Monday, October 27, 2008

My stepmother called yesterday and apologized for being such a mega-bitch (a point to those who catch the reference). They are coming to the baptism. She was stressed because her mother is in the hospital and she felt like her father and sister were conspiring to keep her out of the loop. It sucks that she took it out on me and threatened to take it out on Harry, but I'm glad it's resolved. I think they and my stepgrandfather are going to come by this afternoon. It'll be his first time meeting Harry. He's a bit of a, hmm, how to put it, loon? But I know he's looking forward to meeting another grandchild (Harry is his fifth, with another on the way).

On the whole baptism front, I have no idea what to have Harry baptized in. Neither of us is really keen on the whole dress thing (I'm probably more open to it than P), but the only non-dress Christening outfits seem to be shorts, which doesn't really work for New England in November. My priest said his own son was baptized in striped overalls, so he isn't really particular about attire, so Harry may wear offwhite overalls and a white bodysuit, but I'm open to suggestions, especially those offering rush shipping since we only have six days...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Not the best day ever...

Ps grandmother passed away last night. Ps mom called yesterday to let us know that his grandma had developed pneumonia and that they were administering comfort measures only (after antibiotics failed) and didn't expect her to survive the weekend. We got the call this morning. In many ways, we lost her a few years ago -- she developed rapid-onset dementia in the months following Ps father's (her son) death, so this was more the death of her body than anything else.

Sadly, once she stopped knowing who we were, we stopped visiting her in the nursing home she moved to a few months after my FIL died. So we hadn't seen her for a couple of years even though she lived a few miles away. I feel awful about it, but it was important to P to preserve his memories of her as they were. And, with his family, it's important for me to do what is important to him. We went to the hospital to be with his mom and aunt yesterday but didn't go in the room to see his grandma. She was a great lady who I feel very fortunate to have gotten to know. She will be much missed, but, to be fair, she has been much missed for years now.


On a completely unrelated note, my stepmother (my mom's wife) is being really petty right now and it has me really upset. She is angry that I forgot her birthday. I get it. I feel really bad. Things have been busy around here, but that's no real excuse. But today she refused to talk to me on the phone. And she seems to have decided not to come to Harry's baptism, which is taking place next weekend when the bishop visits my church. She says it's because I didn't tell her about it far enough in advance. First, that isn't true. I told them this past summer when my minister first mentioned the date. I still wasn't completely convinced we were really going to have a baby come All Saint's Sunday, but mentioned the baptism date to my mom and stepmom nonetheless. I mentioned it again the first time she saw Harry -- they came to visit a few minutes after the minister came to the hospital to bless him. I know I mentioned it, and P remembers it too. Second, what difference would it make? Had she known in advance, the conflicting event would still be taking place at the same time and she'd have to choose. If she remembered me telling her more in advance, she'd make a different choice, attending her grandson's baptism instead of her minister's final service at her church, but because she didn't have advance warning, she'll choose the final service? That doesn't make sense to me. Regardless of her reasons, I just don't get punishing Harry for my faults. Ugh. Why would anyone be so juvenile? Or am I being unreasonable?

In some ways, the saddest part is that all I can think about is what I can or should do to make up for forgetting her birthday. As P pointed out, people make mistakes, but most of us are adults about it and may feel hurt but don't act like children about it. But my guilt seems to be reigning supreme here.


All in all, today hasn't been the best day ever. But it certainly hasn't been the worst.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Long Night

So, last night was a long night. Someone didn't want to sleep, which really sucked. I tried to put him down, then hung out with him until 11:30. P took the 11:30 to 1 shift. I then nursed again and was up with him until 2:45, at which point he finally fell asleep. He the got up to eat again at 6ish and wouldn't go back to sleep. He napped a little in the morning, but I was trying to get a couple of things done around the house. When I was done, so was he (with napping, that is), so we did tummy time, played on the playmat, and read a story. He then ate again, and then we went to run errands, which, of course, he slept through. Sometimes I think he knows that we're doing something that I can't sleep through (like church or shopping or walking the dog) so he decides that would be a perfect time for him to sleep. I hope he sleeps more tonight!

As a note, I no longer function well on 4-4.5 hours of sleep. But he's so sweet, it's impossible to be upset.

Is it wrong to use a photo of your child sleeping for a birth announcement? Because I really want to use this one. How could anyone not be completely head-over-heels for this guy?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nursing and Pumping

So, for the past 5.5 weeks, I haven't really left Harry's side, aside from when sleeping or showering (and during the week he is even in the bathroom when I shower). In part, this is because of the frequency with which he seems to need to nurse (during the day -- he lets us sleep for a couple of good chunks at night). And the fact that I can't seem to figure out how to pump effectively, which leaves me chained to him to nurse. The problem there (pumping-wise) is twofold. For one, my pumping output per session isn't great (not terrible but not great), so I need to pump a number of times to get enough to freeze. (This is just a pumping issue -- I don't have supply issues in general.) Second, I find it tough to pump during the week, as P is at work and Harry doesn't like to be put down, which makes it hard to pump. He tends to only nap in my arms (an issue of its own), and even when he is willing to be put down he hears the pump (which isn't especially loud or jarring -- it's the Med.ela PIS) and begins crying. Even if I could ignore the crying, it isn't exactly conducive to successful pumping.

As a solution, the doctor recommended pumping on one side while I nurse from the other, which seemed like a good idea in theory. It does give me some concern, however, as Harry always nurses from both sides at each session and I'm worried about depriving him of needed milk. But I also can't figure out how to do it. I need to nurse him uphill due to a periodically forceful letdown that causes him to choke and overflow, but I can't pump uphill or the milk sits in the flange against my breast, to the extent it comes out at all (due to the lack of gravitational assistance). Plus, I have to nurse in the clutch position or his body blocks the breast I would be pumping from, which is awkward to do while holding onto the pump on the other side. I tried to do it this morning, and, while it was a success in that I pumped almost 2 ounces from one side, it was super awkward. He looked incredibly uncomfortable and then fussed and fussed on the already-pumped side, resulting in him nursing for an interminably long time.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15

To the one we lost,

We'll always love and remember you, on this day and every day.

With love,


Monday, October 13, 2008

One Month

My Sweet Pea,

I find it truly amazing that it has been a whole month since you first wrapped your tiny fingers around my much larger ones. Time has moved so quickly and so slowly at the same time -- your birth feels like yesterday, but I feel like you've been a part of our lives forever.

You have changed so much in the past month, developing both physically and socially. Although you lost a bunch of weight -- 10% of it in fact -- before you left the hospital, you had gained most of it back by the time you had your first appointment with the pediatrician three days later. By day 27, you were 8 lbs, 13 oz -- 10 ounces more than your birth weight and 23 ounces more than at discharge. What seems more unreal is that you've grown two whole inches. At first we thought maybe the measurement was off at birth, but your grandma was there and watching and insists that they really stretched you out and that you really were only 20 inches.

Either way, unlike your dad and I at your age, you are a very long, lean little guy -- you're in the 75th percentile for length but only the 30th for weight. I suspect this may in part be due to your reflux, which results in you spitting up what seems like most of each meal, though your doctor says you're gaining well. Because of the reflux, though, we have resorted to having you sleep in your swing, since it seems to be the only place other than our arms that doesn't make you spit up. Though, like the dog, you seem to have a million beds, each one makes you spit up, which makes you scream and cry. We clean you up, but you spit up again when we lay you back down, and so the cycle begins anew, necessitating the upright sleeping.

Letting you sleep in the swing makes us feel like terrible parents, which is a common feeling around the house these days. I did some online research into it (another common occurrence) and learned that it's a pretty common thing, and we ran it by your doctor and she actually thought it was a good idea. I just hope you grow out of the reflux before you grow out of the swing!

Even though you're only a month old, you already have some skills. You're very good at tummy time -- before we even left the hospital you had figured out how to lift your head up and turn it from side to side. And once we got home, we discovered that if we put something behind your feet for leverage, you could scoot your way down your mat. You also can roll from your back to your side on your own and already seem to know that you could go all the way over if only you could kick your legs hard enough. You are very strong.

Too bad you have no control over your limbs yet! As a result, you spend a lot of time twitching and flailing (most of the rest you spend eating, crying, sleeping, or hiccuping). Your love of flailing makes you hate having your arms constrained. Not only can you break out of a swaddle, you can break out of the Swaddle.Me, which reminds me of a straight-jacket. In the hospital, the only way you could break out was to free yourself from your clothes, a task at which you proved remarkably adept. It was weird to look over and see your naked little arm waving free.

You have also figured out social (ie non-reflexive) smiling, which I adore. It's been hard to capture on film, but you've been doing it since day 15 or 16. And you do it more and more each day.

You've also been on a lot of outings, including the Topsfield Fair, the grocery store, a party, two church potlucks with tons of other kids, the Farmer's Market, and the ice cream shop.

All your grandparents love you very much. Grandma was there with us throughout labor as well as for your birth. Some day I'm sure you'll see the (somewhat scary) pictures she took. Papa, Grandma P, and Uncle T all drove up and waited in the lobby. Papa called almost every day for the first week to see how we were doing, including calling exactly when you turned one week old to wish you a happy birthday. And he sent you a card today with lots of candles on it, each one representing something he likes about you. And your other grandmas have come to see you four times already.

And know who else loves you? Buddy! He always wants to be sure you smell like him, so he gives you tons of kisses.

And guess who loves you most of all? Your daddy and I do. We always have and we always will, even when you pee on us in the middle of a diaper change, spit up on three outfits in a row, or cry all night long.

Always and forever,


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Birth Story: The Short Version

Because I continue to struggle to find a way to post (Harry has reflux, so he spends quite a lot of time being held, as he spits up almost instantly when laid down flat -- and often does so when held as well), rather than post nothing, I'm going to be okay with short posts. So here's the short version of his birth story (okay, the medium version), with a longer version to come later if possible.


So Staples has the Easy Button. Harry's birth involved something more like an Opposite Button. If I had written out my dream birth story in advance, pushing that button would have resulted in something rather like what happened. I wanted and prepared for a natural, drug-free birth. P and I practiced relaxation techniques, I did pelvic tilts and sat tailor style when possible and on the ball when not. We felt pretty good going into it.

But Harry wasn't into it. After 14 hours of excruciating back labor, with contractions coming two at a time (back-to-back) with a one minute break between pairs, I had only dilated to 3 cm. I had thrown up in the shower. I was trying to relax but was really struggling with the pain. And I hadn't slept well the night before, so I was tired going into it. It was 2am and I was concerned that if I ever did manage to get to the point of pushing, I'd be too tired to be able to do so effectively. I caved and took the epidural and felt like a failure. It was a low-dose epi, so I could still feel the contractions, but they weren't nearly so painful. I talked with P for an hour or so, then slept for a couple of hours. I got checked gain around 6am and had still only progressed to 5-6 cm or so, mainly because he still hadn't dropped at all and therefore wasn't putting much pressure on the cervix.

When 7am rolled around, the night nurse announced that the shifts would be changing soon, bringing a new nurse and a new doctor. Somehow I knew the answer before I even asked who the new doctor would be -- 365 days later (would have been the one year anniversary but for the Leap Year), the doctor who performed the D&E was going to be delivering our child. The nurse confirmed it but also noted that he told her that he remembered and wanted us to know how glad he was to be given the chance to share in this far happier moment with us. I cried anyway.

Over the next several hours, he and the nurse did everything within their power to avoid a c-section, all the while trying to prepare me for what was ultimately inevitable. They broke my water to try to coax him down. They administered pitocin to see if it would change the nature of the contractions, though they were certainly long enough, strong enough, and sufficiently close together. He and I were both handling labor fine, so we just kept waiting and hoping, but, even though I kept dilating for a while, he never got past a +3 station. At noon, I agreed to the c-section. The doc continued to hold out and delivered two other babies while we waited and hoped, but at 1:30, they wheeled me into the OR.

I'd never had real surgery before (just wisdom tooth extraction and a D&E), so I was terrified. P and the anesthesiologist were near my head and kept me sane. At 1:51, the anesthesiologist told P to stand up and look. A couple minutes later, the OB told him to make the announcement -- "it's a boy!" A few seconds later, I heard him crying. And he kept on crying. He had his eyes and lungs wide open from the get-go :) See? (Photo taken seconds after P trimmed the cord)

And P and I were in awe, so full of love and adoration. Our son.

(Bathtime, 17 days old)