Thursday, July 9, 2015

Somewhere, there will be ice cream..

I have never been a huge fan of the Fourth of July. It is probably one of my least favorite holidays; don't call me un-American, but I really hate fireworks. I do enjoy however getting together with friends and family in celebration, and going to the parade. 

I love a parade. 

I have been going to our city's hometown parade since I was a wee little girl and there was no way I was not going to take my son this year, even if it was just for a short time, just to say he went on his very first Fourth. 

My family's motto is to travel fast and light ~ my dad was never the type to bring chairs or blankets for us to sit on during the parade. Nope, we just planted ourselves curbside and then we could skedaddle quickly when it was over without carrying a bunch of stuff and fighting the crowd. We could just stand up and go. I am not sure I will adopt this totally as W. gets older, but for this year, I chose to leave his stroller at home and to rely solely on the baby carrier. I loved it and so did he!

Granted sometimes it looked like I was just carrying a very utilitarian bag on the front of me because I am super paranoid about him getting sunburned so I used the hood whenever we were in direct sunlight, but I didn't care how it looked to other people. We were both comfortable and mobile. I have two Bobas ~ one is the one seen here, the Boba 4G and also the Boba wrap. This one is a bit more durable for big outings, at least in my opinion. We ended up walking most of the parade route, as little guy didn't like us to stand still for too long ~ must keep moving and all that!  I would rate our first parade a success! 

While we were downtown we popped into a local business, Glow Fish Studios. I loved that place! I wanted to buy everything in there. We also spent at least 20 minutes talking to the owners ~ they are so open and friendly! We really enjoyed our conversation with them. And of course I couldn't leave empty handed. I bought these super cute green rabbit earrings by Dreamspirit ~ I love rabbits and couldn't resist. There is also a fox necklace there that I have my eye on...

Billy and I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather, it has been so rainy this summer, so we also went on a little excursion to Lower Huron Metropark. We are big supporters of our Metroparks, and we had never visited Lower Huron. It was a nice drive, and we found an idyllic spot near the water to watch birds. We also ran into this place.


It was the cutest little roadside ice cream place! It was very 1950s in style and I loved it. And the ice cream was not too shabby either!

The next day was all about family. This year has been a big baby boom in my family - there were three babies born this year with one more on the way! I had not yet my cousin Meghan's son Rowan, and so we were headed to the farm to meet him. They were in town from Chicago, and wanted to meet our little guy too. Everywhere you looked there was a baby! It was W.'s first visit to farm country and I think he really loved it. He had a great sunset view with his dinner and then some quiet time with his dad.

 So for not being a big fan of the Fourth, this year was pretty darn good. I had a fabulous weekend with my family, small and large.

 Hope you all had a fabulous fourth too!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Frustration and Fear of Feeding Time

So, feeding your baby seems like it should be an easy, natural, peaceful moment. And most of the time for us, it is. But sometimes it isn't. I am not sure how it is with full-term babies, but with preemies, in particular mine, it can be a huge source of anxiety and frustration.

I really wanted to breastfeed, knowing all the benefits, especially for preemies. Unfortunately, it just never happened for us. Whether it was from the stress of our situation, being separated from him while he was in the NICU for 6 week ( I was there 12 hours a day but it's not the same) I just couldn't keep up with what he needed, and I tried everything. Tea, supplements, everything that is suggested to help production I did - it just didn't work out. So the bottle and formula it was.

Like a lot of preemies, Wyatt has acid reflux. We found this out in the NICU, when he was about 35 weeks old. He had been eating from the bottle for about 2 weeks, and had some great skill at it! Then one day out of the blue, he started to spit up, and it just didn't stop. Every feeding got worse and worse, until eventually he decided that spitting up wasn't worth it, and went on a hunger strike. He was put on Zantac, and things seemed to get better, but not completely. 

He fights, struggles, arches his back, and cries in pain while eating at times when his reflux is acting up. And for an almost 7 lb pound baby, he is surprisingly strong! He makes little gremlin noises if laid down too soon after eating, so he can't just go to sleep right away or we risk him losing his lunch (or dinner or snack or whatever). We learned a few important lessons in the NICU regarding feeding him. Those nurses are true treasures and you can really learn a lot from them during your time there, if you have a teachable spirit and want to learn. 

Rule 1: Feeding your baby is not cuddle time, it's a job.

A nurse told me this when she saw me feeding Wyatt in the time honored way that you see depicted in every photo, the baby nestled gently in the crook of your arm, eating peacefully from his bottle. This is not our reality. Instead, we feed him in an upright position, either braced against our bent knees, or sitting up straight while we hold him with our hands bracing his neck and head safely. It is not the most comfortable or convenient way to feed your child, but you do it if you need to, and we need to. Then we need to hold him upright for at least 30 minutes after he eats. It's not really a hardship to hold your warm and contented baby for 30 minutes though, except maybe at 3 am and you just want to get back to bed. 

Rule 2: Never give up on the burp.

Probably one of the best pieces of advice we were given by a nurse. I would pat and pat and pat and pat to no avail, and then assume that Wyatt didn't need to burp. I was wrong, which he proved to me by urping up his food all over me, sometimes in great quantities. I still have to really work on burping the boy, he doesn't give them up easily. I work on it sometimes until my arm feels like it is going to fall off, but I don't give up! And just think, this happens every three hours.

I dread these moments of reflux. No one wants to hear their baby crying from being fed, or having them fight you to avoid eating. It is unpleasant and scary and sad. Most of the time, his medicine helps, but there are those occasions when it just doesn't. And with Wyatt, every feeding counts. He needs to gain weight and grow, to catch up. It is just that much harder when eating can be so hard for him.

I have heard that babies grow out of their reflux, and I can only hope that Wyatt's time is coming. I just want him to be able to eat without pain, so that he can eat more, and grow big and strong even faster.

How about you? Any reflux stories or advice?

Monday, May 11, 2015

My first Mother's Day

It began with an early morning poopy diaper. Bleary eyed, I tried to calm my son at an hour I hadn't seen since college, way before having a baby. My movements hampered by sleep deprivation, my coordination and skills were all off, making cleaning him up and keeping the mess from spreading everywhere difficult. But we made it through and I was rewarded by bright eyes and a contented boy, who was also getting a bit hungry. I laid him back down while I went in search of his next bottle. Out of our premade formula, I opened the canister to find that there was not enough left to make another batch. Since my husband had stayed up longer with our son to give me a few more hours of sleep, I didn't want to wake him for a trip to the store too. So that left me. After pulling on some random clothes from my bedroom floor, and running a brush through my crazy mop of messy hair, which only made it worse, I ran up to the CVS on the corner. I was surprised by the amount of men there, especially at this early hour - then I remembered it was Mother's Day. The greetings cards and candy in the hands of the other patrons was a big tip. 

My day fell into a gentle rhythm. Church with my mom and aunt, a nice ride around a pretty island with my husband and baby, followed by a ride through the park while rain fell around us. It felt cozy in that car, with the gentle rain shower splashing onto the windows, the three of us in the car together, safe and warm. It was like time could stand still, as we looked out the windows at the birds, the yellow fields of dandelions, families barbecuing despite the weather. Billy gave me a beautiful necklace, with Wyatt's birthstone on it, along with an etched leaf with a "W" for Wyatt, which I love. But it was his gift of time spent with me that meant the most. Just us, no agenda, nothing which had to be done except enjoy the day slowly. Our lives are so busy most of the time now, squeezing in chores between feedings, doing all of the important business of living in rushed hours, but not really taking the time to enjoy what we are doing and who we are doing them with. My Mother's Day gave me that time, to enjoy my small family, my boys. To remind me that every dirty diaper exists because my son does, when we never thought that we would have a child.  My Mother's Day might not have begun like a commercial holiday, with breakfast in bed, flowers,  a clean kitchen. But it was real. Every dirty diaper, every last minute trip to the store, every minute of lost sleep are moments I rejoice in, for this boy is now in my life, and all that comes with him. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meet Baby Wyatt!

Hey all!

So..the last 5 weeks have been bumpy. I went to my doctor's appointment on February 12th and was sent directly to the hospital for preeclampsia. I stayed in the hospital about 3 weeks before they needed to deliver my son via C-section, due to some issues he was having as well. He was born early, at almost 33 weeks. On the day he was born, it was discovered that he had a brain bleed in an ultrasound, which prompted the delivery. Three days after he was born, he had a reservoir put into his head. He is now two weeks born, and doing really well! He is still in the NICU and probably will be for a while, which is hard. I just want him well and at home, but for now he is in the best place for him. However, if you could keep him in your prayers, that would be appreciated. :)

Meet Wyatt James Atticus! We gave him an extra middle name to grow on. :)

Feeling nautical! And I no longer have the feeding tube in my nose, I eat like a big boy now!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Current Loves and Dislikes ~ 7 Months

So far I really have to say that I have done ok with the more difficult aspects of pregnancy. Sure your body is totally different, your hormones careen out of control, walking at a quick pace becomes a novelty, but it's nothing that can't be handled for a few months. It's worth it in the end, but it doesn't mean you don't miss certain things! 

Currently missing from my life:

Coffee: Life giving, glorious, delicious coffee. I am allowed to have two cups per day per my doctor, but I can't wait until the time I can hit the coffee pot to my heart's content. I never knew I was such a coffee freak until I was pregnant! Now I dream of the day I can just drink coffee and not parcel it out. All I can say is look out world the minute the leash is off - I am sure I will be one caffeinated woman that day! I may need it though, with all the sleepless nights I am sure are ahead of me.

Sushi: I also really really miss sushi. Especially the spicy kind. 

My clothes: I miss my normal clothes. The ones without the stretchy material that goes up to my ribs, or has ruching on the side to accommodate my growing belly. I also miss wearing my heeled boots and heeled shoes. Winter in Michigan is just too precarious to be traipsing about off balance on heels over ice, so they will have to wait until next year, when I probably won't wear them if I am carrying the baby anyway. 

Cocktails: Ok, we knew this would probably be on here. I actually did not miss alcoholic beverages much for most of my pregnancy. Now in the home stretch, when I see someone enjoying a nice cocktail or glass of red wine, I kind of want to snatch it from the clutches for just a sip. I could probably do that, have a sip not snatch it out of their hands, but I don't. I don't feel this way every time either, just occasionally. And I don't think it's the actual drink I miss, but the act of drinking it? The relaxation with friends over a nice glass of Cabernet. How civilized. 

Sleeping on my stomach: Yes, another can't wait moment. I am a total stomach sleeper, this side sleeping is difficult!

Things I am loving:

It's not all bad over here in pregnant lady land. 

Hot Chocolate:  Hot chocolate is my friend. 99% caffeine free, it has become my boon companion during these cold winter months. I don't go buck wild crazy drinking it, but at least one cup a day is consumed by me in utter ecstasy. The baby boy seems to like it too - the sugar makes him kick around in there. This is interchangeable with Cafe Mochas from McDonalds and Peppermint Mochas from 7-11 when they had them.

My Snoogle MiniI was experiencing some crazy hip pain in the mornings from laying on my side. I actually couldn't sleep that well through the night even, tossing and turning restlessly and in pain. I researched body pillows and found this one. I am a small woman, only 5' 1" and after reading reviews I decided the Snoogle Mini would be a good choice for me. I am glad I went for it, because now I sleep soundly and fairly comfortably. My husband doesn't really care for its presence. but he does like that I am sleeping better.

Victoria's Secret Boy Shorts: Ok this might be a bit personal, but these undies are the best while pregnant! If you are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant, I highly recommend them. At least, they work for me; I find them super comfortable.

Leggings and yoga pants: I was never one to constantly wear leggings or yoga pants, but I have found their glory during this pregnancy. My mom gave me a pair of her stretched out yoga pants and I rarely want to take them off if I am at home. They are just that comfortable. 

McDonald's Smoothies: Oy, there were days when the only thing that sounded good to eat or drink was a Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie. So cold, so refreshing, so fruity. Just talking about it is making me crave one!

Chocolate Dip Doughnuts: Ok I realize most of this list is food, and not good for you food, related. I try not to go bananas with this stuff, but sometimes you just gotta give in to that craving!!!

Hummus: See! I do crave something good for me. The baby likes this one too. A lot! Or else he hates it. It is hard to say if they are kicking because it sucks or because it is awesome. Did you know that by 20 weeks or so, babies can taste and smell the food their mom eats? So crazy!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The 7 month journey to here

This is pretty much how I felt when I learned I was pregnant, although I actually went through about $80 in pregnancy tests. After such a long time of not ever conceiving, all of a sudden we were having a baby! Surprise, surprise!

Add in my high blood pressure, asthma, age, and newly discovered hyperthyroidism and it was a wild ride at first, with multiple doctor's appointments. But I have a wonderful team of doctors who all work together very well. I feel so comfortable with them, and really trust them. 

Right now, we are in the midst of getting our house all ready for the little guy. My husband is toiling away day and night, finishing up rooms that need to be finished, while I go through our things and purge what we no longer need. My family is busily planning our shower, and I can't wait to see what they have done!

I have learned things about myself along the way - the main thing being that I really don't mind being pregnant. Who knew? It's actually kind of fun! My husband and I have always been adventurous of spirit, and we love this piece of artwork.

It speaks so truly to how we feel about this process - this baby, our son, will truly be our greatest adventure!