/ The RE's Muse: July 2005

The RE's Muse

After 4 years of infertility, 2 surgeries, 1 miscarriage, and 19 months of high risk pregnancies, hubby and I now have two little women in our lives--one a toddler, the other not far behind. Buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a wild ride.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

One year ago

One year ago today, A and I were in Key West with 3 other couples who are our dearest friends in the world (2 of whom have children they had left with family while the other couple were/are our kindred infertiles). We had rented a beautiful 120-year old, 4 bedroom Conch house for a four-day weekend of unwinding and reconnnecting.

A and I were about 10 days post IUI #5 and I was dutifully waiting for my period to start. After all, it had come like clockwork--only 9 days after each of the four previous IUIs we'd had done.

That weekend found me cramping almost non-stop all over town and running to the bathroom in the house or whatever bar we found ourselves in, checking for the blood that I knew was soon to come. Irish Kevin's, Captain Tony's, Turtle Kraals, you name it--I spent time in their bathroom diligently wiping and scrutinizing the toilet paper for the teeniest show of pink. Since I don't carry a purse around whenever we're in Key West, poor A found himself carrying a pad in his shorts pocket in anticipation should we be out and about when AF arrived.

But the weekend came and went and it didn't arrive. The cramps kept up for a bit, then quit altogether. And then 2 days after getting back home, beta #1 told me that I was pregnant. It was followed by appropriately doubling betas 2 and 3 and a good preliminary ultrasound a few weeks later. It was ultrasound #2, at 6w6d, where it all went to pot. Blighted ovum, no heartbeat, nothing, do you want a D&C or do you want to let nature take its course? The next day found me in outpatient surgery at the hospital for the D&C. The next month found me in pieces, devastated. Such joy, and then such heartbreak: Two polar opposites in a span of 7 or so weeks.

As strange as it may sound, despite the miscarriage, I still have incredibly warm memories of that four-day weekend in Key West. We took so many photos and when I look at them now, I sometimes stop and think to myself, "We had a great time and ohmigosh unbeknownst to me, I was pregnant then" or "the embryo was implanting while we were there," or something else to that effect. It makes the trip that much more special. And even though that pregnancy was doomed (the baby was a chromosomally abnormal boy), it doesn't take away from the trip or the time spent with those we love. Regardless of what happened to us with the pregnancy, it was a wonderful weekend.

When I look back at how much has happened since July 31st last year, I can't believe it. If you had told me that I'd get pregnant and lose it, and then get pregnant again two months later (and not lose it)...and that I'd have a baby by July 31st one year later, I would have said 'no way, not me, the fates don't smile on me that way.' But for whatever reason, they did.

It's a tired cliche but it's true...what a difference a year makes.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Don't speak it

I've long been one of those people who won't say something potentially bad out loud because, after saying it, it usually happens, i.e., "It's been a long time since I've gotten a speeding ticket." Then voila! sometime soon after (minutes, days, whatever), bam, I get a speeding ticket. Note I didn't get a speeding ticket recently--I'm just giving you an example of the freakish craziness that goes on in my brain at times.

So now it seems that Miss Juliana is--dare I say it?--on a fairly consistent 3-hour schedule. And I mean, damn close to three hours straight up on the clock. She eats around 8 and 11 a.m., then at 2 and 5 p.m., and then again at 8 and 11 p.m., 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. For the most part, after the night time feeds, she goes right back to sleep (hallelujah!)--especially since we swaddle that girl like she was a criminal intent on breaking out of Alcatraz. She usually also goes back to sleep for a bit after her 8 a.m. meal. Both 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. find her up for a while after eating and we engage in some play time (okay, so how much "playing" does a 6 week old do? and by playing I mean tummy or back time on the Baby Einstein mat). She then chills in the swing (oh how I love that Oce*n W*nders swing!) before a nice leisurely nap. And she's also pretty good about napping after the 8 p.m. meal as well.

Well, of course, now that I've written this, I bet the whole thing goes to pot. I mean, it's been good for several days now so I feel confident calling it a schedule but...it could all implode in my face just..like..that.

I'm also a slacker in that I hung up my boobs--yep, weaned her and I do believe that the milk machine is now dry. Feeding her formula seems to have helped me reclaim myself...and a bit more precious sleep. Typically, I take the 11 p.m. feed, then A takes the 2 a.m., and I then take the 5 a.m. (allowing me at least 4 hours if not more--sweet j-sus--of uninterrupted shut eye). It's not perfect nor does it work every night but man, is it nice to finally see a light at the end of the tunnel sometimes. Okay, so it's a long tunnel and the light's usually a coming train but it's still nice. So, yes, I'm a bad mother who's selfishly stopped breastfeeding but really...a happier mommy equals a happier baby, and a saner mommy probably equals a saner baby too. In fact, I can honestly say that I feel more bonded to her now that we're bottle feeding. We look each other in the eyes and she responds to my voice. It's lovely, truly. We didn't have that with the breast feeding. Instead she just stared off into space or at the monster boob itself.

And now that I've spoken of the 3-hour schedule, let's see how tonight goes.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Coming out to a friend

Well, there you have it...a photo of me with the wee princess. Do I look anything like you imagined I would? (Of course, I'm sporting 25 remaining pregnancy pounds, as well as the unkempt new mom hairdo of "throw it up in a clip" along with a raggedy t-shirt...but well, I'm me only tired, happy, tired, in love, and--oh yeah--tired.)

Like you probably do, I have images in my mind of what each of you looks like in real life. You may or may not match the images I've conjured up but it's kind of fun and interesting to finally see one of your online friends either in real life or a picture and see how on or off your image of them is.

See, that's the thing...like Pazel wrote in a wonderful post recently...I consider you friends. True, we've never met in real life--but that doesn't mean that your friendship doesn't mean as much to me as if we did know one another in person. We've shared so much, been through good, bad, and ugly together, and--perhaps most importantly--cheered one another on when we couldn't find the spirit to cheer ourselves on. On more than one occasion, you've reminded me what's important (or what's not), or not to be so hard on myself, or a myriad of other things that I'm grateful for. Your wisdom has helped me through so much and I'm honored to call you friend.

I get so jealous when I read on other blogs how someone got to meet a fellow blogger in real life. Don't you sometimes wish we could have some sort of 'convention' to all get to finally meet one another in person? (Or maybe that's a bad idea...cliques and whatnot.) Regardless, please know that this south Floridian has a special place in her heart for you...and that if you're ever in my neck of the woods, I'd love to meet you in person, friend.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Happy one month baby girl

Juliana is one month old today...can you believe it?

One month of sleepless nights and days, one month of latching (or not), one month of tearless cries, one month of snuggles, one month of sleeping on my or her daddy's chest, one month of sleeping in the swing/car seat/co-sleeper/bouncy seat/wherever, one month of screams/coos/sighs/hiccups/burps/pukes....

One joyous sweet month...that has gone by too fast. How could one month go by so quickly?

But oh, how I love this child more today than I did just one month ago :-)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Pork rind

Well, what do you know? It seems the milk factory is doing something right. Juliana weighed in at a chunky little 6 lbs., 12 oz. today at the pediatrician's office (4 oz. above where they wanted her to be)! We had noticed she was looking a little chubbier cheeked than before but since we see her every day, our parent goggles are on and we simply think that we got us one cute baby--you know, new parent bias and all. Though recently I had noticed her melon was looking a little large (that's an inside joke between A and I--after I lost 70 lbs. in 2003, I saw pictures of the 'bigger' me and complained that I never noticed I had such a large head pre-weight loss, so the joke since then has been that I had a huge melon).

We did let the pediatrician know that we're going to start supplementing the breastfeeding with formula starting this weekend. He was fine with that. A mentioned to him how Juliana will wake in the middle of the night to eat and spend almost an hour or so lollygagging at my boobs which is one reason we're going to start supplementing (that way, A can take over a nighttime feeding and let me catch some uninterrupted z's). The doc said to give her 15 minutes on one side, 5 to 10 on the other and that's it. If she doesn't eat in that time, she'll have to wait until the next session. Put her back down and let her fuss (easy for him to say though, hard for us to hear). Well, hoorah for the doctor--I'm digging his thinking and advice! So we'll see how it goes.

A small milestone happened last night. A got out the booger sucker to clean Juliana's nose--which she is so not a fan of. He was going to town rooting around in there for that elusive sticky booger that was laughing at his efforts. Oh how he tried...and oh how she cried. Screamed, turned puce, magenta, purple...and squeezed out real tears from her eyes. Only one from each side--and tiny--but oh how they hurt me to see. My poor girl. So that was the end of the evening's snot mission. But the second picture above is kind of what she looked like (note, this was taken a week or so ago, back before she lost her umbilical stub so it's not an actual image from last night's festivities).

But then, all was right in the world afterwards...especially when it came time for burrito baby (see the first picture above). Ah, if only life was so simple for grown ups. I just realized that posted together, these pictures make my sweet girl look like the infant equivalent of Jeckyll and Hyde.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Joy and pain

I think I now know why operatives of certain countries employ sleep deprivation as a form of torture. Really, if you ain't getting enough sleep, everything else sucks...compounded many times over. We're still--as to be expected--having good nights and bad nights. Lucky for me, it seems that Juliana likes to get a little early morning sleeping in after her last nighttime feeding. Of course, I do the 'bad mommy' thing and put her next to me in bed (blast me if you will but it works for us for now) right after that feeding and she's out like a light for a couple of hours--which buys me some badly needed shuteye as well. I know lots of folks, parents, doctors, general opinions, etc., are not to let your child sleep in bed with you but, people, I'm desperate here for some sleep. And hey, if Dr. Sears let his kids sleep with he and his wife, that's good enough for me at this point. I don't plan on--and am not--doing it every day/night.

Other than my chronic sleep issues (and in case you're wondering--yes, it seems a human being can function just fine on 3 or 4 hours of sleep daily), breastfeeding for me continues to have its good and bad sessions as well. I think the thing that has me flummoxed at this point is the fact that I'm a very modest gal (not that you'd know or expect this given the number of medical folks who've seen my cootchie over the past 4 years or anything but still...). I am not one of those women who can simply whip out my boob and breastfeed my girl in public, I just can't do it--covered or not. Therefore, I'm tied to the house or my car for the most part (but she seems to hate nursing in the car)--or I have to head out to run errands immediately after feeding her and hope she stays asleep while we're out and about (not that we've done this much--only twice). I guess this makes me feel, to a certain extent, like I'm a prisoner in my own home.

When I made the decision to breastfeed, I did it knowing that it's best for baby. Anything I can do to help her be healthy, I'll do. But honestly I'm also a selfish person, childless for all my life, never knowing what it's like to have to give of myself 1,000% and completely nurture and care for a completely dependent human being. And I'm not complaining about having to do so, really, but I just don't know for how long I can continue the breastfeeding if I want to still have time for me. Plus, I'm really not--in all honesty--digging the breastfeeding thing. I don't think we're bonding per se. My boobs are so big that Juliana and I aren't making face/eye contact when she eats. I have to angle her sideways and she stares contentedly (or blankly--I'm not sure which) at my skin it seems.

I know plenty of women who have breastfed (especially since they had no issues doing so in public) and made time for themselves; me--not so much it seems. My original goal was to breastfeed Juliana to 4 weeks. Now that I'm staring that milestone in the face, I'm thinking of pushing it to 6 weeks. Then I'm considering pumping exclusively to bottlefeed her breast milk until I go back to work at 12 weeks. From there, I may move her to formula...I just don't know. The good thing is that A is supportive of whatever decision is made. After all, he's of the mindset that a happy and healthy mama makes for a happy and healthy Juliana and I couldn't agree more. And speaking of happy, my crying has all but stopped and I no longer feel completely overwhelmed when A leaves for work each day. Perhaps I'm becoming more comfortable with my new roles.

Tomorrow we take Juliana back to the pediatrician to see how much weight she's gained--hoping she's at 6 1/2 pounds by tomorrow. She's certainly been hoovering down the milk lately and looking bigger to me. In the next few days, she may outgrow the preemie diapers and move into newborns. And as of yesterday, she actually fits into one of her newborn onesies. Up until now, she'd only been able to fit into the preemie clothes. Sigh...I guess they really do grow up quickly.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I love Moxie yes I do, I love Moxie how 'bout you? Okay, seriously, Moxie, thank you thank you thank you. Your comments have helped me feel so much better (as have everyone else's--thank you also).

Perhaps I'm not doing such a bad job with this breastfeeding thing--at least not today. Today I called the pediatrician because I was so worried. So they had me come in this afternoon to see the doctor and possibly the lactation nurse. But it turns out I didn't need to see the lactation nurse because my little oinker has gained 6 oz. in the past 5 days!--which the doctor was very happy with. I'm pleased to say Juliana is up to 6 lbs., 1 oz. (now she's above her birth weight) and the doctor declared her 'perfect.'

I asked the doctor about my only being able to feed Juliana 7 times a day as she is so difficult to wake up. She said she was fine with 7 feedings, especially since Juliana is gaining weight just as she should and typically has 8-10 wet diapers and 3 or more poopy diapers a day. So long as there's lot of pee going through her, all should be good. The doctor did say that she'd like me to try to keep Juliana awake so she gets a longer feeding and therefore gets the rich hindmilk that a longer feed entails. I just need to keep the snacker awake long enough to get the good stuff. Sometimes she'll do a good 10, 15, or even 20 minutes so it's not like it's every time. But I know I need to do my best to keep her up--tickling, poking, prodding, rubbing, stripping her to her diaper, etc. But the doctor was okay with her sleeping so much--after all, she said, that's when babies do their growing. And pretty soon I'll be wishing for her to go back to sleeping so much she added.

Last night saw our first marathon feed. From around 10:15 to 11:30 or so, Juliana would eat for 10 or so minutes, take a break, doze a little, then want more. So I sat on the couch in my tres chic maternity bra, flaps open, bottle of water at my side, pillow on my lap and baby off and on the boobs. So now I know what a cluster feed is like, perhaps it is a growth spurt as she's hitting the three week mark this Saturday. We'll see...but for now, I feel better about my abilities. Perhaps I'm not as bad a mom as I thought I was (until my confidence is again shaken, that is).

We go back in 8 days. By then, the doctor would like to see her gain another 7 oz., bringing her to 6 1/2 lbs. Here's hoping we blow by that number :-)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

New mom with no clue

Okay, so I've been rethinking the Babywise thing. I do appreciate the feedback you've given me on it. I know it works for some people and not for others. And I understand that I need to be on her schedule not her on mine so for now, I'll just do what I can, no Babywise or other 'system' in mind. And I do think she's starting to now have a schedule per se. Typically, she seems to wake every three hours or so, four on a rare night. Some times though, she goes longer, sometimes shorter.

What has been particularly hard is that some days, she'll really have the latching/breastfeeding thing down pat; she'll get right on with a good 'deep' latch. Other times she'll just grasp the nipple. Then when I try to reposition her, she'll fight me, turning her head away, using her little arms like pinwheels to forcibly push away from me and the breast. It breaks my heart. Last night was one of those nights.

We met with a lactation consultant last week and she evaluated our positioning, etc., and declared that everything was right on track and looked good. So why do I feel like Juliana and I have back slid since then?

The other thing that's been particularly hard to deal with is waking her up. Man, does this girl like to get her sleep on. It's a struggle to get her awake. We undress her, change her, bathe her (except in the middle of the night when we try to keep those feedings as low key as possible so she'll go back to sleep when done).

Now mind you, as A likes to tell me, she was born three weeks early and she was very small so she is probably is making up for lost sleep (or maybe needs more rest as a result, etc., something along those lines). My SIL suggested lightly flicking her feet (something she had to do to wake her own daughter up) but not even that seems to work.

Since Juliana likes to sleep, she is typically only getting 7 feedings a day (one about every 3 1/2 hours) instead of the 8 to 10 recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and everything else I've been reading. And her feedings go anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes per breast (that's if I can keep her awake on there long enough to even get to the other breast when finished with one). It's the fivers that worry me, is she getting enough to eat? Is she gaining weight (at her 13 day visit, she was 2 oz. shy of her birth weight so we go back this Friday to see if she's regained it all)?

Is this working? I just don't know. Every step I take with her is tinged with worry and anxiety. She has plenty of wet diapers (with clear to light yellow pee) as I'm tracking those--anywhere from 5 to 8 a day--and her poops are good too (3 to 6 a day, sometimes more, sometimes less). Going on these cues, A says she is getting enough to eat, that 7 feedings seems to work for her. But I just don't know. It's not what the "experts" recommend. And since I'm no expert, nor do I ever imagine I will be, how do I know for sure? Sigh...will I ever get the hang of this?

(Moxie--thank you for suggesting I contact LLL--A's been saying the same thing. I probably will do it--and soon--but taking that first step is hard.)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Baby wise and mom wise

Some say it's never too early to start putting your baby on a schedule and, with that premise in mind, A and I are slowly but surely embarking on the "Baby Wise" method upon the advice of several friends--one of whom has a breastfed 12 week old who has been sleeping through the night since 9 weeks courtesy of Baby Wise methodology.

Tonight was the inaugural start of some of the methods and we'll see what happens. I know sleep deprivation is to be expected in the early months but after two good nights of rest followed by one crappy night last night, I'm hoping for the best but expecting alternating nights of good and bad as has been the case thus far. Everyone tells you to sleep when the baby sleeps but really--the reality is, it's not quite so easy--at least not for me. My body knows the difference between day and night and isn't keen on the daytime sleeping--damn that whole circadian rhythm thing. There are times during the day where I'm so tired I'm literally nodding off on the couch or wherever but when I go lay down in the bed, boom, wide awake. Weird. Maybe one day I'll be able to nap when Julian naps but for now, I take sleep when I can get it, typically during the night and usually for no more than a few hours at a time. Slowly it's becoming more bearable and I can actually function for the most part during the day.

Juliana and I are slowly getting to know one another. I know that sounds weird since I'm her mama and she's "known" me since she was capable of hearing my voice while in the womb but it's still a learning process of sorts once they're here in person. I'm still slightly afraid I may break her and I'm still afraid to give her a bath (that's Daddy's territory) but the time will soon come. I've never really been around babies (not even as a babysitter when I was younger) so I'm slowly getting comfortable with this divine little person.

I cancelled today's appt with the OB to discuss whether or not I may have PPD. I did this because the past few days, I felt the veil of sadness lift and I have actually gone the past couple of days without any crying at all. Perhaps it was just hormones settling back down or the baby blues, whatever you want to call it.

I'm starting to feel more comfortable in my role as mom and realizing that I am capable of loving and caring for Juliana 110%. I truly do appreciate the comments you made to my previous post on this, telling me that it's normal to question your abilities and to feel this way. How I needed to know that! I guess it's just such a complete lifestyle change, unlike anything in my 36 years, that comprehending the scope of it is too much to take in at once. Now that she'll be--ohmigosh--two weeks old tomorrow!--I'm realizing that I can do this. But if I start to feel down again and like something's just not right, I'll quickly reschedule that appt to discuss PPD. For now, though, I continue to be astounded by the amount of love I can feel for this one little person. She is, in my very biased opinion, scrumptious.

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