Archive for Baby T

settling in

The long-awaited haircut unfortunately did not come to pass. Alas, they were all booked up until next Saturday. But I did get to eat a delicious bowl of ramen (with pork belly!) and a green tea ice cream crepe so all was not lost.

My hair though, is still ridiculously long, untamebly tangled, riddled with split ends and has the tendency to fall over my shoulder into T’s face when I’m nursing him. So it still has to go. I’m thinking somewhere cheap and close, it doesn’t have to be a stylish haircut, just one that ends with all my dead ends in a pile on the floor and my hair short enough (but not too short, no “mom” haircut for me thank you!) that I can pull it into a pony tail without having to comb through miles of tangles for half an hour first.

All in all, though, I had a pretty great weekend. On Friday, Paul and I braved happy hour at a trendy, high-end Japanese restaurant in SoMa. I was craving nigiri like nobody’s business and we knew this place had tables with big bench seats that could easily accommodate a car seat so we headed over as early as we could and luckily there were still plenty of those tables left in the bar area when we arrived! T slept quietly the whole time like the little cherub that he is (and yes we did get a comment from the waitress – “Your baby is so good!”) while we chowed down on happy hour snacks, rolls, nigiri and drinks. Since I knew I had some time til I needed to nurse him again I ordered something called the Giddy Geisha – lychee and passionfruit vodka concoction – and it was everything I hoped it would be.

Yesterday we made our way to J-town. Once again at a restaurant (albeit at a totally off-peak hour – 3pm – to minimize the crowd we would have to deal with) and once again we got a comment, this time from a fellow diner, about how good and quiet our baby is.

Today we finally went to this farmer’s market we used to go to literally every weekend. We met up with our friend’s T & V and their new little one, Baby O who is two weeks younger than Titus, but was supposed to be one day older based on their due dates. Except they both decided to come early! Titus just came the earliest so he gets to be the oldest now. It was a gorgeous sunny day and it was so much fun talking to V about what life is like now for us as new mommies. The only downside is that we ended up sitting in the sun for a few hours and even though I was busy shielding T from the sun, I didn’t even think at all about how it would affect me until I got home and realized I’m totally sunburned.

Crap.

I hope those couple hours of carefree fun in the sun don’t result in a crappy lupus flare.

Please, please, please…just be a sunburn and nothing more. I don’t have the luxury of getting really sick right now.

Speaking of which, I finally did a load of my own laundry tonight and am unreasonably excited about the prospect of wearing clothes tomorrow that are not covered in a fine layer of dried breast milk and spit up. And maybe a little pee or something.

Two months

Dear T,

This letter is a bit overdue but it has been a busy few weeks! You’re getting bigger and cuter (which I didn’t even think was possible!) each and every day. Your hair is getting longer and because you have two swirls at the back of your head instead of one you have this funny little mohawk thing going on! No amount of brushing can get it to lay flat, it’s pretty hilarious, and your dad and I are wondering how it’s going to look when you get older. Your eyelashes have also gotten really long, they’re starting to darken up a bit (they were super light brown when you were born) and they’re naturally curled! Boys always get the most beautiful eyelashes, no fair! Your eyebrows are also no longer blonde, they’re now light brown so it actually looks like you have some!

You’re now over ten pounds – double your birth weight! – and you’ve officially outgrown all your newborn clothes and fit comfortably in 0-3 month things now. At your last pediatrician visit you were 10% for weight and head circumference but only 3% for height. This is all based on your actual age and not adjusting for you being a preemie so, all in all, not bad! We just need to work on getting you to sleep more so you can grow taller!

You’ve started grabbing for things, my hair, your panda rattle, blankets, my shirt…We’re going to have to start keeping a better eye on what we leave in grabbing distance!

Your pediatrician gave you your two month shots this month and once again you were up to your old tricks and amazing all the nurses. You had four big shots, one in your right thigh and three (!) in your left in the span of about a minute. The nurses were shocked when you stopped crying after only a few seconds, they said you were such a tough little boy!

For three weeks, Nanny C was watching you at night and we think she made a lot of progress with you! You have gone from waking up every 2-3 hours to now usually going four, sometimes five hours at a stretch. One time you even went seven hours but that was an outlier so we’re not getting our hopes up too much yet. It does seem like you are trying to wean yourself from your middle of the night feed though because you’ve gone from taking 4oz to only 2-3oz’s consistently at that feed. Your dad and I have decided we’ll slowly start decreasing what you get until hopefully you skip it altogether!

I’m not sure why but you’re still not a fan of tummy time, even though you seem to have decent head control. You get frustrated really quickly and I have to pick you up so you don’t get an aversion to your tummy. Luckily, your Auntie B is a pediatric PT and has been coming to visit us once a week so you’ve been getting some professional tummy time and you like it much better when Auntie B is the one helping you with it. Mommy is picking up some good tips from her and your papa was saying that every parent should have someone like Auntie B to help them!

We’ve transitioned to exclusive nursing for all the feeds with mommy, you only get bottles if papa, grandma or the nanny is feeding you. This is working out pretty well and I’m so glad you don’t fall asleep at the bo.ob all the time anymore so we can nurse as much as we like,

I won’t lie, being a mommy is tough sometimes. I spent thirty years living my life the way I wanted, doing things according to my needs and schedule and it’s been a bit of a shock to have to adjust to doing everything around someone else’s timetable. But I love being your mommy so much and am so thankful for every minute I’m with you. You are truly a blessing and the most amazing gift I could ever ask for.

Love,
Mommy

it’s been awhile since i’ve used bullet points

  • I think I was a bit overenthusiastic with the pumping between nursing sessions and managed to pump myself right into the oversupply camp last week. Not the worst problem to have but still a problem when your baby starts crying because your milk is choking him and cries later because he’s filled up on foremilk which has made him super gassy. Luckily, in the age of Google, I’ve been able to get things to a much more manageable level by enduring a few uncomfortable days and scaling back the number of pumping sessions per day. I don’t know what made me think it was necessary to pump after every nursing session? However I’ve pumped so little in the past few days that I’m a little worried I’ve gone too far the other direction so I’m currently searching for a happy medium.

  • T’s platelets are fully in the normal range now, wahoo! Over 300k as of his blood draw yesterday – two pokes because the vein collapsed on the first one and holy mother of god it sucks balls to watch people stabbing your tiny (ok less tiny now) baby with needles and trying to draw blood out while he screams and looks at you like, “Why? Why do you let this happen to me?” Thankfully the clinic where he was drawn had Sweet-Ease which he likes and made the process more bearable. One of the nurses was so sweet and even remembered which room T had had his blood drawn last time and which arm it was from and the other nurse asked how she could possibly remember given how many draws they do a day (and it was almost a month ago!), and she said, “Because I remember Titus!” Aww…my lil guy is already working it with the ladies 😉

  • We are in Day 3 of the grandma experiment. Too soon to say how it’s going but me and my mom really know how to butt heads. I liked having the nanny who just took in what our preferences were and followed them and gave us suggestions but never made us feel like we HAD to take them. I know my mom has the best intentions and I feel bad that I haven’t been able to express that to her because I have all these other conflicting emotions about wanting to be clear that this kid is mine and I’m allowed to raise him my way and expect people caring for him to act accordingly. Anyway, I think all parties feel committed to trying it at least for this week but we’ll have to reevaluate at the end. Personally I’m liking the idea of me watching him a couple nights a week and just hire the nanny for maybe 2-3 nights which makes it a three figure check which doesn’t feel quite so bad for our bank account.

  • Technically my maternity leave ends in two weeks. I say technically because my rheumy has already indicated that he’ll fill out whatever paperwork needs to be filled out to have it extended by four weeks and I intend to ask my boss if I can use up four of my six weeks of vacation this year to tack onto the end of it. Still, the fact that I am technically supposed to be back at work in two short weeks has me freaking the fuck out (pardon the language but no other word can encapsulate how this is making me feel). I’m trying to soak in every moment of being with my baby boy. Even the screamy, squirmy moments. Even the days (like today) when he’s so fussy and refuses to be put down and I don’t even have time to pump or eat between feeding, changing and holding him. The idea of missing one single minute of his life is killing me. The thought of someone else, anyone else, taking care of my sweet baby boy makes my heart hurt. Before he was born I wondered how I’d feel about going back to work, whether I’d see it as a reprieve or if it would be completely and utterly crushing. I’m hoping I still have 10 weeks to go (please please please) but so far I’m definitely leaning towards the latter. If this is how I’m feeling now, I can’t imagine what my last day of maternity leave is going to be like. Lots of blubbering, wailing, gnashing of teeth, and squeezing my baby a little too tightly is probably a good guess.

  • Tonight I proclaimed to Paul that I love breastfeeding. I love looking down at T while he’s nursing and that he looks back up at me as though he’s studying my face. Because he was in the NICU for the first few weeks of his life I was really afraid that he wouldn’t know who I was, that I was someone special in his life and not just one of the many caretakers that have come and gone already. When we are having one of those nice long nursing sessions where I can hear his contented sighs between his swallows, his little hands resting gently on my chest, I feel like he knows that I am the person in this world who loves him more than anything. There is also this weird pride when I look at his multitude of fat rolls and creases all over his chubby little body that I’m the one nourishing him and boy does he look well-nourished!

  • Paul and I have already started thinking about #2. Obviously it won’t happen anytime soon, I think with a c-section it is recommended that you wait at least a year to let the uterus heal completely in addition to the issue about vitamin depletion, etc. But I guess even with all we went through with T, both of us feel strongly that we want another child. Having T and knowing how amazing he is has only reinforced that. Also, not going to lie, I would LOVE to be pregnant again.
  • this will probably make me sound like an ungrateful brat…

    One of those things you’re think you’re prepared for about parenthood but have no clue just how bad it’s going to be is how to deal with your parents who are now first-time grandparents.

    I love my mom. I really do. She is a great mom and always has been and I know she has the best intentions in the world when it comes to me and T.

    But she is driving me so completely nuts I’m not even sure where exactly to begin.

    The conflict du jour is over our night nanny. She has all kinds of objections over said nanny, the top three being: 1) the cost, she thinks it’s exorbitant, 2) she hasn’t come right out and said it but she is upset that we didn’t ask her, and 3) she thinks she can do a better job of it (see #2).

    Now, trust me, it doesn’t feel great writing out that four figure check every Thursday night, in fact it downright sucks. But I think both Paul and I do feel it’s worth every penny and we’re thankful that it’s an option for us at this point. I get my mom’s point about the cost, especially when there are much cheaper options given the abundance of “Chinese helpers” available in our area, but with such a little baby we are willing to pay for the peace of mind of hiring someone who views this as a profession and not simply the only thing they can do to make money under the table.

    As for the other two points, I’ve tried to make it clear to her MANY times that we didn’t ask her because it is a LOT to ask of someone. In the five weeks that he’s been home, last night was the first time T went a four hour stretch without eating. And since that’s start to start that means any caregiver who was watching him and actually attempting to sleep could have gotten a max of a three hour block of sleep. Outside of that he’s been waking up to feed every 2.5-3hrs (again that’s start to start) and every once in awhile he wants to eat every 2.

    He has been gaining weight (and growing) really fast, he started at 5lbs at birth and I think at his lowest he was 4.5lbs. He literally wasn’t fed at all for several days when he was at his worst in the NICU so he lost more weight than most babies do. Even with all that by his due date he was nearly 8lbs, so my guess is if he had made it to his due date in utero he could have been an 8+lb baby easily. He is now over 9lbs and climbing his way towards 10lbs every day. In other words, he is a big baby, at least by my family’s standards.

    My mom keeps insisting that since he’s already over 9lbs that his feeds should be getting stretched out and she will not listen to me when I tell her that, that just isn’t how it works! He is essentially three weeks old (today!) which means feeding every 2.5-3hrs is 100% normal for his age. Everything I’ve read says it DOES NOT MATTER how big the baby is, it matters by age but my mom does not accept this because she raised two (average to smallish) babies that slept through the night by one month. Thirty years ago.

    (Which is to say, who knows how accurate her recollection is.)

    So anyway, her conclusion is that we must be doing something wrong and the nanny must be making it worse.

    Sigh.

    For days we had the exact same argument over this topic and she kept insisting that she can handle watching him at night since I don’t feel I can without risking my health.

    But even then it wasn’t that simple. She wanted us not to hire anyone and she wanted to watch him at night but she only wanted to stay with us a max of three nights per week or else she wanted us to go live at her house five nights a week. I put my foot down and told her neither of those options are acceptable to us because as long as he’s waking up so frequently there’s no way I could get enough sleep (especially since I don’t fall back asleep easily, once I’m awake no matter how tired I am, it takes me time to settle) and as long as we have other options I view not getting sleep as a last resort. Living at her house makes no sense because our cat is not allowed to come, Paul would have to commute two hours a day meaning we would barely see him and I didn’t tell her this, but I really do not want to be on her turf.

    She clearly doesn’t totally respect my role as T’s main caregiver and being at her house would only make that even more pronounced.

    Anyway, after lecturing/yelling about it for days she finally realized I was not going to give in on either of these points because we do have the option of hiring a cheap Chinese nanny when we finish with our night nanny and she relented. She agreed that she would do her best to be here five nights a week unless something came up with my grandma or other extenuating circumstances. I still felt somewhat reluctant about this but I agreed and was immediately treated to a speech about how I need to make her feel appreciated.

    I know that I’m lucky my mom wants to save us this money and is willing to do something that is so difficult, but it was hard to immediately bust out with the appreciation after I felt like she basically twisted my arm into this. It’s not that we’re super rich (we’re not) and love spending money (we don’t, at least not on stuff like this!), it’s that sometimes it’s just so much easier to hire someone, especially someone who views what you’re hiring them for as a profession.

    For example, we decided to extend the nanny for another week next week because my mom said she wasn’t totally sure which days she could come next week and it might only be three or four. My mom got upset when I told her that in that case we’ll just ask the nanny to stay another week and said that even when you hire someone there are times they can’t make it and you just have to deal with it. I didn’t say this to her because I didn’t want to get into yet another no-win argument where my mom accuses me of arguing with her for the sake of arguing, but the nanny we’re working with belongs to a larger network of nannies and if she was ever sick or couldn’t make it for some other reason she has a pool of people to call to try and find a backup. It is VERY unlikely that we would have been left without support for a night. And THAT is the difference between hiring a professional vs hiring some random cheap help and one of the reasons we opted to go this route to begin with.

    Not to mention, hired help doesn’t criticize and lecture you.

    I’m also not sure why she thinks she has more experience sleep training newborns when she has dealt with exactly two newborns and we’ve hired someone who specializes in caring for newborns for a living. And I do resent the implication that T eats so often because I don’t know what I’m doing.

    I mean, I don’t really know what I’m doing but I feel fairly confident that T eats a lot because he’s growing and he likes food. He is, after all, Paul’s son! He is very aware of his own hunger and when he wakes up to feed, he feeds well and he doesn’t spit up much so I know he isn’t being overfed. There have been times where he feeds and then only goes down for his nap thirty minutes before his next feed and he will wake up right on schedule wanting to eat because he prefers eating over sleeping!

    She keeps telling me that I don’t have to feed him right when he wakes up but then she completely discounts it when I tell her that I don’t. Because in her mind the only reason he would keep waking up so often to feed is if he’s being fed right away, it can’t be because he’s actually hungry. Typically he’ll start stirring 2.5hrs after his last feed, if he’s napping that’s when he’ll start waking up a bit and doing his little cries. I usually let this go on for about a half hour or so to try and stretch the feed out to three hours, at which point he has usually just begun full on wailing like it’s the end of the world. I don’t let him scream his little head off for too long because I know from experience that he will actually tire himself out and have a worse feed if that happens, in which case he will wake up in just an hour or two wanting to eat again.

    This is EXACTLY why I wanted us to take care of T on our own for at least the first few weeks. While I don’t really feel like I know what I’m doing, I do feel like I know my baby better than she does and I can be a bit more forceful about how I expect him to be cared for. Which is not to say she will listen to me. Can you tell I’m pretty apprehensive about the experiment of her watching him?

    I could probably go on about this for at least another ten paragraphs but I’ve already burned through my naptime ranting and my hungry baby is about to wake up so I’ll have to save it for next time….

    i never do product reviews but this might just change my life

    Maybe it was that I slept through my mid-sleep pump last night and got six straight, blissful, uninterrupted hours of sleep but I’m feeling much more even-keeled today. I also got an email back from the disability processor lady at my OB’s office and she made it sound like it is probably not going to be catastrophic but that I will have to file some sort of appeal. That’s how I interpreted it anyway, her tone was pretty casual but it was via email so I could just be seeing what I want to see.

    One of the nice thing so far about the night nanny is having someone experienced with babies to bounce things off of and chat with (aside from the whole sleeping thing which is BY FAR the nicest thing about a night nanny – obviously).

    My poor sweet little guy has been getting progressively fussier it seems as each day passes and the nanny suggested last week that it could be gas. She told us to try something called Windi and probiotics.

    After I looked up what Windi was I’ll be honest I dawdled on it for a day or so. The idea of having to stick something up my baby’s pooper to make him fart was scary and unappealing (seeing as how frightened I initially was of putting drops in his nose) so I let the idea settle for a day or two hoping it was just a short phase that would pass.

    Instead it got progressively worse and finally I caved and placed an order which arrived three days later. But then I think we (Paul and I) both sort of chickened out of actually using it until yesterday he fussed and fussed and wouldn’t take his after dinner nap we busted out the box and started reading the instructions. They required baby oil. We did not have baby oil. Sure we probably could have ran down to the liquor store to see if they had any but we decided to hold off one more day so Paul could make a Target run during his lunch break to pick up some baby oil.

    Long story short today was finally the day. And, oh, how we wish we had gotten the ball rolling on this little magic trick back on the day the nanny first suggested it because seriously? It’s kind of like magic. I massaged his little belly three times on each side as the box directed, pulled his legs up towards his head, Paul inserted the thing and we immediately heard a hiss followed by a splat of poop. And then just for good measure T decided to pee everywhere too. Luckily I had read the reviews and knew that there needed to be a diaper under his butt for this procedure so the mess was confined to the diaper and his shirt that he peed on.

    After he was fed he immediately dropped off to sleep and slept for almost two straight hours without any fussing or grunting! Whaaat?! When was the last time that happened? I can’t remember. Then he did the same thing after his late evening feed, except he even let me put him in his crib and he didn’t freak out.

    This poor kid has been so uncomfortable all this time because his noob parents didn’t know what to do! These are the pitfalls of being the first child. Things your siblings will probably never thank you for.

    I shudder to think of how long this would have gone on if the nanny hadn’t suggested it in the first place.

    brain dump

    First off, thank you ladies for all your encouragement 🙂 T and I did indeed make it through our first week alone together but we were sure glad to get Paul back home for the weekend!

    Today I realized I did something incredibly dumb. I started my state disability claim online back when T was still in the NICU but apparently didn’t actually submit it. I finally remembered to check on the status today and realized it was still sitting in drafts.

    Crap.

    I submitted it. It said something about needing to submit between 9-49 days after the disability began or you “may” lose benefits.

    Double crap.

    I was already feeling stressed today because for some reason I started thinking about whether or not I’m going to be able to take the extra eight weeks I’ve been hoping to and how if not I’ll be back at work in less than a month.

    Then I noticed that T had two petechiae spots on his leg and his hematologist said to call if we noticed any. I’m not overly worried since it’s only two spots and everything I’ve found online seems to refer to a “rash” but still…I’m worried. And the doctor never called back. Plus he’s been doing this weird wheezing gasp thing when he nurses and sometimes afterwards which just has me worried.

    Oh and today Paul came home and the first thing he said was how he was looking up why he’s been having more ruminating thoughts lately and realized he’s really stressed out. Which I already knew because he’s been constantly go, go, go nonstop pretty much since the day T was born but still it sucks to have confirmation of that. He comes home and he cooks and then he starts organizing and reorganizing the house and it’s just not healthy. I keep telling him to let things be a little messy but it’s like he literally can’t.

    Anyway, I’m going to call the state disability office tomorrow and find out what my chances are of not getting paid any benefits at all and if so how the hell I explain that to my company which expected me to apply. Ugh. I can’t believe I did that.

    FML

    you can run but you can’t hide

    Tomorrow Paul goes back to work and I don’t think I can find the proper words to convey just how terrified I am at the prospect of watching T alone for nine consecutive hours.

    This “being a mother” thing is still sort of a work in progress for me. I never expected myself to be a natural mother and I did not disappoint. I’ve never been great at taking care of, well, pretty much anything. In fact, on most days, taking care of myself is a bit of a struggle. This is why in college I often went for days surviving on potato chips and Coke. If it weren’t for Paul there is a very good chance I would still be living off of that diet.

    The only reason I managed to raise a cat is because cat’s really don’t take much effort. Food in a bowl and scoop the litter every so often and you’re basically golden.

    Babies, I’m learning, are not so simple. (Don’t worry, this was not a shock to me).

    I’m going to be really honest here and admit that there have definitely been these intense moments of frustration (and exhaustion) when he is screaming and screaming and part of me sort of wishes I could just let him cry and be someone else’s problem.

    I do always feel appropriately guilty for thinking it after he settles down though, if that makes it any better?

    And the worst part of it is, my kid isn’t even that tough of a baby. When he’s crying there is almost always something you can do that will make him settle down almost instantly. But sometimes whatever it is isn’t so obvious and takes a bit of figuring out (like the time he was super congested and just needed someone to suck the snot out of his nose for him). The other worst part of it is that I’m not even that sleep deprived by new parent standards. I am just really sleep deprived according to my own pathetic standards.

    I don’t know why that bothers me. Like, who cares if I’m not as sleep deprived as other people and I still feel physically exhausted all the time? I guess it makes me feel like I can’t really complain about it or something? Now that we have a night nurse I’m pretty sure I’d get zero sympathy.

    So anyway, Paul is going back to work tomorrow and this feels like a major problem to me because when it comes to T, Paul has been the one sort of figuring everything out. I am very timid about everything with T. At first I was afraid to dress him because I thought for sure I would pull out one of his shoulders or kneecap or something so Paul dove in and figured out how you dress a 5lb miniaturized human. Then there were the saline drops for his nose. The idea of having to drop these drops into my son’s TINY nose holes left me paralyzed with fear. Paul just did it. Sure T had saline drops all over his face but they were also in his nose.

    I guess the difference between Paul and I is that I overthink everything. I am usually paralyzed by fear of somehow hurting T, whereas Paul just sees it as, something has to be done, so he does it.

    Since I have yet to snap in the carseat or even learn to buckle T into his carseat, it’s a pretty safe bet that we won’t be taking any car trips without daddy this week.

    Tomorrow is the day where my true mothering abilities will be tested.

    And I have a bad feeling about it.

    20130225-230032.jpg


    From this picture you’d never guess that I am the weakest link!

    love this

    Just wanted to share our favorite picture from T’s newborn session. Doesn’t he look like a tiny Greek God 🙂

    20130221-000928.jpg

    rambling (again, so what else is new?)

    Today T is six weeks old and yesterday I had my postpartum visit with Dr. OB.

    It was pretty standard stuff: How are you feeling? How is breastfeeding/pumping going? Are you still bleeding? What kind of birth control are you using? Incision looks like it’s healing properly. Let’s get you up to date on your papsmear (since I opted out of having one during pregnancy) and internal.

    However, I did ask him about the pathology results on my placenta. He was pretty vague about it, I’m not sure if he actually remembered (since he didn’t have it with him and probably reviewed it five weeks ago when it came back – I should have asked at my post-op but was deep in my NICU haze and forgot) but he basically said that it was unremarkable other than that it was “a little small for the gestational age” (he said this was what we had expected, but I hadn’t known that) and that it just looked like a placenta that was “done.”

    I don’t know if he just said this to justify the early delivery or what. I’m hoping not because I do want to believe that T needed that sort-of-emergency-ish c-section even though I know it doesn’t really matter either way. Based on the evidence at the time he may or may not have been in distress but the only way of knowing for sure was to get him out. The alternative was waiting and seeing and sure everything *might* have turned out okay and I could have gotten further along and possibly had a vag.inal delivery, but on the other hand everything could have gone to shit and I could have ended up with a stillborn baby.

    So basically…Not. Worth. It.

    The right choice was made regardless, so why did a small part of me hope for some proof that it was, in hindsight, still a necessity?

    I guess even though I am mostly at peace with the way things went, and so, so grateful for my healthy little bay sleeping comfortably in his newborn bop.py lounger in front of me, I must admit that part of me is still having trouble letting go of the expectations I had for the end of my pregnancy and how I would bring my little one into the world.

    I thought that I didn’t have a whole lot in the way of expectations, and you know, I probably didn’t in the earlier parts of my pregnancy. I pretty much white-knuckled my way through the first trimester, vigorously inspecting my toilet paper during each trip to the restroom, holding my breath before each beta and ultrasound, feeling sick to my stomach every time I felt any kind of wetness *down there* and so on and so forth.

    And then during the second trimester I became obsessed with the possibility of early delivery. I begged for cervical checks at every ultrasound, I agonized over whether I was having regular discharge or if my water was leaking (to the point where I made Paul buy pH strips), I had nightmares that I was delivering the baby and in each one of those nightmares I was always exactly as far along as I was in reality.

    Those first two trimesters I did not think much about the end of pregnancy and what that would be like – I was focused like a laser on just getting to a point in the pregnancy where I felt like I could breathe. The fact is that point never really came. We bought a onesie and a shirt for T while we were in Hawaii (I was 25 weeks by that point) and we were still questioning ourselves as to whether we should be doing that.

    Anyway the point is, it wasn’t until just before things started going downhill that I actually let myself start thinking about the possibility of going into labor on my own and what it would be like. I started to imagine what it would be like to push my baby out (with the full benefit of an epidural!) and snuggle with him on my chest in those first precious moments afterwards. I imagined having him in my room, the three of us living together as a family from the very start.

    I’ve already said this but what really makes me sad (well, as “sad” as one can be about a pregnancy that resulted in a healthy little babe) is missing out on those final few weeks of pregnancy. I wanted to be huge, I wanted to savor every last kick and elbow, I guess I just wanted the full experience and it’s sometimes a hard thing to let go of.

    I also asked Dr. OB about what he thought my placenta results would mean for a possible future pregnancy. He said that for the most part he would expect things to follow a similar trajectory. I would be monitored in basically the exact same way, seen by all the same doctors on a similar schedule, loads of extra ultrasounds, potentially another fetal ECG if my sjogren’s antibodies are still present, NST’s in the third trimester…He said based on his experience he would guess I could get a bit further in a future pregnancy but there was definitely also a possibility of only making it to the same point as with T, and a smaller chance that it would be even earlier than this time. It’s unlikely that I’m a good candidate for VBAC, not that I’m totally sure I’d want one given the risks, so he said we would most likely schedule a c-section but when it is scheduled for would be up in the air.

    It was nice to hear all that, that at least the chances are good that a future pregnancy is likely to at least have the same outcome as this one or perhaps an even “better” outcome (where “better” just means longer pregnancy, closer to or term baby).

    Dr. OB said that we should not try again for another year since the body needs time to recover and I do remember reading in my child development course that statistically second children born too close to when the first was born are at a disadvantage since the mother’s body has so recently been depleted of so many nutrients, etc. and has not yet had a chance to replenish.

    I don’t think I’m ready anytime soon anyway. After what happened with T, in my ideal world my sjogren’s antibodies would be gone before we start trying again, but we’ll see. Paul says he has no problem doing this all again in nine months. I think he is nuts.

    But he really has taken sooo incredibly well to being a dad. He is every bit the amazing papa I thought he would be. it is totally second nature to him. For me? Not as much, but I’m getting there.

    Next week Paul goes back to work and I’m terrified. So we’ll be hiring the night nurse tomorrow to start this weekend and hopefully we can keep moving along in this parenthood thing and not screw it up too badly.

    zero day

    Dear Titus,

    Even though in a way this day means nothing, it’s not after all the day you were born (or anywhere close to it), it’s special because today is your zero day! You are an adjusted age of zero now! Gone are the days of being negative days/weeks old.

    So even though you are zero days old, you have actually been an outside-baby for five weeks and two days now. Even better, you’ve been an outside-the-NICU-baby for two weeks and two days.

    It’s weird because it feels like so much time has passed since you were born but each day flies by so quickly I barely have time to process everything that has happened since the moment the doctors told me you were coming – ready or not! (For the record, your pops and I were definitely under the not category).

    There is so much I want to remember about this time of your life, I wish I could capture all of it and save it in a bottle somewhere. When you were in the NICU and we couldn’t really touch or do much of anything with you or for you, your papa and I would just sit and stare, literally for hours, at you. Drinking you in. Savoring your newness and your ridiculous cuteness. We would marvel over your gigantic (for a tiny baby) feet. Stroke your unbelievably soft, full head of hair. Try to learn your cries – your pops in particular picked up on your wet diaper cry pretty quickly.

    Speaking of the NICU, I feel like you should know, the nurses and doctors in the NICU adored you. Every day we were there, so many of your previous nurses would come by and exclaim about how much improvement you made and how happy they were to see it. One day you had a new nurse and she remarked about how you had quite the fan club coming to see you all day long! The doctors and nurses called you their little miracle (and would have to correct themselves that you were OUR little miracle!) because of how quickly you went from the very sick baby to a completely normal, healthy, happy little guy.

    Your nurses all told us what a good baby you were, how you were so “appropriate” and only cried when you needed something and so easy to calm down once your need was met.

    Another thing every nurse and doctor who has had the pleasure of examining you has remarked about is how crazy strong you are for a little baby. One time you almost managed to kick a vial of your own blood out of the phlebotomist’s hand! Your pops is hoping this bodes well for his dream of you getting a basketball scholarship =P (Just kidding! Totally no pressure!)

    Now that we are finally home with you, we’re starting to get to know you better every day. There’s still a lot that’s confusing but hopefully day by day that will change. You have started staring at our faces and following us with your eyes. You remain a very “appropriate” baby and I swear the hardest part of taking care of you is trying to get you to burp! You get SO angry when you are gassy, you flail and kick your strong legs but once the bubble has passed you calm back down like, “What? Where’s my milk?”

    You can already look at our faces and follow us with your eyes! We can’t wait until we get a real smile out of you (instead of a gas smile – although your dad does adore your crooked, one sided gas smile and always exclaims, “He’s winking at me!” when you do it. He’s tried so hard to get a picture of it but so far you are not cooperative about it). The other day I read you a book your Uncle Darwin sent called “Duck and Goose: How Are You Feeling?” and I swear you were looking at all the pictures! I think you like Duck and Goose 🙂

    As of this past Monday you were 6lbs 11oz and gaining approximately 1.5oz per day so you are most likely about 7lbs now! You love to eat (usually 100ml every three hours now!) but we still haven’t figured out which nip.ple works best for you. Breastfeeding is great but makes you so sleepy that we have to take lots of breaks and I’m never really sure if you’re full or not. I’m still hopeful that at some point before I have to go back to work we can BF for the majority of your feeds.

    Your cheeks are coming in nicely and this past week your pops and I have noticed how chunky and dimpled your thighs are becoming. So cute!

    Your grandma says you have the same hair I did when I was a baby. You have TONS of hair and it is super soft and downey and such a light brown that it sometimes looks red in the light! I wonder if it’ll stay this way or if it’ll darken up as you get older. Other than that we still can’t really figure out who you look like, except when you’re being burped you really look like your Grandpa Andy (papa’s dad)! We joke about how you look like a seventy year old man.

    When you sleep you make these odd little dinosaur noises, like squeals and grunts. The visiting nurse said that that’s normal for preemies so we just laugh about it (can you tell you bring your pops and I hours of laughs and entertainment?). We call you our baby T-rex, maybe that nickname will stick? I keep reminding myself that I need to make a video of it before you stop doing it. It does sometimes make it hard for us to sleep though!

    So welcome to being a non-negative age my little baby T-rex. I love you more than anything and I can’t believe I get to be your mama forever.

    Love,
    Mama