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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nicholas learned a new game :)

Nicholas turned 6 months old yesterday. I can't believe how time flies. The good thing about that, though, is that it means the school year is also flying by and summer will be here before I know it. I have been terrible at keeping up with my "weekly" blogging. I may have to start doing monthly blogging instead...

I promise to spend time during my winter vacation updating my blog, but for now I will post this awesome video that we were lucky enough to get last night during a hilarious family moment. My little man is so much fun!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nicholas's Laugh Attack Video

I admit I have watched this video about a thousand times. It never fails to bring a smile to my face. I love this little guy so much!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

14 Weeks

Nicholas had his 3 month check-up this week and was diagnosed with pink eye for the second time. His nasal congestion has never really gone away, and we still have to keep his mattress elevated and give him nose drops & suctioning, which he hates. Now we have to do the eye ointment again. I feel like a large part of the time I spend with him during the week consists of me torturing him with treatments that don't even seem to be helping.

On a happier note, Nicholas is obsessed with hands this week. He spends a lot of time looking at his hands and trying to stuff them into his mouth. He discovered my hand this week and he studied it for about 15 minutes straight, lol. So cute.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

13 Weeks

I got tons of cute pictures this week! Here are some of my favorites:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nicholas: 12 Weeks

This week I got a call from Nicholas's day care saying that he woke up with pink eye. His eye had so much gunk in it that it was crusted shut and they had to get it wet and pry it open. My poor little man. That phone call was at 10 am and I still had to teach until 3pm. Luckily, my in-laws were picking him up early anyway so I made an appointment for them to take him to the doctor. The doctor said the pink eye was caused by the congestion, and there's a chance that it will progress to an ear infection.

I feel so bad that my baby was sick and I couldn't be there for him. And if he wasn't in day care and I wasn't around a bunch of kids all day, he wouldn't be sick at all...so I can't help but feel guilty. My husband stayed home with him on Thursday since he was still contagious, but I kept him home on Friday and I stayed home with him just so I could spend some extra time with him.

I didn't take many pictures this week, but here's a funny stink face picture from Labor Day:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Nicholas: 11 weeks

Nicholas can now consistently find his hands, and he is starting to put blanket and other things in his mouth. He is very interested in exploring different textures with his lips and tongue. He is learning to suck his thumb, but he isn't great at it yet and he gets frustrated.

Nicholas has been very congested and he's been spitting up a lot lately. I just realized I have no earthly idea what to do with a sick baby. My husband ended up going to the store at 2am and bought saline nose drops and a humidifier. I hope they help and he doesn't get worse.

Watching the first USC game of the 2011 season:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Baby Blues are hitting hard a little late...

Well, we made it through our first week of full-time day care. I confess that I've cried every day this week, both after dropping him off AND in the evenings when I'm home with him.

I know he's probably just going through a phase, but I feel like this week he avoids looking at me, and when he does look at me he just won't smile. I can't help feeling like being away from him all day is destroying our bond. All summer, I was the first thing he saw when he woke up, and he would instantly smile when he saw me. Now I'm lucky to get a smile when I put him in his car seat, but that's the only time he really shows me that he recognizes me. To make matters worse, when my husband walks into the room, Nicholas immediately follows him with his eyes (something he used to do with me) and he smiles when my husband plays with him.

I can't stop these thoughts I have every day...I find it so disheartening that I am raising other people's children while strangers are raising my son. And as I do planning for the school year, I'm reminded of how much I have to teach and how long the school year is. Nicholas will be almost a year old when school is out and I'm able to spend all my time with him. I feel like there are so many milestones I might miss out on.

Nicholas has been sleeping in our bed quite a bit lately. This is partly because he sleeps better next to me (this is the only thing that keeps me going sometimes); partly because it's convenient to nurse him there in the middle of the night; and partly because I want to spend as much time with him as possible. So for now he sleeps the first stretch in his crib and then my husband brings him to me when he cries and he spends the rest of the night in our bed. I know it's taboo, but it's working for us. I just wish he would smile at me when he wakes up like he used to.

I keep reminding myself that it's possible that he doesn't look at me as much because he doesn't need to. I read on a forum on Circle of Moms that when babies feel safe with their moms they will spend more time looking around and less time looking at Mom. I know for a fact that his eyesight is getting much better, so I need to keep reminding myself that he knows I'm holding him and he feels secure enough to explore his surroundings. I also know that he can sense my mood, but it's really hard to fake happiness when I'm singing to him or playing with him and he just doesn't seem to care.

I knew starting day care would make me sad a lot. I'm not sure if this is actual PPD or if it will get better soon...but so far I'm not too hopeful.

**My husband found this post on Circle of Moms this morning and showed me. It helps a little to know that other moms experience periods of feeling like their babies don't recognize or love them. It's worth reading if you are experiencing similar feelings.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Nicholas: 10 Weeks

We made it through our first week of day care! We did half-days this week while I set up my classroom. I cried as I was driving away the first 3 days, and then I was ok Thursday and Friday. But I know next week with full days will be so much harder. I just don't even have the energy to play with him much when I get home, let alone have the energy to clean the house or take care of the pets. I find myself wishing that I didn't have all these pets (4 cats and 1 tortoise). I feel bad about that.

I cried a few times this week after I picked him up because I felt like he didn't remember me. He avoided eye contact and seemed withdrawn. Someone on The Bump message boards suggested that he just needed "down time" after his busy day at day care and avoiding eye contact is the way babies say they need a break. I'm also wondering if he has trouble recognizing me in a different setting, because a couple days this week, I put him in his car seat and all of a sudden he looked straight at me and smiled the biggest smiles I've ever seen! That made my day to see how happy he was to see me.

My favorite time of day this week has been in the afternoon after day care when Nicholas and I sit in the glider and have quiet story time. Sometimes he looks at the books, and sometimes he just closes his eyes and sucks on his pacifier. But I know he's listening and I read in a calm, soothing tone. If he falls asleep, I take him to my bed and we nap together. I think he needs a break from all the stimulation of day care, and I know once school starts I will need that quiet time also. After his afternoon nap, he's ready to play when Daddy gets home from work. I love my little family!

Nicholas practicing his Russian dancing:

Nicholas and his new friend (a dinosaur blankie I got him that he naps with - I bought one for day care and one for home, so he'll always have something with him that smells like Mom. I hold it between us when I nurse him so he has something to grab onto.)

Future Bad-Ass:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nicholas: 9 Weeks

Nicholas is experimenting with new noises. He now makes a panicked, bird-like squawk when he loses his pacifier or if we take it out of his mouth momentarily. He also makes a cooing sound in his sleep that is rhythmic, like a snore but so much cuter. I'll have to remember to get it on video the next time I hear it.

Nicholas is starting day care tomorrow and I'm a wreck. I keep feeling like I am going to miss out on so much this school year. He will be almost 1 year old by the time I can stay home with him again! Sometimes I just look at him and cry, and I know he picks up on my mood and it affects his mood as well. Then I feel worse and cry more. I don't know how to break the cycle.

Tummy time on the arm of the couch:

Getting ready for football season:

His first trip to USC at 2 months! Fight On!

Here are some shots from our 2 month photo shoot:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Nicholas: 8 Weeks

Nicholas is such an alert little man. He likes to look over my shoulder at the trees moving outside. He giggles at pictures, patterns, and toys. He stares intently at our faces and he can beat anyone in a staring contest.

We are convinced he will crawl early because when I put him on his tummy, he kicks his legs and scoots himself forward if he has something to push off of.

I am hopeful that Nicholas will start sleeping through the night soon. He ate at 10 pm last night and then didn't eat again until 4am. He was up until midnight, but then slept for 4 hours straight.

I'm still trying to find a pattern in his naps during the day. On Monday, he slept through our whole Mommy and Me class. I paid $30 to watch my baby nap for an hour while all the other mommies and babies sang, danced, and played with musical instruments. We have another class tomorrow-we'll see if 11am is going to be his regular naptime.

Here's some pictures of my smiley man:

Smiling in his sleep:

And here's a picture of him when Daddy wouldn't give him his pacifier quickly enough:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cutest Video Ever!

I am so lucky to have captured this adorable moment on video! Check out my little man:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Nicholas: 7 Weeks

Nicholas is now smiling and laughing in response to mommy making faces and talking in a high-pitched voice to him. He is also very amused by kisses on his face, the ceiling fan (it doesn't even have to be moving--he just looks up at it and laughs, lol), and black and white patterns and pictures.

I printed out some black and white animal pictures from Parenting.com that he just LOVES. I put one of them on the wall next to the changing table, and he gets more excited each time he sees it. It's a cricket we've named Eugene, lol. He recognizes Eugene as well as the raccoon picture on the bumper of his crib (no name for the raccoon yet) and it seems like these pictures are his first friends. It's so cute to watch him study them.

Another no-so-cute habit he's picked up is to thrash, kick, and grunt while breastfeeding. He throws his head around with my nipple in his mouth which hurts like a mother. At first we thought it was out of frustration if the milk stopped flowing, but he's also done it while making big gulping sounds, so maybe he does it out of pleasure...I just don't know.

Here are some cutie pie pictures at 7 weeks 1 day:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nicholas: 6 Weeks

The big news this week is that Nicholas got his first vaccines. He did pretty well, thanks in part to our brilliant idea to give him a bottle of breast milk while the nurse was administering the shots. He cried, but only briefly. I, on the other hand, cried longer than he did. I just can't stand to see him in pain. That night, he had a screaming fit and his legs hurt really bad to the touch. Lots of snuggling and some Infant Tylenol took the edge off.

I've found he likes to nap on his tummy. Here he is on mommy and daddy's bed after breastfeeding while lying down next to mommy:

And a couple more pics from this week:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nicholas: 5 Weeks

When I was little, I had a doll whose eyes were open when she was upright, and then her eyelids closed when she laid down.

Nicholas is the exact opposite of this doll. I feel like we have taken several steps backward this week. He is perfectly content being held and will fall asleep easily, then his eyes pop open the second I put him in his bassinet to sleep. Another favorite trick of his is to pretend to be asleep in his bassinet just until mommy gets comfy in bed, then he starts grunting and fussing and wants to stay awake for another 2 hours. His extreme need to suck is back and when he's awake, he constantly wants his pacifier. That is the only way to get him to fall asleep when we're not holding him, but then the pacifier keeps falling out and we have to put it back in his mouth immediately or he will start crying.

Here are some pictures from this week:

This might be my favorite shot yet

First pair of shorts

Monday, July 18, 2011

Goodbye Bottles, Hello Breast!

Last week I decided to try breastfeeding one last time with the help of a lactation consultant. I had pretty much told myself it wouldn't work since Nicholas has been exclusively bottle-fed since we left the hospital.

Barbara at The Pump Station was very helpful and gave me lots of good tips. I realized that I had been putting too much pressure on the back of his head, causing him to pull away. I also learned that many of his behaviors, while frustrating, are normal (shaking his head, putting his hands in the way, etc.) and not the result of my poor breastfeeding skills. After an hour with Barbara, Nicholas was latching on like a champ and I was feeling much more confident.

We've had a few rough moments and I caved a couple times and bottle-fed him when I just didn't have the patience, but overall breastfeeding has been a huge success. I'm so proud of my little man, and I love the closeness I feel when I'm nursing him. He is no longer inconsolable when he's hungry...he now realizes that nursing = satisfaction instead of frustration, which means both of us are a lot less stressed out.

In addition to my fabulous lactation consultant, I could not do this without the help of the Brest Friend nursing pillow and the Breastflow bottles. The Brest Friend is so much better than the Boppy because it stays in one place and it puts baby on a flat surface so he doesn't roll. And the Breastflow bottles were wonderful for transitioning him to the breast because they force him to compress as well as suck, just like with breastfeeding. When he was really upset and hungry, I had him drink expressed milk out of a Breastflow bottle for a few minutes, then I took it away and introduced the breast, and he was able to latch on pretty well.

The best tip Barbara gave me was to have baby practice latching with a bottle--touch the wide base of the bottle's nipple to baby's chin, wait for him to open wide, then pull him toward you while guiding his mouth up and over the nipple. This works well with the Breastflow bottles. I always make sure to hold him the way I'd hold him if I were breastfeeding (in a cross cradle hold), so he gets used to the positioning.

If you are considering seeing a lactation consultant, DO IT. It was so worth it!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Nicholas: Week 3

We saw a new pediatrician this week and I feel really good about her. She's personable and really took the time to answer all of my questions. The office staff was very helpful and pleasant also.

Nicholas is starting to stay awake for longer periods of time. We've been doing a few minutes of Tummy Time each day, and he likes laying on my lap and looking at me when my knees are bent and I'm laying on the couch. He is learning to visually track objects and can now turn his head left and right and look up to follow a toy rattle. Such a smart boy! I took lots of pictures this week. Here are some of my favorites:

Playing on Mommy's lap:

Our little family at the park:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nicholas: Week 2

Wow, this week flew by!

Nicholas had his first pediatrician visit this week when he was 8 days old. We saw the pediatrician that we worked with in the hospital, but it was about a 45 minute drive and I was in tears by the time we got there because I was so stressed out. The next day, I called my OB and she referred me to a pediatrician that's only about 15 minutes away. We'll be going there next week for his 2 week check-up.

Nicholas now has tear ducts that produce tears, and his eyes get gunky sometimes. He is starting to eat more frequently. Instead of eating a meal every 3 hours, he sometimes wants smaller meals every 1-2 hours. I think he's hitting a growth spurt.

Nicholas has been looking very intently at my hair this week, and I tried tickling his face with it. He scrunched his nose and seemed amused. :) I didn't take many pictures this week, but here are a few:

Nicholas and Wiggles the cat:

His favorite napping position - we call it the "tree frog"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nicholas: Week 1

Nicholas is 1 week old today!

He is beginning to be so alert and he stays awake for longer periods of time. Today he spent a lot of time looking at me, and he doesn't seem to need his pacifier as often anymore to soothe himself. I think he is beginning to know us and trust us. Sometimes he seems content to have me just hold him and talk to him. That is such a change from the hospital, when he was in an incubator under lights for days. I bet he was so lonely and I felt so bad. I finally feel like we're bonding and I love it. Here are some of my favorite pictures from this week:

Our first family photo

Catchin' some rays in the nursery (phototherapy to control jaundice)

Almost ready to go home!

This is what happens when Daddy is on duty:

One week old today. Here he is looking at the animal pictures on his crib bumper. He was staring at them and the crib rails for a 1/2 hour! Such an alert little guy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Baby Nicholas is Here!

I have a son! Here's his story:

My water broke at home early Sunday morning, June 19. I woke up at 5am to a small trickle of fluid followed by menstrual-type cramps. Once I got up, I had several gushes of fluid come out and I decided to wake my husband to tell him my water broke. His response was, "You're kidding." I said, "Nope. You'd better go pack."

We got to the hospital at about 8am and they monitored my contractions for about a half hour, then checked and I was 1cm and 50% effaced. Pitocin started (gradually) at 10:45, then a trigger-happy nurse was increasing my Pit every 1/2 hour!

At 3:30 I was told I could get the epi now or wait an hour until the anesthesiologist was free again. Even though the pain was manageable, I decided to get it then...thank goodness. 5 minutes later I was in excruciating pain with contractions every 1-2 minutes. Damn that nurse! The epi worked great though.

At 4:15 they checked and I was still only 1cm but 100% effaced. Nurse increased the Pit again. About 15 min. later I was at 4cm. 5 min. after that, we heard a faint alarm sounding and DH went to get a nurse since baby's HR had dropped. She checked and I was 6-7 cm! Suddenly I had 5 nurses around me giving me oxygen and I started shaking uncontrollably. They called the doctor in and she checked me and said I was at 9cm! Baby's HR was down to the 60s and they shut off the Pit. The contractions slowed his HR improved and I was able to rest for a bit.

A little later, I tried 2 practice pushes since baby's head was already past the section of cervix that was left. But his HR dropped again and we opted for an emergency c-section. Nicholas was born at 7:08 pm. 7 lbs, 7 oz., 19 1/2 inches. We found out that he was "sunny side up" (head down, but face up) and had the cord wrapped around his neck, which caused the distress.

The surgery went well and I was calm throughout, but I don't remember much from recovery except that I was shaking terribly again and falling asleep every other minute. They had given me a lot of anti-anxiety meds and I was really out of it. I didn't nurse until about midnight.

The next morning a blood test showed his bilirubin was increasing so he spent 2 days in the nursery receiving light therapy to control/prevent jaundice. He was given a lot of formula to help flush out his system, and I was really sad that he had to be introduced to bottles so soon.

I pumped so my husband could feed Nicholas breastmilk from a bottle, and once my catheter was taken out I went up to the nursery to breastfeed several times. He was brought to our hospital room on Wednesday and I was thrilled beyond words.

Breastfeeding on my own was really tough, and I had to call the nurse in at 3am to help me because he wouldn't stop screaming. She was amazingly patient, and she held my breast and the baby's head while I cradled his body and manually expressed milk into his mouth to encourage him to suck. Without her, though, I felt like I didn't have enough hands to do it all and I was so emotionally drained.

We are home now, and I am currently exclusively pumping. I know the most important thing is that he gets breastmilk, but I feel like a failure. I think he got spoiled with the bottle feedings in the hospital, and he gets so frustrated when he has to work for his food that he just starts screaming. It makes me feel awful. I plan to call a lactation consultant this week, but I don't know if the damage can be reversed...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

38 Weeks

How far along? 38 weeks and 0 days

Baby’s Size: 19 1/2 inches

Baby’s Weight: 6.8 pounds (probably more in my case)

Development: Baby is getting plumped up and his organs are ready for outside life. He has a strong grasp now, and I can't wait to feel him grab my finger! My internal exam this week showed I wasn't dilated at all yet (again), so I won't be meeting him for a while.

Weight gain/loss: Up over 40 pounds already. Damn.

Best moment this week? Honestly, it might have been the ice cream I had yesterday...(see cravings below)

Symptoms: Stuffy nose, back and hip pain, Braxton Hicks contractions, fetal movement, indigestion, swollen feet and ankles

Food cravings/aversions: I had the strongest craving for Cold Stone this week. This was the first specific craving I've had that wasn't a result of seeing a food or hearing someone mention a food. It came out of nowhere...I was driving and just HAD to have Cold Stone right then and there...so I searched on my GPS for the nearest Cold Stone. It was delicious!

What I'm looking forward to: Contractions! Bring 'em on...I'd like to make some progress this week!

What my baby and I look like this week:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

37 Weeks

How far along? 37 weeks and 0 days

Baby’s Size: 19 inches

Baby’s Weight: The doctor that did my ultrasound last week thinks the baby is about 7 pounds already. The average according to Babycenter.com is 6 1/3 pounds.

Development: Baby's lungs should be mature enough by now to allow baby to breathe on his own if he made an appearance today. I had my final ultrasound and found that baby looks completely healthy and "fully cooked" (doctor's words).

Weight gain/loss: I'm up 41 pounds. I am just not motivated to eat healthy foods...

Best moment this week? I've been nesting and shopping like crazy. This kid has just about everything he needs for the first 6 months of his life!

Symptoms: Stuffy nose, allergies, back and rib pain, leg cramps, fetal movement, swollen ankles & feet, indigestion, occasional mild contractions

Food cravings/aversions: More of the same...I crave sweets and fruit. Vegetables sound awful. I've also been craving high fat foods lately as well.

What I'm looking forward to: More contractions...I was not dilated at all at my last appointment. Let's get this show on the road!

What my baby and I look like this week:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

36 Week Belly Pics

I'm playing catch-up with my blog posts, so I only have pics for this week. But I've reached the 9 month mark, so that's a pretty big milestone! I'm also on maternity leave...hooray!

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