Sunday, February 29, 2004

Stacie's baby girl is so tiny! In fact, I'm not sure that Spencer was ever that small. She felt so incredibly light to hold - weighing less than eight pounds now, and Spencer is about twice that! Spencer was not a very good guest, as he started screaming about 10 minutes after we arrived. I had hoped he would continue his morning nap, but he decided he was up and didn't want to go back to sleep. After a few vain attempts, we took the little ones on a walk. Their house backs up to Red Wolf Run golf course, and as the day was a bit cool and cloudy and windy, the course was not too crowded. (Ironically, Jim was golfing at Atascocita - which meant we were less than 10 miles away from each other, over 40 miles from our house!) As usual, Spencer settled down and ultimately dozed off during our walk. Here are a few pictures of us and our babies. I still need to get a copy of the picture Tracy took of Stacie and I hugging each other when we were in our 7th and 9th months of pregnancy.

After dinner out with Lori and Jack, we came home to discover that Spencer had finally pooped! And, after 72 hours, it was a big one! I'm afraid that the blowout may have rendered one of his little white t-shirts no longer wearable. Good thing we were getting ready to bathe him anyhow because the little man was quite a mess, but, as usual, he didn't seem to care in the least!

Lots of work to do today to get everyone ready for tomorrow. We have to write his name on everything (clothes, bottles, etc.) decide what items will be left at school with him (changes of clothes, bibs, etc.) and get a system figured out for how we will be bringing milk over in an ongoing basis. There are nearly 50 ounces in the freezer right now, so we are well-equipped to drop off plenty with him in the morning. It's hard to know exact numbers while nursing, but babies this age require up to 40 ounces a day.

Thanks for all of the kind wishes and votes of encouragement for tomorrow. Knowing I have support from friends is definitely helping to ease my mind through this difficult time.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Well, today was quite a success on many fronts. It was a big day for Spencer and I as we were separated for nearly four hours. Jim met me at Spencer's school and we dropped him off along with a backpack full of his clothes, blankets, diapers (our tuition fee includes diapers, but they currently don't have any babies younger than 8 months, so today they didn't have any small diapers on hand.) I had also printed out a detailed page of his sleeping and eating habits, along tips & tricks we've learned about his likes and dislikes, and left them with a whole bunch of milk. It was very hard to finally turn around and exit the room. But we did, and I didn't cry. I think all of the adjusting we've being working on was helpful - today was the first day this week that I didn't actually cry. After leaving, Jim and I ate lunch together, then I went off to run some errands (didn't get to go shoe shopping) and squeezed in a haircut with whoever had availability at the Alan Murphy Salon. I felt a bit bad about not using my regular girl, but I haven't been 'wowed' with the last few cuts, and I was excited to have an hour to get a cut at all. When I returned to school, I found Spencer hanging out in his infant carrier with Ms. Karen. It was an adorable scene to watch 13 month-old Hannah standing there too who seemed to enjoy rocking Spencer's seat as he stared back at her. Ms. Karen said he had been so curious about the new surroundings and barely closed his eyes at all. He ate a lot, but according to the take-home sheet with his eating/sleeping/diaper change information I see that little Spencer has not pooped since Wednesday. Not of real concern, babies sometimes go for many days without pooping, and it does not mean they are constipated. Hey, I'm not going to complain about only changing wet diapers!

Another wonderful part of today was that, after a few emails back and forth, I finally got a call from Stacie! We talked on the phone for about an hour, and made plans to get together tomorrow. Her baby girl Katie will be four weeks old. Right now it looks like it should be a nice day to take a brisk walk outside. Hopefully our babies' schedules will cooperate to allow that to happen.
This week has been really rough so far, emotionally. (Things are improving physically, thank goodness.) On Monday Spencer and I went to his school for a couple of hours to check things out and prepare ourselves (me) for next week. Of course I know this is going to be hard, but I never realized how powerful the feeling would be. Mommies are just not programmed to hand their babies over to someone else and walk away. Monday morning (shortly before lunchtime) yielded a bunch of cranky toddlers and left me feeling a little unsure of our decision. (Carol confirmed that, as a teacher, Monday mornings are particularly tough on little children.) But Jim and I returned on Wednesday morning to find a more even atmosphere in the room. And we went back later that day to meet the afternoon staff and found it to be calmer and even more organized at that time of day. This times out great for Spencer's schedule, as he often doesn't wake up from his morning nap until around 1:00.

It's also been rough because we suspect that Spencer may be coming up on his three-month growth spurt. After managing to bank about 40 ounces into the freezer in the span of about two weeks, suddenly I am having trouble satisfying Spencer's appetite in the evenings. It's frustrating for me, and not altogether comfortable either, to have him want to nurse for the entire evening. Yesterday he didn't take an afternoon nap of any kind, except for occasionally passing out for 10-15 after a bit of nursing. The book I ordered to learn how to effectively put your baby to sleep arrived yesterday and I poured over it immediately. "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" was recommended very highly in "Baby 411" The first few chapters have already given me a much better understanding about the science of sleep. With that, the approach on how to teach babies to go to sleep is entirely logical. Unfortunately, young babies are neurologically immature and unable to calm themselves down (why infants require swaddling) so we are still unable to put these techniques into practice just yet. Which is why Spencer continues to spend many overnights in the swing.

Tomorrow I plan to leave Spencer at school for a couple of hours, so I can burst into tears somewhere other than work! Perhaps I'll finally make it to DSW to get some new shoes for my return to work.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

It was so good of Audra to call on her way back into town to see about meeting up for dinner. We went out to Guadalajara with her and Dawn and Joni. Spencer cried and fussed a little bit during the meal, but was well-behaved overall. Dawn asked when I would be returning to hockey, but didn't give me the third degree I was expecting. Right now Spencer's evenings are so fussy it seems hard to commit to being away on a regular weekly basis for a league. We're still a bit confused as to how to handle this 'limbo' period for putting Spencer to bed. He's a bit beyond the 'do what ever it takes to get him to fall asleep and be quiet' and not quiet old enough to 'train proper bedtime rituals.' We gave him a bath when we got home last night (and he is indeed starting to enjoy them somewhat) then another feeding, and just when we think everything is quiet and ready for bed, he begins his usual late night cry. Argh!

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Just when I think things have really begun to turn a corner I feel like I get punched below the belt. Earlier this week I was feeling really good about my new role as a mom. Having my mother in town was a big help, and the visit to Spencer's pediatrician the week before yielded some good suggestions for breastfeeding. He was most helpful, and we now have about 40 ounces of milk in the freezer. I had been optimistic that we were all set for Spencer and I to start school and work in just one more week. But yesterday I went back to my doctor because I suspected something just wasn't right again. And she confirmed that Spencer and I have thrush. Argh. Another infection. Ironically, it's possible that taking antibiotics to treat the mastitis is what made me susceptible to getting this! So now I'm requiring medication again, and we will likely have to visit Spencer's pediatrician again after the weekend to get some type of baby mouthwash for him. And, I asked about my sore abdomen while I was there as well, and a quick exam concluded that my muscles have been significantly weakened and I am at risk for a hernia. No lifting, except for the baby of course. Good grief.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Happy 28th Birthday Deena!!!

Yesterday afternoon we took Spencer to an ENT who confirmed his laryngomalacia. Unfortunately, the process to do so involves putting a small fiber optic scope up his nose and down his throat. Despite the little bit of numbing medicine, Spencer HATED the ordeal. (As the doctor had said he would.) Jim was holding the baby sitting on his lap, and I watched him scream with absolute terror on his face. Truly awful. The doc did pass the eyepiece of the scope to me and I got to check it out for myself, which was kind of cool as it look exactly like pictures I had already seen online. Spencer quieted down within minutes after the scope was removed, but Jim and I were still a bit traumatized for much of the rest of the day.

Spencer is now wearing Size 2 diapers!

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

A few things I've been remiss in writing about.

Stacie had her baby! Kate Madison Condon was born on January 31st and she's a cutie!

Last Friday while mom was here, I thought it would be fun to take advantage of coupons I received from JC Penney and have some portraits taken of Spencer. Boy did that suck. First, he was impossible to awaken, then while trying to take some sleeping pictures he woke up screaming. The photographer was a big pain in the butt - completely ignoring my requests. I don't know how many times I told her that neither I nor my husband were interested in naked pictures of him with a big satin bow, yet she insisted on taking them anyway. About 45 minutes later I was very irritated at her and disgusted at having to keep Spencer from trying to eat the nasty fabric or the nasty toy she kept waving in his face. Spencer was exhausted. Then she tried to get us to buy the crummy photos. Finally we went into another room with a different girl to try pictures again. She was much better (explained stuff the first on omitted, like how to hold on to him!) but poor Spencer was just so pooped by this point. We did manage to get one picture that was sort of cute. No smiles, but cute. It was nearly a two hour ordeal (and we still have to go back in three weeks to pick them up!) The whole event was thoroughly frustrating and I think it's safe to say that we will never be doing that again.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Time has absolutely been flying. Mom is in town again for the long weekend to visit with her grandson (and us!) Her presence has afforded Jim and I the opportunity to enjoy a romantic Valentine's Day dinner out last night at Chef G's, and an indulgent trip to the movies this afternoon to see Miracle. Speaking of Valentine's Day, Spencer isn't even three months old, and he received three valentine cards this year! One from his great-grandma (my grandma in NY,) my mom, and his special Aunt Ronnee. What a lucky little guy! Although we knew not to get accustomed to any 'schedule' as it is destined to change, we had been enjoying some predictability in Spencer's schedule for the past two or three weeks, and it was quite a shock to our systems when he was unable to sleep more than two hours at a stretch last night.

Right now Jim is playing hockey, mom's at the grocery store, and I'm home with Spencer, more or less waiting for him to wake up so I can feed him. It's nice when you have three people around taking care of one infant!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Yesterday was a follow up dr. visit from the breast infection. As I have clearly moved beyond that event, we spent most of the appointment discussing troubles with breastfeeding this hungry guy in general. She was helpful in giving some new advice that I will try to fold in to the current strategy adopted since visiting Spencer's pediatrician last week. I also took the opportunity to share my awful experiences with the lactation consultant they recommend and the things she told me that were just plain false. It was clear in looking at Spencer that he is healthy and happy. Most of the trouble is trying to get myself settled in with a schedule, and that will all change when we go to work and school in just two more weeks.

Reality of nursing is that it is quite limiting on my time. The ability to pump affords me some flexibility because it allows me time away from the baby for errands or dinner out. But I still have a 'curfew' which caps the amount of time I can be away based more on my own needs than Spencer's. I had been looking forward to returning as a judge in this year's SCI://TECH Exposition, as it is rewarding and encouraging to see how mature and intelligent some of the kids are out there. But I finally concluded I just can't swing it. The jr. high judging is from 5-9pm up at Montgomery College which means that it will take at least an hour to get there at that time of day, and close to that to return. Six hours is just too much. Heck, I don't even get to sleep for six hours at a stretch during the night! So I guess I'll add this to the list with the hockey tournament as things I will once again be able to consider for 2005.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Last night I went out for dinner with a bunch of new mommies and it was great! Carol had extended the invite to include me in the monthly event which Ronda organizes. It was so fun to swap stories about little ones, and empathize with frustrations and challenges of being a parent of an infant/toddler, as well as the immeasurable rewards they add. I brought a few photos of Spencer with me to share (I knew this was one place I could not show up with out pictures!) but quickly realized that I should put together a little brag book to carry around. Something to add to my to do list.

Monday, February 09, 2004

We are so lucky to have such good friends who are brave enough to spend a weekend with us and two month old Spencer. Karl and Heather came to town for a visit, and to meet our little bundle of joy. Spencer was a pretty darn good baby, well-behaved (i.e. sleeping) most of the time when we were at restaurants and slept for decent stretches during the night as well. Karl joked how this was some of the most sleep they had gotten in recent weeks - who would have thought that to be possible? It was an absolutely beautiful day here on Saturday. Jim, Karl & Heather took advantage of the awesome weather to do some flying around the city and get current. I headed over to SAFE adoption with Spencer to introduce him to Joyce and Greg and Kacie and a whole bunch of the pooches as well. They all kept saying what a good looking little guy he is! It was great having adult company around and (try to) discuss subjects other than babies. Karl even extended the standing invite to include Spencer if we wanted to stay with them in the city next time we're in NY. Wow. Here are a few pics from our weekend.

Friday, February 06, 2004

I just snapped to the fact that this is the first weekend in February, and for the first time in the past six years I am not playing in the Las Vegas Women's Hockey Tournament. Wow. But I'm not as bummed as I expected I would be. I think that is largely due to the fact that many of my buddies are not attending this year either. Perhaps we will all make sure to return in 2005, if I can tear myself away from 14-month old Spencer at that point!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Spencer is growing. Not a real shocker, but both Jim and I were taken aback just a bit when Spencer weighed in at 13 pounds 1.5 ounces at his two month appointment with the pediatrician this morning. That puts him in about the 65th percentile for weight, and he was a little below 50th percentile for length. (At his two week check up he was in the 30th percentile for weight, and 50th for length.) Clearly he's catching up, as is to be expected with babies born before 40 weeks. He received his first round of vaccinations today: five shots in total. Ouch. But Spencer was a champ. Of course he wailed loudly, but the nurse worked quickly and he quieted down almost as soon as she was done. It was no picnic to have to hold him down while he was getting stuck, but this experience was far less awful than the horrible newborn blood screen conducted at two weeks. At today's visit, the doctor was very pleased with everything he observed. He did suggest seeing a specialist to confirm the earlier diagnosis of laryngomalacia. He's 99% certain that is the source of his adorable squeakiness (a.k.a. stridor,) and no treatment is required as babies outgrow this condition within their first year or so. His mild case does not cause labored breathing and is clearly not interfering with his ability to eat and gain weight! An ENT will be able to close the door on the remaining 1% and use a scope to make sure his internal structures are fine. We'll probably be making that trip down to the medical center sometime later in the month.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Things seemed to have returned to normal (our new definition of normal) this week. I finished off the last of my antibiotics this morning, and have been feeling better, and my production is back up. I wouldn't wish a breast infection on my worst enemy, it was a physically and emotionally painful experience. Although it has been over 50 years since grandma nursed a baby, I could practically hear her nodding over the phone in sympathy as she remembered the pain of "milk fever." Spencer's last taste of formula was on Friday. It's taken a fair amount of effort, but I've been able to meet his needs since then. Now my goal is to try and get ahead and start to siphon off a couple of ounces into the freezer every couple of days in preparation for my return to work. I'll have to drop off Spencer at school with about 20 ounces or so for his first day - hopefully I'll be able to hit that mark over this month.

Tomorrow Spencer will be two months old. We have a Dr. visit for him to get a round of shots (!) and we'll get new data points for his height & weight to see how he's grown. Looking back over the pictures from the past two months, it's clear to see that he has changed. And I had a hard time believing much of what we had been reading about newborn care, but as promised, I am actually starting to see patterns emerge in Spencer's daily routine. There is great relief in some amount of predictability with our schedule. I now know what time of day I can take a shower and not have to run out to care for a screaming baby.

Looks like the little dude is now ready for 'lunch.'