Sunday, June 28, 2009

2 months

2 months
playmat
Mommy and Paige
Mom, Paige, and Maren
Paige and Dad


Happy 2-month birthday Paige!!! We love you so much! We are so proud of you!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Reflecting

Paige's profile
Hi friends! There's an actual break in the clouds/rain here! It's only supposed to last an hour or so, but it's so nice to see the sun for the first time in weeks! Woooo!
I've been meaning to write about my thoughts on my pregnancy now that I am looking at it in a metaphorical rear-view mirror. When people asked me "are you enjoying your pregnancy?" I found it so hard to answer! I guess that's because my situation was so complicated. The short answer was always "oh yes! I am so blessed and lucky and am thrilled to be on this ride." The truth is, the first trimester was horrible. I couldn't help it, I'd put my excitement on the backburner since I'd had 4 pregnancy losses before. No reason to get excited, right? I wanted so badly to let go and let myself feel the joy. But all I felt was terror. Gripping terror. I was so scared of losing this pregnancy too...I barely slept at night. Fear gripped my body all day long and it was all I could think about. With each passing day I felt a little better, but also deeper in fear. I wouldn't wish that stress on anyone. I literally ate, slept, and breathed terror. My chest was tight and it was always hard to breathe. Of course, no matter how hard I tried I couldn't relax. Which made me worry about the wee one inside of me...was I making her sick? UGH. It was a vicious cycle. It didn't help that I had a lot of spotting and a hematoma that threatened the embryo. The second trimester saw me with a little less fear, but dealing with discovering her 2 -vessel umbilical cord and her sketchy 1st-trimester screen results. We were worried about her heart and kidney development. I was worried she'd run out of room in my T-shaped uterus and be born viciously early. It was always something! I truly loved the third trimester. I relaxed and knew that every week meant I had a "more viable" baby than the week before. The odds improved so much with each day that I finally relaxed and let myself enjoy being pregnant without so much fear. It was a short but wonderful time.

Sometimes I find myself jealous of others who had easy pregnancies or who never have had to go through so much loss. I'm happy for them, but jealous and wish those great things for myself. I will never have a terror-free pregnancy. I will never have that naive joy from day one. I'm not complaining though; I was finally able to experience it and that is the bottom line. How it happened turns out to be irrelevant. There is no room to envy others when I have been given this gift myself. Someday, perhaps in a few years, we will try again for another child. And frankly, I don't know HOW I will go through it all again. But I know that I will try. I don't know if it will work. I am hoping! The joy we feel on the other side; now that Paige is here, is so worth it. Mothering doesn't start when the baby is born. It starts at the moment of conception as you go about doing whatever it takes mentally and physically to keep that baby safe even when it is out of your hands. It starts with the dream of having a child and all you do to make it happen along the way...whether with help from doctors, no help at all, or through adoption. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't marvel at my little girl and feel so appreciative. But it came with a heavy price...but I would pay that price every single day forever and ever as long as I can have Paige here in my life.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dear Little P.

Dear Little P,
You are 8 weeks old! You've had a busy two months of living so far! Phew! It's no wonder you are napping in your bouncy chair right now. All that growing and observing and eating...it takes a lot out of a girl. (I would mention all the poo-ing in that list, but it's definitely implied!!) This month you've gotten strong enough to keep your head steady when I hold you up on my shoulder. You like to pull back and look around at everything. You are quite fascinated by flowers: paintings of them, photos of them, drawings of them, ACTUAL flowers...you seem to love the colors. You also enjoy looking at your little board books while you are sitting in your bouncy chair. I hold up the pictures and read to you and you smile and gurgle with glee. It's so sweet! You've also changed formula this month which meant less gas, more comfort, less spit up and lots more sleep! It's been a real winner. You had a hard time in your 6th week...you fussed and cried all the time and it was really hard for me to comfort you. But you sailed through going in like a lion and out, well, less like a lamb and more like a puma. Maybe not as big as a lion but still feisty. And you don't hear about pumas every day so I had to add it in.
Now that you are 8 weeks we have been having great days! Your napping has stabilized into nice 2-hour bits. Thanks to your Miracle Blanket! Swaddling has been the best sleep solution for you and now you can't slap yourself in the face while you sleep! Sometimes it's more like an hour, but so much better than the tiny naps you used to have! That's the time Mama runs around like crazy to: get dressed, clean your bottles, eat meals and do some laundry or light housekeeping before you need me to feed you or soothe you back to sleep with a little shushing and a tummy rub. It's also the time I write my blog posts and take the dog out to pee. I know Maren likes to lick your feet...sorry about that. I try to keep her from doing it but she always finds a way to sneak in there. I guess you'll have to get used to it! When you are awake you enjoy eating and you are so content when doing so. You also enjoy your play time after each meal...brightly looking around at the world and soaking it all in with your little shrieks of excitement.
In other news, you have been getting much bigger, chubbier, cuter (if that's possible) and much more responsive. You focus on things and look at us...your smiles of recognition light my life! You love to gurgle with glee over so many little delights and it reminds me to take time out to enjoy little tiny pleasures. I'm so lucky to get to make you smile and be a part of your day. It's what I've been put here to do! I hope you feel safe and happy here with us. I hope you feel the confidence I have gained since the beginning of your life and that you know I love you soooo much every moment of every day. As I stare down at you as you peacefully sleep, I'm still amazed that I'm a mother. I'm YOUR mother. And there's nothing else in the world I'd rather be.
Love you always and always,
Mama
P.S. You are soooo close to sleeping through the night! If you could do us a favor and throw Mama and Daddy a bone with that one...perhaps a raise in your allowance is in your future??

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!


Happy Father's Day Chris!! After we got married, you were no longer just the best boyfriend in the world; you became the best husband in the world! Friends, Chris is such a loving and caring person. He slaves over a hot stove and makes us dinner every night. This is a guy who figured out the recipe for my favorite chili from a restaurant far away just because I loved it...he took a few tries and soon had the perfect blend of ingredients for the pulled-pork chili I would travel hours just to have. He brings me home flowers for the smallest of occasions...cupcakes for the same, or yummy chocolate milk from the local farm stand...He knows just what I like. And while I was pregnant, he would do MORE of this and even surprise me with my cheeseburger cravings when he arrived home...without me even saying I had the craving that day! Since having Paige, he continues to make dinner and even makes me a lunch to eat for the next day so that I don't have to rush around with the little time there is to make it. He booked me for a facial at a local spa last weekend so I could get away and have some time to myself. I can't get over how wonderfully thoughtful he is. Now Chris is the best Daddy. Paige couldn't be luckier to have him as a Dad. He rushes home each day to care for her...to give her dinner and hold her and snuggle with her. He gives her a bath in the evening and lovingly chooses her outfits. He's even come home with little outfits he found for her while shopping for other things! He puts her safely in bed at night after caring for her himself all evening and she always smiles big when he comes home. Yes, she loves her Daddy and I love him too. Happy first Father's Day Chris. You are the light of our lives...the sun in our sky. Not a day goes by where we don't appreciate you and all that you are and all that you do. We love you always.
PS. Happy Father's Day to MY Dad! I've been lucky to have you as my father and now you get to be Paige's Grandpa! It's fatherhood all over again without the stress! :) Much love to you!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Inspiration

We can all learn from this. And, as grateful as I feel every day, sometimes I'm annoyed at 2:30 in the morning with waking up and tending to Paige's meals. But when I catch myself frowning, I think of this child(I've seen this several times in the past) and it sets me straight. It's worth the time to watch and listen. May it help you see the joy in EVERY moment as well. Enjoy your weekend!

My little wookie

Chewbacca from Star Wars was a Wookie. We didn't have those in the real world until now! I'm so in love with this little girl! Her little voice and coos and smiles are my elixir for life. You'll want the volume for full effect.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fooled youuuu!

Paige slept in her usual 2 hour stretches last night. Oh well! The little shnug will get there though! Once she gets a little older and can get away without that extra feeding we will be in business. At least her napping has improved! Hooray! We've also settled on the Level 3 nipple (we are using Dr. Brown's line of bottles). We'd rather her eat fast than to get nothing at all. I just make her take breaks between each ounce and she seems to do just fine. Thanks for the advice! I got lots of emails on that one. The level 2 nipple was just too small and the level 3 just too big. But the holes practically look the same! It's amazing what a difference they are. Anyway, we are happy with the good naps and the fact that she sleeps well in her 2 hour stretches! In celebration, here is her smile.
Smiley!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

To sleep, perchance to dream...

Hi!
Since she was born, Paige has not been big on sleeping for long stretches. Pretty normal for a new infant I suppose. Her naps during the day were very short. Perhaps a half-hour at best when she napped. And her evenings have been about sleeping for two hours after an hour long feed/change/burp fest. Again, not too shocking for a young infant. But it doesn't make me have to like it! We all know that fragmented sleep is NOT the same as one smooth stretch of sleep. My poor mother can tell you that, especially after my tearful calls last week desperate to be talked down from my fatigued ledge (not to mention her OWN battles with it from us kids.) Paige's six-week fussy period has been crazy. But we're alive! Barely! There were moments I wished I would spontaneously combust, but Mom's advice of "it will get better" and "this next hour will be better than the last" helped me along. Paige turned 7 weeks old yesterday. And to celebrate this week, she slept for 2 hour naps all day the day before. And last night she went down to bed at almost 8 o'clock after a feed on some new formula and her little bedtime routine. We also are trying out a new LED nightlight in her room that glows green and is shaped like a flat little tv screen. It gives out WAY less light than a standard nightlight and makes the room much, much darker. Well, my friends, I woke up to her little noises at 1:50 in the morning! For us, this is a HUGE deal. She's never had such a long stretch of sleep!!! Is it the new formula? The new, earlier bedtime (she usually goes down after the next feeding cycle by 11:00)? The cool new nightlight? All three? Either way, it worked. She's still small and will likely need to wake in the night for a feed for a few weeks to come, but these longer stretches of sleep are like a jug of water in the desert. I also know that last night could be an isolated incident and I shouldn't get too excited yet. But, I am going to celebrate anyway because it means it is POSSIBLE!!! I'm not going to rain on my parade yet. And if you are wondering, we switched from regular Similac Advance to Similac Sensitive RS. No, I'm not breastfeeding (due to medical issues I won't go into here so please don't judge or criticize...I'm fragile you know) The new kind of formula is supposed to help reduce spit up and gas. It definitely seems to do this so far! Her spit up has gotten ridiculous as of late, so I decided it was time to make the switch. She doesn't have reflux or anything...just a "happy spitter" as her doctor calls it. The new stuff is pretty darn sticky in comparison to the old kind and it doesn't seem to ooze everywhere out of her mouth as she eats. The only challenge right now is figuring out which nipple size to use. One size takes her FOREVER to eat (close to an hour for a few ounces and she has to work very hard at it) and the other size makes the food FLOW right out (ok when she's hungry, but not in the middle of the night when she's sleepy and can't keep up). I wish there was a happy middle option. Anyway, this post is horribly boring in general... But exciting for me, so THERE! A little milestone has been touched and I must mention it. So, if in a few years we have another child, I can look back in my tearful desperation and see that HEY! maybe things will improve at 7 weeks!? And, in closing, now that I've told you all about this, she will go back to 2 hour stretches. If so, we will always have the memories. Oh, the memories. "Meeemorieeeees, light the corners of my miiiiiiiind........." *fade to black*

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Paige's Birth Announcement

Birth Announcement elements

The letterpressed announcement

Letterpress detail

The Birth Announcement first step

Hi friends!
I've finally finished mailing out the birth announcements I made for family and a few friends. They were quite the undertaking! But, I didn't want to skimp since I do this for a living and really wanted to do something nice for my own child. Also, these were very intensive to do and no client (or very few at least!) would ever order something like this (it's very cost prohibitive due to the time it takes to line envelopes, do a 2-color letterpress job, print and cut belly bands, etc.). Anyway, here it is! I lined most of the envelopes while still pregnant. I did the design while pregnant as well. The little insignia at the top with the "P" in it says "Little P est. 2009" And next to it says "P is for Paige".
After Paige was born, I updated the information in the design and sent out for the letterpress plates. I then printed all the belly-bands out on my inkjet printer and trimmed them. When my Mother in Law was here hanging out with Paige I finished lining the envelopes and even ordered a custom rubber stamp I designed to do the return address on the back of the envelope (and I can continue using the stamp for all my mailings now!) Then, on a Sunday, Chris spent the day with Paige while I letterpressed and trimmed her announcements down. I also assembled them all. And during her "naps" (they were short last week so I use the term loosely) or fussy evenings, I stuffed and addressed the envelopes. (that took all week!) It's finally finished and I'm happy with how it came out. Phew! I hope you like them too!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gross and Grosser

Before Paige was born I was scared about all the gross things that would come my way...baby-related things. You know, being pooped on, barfed on, etc. I knew it would all be inevitable, but somewhere deep down, secretly, I'd hoped that I'd be able to avoid some of those things. I've quickly learned that I'd never be immune to the grossness that can surround you when a baby is there too.
1. Sketchy Boobs:
They sort of resemble something out of National Geographic magazine right now. Thank God for push-up bras. There's also some interesting stretch marks on them. But those are everywhere on me now. Earning your stripes doesn't only count if you are in the military.
2. Poop:
I don't mind changing the poopy diaper. It's not so bad, really. At least not yet. Sometimes I'll gag a little, but don't tell Paige. It's when she "sharts" (shitting and farting at the same time) a BIG one and sometimes it will leak out the edge of the diaper and I won't know about it. It's usually when I'm feeding her. I'll be holding her and feel dampness and either A.) with my hand...where I then smell it and GAG upon the realization it is poop. or B.) will move her a little and find that there is a big wet spot on my shirt that is brownish in color and GAG upon the realization that it is poop and is also soaked onto my skin THROUGH my shirt. GAG again.
3. Spit up:
I don't mind a little spit up here and there. Not so bad, and I just wipe it right up. It's when she projectile flings it across her body or the room. It SPLOOSHES onto everything in the area and is a big pain in my ass to clean up. And the dog loves to jump in on the fun by trying to lick it up. GAG again. One time, while I was burping her, she turned her head and SPLOOSHED her "middle of the night burrito" (as I like to call her feeding) right into the side of my face. There was a lot of it, so it dripped down and right into the neck of my shirt, covering my National Geographic chest with her mucousy spit up. There was quite a bit, so I had to change my shirt, etc. right away. I didn't gag that time, but was a little grossed out. I also gave my face a nice washing after that.
4. Boogers:
I've wiped a lot of boogers in my life. But I'd always hoped I could get away with not having to use a bulb syringe on a baby. No luck. When she had her cold, I had to suck out each of Paige's nostrils all day. It wasn't all that bad since it was so much like liquid. But then, the other day I noticed she was snorting funny and I could see that there were boogers way up in there. With the bulb syringe again, I worked one out (it took some doing!) and I swear to God it was about an inch long. I gagged a good bit at that one. To be honest.
5. Rectal Temperature:
This one I secretly hoped I would never have to do. Besides, we have a fancy ear thermometer that claims it's more accurate than that. But dammit, the pediatrician's office DEMANDS her temp be given rectally. At least for now anyway. So when we called to ask how to handle her cold, they immediatly wanted the dreaded temp. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! *sigh*
We whipped out THAT thermometer (the one I'd hoped we'd never have to open the package for) and covered it in the Vaseline. It actually turned out to be pretty easy. Paige just hung out on the changing table on her diaper. She didn't even poop on me during it AND she stayed perfectly calm. I was freaking out the whole time but felt much better once it was over. All in all, it was no big deal and a whole lot of worry about nothing.

Later in the future I'll be dealing with actual vomit and puke. But for now, I've been saved. Hey, I used to work summers at a day care and the worst mess was when an 8-year old girl projectile vomited her entire lunch all over the bathroom. Not IN the toilet, mind you, but ALL OVER IT and all over the pipes that attach it, and all over the sink, wall, floor, etc. It must have been some sort of "Exorcist" moment. I didn't see it happen, but that was some GROSS clean up I had to do. It took me an hour to clean. I still have flashbacks and nightmares. I dealt with a lot of gross things at that job, but that incident stands out quite a bit! So, I feel like if I can clean up some kid who isn't even mine's puke then I can jolly well be able to clean up my OWN kid's puke. Unless I bat my eyelashes and beg my husband to do it instead. I'm not above that you know.
Have I sufficiently grossed you out yet???
Be well friends, and we are surviving the "peak of fussiness" that is week 6. It sucks a lot. She cries and fusses a lot (especially after 4 pm). And she's spitting up a lot (because her tummy get's so tight). Her sleep isn't the best right now either. BUT we'd been warned about all of these things and that they would happen this week. So, at least I'm not surprised. Needless to say, we are SO looking forward to next week! In the meantime, I love to watch her sleep the little during the day that she does. I still can't believe that little miracle came from us! And despite all the "gross" things that come from her, she remains incredibly lovable and cute and I will always come back for more no matter WHAT she does!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Books that help

Hi friends!
I hope you have been enjoying your weekends! Paige's Godmother came over on Saturday to visit and helped out tremendously! She even watched Little P so Chris and I could go out to dinner together (I had the Avacado and Scallion sushi)...it was nice to get out and be together. Thanks Sue! Sue even survived one of Paige's screaming fits with me...Sue was a real champ in soothing her after a HUGE screaming meltdown. We are approaching the 6 week peak of fussiness and I'm scared! But, I know it will be so much better once we get to the other side of it. We can do it! Anyhoo, in light of Paige's fussiness and issues, friends recommended a few books that, together, have been HUGELY helpful for me. Thanks to the techniques in these books I am now able to soothe Paige so much better and have an understanding of how things work. They have saved the day for me several times now.
1.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth
This one advises the "2-hour wakefulness" rule and advises that after the baby is fed, etc. that she shouldn't be kept up for longer than 2 hours (this is the rule up to 3/4 months old.) It seems to prove true as Paige starts to tire at about 1.5 hours of wakefulness. So, I'm sure to put her down to nap at the very first signs of her tiring when she yawns or stretches. It saves me from her screaming from over-stimulation and keeps her calm through the day and night (for the most part!!!)

2.
The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer, by Harvey Karp
This one describes IN DETAIL the 5 "s-es" such as swaddling and shushing and how to really do them effectively for soothing the baby. I knew about the 5 "s-es" but I think I was doing some of them wrong. Once I read this book (well, the parts that I needed to read) I learned a lot of little tricks that I wasn't doing right. I also learned that these techniques have to be done in just the right way and in the right order so that they work properly. So helpful!! I can soothe Paige now in a few minutes with these as opposed to the hours it used to take me.

3.
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau
This one is full of info and I haven't been able to read all of it yet. But, it suggests having a daily routine (an order of which things are done and not by the clock). It suggests that the baby should eat, have an activity after that, and then sleep. Which I was sort of doing anyway. This way, the baby and yourself always know what to expect next. I do this in tandem with the "2-hour wakefulness" rule and things run pretty smoothly. There's lots of other info in the book, but this is the main nugget that I've taken so far. There's also a handy chart that breaks down the baby's body language and what it might mean. Most are obvious, but some are not so it helped me out once or twice already.

Anyway, these books, in tandem, have been a big help for us so I thought I would share them here for any new Mom's out there also looking for info on soothing a fussy baby. Most of what I do is instinct, but when I need that little extra bit of advice or reassurance, these books have been helpful. I've just needed a little extra help during these first 6 weeks and hope it will get us through the first 3 months of "new baby" times. I'm feeling much more confident these days, thanks to some of the tips I've discovered. You never know, maybe you can find a tip or two that will help YOU out too! Be well friends, and please send me a happy thought during this coming week...the supposed "peak" of fussiness! (Although, she was born a week early, so perhaps the peak will be next week? Oh well, who knows, she may be a complete ANGEL and never have a problem!?!! That's the beauty of it all...each day is a new chocolate.) And onward we walk!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Drug of Choice

Baby Smiles and Fun
Baby smiles and love...the most addictive drug there is. Yep, I think so.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Snot and stuff

1 Month Old
Hi friends!
Sorry I've been missing. We are busy battling colds here. UGH! I was hoping we could avoid the common cold during these first few months of Paige's life. No dice! Chris is almost done with it and I'm in the middle of it. Paige had the lightest case of it, but there was still a few days of suctioning out her nose with the bulb syringe and letting her sleep upright on my chest or in the vibrating chair. I was so paranoid and scared she would choke on her mucous. Ick. She seems so much better now and I got a little more sleep last night (as did Chris!). Grandma Carty came by to help for a few days which was heaven! I got lots of little things done while she doted on Little P and took good care of her. Grandpa Carty joined in toward the end and put in lots of good quality time with the li'l schnook too.
Chris and I even made it out on Saturday night to the wedding of a friend! I had the worst hormonal pull...I felt like I would cry toward the end of the dinner that night because I felt this need to rush home to her. I missed her terribly...it hit me like a ton of bricks. But, we made it through most of the evening and she was safe and sound at home. Last week she went to the 1 month doctor visit and she measured over 93rd percentile in height and 50th percentile in weight. Her head circumference is tiny, so I guess they are going to keep an eye on it. Looks like she's taking after her Daddy more and more...he's very tall ( 6 foot 3 inches) and his head measures a bit smaller than mine. That is no reference to his brain size, mind you, he's a smartie. :)

So, that's the news here! Hopefully I can share more soon, especially when we are feeling better! I at least wanted to update you and say hello! I hope everyone is doing great!
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