Pin It

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Pumpkin's first Great Pumpkin Day!

Okay, she isn't dressed in a costume, but she is being adorable with a pile of little pumpkins in her lap!

So, today is little Miss Emily's first Halloween.  While I have to work much of the day I am very excited about the afternoon's plans.  I have a cute little costume for her to wear and I will be taking her back to where I work for the annual Halloween party for the community they have there.  Kids from all over come for tons of activities and trick-or-treating inside the nursing home with all the residents.  The fire department comes, too, and colors with the kids.  Shawn is working the night shift so I've already instructed him to get his coloring skills ready.  

I won't be collecting candy or coloring, but instead introducing Emily to everyone I work with and the residents at the nursing home.  She's old enough to visit without such a gross fear of an undeveloped immune system.  Not to mention I think she will be super cute to show off in her costume.  ...I keep calling it a costume, but I feel its kind of a half a costume attached to a Halloweeny sort of outfit.  Since I didn't want a "canned" store costume and didn't think enough ahead of time to order a super fancy homemade one I sort of threw something together on my own.  I'm jealous of the moms who have awesomely themed and coordinated costumes put together.  Between her transition from Newborn to Infant and my transition from maternity leave to work Halloween costumes were completely off the radar.  She's still going to be cute, though.

And when the party is all said and done I get to come home and greet all the neighborhood kids with a big bowl of candy!  Never before have I had trick-or-treaters come to my door.  We lived waaaaaay too far off the beaten path to have anyone even consider knocking on our door in hopes of candy.  This year I bought five bags in anticipation of all the children since we live on the main drag.  Too bad we haven't had time to decorate the house beyond carving a couple of pumpkins.  I don't think the kids will mind...  Its all about the candy!  

Happy Halloween everyone!  aka Great Pumpkin Day!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sweets from the Week.

I did a post like this last week and I like summing up the good things in the past week in a cohesive little pile so I think I will stick with this post, for now, anyway.  This week was no exception to lots of good things, either. 

1. We had the first snow of the season!  I am not talking about the big dumping of a storm that just broke records across the Northeast.  Earlier this week we had a much prettier and tinier dusting that was quite photogenic.  

This was taken with my phone.  I have some 'real' photos of this same scene I am working on!

2. I started a running regimen.  My treadmill is officially back in business.  Boy am I out of shape... which makes sense because I haven't run since last December.  But its amazing to feel that burn from a good run again. 

3. Pumpkin Carving!  This is Shawn's pumpkin, but I will be carving mine later tonight.

Shawn has to prop his pumpkin up with masking tape since he carved the design a little too low. Ha...

4.  Its officially sweater season.  I've put away my short sleeve shirts and hung all my winter clothes in the closet.  I've also realized that there are basically two sorts of clothes in my closet... plaids and cardigans.  I, however, own no plaid cardigans. 

5. I've been decorating the house for fall, albeit a little bit of a late start, I managed to find some time to randomly place orange things around my home, including several mini-pumpkins that seem to intrigue my cat.  

Don't let this pleasant face fool you... I found a pumpkin not long after this full of feline teeth marks.

6. Emily is settling into a predictable sleeping schedule.  While its not an all night schedule she is only waking once during the night most nights and goes quickly back to bed.  Boy, is that a far cry from the three to four feedings she demanded just a couple of weeks ago. 

7.  Last weekend I got to spend the afternoon with Emily in the baby carrier wandering trails in the woods while Shawn sited in his rifle for hunting season at a nearby rifle range.  The leaves were still barely hanging on and tall, late fall weeds were dried and seeding in the fields I walked through with Emily and my camera.  God, I love being out in the woods. 

Just a little brook along the trail.

8.  Summer vacation plans are (already) in the works!  It looks like just before Emily turns one she will get to make her first trip to the ocean.  We'll be spending an entire week in an extremely gorgeous condo right on the ocean that my mom rented for the entire family.  That means Shawn will spend a week with his in-laws. Poor guy.  

9.  And here's Emily hard at work at "Tummy Time"... which she hates, but I love to watch her do.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Two Months Later

Two months ago today Irene forever changed much of Vermont, but still today the effects are as wide spread as they were when the rains stopped falling.  It may not be on the national news anymore, but there are still lasting effects across the state.  I figured I would share some photos I took this week with you...

Route 100.  A main thoroughfare in central Vermont
A home near Pittsfield, Vermont

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Now That's Unusual

I just thought I would mention that I drive a whopping 1 mile to work.  Its exactly a mile.  If I take the long way around the building to the parking lot its 1.1 miles.  Now that my work hours have changed and I go into work an hour later I discovered something quite unusual on my short commute.  For some reason I get behind or have to stop for FOUR school buses in my one mile commute.  Its uncanny and has happened every single day I've worked so far.  

So the next time you curse about being behind or having to stop for one or two buses just think it could be worse... it could be FOUR. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why Hello There

There my husband goes.  Lights flashing and sirens wailing on his way to an emergency call.  Some days this is about the only way I see him, as he flies by, but I don't mind because we have a little system in place. 

Its silly, really, and probably annoys the heck out of my neighbors, but every time the ambulance drives by they wave and wail the siren and horn in a silly little pattern.  There will be a series of honk honk! followed by the wail of the good 'ol federal Q siren to hail his hello.  Sometimes I hear the call on the radio and know they are going to fly by.  Other times I don't have the radio on or am not paying attention so I am pleasantly surprised when I hear the siren greeting out of the blue. 

It makes me smile every single time.

And someday soon I will rush to the window with Emily and have her wave at her daddy as he drives by, hard at work, and take joy in the smile I know she'll have, too. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Maternity Leave is Over

This past week I went back to work.  While I didn't work a full five day work week and won't until the start of next month I still got dressed, did my hair and makeup, and left my baby behind with my husband for a full eight hour work day.  A full eight hours!

The days leading up to going back to work I was torn with mixed feeling.  In a way it felt like the first day of school, because I would be taking on a new position in a new office.  I got to buy a couple of new outfits (mostly because I don't fit into my old outfits --yet) and office supplies.  Office supplies!  Is there anything more awesome than standing in the pen aisle in Staples looking at all the shiny writing utensils and thinking of the perfect black ink they dispense on crisp white notebook paper?  Okay, I am a giant nerd, but I was enthralled to be able to shop for new supplies for my office.  However, I wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. 

When it really struck me that these were my last few days of maternity leave I was incredibly sad.  As tired and often cooped-up I felt the last several weeks I really didn't want it to be over.  I really didn't want to be away for the entire day with Emily.  She's just starting to be awake and alert, to turn her head and stare, and grasp toys if I hold them for her.  It seems that just as she starts becoming a little person I have to leave her behind.  It crushes my heart to think about it. 

So, when the day came I pushed my mixed emotions aside and went back to work for a whirl-wind of a day.  I attended a pile of meetings and sifted through mounds of papers as I tried to get a foothold in my responsibilities.  By the end of the day I was watching the clock, excited to go home to my Emily. 

Four O'clock could not come fast enough and as soon as it did I packed up all my things and headed out the door.  Thank goodness my commute is a hot three minutes, if I catch traffic (meaning a couple of people at the intersection waiting to turn left).  It felt amazing to have finished my first day and be free to return to my little Emily.
As soon as I walked in the door I was greeted with the site of my little peanut in her daddy's arms being fed.  Her eyes were wide and she stared at me as I swooped in to take her from her dad, mid-feeding and all.  Oh, the goodness of coming home!  Lord, it will be even better and work will go even slower when I know she'll be waiting for me and yell "mama!" as I walk through the door someday soon. 

Now I am slowly adding more days to my work week until I am up to a full five day work week in mid-November.  Three days this week, four the next, and then I am officially working all week like every other Tom, Dick, and Harry with a baby at home.  Hopefully I won't miss too much.  Hopefully Emily won't miss me too much.  And most of all, hopefully she will be beyond excited to see me every afternoon.  

Its not going to be easy being a Working mom, especially emotionally, but at least I know I'll get to come home to my little squeaky baby every afternoon.  That's enough to get me through the day. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sweets from the Week.

A bunch of good stuff from this past week.

1.  We started using our pellet stove that we had put in over the summer.  At first I was skeptical about it, but my heart is warmed, literally, by its glow and wonderful, bone-warming heat just like our wood stove in the cabin!

Our dogs love the pellet stove, too!

2.  I had my 6 week postpartum checkup this week.  I'm officially out of the grasps of pregnancy.  Now I have a whole slew of weight to lose... more on that in another post.  

3.  My favorite outfit for Emily had her mistaken as a boy five different times.  Yeah, I dress her like a boy sometimes, but I am okay with that. 

My little ham bone cheesing for the camera -- or, well, the silly faces I was making.
4.  I have finally beginning to distinguish what Emily's cries mean!  For the life of me they all sounded the same until this past week.  Perhaps she is just becoming more articulate. 

5.   My husband gave up and shaved his mustache.  For a brief three weeks he grew a mustache in celebration of "Stachetober", which is an obscure firefighter tradition around here where they grow mustaches in the month of October.  Weird, I know. 

I managed to catch a couple photos of him with the mustache, though!  ;-)
6.  I went back to work (just a day and a half this week) and it wasn't horrible and I didn't cry leaving Emily at home, but lord was it awesome to see her face when I came back home.  

7. The foliage is still hanging around, barely.  Its making my camera and I happy.

Out for a walk as the sun sets in the park near my home

8.  I bought Emily her Halloween costume!  Well, its more of a couple pieces that go with the outfit she'll wear.  Either way, its adorable and will later on double as photo props.

9.  I ordered an iPhone 4S.  It should be here sometime in November...  until then I excitedly wait!  Do you have one?  If you do please tell me some good things about the phone!

10.  And here is a rainbow I saw the other day... 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mom's Got a Video Camera

Of course I am taking lots of photos of Emily.  You know, the everyday stuff that doesn't really matter to anyone else except to remind me of how small my little peanut was years ago when I am old and have loads of grand and great grand kids.  I've also decided, though, that taking just photos won't do.  So, I went out and bought an inexpensive camera that takes photos and videos.  Through the last couple of weeks I've been taking a few videos here and there of Emily so I figured I'd share one with you!  ...and probably many more later on! 

So, without further adieu, This is her on a floor mat, complete with hiccups and a missing sock. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How to NOT Make Flat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Practically everyone has made chocolate chip cookies in their lifetime and I guarantee about every one has ended up with flat cookies once or twice.  Heck, I have.  And we all know that flat cookies, while still delicious, are not as awesome as big, puffy cookies.  But... for some reason great non-flattened cookies are hard to make and I've struggled with figuring out the right combination of ingredients for the perfect cookie.

But, I've finally figured out how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies

And I am going to share it with you!

Its easy, trust me.

Clearly, I am no Pioneer Woman when it comes to photographing food.
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • two eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cup flour (perhaps a tad more for consistency)
  • 1 medium sized bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
How To:
  • Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix softened butter (I soften it in the microwave - but don't melt!) with the white sugar and brown sugar until well blended.
  • Add in 2 eggs, mix well.
  • Add the vanilla, baking soda, and salt.  Mixing well.
  • Add in flour gradually.  Usually I add about 1/2 cup at a time and mix it in very well before adding more.
  • Add a little more flour if needed... you want the batter so that if you stick your finger in it (you know to taste test the cookie dough) that it isn't overly sticky. Make sure all the flour is mixed in very well before continuing.
  • Add in the entire bag of chocolate chips, stir well.
  • Bake for 11-13 minutes on a non-stick cookie sheet (I usually spray a little PAM for baking on the pan, too).  
  • They are done when the bottom/edges have the slightest browning to them.
  • Remove from the cookie sheet immediately upon taking them out of the oven!  I lay them on wax paper spread on my counter.  This method works a million times better than a cookie rack.
  • To maintain softness put in a Tupperware container when the cookies are still ever-so-slightly warm. 

Seriously, the cookies are amazing!  The big trick to the not-so-flat cookie is reducing the baking soda!  Also, adding in a little extra flour makes them slightly cakier.   But the take home point is... if you are having issues with your cookies of any kind coming out too flat try using a little less baking soda.  It should solve your problems!  

Now, I hope you get to enjoy many cookies in your future.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Untinentionally Starved my Baby

Don't be alarmed by the title of this post...  It really takes place in the span of a couple of hours and is more of a humorous (now) story of a parenting oops.

The other day was a very busy day, as usual, for us.  We drove all the way to our old stomping grounds, where my in-laws live, for the opening day of moose season.  Its quite the event in Island Pond.  I've written about it before and just because we don't live there anymore doesn't mean we were going to miss out.  

After a long drive north, taking in the late foliage season scenery, we spent the day with friends and family we don't see too often.  There were moose burgers, homemade pies, and tons of fun catching up.  Of course we watched some moose be weighed and congratulations be paid.  It was a great afternooon.  I even had a few baby-free moments while my mother in-law cooed over her.  

When we finally arrived home, late in the afternoon, I was exhausted., Emily was exhausted, and Shawn had to go to work.  So, I was left with the baby and began the wind-down routine preparing for bed.  Bath, bottle, burping, and snuggling.  Everything was going just like normal, smoothly.  Since the GERD was under control and we've switched to the bottle except for one feeding a day Emily has settled into a decent and marginally predictable bedtime routine.  I expected nothing different that night.

Oh boy was I wrong.

After sucking down about half the bottle Emily suddenly became very fussy.  I burped her successfully, but she was still fussy.  I tried giving her the bottle again, which she sucked for a moment and then pushed it away screaming.  Thinking her belly hurt her since she was a little gassy I rubbed her tummy and swayed her.  She fell asleep in my arms a few minutes later.  I happily took the little peanut, placed her in her crib, turned on the radio (which helps her sleep, oddly) and felt relieved. 

Phew, tragedy averted. 

Then five minutes later she was awake.  And screaming.  

What is wrong, little pumpkin?  I exclaimed as I went in to whisk her out of her crib.  She cried in my arms and I took her back out to the living room.  She didn't stop when I cuddled her, thinking maybe she wanted to be close to me.  Her diaper was dry.  She didn't have to burp.  Maybe she is still hungry, I thought.  Earlier she had only eaten half a bottle compared to her normal full bottle so I tried to feed her, but was met with more screaming.  

Eventually she fell asleep fitfully after trying everything all over again and again.  So, I put her back in her crib hoping that she had exhausted herself and finally conked out for real this time.  Alas, five minutes later she woke up again screaming.  I was sad and frustrated when I went back in to see her wailing in her crib just like before. 

The whole cycle began at 8pm.  At nearly midnight I was still dealing with a screaming baby who could not be pacified for any reason.  I was exhausted and had no idea what to do, but try everything all over again.  Persistence and patience had seen me through before and I was hoping it would work again.  This time I decided to make a new bottle.  It had been a while since I prepared her last one that she kept refusing over and over. When I sat back down to try feeding her yet again, this time with a new bottle, something amazing happened.

She took the bottle and she ate.  

It was a miracle.  

Emily blissfully sucked down almost the entire bottle, burped, and cooed as she fell asleep in my arms.  Seriously?  What just happened?  I was perplexed, but thankful as I gently placed her back in her crib where she soundly slept, at last.  Once she was asleep I went back into the kitchen to inspect the other bottle she had been refusing where I discovered something that explained everything.

The nipple on the bottle was clogged.

That explained everything...  A little tiny bit of formula didn't dissolve completely and clogged the nipple.  Emily had been sucking on the bottle to her heart's desire, but not getting a drop out and that pissed her off beyond belief.  I couldn't believe I missed her signals and assumed that she wasn't hungry or perhaps her stomach hurt.  Worst of all I couldn't believe she indeed was hungry and I had been trying to give her a bottle that was completely ineffective.  

Seriously, mom?

Lesson learned...  And poor Emily.  She slept soundly after I figured it all out! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Getting out of the House

Never ever underestimate the power of just getting out of the house, even if its for a minute or two.  After weeks of maternity leave I absolutely find it crucial to step out of the confines of the walls of my house.  Sometimes I take a second to just stand on my back deck while the baby sleeps in her crib so I can breath in some fresh fall air.  Other times, when it isn't pouring rain, I load Emily up and take a stroll around the neighborhood.

I just realized...

This time last year I was going for a jog along dirt roads and not-in-use snowmobile trails.  Now I am pushing a stroller along sidewalk-lined neighborhoods.  Holy cow...  

This is why I love walking through the neighborhood with Emily en tow. 

Beautiful, no?

Oh, and by the way...
I took this photo and posted it in Instagram.  Do you use that app?  Its an awesome way to share what you're doing, where you are, or how you feel via photos.  If you already use it look me up!  My screen name is "jenhnx"

Friday, October 14, 2011

So, I'm Management Material Now?

I have only been an RN for a few short months.  During that time its been quite a roller coaster of experiences.  I've struggled with the difficulties of finding the dream job I envisioned right out of nursing school with zero experience.  I took a job at the one place I never thought I would, a nursing home.  Then, as it turned out, I quickly discovered how much I loved my job.  Since I've been on maternity leave I've missed my coworkers and the residents there.  But, a few weeks into maternity leave I received a phone call from work asking me to come in.  They had a question to ask me.

Good Lord....  What kind of question would they want to ask me several weeks into my maternity leave?

I wondered if I had done something wrong.  Forgotten to do paperwork, maybe?  Or made some sort of error I had no idea about.  That's how my mind works.  I get paranoid about things like that for some reason.  But, irregardless of my paranoia I headed into work the next day, leaving Shawn to watch Emily.

When I walked into work I had to first make it through the barrage of "Congratulations" and "You look Great!" and "How's Emily?".  It took a good half hour.  Then my boss finally found me and ushered me into the office.  She closed the door firmly and motioned for me to have a seat.  I felt my paranoia creep back in.  When she sat down she drew in her breath deep and looked at me for a second before asking me her question.

"I have an opening for the Assistant Director of Nursing position.  We are making some changes and we were wanting to offer you this position."

What?  My jaw about fell to the floor.  They wanted to offer me an administrative position?  After only working there for a few months?  Holy cow... I must have made some sort of good impression in that little bit of time.  I sat there a few moments, happy, stunned, and not sure how to reply.  Finally I collected myself enough to form an intelligent answer, which of course consisted of accepting the position.  

I was thrilled at their confidence in me for this new job, but also scared about the responsibilities it held.  Suddenly I was going to go from nurse to nurse manager.  My schedule was to change from weekends and eight hour shifts to 'banker hours'.  No weekends, no holidays, just Monday through Friday every single week. What a change it will be!   ..especially since I have never worked such a schedule, ever.  

My job is going to be not just about taking care of patients, but also about taking care of the staff, too.  I'll be attending meetings, setting up trainings, and helping make sure that the facility is the best home it can be for the people that live there.  That's a lot of responsibility! 

And for some reason they picked me.  They picked me to be management!  Oh boy, Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Not Just Walking in the Woods

I don't get to spend a lot of time outdoors these days...  Its understandable.  I've got a newborn baby (who actually it technically now out of the newborn stage and developmentally considered an infant!) and I live in the middle of a good sized town rather than in the cabin down the dead-end road that doubles as a snowmobile trail during the colder months.  It takes some serious effort to make it into the woods. 

But, the lure of seventy degree weather and colorful leaves proved enough to get me to don my baby carrier and make a trek into the familiar hills at our family's hunting camp with my camera.  Emily and I spent an entire afternoon wandering through old pastures, thick sugaring woods, and down ancient roads.  

There was a light breeze that accompanied me as I walked.  Leaves blew wistfully off the trees and floated to the ground.  The sun was bright and high overhead, illuminating the leaves with a surreal, neon splendor.  While this fall is one of the duller foliage seasons I've seen that day was not lacking in photogenic display. 

Emily happily slept the entire time as she swayed back and forth slightly in the carrier across my chest.  Her arms dangled limply at her sides indicating how deeply she was sleeping.  Meanwhile I grabbed an apple off an old apple tree near the discarded foundation of a farm house long ago fallen into ruin and happily enjoyed it.  Actually it was one of the best dang apples I've ever eaten.  It smelled like hot cider when I picked from its branch since it had sat and baked in the sun all day.  Heaven.  Pure Heaven.  And I felt like none other than Johnny (Jennie) Appleseed as I munched on it walking down the old road running along the mountainside.  

Such afternoons are meant for story books, so it seems.  

In reality an afternoon like this makes me miss where I used to live, but I am also empowered by the fact I can have such adventures with a baby in tow.  It really makes me feel like I can accomplish anything even with Emily, which was secretly a worry before I became a mom.  Apparently, anything is still possible! 

Oh, and if you'd like to see more of my fall photos check out my Photography Facebook Page!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Guys, Please Take Note...

Last night my husband gave me the best gift he possibly could give in the whole entire world and made me the happiest wife ever.  I am still beaming about it this morning. 

So, what was this magnificent gift?

A full night's sleep!

For the first time since Emily arrived I slept more than three consecutive hours.  Shawn woke up both times Emily did during the night.  Changed her.  Fed her.  And put her back to sleep.  He did all that all the while telling me to stay in bed and relax, which, of course, I did.  So, now he has a wonderfully happy and energized wife who is singing his praises.  Seriously, every husband needs to do this for his sleep deprived wife so guys, take note.  

Also, I should mention...

Little Miss Emily is 5 weeks old today!  And Sutton, our black lab, is her biggest fan.  Seriously, they are going to be best of friends some day.  He loves her. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Close to a Pile of Junk

Whilst in the middle of my maternity leave my trusty car has decided it is tired of functioning properly and begun spitting out piles of issues that now leaves it deader than a doornail in my driveway.  I love my Escape... don't get me wrong, but its cost me a lot of money in repairs since I've owned it.  Fortunately I negotiated a fairly awesome warranty, but the countless trips to the garage and time without a vehicle are adding up.  

Why just last week we were out for a drive, my only excuse to even leave the house some days, when the battery light came on.  After buying a new battery, replacing it, and finding that the battery light was still on we sent the car off to be repaired.  Days later my Escape came back with a new alternator and I thought all the problems were solved.  Heck, I even drove it to the pediatricians office down the road.  Then, yesterday, Shawn, Emily, and I hopped into it to run errands and it didn't start.  It actually didn't even turn over.  Dead.  Right there in the driveway.  And this morning, after testing the battery and attempting to jump the vehicle for the better part of two hours to no avail, it was still dead.  

So, you can probably imagine the happy phone call that was made to the car garage about the circumstances with my Escape.  It had only been driven a whopping five miles (in which thankfully I didn't end up on the side of the road).  Bring it back in, the people at the garage said.  

I'd love to, except its dead in my driveway.

So, we had to call a tow truck company...  

My poor Escape.  I watched it ride off down the road on the back of a tow truck to have the repairs that were just made re-repaired.  Shawn has now officially christened this vehicle as a pile of crap and is urging me to consider trading it for one that doesn't require major repairs every four to six months.  My warranty expires at the end of this month (which we've used a good half dozen times to cover more than $4,000 worth of repairs) so I may have to seriously consider it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

One Month

I want to thank all of you who chimed in with support and your own personal stories in regards to my last post!  It means a lot to hear that I am not alone and that what matters most is a mom's desire to do the best she can for her little one - no matter what the issue at hand is.  This is why I blog, because of awesome people like you.  And of course, I also respect everyone's opinion... even if they don't agree.  Because there is never just one side, or two... life is multifaceted and its fascinating seeing the different sides. 


Yesterday little miss Emily was one month old.  One month!  In all honesty I think it was the longest month of my entire life.  Partly because of all the struggles and partly because I was awake for so much of it that every day lumped into one single massive day.  

In celebration of turning one month old Emily blessed me with a four hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep and I in turn commemorated the moment by later taking several more 'professional' looking photos of her on our living room couch.  

Yup... I threw my child, naked and wearing a knitted hat, into a wicker basket.  That's what any sane photographer with a newborn does, right?  I just couldn't help myself with this cliche. 

Boy have I learned a lot and experienced a ton in the last month, too.  For example:
  1. Babies have their own schedule.  It does not matter how badly you want them to go to bed so you can watch Sunday Night Football in peace. 
  2. Breastfeeding isn't easy.  (see last post)
  3. I can do anything with one hand while holding the baby, yes... even go to the bathroom.
  4. If I try and eat while holding my child I always end up dropping food on her, poor kid.  
  5. Spit up gets on every single outfit.  Hers and mine.
  6. Going anywhere requires a two hour window to get ready.
  7. No matter how much I swore I wouldn't talk to her in 'baby talk' I find myself doing it anyway.
  8. There is no diaper strong enough to contain all the poop she produces. 
  9. Nothing is more cute than newborn 'squeaks'. 
  10. Maternity leave is not a vacation.  
And now I look forward to another month of her growing and developing more of a personality.  I know it seems like I might be wishing away these early days, but I seriously can't wait until she smiles and interacts with me more.  It gets more awesome everyday. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Giving Up on Breastfeeding and Its Okay

Before Emily was born everyone asked me if I was going to breastfeed.  I happily said "Yes!" and had the lofty goal of continuing for at least 6 months.  Being a nurse I am well versed on the benefits of breastfeeding and the recommendations for it.  Besides, it was what women are built for, right? 

Maybe not. 

When Emily was born the nurses clamored about how wonderfully Emily nursed right from the get go.  It filled me with pride to hear such compliments.  They asked if I wanted to see a lactation consultant, which I did, and told me one would be in the next day.  One never came and in the blur of adrenaline and new motherhood I forgot all about it until we were home.  I was annoyed, but figured that since I was apparently doing such a great job according to the nurses that everything would be fine. 

In reality everything wasn't fine.  Besides Emily's ever troubling GERD that went undiagnosed for three weeks I dealt with the very common new nursing mom problems.  I endured soreness and pain in order to 'toughen up' to Emily's ferocious latch.  Eventually I became accustomed to the firm grasp of her jaw and my toes didn't curl up or I wince in pain when she latched on every hour or two.  But thing weren't completely peachy...

Emily, and her ferocious latch were causing quite the frustration for both her and I.  She would latch and unlatch continually which led to a pissed off baby and longer feedings.   I spent hours on the internet researching how to improve nursing.  I read several excerpts in books about it.  I talked to other moms and sought out advice.  All of it led to me sitting up late at night with a screaming baby begging to eat and then fighting my breast seconds later over and over again for hours.  It led me to realize one very important thing...

I hate nursing.

I completely hate it.  

In the entire month I attempted solely breastfeeding my child there were no magical moments where I felt an extreme special connection with her when I nursed. She was constantly unhappy and hungry.  I could never fill her up.  Everything I tried to increase my flow didn't work.  Pumping, diet, more frequent feedings... in the end she sucked until there was nothing left and was still hungry.  

That was when I reached for the bottle.  I had bought some formula 'just in case' when Emily was born and in the middle of the night, sleep deprived and bleary, I filled a bottle with it and gave it to Emily.  She sucked the entire thing down, burped, and blissfully fell asleep in my arms with a full belly.  It was amazing. 

Right then and there, as she snuggled in my arms - more content than I had ever seen her- I made the decision to wean my baby from breast to bottle.  But that decision was what has caused me great disappointment... not in the decision itself, but in the stigma of making such a decision.  

Every piece of literature I researched about transitioning to formula talked about how great breast feeding was and demanded that a woman try every single option before switching.  Everything touted the attitude that if you didn't breast feed you were either selfish or doing something wrong.  How could I deny my child such sustenance?  What would I have done hundreds of years ago before the ages of formula?  

When you say you are exclusively breast feeding you're praised to the ends of the Earth.  "Oh, that's great!" everyone says.  But if a mom admits she's bottle feeding, much less 'giving up' on breastfeeding she's met with disappointment and shame.  Why?  Reading and hearing all the opinions towards transitioning or bottle feeding at first made me feel guilty, but then I realized something.

Why should I feel guilty? 

...I shouldn't.

No mom should for making a decision like this for her own child. 

An odd thing happened when I began bottle feeding Emily.  I loved it.  She loved it.  We snuggled close.  She at to her hearts content and didn't have to fight her enthusiasm to get a full meal.  As she gazes up at me from the other end of a bottle during each feeding I feel such an intense happiness, love and contentment.  I imagine that is what I was suppose to feel when I breastfed, but never did.  Starting the transition to formula has been the best decision I've ever made since she's been born.  

I'll admit it.  I gave up on breastfeeding and I couldn't be happier. 

Actually, we couldn't be happier. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Gist on GERD

A week ago little miss Emily was diagnosed with severe GERD.  It made sense.  She was crying -- read as screaming-- every time she nursed.  We were both absolutely miserable and tired.  Most upsetting was how much pain and discomfort Emily was in.  I tried everything under the sun, even eliminating all  my favorite foods to see if my diet was causing her trouble, but nothing made things better so I finally called my pediatrician.  Before I knew it I was heading home with a prescription for Zantac for Emily with the hopes of the medicine solving her problems.

Give it a few days...  the pediatrician cautioned me.  

I, already worn out and weary, could only think of the three or four days ahead before the medicine would have an effect and any noticeable change could be detected.  Three days seemed like an eternity, but I had to tell myself that I had already gone through three weeks of this... what was three more days?

As it turns out, I didn't have to wait long...

Almost as suddenly as her screaming while eating had begun when she was just days old it ended.  She began eating better and the two hour nursing sessions were no more.  The best part was that she began to have periods of time where she was awake and content, something that had never happened before. Just to see her looking around and taking the world in rather than screaming in pain filled my heart with happiness.  She continues to be more awake and more alert everyday and I swear she is just days away from her first real smile. 

So, her GERD has dramatically improved and that makes me a happy mom.  

But, there are a couple of things that, lately, make me an unhappy mom.  Its not the lack of sleep that I am still coping with.  Its not the exhaustion.  It has to do with nursing and the opinions I'm encountering surrounding it.  I plan on delving into that more in a separate post, but I have to go dig out my soap box and dust it off first.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Making the Announcement

Being the 'photographer' that I am I, of course, was dead set on doing my own newborn photos and announcement for her birth.  The trouble is that being the new mom that I am I didn't realize how daunting of a task that would actually be.  Somehow I managed to squeeze in a few minutes with my camera while Emily somehow cooperated and captured a couple of decent photos.  She was six days old then.  Its taken me three weeks to edit the four photos and put together an announcement for her birth.  Now she is almost out of the newborn stage and I am wishing that I had more professional looking photos than just the few I took. 

Its not the end of the world.  My iPhone is littered with several dozens of photos I snap of her throughout the day.  Plus, I still have endless opportunities to take photos of her when my energy returns (read as: when I can sleep more than two hours at a given time).  At least I have some photos to remember her tiny cuteness!  

So, here is the announcement I spent several days working on...

I didn't create the template/design myself.  It was free and I stumbled on it through a google search.  Here is the link in case you are interested in the template yourself.  There is also an identical one for a boy, in boy colors.