Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happy 6, and 7 month birthdays Reese!

Anyone see a trend?  Last time I had to do 2 month birthdays, and here it is again! And number 8 is fast approaching.  I keep lists in my phone about milestones, because surely by now I would have forgotten some!  So here goes...

My dearest Reese,
You are so very loved!  I don't think that I knew I was capable of loving someone this much.  Especially someone I have only known for such a short period of time.  Things that were so important in the past pale in comparison to spending time with you! Let's review the last few months shall we?

So what did you do from your fifth month of life to your sixth?

You started sleeping on your belly consistently and loving it.  That also means that you no longer sleep in your swaddler, you sleep in pajamas every night.  You started to sleep about 9 straight hours at night. 

You pet our kitty (lovingly called "Psycho Cat") and she didn't hiss or really even care.  You had your first trip to Costco with Mommy and we both survived.  You rolled from your back to your belly totally unassisted.  You recognize your own name and respond, as well as recognize Nana, Papa, Gma and Grandpa. 

You tried new foods including squash and green beans (plus others Mommy forgot to write down). And you weighed in at a healthy 16 lbs, 3 oz and 26 inches long!  Boy are you growing my little angel!

Here's your picture for your 6th month!
You kinda look like, "what is going on here?"

On your 6 month birthday, you actually reached for Mommy (me) and I did a little happy dance.  You wanted me!

You tried more new foods including bananas, pears, apple juice, prune juice, carrots, pumpkin, whole milk yogurt and even a few essential oils.  (Kept track better!)  We had a bout of constipation which is why the prune juice got added in to your milk and that helped a lot. 

When Daddy takes you to bed at night, you turn on the hallway light while he holds you and you think you are a rock star!  Which to us you are! 

We had a bit of a scare one night when the humidifier in your room set off your smoke alarm and while it woke you up, you went right back to sleep without any tears or fussing. 

You also had your first Halloween and of course you had some special clothes for the occasion.

 This is probably Mommy's favorite outfit.  And look at you sit up in your rocking chair all by yourself.  That was a first too!
 You wore this to school and were a lady bug!
 Nana and Papa took this picture on Halloween while you were dressed up as a monkey! 
Cutest monkey ever!
You also had a black cat dress, but I didn't take a picture of that one.
And we learned that you throughly love your Jumperoo.  You can't touch the carpet yet so we put a little pad under it so your feet could touch, but after that you jump all around!  It is so fun to watch!
And you hit 17 lbs!  Holy cow!  No wonder Mommy's arms hurt some days carrying you around!
Here's your 7th month picture!!!
What do you have in store for us - I know a few things - but we've got 2 weeks left to figure out what's going on until your next month!

We love you so much little girl!  We can't wait to see you grow and mature so fast!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy 4 month and 5 month birthday Reese!

My dearest Reese,
You certainly have kept us on our toes these past few months.  So much so that Mommy hasn't blogged in 2 months and didn't even have time to write your 4 month letter!  I'm sorry little one!  But I'll make up for it now.

First off, you must know that we are grateful for you every day!  You are the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing at night.  Your smile gets me through my day my dearest!  We love you more than you could ever begin to imagine.

From your 3rd month of life to your 4th, you were a busy little girl.  You started to hold toys, recognize faces and voices, discovered your feet (which you think are incredible and you play with all the time), and you started to have real, true laughs!  What a joy it is to hear you laugh at Mommy or Daddy when we are being silly.  Best sound in the world - besides hearing "your daughter is born" but that only happens once and you must laugh at least 10 times a day!  You also started to learn to kiss, or what we think is you attempting to kiss.  You open your mouth and lean in to Daddy or me or your stuffed monkey that you love.  It's adorable!

Here's your 4th month birthday picture with your name blocks.

You also had your first trip in August to see G-ma and Grandpa in Pinetop.  You weren't the biggest fan of the ride, even though you slept for a lot of it, you also cried for too much of it and made Mommy and Daddy worry.  But we made it safe and sound both up and down the mountain.  However, you got your first cold while we were there and Mommy and Daddy felt helpless as they heard you cough and sneeze and cry.  This led to less sleep for you once again which we continued to battle for some time after your cold had subsided.  You are still sniffly, but your cough is gone.  However, you were never unpleasant with your cold and always still had a smile for all of us.  Also during this trip you got to meet Daddy's grandparents for the first time.  They LOVED meeting you and watching you interact with Daddy!  It was later discovered that you were actually starting to teethe during this trip as well.  We didn't see or feel any teeth until after your 4 month birthday, but we think that this was part of your unhappiness in Pinetop.

Even when we came home, you still had trouble sleeping which we attributed to your cold that stuck around for way too long.  But you did figure out how to put yourself back to sleep when you woke up in the middle of the night.  YAY!

But by far the biggest event of this time was learning to roll from your belly to your back!  And Mommy got it all on video...purely by accident...but it happened!  (It may look like I am helping you roll, but you did it all on your own!)

So as you can see, your third month of life was very busy and Mommy could barely keep up with you!

But your 4th month, was also quite busy! At your 4 month appointment with the pediatrician, your weight was 13 lbs, 15 oz and your length escalated to 24.75 inches!  You are growing like a weed.  Dr. Kids said we could start to feed you solids, so that is just what we did!  You started with rice cereal on August 19th, although you weren't a fan, so we quickly moved on to avocado mashed up, which you really liked. Then oatmeal which was also good and finally sweet potatoes.  Mommy has decided to make all your food so she knows it is nutritious and because it is a ton cheaper!  It's been fun and easy too.  Who knew you would make Mommy a cook after all?!

Here's your 5 month picture!  Look at you posing so cute!

We discovered that you are teething for sure when two little bitty teeth popped up in the bottom of your mouth and you were really having issues sleeping.  Doc said that tylenol or motrin is fine and that has helped out A LOT!  Poor girl in pain! 

I was trying to get a picture of your little teeth here, but I don't know if you can see them!  But they are there for sure!

The ladies at daycare continue to love love love you (and Mommy - or at least they say so).  When Mommy and Grandpa came to pick you up one day, this is what we found at daycare... You look just a wee bit comfortable!

It may be hard to believe, but Daddy gave you a bath this month and it was a first for him!  He did great and you, of course, loved it!  You also learned how to pull down on the toys that hang from your car seat.  Usually, you would just wait for Mommy or Daddy to do it, but apparently you got impatient and figured out how to do it all on your own!  You even surprised yourself I think!

Mommy continues to keep you well dressed and this month was no exception.  I know this picture is a little dark, but your shirt says, "When God made me, he was just showing off!" and we believe that to be the full truth!  You are so beautiful, smiley, loving and wonderful!

And the last thing that happened this month was the addition of Mamie to our family.  She is your sleep coach and she has been helping Mommy and Daddy help you sleep better at night and during the day.  Plus, when you sleep good, Mommy and Daddy sleep good.  And on your last day as a 4 month old, you slept 10 hours through the night!  You woke up so happy and Mommy and Daddy were ecstatic!  We really think we have crossed a bridge and this will continue.

The bottom line is this my love...  You are growing so fast.  You are maturing so much.  It's hard to believe.  Even though I carried you in my belly for 9 months and you have been before my eyes for the last 5 months, I am still amazed every day when I wake up and look at you and realize that you are my daughter.  It's incredible to be your Mommy, even in the tough times.  I still think the hospital messed up and someone else will come claim you some day because you are just too beautiful to be our daughter.  But I know that won't happen because I was there when you were born and your face hasn't changed.  You are the joy in my life, even when you aren't napping and should be.  Please don't forget that we love you more than you could ever imagine and that will never change! 

What surprises do you have in store for us next little Monkey?

We love you,
Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm here, I swear

So the last time I blogged, I was apologizing for being absent and then I went on to be absent for 2 months.  I could apologize again but I am guessing that gets old.  Know that having a 5 month old (!) sucks most of my free time up.  I'm going to try to get you all up to speed on everything and then tomorrow, write Reese's 4 and 5 month letters!  All before she wakes up...Here. I. Go.

When we last spoke we had just come home from Pinetop and J had just started a new job.  Reese had been sleeping through the night but went back to not doing that consistently and we were fighting to get her back on track and un-congested.  That about sums it up.  Later.....

Just kidding...

Since then, J has started his new job and he adores it.  Although the company wants to keep moving him up and training him more, and he's a bit hesitant.  But we'll figure it out. 

Reese is now officially teething.  Her front two bottom teeth have clawed their way through her gums and she let us know it was an unpleasant experience.  Poor girl!  So that didn't help her sleeping situation.  We also started solid foods.  Holy cow!  How is that even possible?!  I am still nursing, although there was a small window where I didn't know if I would get to continue because my milk was seemingly getting less.  But I think it has adjusted now and we're back on track.  Although there is the small issue of biting now!  Thankfully, she hasn't done it lately and I saw something today that said if you are getting bitten, it means baby is done nursing and that's usually when it happens.  When she pulls away.

We've started to work with a sleep coach.  I know, that sounds odd, but I could only read so many books before I was spinning and wishing I could talk to the authors because my questions weren't answered in the books.  J took a little convincing but after speaking with her via Skype he was on board as well.  I can honestly tell you, I wish I would have contacted her sooner. 

So here's how the sleep coach works.  Since she (Mamie) lives in Phoenix (about 2 hours away from us) we did a Skype consultation instead of in home.  We talked about how Reese sleeps at night and for naps.  We talked about our comfort levels, her eating, anything and everything.  Then Mamie told us how she would help us.  We would talk every day, as much as necessary, about the events of the day and Mamie would give suggestions, answer questions, diagnose, whatever was needed.  All for a one-time fee.  But she's essentially ours forever!  I love that.  If you know me, Mamie got the raw end of this deal.  We probably talk 2-4 times a day depending on how the day and night go.  She is our savior.  I'm not saying Reese is sleeping perfectly for naps or at night, but it feels like we're on the right track. We started working with Mamie on Labor day, but I'll sum up this week so far.

Sunday night, Reese slept almost 10 hours!  10 hours!  Holy cow!  My "ladies" looked like I had had breast implants overnight they were so full. But painful.  We hoped we could get on a roll.  On Sunday, Reese had taken a good nap in the morning, 2 short naps mid-day and an excellent nap in the afternoon.  We could only hope that Monday at daycare would follow suit.  (Wednesday and Thursday of last week at daycare were very worrisome, but more on that later).  But this proved to us that Reese could sleep for 10 hours without food and nursing.  So the plan became to have J give her a bottle when she woke so we could determine if she was hungry or just wanted to nurse from Mom for comfort.

Monday, naps at daycare were no longer than 40 minutes, but the rest of the situation had improved vastly.  THANK GOODNESS!  She went to bed about 7:45 and about 8:45 we heard her crying, but could see on the monitor that she wasn't awake.  She cried for a few minutes (maybe 10 tops) and then went back to sleep.  Woke up around 2:30 and I woke J up to get her bottle.  I stayed in bed and he went in.  I would hear small snippets of crying, so after about 40 minutes, I stuck my head in to see what J's progress was.  He said she hadn't eaten a bite.  She truly wanted me but he could tell she wasn't hungry.  So we opted to swaddle her back up and put her back in the crib for ten minutes.  We went back to bed and she cried.  We watched the clock.  As 10 minutes approached, we noted that she wasn't crying as hard, so we could wait another 5.  As the 15 minute mark approached, she was really calming down.  And at 17 minutes, she was asleep.  She had successfully woken up, not eaten, and gone to sleep on her own.  Victory!  And that told us that Mamie was right and she just wanted comfort, not necessarily food.  She woke up again this morning about 6:50 am and I fed her about 7:30 am.  She didn't act like she was starving.  She was a happy girl.

Mamie was so excited when I told her all of this after I dropped Reese at daycare this morning.  We really feel like progress is being made.  But I couldn't have done it alone.  I was ready to breast feed her and J said, "let's give her 10 minutes."  We coached each other in bed that she was okay and she wasn't as upset.  And we came out on the other side alright. 

She's home from daycare now, and really didn't nap well this morning, but she's down now and we'll see how long it lasts.

But again, we need to be a team and we need Mamie.  I know we'll get her to sleep well day and night.

Okay, a quick note about the issue with daycare.

For the most part, we LOVE daycare.  We love the security, the cleanliness, the staff (most of them), the atmosphere, the cost, the location, the flexibility, everything.  There's just one lady in the afternoon, we'll call her Ally, that is a little odd.  And in the past, most of the issues have just been annoyances.  Nothing that would hurt Reese or upset me.  We'd just roll our eyes at it when we came home.  That changed on Wednesday. 

When J arrived to pick her up, the first thing Ally said when he walked in the door and saw her sitting in her car seat in her crib was "she was fine and had been there for 15-20 minutes."  He got concerned because she was sitting on the buckles, instead of having them not under her.  He wasn't concerned that she wasn't buckled in, but that they were digging into her back.  When J asked how her day had been, Ally replied that she didn't know.  When J referenced the memo I had brought in on Tuesday about Reese's schedule and sleeping issues, Ally said she hadn't heard anything about it even though I personally asked her to read it on Tuesday when I saw her as I was picking Reese up.  The straw that broke the camel's back for J was when Ally told J, "all the other babies sleep fine. I don't know what is wrong with Reese."  Oy, he was unhappy with that statement.  As was I when he told me when they got home.

So I called the director on Thursday morning and spoke with her briefly, just about making sure Ally knew what was going on and to refrain from saying things like that and that she knew what was happening with our daughter.  I dropped her off a while later and hoped the day went well.  J picked her up again and the first thing Ally said when he walked through the door was, "I just got here at 4, I don't know how her day went."  Now had he been picking her up at 4:30, that might not have bothered him.  But he was there at 5:50 and the place closes at 6 pm.  1st strike.  Ally then told him that "Reese was very fussy from 4:30 to 5:15 pm."  Okay, she was tired, we get that.  He proceeded to put her in her car seat and get ready to go.  A couple other small issues popped up, but when J was leaving he again asked how she had slept.  Ally's response was, "two 30 min naps."  J replied that that wasn't good and Ally's response was, "if babies don't sleep during the day, they'll sleep great at night" and that she'd never (in 10 years of childcare) heard of the theory that if babies don't have good naps, they won't have good rest at night.  Strike 2.  He came home and I proceeded to give Reese her bottle (as Mamie had directed at 6:30 pm).  She sucked it down - which never happens - then proceeded to nurse for another almost 30 minutes.  I knew something was up.  So I went to look at her report from the day.  The poor girl hadn't been fed since 2:55 pm, when she was supposed to be fed at 4:30 pm.  No wonder she was fussy at 4:30!  OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I was HOT!  I was so mad I was shaking and in tears!  This was unacceptable!  We got Reese off to bed and figured out how to address the situation and what would need to happen to move forward at this daycare.

Reese doesn't usually go to daycare on Friday, so I called the director that morning again and updated her on what had happened.  I had calmed down considerably from the day before but I was still upset.  She said she would again speak to Ally and get this fixed. At Mamie's suggestion on Thursday night, J and I wrote out all the things Ally had done that we were unhappy about.  I emailed this to the director so she could address everything.  I then called back near the end of the day to see how this would be fixed for the following week so we would feel comfortable bringing Reese back.  The director told me that she had had a long talk with the morning caretakers (which we ADORE) and Ally and what would be done to get this fixed.  I was satisfied with what she said.  So we opted to go back this week, knowing that Ally would be under a microscope while caring for our daughter.  And the director told me that if it came down to us being happy and her employee being happy, we win.  So her head is in the right place.

When I took Reese in Monday morning, the morning ladies were ecstatic to see me.  They thought we would leave the daycare because of this.  I told them if it wasn't fixed we would, but we loved everything else so we didn't want to.  They promised us it would be fixed ASAP!  And yesterday J picked Reese up from Ally and left with a smile on his face.  They noted when they were putting her down to nap, even if she didn't nap after all (this will help with the sleep coach), and she did not miss a feeding. And today was just the same.  Everything is getting better. 

So that was our daycare drama!  Hopefully it is the last!

Okay, I think ya'll are up to speed.  I will try my best to write more often.  I swear!  However, can't promise.  We do have a 5 month old - as of tomorrow that is!  Holy cow!  Hard to believe!

Thanks for sticking around and talk to ya soon!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Whoa...anyone still out there?!

Hello? Heeeeeelllllllllllllooooooo? Is aanyone there?

It appears motherhood has taken me captive Bleeps! I have a few excuses this time.
1. We went through a period (blissful) where Reese was sleeping through the night for about 2.5 weeks. So since that's when I have time to blog, instead I was sleeping.That has since stopped...more on that in a bit.
2. We took our first road trip, where Reese caught a little cold...cough and stuffy nose. And got off her sleep schedule...boo!!
3. I thought there was a third, but only two come to mind right now.

When we left our story last, we had seemingly settled into a great routine where Reese would eat, play and sleep within every 3 hour time frame, except at night where she'd sleep 8-9 hours at a time. She was happy. And I was really happy.

J was offered a much better job (about the same pay but 10 times better working conditions) so he left the company he has been with for 11 years!! In that transition, he had some time off, so we went to Pinetop (about 4 hours North of where we live and 20 degrees cooler) where my parents happened to be renting a condo for a few weeks. We'd been wanting to go but with J having no time off didn't think it would happen. Timing worked out and we skedaddled out of town for a few days before J started his new job.

And that's where our problem seemingly started. Reese was really upset about being in the carseat that long, so we stopped more often and eventually I moved to be with her in the back seat. She slept the first half of our drive, but not nearly enough the 2nd half. That night was rough because she was sleeping in the pack-n-play which she's never done. The first day was very relaxing but her schedule really got out of whack. Friday, after a rough night of coughing and congestion, I called the doc to see how to help her on a Friday. They recommended saline for her nose (which we had already done) and Vick's Baby Rub on her chest/neck/back and sitting with her in the steamy bathroom to clear her up. Did all that and got a little more sleep that night but she remained congested the rest of our trip...and still is. I've since called the doc a few more times to make sure there's no reason to bring her in because they can't do anything for her. They tell me we're doing everything right and they can't give her antibiotics because its a cold and she's never had a fever. Poor stuffy girl!

I attribute the poor sleeping to that. I know I don't sleep well when I'm congested and laying flat on my back. We're also creeping up on her 4 month birthday which (according to the books) typically means a growth spurt. I feel like she's eating more these days, but she's also distracted by everything and it's work to get her to focus and EAT!! We went from getting up not at all back to twice a night. I've tried letting her self soothe (which I know she knows how to do) and the only thing that gets her to sleep is milk.

Daycare has said she is "overtired." I have and will tell them again that she is very social and unless extracted from the situation, will not go to sleep. I know her face when she's tired, but usually her eyes are wide open. She is a great faker at staying awake. So when we go back next week I will tell them again that every 90 minutes she needs to be taken out of activity and rocked a bit, then put in her crib. Then she'll sleep. Oy!! The regular lady is out of town and the fill ins haven't figured Reese out or aren't hearing me when I tell them these things!!

Hopefully, once Reese is not congested (if that day ever comes...this cold has been around for-ev-er, which doc says is normal) we'll go back to our old schedule. Reese has her 4 month appointment next week and 3 more shots!! Poor baby annd poor Mommy!!

So that should have you up to speed on us. Hope you are all well, if anyone is still out there. There's a post coming on Reese's 3 month changes I promise.

Oh and before I forget, we passed a couple landmark dates in my book. July 28th was the 1 year anniversary of when I had 2 embryos put in my uterus. And August 8th was the 1 year anniversary of when Holly H. told us we were pregnant. And look where we are now!! So very grateful for what happened last year, even though the result causes us (mostly me) to sleep less.

Night folks!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sleep trials - part 5

I know I was MIA there for awhile and it was really due to the fact that we were having more sleep issues.

For a couple nights in a row, Reese would fight sleep and then wake up every 2-3 hours and need consoling or to be fed. So I went back to the books and asked for help from FB and close friends.

The two books I had weren't really helping. I don't know if I wasn't reading them close enough (in my sleep deprived state) or if they just didn't speak to what I felt were/are our problems. Once we got her content in the crib, leaving her alone wasn't an issue. So I returned to FB for help, which I later found out J wasn't a fan of.

Anyway, there were some more book recommendations (which of course I ordered), some offerings of advice and just some "go with your gut Mamas." Someone talked about "tanking" her up, meaning ensure she had a full feed. That struck a cord because in the beginning when she'd wake up, we'd nurse for 45-60 minutes at night (20-30 on each side) and then she'd go sleep for 5-8 hours. Lately, we'd only been nursing for 15-20 munutes and on one side, but she was then only sleeping 2-3 hours. So the past few nights before we put her down, we really try to fill her belly, either bottle or breast. Then when she was waking up at 1 or 2, I make sure she eats on both sides, even if it means I am waking her up to finish - which takes a lot (rubbing her head, face, chest, feet, but not in a soothing way, more rapid to wake her up). And thus, she's been sleeping longer stretches.

Some people said, "don't read so many books and switch theories so quick." To which I respond, I'm not "switching theories," I'm finding tips from each one and making our own way. Some books I just don't agree with, or they really didn't talk about what I was seeing. So we continue to look and learn.

Our issue is not eating enough at night (which I think I've remedied or at least am aware of now) and too few naps during the day (which we continue to work on). I make her nap situation as similar as possible to bed, just without the bath, going so far as to swaddle her and nurse her in the dark room. I've also mastered the shush-pat which sounds simple and logical (but is really very scientific). You hold the baby at your shoulder and pat their back almost to the ticking of a click, rather firmly, and make a "shh, shh, shushing" noise past their ear. Theoretically, they can't concentrate on the patting AND the shushing so they stop crying, if they are, and fall asleep. It also supposedly reminds them of the sounds of the womb. You also aren't supposed to move or rock while doing this to 1) get them used to motionless sleep and 2) because motion actually (supposedly) puts them in a lighter form of sleep. That is harder to do than it sounds. I naturally do the "baby sway" when I have her in my arms.

Also, we're working on the motionless sleep idea. So if we come home and she's fallen asleep in the car, we put her in the crib, car seat and all. Or if she falls asleep in the swing, we stop the swing, letting her sleep in it, just not swinging. Daycare is also really helping because its becoming so routine. I think the more we do that, the better.

We've also gotten her feedings more routine, as in every 3 hours instead of 1-4 hours randomly. Something about the routine of it all seemed to work the first day we really tried it. Of course it isn't perfect and some days are a little off, but overall it makes everything better. It really helps with pumping and knowing what to do with her during the course of the day. The routine has continued to improve and she gets hungry right around the time she is due to eat.  Of course if she is screaming early and we rule out wet diaper and sleepiness, she gets food.  I would never deprive her if she is hungry. 

The plan is feed, wake (think of this as play time), then sleep, within every 3 hour period. So instead of feeding her to sleep most of the time, she's fed when she wakes up. Then we play, swing, have tummy time, etc.  About an hour and 15 mins after she's woken up, we start to get ready for nap. That means changing her, swaddling and shush-patting to get her ready for a nap. If ee watch for her signals (rubbing of eyes, yawning, etc), she usually goes down fairly easy and sleeps for 1.5-2.5 hours. She's taking about 2 long naps per day and maybe 1-2 catnaps. AND she goes to bed about 8 or so and lately has been sleeping until 4 or 5 am, sometimes even 7 or 8. Nice long stretch for us to get some decent sleep. We're on 5 nights in a row of this. I keep waiting for the 1 am wake-up to return, but so far we're doing great. She was up at 3:15 this morning, but I know we have to be flexible. Thus is life. Sometimes I eat breakfast at 8 am and sometimes its at 11 am!

I think Reese is much happier to get a full meal every feeding, than just to "snack" all day long. Plus it really helps me keep up my milk and pumping. I know daycare won't have fed her 4 times in the 5 hours she's been there and I was only able to pump twice. And she's sleeping at daycare ("school" as J calls it) very good too. I spoil her it seems when I put her down because they say at school they put her in a sleep sack (its literally a sack with arm holes and zips up to keep her legs/feet warm) and lay her down to sleep in the middle of a busy classroom. I have the shades drawn in her room, the sound machine on, she's swaddled and rocked a bit. Every time I try the sleep sack she won't go to sleep. Don't know if I just happen to have missed her window or what. But it just doesn't work for us.

We continue to work on sleep, but we're doing much better than we were last month!  Little victories!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy 3 month birthday Reese!

(I'm a little late...Reese's 3 month birthday was Thursday - 7/12/12.)

My dearest Reeses,
What a month it has been!  The biggest thing this month brought was more and more love for you our little girl.  I look at you and immediately smile, no matter how rough my day has been.  I can't believe you are in our lives and I can't imagine what our life would be like without you.

You crossed the threshold from under 10 lbs, to 11 lbs, 7 oz and are probably closer to 12 lbs by now! You have grown and it is very visible!

The day after your 2-month birthday, I reflected back to last year when you were just a little egg taken out of Mommy.  A year ago, we only could have hoped for the wonderful-ness you have brought us!  I'm so grateful to Dr. H and Holly H, and their entire staff for helping you come to us.

We've had lots of trials and less sleep than I would like as we transitioned you from sleeping in the cradle in our room to the crib in your room. You weren't a fan initially, but we persevered and now you love sleeping in your crib.  We also endured a lot of sleep trials (which you can read about in the blog - I think we're up to number 4!) because you weren't sleeping really well.  Now, we've got you on a pretty good schedule of eating, playing and sleeping within almost every 3 hour period.  You are prospering and we are all very happy.  It helps Mommy pump while at work and not wonder if I pick you up from daycare if you will be hungry immediately and I'll be "empty."  It has also really helped your naps!

That brings us to our next big transition.  We started a new daycare.  LP was good, but something just didn't feel right (namely a big dog that didn't like Daddy!) so we switched to a company and you love it!  We love it too.  The ladies there all call you "Gorgeous" but we already knew that you were!  Ms. Liz and Ms. Jessica think you are the sweetest baby and get so excited when we bring you.  It's really clean and organized.  And at the end of this month, your good buddy Bradley will start going there too.  Switching daycare was kind of worrisome at first since it had to happen during Mommy's first week at work, but thankfully we kind of had a back-up and it ended up working out better than I had envisioned in my head.  They are super flexible with your schedule and that is great for our flexible schedule at home!

Let's see....what else happened this month?

You were baptized at St. Pius on June 24th with Gma & Grandpa V., Nana & Papa R, GG (Great-Grandma E.), Fairy Godmother, "the Godfather" and Mommy and Daddy.  Father Harry thought you were so cute and you were so good when they baptized you, I think because you love your baths so much!  Then we all went out to lunch together, and you slept thru the whole thing! After we came home and opened presents, we went swimming in the pool for the first time!  You weren't too sure about it at first, but then you started having a great time.  I know you will be a water baby!  We know you learned to kick in my belly, so you'll probably be a great swimmer!
You and Mommy took a field trip to Bookman's and got a load of books to fill up your bookshelf that Great-Grandpa E. made years ago.  We've started to read you some when you are going to bed or just for something new to do during the day.  You will be a smart girl my love!

You had your first extended period of time alone with Daddy.  I know it's hard to believe that it took almost 3 months for that to happen, but it's hard for Mommy to leave because of your feeding schedule and how hard Daddy works around the house.  You both did great - in fact, you slept for most of it and Daddy thinks taking care of you is always "that easy" now!  Don't worry, you'll have more time with him and show him that while you are usually fun, you aren't always easy!

We went to another party this month for July 4th!  You had a special outfit and everything!  You got to meet Che Che, Grumpy, Uncle Scary, Ninny (again), GiGi, Pee-Paw and see Kimmy and Um again!  Grumpy even was able to put you to sleep in Mimi's room so Mommy and Daddy could have a break. 

You met My Kate, Adam and Tuck-man when we went to dinner with them one night.  Tucker tried to give you a high five when they left.  You aren't quite there yet, but it was so cute to see him try to do!

We are pretty sure that you had your first little laugh while you were taking a bath and Daddy was making fart sounds on July 7th.  It sure surprised us, but it was so great to hear!!!  We look forward to many more of those laughs!

You have surely found your voice this month and continue to "talk" to us by cooing and gaga-ing, even though we don't know what you are saying.  You are having a conversation and seemed determined to clue us in.  I think you even said "Mommy" on July 9th after I was repeating it to you multiple times.  You haven't said it again, but I am sure you will! And you discovered your toes!  They have really kept you entertained lately!

You sat in the Bumbo for the first time and looked quite content sitting pretty much by yourself.

You love to cuddle and we do too! I see major resemblances between you and Daddy in this photo!

See how busy your month has been!  We've loved it all and can't wait for the next installment!

We love you our little Reeses,
Mommy (and Daddy)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Breastfeeding worries

Breastfeeding is no where as easy as I had hoped it would be. I learned that very early on. And while we've got the act of it down pretty good at this point, I still worry about a variety of issues daily. I love breastfeeding and hope to continue for a long time, but not sure if my body will back me up on this.

1) Am I producing enough milk and what is "enough"?

Enough for me and enough for the docs are two different answers. Enough for the docs means that Reese is gaining about an ounce a day and is healthy. Enough for me means that I can breastfeed Reese everyday to meet her needs AND to pump enough to build up our freezer supply for while she's away from me. Those two tasks are hard to do simultaneously.

While Reese has a bit of a schedule, it's in no way set in stone and if you tried to set your watch by it, you'd end up late for everything. She usually eats every 1.5-3 hours. But sometimes its like every hour. As I'm sure you can imagine, my body doesn't make milk that fast in large quantities. So if she's eating every hour our feeding is shorter and she's not as hungry as when she eats every 3 hours and she's gulping milk down when it's time to eat. I'm trying to stretch it to no more than every 3 hours. 

2. How do I pump and feed in the same day or time frame?

They say to "feed the baby and then pump." Again, just like "sleep when baby sleeps," that is easier said than done a lot. Sometimes Reese falls asleep after she eats, so I could put her down and go pump, but she doesn't always stay asleep (whole other issue). Sometimes she does. It's really hard to pump and hold her. And many times, she has pretty much drained me to the point of not having any left to pump. Not even to mention that as the day goes on, my supply is constantly less and less.  So pumping in the evening usually only produces an ounce, if that!

I can and do pump at work, but I can't do that constantly because there is only so much milk in "the girls."  And seemingly, she a) eats from the bottle more than she gets from me directly or b) she pulls more out of me than the pump can.  I try to pump about every 3 hours so I can replenish myself, but I also have to be wary of when I go to pick her up that I have something in case she is hungry. 

3. How do I build my supply up?

I am doing everything I can to keep my supply up but I am constantly worried that it isn't enough, mostly where pumping and daycare are concerned.  (Let me say here, that I have nothing against formula and know many kids - now adults - who had nothing but formula and are fine.  I have always dreamt of breastfeeding my kids and now that the opportunity is here I most certainly don't want to give up or fail.)  I take Fenugreek pills three times a day to help my supply - and most recently have started to take 3 at a time instead of 2.  Per the Lactation Consultant's suggestion at Dr. Kids' office (and a few friends), I have a beer (which is so not my style as I couldn't stand the stuff until now, and even now I drink "girly" beer) every night because the hops helps with milk production.  And I drink a lot of water and milk all day long to help my supply.

Which leads me to my next question...

4. Effects of breastfeeding and diet and/or exercise.

I am down to just 6 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight, but still about 20-30 lbs away from where I like to be (and truly haven't been consistently for a long time).  This makes me very happy.  However, that doesn't mean that my clothes fit like they did pre-pregnancy.  My body has simply changed.  Therefore, I am still wearing maternity pants.  But they are very big on me and I am constantly yanking them up.  So I would love to go back to Weight Watchers and start to lose this weight.  However, I am deathly (yes, deathly) afraid that I will lose my milk if I do that.  Breastfeeding burns 500-1000 calories a day, so you need to eat a certain amount to have enough to produce milk.  However, many a friend have told me that they have reduced their milk production by losing weight and working out.  So what's a girl to do?

Weight Watchers does have a plan with breastfeeding, but I'm not sure I could commit to it right now as we are still getting used to all this.  I'm definitely trying to eat better and I know that is helping.  But I'd really like to get rid of my belly.  I used to be able to say that I could never see my belly beyond my boobs, and that is not the case right now! (sad face)

5. It seems like she gets more at Daycare than I can pump.  How do I keep up?

Reese seems to be constantly hungry and I think daycare feeds her whenever she cries.  I'm currently trying to lengthen the time between feedings a bit, so hopefully she'll sleep a bit better and she'll eat more when she does eat.  Sometimes she'll eat for 5-10 minutes, and then stop.  The other night I fed her on one side and then had to really fuss with her to get her to wake up enough to eat on the other side.  But then she slept almost 5 hours after that.  So we just need to get her to eat more and have time between the feedings.  I have no idea how much she gets from me when she eats, but based on pumping when I am not around her, I would guess it is probably 4-6 oz if she takes both breasts.  Therefore, if daycare is feeding her every hour, they go through a lot of milk!  And I just can't pump that fast.

6. Pumping and work

This last week, when I would leave the house, I had fed Reese about 5 or 6, and then she'd gone back to sleep while I got ready.  So right before I left for work, I got her up and got her dressed and she went right in the car seat to go to daycare.  Then, when we got there she was hungry and could be fed.  And when I got to work I could pump, and then pump again right before I left (I'm still on half-days thankfully).  I obviously can't pump with clients in my office, but the pump is pretty quiet so I can pump while on the phone and just working.  I also work in an office full of women who are all mothers or grandmothers, so they understand and aren't put off by what I am doing.  I'm very thankful for that.  But that still doesn't help my milk supply be more.  I did determine that if I pump every 2 hours versus every 3, I essentially get the same amount of milk, but I'm not so hard on my body and "wired" to the back-pack. 

So there's my thoughts folks.  Any input is welcome on how to do this better.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Reese's baptism

Hi Bloggites!  (I initially wrote this post a few weeks back, but was waiting on a couple pictures from various parties.  All pics are in, so here we go!)

I know not all of you are religious so this post is more for me so I can remember the baptism and today's events.  Today (June 24th, 2012) was Reese's baptism at St. Pius X church in Tucson, AZ.

Fairy Godmother (formerly BFF from Phx) came down from Phoenix last night and stayed with us. I always love hanging out with her. Nothing crazy, just dinner and watching TV.

Got up this morning about 6 when Reese was hungry, and from there just got ready. J and Fairy Godmother got up and dressed, and J's parents showed up about 8:30 am (before we were all ready). Headed over to the church after I nursed just for a bit so she had a full tummy. My parents, GG (my Grandma) and "The Godfather" (J's best friend - saying that always makes me think about those movies), met us at the church and we all walked in together and got situated.

My favorite priest, Father Harry, did the mass. We were supposed to bring Reese in just a diaper, so Fairy Godmother and I went and got Reese changed out of her onesie before mass started in the Sacristy. When we walked in, Father Harry was putting on his robes and I said, "you are gonna have company!" and he said, "I know. That's why I didn't take off my pants!" in his thick, Irish accent. And that's why I love him, he is so funny. J says he looks like Ted Nugent, but I think he looks like the guy from The Wizard of Oz who opens the door to the Emerald City. "The Godfather" said that if he ran into Father Harry on the street he might be afraid of him!! There's pics further down in this post.

Now it was time to start. The four of us lined up near the entrance of the church, and when directed walked down to our seats, after Father Harry made the sign of the cross on Reese's head and then we followed suit. The coordinator of all of this came and got J and I to walk by some of the congregation near us where they too blessed Reese and made the sign of the cross on her head. Then Father Harry came by and anointed her with Holy Oil. Here's a photo of that...by this time she had passed out...see...
 I love that little belly!

And here's the anointing with Holy Oil on her belly.  (Fairy Godmother, Me, J holding Reese, "The Godfather" and my Dad - and Father Harry (aka Ted Nugent).)

Then it was time for the water. Father Harry took her from J and sat her in this beautiful font of Holy Water (warm - good job folks!) and then took three handfuls of water and baptized her.  I expected her to cry but she didn't at all. She kind of looked at us like "bath time already?"

We wrapped her in the towels they had there, and then Fairy Godmother and I went back to the Sacristy to change her into her white garment and get her ready for the end.

 So pretty in her dress!

We were then back out at the mass to have her blessed with a different Holy Oil on her head. Father Harry really laid it on thick and messed up her hair!!! Of course he was laughing as he did it! (And as I fixed it later, he elbowed me and laughed!)
I love how focused on J she is here. This is just after I fixed her messed up, oily hair.

We all took communion and then it was time for the final part of the baptism, the lighting of the Baptismal Candle. The Godfather went to the church's candle and lit Reese's candle, then walked across the church to hand it to J.

The final piece was Father Harry held her up in front of the whole congregation and said her name and that she was baptized.

And then we all walked out. Fairy Godmother and I went to change her into her dress that I had to go to lunch with everyone. My friend Michele, who also attends St. Pius caught us there and gave hugs and said hi to Reese. And we all went to El Molinito for lunch. So yummy!

I wanted to make sure I had a picture of her dress. 

With Daddy (J)

Fairy Godmother and me.

Then Mom, Dad, GG, Fairy Godmother, J, Reese and I came home for a few pictures (4 generations of my family) before everyone took off. 

Fairy Godmother stuck around while we opened Baptism presents. Who knew?! She got quite a haul! 

All in all, a wonderful day!  Thanks to everyone who participated!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daycare...take 2

Ok. So after our daycare debacle with LP, I was more than a little worried about dropping Reese at the new daycare this morning (6/25/12). True, it's a totally different situation. But I was still concerned.

She'd gone back to sleep after the 5 am feeding and I finally had to wake her up so we could go to daycare, but she hadn't eaten since the first feeding at 5 am.

I got there about 8:45 am, and while I had all the paperwork they'd sent home filled out, I still needed a code to log her in and get thru the door and to pay. Got that all squared away, then went in and met with her teachers and went through a few things. I had a little book that J brought LP every morning with the diaper bag that told of our morning's events and then LP input what she did with Reese all day (i.e. How much she ate, when/how long she slept, diaper changing info, etc.).  The new daycare, Childtime, has a form that the caretakers fill out all day and then give you a copy of this info. I knew that, but still wrote in the book what we'd done so they knew what to expect next. I'd brought a lot of breastmilk so we talked about that and that I needed to bring more bottles the next time or the ones with the plastic liners (which we have and hardly ever use because we don't usually feed her formula during the day unless we're in a crunch. I'd searched for a blanket she could be swaddled in that morning, only to be told that they weren't allowed by the state to swaddle (but at least I found us "new"swaddlers). Finally, it was time to go. One of the caregivers got her out of the carseat and Reese seemed pretty content. I felt that she was happy and safe, but that didn't stop the waterworks. They assured me she'd be great and I could call anytime for an update. Reese was looking at me like "what's the matter Mom?! I'm good!" I told them she'd be hungry so they were starting to warm up a bottle as my tears and I went to the car.

By the time I got to work, I was pretty put back together and ready to get through my 4 hours of work. I texted J to tell him how drop off went and he assured me she'd be fine, especially with no big dog around. I was also "bursting at the seams" with milk so I got to pumping right away and got 6 oz. They had told me at daycare that because of her age they wouldn't offer her more than 4 oz at a time, so pumping 6 oz was at least 1.5 feedings!! Heard about the car accident MBM's parents had been in; then got down to work. Went to lunch with rhe girls, pumped one more time and then it was time to go. Found a different route back so I was backtracking less and got to daycare in 10 minutes flat.

Figured out my key code for the door and was shown how to log into the computer to check her out. Then it was time to go retrieve her. I put the booties over my shoes (required so if you have something on your shoes, it doesn't fall off and baby puts it in their mouth) and walked in. There she was, safe and happy. They were just getting ready to feed her so handed me the bottle of breastmilk and we sat in the glider. I got to talk to the caregivers that were there, including Ms. Liz, that a friend had told me she adored and she was right. Of course Reese hadn't spit up all day, but she got me! Payback for leaving her? < br/> < br/> We left and the nice thing is that they keep everything (diapers, wipes, diaper bag, etc.) so I don't have to lug it all the time. However, as I learned Monday, I always need backup. After I left daycare, I opted to go see MBM's parents who had been in a rather severe car accident over the weekend and who still hadn't met Reese yet. Got there and they both loved her and said she was gorgeous. As I pulled her out of the carseat, MBM's mom said, "what's on her back?" I looked and sure enough, her diaper was overflowing!! More payback?! Thankfully, I had just put a big ziplock bag of diapers and wipes in the car for emergencies, but no extra clothes. Got her cleaned up and out of dirty clothes and back to MBM's mom for visit. Finally headed home and got her in clothes before she fell asleep. Also put backup clothes in the car, just in case for next time.

All in all, a good day. Am happy we switched, even though its pricier, it feels better. Hopefully when I drop her off the next time there will be no tears.

UPDATE:  There were no tears from either of us when I dropped her off this morning (6/27) and she again did very well.  Went through all the frozen milk I had given them, so we'll have to figure out how to keep up my supply...but that's a whole other post!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sleep trials - part four

Hello fair bleeps. Are you ready for the next installment of our sleep trials?! They really do seem to be getting better.

Saturday (6/23), was a really good day. Since Reese had slept so well, she was very happy - mood wise. After our morning feed, I put her in the swing in our bathroom while I took a shower. She again fell asleep while I was drying my hair. I got a few things done around the house before she woke and wanted to nurse. I had a bunch of errands to run, so as soon as we were done, we were out the door. She fell asleep after our first stop and slept thru to our fifth, where we nursed again. Thankfully, we were at a used bookstore so there were lots of couches...and one very polite, albeit unobservant 10-year old boy who wanted me to move over so he could sit next to me, even though there were several empty couches close by. I just as politely told him no and there were other empty chairs closeby. As soon as we hit the car again after getting her a truckload of new books, she was out!! One last stop and we headed home where she slept just long enough for me to bring our haul in and put most of it away. Tried to nurse again, but she wasn't that hungry despite it being 2 hours since she'd eaten. I think it was the heat. She was real fussy, so deeming everything ok (fed, dry, clean), I put her back in the swing so I could put everything else away. She was happy as could be. J got home and BFF from Phoenix (who will now be referred to as Fairy Godmother) arrived and it was time for our bedtime routine. Again, she went down without problems around 8:15 pm, however this time sleeping on the sheepskin my Aunt Daisy sent (which my cousins loved as kids) and my t-shirt. Infants aren't supposed to sleep directly on sheepy until 1 year. Up at 12:45 am, quick change and nurse and back in crib by 1:25 am, where she got an arm out of her swaddle (so had to re-swaddle her) and she finally was fully back to sleep 14 minutes later after a small bit of fussing. Then slept til 6 am and I was set to get up at 7 to get us both ready for her baptism. So got up at 6 and got her ready, then nursed and put her in the swing while I showered and got ready.  She napped a bit at church, then again at the restaurant, then again at home.  Apparently, she's now figured out that sleep is perty-darn-cool!  We like that!

Sunday night was a huge step in the right direction, so much that I might believe it was a fluke. Now Sunday was a really exciting day (baptism and swimming for the first time), so I am pretty sure that had something to do with it. She had a bath after our swim (don't worry, I'll post pics) and then only made it through about three-fourths of her bottle. She thought she was done, so she fell asleep on me. I cuddled her a bit, then put her in the crib. She woke up about 30 minutes later and we let her cry for a little bit before I had J go get her so she could finish her bottle. Once that was down,she quickly fell asleep and J put her back in the crib, where she slept for 7.5 (!!!) hours. Wahoo!!! I went to bed soon after she did and I think it may have been harder to get up after that time period than the 3 or 4 hours that I've been sleeping. Apparently, she was worn out!!! Got up (4:30 am) and fed her because not only was she hungry, but I was hurting. I felt like I had rocks in my bra my breasts were so full. I literally did everything I could to wake her up so she could eat from both sides because I was so engorged.  Got her fed and back in bed about 5:25 am, swaddled of course (not warming up the crib anymore).  She was "talking" but not so much crying for about 10 minutes and then dropped off to sleep without a hitch.  I'll give it to this kid, she is already one smart cookie!  Then she slept thru until 8:30 when I woke her up, changed her, started to dress her and noticed she had already gone in her new diaper so changed her again, finished dressing her and put her in the carseat for her first day at new daycare.  That will be a whole 'nother post for sure!

Monday night was again started pretty easily. Bath, bottle and swaddle. In prepping Reese for daycare, I discovered we had more swaddlers but with velcro so she would have a harder time wiggling extremities out. I had originally thought they were sleep sacks. Anyway, we tried one and I think it was too tight because as J fed her while she was zipped in, she was sidetracked by trying to get out. So we tried a different one that looked so cuddly, I was ready to crawl into it. It seemed that she agreed with me because once she was in it, she fell asleep almost immediately without finishing her bottle. J snuggled with her a bit, then put her in the crib. Probably 10 minutes later she was already awake. There's definitely something magical about 4 oz of formula for her at night before bed. If she doesn't get that, she won't sleep. So J went and got her and fed her the rest of the bottle. And soon after she was again asleep. Laid her in the crib again and she was out for 5.5 hours. When she did start to fuss about 2, I looked at the baby monitor and swore that she had somehow wriggled her hands free. But when I picked her up, she was still tightly swaddled. Guess Mommy's eyes saw what her brain thought they would. Hmm... We nursed and she was back in the crib by 3 and while she fussed for a bit (more chatter than cries), she was back asleep by 3:15. Up again at 5:45 am and we nursed so she was back asleep by 6:20. And finally up at 7:15 ready to eat and see Grandpa.

Here's sleeping beauty from this morning.

 Maybe we're headed in the right direction folks!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Water baby!!

Sunday was quite the day for our little girl. First baptism (don't worry, there's a post coming. Am just waiting on photos from J's parents), party after baptism, presents and then swimming for the first time ever.

I had to wake her up from her na in the swing (almost 3 hours) so we could swim. Went and got her ready. I had looked for swim diapers, but the smallest I found were for 16-24 lb babies. And that was the "small"! Reese is barely 12 lbs. I bought them anyway, but wasn't sure how it would work. So I put a regular diaper on her. Then a swim diaper, then her swimsuit which was a bit tight with all the layers. "Double bagged" her, I guess. Then we nursed. I kept hearing all kinds of sounds from her diaper, so after we fed had to change her which meant undoing it all and redoing it all. Finally got to go in the pool.

She truly is a water baby. Handed her to J before I got in and she was in heaven. Pool was 88, so nice and warm. She loved it. Now for pics.

Don't worry, you don't have to see me in a swimsuit ever again! Well, I hope not anyway.

Sorry, I can't figure out how to flip this one.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sleep trials - part three

This is what happens when I breastfeed not in bed. I can blog more!!

I thought we were vastly improving as far as sleep goes.  But now I feel like we crossed a bridge to go up a mountain.

Last Thursday night was the roughest, until last night. Last Friday was better. And last Saturday was much better and dare I say Sunday was a cinch. But then this week rolled around and...uh, let's say it was rough.
J got home from camping Sunday morning. Yup, that's why I didn't talk about him in the other trials because he wasn't here. It was kind of good because I didn't worry so much about Reese waking him up.
We'd gone to dinner with my parents and my Grandma (Mom's Mom - so Reese's Great Grandma who we'll call GG from now on) for Father's Day. It was her first time meeting her FIRST great grandchild. It was quite fun to see that. When she and Mom send me pics, I'll post those. Anyway, home from dinner and immediate change, bottle and bath. Then it was time to calm her down and go to bed. Nursed and soon enough she was asleep. J had been in and out as I set her down in the again warmed crib. Now we waited.
Almost 50 minutes went by before she woke up. J's eyes darted to me when I didn't jump immediately. Let her fuss for a bit then opted to check her diaper since it'd been awhile since it'd been changed. Sure enough dirty. But she still fussed. Since I'd just pumped and gotten almost nothing, I made a 2 oz bottle of formula and J fed and rocked her. She wasn't having it. So we switched and I offered her what I thought was my near empty breast. I don't know if she got something out or just used me as a pacifier, but it put her to sleep and I waited the again alotted 20 minutes to put her in the warmed crib, as J was closing down the house for the night. I was prepared for tears, but there were NONE!! Had we really made it? I went to bed about 9:30, earliest I had in 3 days, and was woken up at 1:45 am for a feeding. So yes, first night without a fight!!! Yay!!

After the feeding, waited 20 minutes then put her down in the warmed crib and again we were good. I had issues falling asleep but that's because Monday was my first day back at work. Up again at 3:50 am (just over an hour after I had put her down) and fed again. Then at 6:15 am to get ready for the day. Again, between the 3:50 feeding and the 6:15 feeding, I maybe got 45 minutes of sleep. Boo.
She slept bits and pieces at LP's so by the time I picked her up at noon she was exhausted. She slept in the Moby, so I was able to get more work done. Bath, change, bottle and bed were pretty easy, just time consuming. (Have been bathing her in the kitchen sink, but as she's gotten bigger its harder to do, so we opted for the tub since we have a chair she can use in there.) She went down around 7 pm but was back up around 11. Nursed and then back to bed. But she was up again around  12:30. Fed a small amount again and tried to put her in the crib before the 20 minute mark, but she wasn't having it. Tried to let her cry it out a bit, but after 20 minutes of that opted to go in and rock her to sleep and wait 20 more minutes. Almost woke J up to rock her, but I knew I wouldn't go back to sleep til she did so no sense in both of us being up. I think she finally went to sleep.

Monday wasn't too bad but Tuesday night she was up and down quite a bit. Wednesday, after the whole LP debacle she wasn't a happy girl sleep-wise. When we visited the daycare, she was an angel. But we got home and she just wasn't a happy girl. Truly, I can't tell you what happened because I'm officially sleep deprived. All I can tell you is she slept on and off. And Thursday was way worse...I had finally recieved the Sleep Lady's book so I was reading as fast as I could for insight. Everytime we put her down in the crib she screamed and fussed. We started all this at 7:30 pm and by 12:30 am she still hadn't calmed down so I gave up and brought her to our bed where she was out in minutes and we both finally got some shut eye.
Gma and GG came over Friday (thankfully!!!) to help while I worked. But eventually I had to give up on that too and go take a needed nap. Gma said she rocked Reese to sleep 5 times. then put her in the crib and she'd sleep for 10 minutes then cry. They finally got her to sleep in the swing where she slept for about 2 hours. Played a bit with her and talked to Dr. Kids who said crying doesn't hurt her even for hours. She also suggested letting her sleep in the swing and gradually slowing the speed so she gets used to sleeping without movement. J talked to his friend at work who suggested swaddling (we stopped doing it because she was breaking it and always woke up hot).

After her bath tonight, we swaddled her just with a diaper on and J fed her the bottle of formula while I paid bills and said she didn't even eat half before she fell asleep. So he held her while she slept for a bit. Then when she roused, I took her and gave her the rest of the bottle and then some breast. She stopped eating, so I held her until she went to sleep then decided to try putting her in the crib. Amazingly, she didn't fuss and was asleep for about 3 hours.

Woke up about 12 am and I changed and fed her. Asleep in my arms and put her in the crib, she woke up almost immediately. She hadn't eaten for as long as usual so fed her on the other side. Again, asleep on me and as soon as she was in the crib, awake. I patted her and talked to her, but didn't pick her up. Said goodnight and went back to bed where I watched her fuss on the monitor and tried not to feel bad letting her cry. Forty minutes later, she fell asleep. Up again about 3:45 am and let her fuss a bit, but finally relented and when I picked her up, her swaddle blanket was  a little wet with pee, so changed her diaper and put the blanket in the dryer while we nursed. By the time we finished nursing, the blanket was dry and she could be re-swaddled. Put her in the crib (now complete with a shirt that I'd worn so she had the smell of me there per a tip my Dad heard), said goodnight and away I went. She gradually started to fuss but it was far less aggressive than the time before and this time only lasted 26 minutes. Kind of surprised me, truth be told, when she dropped off to sleep. And slept another 3.5 hours, giving me another nice nap to start my day with. Not sure if she slept well because she hadn't really slept the day or night before, or if we've really turned a corner. Only time will tell. So as you can see, we're on quite a little journey. Glad you've decided to join us!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Uh oh...Daycare woes

Three days back at work and there's already trouble a-brewing!!

A little background...When I was pregnant, I asked everyone I encountered for names of daycare providers. I wanted a home, but was also open to institutions that we might use later. But I really wanted a home.
We struggled for a while because none of our friends live close to us so their recommendations were most of the time a far drive. J and I also go almost completely different directions to work, so any daycare place had to be close to our home so either of us could pick Reese up if necessary.
Finally, at a party celebrating our friends adoption of their son being final, the host introduced me to a mother who lived just minutes from us whose daughter was about 7. I made small talk and then asked her about daycare options. She said she'd ask friends. A few days later, I got an email from her with 2 recommendations for LP. I was overjoyed to discover that LP was about 2 minutes away from our house. I called her and asked some preliminary questions, and was happy with the answers. So said I'd call after the baby was born.

And I did. We set up a time when I could come observe her and see her home. I knew was told she had 2 dogs but that they were calm and weren't around the kids a lot. Everything was checking out. I talked to the person who had recommended her and was again happy with what I was hearing. We set up time on a Sat. when J and I could officially interview her. (Let me interject here that I looked at other places online and was either not impressed with their prices or schedules. I work from home 2 days a week and my parents were hoping to help us for those days. One place that I had my heart set on told me they had a flat fee for infants if they came 1 day or 5. I was not happy to hear that at all.) 

We went to interview her and have a tour of her home. We were there almost 2 hours. I had 7 pages of typed questions. I loved her. We finally met the dogs. One was old and very sweet. The other was a puppy and huge - about 100 lbs. He was in his crate and J went to him and the dog growled at him. Ok, not good, but our dogs growl at new visitors too sometimes.  Dog came out and still wasn't happy with Jason.  The response we got was that he didn't like men but he would warm up to Jason.  And he had never hurt a child in the year they had had him.  So we came home and discussed, and J still wasn't very happy but agreed to let us try it out if I made sure LP knew our specific concerns.  I called her and we had a good discussion.  She assured me that the kids were her top priority and the dog wouldn't be near Reese.

So we tried her out a few times.  I dropped Reese off to go get my hair cut (I blogged about this) and a few other trial runs.  Monday was the first day I went back to work.  When J dropped her off, the dogs were no where in sight.  He said it was hard, but he felt alright.  I picked her up and she had done great.  Even came home and worked a few hours because she was supremely tuckered out.  Tuesday, I worked from home and my Dad and Grandma were watching her here while I worked.  We all did pretty good.

Wednesday it was back to LP's.  J took her and I went to work after getting ready at the house.  About 9:50 am, I texted him to see how that morning had gone and he said, "the dog wanted to kill me but Reese did well. I hate that dog.  The other dog is great, came up to me and was loving on me and wanted to play but the other dog does not like me."  I asked him if I could have LP make sure the dog is in the bedroom when she knew J was coming.  He replied, "She had him in his crate but when he saw me he started to bark like crazy.  I'm glad he was in his crate.  She told me to just walk in the house next time and not to ring the door bell.  I told her she was crazy because if the big dog was out of his crate he might attack me.  I don't feel good about that dog.  I'm having a hard time feeling ok about leaving Reese there."  At that point he called me and described more in detail how bad it had been and that LP and her hubby couldn't calm the dog down.  He said he "felt sick to his stomach" when he left and he almost went back and got her.  His worry was that because the dog didn't like him SO much, what if the dog attacked him while he was holding Reese.  He would never forgive himself.  He also said that after talking to LP, she said that next week her hubby wouldn't be there like he had been this week, so it would be the "true test."  And that was what really struck me.  I don't want to "test" if the dog will attack my husband or daughter.  I had to start a class, so we got off the phone, but I texted him later saying, "I'll tell LP we're not coming back when I pick Reese up." He said he was sorry and I told him there was nothing to be sorry for. He can't be faulted for wanting to make sure his daughter is safe.  Yes, LP was a great caregiver, but that dog struck fear in me too.  Not a good thing. 

Now the tough part would be telling LP that we wouldn't be coming back.  I practiced my speech on the way home and thought I had it down.  But when I got there, it was still rough.  As soon as I saw Reese in LP's arms, I felt bad for taking her away.  I had to tell her and I was in tears by the time I was done.  LP was so good with her, but the dog freaked us out.  LP said she understood and then started to tear up saying, "I'm already so attached to her."  But she understood.  Her husband had been the one to get the 2nd dog when their other dog passed away and she had told him it wasn't good for business.  I guess he didn't believe her, maybe he will now.  Oh to be a fly on the wall in that house after I left or when he got home.  I gave her a hug and promised that we'd still be friends on Facebook and she could come see us anytime.

Dashed home and Reese was again tuckered out, which gave me the perfect opportunity to go back to searching for a new daycare.  While we don't live in a remote area of town, there really aren't a lot of choices for daycare that are convienent to J and my commute.  It's either one or the other.  I did a mapquest search and called the AZ State Resource (Childcare Resource Center) for help.  I dug out my other research for daycares that I had done before Reese was born and found Childtime Learning Center.  It's about 8 minutes away and was kind of my backup.  Know a few kids that go there and have heard good things, was just a bit pricier than we hoped for.  But now I have a completely different perspective on it all.  So called them and was really happy with the director and her knowledge and patience as she answered all my questions.  J and I figured out that we could both meet there after he got off work to check it out for ourselves.  We liked what we saw so Reese will be enrolled come Monday.  I'll always keep my ears open for other opportunities and I did tell LP that if they ever get rid of that dog, to call us and we'd probably come back.  But for now, Childtime it is!  And hopefully they can help with our current sleep issues...but that is a whole other post!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...It's back to work I go.

Yup. It's about that time. Time to head back to the office. Thankfully I'm only going back "part time" for a few weeks. But still doesn't make it any less hard.

I love when people say "your maternity leave is already over? Has it been 12 weeks already?" First off, maternity leave is UP TO 12 weeks (which is required by law). But that doesn't mean it is paid time off. So what really happens is maternity leave is however long your PTO (paid time off) lasts and how long your finances allow and what your boss will tolerate (lets face facts, they have a say too).  No, they can't fire you for wanting 12 weeks, but they could make things pretty miserable when you came back if they so desired.

That being said. My time is up. My PTO is growing small and I want to keep some for a rainy day and emergencies. And it's just time. Sure I might think at times that being a stay-at-home mom would be great...and it would. But its a lot of work!! In some ways, I think being the working mom is somehat easier. They also say "absence makes the heart grow fonder" and "daycare socializes and makes kids more independent."

Monday was my first half-day back and Reese's first real half day at daycare. J was going to drop her off at 7 am and then head to work. Seeing as we had never been ready to go before 8:30, I was a little worried. Plus Reese had been up a few times during the night and both times I couldn't get back to sleep. Too many things rolling around in my head. Finally after the 4 am feeding, I couldn't shut my brain down. I thought about getting up at 5 and getting ready, but maybe fell asleep about 5:30 and my alarm was set to go off at 6. Got up about 6:15 am because I heard Reese start fussing and I knew J had to leave at 7.

Out of her jammies and feeding her, while he got ready. Then off to the kitchen, to put breast milk in the diaper bag and write LP a note about when she'd been fed, changed, etc. Put her in the carseat and that's when I got misty eyed. Of course J walked in just then from putting diaper bag in the truck. Only to find me crying my eyes out. He assured me all would be well and kissed me goodbye before picking the carseat up with Reese in it, who by the way was grinning like crazy. And away they went.

He later told me that it was so hard to leave her at LP's, not because he doesn't trust LP, but because she was looking at him like "don't leave me." I asked him if he cried and he said "no, but it was really hard to leave her."

In the meantime, I took a shower, pumped while I did my make-up and hair and ate breakfast. I was out the door about 8 am and on my way, looking like a pack mule...purse, lunch bag, breast pump bag and work bag!! Got to work and when one of our assistants saw me her face lit up like a Christmas tree. Always nice to be missed. Two baby presents from clients were waiting at my desk. Sweet!!

From there, my day flew. Granted, I was only at the office until 11:30. But I had a lot to do in a short amount of time including pump twice and eat lunch. Scooted out pack-mule style again and booked it to LP's. Got there just at noon where Reese was playing but looking a little tired. Got her into the car and made a stop at Walgreen's for baby oil (to cure the cradle cap) and some other items, then home. As soon as we were in the car, she was out cold.

Didn't stay that way very long. Put her in the Moby wrap after a bit and was able to get some more work done. J was home earlier because he'd gone to work so early, so that was nice. We had all survived my first day back.

Today I worked at home while my Dad and my Grandma watched Reese at our house. Pretty productive, but had to stop a few times to nurse, etc. We'll figure it out.
Now on to day three tomorrow...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sleep trials - part two

So we've entered the next step. It was a pretty ok day, but there were far too few naps after our late wake up.

I got her to sleep with the help of the Moby and that was great. But I had to take it off to get ready to go to church. Thus waking her up. Mass was good and she fell asleep about halfway thru after nursing.  After being shown off to all of Mom and Dad's friends (I attended their church instead of mine because the mass was honoring her), we headed home for our bedtime routine.

First a bottle because she was soooo hungry. Then a bath to clean, calm, and try to get the yucky cradle cap off her head. Change the diaper and now its time to rock. She wasn't super tired surprisingly, so we opted to nurse again. Almost fell asleep, and into the crib on a warm mattress she went. I warmed the mattress up with a heating pad while we nursed, then took it off before I laid her down. She was ok. Left the sound machine on and the projector with it and scooted out.

Woke up about 30 mins later and I let her fuss for a bit, then went and changed her and nursed again. This time I put her travel bed in the crib (so it wouldn't feel so vast), a thin blanket in the bottom because the cover is kind of starchy and warmed that up...although had to go find a different heating pad because the one I had JUST used wasn't working. This time she fussed a lot and I watched her on the monitor. Then she'd calm down and sleep for a few minutes, then fuss again. She finally settled down and was off to dreamland. I headed to bed soon after, happy that progress was being made because she had fussed less than last night by 7 minutes.

Up about 2:30 (4.5 hours after she fell asleep) for her feeding and she fell asleep about 3, so I held her for 20 minutes (per Dr. Sears) and then put her in with bed heated and slipped out. Waited for the fuss and there was none. Went to the bathroom and waited some more. Nothing!! Watched the baby monitir closely to make sure she was still breathing (she was). Finally figured we were good and caught some zzzz's myself. Woke up 3.5 hours later to her "chatting." Success!!

Fed again at 7 am and she fell asleep again, waited 20 minutes and into the warmed travel bed in the crib. Again, no fuss and we both got another hour and a half of rest! Sweet!!!!

All we can do is try!! But it feels like we're finally on the right track!!

J's First Father's Day

Sunday is more than a special day around here as you can surely imagine. It is J's first Father's Day as a Daddy. He made my first Mother's Day truly special and I'm hoping to return the favor. Usually on Father's Day, I would post about my Dad. But I think this year I will post about the Father my husband has already become.

 J's first photo with Reese.

When we started having issues getting pregnant over 5 years ago, it became very apparent to be that I had married the right man. I've at times wondered how my life might be different if I'd stuck with different men that I'd dated before J and none of the scenarios run out in my head even compare to our true, real life story. He was very supportive during our whole process even in times when it would have been super easy for him not to be. I knew he would be a great Dad someday...at the time, just not when.

Purely unrelated to Fatherhood, but for the epically long time when I studied for the CFP (aka "big nasty) exam, he took over many of my responsibilities so all (truly ALL) my time could be devoted to study. But he always let me know how much I meant to him and that even if I didn't pass once or 30 times, he was proud of me and loved me! And when I did pass, he was so happy to have me back!

When we finally got to the point of going thru IVF, again his support was apparent. He coddled me when I needed it and let me have space when I was cranky.

And on that glorious day when we found out I was pregnant, he cried tears of joy with me, thus showing me that he wanted this baby just as much as I did.

Throughout the pregnancy, he was great. Making sure I didn't work too hard, understanding when I just couldn't do anything but watch TV or sleep and telling me I was more beautiful than ever before even when I felt like Shamu!!

Two months and a few days ago when it was finally time to meet Reese, he again stepped up to the plate of being a good husband and a great new dad. He was super supportive as the c-section wore on for what felt like forever to me, telling me I was doing great and she was almost here. We had a very special moment seconds after Reese was born where we just shared a look after hearing her first cry, again with joyful tears in our eyes. He said he had been feeling nauseous the whole surgery, but at that point, all the nausea disappeared.  And finally when I was stitched up and ready to go, he only left my side for a few moments to tell the grandparents of her birth. He "slept" on a horrible bed for 4 nights and awoke immediately when asked for help, doing things for me that I never wanted to ask him to but needed because I couldn't do myself. He just did them.

In the days since Reese's birth, he's again proven how great of man he is. He's again taken over many of my chores because I have neither the time or energy. He's been supportive through our breastfeeding trials and proud when he'd tell friends how difficult it was but that I persevered. And while he comes home mentally and physically exhausted from work, he's always excited to see his daughter. He's grateful (and tells me that he is) for all the things that I do for her that he can't which makes me feel appreciated. And he never fails to tell me that I'm doing great and he loves me, which again gets me through the hard times (like the past couple nights when we've moved Reese from the cradle in our room to the crib in the nursery...see here for that story). He's shown that he will be a great Dad thru-and-thru, even though he has moments (like we all do) of weakness, exhaustion, frustration and insanity. His humor is one of the many things I love about him and that gets us through our hard times. But I do tell him that his daughter will constantly roll her eyes at him, once she knows how because of that humor. And he laughs! 

So on this Father's Day, I honor my husband for the first of many years to come. Happy Father's Day my love!