Friday, March 29, 2013

How to meet single moms.

No, I don't mean moms who are parenting on their own.

I mean moms who are on their own with their babes...sans other moms.

Guess where you need to go?  Panera.

If you don't have a Panera, substitute another large relatively healthy bakery type lunch spot.

Extra points if your spot is near a Target.  Mine is.

I made this discovery on my first Perfect Wednesday, last week.  I took D to his weekly Dr. appointment, then decided to have a real lunch at my favorite place, Panera.  I had to pee when I got there, so I wheeled and maneuvered Dylan toward the bathroom.  On the way back out, another mom was on her way in with her babe and we played that game where you have to move your strollers back and forth to find the right combination to actually be able to pass eachother.  We bumps.

I ran into her again at the drink fountain.

And then again in the baby section at Target, half an hour later.

I didn't say anything because I'm chicken.  (I might've even sort of hid from her in Target...don't ask me why.)  But I did still have fantasies of us becoming Best Mom Friends.

And then I had my second Perfect Wednesday.

This time the single mom was sitting at a table near me, her infant carrier seat propped on the bench beside her.  Both my baby and hers were covered with a blanket.  She was wearing the requisite yoga pants.

But I just stalked her like the other mom and planned this blog post instead.

My BFF has a 3 month old, my sister a 9 month old, another friend a 10 month old so I'm not Desperately Seeking Mom Friends, especially since I'm going back to work in a month (sad face), but I'd still kind of like to meet someone new.

How about you?  How do you make new friends at big life transition points?  (Substitute IF friends if you like.)

**Reminder today is officially the last day to submit "Splurge or Save" blog posts.  Tomorrow would work too though.
**Also please comment on my last post and tell me what blogs I should start reading!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blog Love

My Blog Roll is OLD.  Probably over a year old.

I have other blogs that I've added within the past year, but updating my feed really seems overwhelming to me.

At the same time, I'm not reading over half the blogs in my feed (my Google feed that is apparently disappearing soon...ack).  Some I just never connected fully with, others are just in a different place right now.

Since I just did ICLW, I found some new great blogs and at least one had a bunch of comments from people I consider my "blog friends."  It makes me feel like I'm missing something that everyone else knows about!  

So help me out.

What should I be reading?

And it doesn't just need to be about IF or babies...just a great voice.

So please recommend some blogs for me!  (And include big ones that you think I should I already know about. I probably don't.)  Also feel free to tell me about you : ).


Monday, March 25, 2013

Life with a 2 month old

It's time for a long post about how things are going and I think Dylan is taking a long nap so I can get it done.  I've titled this "Life with a 2 month old" because Dylan will be 10 weeks adjusted this week and I think it's going to be a very long time before I start using his actual age (which right now is about 5 1/2 months).

Our number one biggest issue is feeding.  Dylan's Ped would like him to gain a half a pound a week.  (I have no idea if this is normal for the regular population or not.  I'm thinking not since preemies are supposed to gain "catch up" weight.)  Dylan has gained every week since coming home (this week will make 1 month!).  But he hasn't gained a lot.  He was 8lb 3oz when we left the NICU and last week he was 9lb 5oz.  Not bad, but he is no longer on the growth chart.

It sucks having a child below the growth chart.  He'll probably be diagnosed FTT soon.  Know what that stands for?  Failure to Thrive.  What a horrible diagnosis!  It makes it sound like your child does not know how to live!

But although I stress about his eating each and every hour of every day, FTT doesn't really bother me because he is thriving.  Just a little bit more slowly than most babies...well, 99% of babies - let's be exact.

Because of my cool Baby Connect app, I can see how Dylan's current day's total relates to yesterday's total at that exact time as well as his 7 day average.  For example, it's 2:30 and he's eaten 7.8 ounces so far.  Yesterday he had eaten 6.9 by this point and his 7 day average is 8.5.  This feature has helped me sooo much! (I didn't realize it existed until last week.)  Dylan eats higher volumes as the day goes on, peaking between 6 and 9pm.  So all day I would worry whether we would reach a decent number.  Now that I can see his average, I know we are just about on track.  It's kind of amazing that he really does have a consistent intake.  Since he's had a little less than average so far, he'll probably make it up later this evening.  That's what he did yesterday!

His total volume per feeding average 1.8 ounces.  Per day is a little under 18 ounces.  Of course everything you read says that babies take between 19 and 30 ounces a day.  But 18 is really close and I'm reading more and more stories of babies who just never took over 2 ounces and they are all fine.  Dylan has taken up to 4 ounces a couple of times, but they are few and far between.

My current outlook is pretty positive.  He will be small for awhile, but will eventually catch up.  I don't even care if it takes 10 years to catch up as long as he's growing.

But as soon as he throws up, my mood does a 180 no matter how hard I try to stop it.  We've been really lucky.  Dylan used to only throw up about  once a week.  But he threw up Wed, Th, Fri last week!  I cannot stand to see all the calories that he has worked so hard to get in come right back up!  I could care less about the mess.  Thank goodness the pattern has not continued and we have been puke free for the past 3 days.  He is extremely sensitive after feedings so we have to be careful not to squeeze his belly too tightly (even though we need to burp him), not to put the nipple too far in his mouth to avoid a gag reflex, and no swinging for at least a half an hour.  If we avoid these things, we *usually* can avoid trigger a puke, but not always.

Because of his slow weight gain we have gone up to fortifying his feeds to 24 calories from 22 (typical BM and formula average 20 cals).  The BM doesn't seem to be changing anything at this point, so I'm holding pretty steady at 1/3 BM per bottle.  I'm down to 3 pumps a day which feels pretty manageable so that's where I'll stay at this point.  (I've also donated milk to two different friends now so my massive supply that is quickly expiring is being put to good use.)

Everything else is truly fantastic.  He shows almost no signs of being a preemie which is amazing.  He's smiling a ton and almost laughing.  He's making all kinds of different noises. Not sure if this is truly cooing, but it seems good to me.  He's tracking and showing much more interest in objects.  He actually followed the itsy bitsy spider as it was climbing up the spout the other day!  He also watches his mobile now.

He's been rolling from front to back for a couple of a weeks now.  He rolls quickly, slowly, to the left, to the right.  He enjoys tummy time for the first 10 minutes or so.  Although I have no idea how you keep doing tummy time with a baby who rolls over!  He's been able to left his head for forever, but he's starting to chill on his elbows every once in awhile.  I think he's a bit advanced for his adjusted age in this area which makes sense since he has been "exercising" a lot longer than term babies.

D loves to sleep!  I have to wake him for many of his feedings.  We are feeding him every two hours during the day (I know it seems too frequent, but it really works for him) and every four at night.  He would love to sleep through the night if we would let him, but alas...we can't.

The most fun things for me besides the smiles is that he discovered his tongue during the last week.  He likes to stick it out and roll it around and he's sucking on his arm and fist which I find adorable.  I think we are very close to him being able to consistently find his mouth and other objects with his hands (right now it's kind of hit or miss).

I feel like parenting comes very naturally to me, but I also struggle to interact all day.  I feel guilty if I'm not talking to him every minute that he's awake.  I google nursery rhymes and other songs because I can never remember exactly how they go.  But it's hard to "play" with a baby before they are interested in toys and books! (I read to him, but he could care less.)

I find that I am MUCH happier if I keep myself off the couch as much as possible.  I don't turn the TV on until the afternoon, but often I'll let him sleep on me between feedings while I read stuff on my phone.  Before I know it, I've been in somewhat the same position for hours.  Somehow I got away from our morning walk (I think because of feeding issues and sporadic afternoon plans), but my mood is much better when I make sure to get it in.

I am taking Dylan out, but I keep his carseat covered with a blanket at all times.  No one has held him (or touched him) except family - after washing and using hand sanitizer.  I'm being very careful, but am not staying confined to the house which seems to be working for us.

I LOVE being a mom, but I'm also not sure if I'm meant to be a SAHM or not.  I used to think definitely not.  Now, I'm not quite so sure, but either way, I'm going back for the end of the school year in May.  Then I'll have the summer off and I'll decide what to do about next year.

Ok...I think I've covered most of what's going on!

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ATTENTION MAMA BLOGGERS!  If you got this far : )

I'm planning a post "Splurge or Save" post regarding baby items.  If you'd like to participate, send me a list of items that you would advise to either Splurge on or Save money, the item, and give a brief explanation of your reasoning.  I'll compile everyone's posts (with a link back to you) and publish next Monday, April 1st.  Please send them to me by email,, by this Friday, March 29th.

Friday, March 22, 2013


I haven't done ICLW in awhile, so many of the blogs are new to me and maybe I am to you too!

Here's a recap:
I struggled with infertility for nearly two years. Dh had low morphology, I'm not sure whether I had any issues or not but I always spotted before AF. We had one chemical pregnancy (natural cycle) in Sept '12. Then we did 3 rounds of Clomid + IUI, then IVF. I transferred 2 embryos and ended up with 4 babies! (1 embryo split into triplets). We reduced the pregnancy due to health concerns for the babies and myself.

Our singleton, Dylan, was born at 25 weeks, so no third trimester for us. We spent nearly 5 months in the NICU and have been home for 3 weeks. He is remarkably healthy, but has severe reflux and feeding is a major issue. He's currently in the 1st percentile for weight.

If you'd like to read about general infertility, go back to the beginning.

For chemical pregnancy, Sept '11.

For Clomid and IUI go to Dec '11.

For IVF, March '12.

For preemie, Oct '12.

And if you want to hear about being a first time mom if a micro preemie, stay right here!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Breast is Best. But is it?

Breastfeeding is such a hot topic right now which has really impacting my feeling about feeding Dylan.

There are so many things I would have done if I had not had a preemie.  I would have taken a picture of my belly before giving birth.  I would have packed a hospital bag.  I would have saved cord blood. I would have requested to hold Dylan immediately after he was born. And I would have breast fed (ideally).

My pre-baby thoughts on breastfeeding were that I really wanted to do it for about 6 months.  At that point I had no idea when babies started solids, etc.  As soon as I had Dylan and heard more about it, I decided that I wanted to give Dylan breast milk for at least a year, maybe even longer since I feel like maybe I could protect him from getting sick since he is so vulnerable.

My hospital is extremely pro-breastfeeding.  There are signs everywhere.  At 32 weeks gestational age, I put Dylan to my "dry" breast after pumping.  He did great!  Then at 34 weeks, we started regular breast feeding.  I can't remember the specifics, but I'm pretty sure we mixed bottle and breast right from the start.

Things got frustrating after this point.

1) The nurses would ask me how much I thought he took.  I could never answer the question.  For all I know it could have been suckling only.  I did ask a few times about weighing him before and after, but I never got a good response.  I have no idea why and I did not take it up with the charge nurse.  This is the one thing I probably would have done differently.

2) At some point reflux became an issue.  Dylan was fighting the breast and the bottle.  We were also nearing 40 weeks GA and I really wanted to get him home and taking full feeds was the only way to do it.  Eventually I quit putting him to breast because it usually consisted of 10 or more minutes of fighting and crying, then I had to give him a bottle, then pump. It was extremely frustrating.  I knew that he wasn't going to take a good volume from the bottle if he was already tired from fighting the breast and I was getting emotionally drained from having our time spent in such a negative way, so I quit trying to breastfeed...always planning to go back when he got feeding down.

I wish that the nurses had given me a little bit more direction here, but everything is a judgment call and they did the best they could.

Then we switched to formula as a last ditch effort to get him to eat before getting the g-tube.  And it worked.  

After much speculation and observation, I think it's the thickness that is really the issue.  We did try adding rice cereal to breast milk a couple of months ago, but his volume went down quite a bit.  Adding rice cereal is also tricky because breast milk breaks down the rice, so you have to mix it within 5 minutes of eating.  The Enfamil AR is already thickened.  We could absolutely go back to thickened breast milk which I think I will ask about this week, but that will only solve half of my problems.

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But I really want to breastfeed.  I have a new thing to be jealous about others moms for.  I know my "circle" for this issue is quite large - meaning I'm not nearly the only person in this boat, but still.  

This is really tough on me!  I agree that "breast is best."  But sometimes I actually feel like I'm being selfish trying to force it on Dylan.  Maybe it's not best for him.

Then I see posts online about defending breastfeeding.  I personally never thought it was under's really common in my area and my mom breastfed me for a year.  But the posts irk me.  They often say that the only reason someone doesn't breastfeed is because she didn't receive enough support in the hospital.  I don't want to feel like a mistake.  And I really don't think any were made.

I received lactation services the day of birth, had a pump in my post-partum room when I arrived that had a special "preemie" setting.  There was a pumping room before we switched to the new NICU.  I was able to get a great supply...something many preemie moms don't have.

I could have fought to EBF in the hospital, but what would that have looked like?  I wasn't going to live in that room for the 3 months he was old enough to BF.  So then I BF while I'm there, up to half of his feeds in a day.  We could have just gavaged all of the rest of his feedings.  

It could have worked.

But it could have taken a lot longer.  And because of the reflux, we probably would have had to introduce bottles anyway and it might have been much harder later in the game.  (He also needs to take his meds every day by bottle, so he would have always had to have at least one.)

I know this is rambly...I'm thinking through my thoughts as I go.

But the bottom line is that I feel like I have to defend not breastfeeding (or giving exclusive breast milk), even though I would prefer to be doing just those things.  And I feel like the people that do definitely feel like they are better than everyone else.  They do.  Even the nice ones.  And I probably would have felt the same way if I was them.

Don't you think I know how much easier it would be to just pull out my boob when Dylan was hungry?  Especially in the middle of the night.  

The bottom line is that I want what is best for Dylan.  And what is best for him, big picture, is calories.  I could probably teach him to breastfeed now.  But should I?  Struggle = calories spent.  (He's currently at 9lbs, 3oz which is about the 9th percentile.  Not bad, but he's gaining slowly and we don't have a ton of room left on the growth chart.

At the moment I'm adding 1/4 breastmilk to every bottle.  So out of the 26 or so ounces I'm producing at 3 pumps a day, he's eating about 6.  I can keep this up.  Even when I go back to work in May.  But it's very frustrating.  Especially because my husband doesn't get it.

So that's the story.  I hope it made a little sense while writing, because I don't have the energy to go back and revise!

Friday, March 15, 2013

The New Normal

We have a bit of a routine going around these parts which is nice.

Here's a snapshot:

During the night, Dylan eats between 2-3 and 5-6. My wonderful husband does the first feeding, I do the second. I really think Dylan would like to sleep through the night, but we are not allowed to let him yet (because he needs to gain weight), so we feed him at least every four hours at night.

The mornings are the hardest for me. Dylan is more often than not constipated in the morning and grunts and groans and is unhappy from anywhere between 4:30 and 7:30. I am NOT a morning person...not even a waking up person for that matter. So it's really tough for the first hour or so and then I'm good. I try to put Dylan back to sleep after his 7-8 feeding, but it depends...usually he'll sleep for a bit

Then it's coffee time! I've never been a daily coffee drinker. But now I look forward to my morning coffee so much! We got a Keurig and I love it. I think it should go on every new mom's registry!

Dylan's usually pretty awake in the morning so we talk and play and do tummy time. And I try to catch a smile in a picture. It's a fun game. He'll be smiling for like 5 minutes, I'll open the camera, he'll make a stink face. I've caught a few smiles, but most of the time they are blurry because I'm rushing to get it.

If we don't have anything scheduled for the day (doctor appt or walking with a friend), I take Dylan on a walk around the neighborhood mid-morning. But we have been having doctor appts twice a week so far and a walking date once.

The rest of the day is kind of fuzzy. It's a mix of me trying to eat lunch, Dylan eating, Dylan eating, Stella trying to lick Dylan, Stella wanting to play, Dylan sleeping on me, and Dylan sleeping in the swing, with a bit of tummy time mixed in.

Dylan is pretty strong. He can hold his head up pretty well and is almost propping himself on his elbows. He's rolled from front to back a few times. I know they say it's more of an accident at this age, but he does it slow enough that it doesn't really look like falling. I figure if we are ahead in any area, it will be muscular since he's been using his muscles a lot longer than term babies.

Dylan is supposed to be eating every 2 hours or so right now, again because he needs to keep gaining. He seems to like every 2 1/2 hours. Feeding has definitely been frustrating. He was eating really well for awhile, now he's barely eating 2 ounces a feeding. He never averaged much higher than that, but he had a few 3-4 ounce sessions sprinkled in. Now, not so much.

He averages about 18 ounces a day with a high of 20 and low of 14 (ugh). He is on a little higher calorie formula, but I'd still like to up his volume. (Breast milk is considered to be about 20 calories an ounce - so is formula. We do one scoop for 54mls instead of 60 to get to 22 calories. But I'm also adding 1/4 breast milk.)

He was 9lbs, 1oz on Weds which is 5 months actual, 8 weeks adjusted.

Overall things are great. Besides the feeding difficulty, Dylan is a pretty happy, easy baby. I have no idea if its the time in the NICU (probably) that taught him to self-soothe and be happy just hanging out awake by himself, but he's pretty chill most if the time. He does have his moments though...

I'm still pumping 3x a day and getting about 25 ounces. I'm going to keep it up for now because I still dream about Dylan going back to exclusive breast milk or in my wildest fantasies, breast feeding (wild, I know!) so I want to keep my options open for now.

Want some pictures?


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Baby Connect

Ok, that last post broke my blogging impasse and now I have to share something amazing.

Baby Connect

Let me go back for a second. When I started pumping, my sister recommended iBabylog. It's free, so I got it, but I didn't like it. I'm kind of a graphics snob and it was just ugly and not super easy to use. So I just logged all of my pumps in my notes. Yeah, not special at all.

Now that Dylan is home, I knew I needed an app to keep track of his feedings. I did a very small amount of research and narrowed it down to two apps: baby connect and some other one.

I bought it a few days ago for $4.99 and I'm seriously in love.

First, you can share the account with anyone who takes care of your LO. So Mr. GG bought it last night and instead of texting me in the MOTN how much D ate (he did this two nights ago and it really pissed me tired), he logged it straight in the app. But grandparents, nannies, anybody can use it.

Second, and probably most importantly, as soon as I click the app open, it tells me how long it's been since Dylan last ate (or last pump or last diaper change). I can never remember exactly when it was so this is amazing.

Third - it keeps track of just about anything you could imagine. I'm currently using feeding, pumping, diapers, immunizations, stats (i.e. height, weight), and activities. But it's got sleep, mood, a diary, pictures, lots of stuff.

You can even have the height and eight plotted on the growth curve.

This almost annoyed me because it went by D's actual age instead of his adjusted age which makes him so far below the growth chart, he'd be in Mexico. But in preferences, there is an option to chart by due date instead. Score!

Fourth - You can graph any data entered in multiple ways. I can look at number of feeds, total volume, average volume, and interval between feeds. I love data so I stare at this all day long to see if he's improving.

Baby Connect is not paying me to say any if this. But I think they should! : )

There are many more features that I didn't even mention, but just get it. I highly doubt you'll be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One Week Home

I'm not feeling any of the posts I've been writing, so let me just do a quick one to let you know how awesome it is having D home.

I'm tired.  He's mostly really happy most of the time.  We're going for walks and doing tummy time and reading books.

Like normal people!

It is so nice to be outside and active.  Thank goodness for our awesome SoCal weather (sorry snowstorm peeps).

He's eating and pooping adequate amounts.  I never thought I would get so excited for poop!

Dylan actually ate 120 mls tonight.  4 ounces!  Amazing.

I never thought I'd be napping from 8pm-10 pm.  Or that sleeping from 7:30-9:00 am, uninterrupted, could make make ridiculously excited.

On another note, pumping 4x a day around baby's feedings, hoping he's asleep at the right times and hoping the dog will leave me alone while your LO eats  Hopefully we'll be back to breast milk soon - or I'll give in and quit pumping. One of the two will have to happen in the next week or so.

I really am LOVING life with my perfect little man.

More to come soon!