Sunday, March 30, 2008


I am seriously having the hardest time getting into a zen-state with Alex. The fact that I am typing this one-handed should give you a pretty good picture. I am very close to saying the hell with my back and using the sling in the evening again. My back may hate me for it but he'll sleep, my chiropractor will have a lot of business, and most importantly I won't be holing in tears and screams when he wakes for the umpteenth time after being rocked and held for an hour.

Sorry folks, sleep deprivation is my life right now, so that's what you get.

It's not really that bad, just hit a crisis point earlier. I just found out I'll have some company knitting a sweater that I hope to have done for Alex's baptism at the end of the month. I don't feel like going through all the hoops I'd have to to pump enough milk to go out Tuesday night, but I'll definitely pop Alex in the wrap and head out to Starbucks for some music and knitting therapy. Here's hoping he'll sleep for me.

Sorry for typos - still one-handed and in the dark.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Defense Mechanism

We are (I pray) on the downside of one of those 24 hour growth spurts - the one's where he'll only sleep out of arms for a maximum of 40 minutes and cosleeping won't cut it (not that I can actually sleep while doing that either). My scalp hurts - I am sleep deprived enough that my scalp hurts. At least he's been very happy - when he's not nursing he just looks up at me and coos and giggles, honest to goodness giggles. Once I get some food in me, I get a surge of the warm fuzzy hormones and forget why I can't see straight - not enough to want another baby, but enough that I'm not pleading with him in my mind to just please for the love of God just sleep.

Oh and if you are friends or the parent of someone who is nursing and going through the special sleep deprivation hell that is a growth spurt, please do not suggest that the husband take a stint with the baby - pretty much negates the whole purpose of a growth spurt in a breastfed baby. Seeing as Alex is pushing 10 weeks and we've been through this several times now, my mom nursed my youngest sister, *and* (this is the clincher) I've told her that growth spurt time is not the time to have John give him a bottle of pumped milk so I can sleep, my mother still persists in suggesting it. Oh, you're trying to quit smoking - here's a pack of cigarettes to get you through your nicotine withdrawal. Please just nod your head and say, "I'm so sorry - I'll bring you over some (insert baked good)." Just a wee bit pissed and I think I'm going to have to remind her to actually listen to what I say and I don't need her to fix it, I just need her to give me a verbal or better yet make the damn time to drive the 15 minutes to give me a real-life hug.

Stridor from the bedroom beckons - if he isn't awake then I really should be asleep. I let him pass out after only one side so I'm sure he'll wake as soon as I fall asleep again, but I am a weak woman.

'night all...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Just the facts...

I've started a long post about my never-ending quest to find baby-zen, but it requires thought and more importantly time, so here's a quickie post with atrocious grammar and sentence structure to let you know what's doing in our lives...

  • Michael is wearing underwear! He's not doing it full time, but he's been wearing them to school and then changing back into a pull-up at home. He pretty much only poops in the pull-ups and uses the toilet to pee. It's been really hard to grit my teeth and just let him go at his own pace, but we are finally seeing results. John's going to work with him on pooping on the toilet or potty (hopefully the former) on the weekends.

  • Alex gained a pound in 19 days - woo hoo! The reason I know this is because I had to take him to the ped's so we could get his Zantac dose increased. I'm really hoping that we can keep him on the Zantac only, but I'm starting to have my doubts. he is still vomiting at least twice a day and that doesn't count all the spitting that goes on as well. I don't think he has any food intolerances - his acne is completely gone and he has none of the classic symptoms, but I still have that niggling guilt in the back of my mind that I'm being selfish by not going on an elimination diet to find an environmental reason for the reflux. I know I could do it, but it would be awfully damn hard and things are pretty damn hard already so I know maintaining it would really take a toll. It's sort of like the guilt I felt for not pursuing a gluten-free diet for Michael or supplements after we got his autism dx (we did go dairy-free for 6 months with no real change). Definitely have to put this on the back burner for a while - taking care of myself and the two kids is more than enough to be going on. Let it be for now, Jenn.

  • Someone has replaced my lower spine and SI joints with broken glass. The main culprit is the sling - my joints are still recovering from the pregnancy and do not do well with only one shoulder supporting Alex's weight. My chiropractor did a lot of work on me yesterday morning and I'm pretty sure I undid every bit of it when I put Alex in the sling when I got home. He's all cozy in the moby wrap right now and while my back is marginally happier, I'm just resigned to having to wear him for the duration because there is no way I can ease him out once he's deeply asleep like I can with the sling. I'm going to dig out some bone-colored linen I've had forever and try to make myself an onihumbo this weekend so I can get the support and weight distribution I need and still potentially ease him out.

  • Let me say how much I like nursing! There are times where it does suck that I'm the only one who can feed him, but to be able to just leave like I did this afternoon with just my knitting, a receiving blanket and a diaper - it's fantastic. I've nursed him everywhere it seems - at the Please Touch museum, on a hay ride, in the park, at the peds office, and in Borders. I did manage to nurse him using the sling to support him twice now but I definitely have to practice more so I can become more proficient at it and avoid the screaming that accompanies my trying to figure out how to do it on the fly and keep Michael in sight.

Lunch needs making and eating, then dinner, ad infinitum...


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Alexander's Birth Story

The night before Alexander’s birth, I was more than a bit of a mess. All of those statistics about the risks associated with a scheduled cesarean that I had faced and made peace with came flooding in. It took a bit, but I was able to find my center again by drinking a hard cider and stringing the birth beads from my Mother Blessing. Of course, once I had the beads strung and everything packed and ready to go it was pushing three in the morning, but I went to bed anyway and day dreamed about meeting my new son in a few hours.

Our plan was to make our own way to the hospital by taking the bus like we did for Michael’s birth. It was frigid cold that morning, so my mom came over and dropped my sister at the house to stay with Michael and drove John and me to the hospital. Check in was a breeze, we took my last belly shot and made some nervous jokes about what was to come. I changed into a gown and settled into the bed so they could get some monitoring in. After many questions and a fun twenty minutes or so while they had to hunt for Alexander’s heartbeat because he chose that time to spin around and hang out flat up against my back, we were almost ready for the section. I could feel my nerves starting to creep back up. I had a lot of trauma from Michael’s birth and I was getting scared that Alexander’s would be a repeat.

My OB came in for a quick visit before we went back, as did the anesthesiologist. From what I can gather, my doctor requested a specific anesthesiologist since my experience with Michael had been so horrific. It was finally time to go back to L&D and then onto the OR. I remember giving John a quick kiss as I left him in the recovery room to put on his scrubs. The spinal placement was a dream - all I felt were the lidocaine shots. The anesthesiologist was absolutely fantastic. He explained everything he was doing in to me and was so completely on top of things - he would be giving me a shot of anti-nausea meds right as I was starting to feel nauseous. In no time at all, Alexander was out and letting the world know just how angry he was to be evicted from his cozy home. I remember both John and me crying as we heard Alex screaming at the world. Once he was bundled up, John sat down with him by my head and we both marveled at our second son while they finished the section.

After the section was complete, we all went back to the recovery room. Alex’s blood sugar was borderline, but I was prepared this time and able to get him latched on with no problem. John made some phone calls to family and friends to let everyone know that we were happy and well. He went upstairs with Alexander to the nursery while I stayed in recovery for a bit longer while my room was being made ready. Alex had to stay for a bit in the nursery for some observation, but soon he was in the room with us and we began falling in love with him in earnest.

The recovery definitely had its ups and downs, as did breastfeeding and dealing with two children, but I could not have asked for a more healing birth experience. My spinal placement was a breeze, I had no pain while they were closing me up, I had my wits about me and the meds wore off in a reasonable period of time. We had all that morning and afternoon to get to know each other and by evening we were more than ready to welcome the rest of my family in to meet the baby. Our postpartum period was a dream as well. Friends and family really came to bat with food for us. Even now at 5 weeks we still have stuff left. Aside from a few small stumbling blocks in the beginning, breastfeeding is going well and I’m slowly getting the hang of meeting everyone’s needs (including my own). Our family feels complete now and despite some tumult, we could not be happier.

This was written several weeks ago, I just hadn't gotten around to posting it yet. I'm not sure if I'll post it on my message board as it was not a coerced or medically indicated cesarean birth, but we covered that in another post. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Comfort food

I'm just getting ready to do a white wine and chicken broth reduction, season it with thyme and thicken it with a roux to serve over rice and some grilled chicken (alas, not the real stuff, but Perdue ready stuff). This is one of my favorite, I feel like crap things to eat.

We took Alex to the ped's office for his follow up and I found out he lost an ounce from last Thursday. The ped was not concerned by this at all, but it definitely spooked me, especially given how I had to explain why he gained so slowly in the beginning several times to the doctors at the hospital. After a trip to the park which was probably a mistake and two blocks of crying on Alex's part because he woke up hungry and wrangling Michael, pushing a stroller and holding crying newborn requires a few more arms than I currently have, I was completely fried. As I was sitting on the couch with Alex who was in a great quiet/alert state everything came crashing in - the two trips to the ER, strep, fire alarms, slow weight gain. I just sat there hugging him to my chest trying not to become hysterical so I wouldn't spook Michael. It's all been too fucking much. I know the saying goes that God doesn't give you more than you can handle, but he's been skirting way too close to my breaking point for my comfort and if I hear one more person tell me how great I'm handling things I think I will scream.

Wallowing over for now. Michael and I both need to be fed - me especially since the past few days have been abysmal in terms of my eating and I don't want to start that song and dance again. Here's hoping some non-Euclidean knitting will cure what ails me (I know how to knit mobius strips now - how cool is that?).

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Another one to scratch off the list

sorry in advance for typos - doing this one-handed

We just got home from our first overnight hospital stay - wasn't nearly as horrible as I imagined, but then again I was not there with a deathly ill child. The diagnosis is moderate laryngomalacia and reflux - the ENT saw erosions in his throat. We started zantac this morning and are already seeing some improvement. At least now I don't have to push for meds from the ped and we have a definite dx without the two-month wait list. Alex definitely charmed everone - even got my first big smile.

I'll flesh this out later, he's finally fallen asleep so it's off to bed I go...

Monday, March 03, 2008

A bit much

Not to be outdone by his brother, we are on the way to CHOP for Alex - he'd vomitted 3 x's when I spoke with the nurse (they never called me back from earlier today, grrr) and has had another 3 since I started the troops moving. wish us luck. sorry it looks so awful, typing one-handed while juggling baby.

Keeping me on my toes

Things started to get ridiculous at the beginning of last week. Alex's fussy periods lengthened and became more numerous, Michale started becoming hysterical about going to school, and I'm pretty sure I broke my pinkie toe last Monday. By Wednesday, the second day of complete hysterics on the way to the bus for school, I knew I had to do some serious work with Michael. That day I was able to get them both settled down for a nap at the same time. While they were sleeping I was able to get some housework done and most importantly I was able to get Michael's afternoon snack all set up and good to go for when he woke - amazing what it did for him. After Alex was fed and had some quiet alert time, I got him back to sleep and was able to have a few hours of one-on-one time with Michael. We ate dinner together, played video games, and I stayed with him in his room until he fell asleep without juggling Alex. Thursday he got to spend some special time with John while I was out with Alex at my OB appointment. On Friday we made the trek into tow to meet up with J and her daughter A for a play date of sorts. Saturday my sister came over and took him to the library and then to McDonald's for lunch. Today I took both of them to the park while John straightened for a visit from my in-laws. All of this has really paid off. He is much happier and we have been able to break the any attention equals good attention cycle and it's been wonderful. I've also seen his eating habits improve greatly - he ate fish sticks and had a few bites of cheeseburger on Saturday and Sunday he happily ate an apple and a few slices of cheese for lunch.

For myself I was able to get out of the house on Tuesday evening for my knitting circle. Listening to my new ipod with the volume cranked while I rode Septa by myself was heavenly even though it took me a while to fully relax. Depending on Alex, I'm hoping to get out again this Tuesday evening as well.

All that really leaves is Alex, and since he hasn't been seeing much action he's doing his level best to remedy it. He's been increasingly fussy in the evenings - having episodes where he is screaming angrily and no amount of juggling, swaddling or nursing seems to help. It wasn't happening every evening, but it was getting a lot more frequent. Then his sleep started getting wonky. On Monday morning he could not settle back into a deep sleep. Usually he sleeps for 3 hours, we nurse and whatnot for an hour and a half or so, and then he sleeps for another three hours until it's time to get up for the day. His first chunk of sleep on Sunday night was way shorter than usual and it took a hell of a lot longer to get him settled in the first place. The after he woke he couldn't settle back down - every time I thought he was in a good deep sleep he'd wake right back up. This is becoming the new normal for him. I am writing this now at almost 3 and he has just fallen asleep for real for the first time since a cat nap at 9. After going through this on Saturday night, I remembered something I read, did some searching, and we think we know what's going on.

Since birth, Alex has always had noisy inhalations, in fact they kept him in the nursery for observation for four hours on his birthday because of it. I've had my suspicions for a while now, but holding him last night and watching him be unable to settle into a deep sleep because of the stridor, I finally read up on laryngomalacia and it looks like it's a fit. In addition, all those little behaviors that by themselves don't mean much, are finally adding up and I'm pretty sure he has reflux as well. Not that angry, screaming baby is fun in any way, knowing that it's because he's most likely in pain just makes it all the worse. I'm starting a food diary/behavior log to see if there is any pattern, but my gut is saying it's not dietary on my part but I'm still going to explore it. H gave me some great resources, so I'll be making some phone calls today to get him on wait lists for some docs out at CHOP. Here's a small video clip I shot last night while he was trying to settle that has a good example of the stridor.

Here's hoping that we can get him feeling better soon. I'm off to bed myself. Michael woke while I was writing and has settled on my side of the bed so I have to nudge him off my pillows so I can get to sleep too. 'night all.

P.S. - Alex is back up and over his birth weight. He weighs 10lbs 5 oz and is just shy of 22 inches long. It's really cool that he gained just shy of a pound in 17 days on just my milk.