated family discussion which sent me into my bathroom to take a shower to escape. Across the street we watched through the window as the neighbor kids build five snowmen.  Patriots football was watched. Champagne was poured. Cooking commenced and massive amounts of food were eaten. All in all it was a great day.

More than anything, today I am just thankful. This time last year I was planning our last chance IVF. After two failed rounds in September and October, I wasn't very hopeful. I was still processing how the donor cycle would work and how the logistics would work with Fairyeggs. This year? This year I sit in my warm toasty house with the most beautiful boy. I am incredibly thankful that he is in my life. I'm surrounded by family who loves us enough to travel to the wilderness to see us. My husband and I love (and usually like) each other. My dog still warms my bed and makes me laugh. Life is pretty darn good.

Happy Thanksgiving.



xoxo

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Moooooom!


Com'on mama, I want boobie juice! No writing blogs about me! Just post another adorable pic. Peace out!

xoxo

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Green Eggs and Ham

Yesterday when I went to write my post, I couldn't write about what I wanted to. So I just tried to sum up my thoughts. This is what started it...

Half of my mother's suitcase was filled with gifts from all sorts of people for baby E. One of the books that was sent was Green Eggs and Ham.



Now if you notice, it is not only Green Eggs and Ham but rather Green Eggs and Ham the Party Edition! Now if you knew the woman who sent this to me, you would crack up. Indeed this women personifies the party edition of life. I don't mean party as in the stereotypical imbibing massive amounts of alcohol manner...okay, wine and margaritas are usually involved. But seriously, when she's around it feels like we are celebrating something as small as as a fantastic cup of coffee or a big moment like seeing baby E in 3D. There is an appreciation of life that I see within her.

Our relationship has gone through many phases as I first met her when she was my teacher. Over time though, she has become one of my parents' best friends and an essential part of my family. Let's put it this way, she and her husband were the only people outside of the family who attended our wedding ceremony.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the day that her daughter passed away.

Knowing the love and joy I have felt in the two months of having Baby E, I can't imagine the pain of losing him after years of loving him. I just don't know how she survived to be the absolutely lovely person that she is today.

I know I'm not being very eloquent here but I think I'm too tearful about it to really put it together much better. If there is anything, from her I have learned to appreciate every moment.

Now I'm going to hug my baby.

xoxo

Monday, November 22, 2010

Every day is a gift. 


xoxo

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Got hair?

After being born with quite a bit of hair on his head, little E has been slowly losing it. I know this is typical of babies, but I can't help but laugh since he first lost the first inch and half from his fore head up. Tee hee. Receding hairline anyone? Already the regrowth is coming in so soon I'll be admiring every new hair on his head.

xoxo

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Date Baby Date!

Drumroll please.....

We went on a date tonight! What was even better than that mere fact was that we went to see Harrrrrrrrrrry!


I have to admit that this was probably my favorite HP movie as for once, DanielR's acting didn't drive me crazy. Best moment of the movie - "I am a free elf!"

The grandparents flew into the Anchorage airport last night this morning at the ungodly one o'clock hour. With an hour trip each way in addition to leaving some flex time...it was a long night! Of course, it's absolutely worth it though. There's something fabulous about seeing my little man in his grandpa's and granny's arms. They have carte blanche permission to spoil him by holding him all day and showering him with love. Of course, it was great to be able to leave them with him to go see our movie too!

Hope you are having a fabulous weekend!

xoxo

Friday, November 19, 2010

Big Boy

My little man graduated today.

I'm sure this is one of many changes but it's the first for us.

At seven weeks, he has busted out of newborn diapers and is now swimming in size ones.



Even more, slowly we are moving out of his newborn clothes into 0-3 month old clothes.

It's bittersweet I tell you.

xoxo

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unexpected

Most of what I worried about during pregnancy were immediate concerns like unexpected bleeding and my kid's foot dangling out of my cervix at 27 weeks. You know, the usual stuff. When I dared to think ahead to life with a healthy child, I desperately hoped that my regular clinical depression wouldn't flare up in the face of postpartum hormone fluctuations. After working and hoping so long for Baby E, it would be unimaginably cruel to be faced with postpartum depression.  It would seem with my past bouts that it would be a foregone conclusion for me.

So imagine my surprise that I don't just feel okay, I feel flipping fabulous. I have never felt happier. Even with the interrupted sleep, the spit-up, the shooting poo, and the spouting fountain of pee that encompass my days, I can't keep this goofy grin off my face. I enjoy taking care of my son. I love that he finds comfort in my arms. I find happy moments, frustrating moments, tearful moments, funny moments--all things that you should feel.

I hope this continues. Excuse me while I go find some wood to pound on now...

xoxo



BTW, my dog officially likes soy-wasabi almonds. Seriously.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love from Cali


One of the sweetest things is seeing the love that has been showered on Baby E from other people. Not only has the love come from our family and friends but also from friends of my parents. Today this adorable preschool backpack embroidered with his name (which I blurred) arrived from teachers at my mom's school. While I know most of them from my days working in the same school district, we have received presents from teachers I really didn't know and even some of her students' parents who know what we went through. I love that Baby E has all these people cheering him on! I appreciate each and every person for just thinking of us.

xoxo

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hard

There are so many things that I am hard on myself about. Elements of motherhood seem to another thing I add to my list of things I feel enormous guilt about. For example, when I slept through my alarm when I was suppose to feed baby E, I woke up feeling like the WORST mom ever. 


Seriously. Can I be more inane?


My perception of myself just doesn't remain constant. On one hand, I know that I am a great mom already because I don't do things like make meth in my house with my six week old in tow! Yet at the same time, something like listening to him scream while I'm attached to the pump makes me feel like a douche bag. 


The same thing happens in my relationship with my husband. He's incredibly sarcastic, so comments that are meant in jest sometimes make me feel incredibly low. I know he loves me with his whole heart so why do I doubt that he sees my worth?


On so many levels I know that I'm a successful and smart person who has her shiznat together. Yet, in the small moments of life, I let things get to me. 


Why oh why am I so hard on myself?


The other day when I was talking about breastfeeding, Cheri said, "If he's getting breast milk he is WAY ahead of many other babies, so PLEASE try to relax and enjoy your precious little boy. And even if you switch to formula, he will still be fine, fine, fine. My mom had five kids and wasn't able to nurse (something about inverted nipples I believe). AND she smoked with all of her pregnancies. We kids all survived. And I'm reasonably intelligent, even. So, Mom was a smoker and I had only substandard 1950s formula. Who knows what they put in that shit back then!!!?? :-O" 


This completely made me laugh because it is something very similar to what my husband said while I was pregnant. And you know what, they are both right. When you look at the grand scheme of things, most of the people who are reading this blog are (or will be) incredible parents. I love my child, provide for my child, and plan to teach him things like how to work hard, be a good friend, and love the Patriots. I think in our times of neurotic super-moms, we forget how resilient children are. 


I need to remember this and cut myself a break on the small stuff I worry about. I need to get over this inane crap that is absolutely not important. 


xoxo

Monday, November 15, 2010

My ring.

Here is my wedding ring.

The wedding ring that allows me to admit that I 'color' with my husband.

Have I mentioned that I had my six week checkup?

Have I mentioned that everything was fine?

Have I mentioned that I was on bedrest in the hospital from week 27 on?

Have I mentioned that before that I we were hesitant to color even though the doc said we could?

This is momentous people!!!!

xoxo

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I was reading THIS blog over at 3 Babes, 2 Jens, 1 Cause - Embryo Adoption the other day. The posting of an excerpt from an egg donation booklet published by Freedom Pharmacy really got me. Here is what is said:
“Perhaps the greatest myth surrounds pregnancy. Many believe the uterus is simply an incubator. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most important aspect of all pregnancies- including egg donation pregnancies- is that as the fetus grows, every cell in the developing body is built out of the pregnant mother’s body. Tissue from her uterine lining will contribute to the formation of the placenta, which will link her and her child. The fetus will use her body’s protein, then she will replace it. The fetus uses her sugars, calcium, nitrates, and fluids, and she will replace them. So, if you think of your dream child as your dream house, the genes provide merely a basic blueprint, the biological mother takes care of all the materials and construction, from the foundation right on up to the light fixtures. So, although her husband’s aunt Sara or the donor’s grandfather may have genetically programmed the shape of the new baby’s earlobe, the earlobe itself is the pregnant woman’s “flesh and blood.” That means the earlobe, along with the baby herself, grew from the recipient’s body. That is why she is the child’s biological mother. That is why this child is her biological child.”
Over time I have had a really hard time explaining why I believe there are three components of having a child: male DNA, female DNA, and the carrying the child. I guess what I should really say is growing the child. This is why I really love the the construction metaphor's explanation of the DNA being the blueprint and carrying the child as the actual building. 



When Fairyeggs told me that she wanted to do this for me (while I silently cried), she said something to the effect that if my body needed a kidney she wouldn't hesitate to give me hers. So the difference of giving me an egg wasn't really different. I thought I understood how she felt, but this explanation really gives me a deeper understanding of why I felt okay about it so quickly. I think she got this way before I ever did - probably because she's already a mom. 


While I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to carry baby E, it wouldn't matter how he came to me - dropped off by the stork, from my own eggs, whatever. Hands down, he's still the best thing to ever come into my life. The labels of biological mom or donor eggs don't really come into my radar. The only label that really matters to me is that I am called his mom. 


xoxo

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Dear Baby E,

I think you see me. Today it didn't seem to matter what we were doing -- you just kept staring me right in the eyes. My eye is right back on you buster. This will probably drive you crazy in the future but for now, know that you are loved. You are wanted. You are safe.

Love you.

Mommy

xoxo

Friday, November 12, 2010

Puke

Son pukes up on outfit and hat. 


Hat and outfit go into laundry basket. 


Dog rummages through laundry basket and eats hat. 


Dog pukes up hat on new carpet. 


What the heck is happening?!?!


Welcome to motherhood!

xoxo

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I've had it!

I've completely and absolutely had it with freakin' sore nipples.

Done. Done. Done.

With mastitis hitting me last week and an ugly scabby nipple, I decided to pump for awhile. Ahh, the fantastic life of pumping started.

Then last night I tried breast-feeding for the first time and within two feedings I was back in pain.

So I think I'm throwing in the towel.

It's hard not to feel like  a bit like a failure in not making this work. But hey, I really shouldn't be surprised. I've given it six weeks filled with pain, tears, and weird nerves twitching near my shoulder blades.  I think what bothers me most is the nurses pushing pushing pushing breast-feeding directly only. With pumping, he still gets breast milk. Whether he gets it via nipple or bottle doesn't really matter nutritionally. So shove it naysayers.

I will miss the sweetness that comes with having him tucked up against my body every couple of hours. Still I imagine I can work in a little more snuggle time. Yeah, that would be rough. :)

xoxo

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Does it bother me?

I was talking to Fairyeggs the other day when I wondered something. But I didn't know if I should ask. I didn't know if it might bring up unexpected feelings. I didn't know if I would be opening a can of worms.


Fairyeggs, does baby E look like you? 


I'm sure at some point in our friendship that I have seen baby pictures of her, but I couldn't really recall much. I never really thought about asking her to see a picture because what did it matter? I was certainly going to think my son was the cutest thing on earth when he came (smile). 


Yet in this passing question. it seemed like a myriad of emotions could erupt. Sometimes I wonder if they will surface in her unexpectedly. I wonder if I should watch what I say.


It sounds all dramatic, but it really wasn't that big of a deal because as usual we can discuss anything. My moment of questioning passed as I remembered the strength of our relationship. The trust that I have in her to discuss something if it bothered her came flooding back. This is why we were able to do this in the first place!


So I laughed at myself and then asked her. 


Wouldn't you know, she wanted to ask me if I thought he looked like her! 


Giggle. 


Like me, she didn't know if she should ask. She didn't know if it might bother me.


Aren't we the most considerate friends?

xoxo







Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ZZZZs

There are few things in this world better than laying my son close to me and hearing his soft breathing. Of course, his breathing is interspersed with snorts, grunts and all other baby noises.

I sat on my couch for a good twenty minutes just watching him catch his ZZZs.

Smiles. Eye brow raising. Forehead wrinkling.

Love it.


There is hope my friends.

xoxo

Monday, November 8, 2010

Houston: We have rollover.

I repeat, we have rollover.


Baby Center says that, "Your baby may be able to kick himself over, from his tummy to his back, as early as age 2 to 3 months." So imagine my surprise when at five weeks + three days this happened during tummy time:


While I'm happy that his neck and head control are obviously on the right page, I don't want him to grow up too soon! Don't rush things Baby E! Take your time and be a kid as long as possible. 


And in my sleep deprived state, this kind of post is massively preferable to my bumbling writing anyway. :) See ya tomorrow. . .


xoxo

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The furbaby

I am a complete nut about my dog Sweetpea.

So when she accepted baby E without much hoopla, I breathed a huge monstrous sigh of relief.

I would hate to neglect her on my blog, so I present to you a video of her trying out her 'snow shoes' for the first time inside and outside the house. Ignore my insane giggling. I just couldn't help myself.




and for good measure, my other love:


xoxo

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The best.

I started writing a post about how easy it was for me to feel weepy being overly tired these days. Then, my son cried. So I walked over to his little lamb bouncy seat, picked him up, and went off to the land of poopy diapers. With the diaper conquered, a little booboo juice was administered. When done, my little man burped and then curled into a contented little lump on my chest. He folded his arms under his head and tucked his legs so his bum stuck up in the air. And then he sighed.

All it takes is a moment like this to bring me to a place where I remember how absolutely thankful and lucky I am to have him. He's the best thing in the world.

xoxo

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dear Bessie and Bossie,

As someone who has known you your entire lives, I must say that I am quite disappointed in you. I know that you have been enduring constant sucking and pulling over the last month. I know that you have been poked and prodded by virtual strangers. I know that I have paraded you around the house in a most indiscrete manner. Hooooowever, my dears, this is no excuse for your behavior. Bleeding, swelling, cracking, going numb, turning white and most of all giving me mastitis twice is just uncalled for. So here's your notice, shape up and give me fracken break or there will be consequences. You know me, I don't bluff. So get yourselves in gear and quit complaining about your new status as a milk cow. This is your lot in life. Suck it up buttercups!

Love always,

J

xoxo

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Winter Wonderland

**Being a newbie up here, I am completely enchanted with the novelty of all things unique to Alaska. So you are going to hear about it. 

Days and nights are differentiated right now by the whether or not it is light outside. For most people, this would be quite normal except in Alaska the sun doesn't rise until about 9:30 am. Since my son is such a good sleeper, in between feedings I sleep on and off from midnight until about 10. 

So when I finally crawl out of bed with the attitude that the day is starting, I open up my blackout blinds to a winter wonderland. No kidding. I wouldn't be surprised if one day I saw little nutcrackers marching across my yard and ballerinas pirouetting in their tutus. The snow collects on the branches of the birch trees that frame our backyard. The light gracefully glints across the snow turning into a sparkle-fest. It's so quiet.

My photography doesn't do it justice but I submit to you anyhow,  the first taken about ten and the second around noon...


Of course the best part is that I look down and see this face.


Life is really really good.

xoxo

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Heart Shutterfly

Bloggers, now that spider monkey has arrived, I am in deep dark trouble. I have a love affair with photo cards. I am passionate about thick card stock and pretty designs. I rarely indulge in my own cards because after all who wants to hang a picture of me on their fridge? Baby E on the front of your fridge? That's a completely different story! So now that I have him to showcase, I am ready to indulge indulge indulge in my love affair. This my dears? This means that Shutterfly is now permanently on my favorite bar. Coincidently, Shutterfly is offering 20% off of all holiday cards.

Currently, I am working on my Christmas/Holiday card of baby E. This year has been so good to us so I'm here are my choices that express some type of joyful attitude. Shutterfly has some nice designs that make me happy. Here are the front runners:


If you want an up close look at the cards, you can find all of Shutterfly's Christmas cards by clicking HERE. Of course if you are going to go all out you can get matching gift tags and address labels! I <3 Shutterfly!!!

What do you think? Which one should be it for this year--1, 2 or 3?

xoxo

*Full disclosure - I'm getting free cards for writing this blog - I <3 them before and now even more!




Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A little forgetful?

Thank you thank you for your well wishes. I don't deal well with fever and chills -- could you tell?  I made it through today and even felt like a relatively normal human being for a few minutes.
*******
You hear stories about pregnancy brain, where preggos suddenly can't remember the slightest things. This totally happened. So why haven't I heard about mom brain?


Ever since my little man came I have become a virtual black hole for information. I have no idea whether it is the lack of sleep or something chemical but I have a mush brain! Yesterday I had to ask my hubby what kind of diaper we had just changed literally minutes before. Was it pee? Was it poo? Did it shoot across the room this time?


This morning I woke up fed my little man, ate an apple and chugged daily pills around six-thirty then headed back to sleep. Later around lunch I grabbed a waffle and noticed that I hadn't taken my Wednesday pills yet. So I downed those too. Wait. Wednesday? What day is it?

Yep, I double dosed because I can't remember what day it is!!! Scary.

Thankfully my little man is covered because I use an app on my iphone to help me remember what and when I've fed and changed him. LIFE-SAVER!

And the best part of all of this...the reason I'm forgetful (love my little squish!)


xoxo

Monday, November 1, 2010

So much for my plans!

Today starts Nablopomo - National Blogging Month!! You can click the cool link to the right if you blog and would like to take part in this.

So I had some great ideas for homages to the fact that yesterday was my son's due date. Today is also the first calendar month of his birth. Great great things to write about.

Instead, I am trying to make it through the days and nights without keeling over as I have mastitis AGAIN! Saturday night after a feeding I got the chills and a raging fever along with a bright pink breast. My whole body hurt in a way that no human should ever have to endure. Sunday my hubby took over all care of Baby E so I could sleep and pump and then sleep some more. By Sunday night I has a complete breakdown thinking about trying to care for my son by myself feeling the way I did. The nurse advice line sent us into the emergency room where I was given antibiotics and pain meds. Thankfully my awesome hubby was able to take an emergency day of leave to keep taking care of E today. Please let this go away soon.

xoxo

Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's a bird...

it's a plane...






no, it's a huge ass moose in my backyard!!!


I had to do some fancy photo editing to be able to actually see the moose so it has a "I'm looking at a UFO on the front of the National Enquirer" quality about it. My husband and I were standing in the kitchen when he glanced over at our window. This huge female moose was just beyond our deck about ten feet from our window. By the time we grabbed the camera this was all we could see. Wow, I really do live in Alaska!

xoxo

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Frustration

After having fantastic nursing afternoon yesterday with great latching and no soreness, baby E took a whiplash inducing 180 and wouldn't nurse with any type of suction in the evening or through the night. I just don't get it!

He would show signs of wanting to eat by rooting but then would simply soothe himself instead of eating. At first I wanted to give him a bottle because I don't want my babe go hungry! (Yes, I'm a sucker.) However, my hubby pointed out that he knows where to eat and how to do it. If he is hungry, he'll latch on and eat. So we gave him his pacifier to help him soothe himself (instead of making me sore) and put him back down. He happily went back to sleep. I passed out eventually but remained worried and frustrated.

He did the same thing this morning but eventually ate for about ten minutes during each session.

I'm trying not to freak out about this change....ideas?

xoxo

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Free 5x7 Holiday Cards for Bloggers

A perk for bloggers!

Shutterfly is offering 50 free 5x7 holiday cards. Sign up HERE!

xoxo

The baby weight...

...is gone! Yippee! From the start of my donor cycle until delivery day, I gained sixteen pounds. For once in my life, I set a weight goal that I managed to keep which made me beyond happy. I would have gained as much as I needed to for the pregnancy to have a healthy kiddo, but since I porked on the pounds during the infertility treatments, I really didn't need to.

Most of the weight has melted off with just some consideration to my diet. But now that I've hit my pre-pregnancy weight, that has stopped. :) Go figure. Now I'm going to work on the 20 odd pounds gained during my fertility treatments. After that will be another goal, but I'm just taking it in steps.

And for your viewing pleasure, this picture cracked me up.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Booby Juice Continued.

To continue the discussion on breast feeding...

My main point about breast feeding is that it's just not as straight forward as some of the books and lactation consultants can make it seem. If you've read my blog, you know I've had a 'take it as it comes' attitude about pretty much everything! With breast feeding, the book I read really made it a point to talk about how expectations and stressing about breast feeding just makes it more likely to be hard for you. So I approached it with the same open attitude. I believed the book when they clearly said, if it hurts, you need to adjust what you are doing. 

However the reality of any situation is that a variable can throw a wrench into your plans. My main variable was anatomical - my child's mouth did not match up with the size of my nipple. So in trying to make it work, my nipple developed a blood blister and then cracked. Despite the cracked nipple, I kept trying which made it worse. Finally I had enough and started pumping that breast instead until it healed. Now, I just have to wait for the anatomical situation to work itself out. Already it is much better. 

So essentially, while the book is correct in that you need to adjust what you are doing if it hurts, trying to recover from something like a cracked nipple while still feeding your child is not straightforward. I think this kind of thing happens to a lot of women who are not prepared to deal with it. It's probably like being infertile. You should be able to get pregnant or breast feed without any problems, but that's not how it works out for some of us.

xoxo

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Breast feeding...not for the faint of heart

During my stay at the hospital, a lactation consultant stopped by to talk and also passed along a book about breast feeding. The gist of the book is that breast feeding is a natural process that industrialized society has overanalyzed to make more difficult. According to them, breast feeding should not be painful. If it is, you are doing something wrong and need to correct the latch, position, etc.

All I can say about my experience in comparison to what the book describes is that -- it's a bunch of bull! Breast feeding HAS NOT been easy. The struggle to make it work combined with a bunch of assvice from the various nurses and practitioners about feeding in general drove me to tears several times over the last three weeks. (Can you believe my little man is three weeks old - cartwheels!!!) Most of the 'advice' was accurate to babies in general just not in relation to my child who was a late preterm baby.

Shortly after baby E was born, the nurses took his glucose level which was just one point off of the target. Because of this, they wanted me to try to feed him immediately which is fairly typical to do with newborns anyway. Baby E was not quite ready to nurse and made no attempt to suck or latch on. My body wasn't ready either as nothing was coming out! The nurses quickly went into crisis aversion mode and started telling us that feeding him formula was necessary at this point, but simultaneously trying to keep us from freaking out as I expect some parents do. We cut them off midstream to let them know we just wanted to get our child fed if that's what he needed. I think because so many things have been screwy in trying to get and stay pregnant, that I just didn't assume I would be able to breast feed. My hubby is really good about keeping us focused on the goal--in this case, getting E's glucose level up. So formula feed from a bottle (gasp!) ensued.

Over the next few days we were told all of these things by various hospital staff:

  • Your son does not need to eat regularly within the first 24 hours.
  • Your son was early, so he needs to eat every three hours within the first 24 hours.
  • Colostrum is liquid gold so any drop you get is better than nothing. 
  • 1 ml of colostrum is great!
  • Oh, you only got 1 ml?
  • Your son needs to eat 15 ml of formula past whatever you are able to pump.
  • Your son can eat as much as he will take in a sitting (Massive spit-up ensues).
  • You just need to try a nipple shield to be able to breast feed.
  • Use a nipple on the formula bottle.
  • Don't use a nipple on the formula bottle because he won't latch on later! You should use a syringe and a feeding tube.
  • Don't use a syringe and feeding tube, use it only through a nipple shield (S&S) so he gets the sucking idea.
  • Let your son go to the nursery at night.
  • Don't let your son go to the nursery at night because they'll feed him formula (duh duh duhhhhhhh!)
It seemed like every person that came in had a different opinion on what we should do to feed our son. Meanwhile we are sitting there in the hospital thinking, "aren't you the professionals?" A lot of the conflicting information was because he was early and didn't necessarily have the skills to act like a 40 weeker. Also because the hospital is certified "breast feeding friendly," all of the nurses have some sort of training in facilitating breast feeding which means a mess of different opinions and options. Sigh. They meant well, but the advice didn't mesh well together. Finally, we got a plan going with the lactation consultant that we felt comfortable with before we left the hospital.

Then, at our four day weight check at the military hospital, the VERY pro-breast feeding nurse adamantly insisted that I didn't need any of the above feeding methods and could just breast feed. Lo and behold she showed me a different type of hold (australian football hold) and wouldn't you know, he latched right on and was able to sustain his feeding without passing out from exhaustion. Go E!

Of course the fun just got started as I discovered that breast feeding is not for the faint of heart. Blood blisters, cracked nipples, white blood deprived nipple line, bleeding nipples, sore boobs, dripping boobs, engorged boobs combined with tears streaming down my face from pain followed. While breast feeding is great in terms of bonding with your baby and providing good nutrition for him, the pain of the first month is severely glossed over! Everyone assures me it gets better, but the first few weeks have been pretty tortuous for me. I'm so glad I have stuck it out thus far but seriously, I never understood how truly difficult it can be. 

Of course, I am incredibly glad that I am able to even go through the craziness of breast feeding as it's not always an option for women, especially those that have gone through IVF. However, I would feel remiss in my truthful blogging if I didn't tell you about the reality of wading through feeding in the first days and the pain of breast feeding. 

Now I must go feed my son. :) 

xoxo

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stank Eye

Bad mommy. Bad daddy.

This would be my son giving us the the stank eye after being circumcised today. Since he was early, the docs wanted to wait a little bit to allow him to grow so it took until now to get it done.

I asked the doc if he had done a lot of circumcisions. He laughed and said "four this morning...I stopped counting after 500." That helped me feel confident about it. Even thought we couldn't go back with him during the procedure, I was really calm about letting my little man go.  Of course, when he was screaming bloody murder when we changed his diaper for the first time at home, I burst into tears.

Poor baby.

xoxo

Monday, October 18, 2010

The birth

The days are already flying by as baby E is already two weeks and three days. I could gush for quite awhile about how much I love him already, but I figure I should get the birth story down first! So here it goes...details and all!

Thursday, September 30

Going into Anchorage for my weekly doctor's visit had shown that my cervix was shortened to one centimeter and despite the stitch had dilated to one centimeter. We planned to take the stitch out at the following visit next week...fast forward to eleven o'clock that night where I started having a contraction each hour. No big deal right? Unless I was having six contractions in an hour, I didn't need to go in.

Friday, October 1

I awoke about 2:30 am to some medium grade contractions. Whipping out my iphone, I used an app to start timing my contractions. Lo and behold I had eleven in thirty minutes. Gingerly, I woke my husband up.  In my hesitation to cry wolf, I began my conversation something like this...

"I'm having contractions...I think we should go to the hospital but I'm not sure...Do you think we should go to the hospital?" My husband's reaction was a resounding yes.

So we grabbed our last minute stuff, woke my dad up and took the hour drive into the hospital. During the drive I kept wishing we lived closer because I was feeling some pain! Of course about fifteen minutes down the road, my hubby turns to me and asks if I got my wallet. Um, whoops. I don't really need ID to go to the hospital right? We said 'screw it' and kept going.

We were admitted into OB Triage where they gave me a bed and some anti-contraction medication. My doc figured that we would try one shot to see if it would stop the contractions and then go ahead and deliver if it didn't work. It didn't. On to labor and delivery we headed. They stuck me with an IV and hooked up the monitors while my pain ratcheted up quite a few notches. Finally, the doc arrived to take out my stitch and get the party started. Unfortunately when she stuck the speculum in, I felt like I was being ripped in two. With the contractions coming a few minutes apart, it was impossible to do it without contracting around the speculum. OUCH!!!!! The doc decided to give me an epidural before we proceeded. I felt like such a wimp but there was no way I could have her remove the stitch without it.

Since it was shift change for the anesthesiologists, we had to wait about forty-five minutes for him to come. He asked me, "Do you want to discuss the procedure or for me to go ahead and do it?" For the love of god man! Do it already! The prick of the stick wasn't bad at all and before I knew it twenty minutes had passed and I was feeling no pain. Let me tell you, it was the best thing EVER!

So the doc went back in only to find out that I was already dilated to nine cm and had ripped most of the stitch already. Unbelievably she pulled out every contraption that has ever been made from the weighted speculum, forceps and chopsticks (not really) to try to snag what remained of the stitch but had absolutely no luck in the forty-five minutes that she tried. Finally she threw her hands up in the air and decided to let me labor with what was left of the stitch and repair any damage afterwards. Game on!

At this point it was seven thirty and time for the nurse shift change. In walks Lauren, a nurse who took care of me several times during bedrest. Since she is in her training phase at the hospital, she worked in all of the maternity sections before settling down for her year long training in L&D. I loved her so I was so happy to have her familiar face with me. So besides being able to have one of my favorite nurses, I also got the experienced nurse working with her, the rock star anesthesiologist, the actual doc I had been working with since 27 weeks, and then found out the NICU doc we favored was on call for us. The cast of players was just stacked in our favor. We couldn't have been happier.

The nurses had me put my legs up in the air and hold them in my hands with support from my hubby on one side and Lauren on the other. Lauren would watch the monitor for my contractions, since I couldn't feel them, and then would have me hold my breath for the count of ten while I pushed. I would do this three times for each contraction which left me gasping for air in between my contractions. My sister called during this time. My husband was like, "you realize she's in active labor right?" The two of them crack me up.

The epidural ended up slowing down the intensity of my contractions, so they hit me with some pitocin and gave me about forty-five minutes to relax. Once we kicked back into gear, I could actually feel the pressure of the contractions but still felt no pain! Lovely! A great side effect of the epidural is that mothers often puke. Did you know that when puking, you push like you do for a contraction? My four heaves gave me a nice leg up on the pushing. It was great that my green slime managed to rebound out of the small little tray and hit my husband too. Lucky man. Hee hee! More pushing until almost noon and out he came with a little slide and slush.

Because he was early, he was whisked over to the NICU team where he was inspected and given an 8/9. Whoo! No NICU time needed for my little man. During this time, I had yet to actually catch a glimpse of my son other than to see his dark head and skinny little limbs as he was being whisked away. So barring any view of him, I watched my husband. I didn't know that it was possible to love my husband any more than I already did. But in those seconds following E's arrival, I saw the relief of his safe arrival and pure joy pass across his face. I thought he would immediately go to him, but he didn't. He clutched my hand and then leaned in to gather me close to him. It sounds so cheesy but it was literally the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Finally the nurses realized I hadn't seen my son yet so they some of the paraphernalia away to give me a glimpse of him. There was my little monkey.

It's only been two weeks, but I can't imagine life before him. We are so grateful that he is here, and he is safe in our arms.




xoxo

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How do you thank a person for this?

Just a few minutes ago I received a card from Fairyegg's mother. During this whole journey, we have had not only had the incredible gift from Fairyegg's herself, but the support of her whole family - hubby, mom, dad, and sister. They have literally been cheering me on through cards, texts, emails, and happy thoughts from the very get go. You can see clearly how her generosity and love have come naturally to her as it is clearly demonstrated in the words and actions of her family.

Now that I hold baby E in my arms, I am more humbled and thankful for her gift from a depth in my heart that I didn't know existed. How do you thank a person for something that can't be adequately expressed through words or gifts? How do you thank an entire family for what they have shared with you?

All I know is that I will not squander this gift that I have been given. The gift is more than my son, it;s also the love and bond between our families.

xoxo

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm in love...

...with a man who is not my husband.


Baby E born 10/1/10
11:50 a.m.
5 lb 15 oz
20 inches long

beautiful and healthy 
born at 35 weeks 5 days

loves from a very happy family
xoxo