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 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!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sleep trials - phase 1

Who knew sleeping could be so difficult?! I guess I always thought sleeping was ingrained in us as humans, but according to all my books, it is not. So the sleep trials begin. 

A bit of background first. When we first came home from the hospital, Reese slept in a cradle by our bed. When she cried, J would get up, change her and bring her to me. I would nurse her or bottle feed her, let her fall asleep and put her back in the cradle. We would both go to sleep. We thought we had lucked out because she eas pretty good at sleeping!

Maybe a few weeks ago, Reese and I mastered sidelying breastfeeding. Great in that we both were more relaxed while we fed. Bad in that I could now fall asleep while she ate and then fell asleep. Thus the co-sleeping began and the sleeping in the cradle got rougher. She would go in the cradle initially, but not after her middle of the night feeding. Our co-sleeping was not intentional.

Now I know co-sleeping has its being that its so comfortable and easy to sleep with this little girl snuggled up beside me. But there are dangers too. Many a child has been rolled over on or suffocated by a parent, grandparent or babysitter. I was acutely aware of this and thus didn't get as good of sleep because 1) I wasn't in my most comfortable position and 2) I woke up whenever she moved.

So we needed a change.

I went to the Facebook community for help. I have a multitude of women who are mothers and had experience. And boy did they respond!! All kinds of ideas came out.The ones that gave me pause were that we're creating bad habits and Reese will tell me when she is ready for her crib. Obviously Reese won't be talking for some time, but maybe this is how she was saying she was ready for her own room. So we decided to transition to the crib and stop the co-sleeping.

Any parent hopes that this transition will be seemless, as did I. However, not so much. The first night, I would get her to sleep, put her in the crib and she'd wake up within 30 minutes, if not sooner. So one of us would calm her down and we'd attempt again. Eventually, I think she finally went down about 11 pm, so I scurried off to bed exhausted. But she was up again about 2 am (a far cry from her usual 6-8 hour sleep that we'd grown accostomed to).

Now the true trial began. Change, feed, sleep. Put in crib. Awake in minutes, even seconds. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Finally, about 4 am, as we both were exhausted, she gave in.

So when J got up at 6:30 for work, followed by a Father's Day weekend camping trip (don't worry, he'll be back Sunday morning) he didn't go kiss her good-bye, fearful he'd wake her and thus, me. He left and she slept for a bit longer, but finally woke up but I am positive she was as sleepy as me.

We have a mini swing for her in our bathroom that she's content to be in while I'm in the shower or getting ready, so after her feeding, she went in there so I could shower and almost immediately fell asleep. I should have gone back to sleep too, but I was already in the shower with wet hair. Bummer. So I got ready and my Mom came over to help in the morning and while she was here, I opted for a pedicure. Left her with Reese and away I went for some down time, albeit an hour. Her nap was sufficient and when I got home she was a happy girl. Fed her again, fell asleep, and now time for the crib again. No dice. Same happening as the night before. A few more rounds of this and finally I gave up.

Six pm rolled around and now it was time to start the bedtime routine. Bath, change, bottle, crib. This time I opted to let her cry a bit. Mama K had said, "once you know she is clean, full and tired, put her in there and there's nothing more you can do. She will figure it out." So I did. And she cried. I texted Mama K and asked how long I let her cry and she called me back while I watched Reese fuss from the baby monitor. Mama K reminded me that I'm not cruel, this is natural. She distracted me. Reese was still not happy so I went in to change her again and feed her again. She fell asleep and I put her in the crib.

Again she cried, while I watched on the baby monitor. But eventually, she stopped and she fell asleep. Again, up mere hours later for change and a feeding. And another round of crying. But less severe. Then up again about 6:30 and after feeding her where she fell asleep, I put her in the swing next to the bed so we could both get some shut eye.

She's not there yet but we're making progress slowly.

A year ago today...

Hi Bleeps...I'm still here.  I figure if I can get a post a week, I'm golden!  Thanks for sticking around and for those of you who have deserted me left me, I completely understand.

A year ago today (June 14th, 2011), I had 19 eggs retrieved out of my uterus.  I had been doing shots everyday, going to many doctor's appointments, and praying dearly every night for all this to work.  We were supposed to have the embryos put back in a few days later, but because of how many eggs I produced, it had to be put off until July 2011.  Here's the post from last year, just in case you want to walk down memory lane. 

A year ago today, I could only hope that everything we were doing would make our dreams come true. 

A year ago today, we had no baby clothes, no baby furniture, and no baby to watch.

A year ago today, my Mom wasn't sure how she felt about possibly being a grandma in the nearer future.

A year ago today, we were unaware how drastically our lives would change and if they would at all.

A year ago today, all we had was hope.

I am still amazed that everything worked out so well.

We have an abundance of baby clothes (thanks in large part to MBM's sister, who keeps bringing me clothes her little ones have outgrown and keeping us stocked with more cuteness than Reese will ever wear), an abundance of baby furniture, baby gadgets and a beautiful baby girl that I can hardly take my eyes off of.

My Mom misses Reese the minute she leaves our house and can't wait to come back.  She thoroughly loves being a G-ma!

Our lives are so different.  I sleep less.  I clean less.  I blog less.  And it's all okay because I am so ridiculously happy because of this little girl.

Today, we have love....huge amounts of love for this little wonder.

(And there's the tears again!)

I don't think I posted the professional pictures we had taken of Reese and us in May, so here's a few of our favorites.

 Aunt Melslaw knitted this little hat.  So cute!  J says it makes him think of a "20's baby."

 One of my favorite photos.  Having it blown up on canvas for J's first Father's day!

 This is in the nursery.  I love that he took a photo of it.

 Favorite family photo.

 J was holding her thru the chair from the back.  This little chair was J's when he was a kid and someone in his family made it.  I have one that my Grandpa made for me, for her too.

 Me, Reese and my Mom (G-ma)

My parents (G-ma and Grandpa).  I love my Dad's smile.  He lights up like that every time he sees Reese.

So if anyone in T-town needs a good photographer, you can see we know someone!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

2 months old!!

My dearest Reese,
Yesterday you turned 2 months old!  It's so hard for me to believe that 2 months ago you were still in my belly and for the past 2 months you have been in my arms.  We've had our ups and our downs, but I think we struck gold with you because the ups far outweigh the downs!  Your progress from last month has been incredible to watch.

This morning we had your 2 month appointment with Dr. Kids and she was very impressed with your progress.  You now weigh 11 lbs and 3 oz and are 23 inches long.  That's a lot different than when you were born at 8 lbs, 1 oz and 19.75 inches.  Of course, Mommy asked lots of questions and all the answers were helpful and happy.  You had 3 shots, which you did not like at all and Mommy was almost in tears too because it was hard seeing you so unhappy.  But after they were done and you were able to nurse, you were a happy girl rather quickly again.  What else have you done in the last month?

You took your first trip to Mt. Lemmon with Daddy and Mommy for some cooler temperatures and a nice meal.  You fell fast asleep (just like Mommy likes to do) in the car with all the twists and turns.  And on the way home you met Auntie Melslaw's parents who loved you!

You got Eczema on your face (rash and bumps) that made you quite miserable for more than a couple days.  But a quick trip to Dr. Kids got a diagnosis and cure (Cetaphil cream).

You had the ultrasound on your hips because you were breech in Mommy's belly for so long and passed with flying colors but were so unhappy as they did the procedure.  Again, Mommy was very close to tears because the technician was making you so unhappy.  And thus, you tired yourself out so once we got to the car you had a nice long nap and even though you didn't know it, you went on a little shopping trip with Mommy, FOR Mommy.

We finally figured out how to breastfeed lying down in bed and we both SIMPLY love it.  We can both fall asleep and cuddle this way too.  But right now you aren't a fan of going back in your cradle after you eat in the middle of the night.  And why would you be when the other option is to cuddle with Mommy?  We're working on it.

You don't get the hiccups as much as you did in the beginning, but you still sneeze multiple times (2-6) in a row, just like Daddy, at least a couple times every day.  It's so cute!

You attended your first party (at Uncle Zach's house) for Dylan's 8th grade graduation, which was quickly followed by your 2nd part at Trainer and Mrs. Trainer's house for Lil Trainer's first birthday, and that was followed by your 3rd party at G-ma and Grandpa's house for Memorial Day. This was also your first visit to G-ma and Grandpa's house.

You love to swing in almost any swing (and now we have 3), plus a little bouncer that Mommy got from Twice as Nice when she took some stuff in that you weren't a fan of.  And we learned that most mornings you will fall asleep to the sound of the hairdryer, which we all think is funny because it wakes everyone else up.

You had your first and second visits to daycare at LC's.  You did great, Mommy was a wreck and cried and cried.  We are starting to figure out how much you are eating every day because LC used some of your frozen breast milk, so we now have a better idea of how much you get every time you eat from Mommy.  Unfortunately, I don't have a gauge on my breast to tell me!

You've had a couple rough bouts of sleeping...or lack of sleeping I should say.  We had a couple days where you just didn't want to nap and Mommy had to reach out for help, but now things are getting better.  You even slept 8.5 hours one night and surprised Mommy and Daddy!  We bought a book called The 90 minute sleep program, and have been trying it's theory out for a few days with success.  (Essentially, it says that babies need to be back to sleep 90 minutes after they wake up, and from there as they get older, their awake time increases in 90-minute increments - 3 hours, 4.5 hours, etc.)  We also learned that you don't necessarily have to be asleep to be happy in the Moby.  You are just as happy going into the Moby because it lulls you to sleep and you are close to Mommy.

You stayed with Nana and Papa while Mommy, Daddy, Aunt Kirsti, and Uncle Chad went to the class that told us about your baptism that is coming up.  And Nana and Papa had a great time with you while we were gone, and you with them.

You went to church once with just Mommy and once with Mommy, Daddy and Aunt Kirsti and both times you pretty much slept thru the whole thing, but everyone around us said how beautiful you were.

You still aren't a fan of Tummy Time, but you love to sit on almost anyone's lap and look out at the world around you with your eyes wide open.  You also hold your head up REALLY well and for long periods of time.  And at your appointment this morning when Dr. Kids put you on your tummy, you put your knees under you and looked like you were going to crawl away!

Mommy finally got her act together and ordered and sent out your birth announcements.  Everyone loved them and now they all have pictures of you!

You've also met a bunch of new people this month including Auntie Kirsti, Melslaw's parents, some of G-ma and Grandpa's friends and have attracted attention from anyone who sees your beautiful little face.

Mommy goes back to work part time next week and I'm sure it will be rough on us both.  But you get to go see LC 3 half days a week, and then Grandpa one day, and then G-ma one day, and I'm sure it will be fine.

I think that is most of what you did this month.  You've been a busy little girl!

Mommy and Daddy (and everyone) love you sooooooooo much!  And next month will be even busier than this month I am sure!

Love you,
Mommy (Nikus)

And here's your 2 month photo...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Communication is key

So much for blogging more because its on my phone folks....turns out that I'm still busier than I want to believe.

So here we are in the middle of the night, as I breastfeed, I'm trying to get the thoughts down that have been rumbling around my head for a while with as few spelling errors as possible. Bear with me.

If you know me personally, and quite possibly from reading the blog for any period of time, you may have surmised that 1) I like to get things done and 2) I don't often ask for help. I was the student that during group projects didn't trust my grade in anyone else's hands so many times I did the brunt of the work to ensure I got wht I wanted. Yup, even in college, people LOVED being my partner. I just did it to get it done, even if I was overloaded.

Well, over the last few weeks (let's say 8 - how old Reese is), I have been overloaded and seemingly struggling to tell J. He's so busy and tired after work and taking care of the yard, that I just couldn't say anything. But things were falling between the cracks and I was having more and more conversations in my head between us.

I've also been struggling with the thought  of going back to work in just under 2 weeks and trying to start working out again. And how that schedule will work out. I've gotten input from a few people and finally brought it up to J to discuss.

At first, he just said, "whatever you want to do, I'll support you." And after a few upsetting minutes where I kept saying, I want your input, not just your support." I finally gave him an example of a schedule I knew he'd hate and he perked up and said he didn't like that! The discussion got a little heated from there, but it just as quickly cooled down when I admitted that I needed help with things around the house, because they just weren't getting done. He blew me away saying "You have taken on huge responsibilities with Reese. She is your responsibility right now because you are breastfeeding her. I can help, but many times my hands are tied. I'll take care of everything the house, etc. You just worry about Reese." Now, let me say as well that he does a lot with Reese, but 75% of the time, she wants to eat so unless it is the evening when we give her formula, he can't feed her. I was so happy to hear that he wasn't upset with me because the house wasn't it's usual spotless-ness. We also agreed to have a discussion on Friday's about what we hoped to achieve on the weekend so we could each plan accordingly and help each other out as needed. Communication is key and I need to remember that, especially with J. And that he isn't a mind reader.

Reese had another day at daycare...well, half day. Much less upsetting for me because the first ont went so well and I've been talking to LP a lot, so my trust of her is building.

And lastly, I am a genius. Yup. I am. I have been struggling with how to carry everything baby and Nikus, and somewhat failing. How do you carry a baby, diaper bag, water bottle, and purse and not drop or forget something? I purchased a second diaper bag that had a little "Mommy pouch" that was supposed to fix everything. It didn't. The pouch wasn't quite big enough. And at some point there will be a lot of transferring of items because the baby will go one way and I'll go another. So how did I remedy the 1) multiple straps on my shoulder - which I hate and 2) the transferring of items from bag and potentially leaving something in the wrong place?

Enter the "D" ring. What is a "D" ring you ask? It's the name of those little clips that everyone has on their keyrings these days. I bought 6 "D" rings at Walgreens today - six because they came in a pack of three which were all different sizes and I needed 2 of the same size. Cost was $2.50. Came home and clipped the strap rings of my purse to the strap rings of the diaper bag. I have one strap on my shoulder, but 2 separate bags. When I don't have Reese with me, I simply unclasp the rings and have my purse, with my stuff, and nothing gets forgotten in the diaper bag. What did I tell you? Genius. And cheap. The alternative was purchasing another, larger, diaper bag (at least $50) but that only solved one problem. This way solved both. See below photo.

Ha. I rock.