Tuesday, November 25, 2008

7 Weeks

In the last week, we really seem to have turned a corner in terms of Jillian's fussiness and gas. While it still takes a tremendous amount of effort to convince her to burp, the amount of crying involved has plummeted dramatically. I'm not sure whether she is doing better digestion-wise or we have just figured out how to respond to her cries more effectively or both. Either way, I'm not about to complain.

She has also been sleeping beautifully at night this past week. We're talking 7 to 9 hours for the past 5 nights in a row. I almost hesitate to write that down or say it out loud for fear of jinxing the whole thing. Granted it is in the swing, swaddled in a Miracle Blanket with white noise playing, but it is sleep. We have established a simple bedtime routine of a bath and bottle during the 8 o'clock hour, and we try to keep her up at all costs after 5pm. It probably doesn't hurt that she has a voracious appetite too. I had to increase her bottles to 6 oz because she would burn through 4 oz and then be hungry 2 hours later. After an exhausting day of constant feedings, I bought bigger bottles. Daytime sleep is a little more sporadic, but she manages to get in a 2-3 naps of varying lengths and in various places throughout the house.

Over the weekend, Jeramy got into the closet and discovered some of the toys we had for her. He broke out her Baby Einstein Activity Mat, and Jillian just fell in love. She is all smiles whenever we turn on the sunshine that flashes different colors and plays music. It is like baby hypnosis or something, and it can keep her happy for 30 minutes which seems like an eternity in newborn time. I almost feel guilty like I'm giving my baby crack or something. But hey a girl has to get things done...you know things other than wasting a whole afternoon watching Court TV with a baby in your lap.

Perhaps best of all, Jillian is really starting to get a personality. She has always been a very alert baby, but unfortunately until now alert usually meant incessant crying. Now smiles are beginning to become more frequent, and she makes all sorts of fun noises. She is starting to reach towards things in her bouncy chair too. My favorite part of the day though is when we unwrap her from her swaddle first thing in the morning. Immediately those arms reach out in the biggest stretch in an attempt to suck up their sudden freedom as quickly as possible. The stretching goes on for several minutes as I change her diaper and get her ready for the day.

Yesterday we had coffee with C and Bean of Sunny in Seattle. Of course, at first I went to the wrong place. I mean this is Seattle after all, so there is a coffee shop at every corner. And then I realized that I forgot my diaper bag. Somehow I caught a break and Jillian slept nearly the whole time making the lack of a diaper or bottle a moot point. Despite these obstacles we had a great time. Bean is even cuter in person and C is just as bright and funny as her writing. It was the first time I'd met somebody from the blog world in person so that was kind of cool too. Whenever I mention somebody or something from online to a real life friend, I get bizarre looks. Nobody ever believes me that you can meet normal people online and not just scary stalkers or socially awkward weirdos. So it was nice to have proof to the contrary!

Of course no post is complete without pictures, so here is Jillian enjoying her new toy:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Poopy Day

Forgive the G rated name. I try to keep my language clean on the blog unlike real life.

After her mid-day bottle yesterday, Jillian began grunting. So I set her down in the bouncy seat, figuring that she could do her business while I got a few things done. I returned to find this...

And just in case the above photo failed to convey the damage, here are a couple I took by the washing machine.


Back (yes, this came out both sides):

Not only did I grab my camera to capture this momentous occasion, but I took a picture of the worst of it (inside the diaper) and sent it to Jeramy. I needed evidence to prove that he does not get the worst of the poopy diapers. I'm sure this isn't the worst diaper blow-out in the world. In fact, Jewels left a hilarious blow-out story in the comments yesterday. For those of you with kiddies, what was your worst poopy diaper experience?

Apparently the poopy diaper ended up foretelling what would become a poopy day. When Jeramy walked in the door an hour early , I asked if he'd been fired. Nope. Just laid-off. Craptastic!

Before anybody freaks out (including myself) it really isn't the worst situation on earth. Money-wise things will be tight but we will get by. Jeramy is in construction, which is prone to lay-offs from time to time especially when the economy gets bad. So we've always tried to manage our finances in a way that allows us to live off just my income. Plus my maternity leave is fully paid because I had a boat load of vacation saved, and with Jeramy here I can do more work from home than I planned so that I don't have to use up as much of it. Also, the list of out of work pipefitters at his union hall is not very long, so hopefully he won't be out of work too long. If he is still out when I go back to work full-time in January, then he can be the sole stay-at-home parent for a little while. In the meantime, he gets to take half...yes half!...of the late night feedings. I bet you ladies are jealous now.

In truth my biggest concern is that we are going to kill each other being home together 24/7 with an infant. It seems like a recipe for disaster.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

6 Weeks

Jillian is 6 weeks ago today, and yes she has worn her first pair of jeans. There is something just too adorable about a pair of jeans on a baby.

I can't quite put together a coherent post to commemorate this milestone, so instead you get yet another bulleted list...
  • Why do the worst diaper blow outs occur in the middle of the night? Last week we had one so bad that it went through three layers. There is nothing quite as fun as getting the stain remover out and doing a load of laundry at 3am.
  • Jillian has an unreasonably large head. This doesn't come as a surprise given the size of Jeramy's head. The first comment I heard from the doctor's when pulling her out during my c section was what a large head she had. Now I find that the matching hats from all those cute 3 month old outfits are too small for her even though everything else fits just fine (or is a little large even).
  • I'm moving to bigger bottles so that I can feed her more at a time. When feeding her 4 oz at a time yesterday she was voraciously hungry every 2 to 2.5 hours. I'm hoping that bigger feedings will widen that spread, although I'm a bit nervous about worsening the ever lovely gas issues.
  • Jeramy's co-worker commented that his three week old never cries. What the hell? A baby that never cries? Where do I get one of those? While I've learned to "manage" her, Jillian certainly will never win any easy baby contests.
  • Apparently the best time to take Jillian out is right after her morning bottle. We went to Target (aka every IF'er's nightmare as it is always seemingly packed with happy moms and babies) and she slept the entire time. I was even able to buy clothes and stop by the Starbucks for a caramel macchiato.
  • Rockstars, diet coke and wine are the beverages that help me get through the day

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Can Anybody Explain to me...

Why Jeramy can sleep through Jillian's loudest cries but I am so attuned to her every little noise that I must wear earplugs to get any sleep at all?

And why one the one night of the week that Jeramy is assigned the middle of the night feed does she sleep for 8 hours? (he'd have more nights but he does need to be awake for work whereas I can feasibly operate in a zombie like state)

On another note, next week is "Cat Fight Week" on Judge Alex. There is always so much to look forward to on daytime T.V.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

5 Weeks

Every week that goes by seems to come with a new lesson. This last week it was learning that it is not about what I want Jillian to do, it is about what she wants. I'm sure this lesson will come in handy when she goes to college and decides to major in art history rather than pre-med.

If you've read my blog, you realize that I'm a bit of a type A personality, and because of that I read as much as I could before Jillian's birth so that I could be the best mom possible. So I came into this whole motherhood thing with certain expectations about Jillian's behavior. For example I expected her to feed at consistent intervals like every 3 hours, and I tried forcing her into that which only resulted in frustration for the both of us. Jeramy, on the other hand, was much more willing to go with the flow and adapted to whatever worked well for her. Once I finally gave in and began imitating some of his techniques and approaches, she became a much happier baby. Feedings are starting to go much better, and during the past day or so we have been much more successful in preventing gassiness.

Night time sleep has gone quite well (I'm knocking on wood here) as she has consistently gotten a 5 to 6 hour stretch of shut-eye in for the past couple of weeks. Daytime sleep has been another matter entirely as daytime naps have been spotty at times, which inevitably results in a fussy baby. So working on daytime sleep is the next focus, which will likely involve increased use of the miracle blanket and swing. We'll see how things go.

Every day is now a baby fashion show at my house too. Jillian just has so many clothes and is growing so fast that I've gotten in the habit of changing her into a daytime outfit. Otherwise I'd just keep her in pajamas all day and all of these cute clothes would go unused. Here is a sampling of her wardrobe from the week. (I just love the expression she has in the second picture, and you'll see that she is now fully sporting the mulhawk hairstyle...half mullet/half mohawk).

Monday, November 10, 2008

To Follow-up on the WIC Comments...

I know it didn't really come across in the post, but I didn't take the cashier's comments too seriously. In all honesty, I found the whole conversation rather humorous especially given the other items I was purchasing. I wish I could play it off as looking too young, but considering that she had to check my ID for the alcohol purchase I do not think that was the case.

One thing that does irritate me are anonymous comments. I do not mind opinions that differ from my own. In fact, I think both responses made good points. I just wish people were brave enough to attach their name to their thoughts. I have NEVER posted an anonymous comment to a blog. If something is worth saying then I had better be willing to stand by my opinion.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One Month

It's hard to believe but Jillian turned a month old yesterday. So today we had some professional pictures taken of her and the three of us. You can check the proofs out here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Do I really look that trashy?

I was checking out at the grocery store today when the checker and I got into a conversation about the price of formula (aka liquid gold). Suddenly the conversation took an unexpected turn.

Checker: "Why don't you just get W.I.C?"

Me (not quite knowing what to say...which is a rarity): Ummmm, I make way too much money to qualify for W.I.C."

Checker (with disbelief): "Really?"

Me (a little taken aback that my ability to earn a decent income was so questionable): "Really. I have a good job. (After another quizzical look from the checker I add in) "I have a master's degree any everything".

I don't know whether to be annoyed or embarrassed. Annoyed because perhaps this lady thinks that government assistance is simply an entitlement to feed all children born in this country. And if that is not the case then I guess I am embarrassed because I look so trashy that it is apparently impossible to believe that I could actually support a child. Perhaps my four week post-partum look is a little less than classy. Or perhaps it was because the other items I purchased was a 6-pack of bud light tall boys and 2 bottles of cheap wine (hey, everybody in the family needed something to drink!)

And for anybody out there receiving W.I.C. I'm sorry for making the association between trashy and government assistance. Wait a minute...I'm not sorry. If you can't afford to support a baby then don't make one! And don't give me the whole accident argument. The failure to use proper preventative measures does not count, and when you exclude those cases there are very few true accidents. Keep in mind that I'm making a generalization here, and I do realize there are exceptions where such programs are indeed warranted (e.g. the unexpected loss of a job or illness). However, I believe those situations are relatively rare, and that far too many people rely on such assistance rather than helping themselves. Okay...I'm stepping off my soapbox now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obstinance and Irony

Given the personalities of both Jeramy and myself, I was prepared for an obstinant child. However I was less prepared for an obstinant newborn.

When we arrived at the doctor's office yesterday I was unusually happy that Jillian was actually displaying her usual post-feeding symptoms: screaming, fussiness, spit-up, burping, etc. This continued until about one minute before the nurse called us back, at which point she fell soundly asleep in my arms. The nurse thought that maybe her symptoms would flare back up once we undressed her, but the opposite proved to be true. Instead she spent the entire appointment happily looking around, taking in her surroundings, and appearing to be the most pleasant baby on the planet. Of course the second Dr. M left the room she began crying, and she kept this behavior up the entire drive home. It seems that Jillian does not enjoy car rides as much as other babies, and I in turn have learned the value of turning the radio up.

Dr. M said that he suspected gas more than reflux although he did not rule the latter out. In the past 24 hours I had already implemented most of his suggestions, which included keeping her upright for at least 30 minutes after feedings and using the broken-down formula. He also told me how to squeeze the air out of the liners for my playtex bottles (and I somehow find the fact that I had to pay a doctor to tell me how to do such a simple thing a bit ironic). He said that I could continue with the mylicon drops although he wasn't sure they really did much. What he wanted to avoid was prescribing her a medication for reflux when they hadn't been tested thoroughly in infants. I certainly understand and agree with Dr. M's general philosophy on not over-medicating, so I'm fine with this for now especially as these steps seem to have stopped the uncontrollable crying fits. She is still fussy after feedings, but because I know the cause and how to handle it it seems much less stressful. He told me to call him next week if it still seems a big problem. Oh and he offered the reassurance that gas usually disappears by 12 weeks. Gee...thanks.

I was telling my mother-in-law that I found it ironic that Jillian should become a much happier and content baby right at the time that I'll be returning to work (my MIL will be babysitting). I think maternity leave is backwards. It would be much funner to hand Jillian off for the first few months and then stay at home from months 3-6. But I guess this isn't supposed to be a vacation despite my use of a few hundred "vacation" hours.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

4 Weeks

Jillian has reached 4 weeks, and I'm afraid that her hairline has already began to suffer. The longer hair she was born with has begun to fall out in the front, which has left her with the hairline of a middle aged man. Granted she makes a pretty cute middle aged man, but still I'll be happy when this hair transition is complete. I suspect it will end up being quite a bit lighter.

We had a difficult evening yesterday thanks to her inconsolable crying from 6:30pm to 11:30pm. We have been dealing with fussiness issues since the beginning, but last night was by far the worst and there was seemingly nothing we could do to stop it. It started when she awoke with a piercing scream. She seemed hungry but would shriek after taking a few sips of formula. I tried the 5 S's with no results. She'd simply arch her back and cry even louder. This was not the first time she had acted this way, but it was the first time that it had gone on so long. I suspect acid reflux or gas, but I have a doctor's appointment for her tomorrow. In the meantime we're trying Mylicon drops, keeping her upright for 30 minutes after each feeding and we already changed to a gentler formula late last week. I hope we get some answers, because my nerves take a beating on nights like that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Because sometimes you just have to laugh

I don't think Jillian enjoyed her bath this morning. As I dried her off on my lap, she peed on my leg.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Newborn Mind Games

Since Jillian's arrival I have noticed that we have engaged in a myriad of mind games:
  • "Am I done pooping yet?" - It's painfully obvious when she is having a bowel movement. So much so that I'm hoping a switch to a gentler formula will ease things for her. What is not clear, however, is when she has finished and it seems that no matter how long I wait she decides to finish the job just as soon as I've put a fresh diaper on.
  • "Am I really asleep yet?" - She looks like she is asleep, but just as soon as you move an inch those eyes are wide open again.
  • "Am I waking up or just making noise in my sleep?" - This girl is so noisy that I have to wear ear plugs in order to sleep at night. And keep in mind that she is across the hall in the swing in her room.
  • "Will my arms escape in my sleep and wake me up?" - Unless she is in her Miracle Blanket, the answer to this is almost always yes.
  • "Why am I crying?" - Is that rooting for hunger or yawning for tiredness? Or is it both? Or do you just want to be put down for a few minutes? Or do you just want your pacifier? Or do you need a diaper change? Or do you need to be burped? Or are you just trying to remind me that my seemingly impossible mission in life is to cater to your ever need?
  • "How long will I sleep for" - Will she cry the second I turn my back or will she sleep for 6 hours? (the 6 hours actually happened last night...it was heavenly)
  • "What position will work in getting me to fall asleep" - here is a hint...it probably won't be the same position that worked yesterday or the day before.
  • "Will I stay content in my bouncy chair long enough for you to shower?" - No matter what the activity I keep a running priority list in my head so that I can get the most crucial activities done before the fussiness erupts.
So yes, you often find that we are spending our days like this:

Luckily I was able to capture a couple happier moments on Halloween:

Now I must go because now that the baby is asleep the dog decided it was an opportune time to puke on the living room carpet. Go figure.