Friday, March 25, 2011

Show off

One of the problems with living so far away from family and friends when you have a new baby is you don't really have anyone to ooh and aah over him. Everyday, Andrew learns something new or accomplishes some new feat (yesterday he managed to get his fist in his mouth, which is not a new trick, but he was able to keep it there, which is new). And, of course, I have no one to witness this particularl little feat. Greg is working crazy hours -- leaving before Andrew wakes up and getting home after he's gone to bed. So I am left alone to revel in every smile, every movement, every dirty diaper.
I long to be closer to my family because they will make such a fuss over my boy that both Andrew and I might both be a little overwhelmed. After a lot of consideration, I decided to make the trek to NC without Greg. So it will be me and Andrew flying home next month.
I am a little nervous about flying with him for the first time without an extra set of hands, but I keep telling myself that it is only 6 hours travel time and we will get through it just fine, even if we have to ask a stranger to help us out.
I can't wait to get there. I can't wait for Andrew to meet his Aunt Renee' and all his cousins, to see my 92-year-old grandmother lay eyes on Andrew for the first time. I can't wait for Andrew and my great nephew Wyatt to meet -- they are only seven months apart and I predict they will be the best of friends for the rest of their lives.
I look forward to seeing my parents with Andrew again now that he has emerged from his state of newness to become this observant, interactive little wonder. I can't wait to see my Aunt Betty -- so sick, in Round 2 of her battle with breast cancer -- with Andrew in her arms. So many prayers she has prayed for this perfect little miracle. She has asked my mother when we will be home every day. When my mom told her April 21, she said "that is still a long time away." I suppose your perspective of time shifts when you are fighting for your life.
I anticipate so much joy in our homecoming. We'll be there for Easter and I plan to take Andrew to church -- the church of my childhood where every face is familiar and everyone who occupies a seat in the pew is linked either by blood or by friendship. My family still attends services regularly and this church has prayed for us to become parents for as many years as we've been trying. I can't wait to show them our answered prayer.
We'll be there for 19 days, plenty long enough for me to miss Greg and my home. Long enough for Greg to really miss us and wonder why I stayed so long. But it won't be long enough. I look forward to the day when I am surrounded by the people I love the most. I'm sure when we make our last move home and get settled I will ask myself why in the world we decided to move so close to all these crazy relatives, but then I will remember this isolation and this particular brand of lonliness and I will know that whatever my family does to get on my nerves is a small price to pay for having a whole host of folks who love you nearby.
Basically, I am looking forward to "showing off" my little guy. He is absolutely perfect, afterall!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Have you ever hurt your knee or your ankle and just when you least expect it that old injury will flare up and remind you of the pain you once endured?
Well, that's a little what parenting after infertility is like. There you are, moving right along with your day, happy as a pig in mud because you've finally got your little one in your arms and then -- that old familiar sting.
I experienced a flare up of that old injury of infertility yesterday. Andrew and I were out for our daily stroll -- I was hoping he'd slip into a little nap as he used to do everytime I'd put him in his stroller. But, there's just too much out there in the world to see! Now he spends his time in the stroller drooling, cooing, shaking his favorite rattle and taking in the big, big world.
We were only a few blocks from home when I saw a young girl standing near the street waiting for a friend who was walking on the opposite sidewalk. From the back, this girl looked a lot like my niece Emily, with her long red hair and her athletic build.
Emily is a rare girl -- unbelievably kind and smart and funny. Her laugh, her smile, well, it's just infectious. You cannot help but fall in love with my niece.
This girl was about the same age as my Emily -- the one that brings you to a state of flux -- not a child, not a woman, just stuck somewhere in between. I could sense her enthusiasm as she greeted her friend and the two locked arms and started chatting and went inside. I thought about all the girl drama they are bound to stir up and I felt a little catch in my throat. Why on earth was I about to cry?
Because I had one thought -- I will never have a daughter.
Damn you infertility. Even in these happiest days of my life, with my smiling, cooing, perfect little son finally here in my arms, you manage to bring me to tears.

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patty's Day fun

Here's a picture of me and my little guy in his silly St. Patty's Day socks.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sleep, baby, sleep

I haven't really talked about our sleep issues on here before other than mentioning the reflux was affecting Andrew's sleep and to say that he had grown accustomed to being soothed to sleep by either Mommy or Daddy. Now that we have the reflux issue under control (much better! Thank goodness!), we are working on the other issues.
Two nights ago, after a day that featured very little napping on Andrew's part -- I found myself standing over his crib once again for the fourth time -- he was waking every hour and I prayed out loud -- "Lord, send an angel to soothe this baby so that I can get some rest!"
Well, yesterday Andrew napped like a dream -- 2 hours in the morning, 3 hours in the afternoon and one 30 min. power nap in the evening -- and then a miracle happened. I had given him his last bottle of the day, did our little bedtime rituals -- lullabys, a little rocking, kisses goodnight and put him in his crib fully expecting to pat and shhhh him to sleep like always. Well, after about 10-15 min of pat shush, my boy was still wide eyed and just making his little baby noises. I decided mommy needed a short break, so I went into the living room and sat down on the couch. I could hear Andrew on the monitor -- he was not crying, just cooing and grunting. Greg wanted to tell me something so I listened to his story and by the end of it, the grunting and cooing had stopped. Silence from the monitor.
I told Greg to go in there and make sure Andrew was OK. Greg came back and said Andrew was fast asleep.
What? My babe put himself to sleep? Hallelujah and thank you Lord for that angel!
So, when Andrew awoke at 1:15 a.m. for a feeding, I wasn't sure what to expect. After a feeding and a diaper change (the midnight pooper strikes again) I decided to try my luck again -- I did our ritual (sans lullabyes) and placed a drowsy but fully awake Andrew in his crib. I patted his little leg a couple of times and told him I'd see him in the morning, sweet dreams.
At 6:30 this morning, I woke up in the bed alone -- Greg was already up getting ready for work. I came into the kitchen, made me some coffee and had a nice little chat with my husband before Andrew woke up at 6:45 a.m.
He also put himself to sleep for his first nap of the day (though it was only about an hour) and then again for his second nap of the day, which is going into the second hour as I type this, fingers crossed for a 2 hour nap!).
I cannot say how relieved I am at these recent events. Greg said it might be a fluke, but I am hoping that since we have Andrew's feeding and reflux issues under control -- maybe his sleep issues are resolving themselves as well.
A well rested baby means a well rested Mama! So, sleep, baby, sleep!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Should be interesting

My mother-in-law is coming to visit. This is big news at our house because my mother-in-law has never visited us. She didn't come to our wedding more than eight years ago and she has not visited Greg in 19 years. We have not seen her in more than two years and all totaled, I have probably only spent about 8 hours face to face with her since I met Greg.
It's not that I have anything against my mother-in-law, I really don't know her. And, I guess that's what makes me nervous. Usually we communicate through e-mail and Greg talks with her on the phone. The only time I've ever talked with her on the phone was one Thanksgiving when we lived in Italy. The phone rang, I said "hello" and a woman's voice said "Is Greg there?" and I said "yes, hold on just a minute," and I put him on the phone. I didn't even know it was her!
I don't think I'm the only one who is nervous about her visit. Greg has been asking me repeatedly if I have thought of things we can do while she's here. I think it has been so long since he spent time with her that he's worried she will be bored or they won't have anything to talk about.
But, I've been so busy with Andrew that I haven't had time to put much thought into what we will do. I suppose she will want to spend a lot of time with Andrew, because that is the reason she is coming. So, I guess I will try not to worry about it too much.
Speaking of worry, last night, I dreamed that I was shopping at Target and talking to my mom on the phone. My mom said "where's Andrew?" and I said, "He's at home asleep but I have the monitor with me." Oh goodness! What a crazy person I have become!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A new direction?

Andrew had his two-month check up on Thursday. He weighs 12.6 pounds and is 24 inches long! He's a big boy!
I feel like we're finally moving in a new direction. Dr. S has diagnosed Andrew with reflux, which I had suspected since we made the switch to formula. He has many of the symptoms of reflux.
1. He fusses after feedings -- which I had interpreted as a sign that he wanted more but most times he wouldn't take more or he would spit it all back up.
2. He spits up A LOT. He spits up during his sleep, even if it has been hours since his last feeding. This usually wakes him up and he doesn't get the rest he needs.
3. He constantly makes this noise in the back of his throat -- I call it a grunt but Dr. S said it is really a cough, caused by the reflux.
4. He still has the hiccups several times a day.
5. He has a terrible amount of gas. I've watched him in his sleep pull his little legs to his chest and then pass gas, waking himself up.
6. He cries out in his sleep. I can't tell you how many times I have gone to his bed thinking something horrible has happened to him only to find him sound asleep.

So, we have made some adjustments according to the doctor's orders.
We are doing smaller, more frequent feedings. Instead of 6 oz. every 4 hours, he's getting 4 oz. every 3 hours. We burp him every ounce and we hold him up on the shoulder for 20 minutes after each feeding. We have elevated one end of his crib. We are putting one tsp. of rice cereal per ounce of milk in each bottle to weigh down the milk in hopes of keeping it from coming back up. And, perhaps most important (or controversial) Andrew gets two doses of Zantac in his bottle everyday.
Since we started these things, the amount of spit up has decreased significantly. Andrew can put himself to sleep without the endless soothing we were doing. A swaddle and a few pats seeem to be all he needs now. His sleep is more sound and though we have heard the little cough a time or two, it is not constant like it was. He has only cried out in his sleep once. He seems to be napping better.
We had hoped the rice in the bottle would help him sleep through the night, but it has not. But that is OK. That will come with time.
I really hope these new measures will make Andrew more comfortable. I now understand that he has been in quite a bit of pain and discomfort, which is something that I could not fix for him. His crying made me feel like I had to be doing something wrong, but the cause of his crying was something that I could not fix.
It is a terrible feeling when your baby is crying and you've done everything in your power to soothe him and nothing works. Here's hoping those days are behind us.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Let me tell you about my baby

I want to tell you about my baby -- not the screaming baby who wasn't getting enough to eat during the first month of his life -- not the "colicky" baby who had a problem with his old formula -- not the baby who suffered from the side effects of "accidental" parenting. I want to tell you about the baby who is napping soundly in his crib in his room down the hall as I write this post.
I don't know what has changed. Maybe it is the fact that Andrew is nearly 8 weeks old. Holy crap! How'd that happen? Or, maybe it is his mom who has changed. Everyone says taking care of a newborn is a guessing game -- and I finally feel like I'm getting better at guessing.
I am taking the advice of my sister, my cousin and my friend -- don't worry so much about schedules. In fact, my friend sent me an email after reading my last couple of posts and told me to post it on the refrigerator, which I did.

This is what it says:

You are a great Mom.

Use your instincts. Rock Andrew and let him sleep on your chest - in a very short time he will be too big for this kind of snuggle.

Don't stress over schedules - Andrew will eat, sleep, poop, and play when he wants to.

Don't compare your child or your life to anyone! We all have our own unique situation. Embrace yours!

Focus on what you did accomplish today.

It will not be this way forever - it does get easier!! I promise!

Express yourself - cry, scream, cuss, or laugh your way through the day! Remember - you are not yourself - you are sleep deprived and physically and mentally exhausted.

If these don't get you through - call me!!!! Anytime!! I mean it! I am here for you -I wish I could be there with/for you....but right now I am just a phone call away.

My sister said "I didn't worry about scheudles with my babies, we were just on baby time." And, so I started to shift my perspective. While I'm still hoping to get Andrew to bed at roughly the same time each night, I am happy to say that I'm just taking things as they come.
We've reached some pretty big milestones over the past few weeks. First, right after my birthday, I moved Andrew out of our bedroom and into his own room just a few steps down the hall. This helped me sleep better because even though I had the monitor on, I wasn't tempted to jump up everytime he made a little noise during the night (he is a noisy sleeper). Second, Andrew has started to smile. Sometimes, it's only once or twice a day. Sometimes, it's more. No matter how often I see that smile, it never fails to make my heart melt. Another big milestone is that as of this weekend, my little guy is no longer sleeping in his bassinet. I tried moving him to his crib early last week because he was clearly outgrowing the bassinet. But, it didn't go so well and I ended up putting him back in the bassinet. Well, by Saturday it was clear that arrangement wasn't going to work any longer. His little feet were touching the sides of the bassinet! So, we have made the move to the crib and it is going just fine. It was a bittersweet goodbye for me. The good part about it is though he looked giant in the bassinet, he looks pretty small in his crib.
Andrew can now grip a rattle in his little hand and he can follow an object if you move it in an in front of him. He seems to respond to the sound of my voice or the sight of me when I walk into the room. He "talks" to me with little grunts or coos and Greg swears he can say "hey." lol
He is a chubby little guy with the bluest eyes and the pinkest lips and hair that looks red or blonde depending on the light. He is the most beautiful baby in the world.
My neighbor saw him yesterday and said "he's about to come alive," and though I wouldn't have put it in those words, I think she's right. Everyday brings more awareness and more interest in what's going on around him.
They say that at four months babies enter one of the most enjoyable stages -- when they smile and laugh and interact with people but still can't move around on their own. I am looking forward to that time, but for now, I'm trying to enjoy every day of the stage we're in.