Sunday, April 24, 2011

Family portraits.

My camera and my handy remote made these possible. Woohoo!

Our family, part 1.

Our family, part 2.

Our family, part 3.

Our family, part 4.

Plus a goofy outtake:


Plus plus George hanging out with his grandpa:


Plus plus plus George smiling for his mammaw:

Smile for Mammaw.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What do you want to do today? Oh, let's try to set a world record.

George at the Great Cloth Diaper Change.

Bright polka dots and pastel stripes totally go together.

Man, what an overachiever. Barely seven weeks old, and the kid has already participated in trying to set a Guinness world record.

And all George had to do was lay there while his mommy changed his diaper. Peeing and pooping optional. So he's lazy to boot.

He's lucky he's cute. That's totally why I keep him around.

On a less facetious note, thank you Wee Willie Winks for hosting the Orlando location for the Great Cloth Diaper Change! It was fun to meet other cloth diapering folks at Lake Eola Park today. We traded our thoughts on different brands, and I tried to get advice on what to do with a long and lean skinny thigh baby (yeah, leaks. They happen. Ick.).

We also learned about some local mommy support groups, and let me tell you, I am all about support right now. This baby stuff is tough, and getting out of the house and chatting with people going through the same things helps to keep me level.

All in all, a fun day. Now I get to brag about my baby being a world record holder. What mom doesn't want to be able to say that?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The cutest 18 seconds of video ever.

George has been smiling - not just lightening his face, teasing us with a look that wanted to become a smile, but actual, genuine, real as real can be smiles - since Saturday.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Breastfeeding sucks.

Homework from occupational therapy - the fishy face.

I am sharing our story of our breastfeeding experience because I want to help out anyone who stumbles across this by googling "breastfeeding sucks" at 3am (the way I did many, many times that first week). I say "our" because it is not just about me and George - my husband plays a huge role in our experience and ability to continue on, as do our lactation consultants, occupational therapists, my mom for all the help she has provided, and even the nurses back at the hospital in the very beginning. Everyone - and everything - has shaped our experiences.

Breastfeeding is hard. I knew this and I expected it to be hard. But I did not expect it to be THIS hard. And I do not think it is, for most women and their babies. Most women do not have the problems we are experiencing. But most women who choose to breastfeed do run into struggles at one point or another - my goal is not to compare our experiences, but to acknowledge that any struggle is a struggle. This is just ours.

Long story short when it comes to our unique issues (and believe me, this is the short version), George has a weak suck and chomps instead of using his tongue. This decimated my milk supply in the early days so I am playing a perpetual game of catch up. We have been supplementing with a bottle after most feedings since he was one week and five days old. For George, we do oral motor exercises, see an occupational therapist, and weigh him before and after feedings to see what he has been able to transfer. As for me, I take herbs, pump after most feedings, and even taking a prescription medication to try to compensate for George not holding up his end of the bargain in the "breast milk supply and demand" game (the more that's the removed, the more that is made).

So we are doing everything we can. And maybe it is not enough. If it ends up not being enough, I think I can become okay with that. Society, on the other hand, may not approve. The messages I have received since becoming pregnant and having George are loud and clear: Breastfeed your baby! But never in public! And when you pull that bottle out, we will assume it is formula rather than expressed breast milk and we will judge you for not doing the best for your baby! Because formula is poison, despite the many, many, many babies that formula-feed who thrive and grow into healthy children and adults!

My family is still in the trenches. For right now, combo feeding is working for us. I do all of this because I enjoy nursing George, and because George loves loves loves nursing. El Hub gets to look into the baby's eyes and bond while he gives him a bottle. Our baby is gaining weight, peeing, and pooping, and when he's not busy with those things, he is happily cuddling in our arms or playing in his activity mat.

It works for us right now. But my supply might dry up despite my best efforts. Or as George grows, my supply might not grow with him and he will go on nursing strikes, frustrated by how little he is getting for all his hard work. Or his oral motor occupational therapy for his weak suck may stall out. Or El Hub and I may decide this lifestyle is causing more stress than health and joy.

So if we end up being able to exclusively breastfeed, or decide to switch to all formula, or find that the time commitment of combo feeding continues to work for us - rest assured, we will be doing what is best for George and for our family.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

That's a neat party trick.

A conversation preceded by me asking El Hub to refill my water for the eighty bajillionth time since I got pregnant last year:

Me: I just realized that instead of turning water into wine, I turn water into milk.
El Hub: Yeah, but that's a lot less fun at parties.
Me: It involves boobies, that makes it MORE fun.

Fun times. A more genuine post on the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding coming soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Scariest day of my life.

Scariest day of my life.

George is fine. That's just a good way to start this story.

So yesterday I went to go get the mail. That's another way to start this story. I wish that was the beginning of a terribly boring story, but boring stories don't end with stitches and black eyes and emergency room visits and fearing for your baby's life. Whoops! Belated spoiler alert!

I was carrying George in a sling as I was walking back to the house. I tripped over the curb - who the hell trips? - and discovered that as you fall to the ground while holding your six week old baby, you have a frightening amount of time to think. And get scared. And do your best to break your fall with your free hand, the hand in front of the sling, and your face.

Oh my god. I really cannot even tell you how awful it was. There was blood everywhere, and my glasses were broken so I could barely see a thing. George was crying, and I could not even see well enough to tell if he was okay. I started screaming for help. And no one came.

With no idea where my cellphone was and no way to see well enough to look for it, I ran into our house, hoping that by setting off the alarm that help would be sent. Then I went to the neighbor's house to ask to use their phone so I could call 911, have them check the baby, and call my husband.

Our neighbor's poor kid opened the door. Facial wounds bleed a lot, so I don't even want to think about the mess that kid had to look at. I asked him if his parents were home, trying not to hyperventilate. His sweet mother, who barely speaks English, came to the door. It all gets blurry after that. She took George from my shaking arms, looked him over as I frantically asked if he was okay, and she pronounced him fine. Her husband handed me a Blackberry I didn't know how to operate. Their son ended up dialing 911 for me. After that, I asked them to come to my house with me so I could look for my phone and insurance cards.

The ambulance arrived quickly, and there were so many paramedics. Maybe there were two ambulances? In the end, we only used one. Half of the paramedics attended George, and the other half tried to attend to me, but I insisted they all check the baby before even looking at me. George was crying since it was time to eat, he was alert and looking around, and absolutely everyone assured me they were not worried about him in the slightest.

They looked at my hands and my wrist, which was swelling pretty nicely by that point. They looked at the cuts on my face and tried to assess if I had broken my cheek. When they asked what hospital I wanted to go to, I said Arnold Palmer for Children. I needed more people to tell me George was okay.

Poor Rob. I called him a couple of times before he answered. Who on earth wants to receive a call that begins, "They say the baby is fine, but I might not be." He has an amazing fortitude for staying calm and seemed to take it all in stride. He left work to meet us at the hospital.

The hospital was more of the same - people looking at George and pronouncing him fine. I kept crying. Accident is such a terrible term - it's not a magical word that mysteriously alleviates all guilt. I still feel terrible. George has a little scrape on his head, maybe 1/10th the size of my pinky nail - I would need a macro lens to even photograph it. I hate that scrape.

His onesie was covered in my blood. When we finally got home, I tossed it on the floor of his bedroom. It's still there. I don't know what to do with it, so I'm just leaving it there.

I am fine. After lots of poking and prodding and stitches and x-rays, nothing was discovered to be fractured. I was worried about my hands and wrist because I so badly wanted to be able to do everything I can to take care of the baby. Today I'm working on getting back in the saddle - we drove to my six-week postpartum visit, and I will walk to the mailbox with him later today.

When we were at the hospital, I told Rob I do not want to have anymore kids. This is terrible, to have your heart live outside of your body.

Wow, what a negative story so far, huh? Here's the upside: I am so grateful. I am grateful it wasn't worse. I am grateful my baby was fine and most concerned about his feeding time being messed with. I am grateful he was in a sling so my hands were somewhat free to break our fall (along with my face). I am grateful for Rob and his sense of humor. I'm grateful for my own mother's strength, who had to start her day by putting down her cat and end it by seeing her daughter and grandson in the ER. I am grateful I am able to force myself to get out today, because the alternative of hiding from the world would not do any of us any good.

Yesterday really sucked, guys. Today is better.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rest in peace, Charlie.

Rest in peace, Charlie.

Charlie was put to sleep this morning.

Charlie is my mother's cat, and he has been since I was 13 years old. He had been sick for almost two years now, and the vets never figured out what was ailing him. I'll spare you the details, but every few weeks, he would go through a bout of suffering. The episodes had been coming more frequently lately, and he had lost even more weight. My mother said he couldn't even walk last night, and the vet had trouble getting the needle in his vein because he was so dehydrated.

Charlie was one of the most awesome cats I have ever known. He always had a voracious appetite, and he even sat at the table with us one Christmas morning because he was so interested in our food. I told my mom that I am sure he is at an endless cat food buffet right now.

Charlie was one of the prettiest cats I have ever known. A Maine Coon, which probably also attributes to the friendliness. I wish I had taken more photos of him.

Charlie was hands down the friendliest cat I have ever know. He was so freaking friendly, you would not believe he was a cat. Charlie liked to hang out on the sidewalk in front of the house, and when strangers would walk by, he would flop on his back to expose his belly, demanding petting. As friendly as he was, he was most definitely my mother's cat. She used to joke that Charlie only liked her because she fed him, but the truth is, he just loved being with her. My mom knew that when Charlie couldn't even purr when he was with her that it was his time.

Love you, Charlie. We will miss you.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

One month.

One month.

Thank you Young House Love! I adore saving money and not having to keep track of onesie stickers for the next year.

Also, shh, but he was actually one month and two days old in this photo. It took Mommy a couple of days to get her act together. Worth it!