Expecting our Little Brother in November!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Different Pregnancies

Everyone always says that every pregnancy is different and while I believed them I never imagined how true it would end up being for me.  There have been things that have been the same but so many things have been different:

1.  Morning Sickness
Jamey: Felt queasy from 6.5 weeks, only wanted to eat fruit.  NEVER VOMITED ONCE.  Felt totally better by 12/13 weeks.
Julien: Started feeling queasy already by 4.5 weeks--started vomiting by 5 weeks.  Threw up every single day of the first trimester.  Started usually by 5 am, I would need to be running to the bathroom, and I would throw up repeatedly every 10-30 mins for hours.  I was only usually able to eat between about noon and 4 pm (again I usually only wanted to eat fruit--one similarity to my pregnancy with Jamey).  The nausea would start again around 4/5 pm and usually I threw up at least 1-2 times again in the evening.  I tried every trick in the book and nothing worked.  Sometimes even drinking water would make me throw up.  The vomiting got better around 12/13 weeks but only slightly.  It wasn't until after 16 weeks that I started having an occasional day where I didn't throw up.  These days became more as time went on.  Around 20 weeks I threw up for the last time, and at 21 weeks I was finally able to start eating again.

2.  Heartburn/Indigestion:
Jamey:  Had little to no heartburn in the beginning, but it started up around 24 weeks.  I had to stop drinking tea, had to cut out all tomato and citrus from my diet.  I needed to start using Tums constantly.  Things got better slightly as he dropped multiple times but overall it was pretty bad throughout the whole second half of my pregnancy.
Julien:  Had awful indigestion (and even compulsive diarrhea  during the first trimester.  I would need to sleep sitting up on pillows but still ended up throwing up at least once in the middle of the night and also had awful diarrhea (I guess from all the stomach acids from all the vomiting?).  Nothing like throwing up and having diarrhea simultaneously.  Fun times.  But this went away around 12/13 weeks thankfully.
And miraculously the heartburn stayed away after that for a lot longer than it did with James.  It wasn't until 30/32 weeks that it started to creeeep back.  I had to stop drinking tea around 32 weeks and just that was enough.  I could still eat whatever I wanted when I wanted but just started to have a little discomfort laying down at night.  Now at 36 weeks I just had a fun "vomiting from indigestion from eating tomato sauce before bed" which I guess means the heartburn and indigestion are back now here at the end.  But I felt so good for so much longer than I did with Jamey!

3.  End of Pregnancy Discomforts
Jamey:  I felt AWFUL at the end.  My back and whole body hurt and ached so much that I had to take a lot bath/shower every SINGLE night to relax my muscles or I wouldn't be able to fall asleep.  Sometimes I even had to sleep on ice packs to numb my back or I wouldn't be able to sleep.  There was not a position that was comfortable for me--not laying, standing, or sitting.  At the end I slept with my ribs belted because that seemed to relieve some of the pressure on my back.
Julien:  I might be speaking too soon, we'll see what the last month holds--but so far I have felt pretty good physically.  There have definitely been uncomfortable weeks but they have inevitably been followed by more comfortable ones.

So these are just three points in which my two pregnancies have been very very different.  There are plenty of things that have been the same, as well, such as:
-craving fruit
-my pattern of weight gain (almost nothing the first trimester, 10-15 lbs by the end of the 2nd trimester, and then putting on lots of weight during the last trimester for a total gain of about 40 lbs)
-carrying low
-the positions the babies have been in and when they flipped/dropped

But these things seem relatively minor in comparison to the huge differences in morning sickness, heartburn, and the end-of-pregnancy feelings!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Community Center!

So I did something I've been meaning to do for a long time and our family joined the local community center!    It has a gymnasium, gym equipment, a walking/jogging track, and most especially, a pool!  We were motivated to join this weekend in the unbelievable humidity and went right home to get our bathing suits so we could go swimming!

Other amenities include on-site child care (for an extra $2 an hour), an arts and crafts room (though not really sure what/when it is used for or open?), a teen center, and a community room with this crazy lego structure/bin/table/bridge and books, computers, and TV's.

Our fav things are probably going to be the "Tot time" in the gym (with riding toys and gym mats/soft structures) every weekday morning from 9-12, and of course the pool.  One awesome thing about the pool is that there is not only a regular pool that is often open for general swim, and is 80-85 degrees, but there is a therapy pool which is open every evening and sometimes during the day for family swim and is 90-94 degrees.  I seem to get cold easily in water for this pregnancy (and hot easily in the humidity, go figure), and Jamey can get cold, too, after swimming for a little while, so we have really been enjoying hitting up the therapy pool.  Another benefit to the therapy pool is that one whole corner is a set of stairs which go gradually into the pool--perfect for a little kid to play on.

Actually when we (Jamey and I) went there today, it was not "supposed to" be family time in the therapy pool but I was sort of dreading the 80 degree water so I sort of just walked over with Jamey and got in.  There was only one other lady in there probably doing actual water therapy, and shortly after we got in, the lifeguard went over and talked to her, probably saying:  "Do you mind this pregnant lady and her kid swimming in here with you?"  And she must have said "No" because he didn't kick us out.  Score.  I was careful to stay out of her way though and we mostly hung around the stairs anyway.

I'm really excited about the pool access, especially as my belly gets bigger and heavier, it will be nice to give my back a break in the buoyancy.  I also think it will be really nice, once we have little Julien to be able to go to the Tot time in the gym and the pool--the community center is only about 2 miles away from our house so it is just a really nice accessible activity that is close to home and has a lot of different options for use.

So yay for the community center!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mom of 2?

I'm almost 6 months along in my pregnancy with little Julien . . . in about 3 more months I will have a tiny baby seemingly dropped into my life (that's what it felt like with Jamey)!

But what's different this time around is having another child here already.  I wasn't nervous when we were thinking of getting pregnant, trying to get pregnant, I wasn't even nervous at the beginning of the pregnancy probably because I was throwing up too much to think about anything else.  But as it gets closer . . .

On the one hand I think it will work out fine!  I have been able to keep Jamey interested in nursing (even though my milk dried up after the first trimester), and hopefully he continues to be interested . . . it would be nice to be able to nurse them both at the same time instead of having to try to entertain Jamey separately while nursing Julien... maybe even a little relaxing to have that quiet time?

But what about the other times?  Jamey is really really good about entertaining himself and playing alone, but when he feels jealous of me or like I am paying too much attention to something else, he can get very upset and clingy  . . . if Julien is an easy baby like he was, he hopefully won't mind being stuck in the swing for frequent naps or be propped up on the couch to observe the world while I do normal stuff with Jamey, but what if he's one of those babies who refuses to be put down, who won't nap easily . . . will I be able to handle it?

Then there's me.  The last person on the list . . . I always think to myself that I'll be able to put my self aside and just spend a few months focused on having two babies . . . but will I really deal with this?  In the past the "plan" to forget about myself has never worked out.  I must be a lot more selfish than my Mom was when we were young, but after a few weeks of putting myself aside I start to long for adult time and conversation, for an online outlet, for intellectual challenge . . . and this longing, if unaddressed, becomes something darker and more harmful--a resentment with guilt attached--a sense of deserving but not deserving . . .

So now with three months left I start to worry.  Will I do it?  Can I handle it?  Well I don't honestly know.

What I do know is that I've figured a lot of things out in the last almost-2 years of being a stay at home Mom.  How important play-dates are.  How important it is to try to get out of the house every day.  How much having a bit of a schedule can help me and Jamey both feel happy and healthy . . . How rejuvenating it can be to chat with another Mom at a playground . . . and I have a great therapist right now who specializes in postpartum depression, I've made great strides in the past 6 months in learning how and when to reach out for support and help when I need it.  I'm not the same person I was when I felt lost and unsure of how to find myself again . . . so I'm hoping it will be okay.

Maybe it will even be good.  And in another part of me I start to long to hold and cuddle my sweet new baby . . . I'm excited as much as nervous and so we march on.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Possible Reasons for A Newborn’s Fussy Stomach

Newborns are born with immature digestive systems.  Breast milk is the absolute best thing for their immature system, but even under normal conditions, their bodies/bellies/guts/and little butts are learning how to digest (and poop out) food for the very first time, so some difficulty and a “learning curve” is normal and to be expected.

However, even Moms who are exclusively breastfeeding might observe digestive issues in her baby that she would consider greater than normal: frequent spitting up, watery, green and/or mucousy poop, gas, or discomfort which leads to frequent crying, reflux, etc.

There are two VERY COMMON (more common than not) issues that can cause these digestive problems, and even if you are aware of them, it can be difficult to tease out WHICH of these things is the true issue or if it could be both.


The first most common issue is oversupply which can be coupled with overactive letdown and typically a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance .  MOST Moms are made to nurse twins—evolutionarily it makes sense given the odds of twins and the fact that before formula, a baby who lost their mother during childbirth or who was separated from their mother for any length of time would need to be nursed by another mother also nursing her own baby.  It is literally more common than not to have SOME amount of oversupply; meaning that when the Mom’s milk comes fully in—usually between 5-10 days post-partum, they might find that they have much more than they need.

It is a common misconception that more milk is better.  In fact, it is best for your baby if you are making the exact right amount of milk and no more.

Oversupply causes a fussy stomach for several reasons:
One, the fast flow of the milk means that the baby is taking in extra air when he/she is nursing.  This extra air causes gas and discomfort. 
Two, the milk that comes out at the beginning of a feed (foremilk) is very different than the milk at the end of the feed (hindmilk).  The milk at the beginning is watery and sugary, almost like milk-juice.  This sweet milk gives baby energy and motivation to keep them nursing.  However, the milk which comes out when the breast is getting more empty is equally, if not more important.  The hindmilk is much thicker and fattier, the “cream”.   This thick milk sticks to the stomach and makes it easier to digest. 

The problem arises because oversupply means that often the baby gets full on the foremilk—they are already done nursing before they get to the “cream” which comes out of a more empty breast.  This foremilk is much higher in the sugar lactose, and lactose is much harder for a baby to digest.  This will cause watery, green poops, and stomach upset.

Additionally, babies whose Moms have oversupply will sometimes actually have LOW weight gain because they have so much trouble getting to the fatty milk. 

I think there is a further issue with oversupply which is rarely discussed—it is SUPPOSED to take WORK for the baby to extract milk from the breasts.  Babies who are used to a high supply do not have to work very hard to get milk out.  This can cause issues later when the supply regulates because the baby finds himself for the first time having to work hard to eat.  Many Moms at this point (3-5 months) will start to notice issues like bottle preference or fussiness at the breast. 

In my opinion it is GOOD for your baby to learn IMMEDIATELY that life isn’t easy and that you don’t get something for nothing.  You can think of this as the first way to build self-esteem and self-efficacy.  You are teaching your baby that working hard will reward them, a lesson that is never too early to teach in my opinion.  Babies whose Moms have a regulated supply have much more patience and determination, not only for nursing but I believe this translates into other areas of life as well.

Oversupply can also cause issues for the Mom:  nipple pain.  Because the milk is often flowing too fast for the baby, they will clamp down on the nipple to reduce the flow.  I can tell you from experience: OUCH.

Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Another very common issue is baby reacting to one or more foods in the Mom’s diet.  About half the time, the problem is dairy.  The next most likely culprit is wheat, after that, soy.  Some babies will have issues with caffeine, also, or you can have one like mine who basically reacts to EVERY food in existence. 

However, luckily, half the time, eliminating dairy in the Mom’s diet will solve the whole issue. 

Our society has a growing awareness of food sensitivities, and it is increasingly common to discover sensitivities to dairy, wheat, gluten, soy, etc.    Luckily it has never been easier to lie allergy-free.
Like oversupply, food sensitivities can cause watery poops, gassy stomach, frequent spitting up, and colic.

So if your baby has a fussy stomach and is exhibiting these symptoms, what is the problem?  Is it oversupply or food sensitivities?  It can be very difficult to tease apart the problem, but there are a few ways to tell.

Oversupply will often start causing symptoms from the first week or two.  Mom will often feel engorged, experience her milk leaking, letdowns when the baby isn’t hungry . . . the baby will often be satisfied with only one side.  If the Mom ever pumps and can get more than 4 ozs per side, that is a sure sign of oversupply.    Again, the nipple pain is also a very good sign.

Oversupply is often linked to an overactive letdown…this has many tell-tale signs.  After a minute or a few minutes of nursing,  the baby might start fussing—come unlatched and cry, or be sputtering and choking on the milk.  Mom sometimes sees her milk spraying at this time.  This is a definite sign of oversupply.

Oversupply will more often cause GREEN watery poops, sometimes in huge diaper blowouts.  The green is evidence of the excess lactose in the milk. 

Baby will have issues from the first or second week and the symptoms would usually get BETTER over time, though some Moms unknowingly make the problem worse by pumping off extra milk. 

Supply is highest in the morning and lowest at night.  If you have oversupply you might notice the most spitting up and discomfort in the morning and early afternoon, while the spitting up is less frequent at night.  HOWEVER MOST babies have fussy evenings and want to nurse frequently in the evenings, so this can be a hard thing to gauge.

Oversupply, especially in the absence of excess pumping, will get better over time instead of worse, often resolving itself between 3-5 months.

Meanwhile, food sensitivities look a little different.

Most food sensitivity issues will not be present immediately.  If oversupply is not an additional problem and it is ONLY food sensitivities, Mom probably would not see many digestive problems in the first month.  However, between months one and two she would notice an increasing problem.  Weeks 6-8 is the most frequent time for food sensitivities to start causing major issues.

Food sensitivities will also cause watery poop, and it can be green.  However it is much more likely to be mucousy, and BLOOD in the poop is a very good sign that it’s a food sensitivity issue.  It is less likely to see diaper blowouts.   With my son I NEVER saw “seedy” poops until we eliminated all problem foods.  It was VERY watery.

With food sensitivities, you would notice more of a variety in babies’ symptoms from day to day.  Instead of spitting up equally after every feed, you would more likely have occasional large amounts of spit-up and not as much on other days/times.  You would notice the digestive issues being worse after you eat certain meals and less of a problem on other days.   However, if you are someone who eats a LOT of dairy, wheat, and/or soy with every meal, it can again be difficult to tell if the issue is food-based. 

Food sensitivities can also cause other issues such as a rash (most typically on the face), and/or a flushed red blotchy look to the skin after nursing.  It is much more likely than oversupply to cause weight gain issues, colic, or reflux.

Food sensitivities from week 8 will typically get WORSE over time (from months 2-5 or longer).  Some babies do gain the ability to process the sensitive food eventually, though, so after getting worse it can start to get better.

Hopefully this will help some Moms figure out which of these things (if not both) is causing the baby’s issue!   I will write about dealing with each of these problems in a separate post.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Retroactive Wordless Wednesdays

I did have some great pics from these last months while I've been a lazy blogger, so I added them on the Wednesdays they apply to:

4/11/12: Cosleeping
5/2/12: First Sleep in His New Room
5/9/12: First Trimester Exhaustion
5/30/12: Cousin Play

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Baby Signs

When I was in high school I babysat for a little girl from the age of 14 months.  Her parents had taught her a few simple baby signs, and it was so invaluable!  She could tell me when she was hungry, thirsty, or all done. . . it was only a few things but it made my job as a babysitter a million times easier!  I always said when I had kids, I would teach them baby signs, too.

Fast forward to last year--teaching your baby to sign has never been more popular and easy.  There are tons of resources and a million different versions of baby signs.  We decided to teach Jamey American Sign Language because it is a common and widely used language throughout the whole country--teaching Jamey the "real" sign means that we are teaching him a way to communicate, for life, with other people all over the country.

The research on teaching signing is very motivating--Over 140 participating families were randomly assigned to a signing or non-signing group and the following differences were noted (among other benefits):
-By age two, signing children on average have 50 more spoken words in their vocab than non-signing children
-By 3 years old, signing children were speaking at the level of average (non-signing) 4 year olds.
-At age 8, children who had learned to sign as babies had an average IQ of 114, which was 12 points higher than their non-signing peers at 102.  (This is a HUGE difference, and somewhat shocking to me!)

So how did we start out with signing?

From about 6 months, we started out with demonstrating simple signs to Jamey, such as milk, nurse, more, and all done.  It was a long time before he was able to do the signs back to us.  Starting to wave is usually the first "sign" that they are ready to start to use more signs.  Jamey started to wave around 10.5 months.  After this, the first signs he would do were all hand signs only:

Milk, Light, Hi/Bye (waving), More (4 signs total)

Then at some point a little before he turned a year old, a new connection was forged in his brain and he started learning how do signs referencing his own body:

Mom, Dad, Nurse, All Done (8 signs total)

Then, around 12/13 months, some language center in his brain turned on.  He started to nurse a lot more and at the same time, wanted to know the word and sign for everything he saw.  All of a sudden his favorite books were picture dictionaries.  This was an absolute explosion in his signing vocabulary, and I honestly think he was only limited by OUR knowledge and ability to teach him.

At 13 months, he could sign all of the above signs, plus:

Potty, Diaper, Hot, and Yay (clapping) (12 signs total)

At this point we got a little more serious about teaching ourselves so that we were able to teach him, and by 14.5 months he had added all of the following:

Water, Drink, Food, Orange
Cat, Dog, Bird, Pig
Hat, Shirt, Shoe
Yes, Moon, Teeth, Please, Bath
(28 signs total)

Only two weeks later (15 months) he'd added:

Grandpa, Grandma
Cow, Bear
Want, Hurts, Sleep
Sun, Boy, Working, Car, Book
Additionally he had invented a way to turn words into a question by shrugging/looking around while making a sign.  We did not teach him this but he came up with it naturally after learning "where"
(42 signs total)

By 16.5 months, he'd added:

No, Thank you, Sad
Rain, Fire, Grapes
Turtle, Lion
Additionally he had made up a sign to request to watch "Blues Clues"
He had also made up a sign to ask us to practice qigong!
(52 signs total)

By 18 months:

Mouse, Frog, Butterfly, Fish
Apple, Library, Outside, Firefighter
Baby, Man
(63 signs total)

Now he's 19 months.  And he's learned even more, which I haven't written down yet and probably won't remember, but let's try:

James (a sign I made up for his name)
Pee, Poop
Truck, Airplane, Boat
Tiger, Spider
Aunt, Uncle, Cousin
(77 signs total)
Honestly there are definitely some I am forgetting.  I have to be honest that my kid is a delayed talker, however, kids who have learned as MANY signs as he has often have delays because they are not dependent on language to communicate.  With this said, he has a HUGE comprehensive vocabulary and has understood pretty much everything we say for many months.

Additionally (and interestingly), the first intervention for kids who are brought to speech therapists with language delays is to begin to teach signing.  There can be a variety of physical issues that can interfere with language, but signing means that even a non-speaking child can begin to build the language centers in their brains at this critical age, which is actually much more important.

Many people have commented on Jamey.  He is obviously very smart, but more than that, he is a confident and independent person.  He has very good self esteem and can participate actively in conversations with all kinds of people.  Most of our friends and family have enjoyed learning some signs, too.

And to be honest I LOVE it.  I have always been interested in language and I think I enjoy learning the signs almost as much as Jamey does.  Plus a lot of the signs are so intuitive, or relate to each other and the signing alphabet in fun and interesting ways . . . the benefits are not limited to the child but extend to everyone the child is in contact with!

So we'll continue to build our family vocabulary.  Little Julien will be luckier than Jamey because he will be less limited at an early age by our ignorance and will be able to learn more signs at will.  Additionally I've heard that older siblings really enjoy passing their signing knowledge onto their little siblings!  I can't wait.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Adventures in Diaper-Free Potty Training, Take Two

I am once again attempting to write about our Adventures in Elimination Communication . . .

I had heard of EC when I was pregnant with Jamey, but couldn’t quite wrap my head around it—I wasn’t sure how to go about it—I was a brand new parent with a million other worries/distractions.  It didn’t work for me . . . but it WOULD HAVE worked for Jamey—he HATED to be wet even as a brand newborn and would definitely have responded well to early EC.  After learning even more about it, and seeing how Jamey went from hating his diaper being wet and loving to be changed to not caring at all and hating being changed.

For those who aren’t familiar, Elimination Communication is a term for less diaper-centered and more communication-centered approach to dealing with the inevitable pees and poos of infanthood.  In our culture where most people use diapers for 2-3 years, people often aren’t aware that even a very young infant: -has the ability to control their bowel/bladder, -prefers not to soil themselves if they don’t have to.  What this means is that EC describes a system in which the baby either does not wear a diaper or the parent is changing the wet diaper immediately, and the parent is cueing the baby to pee or poop over a toilet or potty, potentially from birth or a few months old. 

Ideally, what happens here is that the baby remains aware of and in control of their bladders/bowels, and instead of getting attached to a diaper as the “right” place to go to the bathroom, they learn from the beginning that they can use the potty instead.  Some Moms describe babies,  ECed from birth, who when they learned to crawl started crawling to their potty when they had to pee.  So potentially a baby who is EC’d from birth could be totally “potty-trained” by the time they start walking—12-18 months.

So with that intro, back to us .  .  . 

Anyway, I never really did it much with Jamey—I would experiment for a week or two, leaving him laying on cloth diapers or loosely wrapped around him, and changing him often and trying to cue him—but like I said, I was a little too distracted mastering breast-feeding, baby-proofing, and adjusting to first time motherhood, so I never quite had the dedication to stick with it seriously for any period of time.

But then I got pregnant.  And nauseous, and tired . . . and the diaper changes that used to take all my energy/stamina/patience were now screaming/wrestling matches between Jamey and I.   He would throw a fit like I was TORTURING HIM every time I changed his diaper.  I resorted to yelling, pinching his legs, pinning him down . . . it’s not a choice when there is poop in his butt!

So when I hit the second trimester, started vomited with more predictability and less horsepower . . . and stopped being so tired that my body felt incased in concrete . . . I thought, "Well, let’s take the 2nd trimester and see if an EC/diaper free approach would actually work if I stuck with it.  And if I can get the boy potty-trained before I have another baby. . . awesome."

So we took off the diapers and I got over pee and poo.   I learned that baby pee doesn’t smell too bad . . . that baby poop barely gets his butt dirty when he’s pooping on the floor instead of a diaper.  I learned that it’s easier to wipe up a puddle of pee off the ground than change a diaper.  I learned that poop doesn’t even get the rug dirty unless he/someone steps on it before I can grab it.  And I learned that he instinctively DOESN’T step in pee or poo when he knows it’s somewhere, so that has rarely happened . . . and within a week I saw more control—he started to pee and poo in certain places at certain times, and NOT go in other situations.  For instance in 5 weeks of being completely diaper free, he has never peed or pood ON me or James or anyone else—never while anyone was holding him, or he was sitting in their lap or playing close together.  He has never peed on his books or toys.   Meanwhile he has peed standing at the screen door like 10 times.

And, throughout all this, though, my kid would not sit on the potty.  Or the toilet—he would not try to pee, he would not pee on cue, and for a while he would even STOP peeing when I managed to get the potty bowl in between his urine stream and the ground.  But I persisted. 

And finally,after a month of peeing and pooing with abandon, Jamey finally decided to pee on a bush one day when I suggested it.  Since then (maybe for a week or a bit longer), I've been taking him outside to pee on the bush regularly, reducing our "accidents"—pees on the floor—to 1-2 a day.  Finally a couple days ago he actually sat on his little potty and peed on request, and since then has been doing it more and more. 

So at this point he has total control over peeing—just like that, once he got the “trick” of trying, he can do it nearly every time . . . except that he still forgets to hold it, so if I don't take him often enough, he will eventually have an accident.  He also doesn't usually tell me when he has to go, though he has, on his own, peed and pood in the potty increasingly over the last few days/weeks. 

The actual toilet is still too distracting--focus and motivation seem to be key for him.  It works well (as long as he's not too hungry/tired) to say: "Please go pee-pee and then we can do X fun thing!"  But he is really into cars/vehicles right now so when he's outside trying to pee on the bush, if an interesting truck or something drives by he might totally "lose it".

Anyway, I think I might start trying to get him to go on the toilet more often, using the flush (and maybe a sticker/sticker chart) as motivation.  I think if I can get him attached to either flushing/handwashing or the stickers, and he realizes he just needs to pee in the toilet first to get these things, that might be the proper motivation to do it (until he gets bored with those things after a few weeks). 

I’m actually really pleased with how things are progressing—it is so gratifying to see that he has learned to “try”—and I really feel like a lot of the work left is just building skills and honing his habits so that he wants/expects/automatically goes to, try the potty at certain times every day.  Honestly a lot of this is honing OUR skills—remembering to take him every hour or so, and esp after meals and stuff . . .

It’s funny though, I started out this diaper-free thing thinking if it didn’t “work”, ie, result in “potty-training”, by the time I got too huge to deal with it, I would “give up”, ie “go back to diapers”. But at this point I really do buy into the idea that it’s just an easier, more straightforward way to deal with pee and poop.  Like, I’m to the point now that I don’t think I would go back to using diapers even if he just kept going to the bathroom on my floor.  But I also see it working—I see that there is real progress—he learns, he grows.  So now the idea of using diapers seems like backpedaling, and ironically, extra work!

Anyway, I’m very glad to report progress—hopefully I will report more soon!   ;-)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Adventures in Diaper Free Potty-Training

Wow I just wrote for like an hour about this and lost it!  Too depressing for words!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: First Trimester Exhaustion

*Note the smarties bag and wrappers, cell phone, Wii remote...all in a days work

Friday, April 20, 2012

Our Anniversary

This year is eight years since James and I got together.

AdriN2001: hey Mare
Mare51089: hey!!!
AdriN2001: How are you hunny?
Mare51089: gooders
AdriN2001: Dude Mare
AdriN2001: haha
Mare51089: dude
Mare51089: DUDE!
Mare51089: SUP DUDE?!!
AdriN2001: Sorry yo
Mare51089: no problemo
Mare51089: guess what?
AdriN2001: What?
Mare51089: remember when i was obsessed with free willy?
AdriN2001: Yeah?
Mare51089: well i was just watching it....good times.....
AdriN2001: hahaha
AdriN2001: Mare
AdriN2001: I met the guy I'm gonna marry
AdriN2001: I know him, my friend James
AdriN2001: But I just know now.
AdriN2001: I just know
Mare51089: really?
AdriN2001: Yeah
AdriN2001: I can't explain it
AdriN2001: We're not dating and we aren't going to be, right now
AdriN2001: But I just know, and so does he, and we've talked about it
Mare51089: that's so....awesomely strange
AdriN2001: And it's weird
AdriN2001: I can't explain how I feel
AdriN2001: Like, it's something incrediable
Mare51089: hm...
Mare51089: how did you know?
Mare51089: i mean...
AdriN2001: Something that the world set up a long time ago just for us, just so he and I would come together.
AdriN2001: We went to the bar Tues night, and we have always just been friends, like it wasn't anything more
Mare51089: yea
Mare51089: and?...
Mare51089: thats when it happened?
AdriN2001: And this night, we got real drunk, and went into the woods, and the world, it just touched us, it grabbed him, and we came back to my apartment and kissed a little but it wasn't anything much--but there was this feeling, and this knowledge, and we just knew
Mare51089: thats so...
Mare51089: interesting
Mare51089: i guess i dont have much to say, i mean you cant explain it and i've never felt it obviously, lol
AdriN2001: hahah
Mare51089: but that's good... i think....
AdriN2001: Yeah it's perfect
AdriN2001: But hey I gotta go
AdriN2001: You can tell Laur if ypou want but not Mom
Mare51089: ok
Mare51089: i won't
Mare51089: i love you
Mare51089: bye
AdriN2001: I love you too
AdriN2001: bye bye

Sunday, January 29, 2012


So I'm about to go all OCD on our food cabinets. We're standardizing all our grains, cereals, flours, ends of chip bags, etc, into square nesting containers (POP brand).

I ordered a few samples which arrived a week or so ago and I LOVE THEM. They are very high quality and make a satisfying sealing noise. They are easy to open, close, pour out of, etc.

When we get them, we should be able to better see all of our food options at a glance, without things going bad, stale, getting pushed to the back of the cabinet, lost, etc. Furthermore, since we buy a lot in bulk, we can put the empty containers right into our shopping bag.

I think it will be a good thing. The idea of opening my food cabinets and seeing all the containers stacked like that just makes me so freaking excited I can hardly deal.

It was an investment, but it is like a few others we have been making recently to try to organize our life, saving money and time. I will post pics--I am picking them up on Friday so maybe I'll do a silent Saturday about them on Saturday. But who knows, the transfer process might take more than one day, though, I can be efficient when motivated!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Benefits to Toddler Nursing

James is still nursing. In fact, he's nursing more now than he has in many months.

He now nurses around 12 am, 5am, 7am
Nurses to sleep for one nap @12 or two naps--@10 and 2 ish
Nurses around 5pm if we are home/alone
Nurses to sleep around 6pm (if it's a one nap day) or 8pm (for a two nap day)

The 7am and 5pm sessions are new--though I have often given a bottle at 5pm to use up my milk stash, I could never get him to focus on nursing then before, but now he is re-interested.

Anyway, I am appreciating some definite benefits:

1. The 7am session means he's hungry for breakfast a little later, giving me time to get up/dressed.
2. The 5pm session is the PERFECT solution to what my Mom calls "The ugly Hour" The ungodly time when tiredness of the day meets pre-dinner hunger and Dad isn't home yet to help out--baby clings whiny to Moms while she attempts to cook dinner . . . A little milk improves the mood of the ugly hour to manageable levels!
3. Smart baby. Breast milk is perfect nutrition. There are tons of fats and proteins that make up neurons and neural pathways in the brain and body. As I sit there and watch james' comprehensive vocabulary and his signing ability start to take off already at 14 months . . . well, who know if it is even related, but the Mylar sheaths coating and protecting his neurons are made exclusively of human (or maybe veggie, hehe) fats. I love that. He is my body delightfully re-purposed.
4. Magic relaxation comes with letdown. I might be about to pull my hair out at the end, or even the beginning, of the day. But if this frustration coincides with nursing, those love hormones just melt away all my bad mood/feelings.
5. No need to worry about nutrition. Many tots are picky eaters. And even though mine is not, he is vegan. Of course I worry about his nutrition, despite the fact that he seemingly eats a wider variety of fresh, healthy, and organic foods than most kids his age . . . but, as long as I am nursing him on demand, I can be assured that he is getting everything he needs nutritionally.
6. Wolverine Style healing ability for the very frequent bruises, cuts, rug burn, etc. James is pretty active and probably falls and seriously hits his head . . . at least a couple times a week. He also scratches himself on wood, paper, concrete, furniture, cats (ahem), etc. But he heals so fast . . . a minor cut will be scabbed one day and the scab will fall off on day two. A huge bang to the head will go from an egg one day to a bruise the next, and completely disappeared within a few days or a week . . .
7. Emergency snack for any situation. Though, james would have to be REALLY hungry to nurse in a non-home and non-quiet environment, but if we were really in a pinch (or even like a flood or dangerous situation) I know I always have clean, sterile, perfect nutrition for him whereever we are!

I'm sure there are more but those a just a few benefits of Toddler Nursing that I can think of! Some are nursing benefits at any age, I suppose, hehe.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Birth Revelations!

So, Jamesy and I visited our cousin Emily and little cousin Ava, who is already 7 1/2 months old!

My cousin had never seen my birth video, so we watched it. I've seen it sooo many times before, but never before have I noticed . . .

an arm? Not a hand. An arm. Wow. That is really a whole arm!

Emily and I saw it together, our simultaneous gasp summing up the previous paragraph . . .

My baby crowned not only a head. He crowned an entire arm and shoulder, too. Like, when he was crowning his elbow was coming out with his head, and when the head was out the whole arm was out.

All of a sudden, all of the following things make sense.

-Why I was having shooting pains down one leg for the last month of pregnancy.

-Why the crowning/pushing stage took a relatively long time compared to the overall course of the labor. From the beginning of labor until full dilation was about 2 hours. And then from full dilation until crowing was another hour and a half. His head/arm/shoulder were out a full three contractions before I was able to push him the rest of the way out.

-Why the crowning/pushing stage were so painful for me. Now, I did have an easy birth, and the pain of crowning and pushing was actually about what I had expected it would be. But . . . now seeing what was actually happening in my vagina when I birthed this baby, it kinda makes me wonder if the next one will be a totally crazy pain-free birth or something. I can't imagine how much easier it would be to push out only a head. A head is already shaped to fit through the opening provided for the baby. An arm/shoulder/head is not smooth and round.

-Why I had a 5th degree tear.

-Potentially why james took a long time to breathe/clear his lungs. That birth presentation/posture would have put extra/incorrect/not enough pressure on his body. The vagina is meant to clamp down on the chest of the baby to expel fluids after the head is born, but maybe his presentation prevented this clamping from happening correctly. They say the first breath is the hardest to take so having extra fluid to clear or feeling an extra weight must have made it harder.

Now, someone could read this list and say these things happen to babies born in a textbook position all the time. Or maybe wonder why it even matters to me.

I like to understand. And I know myself well. Things happen for a reason. I like to understand the reasons behind things. When I saw that arm, it was like I put in the final piece of my birth experience puzzle and can see the entire picture clearly now.

I guess time will only tell. If I have another baby, in a textbook position, I would guess my labor will be closer to 3 hours than 5, and that I will not tear at all except minorly (or along the old tear), and that crowning/pushing will be a comparative breeze and my post-partum recovery will be practically non-existent. But like I said, time will tell!

Along with this realization also came some crazy birth power. Now I really feel like I could handle anything. 11 lbs baby, natural vaginal breech birth--whatever! I am woman I roar out baby.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

At least it's not the 50's...

Sometimes I wear an apron, and stand in my kitchen with a wooden spoon. What if it was the 50's? What if I was home, not by choice, but by non-choice. What if I didn't feel like I should . . . use birth control . . . or get a college degree, or write in detail about my mental health.

And all I can say is . . . well, things would be a lot worse. But my reflective moment is more to realize that our parents and grandparents . . . our mothers and grandmothers . . . that WAS their life. Now we understand that not everyone is meant to stay at home--now much fewer women are silenced and repressed (at least in our country) . . . but back then?

I think the guilt is there for the taking--inherited from our mothers, grandmothers, from old books and ads and movies . . . for some reason, women have always been made to feel as if the role of Mom and Wife should be ENOUGH for them. But why?

It's so interesting that in our 50's world, a Man would be scorned for staying at home raising his kids--why? Because he's not earning an income--he's not WORKING. And yet--let's be honest, few jobs leave you more exhausted at 5pm than staying at home.

So ...why the double standard? Why are men made to feel guilty for wanting to stay at home and why were/are women made to feel guilty when . . . being a MomWife isn't fulfilling all your aspirations?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Postpartum Depression (For Me)

So here's a run-down. I feel like this is all so obvious but maybe not.

Post-partum depression . . . an interesting animal. It sneaks up on you unexpectedly. Later than you think, usually.

I didn't get the baby blues, I had an awesome immediate post-partum experience. My hubby was home for a whole month, my baby was easy, my birth was great, breastfeeding . . . . honestly was painful for a long time but since everything else was so good it was not an issue to get through that first painful month (which in retrospect was a combination of oversupply, minor tongue tie, and lip tie, all unidentified until much later).

And yet I didn't love my baby. I mean I did in one way. Of course I loved him very much. But my heart was like a vice. I admired his cuteness, felt peaceful and loving when breastfeeding . . . but when I looked at him my heart did not move. Do you know when you look at someone you love, esp after a long time? Your heart swoops out before you to meet them, and then holding them, or seeing them, or being with them, is like reembracing your own heart again . . . ? Your heart moves when you love people--swoops, plunges, chokes you sometimes . . .

My heart just did not move for him and intellectually I know I loved him and I felt it on some level but . . . my heart was a vice. I protected myself seriously and, to some extent, consciously, against connecting with him until he was over the worst time period for SIDS . . . I was afraid, after taking 3 years to conceive him, having multiple miscarriages . . . I just didn't want to love him too much until I was sure this was really it for us . . . Really, now in retrospect, without emotion but with logic, SIDS is SO rare and usually affected by so many risk factors that we don't have . . . but that was my fear at the time and I owned it shamelessly.

So this started to lift around 5 months . . . and still I was okay, honestly, just, hard in my heart, but softening.

But then teething started at 6 months. Crawling started at 7.5 months. And it was almost like I went from being afraid I would lose him to suddenly losing myself. Losing my life.

I like writing. (Blogs, Message Boards, Facebook, etc). It helps me. But I couldn't do it with him crawling. I had to watch him at every second. I had to spend every moment trying to transform my world into a baby-safe place, so that I COULD have more than a second alone or to eat, or to shower, or . . .

And writing isn't the only thing I like to do--but suddenly it's like the hard-won independence of adulthood--which I had so longed for and wished for as a child--the ability to control my own life--which I ran at, like a horse out of the gate, as a teenager . . . this independence was suddenly, once again, gone. No one explained to me that 18 until when you have kids is the only time that you are actually independent and making decisions for your own best interests (and when your kids are grown, I suppose).

I didn't realize I was in like this "special freedom zone" but now in retrospect, other parents did attempt to tell me with things like: "Wait until they are crawling" "It all changes after you have kids" "Enjoy your sleep now", etc. You just don't realize that all of these things will get into your PSYCHOLOGY. That you will feel GUILT about the resentment of your lost freedom, you will feel CONFLICTED about your child, to feel such strong love for one who simultaneously demands SO much ALL THE TIME. It's emotionally and psychologically extremely challenging. I don't know if it's not something you can explain to someone, or if people just haven't done it well enough . . .

Anyway, things started to go downhill for me around 7.5-8 months, though honestly my whole "detached-out-of-fear" thing probably didn't set me up really nicely there, either . . . and the very worst was from like 7.5-11.5 months--for him, and honestly so much of it was related to teething. He became such a different child when his first 7 were in and we had a long break there for awhile. For me the stress continued through a haze of 1st birthday party (Nov 19th), Thanksgiving and related travel (20th-26th), and Christmas, and cleaning up from Christmas.

But in spite of this, I had really started to enjoy this independent, communicative toddler, down to nursing 6ish times a day . . . I LOVED not having to constantly manage meds and homeopathic teething solutions . . . I LOVED having a predictable 2-nap day and a baby who was easy peasy to put to sleep! I LOVED IT.

And stupidly I thought it was all related to him getting older. NOPE. TURNS OUT IT WAS ALL RELATED TO A BREAK FROM F'ING TEETHING. Now his molars are coming in and I feel like I've been dropped right back into hell. I'm such a freaking "put the bad stuff out of my mind" sort of person that I forget within a week how awful it was with him teething. But now it's back and . . . I don't know, I'd just started feeling normal and like I was feeling better. Now the idea of having to deal with this teething/clingyness/constant nursing/refusing to eat/refusing to nap/needing to constantly medicate/etc sort of baby for possibly another YEAR??! It's honestly panic-inducing.

I think I might need to step up my pharmacology. Taking adderall every day DOES help me manage my life. But I think it's . . . missing the major issue at this point.

And like I have the F'ing energy to sort through like 15 crappy psychiatrists to find one who will actually listen to and respect me and the fact that my system is SUPER sensitive and I will want to try a VERY VERY low dose, and communicate in more detail about what my options are and what diagnos(es?) I fit, etc . . . like I really have the energy to do that.

James the Hubby is home with me today because . . . I needed a mental health sick day from being a Mommy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What Has She Won, Folks?

There are many possible symptoms of postpartum depression, including the following:

Inability to sleep or sleeping a lot.
Change in appetite.
Extreme concern and worry about the baby or a lack of interest or feelings for the baby.
Feeling unable to love the baby or your family.
Anger toward the baby, your partner, or other family members.
Anxiety or panic attacks.
Fear of harming your baby. These thoughts may be obsessive, and you may be afraid to be left alone in the house with your baby.
Sadness or excessive crying.
Difficulty concentrating or remembering.
Feelings of doubt, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, or restlessness.
Lethargy or extreme fatigue.
Loss of interest in hobbies or other usual activities.
Mood swings marked by exaggerated highs and lows.
Feeling emotionally numb.
Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs.
Frequent calls to the pediatrician with an inability to be reassured.
Recurrent thoughts of death, which may include thinking about or even planning suicide.
Obsessive-compulsive features, including intrusive, repetitive thoughts and anxiety

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