Monday, March 19, 2012

Mamatography - Week 10

This is a challenge for all those mamas (and papas) to take a picture a day to celebrate life's little (and sometimes not so little) blessings.  It is sponsored by Lushka at Diary of a First Child (among others).

Here is the view of my world this last week.

Taking a picture of the rare Mercury and Venus together in the sky.

Horn and Hannabert sleeping on the coach so that I could much needed sleep before teaching

Hannabert never sleep so soundly with me as he does with his dad.

Hannabert displeased with us trying to document how much bigger he is this year for St. Patrick's Day  compared to last year.

Disgruntled baby didn't want the world to see how he has grown.

On our bed - the flash doesn't do great things for him.

He discovered an electronic toy (phone)

Playing with "his" phone as I used my phone to capture the moment.

People watching at the mall

Enjoying frozen yogurt.

Hannabert  wasn't so sure about the feel of grass on his feet

Rare picture of the two of us.

Another shot.  I think he is looking down my shift - he wanted to nurse shortly after this picture.

Hannabert's view of the built in china cabinet

Bath time - really needed it after smearing  steak all over his body.

He like the bubbles

We hadn't added a no-slip tub liner yet so  he kept sliding from one side to the other

More playing with bubbles

"We are not amused at your constant photography attempts."

Trying Carrot Chips - he liked them better than we did.

Playing with the remote for the fan.  It beeped everyt time he turned it off.

Are you up for a challenge? One that will take something from you every day, but give a whole lot back too? How about joining me for the photography challenge in 2012 then? A photo a day of whatever your day involved. You can jump in any time through the year!
If you’d still like to join us, you can start at any time, just sign up here and our host will email you further information.
Without further ado, here is the current list of all participants for Mamatography 2012 so far!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Am I ready to wean? Is he?

Welcome to week 11 of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by The Gnome’s MomHappiness Redefinedand Slacker Mom! If you haven’t linked up before- it’s simple. Just write a post that focuses on the weekly topic, add your link to the linky and grab the code for your own post. Readers will be able to hop from post to post and see all of our different perspectives. The linky is open until midnight on Friday(3/16/2012).
This week we are talking about WEANING. Any facet of weaning is welcome- full on stopping, night-weaning, weaning earlier than you expected or want. If it has to do with weaning, the post is welcome here.
Hannabert just turned one.  Our pediatrician is told us no more bottler (neglected to even ask if the little guy was still breastfeeding) which I think is wise...BUT Hannabert won't drink breastmilk from a sippy cup. Sure, he will take  a sip.  Then he will look at the cup as if IT has done something offensive and push it away. He drinks water, juice, lemonade (not us) in a sippy cup but he has decided the breastmilk is sacred and it either coming from the tap or from a bottle.
For me, it is surprising that it has been a year.  One year since his birth and one year since we started exclusively breastfeeding.  Our journey got off to a rocky start.  His blood sugar was low and they immediately started supplementing him with formula while he was in NICU.  I didn't get to meet him for 12 hours and the "boob fairy" never visited me.
The first few weeks, we used a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) with formula but Hannabert quickly figured out that he didn't  have to do any work if he spit out my nipple and just sucked on the straw.  Horn and my sister picked up all sorts of galactagogues and books for me to figure out why it wasn't going as well as I envisioned.  Then, it just clicked.
I pumped 4x a day at work for Hannabert.  As the end of his first year approached, I weaned myself off of the pump.  I still pump during lunch but I am struggling with whether or not I should continue with pumping  or end being tied to a pump and just continue breastfeeding when I am with him.
As he gets more active and mobile, I can sense that he is gaining more interest in the world around him and less attached to nursing.  Yes, he still wants it (and certainly lets me know via the use of his teeth when he is NOT interested) and even demands it for comfort (which I love) when he is tired, overwhelmed, or upset.
I know that already I am part of a select group of women who not only managed to breastfeed past a year, has manged do so while working a full-time AND a part-time job.  I firmly believe that breastfeeding is how babies were intended to be nourished and that all women should at least try to breastfeed.  I think that breastfeeding to at least six months is realistic
I think that breastfeeding after 1 year needs to be normalized.  WHO recommends to at least 2 years (keep in mind that WHO is designed to work on health concerns of third world countries and advocating breastfeeding to two years probably has a lot to do with water quality and other safety concerns that might not exists in most parts of the United States) and I hope that Hannabert wants to nurse that long.   
As far a weaning goes, that is for Hannabert to decide.  I want to continue until Hannabert is ready to wean, I am just scared that he will be ready before I am ready.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Our rules for NICU - March Carnival

Welcome to the March 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With Special Needs
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how we parent despite and because of challenges thrown our way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

March's topic for the Carnival of Natural Parenting is: Parenting With Special Needs.
Hannabert was a NICU baby.
Some people were disturbed by this picture
While pregnant, I was diagnosed as having gestational diabetes.  Whether or not I really had it is a little debatable (passed the 3 hr test with flying colors but my AM fasting blood sugars were "high" for a pregnant lady although my A1C was normal...).  I followed a strict diet and took mediation daily to keep my blood sugars intact.  

I was induced (at risk for a large baby!) and eventually opted to have an epidural (rather, 3 epidurals as the first two didn't work).  As a result of the third epidural, I went into respiratory distress but Hannabert, he was a champ.  His vitals never waivered. I was wheeled into the operating room because they were concerned about me and they wanted to be prepared.  

As I faded in and out of consciousness, I remember my ob saying, "there is no need to section her, the baby is great!"  I stabilized and was brought back to my room to continue to labor.  Unfortunately, Hannabert got stuck and I then needed a c-section.  My ob didn't want to risk another loss of respiratory functions again so I elected to have him under general.

He was born at a perfectly normal 7lbs 6oz but his blood sugar kept dropping.  He served time for low blood sugar.  Horn told me that they tested his blood sugar at birth and it was 50 mg/dL and then it dropped to about 20 mg/dl.  He was given 2oz of glucose and 2oz of formula (chowed through both apparently) but he was unable to maintain "normal" blood sugar levels. 

Soon after I was in recovery (couldn't hold him because I was shaking), the decision was made to move him to NICU for additional observations.
One of the photos of Hannabert in NICU - the blanket is covering his  IV.  This is before his feeding tube.
I didn't get to see him for another 14 hours.  When I was finally wheeled into his room, the nursing staff was inserting another IV into his arm (he ended up with three:  he pulled on out, chewed on off, and the last one started to leak). It wasn't the best way to really meet my child...of course it was much better than walking in on them trying to insert a gavage tube the next day...

Hannabert is the first grandchild for both of our parents and needless to say, there was a quite a bit of excitement surrounding his arrival.  Unfortunately for everyone, no one was expecting any sort of complications.  Hopefully when we have our next child, we won't have to experience NICU again but if we do, we will be issuing (at the minimum) the follow rules to friends/family:

1) Don't ask either either one of use to make any decisions that do not concern the immediate medical needs our child is facing.  Ex of an inappropriate question:  Who will his Godmother be? (Yes, Horn was asked his while I still was recovering from general anesthesia).

2) Don't be offended if we do not want to visit with unexpected guests; our concern is spending time with our child and overseeing his medical treatment.  (Further, don't be offended if we really don't want to entertain any guests at all.)

3) Establishing breastfeeding is extremely important for a child in NICU.  My (or Mom's) breasts will be available at anytime for our child.  Your sense of modesty does not matter to us; our child's health matters to us.

4) Be specific with your offers of assistance; we don't necessary know how to respond to offers of help.  Suggest taking our car to get the car seat installed/checked; Offer to go to our house and stock our fridge, wash our dishes, or do a load of laundry; Bring in snacks for us or our nurses.

5)  Pray and/or keep us and our child in your thoughts.  If appropriate (and after talking to us) contact our minister/congregation/church and ask that they also pray.  While this might not feel like much, it helps to know we have people rooting for us.

6) Please don't ask us to constantly relive our child's NICU stay (or what might have been a very scary birth which led to the NICU stay).  We are thankful to the nurses, doctors, and respiratory staff that worked with our child.  We are well aware of how scary the situation was. 

Hannabert's first night out of NICU

While Hannabert was only in NICU for only days, it was emotionally exhausting for all of us.  

My parents were here from North Carolina.  They were expecting to spend time bonding with Hannabert, not taking turns, escorted by one of us, to look at him in a bassinet.  When I mentioned to the nurses that my parents hadn't even seen his eyes (he literally slept all the time), they took pictures of him with his eyes open for them.  They never actually saw him awake the entire time they were in Ohio for his birth.  

Horn's mom was over the moon at being a grandma and wanted to spend time with him in NICU.  We were only allowed 3 people at a time in his room which meant we had to make decisions as to who got to go when and how long.  The juggling act wasn't fund and some feelings were hurt. That was, and still is, perfectly fine by me.  

Luckily, he has been a pretty healthy guy since he was released from the hospital but I know that few rules that we developed from our NICU stay will follow us for all future sicknesses. 

To all of those parents that have a child with ongoing special needs, you are my heroes. 

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 13 with all the carnival links.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mamatography - Week 9

Baby on the chest.  It is Horn's Favorite part of the day.

Horn and I are looking at getting new jobs.  Just after college, Horn was an aquatics supervisor at a YMCA.

Dryer information - needed to convert it from a four prong to a three prong machine.  

Hannabert - just after he discovered he could climb from the bed to the chair and the chair to the floor.

This is what happens when I try to put Hannabert in his car seat.  I have a video of Horn doing it.  It takes him 53 sec.  

The next few pictures are of Hannabert helping Horn install his baby gate at our new (rental) house.  Hannabert was fascinated at the drilling of the holes and the driving of the screws.  He inching closer to get better looks at the process.

Shopping trip to IKEA to get new inserts for our Expedit shelves (which will now be my dresser).

Plain black door

Fancy mirrored door

Are you up for a challenge? One that will take something from you every day, but give a whole lot back too? How about joining me for the photography challenge in 2012 then? A photo a day of whatever your day involved. You can jump in any time through the year!
If you’d still like to join us, you can start at any time, just sign up here and our host will email you further information.
Without further ado, here is the current list of all participants for Mamatography 2012 so far!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Hannabert's gift to our next child

No, I am not pregnant (and because we made a bad choice in our health insurance, I cannot get pregnant until next year).  I did, however, find the coolest site for a sibling to make a gift for a little sibling:  a design your own romper kit.

Now, it does seem a bit costly BUT Hannabert does have crafty grandmas (yes, in both senses of the words).  In fact, when my mother taught full time, she had her students create fabric for her to make a dress.  It is a gorgeous, block style piece with each student contributing a square.  It has a lot of stick figures.  I believe she also had then make a batik print dress so I know that she will be able to help Hannabert make fabric.

There are a number of places where you can get customized fabric.  Spoonflower is one of the fabric stores with whom I have worked in the past.  They have a great variety of pre-printed fabric and can do custom fabric at a realatively reasonable price.  Plus, they are Durham, NC based which is near my parents home.  They will print on a variety of fabrics, including organic cotton sateen.

There are, of course, other ways to make fabric besides ditigal printing: batik, embrodiery, fabric paint, etc and I think that what method we select will depend on Hannabert's age at the time.

As far as sewing, both my mom and Horn's mom are fabulous sewers.  Horn's mom worked for years at Cincinnati's best fabric store (which meant she new the best tailors for wedding dresses so mine fit like a dream).  I know both of them will be able to assist Hannabert in helping make his sibling's gift.

Just the thought makes me excited for a little one (in the future as right now I would really like to be able to get a solid 6 hrs of sleep in).