Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No babies were bronzed in the making of this photo

Did that get your attention? It's part of our holiday card photo montage for this year. Those of you who know us IRL will be getting the full package, but the rest of you can just chuckle away at this shot. No, we didn't turn the machine on (even though that baby sure could use a base tan). Yes, we do exploit our child to make ourselves seem hilarious.

Here's a slightly different angle. I inadvertently uploaded this one at first, and now Blogger won't let me delete it, because Blogger is full of as.shole necrophil.iac child pornog.raphers who cut in line and also telemarket.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Here's a photo of So.ren's second time in the water at the hotel in Mexico. The first time didn't go that poorly, but the second time upset him for some reason. I suppose this is similar to the way in which I tend to find reputedly unpleasant things "not bad at all" the first time I do them, and then I grow to dread them more and more as time wears on until I break out into convulsions at the mere thought of them (examples: Pa.p smears, PIO shots).

Our trip to Cabo for the wedding was very enjoyable, although So.ren determined that 5am was an appropriate time to get the day going while on vacation. We did banish him to the bathroom, which was just large enough to hold the pack-n-play but which presented us with some challenges regarding going to the bathroom when he was napping (it wasn't such a big deal in the middle of the night, since he stays asleep better then).

Our trip home was significantly less enjoyable than the trip there. First, So.ren shrieked for approximately 30 minutes on the Cabo-to-Dallas leg, and the women (did I say women? I meant skanky bitches) in front of us muttered something to each other about trying a pacifier since it "helps the ears," which I had been doing for about 20 of those 30 minutes. It was a good thing I didn't hear them (only my husband did), or I might have remarked that diet and exercise were good ways to lose weight, YOU HIDEOUS BAGS OF FLESH WITH UGLY PANTS ON. Not only am I saintly, I am also mature.

Anyway, the second less-than-enjoyable point of our return trip was that getting through immigration, customs, and security in Dallas took nearly two hours. That three-hour layover suddenly seemed rather tight. We did successfully get on our next flight, and So.ren successfully passed out as soon as we were in motion, and we successfully made it through some rather bumpy parts of the flight with lightning in the distance (I hate flying at night and in bad weather), and soon we successfully landed in the Midwest, where the temperature was...wait for it...70 degrees COLDER than it had been when we left Mexico.

But at least we made it in. Things took a turn for the worse around here yesterday, when an ice storm knocked out our power. I will say that it is really beautiful around here, particularly when viewed from inside.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Gastrointestinal update

After a week had passed and no one else in my house had fallen ill, I permitted myself to think, "Hey, no one else has gotten sick!" Sensing my hubris, the universe then proceeded to make the following people fall ill in short order: my son, my husband, both babysitters, and a friend's toddler daughter. Wow, nice work, universe!

I even took So.ren to the ER on Sunday since he projectile-vomited and seemed listless. They said he wasn't dehydrated but that I was not entirely insane for bringing him in, which I appreciated because although it was probably not true (ie, I am entirely insane), it demonstrated good bedside manner on the part of the young resident.

Since we're leaving for Mexico tomorrow, I was a bit concerned for several reasons. First, because of So.ren's health, naturally, but also because what would we do if we couldn't go to this wedding?!? The bride and groom met at our wedding, for god's sake! We have to be there! Which they may not appreciate when they both get So.ren's GI bug and spend the ceremony puking!

In any case, he seems recovered now. All of the adults recovered quickly. So.ren had his six-month checkup (a couple of weeks late) yesterday, and he clocked in at the 97th percentile for height, 95th for head circumference, and 60th for weight. That last measurement might have been artificially low due to his puking and pooping and lack of appetite. Hey, he can be a wrestler someday!

Anyway, I hope we all make it to and from Mexico in good condition. So.ren has a 29-inch bag packed full of stuff just for him since we are bringing literally every single thing he will need aside from bottled water to make his formula. I hope you are all doing well!

Friday, November 23, 2007


Sorry for the lack of posting (not that you were refreshing madly hoping for a new post of pedestrian observations and trite assvice), but I was stricken by some sort of stomach ailment this week. I'm hoping it was food poisoning and not something that So.ren will get, but that may be too much to wish for. I did see a friend in Chicago who had recently had some sort of bug (though she was over it by that point), although if that's what I got, it had a four-day incubation period, which seems rather long. Anyway, fortunately this occurred while my family was in town for Thanksgiving, so they dealt with the baby and the entire Thanksgiving meal. Sweet! On the upside, I weighed myself and found that I was five pounds below my normal weight. Most of this is likely to be lost muscle, but whatever - we're going to a wedding in Mexico in a couple of weeks, so any weight loss is good weight loss.

I hope you are all having excellent Thanksgiving holidays, unless you're Canadian, in which case I hope you already had a good Thanksgiving holiday a month ago or whenever it was.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Six months

So.ren turned six months old yesterday. All I can say about that is: holy shit. One of my friends had told me that the reason everyone says kids get really fun at six months is because that's when they truly start to have a personality, and I think that must be true. Sore.n has lots of personality now, as well as lots of drool (pictured).

Tomorrow, I'm heading to Chicago for work, and then I'm going from there to NYC for the weekend, since I have a meeting there on Monday. That's four days without my little fellow. I'll miss him, but I'm interested to see whether my change of venue(s) results in any insomnia improvement. I had acupuncture done yesterday and then had a pretty good night of sleep last night, but it's too soon for me to claim any causality there.

Our families will be here next week for Thanksgiving. I haven't given any thought to the meal. I did make So.ren a bunch of pureed sweet potatoes, so I suppose I could defrost ice-cube-sized portions for our guests if needed.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I sleep on the couch now.

That pretty much sums it up: my sleep has improved, but it takes place on the couch. Last night, I successfully went back to sleep three times, including after the problematic 5am wakeup. I would have slept until 7, had my husband not startled me awake by coming downstairs to get his laptop. Maybe someday I'll work my way back into the bed. I did take a nap there yesterday, even though I'm not technically supposed to be napping. Oh, but did it feel good!

The psychiatrist I'd been seeing to keep an eye out for PPD gave me a prescription for At.ivan to help me go to sleep if I really freak out. I'm trying not to take it, though. I don't want to get into a situation where I can't sleep unless I have drugs - that will just require more (and more painful) reconditioning later on.

Now, a PSA interlude: This weekend, I took an official adult/child/infant CPR and first aid course. I'm done with the written tests and am about to go get tested in person on my skills. (This is a "blended learning" option you can do through the Red Cross.) The online component was quite useful and took about three hours. I'll spend one to two hours being tested today. It's really not much of an investment of time to feel much more prepared. Check your local Red Cross's website for details!

Finally, there has been a spate of second-pregnancy announcements among my friends lately, and guess what? They still upset me! Sure, I don't feel as desperate now that I have one really awesome little boy, but I'm still bitter. I think I'm just going to embrace it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Progress, maybe

So I was really having what must be, like, a bona-fide anxiety episode regarding sleep yesterday. My stomach was in knots; I couldn't eat all day; and right before bedtime I actually PUKED. That has never happened to me before, this puking from anxiety. In the afternoon, I called the sleep expert in tears. She said I should back away from the hardcore reconditioning plan and focus more on relaxation. There happened to be a Yoga for Relaxation class at my gym last night, so I went to that, and then I also listened to some New Agey CDs as I was trying to fall asleep. That was kind of a bust, but I did manage to fall asleep in the guest bed, which I view as a step up from the couch. What's more, I managed to go back to sleep three times after waking up, including after what has tended to be my problem wakeup time each day of 4am or so. I woke up for real around 6, but this seemed lovely. I think I got 7 hours of interrupted sleep. If I weren't riding a tide of sleep deprivation, I'd feel totally normal right now. I don't feel great, but I do feel much better than the past two days. Like, I'm not going to dissolve into tears during the eight back-to-back meetings I have here shortly. That's a relief.

I made an appointment for acupuncture next week, so maybe that'll help my insomnia, too. I haven't seen the acupuncturist since my FET cycle. She'll probably think I'm coming back for more fertility help. Maybe she can throw in some maintenance acupuncture on that front. If there is such a thing.

Our little boy woke up at 6:30 today instead of 6, so that's some progress, too. We let him chatter away in his crib until 7. He's very into "talking" these days. He's still mostly spitting out vowels, but he does seem to be experimenting with some yayayayas and some lalalalas.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Okay, this blows

Night 2 of sleep conditioning looked promising - we stayed up later than usual, and then I was falling asleep while reading. But whenever I turned off the light to go to sleep officially, I would become overwrought with anxiety about sleeping.

So I got up and moved downstairs. Eventually, probably around midnight, I fell asleep on the couch. I then woke up at 4am and couldn't go back to sleep, despite trying more of the reading-until-falling-asleep thing. The anxiety was overwhelming.

So now I feel extremely tired, anxious, and on the verge of sobbing, and I have no appetite. Awesome! Maybe this will just drive me to become so tired that I'll have no choice but to crash out.

So.ren, meanwhile, has woken up at 6 the past two days instead of 7. He lies in bed making noises until we get him. Fuck Daylight Savings Time! Who needs it? It's screwing with everyone in our household at the moment.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sleep training

No, I'm not referring to the baby - he's been sleep-trained for several months. I'm referring to myself. I've developed conditioned insomnia, according to the woman I saw yesterday in the Orwellian-sounding "cognitive rehabilitation" clinic at the local university hospital. Essentially, I got used to waking up in the early morning. When So.ren stopped waking up, I still woke up at 4 or 5 every day. This stressed me out, which then guaranteed I'd keep waking up at that time. This, in turn, stressed me out more, which began to affect my ability to go to sleep. In short, the bed became a place of stress. That's what she said, and it seems right to me.

So now I'm on a kind of brutal re-conditioning process. I have to restrict my sleep now in the hopes of increasing my "sleep efficiency" - ie, the amount of time I'm asleep while I'm in bed. I am also supposed to get out of bed every time I can't fall asleep or return to sleep within 15 minutes. Last night, this meant I got up nine times and changed venues a few times when I did get sleepy enough to try to sleep. I ended up getting about four or five hours on the couch. I am tired, but I suppose it's not any worse than what I was doing anyway. I am to continue this for as long as it takes, which should be two to three weeks. It's really not any fun, but if I could make it through 20+ weeks of feeling like crap with HG, and nearly 18 weeks of breastfeeding travails, surely I can do this. Right? Eh. We'll see.

Luckily, this weekend and next week, we'll have houseguests who are night owls. This supposedly will be good for me - ie, I can just stay awake until I'm so sleepy I can't keep my eyes open, and then I'll go to bed. We'll see.

In other news, I am very excited about the recent BFPs, but I don't want to jinx them. You know who you are.

Monday, November 05, 2007

We have mobility

So.ren was a bit behind in the whole rolling-over game, but, boy, did it come together for him this weekend. He can now speedily roll across an entire room, grasp a tangle of electrical cords, and shove them into his mouth before you can finish reading that one little email you wanted to check. I thought childproofing began when your kid crawled, but now it appears it should have been completed three days ago.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


As Jane requested, here's a photo of Sore.n's teeth. Although I claimed there was a third one peeking out, now I'm not so sure. It may just be a whitehead of the gums. I realize there's probably no such thing, but that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. The front bottom two are growing daily, however. Take a look!

In other news, my AF returned this week. I felt some vague cramping (luckily, not (yet) the kind of intestine-ripping endometriosis cramps that I'd grown to know and love since they gave me some insight into how one might feel if one were shiv-ed in the prison cafeteria), but otherwise it was a complete surprise. This now means I need to think about whether to go on any sort of BCP in the (likely vain) hopes of controlling the endometriosis. We also need to think about when we want to try to produce baby numero dos, if such a thing is even in the cards. We'll see.

And now, a question: what are your children's favorite books? Right now, Sore.n appreciates most books equally since he views them as teethers, but my personal favorites are There's a Wocket in My Pocket, But Not the Hippopotamus, Goodnight Moon, and these two really nifty books.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bad Mommy Story

I planned to be all clever and take some photos to illustrate this story, but I tempted fate with my last post and have ended up with a bitch of a cold (which involves coughing for hours each night until finally falling into an uneasy sleep on the couch at 4am), so you'll get the text-only version.

So, a couple of days before we left for California, I was on my daily afternoon stroll with So.ren and our dog. We rarely vary our route, which takes us through our pleasant, leafy neighborhood of bungalows and other houses of the small-town wooden variety (why, no, I'm not an architect; how did you guess?). I tell you this because it makes the events that transpired all the more inexplicable.

So.ren rides along in his car seat, which I snap into a stroller frame. The frame, as you may be aware, allows the car seat to clip onto a bar, and then the frame itself has these little tabs that you pull in over the car seat to keep it from coming dislodged in the front. I always check both parts before we head out, and I had done so that day, though I've noticed that sometimes the tabs get jostled on the walk and aren't really doing their job, so maybe that had happened here.

We were cruising along at a fairly rapid pace, which is how I like it, when the stroller contraption hit a piece of uneven pavement. It stopped; the dog and I kept going. I smacked right into the stroller, overturning it. But wait - it gets worse. When the edge of the car seat hit the pavement, it came detached from the stroller frame, and landed UPSIDE DOWN on the sidewalk. I wiped out beside it.

Now, luckily, I had strapped the crap out of So.ren into the car seat, which I don't always do on walks. So he was just hanging in there upside down, looking perplexed, but no part of him hit the sidewalk. (I had the handle in the proper roll-bar position, too.) Approximately 10 people witnessed this event, and came to inquire as to whether we were injured or just stupid (that last part was implied). Fortunately, we were okay - Sore.n didn't even cry - but visions of how badly this could have gone have populated my brain ever since. Poor little boy! I had two shins full of gnarly bruises, which meant I then had to explain how I'd gotten them to anyone who saw my legs, which I suppose was a form of penance.

That little boy is pretty stoic, I have to say. He weathered that well, along with, this week, a cold and THREE TEETH. We didn't even know they had come in - sure, he drools a lot, but he's been doing that for a while, and he wasn't abnormally cranky. He obviously doesn't get his equanimity from either of his parents.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Introduction to flying

Last week, we went to my husband's 15th college reunion in California. This was So.ren's first plane trip, and, boy, did he get an introduction to flying in the modern era. Our scheduled routing was through O'Hare to SFO, but despite the fine weather everywhere we were to be flying through or over or vaguely near, things did not go as planned. How naive we were when we saw the words "on time" listed next to our outbound flight! How gullible!

When we got to the gate at our local airport, the flight time had suddenly moved back by an hour. Fine, we thought - we can still make our connection. But then I called United, and they told me it would actually be even later than that, thus making it less likely that we would make our connection, which "might be delayed, but might not be." So I ingeniously rerouted us via Denver, since that flight was on time and, FYI, Denver is closer to SFO than Chicago. By this point, we'd be in the airport for four hours. Our local airport is small, which is usually nice since it makes check-in, etc., much easier, but when you're trying to amuse a fidgety baby, O'Hare starts to look a lot more appealing.

So we got on the Denver flight. Problem #1: we were assigned seats behind the exit row, which is apparently not allowed when you have an infant in a car seat. So after some adept three-way trading, we ended up in approved seating. That's when problem #2 arose: of all of the seats on the plane, the only one with an issue was the one So.ren and his car seat were supposed to be strapped into. The seatbelt had somehow become wedged between the seat and the wall, and this required the captain and another passenger to engage in some major contortions to unhook it, a process that took approximately 20 minutes while every single person on the plane stared at us (or so I assumed) while So.ren wailed in his car seat in the aisle until I rocked it for about three seconds and he passed out cold. Once he was in the seat, the flight had been delayed about 20-25 minutes. But So.ren had a good time (pictured). We thought everything was going well when we got to Denver and the flight attendant read out our connecting gate information.

Just to be safe, we checked the gate on the monitors, as advised, and found that our flight to SFO was cancelled. There was one later flight, but since the cancelled flight had been a 777, there were 300+ people trying to get on it and no chance for us. We ended up rerouting to San Jose, but our luggage was still scheduled to go to SFO. Fortunately, an airline employee in the Red Carpet Club (which I spent 55,000 miles to join earlier this year) took up our cause and ended up getting our bags on the correct flight. We did, however, have a Priceline (ie, non-refundable) reservation for a car in SFO, so that was money down the drain. It ended up taking us 13 hours to get to our friends' house in Menlo Park. So.ren behaved admirably, by which I mean he mostly slept on the flights and in the car.

Our return trip was better - everything was more or less on time, though we didn't get home until 1am Monday morning (but that was as planned). I am completely exhausted. So.ren has a cold that he picked up from either our hosts' kids or any of the people of any of the planes, since all appeared to be sick. Oh, well - I guess his immune system is getting a workout. I was sick a ton as a child, but nowadays I'm the only person at home or at work who doesn't seem to catch everything that comes through. I am, however, aware that the fact that I have voiced this aloud means that I will presently come down with consumption.

I have a major Bad Mommy story (with me as the star) to tell you, but I need to take a couple of photographs to illustrate the anecdote properly. Stay tuned...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Two weeks, where did you go?

I meant to post many times over the past two weeks, but because my husband was out of town, it turned out that I had, oh, approximately four seconds to myself during that time. And four seconds is just not enough time to post, even if your posts are as banal and unthought-through as mine are. My mom did visit for the second week, but the help she provides is more of the cooking/cleaning/errand-running variety, with an ongoing monologue and a few compliments thrown in. She isn't exactly chomping at the bit to oversee the childcare routine. She did, however, hold the baby during our first attempts at rice cereal, though the photo I have selected from these adventures is one where my husband is holding the baby. My mother is not that flat-chested, nor does she have ripped pecs.

There are many moms who receive my enduring respect. Moms of multiples. Moms of special-needs kids. Moms with PPD. SAHMs. Full-time WOHMs. But after the last two weeks, my current #1 must be single moms (though I suppose single moms of special-needs multiples may trump). When I was pregnant, I read Anne Lamott's book, Operating Instructions, which is a great thing to read when you're pregnant and not a single mom-to-be, since you can appreciate the honesty of the book while simultaneously thinking, "Well, it won't be that rough for me since I don't have to go it alone." And when you do have to go it alone, it's temporary. I really don't know how people manage. When I was in my late 20s and swingle, I thought that if I ever found myself still unattached at the impossibly old age of, say, 35, I would have a kid on my own. And that might still have been the right thing for me to do, but it sure wouldn't have been as simple as I was envisioning it. To make a long story slightly shorter, I sure was glad when my husband returned late Friday night, though I was quite displeased to find that he was SICK from burning the candle at both ends (and poor hygiene). So I didn't get a break right away, but I did have someone to nag, which was nice. (An aside: our baby nurse told us that she had once worked with a woman who was a single mom of triplets - she and her then-husband had done IVF, and about halfway through the pregnancy, she found out he'd been cheating on her for months, so she ditched him. That man deserves a special place in hell.)
And in other, happier news, congrats to Thalia on the birth of her beautiful daughter. And please be thinking of Hopeful Mother today as she delivers her twins via c-section!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The final tally

Our little boy got four months of breastfeeding. His last breast milk was ingested on Friday - I'd pumped it a couple of days earlier since I was heading out to the family reunion at the ungodly hour of 4:30am. Anyway, four months feels pretty good, even though it was about 80% formula for the last month. The pump and I parted ways more or less amicably. I'm currently enduring a bit of engorgement and possibly a plugged duct, but I'm hoping that'll subside soon. I'd say I don't know what to do with all the time that not-pumping frees up, but it turns out there's a long list of tasks-in-waiting that are prepared to jump in.

Some tasks, however, we just can't get done. Like, the handle on our upstairs toilet is broken. This means that in order to flush, we have to reach into the tank and pull the thingamajig with our bare hands. It looks easy to fix - like you'd just take the handle, arm, and chain into a home store and get the new part. But that's the kind of stuff we just don't have time to do. So I called the handyman. He was out of town. I called again. No call back. I should call again, but at this point it's been two weeks, and now it just seems perfectly normal to flush the toilet by reaching into the tank. It's funny how you can get used to disarray. Our living room seems clean by comparison to how it was at the beginning of So.ren's life, but an impartial, dispassionate eye would undoubtedly report it to the health inspector.

My weekend away from the boys (husband, son, dog) was good. I missed the little fellow, but it sure was nice to have two days of not being on the baby clock at all. In hindsight, however, it would have been an easy trip to take him on - short flights on regional jets (which are mellower to board) with lots of family waiting at our destination. Instead, his first plane trip will be next month, when we fly many hours to go to my husband's college reunion. Anyway, the family reunion was really fun, and I found an old photo of my father that bears a very close resemblance to So.ren. My husband won't admit of the resemblance, however - my father has a cleft chin, and I'm pretty sure So.ren does as well, but my husband dislikes cleft chins.

So.ren had his four-month checkup today. He got more shots, which he found to be unsuited to his preferences. He was 16 lbs and 26.5 inches, which are 75th and 95th percentile, respectively. Tall and thin! Maybe he'll be a runway model! His head was 80th percentile. The pediatrician said we should consider starting solids relatively soon since So.ren occasionally puts back a lot of formula, but I think I am going to hold off for now because he's gone back to eating more modest amounts of food (as would be appropriate for a runway model).

I keep feeling posts a-brewin' about infertility but haven't pulled them together yet. I must do so. My husband, however, is out of town all week for work, so I'm a harried single mother for the moment. I am very anxious about tonight, my first night ever alone with the baby. I hope he'll be a first-rate sleeper and all smiles and sunshine during his awake times and that he'll issue forth tidy BMs smelling of tuberose and gardenia.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Baby at a diner

This past weekend, my husband's father and aunt came to visit. They hadn't met So.ren yet. He was perfectly charming, offering up lots of smiles and the occasional seismic fart. We took him out for meals for the first time (we ate; he didn't) - an outing to a diner (pictured) was successful, while an outing to a more upscale lunch spot was less so, though it wasn't catastrophic.

This coming weekend, I am going solo to a family reunion in South Carolina. I'm nervous and excited all at the same time. It'll be nice not to be thinking about naps and feedings and baby activities all day, but I will miss the little fellow. I hope I can get a couple of good nights of sleep in, too, but I'll probably wake up and be unable to go back to sleep, since that appears to be something I like to do.

I would feel guilty about my weekend away, except that my husband is about to go on TWO multi-day business trips. One is for most of next week, and the other for most of the following week. That'll be a lot of time in charge. Time to eliminate the dream feed!

In other news, So.ren was plugged up for a few days, then pushed forth a dry, hard lump that was reminiscent of the concrete marbles of my Z0fran era. This caused him to wake up crying. The pediatrician told me to give him diluted prune juice, and let's just say this hasn't been a problem since then. Wow!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Where does the time go?

Being back at work for real has really cut into my personal emailing, internet shopping, blog-commenting, message-board-reading, etc. Moreover, I can't get away with not showering. And all this showering means that I am hyper-aware of the massive quantities of hair that I'm losing at present. If you need a toupee, I could weave you one.

Pictured above is the superhero known as FLYING BABY! He doesn't really have any superpowers to speak of just yet, though he does emit a winning smile periodically.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One year

A year ago tomorrow, So.ren and another blastocyst were transferred through my byzantine cervix. This timing has nice symmetry since my milk supply has suddenly essentially dried up, so it may be that he gets exactly one year of being housed/nourished by my body. On Sunday night, I pumped nearly 5 oz. Monday night, it was 2 oz. Last night, 1 oz. I have no idea why this is, but so be it. Maybe it's because I returned to work for real this week. Or maybe I ate something that dries up milk. Anyway, I am going to try to get one or two more nursing sessions out of him so I can be sentimental about my short-lived, complicated breastfeeding career.

Here's a photo of So.ren and his father. My husband is very musical, unlike me, and so So.ren gets concerts every evening and sometimes even during the daytime on weekends. I'm hoping he'll inherit the ability to carry a tune and play instruments and whatnot. Yes, whatnot!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Three months

Here's a photo from last week on So.ren's three-month birthday. We think he looks a little like ET sometimes - he raises up his wide head from his skinny little neck. And then he requests to phone home. And we're like, you dummy, you're already home!

So.ren hosted his first dinner party the other night. Some other babies (and their parents) came over. He was perfectly charming, which was great since keeping up appearances is essential - this is what I've learned from watching "Ma.d Men." Have you watched it? I love it. Very sly.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Escape from Babytraz

This is where I found our young lad this morning when I went in to get him. You'll note the sleep positioner and crib pad perpendicular to him and half the length of the crib away - that's where he was placed after his dream feed at 10pm last night. You'll also note the hyperbolically named 'miracl.e blanket' scrunched between his legs. As this is the second time this week I've found him out of his swaddle and his appointed sleeping place (though the last time was less dramatic), I think we can safely say adjustments are needed. I've put on the Breath.able Bump.ers to keep his limbs inside the crib, and I've ordered some sleepsacks for when the swaddle just doesn't cut it at all anymore. Our little man is mobile, though I'm not exactly sure how he got himself to where he ended up.
The baby nurse is gone, but we have the college students starting mid-week. I go back to work for real in a couple of weeks, so I'll be easing in between now and then. I'm still breastfeeding, if you can believe it, but work will put a crimp in this since I don't plan to pump there. I expect to be totally done in the next month. In mid-September, I'll be going to a family reunion sans husband and baby, so I suppose I'd better be done by then.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Back to the salt mines

I returned to the office for the first time on Friday, just for a couple of hours. I'm doing the same today. Things aren't in as much disarray as I had feared. Moreover, I am practicing Being Efficient, since I will only have childcare for 30 hours a week. I know, 30 hours is a pretty large number of hours, but I also need to squeeze in exercise, errand-running, personal upkeep, and world-saving during that time, and I'm sure there's lots of inefficiently used minutes involving sharing info with the nannies, etc.

So we hired two nannies/babysitters. One will be on duty three days a week from 8am-3pm, and the other will work 4-5 hours two days a week. They are both college students. Neurotically, I made them take an all-day CPR/infant first aid certification course on Saturday, then had them train with the baby nurse for much of the day yesterday. They did quite well, and I am pleased with our choices so far.

It has been lovely having the baby nurse back. She's here three more nights. I will wait a few more days before I report on any napping progress because I think we need more data points.

Monday, July 30, 2007


I got an i*Phone last week. I don't think I've been an early adopter of any sort of technological whizbangery since about 1995, but I had to get a new phone because my old one was SO outdated that AT*andT would no longer support the Whatever Technology it ran on. And my friend works at App*le and gave me her 25% employee discount, so I went for it. I love it and carry it with me around the house and spend hours updating my settings and contacts and watching "Di*ck in a Box" on You.Tube. I am sort of afraid someone will steal it, though - something that was NEVER a danger with my old phone, which is approximately the size and shape of a microwave oven.

The best thing

You know how when you're enduring infertility, the worst thing that people can say to you (other than that perhaps you weren't meant to have children) is that they'd never do IVF (or IUIs or whatever)? Well, it turns out that the best thing someone can say to you when you're having breastfeeding problems is that they never would have been able to stick with it if they'd faced your hurdles. One of my friends (who breastfed her daughter for 18 months) said this to me the other day, and that made me feel better than just about anything I've heard or thought.

In other news, So.ren's napping is a complete catastrophe. He often resists going to sleep, and when he does, he'll wake up and not be able to go back to sleep. And then he's crotchety because he's tired. There are hours of crying each day now where there used to be maybe one in total. The baby nurse returns on Thursday - I just hope I can last until then. I am having massive anxiety about all of this and can't eat or sleep well. I just have no idea how to get him back on track. I sit outside his room (as I am doing right now) and listen for peeps or cries so that I can soothe him before it escalates to the point of no return.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This may be like showing a photo of your own urin*e, but hey...

Here's a photo from a couple of weeks ago of my best pumping output of the day (usually 3+ ounces total...after 8+ hours of no pumping). It's gone down since then, for I'm only pumping twice a day, and I currently have a plugged duct or twenty. But I thought I should have a record that there were occasional pumping sessions when, if you didn't know that it had been all night since I had last pumped, it looked sort of like a normal person's pumping output.
In other news, I am feeling great anxiety. You see, So.ren's naps had, in a word, gone to shit. He would wake up after 30-40 minutes and then work himself into a lather, thereby making it very challenging to get him back to sleep. So we moved away from the self-soothe model and returned to the parental-soothe model in the hopes that he'll be better rested and will re-learn how to fall asleep (and get himself back to sleep if he wakes up). This, in turn, means that I sit right outside his room, listening for peeps. There is no sleeping while the baby sleeps, since I am too nervous to nap since I'm sure he'll cry at any second. I would not do well in Iraq, I'll tell you that. So far, he does seem better rested, but I'm not sure he's learning anything about getting himself back to sleep. (Note, though, that he is totally able to do this at night, for some reason.) The newborn specialist returns late next week, so I hope she can get this on track. In any case, we'll have childcare starting in mid-August, so at least I won't be stuck in the house all day long. And tonight I plan to have my husband on duty while I take a Uni*som in the hopes that I won't wake up like I did today at 3am, after which I was unable to go back to sleep, despite the lack of a crying baby. (The baby was there, just not crying.)
I think I am also anxious because this is the time of year when people leave town, either for good or on long vacations. Summer is so lovely around here, but it's also always a bit sad since friends move away. The current culprits are TLB and Brando, though we wish them the best of luck in Northern Michigan, where they're headed!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Photos galore

This is a post of many photos. First, Susanne asked in the comments of a couple of posts ago about getting back into shape post-c-section. Here's a shot taken of me a few days ago. I definitely still have the post-pregnancy pooch and about 5-10 intransigent pounds. I looked and weighed the same at about two weeks postpartum, which I thought was sweet, but it seems less sweet seven weeks later. I know that some people retain about that much weight to breastfeed, so we'll see if it comes off now that I am starting the weaning process. In terms of training, my OB was fine with whatever exercise I want to do. For the half-marathon, I'll be following this schedule, though I am not starting it until next week at the earliest. It looks manageable. (As an aside, at my podiatrist appointment last week, they kept me waiting for ages, which meant I finished the New Yorker that I brought. I was then left with what was in the room, which included a home-design magazine from 1996! 11 years old! I felt quite altruistic when I left my July 2007 magazine there for the next waiting patient.)

Here's a photo from So.ren's two-month birthday on Saturday. Apparently, he thinks he's four, five, or six, depending upon how you want to read his hands. As you can see, he got to wear an outfit for the first time. Until now, it's been all onesies and sleepers. Check out that plaid! And that smile! He's also started to laugh, though not always at what we think is funny.

And today he had his two-month checkup, which included shots (and an hourlong wait, since the pediatrician didn't realize she was supposed to be in - pfffft). The beleaguered little fellow is currently sleeping, and we hope it continues until his appointed wakeup time at 1pm. He was 11 lbs, 13+ oz, and came in in the 50th percentile for everything - length, weight, head. What a champ!

Now that he's had his first round of shots, I'll be tapering off the breastfeeding. I'm already down to pumping three times a day. I'm hoping to cut one today, leaving two (in case you couldn't follow that math), and then I'll start cutting feedings. I have mixed feelings about all of this, but I am focusing on the pros of the situation, which include the following: (1) no more feeling like an abject failure every time I pump a measly 3/4 ounce, (2) new ability to leave the house for more than an hour or two at a time, (3) no more plugged ducts, thus allowing for jogbras and, relatedly, jogging, (4) caffeine!, (5) booze!, (6) sleeping on stomach, and (7) shortened feeding times, resulting in more playtime. (Note: I know many people do drink caffeine and booze while breastfeeding and that it is no big deal, but I just haven't done so, and then I decided to make them prizes for getting to nine weeks.) I have also decided to feel proud for getting to nine weeks (and probably ten total, since I'm just starting to drop nursing sessions) instead of lame. Yay!

We've also been interviewing nanny candidates. Around here, that means college students. We've seen some good ones and hope to make a decision soon. Since the pool is mostly college students, we may need to get two, given class schedules, etc. One nanny candidate did do something rather dumb - she had a 1:45pm interview with me and called at 1:45 to get directions. Then, in the interview, I asked what she could point to in her experience to demonstrate that she's very reliable, and she said punctuality. Ha!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Really? Fayemus?

Jane sent me a link to Gawker's Most Pretentious Baby Name Contest of 2007, and my darling little boy's name made the list of runners-up. But, c'mon, look at the names it's with! Are any of these real names, other than the one we chose? Pffft.

I look forward to finding out what the finalists and winners were. They must be doozies!

Pictured above is my pretentiously named son in his pretentiously hipster CBGB onesie, taken at an unpretentious barbecue over the weekend.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I would like an adult-sized one of these

This papasan swing is the coziest thing ever - that pod is lined in fleece and a synthetic suede-y fabric. It looks quite relaxing to me. So.ren isn't allowed to fall asleep in there anymore, but we do stick him in at the end of playtime as a kind of soothing mechanism before we go upstairs and he screams and screams about being put to bed.

In other news, I need a goal, and getting into shape seems like a good, not-mentally-taxing goal, so I am thinking of running a half-marathon in October. Really, I'd like to run this marathon in April, but that's easy to say from my position on the couch. I've run two half-marathons in the past, but I was younger then, and I also lived in an area where I could train on lovely trails, whereas now I do not. Also, the reason I've never run a marathon before is that my knees and feet are shoddily constructed. Still, I harbor delusions of grandeur, and by grandeur I mean intense pain, blisters, and chafed and bleeding nipples (and I'm not referring to breastfeeding, for once).

To further these foolish dreams, I am visiting the podiatrist today to get fitted for orthotics. I was fitted for them in the past, but then it turned out that my podiatrist was a boob. In addition to my delusions of grandeur, I harbor delusions that orthotics will solve not just my physical ailments, but also global warming, the Iraq war, and the problem of evil, by which I mean Dick Cheney. We'll see how that goes. In the meantime, I'm walking daily and plan to start more high-impact, jog-bra-requiring exercise once I'm done breastfeeding. A week from today, So.ren gets his shots, and that's when I've decided I'm free to quit. Until then, I'll keep nursing and pumping, though perhaps not as rigorously as I have been.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Late-onset colic?

Our darling little boy has become a really large pain in the ass the past few days re: naps. For a few days, he didn't want to go to sleep. Today, he's gone to sleep well enough, but then wakes up and is totally inconsolable. I've spent hours attempting to soothe him while still keeping him in his crib, with little success. I'm hoping he'll rethink his new policies and return to the old routine. He's still sleeping pretty well at night at least - let's hope he doesn't dispense with that, too.

We have a sitter tonight so we can go out to eat with my brother, who's visiting. We're going to put the baby to bed for her in the hopes that he'll then snooze the whole time we're out. Fingers crossed....

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Travelin' man

Have you ever noticed how many baby clothes label the baby as such? Like, just in case you were wondering why this guy was so short? Oh, I get it now: he's a baby! Anyway, you can't tell it from this photo, but that baby was visiting some friends a couple of hours away. This was our first experiment in deviating from our schedule, though we stuck to it pretty well - he napped in the car at roughly his normal naptimes, and he had an eat/play/nap/eat/play cycle at our friends' house while we all sat around observing him and eating snacks. Good times. And get a load of that fat baby belly!

Here's a photo from today on a foray outdoors. The dog seems to have accepted the baby into the household, or he's at least become resigned to his presence.

This week, my brother arrives for a visit and a crash course in infant care. If we spontaneously combust, my brother will get So.ren, so he needs some education in the basics.

Friday, June 29, 2007


No, I'm not referring to my Fourth of July plans, since we don't have any. I'm referring to the longshoreman-like farts and robust bowel blowout our little boy had yesterday afternoon. This came as a relief to all of us, not just him, since he'd been extra-cranky all day long, refusing to take naps and engaging in other sorts of nonsense. This was unlike him; his cries of LA LA LA even drove me to tears at one point. But once he'd finally worked out his, ah, issues, he was a perfect angel for the rest of the day/evening. And let me give a shoutout to my husband, who came home early to help me deal with the angry lad. So far, today seems better - we had an issue with the most recent nap, but I think that was due to the crap (ha! crap!) swaddle I'd executed, so I fixed it. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, this experience made me realize that if I were given a choice between having breastfeeding difficulties and having a colicky baby, I'd take the former. I'll pretend that I was given that choice.

In other news, I had a moment of complete perspective distortion this morning. As you know, I am home the whole day right now since we're hewing pretty closely to the schedule the baby nurses implemented. They're down on the whole leaving-the-house thing until the baby has his routine down and also until he's had his shots. So when So.ren is napping, I spend a lot of time on the Internets, or listening to a book on the CD player, or reading the New Yorker - all with the TV on CNN on mute in the background. Lately, there's been a bunch of coverage of floods, this pro wrestler murder-suicide situation, etc. So today when there was news of a foiled terrorist plot, my first reaction was that at least there'd be something interesting on TV. I have since recovered my sanity and should point out that I do not wish terrorist attacks on anyone.

I've also noticed that whenever So.ren is sleeping, I always think I can go run an errand or take a walk. Then I remember you can't do that. Ideally, this initial sense of freedom will simply go away and I'll forget I ever felt it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Back in bedness

You know how some people can come up with witty, bon-mot titles of posts or articles? Yeah, I don't have that talent. Sort of like how I have never once come up with an idea for the New Yorker cartoon caption contest, even though when I read the entries later on, I think that I should have thought of them.

Anyway, last night was our first night back in our actual bedroom and our first night of being solely in charge on the new schedule. So.ren obliged us by sleeping from 8:30pm to 4am. You'd think that would be good, right? Wrong. I kept thinking he was dead and had to check on him a few times. I also got up at 2am to pump, so it wasn't the most restful night. But it was GREAT to be back in our real bed. I'm hoping the little guy will keep sleeping that long and I'll get used to it. He ate at 4am and was fussy until 5 or 5:30, but then he kindly went back to sleep (after much soothing by my husband) until his appointed wake-up time of 7am.

Yesterday, my husband worked from home, but today I'm on my own. I feel very housebound. The great thing about having hired help here the past couple of weeks was that I could pop out to take the dog on a walk or run an errand in the roughly two hours I have free between feeding/pumping sessions. Now, given our adherence to the schedule, though, I am not really supposed to leave the house with the baby. I probably will do so once a day, however, or I'll go insane. I need to locate a babysitter. And childcare options for when I return to work. I very much want to get back to the gym soon - I am about 10 lbs above my normal weight and have been for several weeks. Since I won't be breastfeeding forever, I need to work it off the old-fashioned way: by sweating and not eating so many cookies.

I have cut out one pumping session per day. This is a step taken for my sanity and also for eventual weaning. The 11am and 2pm pumps had been very unproductive, so I cut out the 11am one yesterday and got the same aggregate amount at the 2pm session. I hope this continues. God, I am boring myself with this breastfeeding crap.

I also got another injection into my incision yesterday. Man, that stuff burns going in, but it feels great afterwards. By which I mean that it feels like nothing afterwards. Ah, sweet nothing.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Six long, hard, bitter weeks of parental bliss

One of my father's favorite go-to jokes is to say on his and my mother's anniversary (the 39th of which occurred this week) that it's been X long, hard, bitter years of marital bliss. I have appropriated that construct for the title of this post.

Six weeks ago, right at this same time, we were pulling into the hospital parking garage (or "ramp," as they say around here) and walking into Labor & Delivery. It's hard to believe. Time has passed very slowly in some ways, very quickly in others. I'm relieved we've made it to this milestone, where things are a little easier and you at least get some gummy baby smiles in return. When So.ren smiles at me, I don't know how I could feel any happier. I hope you have all experienced this or get to experience it in the not-too-distant future.

It's too bad that you can't know these things in advance, like that your third IVF will work or that your baby will start smiling at five weeks or that breastfeeding won't go that well for you. Knowing those things would be rather useful for one's decision-making and morale. Alas, that isn't the way things work.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The big-time

That wry onesie was given to So.ren by Jane, formerly of Jane's Calamity. She's now officially blogging for Babble.com about her twins. So check out Baby Squared. Bookmark it. Read it again. Submit insightful, witty commentary. Repeat process.

In other news, the second baby nurse departs in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. Then it's back to reality for us. We'll be in charge again in the middle of the night. The sting will be dulled by the fact that we'll get to move out of our guest room back into our bedroom, where the baby nurses have been staying because of its proximity to the nursery. The sting will also be dulled in that we will cease hemorrhaging cash for the moment. We'll resume hemorrhaging cash when I return to work and we need a babysitter or daycare for 25-30 hours a week.

Speaking of stings, I went to the OB on Friday because I had developed a painful lump in my abdomen above my incision. The diagnosis? Unbearable cuteness. Oh, wait - that's So.ren's condition. For me, it was apparently something called "trigger points" - nerves overfiring and creating scar tissue, or some such nonsense. The cure is basically to get injected with numbing medication repeatedly until the problem goes away. And, boy, did those injections sting! I'll have to get more of them tomorrow, too.

The OB also told me many stories of other OBs quitting breastfeeding after not too many weeks, and she said they all felt much better after being done. This did make me feel better. I am forging ahead for the moment, but who knows how long it'll last?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nearing the end

I would really like to continue to do partial breastfeeding, but these plugged ducts (or whatever else is the culprit) have caused a major supply drop for me, and I think I may be done sooner than I want. I am a little surprised at how much grief I feel over this; it's just as bad as what I felt over infertility, even the second failed IVF. I was just so sure breastfeeding would work for me (and my rack is robust right now - what the hell is in there if it isn't milk?). The things I worried about were sore ni.pples and leaking and a bad latch and all that other stuff that everyone gets - I didn't get any of that. I never even considered low supply. It's another one of those things that 5% of people get, and I manage to be in that 5%.

I'm trying to retain some perspective. I have a beautiful, happy, healthy baby. And it's nothing compared to other stuff that's going on with people I know. One of my best friends got a mammogram recently because her mother had had breast cancer at an early age, and they found precancerous cells all over the damned place. She then got a genetic test, which showed she has the BRCA2 gene mutation. So she's having a double mastectomy next week and has to have her ovaries removed by age 40. And another good friend's mother is very close to dying from metastatic brain cancer that began as a non-smoking-related lung cancer. So my life ain't so bad.

Still, I just feel so much more on the verge of tears than I have since my one day of postpartum hormones crashing. I have therefore been compelled to make a list of pros and cons of quitting breastfeeding.

- Baby doesn't get benefits of breastfeeding, such as, oh, brains and health.
- I don't get benefits of breastfeeding, such as effortless weight loss and natural birth control (ha! like I need that!).
- Bottlefeeding requires use of both hands, unlike breastfeeding, which allows for reading, remote-control-handling, eating, and one-handed typing.
- I would lose my bodacious rack.
- Intense guilt, feelings of inadequacy, jealousy/bitterness over others who successfully breastfeed, etc.

- No middle-of-the-night pumping. In fact, no pumping at all.
- More time to interact with the baby since I wouldn't nurse, supplement, and pump each session.
- Anyone can feed the baby - ie, I could leave the house for more than an hour or two at a time.
- I could sleep in a position other than flat on my back. No more plugged ducts.
- I could eat fish that contains mercury.

The pros are compelling but are all very me-focused. And one thing I've grown accustomed to with pregnancy and now nursing is that my diet affects two people. And I kind of like that. I've always been more responsible with other people's property than my own.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Oh, sinful formula...

S0ren had his pediatrician appointment today, and he was over 10 lbs. That's more than a pound in the past week. Mmmmm, formulicious.....

A Fine Balance

First, look at that little frog! One thing you sort of know but don't really know in advance about having kids is that you begin to destroy the earth in earnest. Baths, laundry, baby accoutrements that involve electricity, and air conditioning to keep the nursery cool all add up BIG. And that doesn't even begin to address the millions of diapers we're adding to landfills. We are bad people.

Anyway, the title of the post refers to a Rohinton Mistry book (please note: I read it well before Oprah picked it) and also to my feelings about breastfeeding. This may be a spoiler, but the fine balance the book refers to is between hope and despair. And that's what the past two days have been for me re: breastfeeding. Two nights ago, I pumped 3.5 ounces in one session - while that would be a shitty session for some, it was a banner session for me. And then yesterday morning I soothed the young lad twice before his naps, and this pressure to my chest resulted in no fewer than FOUR plugged ducts (three left, one right). This, in turn, led to dramatically decreased output, which means right now we're looking at giving So.ren mostly formula later on today unless things pick up. I've tried everything and even managed to clear two of the three ducts on the left side by nursing on all fours (highly undignified), but I still have one on each side, and my pumping output is suboptimal. Now, I just want to make it to six weeks, which would be next Monday, before I start to wean (which may result in more pluggage).

The thing is, I like nursing the little guy. I would like to do what another low-supply gal I know has done - she nurses in the morning and the evening and pumps once during the day. Her son gets mostly formula, but she's still giving him some antibodies and enjoying a good nursing relationship (as they say in breastfeeding circles). It just seems as if it's more important for me to be able to hold and carry the boy rather than breastfeed him. It sucks not to be able to do both. Stupid reproductively challenged body!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A great milestone

Our little guy is smiling away, though it is a little unpredictable as to when he does it. He is way more into people and faces all of a sudden, which is charming. Once he starts smiling, he'll do it a bunch, but it's sort of as if he forgets he can do it during the times in between.

Baby nurse #2 is here to replace the newborn specialist. She seems perfectly nice, but I don't think she'll be nearly as awesome. At least we've had a week of varsity, however, before moving to the JV. My husband is going away for a night this week, too - another milestone to reach.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tummy time

Pictured above is what the newborn specialist calls modified tummy time. The baby doesn't go entirely on his recently filled stomach, so it keeps him from spitting up as much, and it also makes it easier for him to raise his noggin. I find it very enjoyable.

S0ren slept two longish stretches last night and had only one middle-of-the-night feeding (at 2:30am or so). He was down from 8:30pm until then, then slept from 3:00 to 6:45 or so. What a good boy! He seems happier and fuller, and our household veritably hums with contentedness at the moment. The newborn specialist is a miracle worker! Let's hope this pleasant state of affairs continues when she leaves. I got up once last night to pump (instead of two or more times), which felt incredibly indulgent.

In less positive news, I've determined one cause of my frequent plugged ducts: holding the baby. Yep, when I hold him to my chest or burp him or wear the Bjorn, I get plugged ducts a couple of hours later. That's bullshit.

Back to happier news: S0ren has begun smiling, though not at me. He smiles often (and big) at the newborn specialist, and he smiled at my husband during bathtime last night. He also smiled at himself in the mirror, and I think I caught him smiling at the ceiling. I'd like him to smile at me, but I'm just glad he's smiling at all, so I can wait my turn. One of my friends has a baby about five weeks ahead of S0ren, and she said the same thing happened to her - the baby smiled at her MIL first, then her husband, then smiled at her about two weeks later. Babies!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Meet So.ren's alterego, Henry Swadsworth Shortfellow. This tight swaddle is pretty miraculous, I have to say, as are the related soothing techniques from this book, which the night nanny uses. Our little guy is also now on a three-hour daytime feeding routine, which seems much more humane to me (and my chest) than the two-hour routine. We are, however, chasing each feeding with formula, which means he's getting more like 50/50 formula/breast milk. But so be it.

I also may have spoken too soon about the dom.peridone. Although I pumped three ounces at one sitting a few days ago, that hasn't happened again. Maybe it's time to up the dosage. Meg, however, is having a better time with it, which is awesome!

My husband and I slept in the same bed at the same time for many hours last night - the first time in a month. How about that? I still didn't get a ton of sleep because I was kind of listening for the baby and also had to get up to pump. Also, we have become addicted to watching episodes of The Shield on DVD, and we stayed up later than necessary last night. We also finally signed up for Netflix and have several other series ready for us to watch (The L Word, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood). Yay for TV!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


The newborn specialist (aka baby nurse) is here, and things are already going well. Let's hope they continue. Tonight, we sleep. I have to get up to pump, but no more sleeping on the couch. Ahhhh......

Monday, June 11, 2007

Weighing in

We had a pediatrician appointment today, and S0ren had gained more than 10 ounces since last week. Yay! I think he is getting about 70% breast milk, 30% formula right now. The d0mperid0ne seems to be helping a little, knock on wood.

The next appointment is in a little over a week. We are to maintain the current feeding/pumping drill.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Enjoying it while it lasts

I think that when the baby nurse arrives, we will no longer be allowed to have little babies fall asleep on our chests, since she adheres to the Baby Whisperer methods of scheduling and sleep training. I know this is for the best, but it sure is cute to see So.ren snoozing away on my husband (or local friend TLB), and it is warm and cuddly to have him fall asleep while nursing.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pardon me, but did you call my baby a girl?

Pictured above is So.ren on his outing to the bakery yesterday. I think I overstimulated him, since he wasn't that into feeding or napping later in the day. And at the height of his freaking out, the tornado sirens went off, and we had to go to the basement. So.ren was displeased. He ended up chilling out, though he was wide awake at four a.m., which I informed him was not helpful.

Today, we had a more limited schedule. We went to the grocery store, where the teenaged clerk asked how old "she" was. I suppose So.ren's practical, gender-neutral clothing is masking his undeniable masculinity. We also took a walk. For the first time, I had to control both the dog and the stroller. It was a bit of a catastrophe, but it will improve, I suppose.

We also tried the side-lying feeding position again today with a bit more success than before. I hope to add this to my repertoire soon, opening up tens of minutes of potential napping.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Like Dom Perign.on.....

My dom.peridone arrived from the South Pacific on Weds. I've taken two doses so far. It seems as if it takes a few days to see improvement and a few weeks to get up to maximum effectiveness, but some lucky gals see improvement sooner. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My good men

Last night, my husband took a long shift so that I could sleep for four full hours. I then was able to sleep even more - maybe two to three additional hours - while I was on duty and So.ren was sleeping. I feel a million times better today than I had been feeling. I may nap shortly, too.

Of course, this luxuriant sleeping came at a price - I didn't nurse AND pump at every feed overnight. I just did one or the other. If I pumped, we gave So.ren a bottle. This may affect my paltry supply, but so be it. I feel so much better today, even if my husband surely feels worse.

T minus six days until the baby nurse gets here, too. And only two-point-five more days that I am on my own with So.ren, since my husband will be here this weekend and will work from home on Monday. This morning, So.ren and I went to meet up with some other new moms at a bakery. Everyone has their own issues. One has a baby who eats around the clock, with no stretch longer than three hours, even after eight weeks. Another has a baby who sleeps well at night but won't nap during the day, which she spends crying. Another woman with a toddler said she'd had to supplement like me. It was so nice to get out of the house and commiserate.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

First bath

So.ren's umbilical cord fell off a few days ago, and last night we finally made the leap from sponge bath to real bath. It went pretty well until I got water in his eyes.

In other news, it is very hard to get dom.peridone here. I am ordering it from a possibly sketchy internet pharmacy now.

The baby nurse arrives one week from today. I can hardly wait! My mother-in-law is still here today and part of tomorrow, but then I'll have several days solo. I definitely feel a great deal of anxiety about this.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Well, that was no fun while it lasted

I've already quit the Reg.lan. The side effects were pushing me to the verge of a breakdown - I'm not kidding. Crushing, crushing exhaustion (to the point that my eyes would roll up into my head), combined with anxiety, the jitters, and insomnia. Cruel! I stopped taking it today and already feel a million times better. Now, I just have to convince someone to write me a prescription for dom.peridone. My OB doesn't do it since it is not officially approved by the FDA for lactation help. I will have to order it from some sketchy Internet pharmacy, perhaps.

We went for a weigh-in today, and So.ren had regained up to his birth weight, which is good. We've been stuffing him full of breastmilk and formula. I have another fucking plugged duct today, if you can believe that. Anyway, his head circumference had also grown - that's my boy!

The pediatrician said we should keep doing what we're doing, but that it's okay for him to sleep a four-hour stretch at night. If we can get him to do that, it would be great.

My parents left yesterday. I cried. My mother was so incredibly helpful that things are going to be a bit bumpier now. My mother-in-law is here for a couple of days, and my husband is working from home today, but by Weds. afternoon, I'll be on my own for real. I hope I can hack it. My main issue is what to do with the baby when I'm pumping - if he's fussy, this is complicated.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Another day, another plugged duct

I realize this is getting to be one long whine, but, MAN, do I feel as if there are a lot of obstacles between me and successful breastfeeding. Today, another plugged duct has appeared, for no apparent reason. We went to see a lactation consultant today, and I got to use the Med.ela Symp.hony hospital pump - so nice! So quiet! If I can start getting more milk, I may have to rent one. It doesn't talk like the PISA.

Anyway, I am now on Reg.lan. One of the side effects is fatigue - just what one wants when one is already sleep-deprived. The LC today told me that I could actually get dom.peridone here, which I didn't realize - maybe I should've done that. The Regl.an should work in a week if it is going to; if not, I can quit it and try the domperi.done, which doesn't have any side effects, apparently.

Neither one always works. I am getting to the point where they just don't know why my milk supply isn't where it should be. I may be in the 2-3% of women who have an inadequate supply. Nice. Not. I have come to peace with the idea of formula supplementation, which we are now officially doing. I just don't want to totally unravel and do only formula (if I can help it) for at least three more weeks. Or, really, at least one more week. My expectations are scaling ever backward.

I hope you are all doing well, though!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Why is my body so retarded?

So I went to the pediatrician today, and So.ren had LOST weight since Tuesday. Yep. And meanwhile, my pumping output keeps getting worse and worse. I feel as if the nursing itself is going well enough, so maybe that's why pumping is low, but, MAN, am I discouraged! All that work, and the baby loses weight. Clearly, my body is not up for anything procreation-oriented.

We will almost surely have to add formula supplements for the near term. I'm looking into a prescription for Reg.lan as well to boost supply, but it has some side effects that don't look great. You just take it for a week or two, though.

I can't tell you how discouraged I am. UGH!

Too bad his dreams never came true

When I think about having kids, one thing that's always appealed to me the most (aside from having someone beholden to look after you when you have Alzheimer's) is the hilarity of things that little kids say. Today, my mom told me a story about my brother when he was little. She asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. "Macho," he replied.

I look forward to that sort of stuff.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


That's how one of my friends with a very colicky baby described the passage of time in the eaArly weeks. I deem it accurate. I don't know if So.ren is colicky, but he certainly has a set of witching hours in the evening. And I am still constantly nursing/pumping. And I can't pump enough to stay ahead of him, really.

At the pediatrician, he had gained less than an ounce a day, but she said he was in the normal range. I am supposed to wean him off pumped-milk supplements by the next weight check on Monday. I got another plugged duct yesterday - this one from wearing the Bjorn, I think - which hurt my left side's output for the rest of the day. Sigh.

I have contracted with a traveling baby nurse/sleep trainer to come here for a week in June, then another in July. She uses the Happiest Baby and Baby Whisperer methods, which strike me as sensible, though I can appreciate how others might prefer different approaches.

Here are a couple of photos. One is of my birthday - a baby and a cupcake. The other is of So.ren doing whar we call his 'antlers' maneuver - he often holds his hands like this while nursing.

Monday, May 28, 2007


That's the abbreviation that people on message boards use for Me.dela's Pump in Sty.le Advan.ced, generally considered the top of the line of electric pumps you would purchase, equivalent in features to a hospital-grade pump. And, look - according to this photo, everyone's got one!

The thing is, the PISA speaks. During the main "expression" phase of pumping, the motor makes rhythmic contractions to which it is easy, in a sleep-deprived state, to translate into words. I admit I was relieved to find this post at A Little Pregnant - some commenters list off what the pump says to them ("Hoover Dam," "yoo-ou suck," etc.). My husband thinks it's saying either "whi.te power" or "bla.ck power," depending upon your inclinations - it's a sort of brainwashing tool, in his opinion. I think it says (more innocuously) either "call them back" or "powdered milk." In any case, this is a feature that they might want to eliminate.

My husband returns to work tomorrow. Scary! My mother has proven herself very adept at soothing the baby, however, which provides some measure of comfort.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Today is my 35th birthday. I squeaked in under the wire, pregnancy-label-wise. For my 30th birthday, two friends and I had a four-day series of events in San Francisco, where much was drunk, and so was I. Now, I sit typing one-handed after the worst, most stressful night's sleep I have had in ages.

So, like, Friday had been going okay. We went to see the lactation consultant at the hospital, and she pronounced that we were feeding well and also taught me the football hold. After a couple more successful feedings, we dared to go out, by which I mean we went to the house of some friends with a six-week-old. I am totally fixated on the experiences of people who are just ahead of us. I pepper them with questions about when things get easier or funner or whatever. And we had a great time with them.

Except that during the course of the two hours we were there, I noticed that my left boob was starting to feel rather full and somewhat hard. By the time we left, both boobs were pretty full. Simple engorgement, I thought - the result of all that pumping. But when we got home, I realized that the left was pretty lumpy as well, which made me think plugged duct. And our little So.ren refused to latch to either.

Thus began a panicked night of attempted and failed nursing, supplementing with all my stored milk and even some formula, lots of Googling and OBGYN on-call resident calling, pumping, and no more than two hours of sleep total. You just don't want to develop issues on the first night of a holiday weekend, you know? I had visions of formula taking over and my being the rare abject breastfeeding failure.

By morning, the plug seemed to be gone, though engorgement remained. I called the on-duty lactation consultant at the hospital today, and she thought it was just engorgement and recommended icing the area, which did help. And So.ren started latching again. And I finally slept a tiny amount.

We had our latest pediatrician appointment in the late morning, and the good news was that our little guy had gained almost 1.5 oz a day since Weds. He is now over 8 lbs again. We go back on Tuesday, the first appointment I'll go to that my husband won't go to, since he'll be back at work (terribly, terribly frightening). But the good news is hard to read still - does this constitute a real trajectory? When can I cut back, at least on the pumping? It's kind of like knowing you're losing weight by running marathons every day, but couldn't you, like, run 15 miles instead and lose weight and still have time to read Us magazine and shower? Hard to say at this point.

Today, I fed So.ren at the merest show of hunger - mostly selfishly to keep my boobs emptied. I also pumped really often, though I cut back the minutes per pump slightly, since I think most of the milk is out by then. We'll see if it works. I built back up my pumped supply a bit so we are off formula for now. I have decided I will live, though, if we have to do a little formula supplementation. I determined this as I was crying in the pediatrician's office waiting room and it occurred to me that, hey, it wasn't as if So.ren would starve to death, which is how I've been acting.

Anyway, I am off to pump. Happy birthday to me, and happy 13th day to So.ren. When I was a little girl, I thought I'd be long married and long have had my two kids by now. Better late than never, especially when he is so cute! My mom has made us cupcakes. I think that'll be the extent of my celebration, which is fine by me.
Pictured below is our living room, which is now in total disarray. We aren't that organized to begin with, but this is a bit nuts.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Attention, chefs

If you happen to be a chef, I highly recommend giving your new-parent friends and acquaintances delicious treats like those pictured above. We were surprised this afternoon to receive these dishes (chicken with couscous, trout with mango) from the chef of our favorite local restaurant. He and his wife recently had a child as well. I can't tell you how amazing it was to receive these dishes. We were already making pizzas (and by "we," I mean "my mother") for tonight, but we'll eat these tomorrow. Amazing! And I should add here that several local friends have brought us outstandingly delicious and gourmet meals lately, and we are eternally grateful for the gift of food.

Today, we went to a breastfeeding support group at a local hospital. I am going to get to know every lactation consultant in town, I'll tell you that. It was definitely helpful. There were women there who were having other problems that I was glad not to have, but most were well adjusted to breastfeeding and it made it seem like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I was also better today about napping when the baby napped, even if it was just for half an hour. I think that helped my outlook a bit, even though my sleep total is probably just about 4 hours a day at this point.

I also received my bandeau-style hands-free device today, thank GOD. My other one, frankly, was crap - complicated and already breaking. You'd think Med.ela, as the leader in pumps, would have a better solution. But theirs bites.

Finally, here's a little baby, snoozing on the couch, where he snoozes most often. We need to get him into the cradle at some point, but right now it's more restful for the off-duty person to go crash away from him and his baby noises that one must agonize over.

10 days down. It seems like forever, though I'm sure it will seem like nothing in retrospect.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Getting by

Our little fellow (pictured here in a hip CBGB t-shirt that we were given) went to the pediatrician and is gaining weight. Thank goodness. It would have been nice if he'd kicked ass on the weight gain (like gaining way more than needed) so I could feel good about cutting back, but he was hitting just over an ounce per day. That's good, but kind of just over the cutoff. So the pediatrician told me I could space out his feedings more during the day OR lower the supplementation. I think I might do a bit of the former, but my inclination is to keep feeding a lot to keep his weight up and make me feel that we are on a legitimate trajectory upward. We go back on Saturday for another weight check.

His diaper rash is still pretty bad, but we might not be able to do much about that for a while since he shits 20 times a day and apparently that hurts little baby bottoms. Eventually, he will slow down on that front, it seems.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

One bit of good news

We got the results of So.ren's chromosome study, and they were totally normal. No trisomy 20 mosaicism to be found!

Monday, May 21, 2007


Right now, I am pumping for at least the sixth time today. I rigged up my hands-free device, which isn't all that user-friendly, so I ordered this one instead. You've got to love the multitasking woman!

Anyway, our pediatrician appointment showed that So.ren remained the same weight. They would like to see him gaining at this point, so now we are feeding constantly, supplementing with pumped milk, and pumping, pumping, pumping. It is literally all I do right now (along with cleaning the pump components, storing milk, etc.). Except for changing diapers - he has developed an angry-looking rash. Bad parents! Anyway, we go back to the ped in two days to see if things are turning around. I really hope they do.

The main lactation consultant from the hospital called me today, and I asked her about 90 questions. She was incredibly helpful and will check back on me in two days. One piece of information she had was that the flanges on my pump might be too small - I need to check on this tomorrow at the medical-supply place, where the guy who works there is ridiculously knowledgeable but also ridiculously disorganized - the desk is piled high with paperwork, so much so that it stresses me out, and I am a piler myself.

My mom arrived today, which was heartening for the moral support. I am getting very nervous about my husband returning to work next week - right now, we are splitting things 50/50. I looked into importing a night nurse today and will do more investigation into this tomorrow, since it would be better to find someone locally. Surely some of the NICU or mother/baby nurses moonlight, right?

In conclusion, I have fixed upon a breastfeeding milestone: six weeks. If I can do it for six weeks, it should get much easier. That seems to be the consensus. And if it gets easier sooner, well, then, great.

Off to catch a few winks....

Sunday, May 20, 2007


When other people (either in real life or on the internets) have their babies, I am always amazed at how fast time seems to pass. Like, suddenly, my friends' babies are three months old or six months old or are celebrating their first birthdays.

But time is passing sloooooooowwwwwly for me now. I am hoping it will seem to speed up at some point soon. Right now, we're trading off shifts with the baby, who is, shall we say, not entirely pleased about everything in his new existence. He's sleeping in his bassinet in his pack-n-play right now while my husband is upstairs getting some sleep. My mom arrives tomorrow, so I am hoping we can transition from our downstairs existence with the baby (which has taken over our living room) to a nighttime, upstairs existence. The nursery still looks good because it has not been used at all. The pack-n-play, however, has been on duty constantly. I recommend buying a full-featured one with the changing table, storage areas, etc. Invaluable!

My sleep is parceled out into one- to two-hour increments throughout a 24-hour period. Normally, I sleep 8-9 hours a night, so the shift to six interrupted hours has been rough for me. After my mom returns home and my husband returns to work, I think I will need to line up some help. There are no night nurses in this area, apparently; at times like these, I wish I lived in an urban center again. I am also acutely feeling the lack of an extensive support network here. Suddenly, I realize why people might choose to live near their extended families! We are hoping to move out of our midsized town sometime in the next year, and I can guarantee that the question of a support network will be prominent in our minds when we choose where to live.

Tomorrow, we have a pediatrician appointment to check weight. On Tuesday, I have an appointment with my psychiatrist, where I assume we will discuss whether medication is indicated. Right now, I feel as if my low moods (which are intermittent) are just a normal reaction to stress and fatigue and the vicissitudes of breastfeeding, but Zo.loft takes a couple of weeks to work, so I expect I will feel as if I need to decide whether to take it before I really feel the need for it.

I'm going to try to catch a few winks before the shift change. I hope you are all doing well!

Friday, May 18, 2007

All night long

First, here's a photo from our first walk today. We went out with the dog (who is deeply afraid of the new addition) for a spin around the neighborhood. I was completely pooped by the time we returned. I have no appetite due to exhaustion and nerves, but clearly I need to eat more.

So.ren decided to scream from about 7pm to 6am last night. I am not kidding. My husband eventually sent me to bed at about 3 or 4, then I relieved him at 6. At 8, we called the pediatrician. She saw us at 8:45 (god bless her) and didn't think there was anything wrong with him, per se. She did encourage me to just nurse him regularly and try to get off the formula supplementation and constant pumping. She was mellow; I liked her. She doesn't think pacifiers are terrible, and she said it was okay to give a bottle of pumped milk before two weeks if I needed a break. Which I anticipate needing. Soon.

My mom arrives on Monday for two weeks. I am not sure what I am going to do once she leaves and my husband returns to work. I need to form a support network around here.

Finally, today I knocked over a bottle of hard-earned pumped milk. I had to wipe it up and move on without thinking about it. It reminded me of when I was a young professional who worked often in spreadsheets (a terrible homegrown system at the firm I worked for) that would crash for no reason. I remember numerous occasions of the spreadsheet crashing at, like, 3am, after you'd been pulling all-nighters already, and the only way to deal with it was to start over, since the homegrown spreadsheet program was so bad that nothing could be recovered by the help desk.