Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sleep Update

So maybe it really was just the 7 days of fussiness around 4 months that so many moms talk about.

It's 8:26 on Friday night.  Dylan is asleep in his crib.  Dad is in Cabo. (boo.) I'm sitting on the couch blogging with a beer.

For the past few nights Dylan has gone down without any crying at all.  The only definite change I've made is swaddling in a Halo Sleepsack.  I've done this occasionally over time, but recently have been swaddling one arm out or sometimes not at all (or using A&A blankets).  I'll get to my Happiest Baby on the Block Guide to Great Sleep post soon, but Dr. Karp says to swaddle for at least this long and since there doesn't seem to be a good reason not to, I'm using it consistently.

And Dylan is sleeping for 10 hours straight, sometimes more (with one to two dream feeds depending on when he goes down).

I really think the dream feeds are key in Dylan's great sleep.  I've always done them because I've always had to feed him every two hours to keep up his weight gain.  He's only eating 20 ounces even with the two dream feeds and he didn't seem to make up the deficit without them.  So now that he's actually capable of sleeping through the night, he's also used to the dream feeds and they keep him full long enough to make it to a reasonable time for me to get up.

So how am I actually putting him down?

After he's really sleepy (I've been taking him on a walk around the block in the Ergo around bedtime - maybe a bad sleep prop? But I kind of like it and we're not doing nightly baths yet so I don't have too many elements in our routine.) and swaddled, I put him in the crib.  I've been using the sleep sheep as well as the mobile on with no sound.  I offer him his paci which he either refuses or plays with (chewing) or very rarely takes it and sucks on it normally and I jiggle him with my hand on his chest.  He really responds well to the jiggling.  Dr. Karp would say that this activates his calming reflex.  Then I stop jiggling but keep the weight of my hand on him for a little longer.  Then I move around the the head of the crib to be close by if he's not happy yet.  But most times, even if his eyes are still open, he just chills out and falls asleep.

Then I watch the monitor like a hawk (LOVE! the Motorola Video Monitor) and keep my spray bottle close by to keep the dog from running to the front door and barking at a passing dog.  The front door is like 10 steps from the crib.

Update: Tuesday night.

Tonight it took over an hour and a glad for Dylan to go down! He was definitely in the over-tired stage but just would not close his eyes! He didn't cry for all of that time and dad was home so it was okay.

In generl things are definitely still better, but it's definitely complicated!

This was earlier tonight. Close your eyes child! I know you're tired!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Funny story.

I wanted to give Dylan a bath tonight, but I couldn't figure out which direction the faucet needed to be to get hot water. I waited and waited...then switched...it got colder...then waited and waited some more. Totally feeling like an idiot. Then I gave up.

I decided to just clean Dylan's feet and hands and do the bath another time. People keep telling me his skin needs to "breathe" so I left him naked on his changing table for a bit. The pad was bare because the cover got dirty the other day and I never replaced it.

So Dylan peed and I laughed because I expected it, but I cleaned up as best I could. It seemed like there was just a little and the cover is vinyl...so no biggie.

I finish up and go to put the diaper on and it's wet...ok...the pee went farther than I thought. Then I lifted him up and there was pee everywhere. His back was soaked, his hair was wet!

So I switched the faucet to the side I spent less time on and 20 gallons later (slight exaggeration), the tub was full and Dylan got his bath.

The end.

: )

And pictures.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Hellobee Guest Post

Hey guys...check out my guest post on Hellobee, "How to tell your infertile* friend you're pregnant."

Have a wonderful 3-Day weekend (American) readers!


Oh my goodess...the agony of hearing a true pain cry!

I'm 99% sure that Dylan is teething and it's the saddest thing ever.

Things I googled yesterday:

  • "Teething Molars First"
  • "Baby Orajel"
  • "Hyland's Teething Tablets"
  • "Teething"
Ok that last one is not very interesting, but the first two were.

Mr. GG always suggests things for Dylan.  Like...can we get him some Orajel?  My response is typically...look it up!  I don't trust anything for a second unless a doctor, trusted friend, or good internet research has proven it realistically safe.

Orajel = not safe.  There is a baby version and people do use it, but the rare complication is that the baby stops breathing if they swallow the gel.  OMG...not a risk I'm going to take with my respirationally-challenged baby.

Hyland's on the other hand do seem like a good option.  They are homeopathic tablets.  (Still not sure exactly what that means, but the ingredients were .......)  We gave Dylan two yesterday and both times he immediately stopped crying.  For about two minutes.  : (  So we gave Tylenol and that did the trick.  He had one more episode later in the day, but it didn't necessitate meds. (I do realize Hyland's were recalled a few years ago, but they are ok now.)

We also tried a variety of teething items including a partially frozen washcloth, teething ring and the most effective....my finger.  

That's how I know it's teething and that it's probably molars.  I can feel them.  So weird!  Apparently getting molars first is extremely uncommon, but it does happen.  I already verified with my mom that I did not get my molars first.

I sure hope this pain is sporadic.  He was so upset.  I've never heard that pain cry for a sustained amount of time and it broke my heart!  

He also had his lowest total food intake since he got home from the hospital...not by a lot, but definitely a trend that cannot continue!

Did any of your little ones get molars first?  Will this last forever?  How did you get through it?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sleep. And Book Review: Babywise

Remember my great sleeper?  Well about a week ago, he decided that he can't fall asleep on his own anymore.  Only a couple of times have been really bad, but I'm definitely thinking more about sleep.

Because I don't want to mess anything up.  I don't want to make a mistake that will forever and ever not let Dylan learn how to sleep on his own. (Hyperbole intended...I know one action won't affect a lifetime.)

I'm relatively well-informed and wanted to figure things out on my own and kind of follow my gut, but when I'm in the moment of "ohmylordhowdoimakehimstopcryingsohecansleepbecauseiknowthatswhathewants?," I need to have a plan.

So I looked around the house for all of the sleep books that friends had lent me and had been collecting dust.

Here's what I found:

I decided to start with Babywise because I had heard of it somewhere with what I remember was a positive connotation.

My review: (I skimmed the book over a couple of hours - plenty of time to get all pertinent info.)

I thought Babywise was pretty funny because at least half of the book is devoted to proving why Attachment Parent is wrong.  I know some Attachment Parents and the overall practice is not for me so I didn't need to learn why it was totally ridiculous and unfounded in this author's opinion, but it did make me chuckle.

Basically the book advocates having the baby on a flexible schedule.  It promises that your baby will sleep through the night by 12ish weeks if you follow the system.

Unfortunately, besides following this flexible schedule...there is no system!

So although I learned a little more about baby sleep cycles and I was pleased that there was a section devoted to reflux that essentially said that much of this will have to be even more flexible for a reflux baby, I didn't find this book worth my time.

Dylan is already on a flexible schedule (eating 2-3 hours during the day) and he sleeps through the night.

Overall Rating: C-

I have already started The Happiest Baby Guide and it's not even comparable how much better it is.  Partly why I haven't finished it yet...I'm reading every detail.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I think I've already established that guilt is a dominant factor in my life.  I'm a generally happy and positive person, but the guilt is always there under the surface often flaring into short bursts of stress or anxiety that my husband mostly gets the brunt of.

I've eaten a pretty healthy diet for about as long as I can remember.  In high school, low fat was the national trend and I was fully on board.  I never added butter to my bread or salt to anything.  I used desserts as a reward for myself and tried to only eat when hungry.

I've learned so much more about food since then...like adding butter is actually better (in moderation).

It's only in the last year or so that my diet has really slipped.  I indulge myself more often...mostly because I haven't been as concerned with weight and know I need to be adequately nourished to provide breast milk.

But the bottom line is that I think about food extremely often and criticize myself for making bad choices.  Most of it comes down to laziness and/or lack of time or preparation.

*     *     *     *     *

I've looked at different aspects of food with my students since I started teaching.  First it was fast food and learning to read food labels.  Kids had no idea.  Now they mostly do.  A few years ago I started having my AP students watch Food, Inc. after the AP test when we discuss social issues.  Now that Food, Inc. is not streaming on Netflix, we are watching Forks over Knives this year.  And it is blowing my mind!

In a nutshell, the documentary advocates a "whole food plant-based" diet (they avoid the terms vegetarian and vegan like the plague!) and links consumption of animal products to Cancer.  The documentary has excellent evidence and is not too in your face which I like.

I don't want to be a Vegan.  But at the same time, I know the benefits of whole foods, like whole grains and vegetables and I am scared about the additives that have only been in our diet for the past 60 years or so.  I shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's as often as possible.  I've been trying to buy organic for years, but still find it difficult to do so because of selection so I buy a mix.  I also have no competence in cooking so when I feel adventurous and buy a new vegetable, it usually goes bad before I figure out what to do with it. (More guilt.)

So a couple of days ago, I came across this article in the New York Times, "Some of My Best Friends are Germs."  Fascinating!

The article talks about the microbiome throughout our bodies and its potential implications for health and disease, particularly the auto-immune disorders that are becoming ever more prevalent.

Like the author says, it's too early to take any specific actions based on the information, but eating a diverse diet with a lot of different vegetables and types of fiber is a great start.

(On a huge related note: I am against anti-bacterials.  I totally agree with the science that they are creating super bacteria.  For years I have used them only when necessary and bought regular soap instead.  Although since Dylan was born, I've been using them frequently and will continue to do so until he is a bit older.  Hopefully having a dog makes up for this a bit.)

So for now, I'm going to do what I can and continue to make buying more vegetables a priority.

I have a million more things I could say about this topic, so look out for more posts!  And feel free to ask questions.  I'll research for both of us.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Prophylactic Double Mastectomy and Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie is not the first, nor will she be the last woman to have a double mastectomy to reduce breast cancer risk.  Giuliana Rancic did the same after her breast cancer diagnosis a couple of years ago.  She actually did have cancer at that point, but chose to remove all of both breasts to reduce further risk.

I have known that I was extremely high risk for breast cancer since I was in high school.  My grandma died of breast and lung cancer and my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 13.  She was 44.  My mom survived.  So did my aunt about 10 years later.

Because of the high incidence of breast cancer in our family, my mom had the complete genetic workup which they do for the first person who is tested. She was found to have a BRCA2 mutation (there are many different mutations within the gene).  This is associated with a higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer, just like the BRCA1 mutation that Angelina Jolie has.

So my aunt, my sister, and I all got tested for the specific mutation that my mom has.

My aunt did it first...before my mom even told us about her test and she found that she is also positive.

My sister and I got tested together at a joint doctor's appointment (it's just a blood test).  Waiting for the results was the hard part.  I knew that I would feel terrible if my sister was positive and I was not.  It turns out that we're both positive and in this together, which is comforting - although I still wish she did not have the mutation.

As bad as it may sound, I have always thought that I would get breast cancer, so the result did not shake my world.  It was actually a good thing, because it's a specific tool to get doctors to take my cancer risk seriously.

And they do.

I get a breast MRI once a year.  I even changed health systems within the last two years and they will continue the same plan which is a relief.

In my initial visit with the oncologist, he did discuss prophylactic breast removal.  Yes...prophylactic...like "condoms" because it's for prevention of something.  I have stayed as up to date as possible on breast cancer research so I knew then that some people chose the double mastectomy, but I also knew that it wasn't for me.  My doctor's opinion is that it's an aggressive option that does have benefits, but that it's not the be all end all option and should be a personal choice.

It's not that I don't debate it.  I do.  And I definitely think that my opinion is affected by the fact that my mother and aunt both survived breast cancer.  Angelina Jolie's mother did not.  And I think that is really meaningful.  Breast cancer is a little different in every person and my family members with my mutation had very good outcomes even when the cancer was not found right away.  (My mom was Stage 2, but the worst level within Stage 2).

I will continue to read and research and consider my options.  But for now, I feel that diligent monitoring is the best course of action.  Treatment has come such a long way, so even if I do get breast cancer one day, I believe that I can have it treated successfully too.

Ovaries are a different issue.  It's much more difficult to diagnose Ovarian Cancer so it's most often found at a later stage which causes it to be more deadly.  I probably will have my ovaries removed some time in the near future.  It scares me for sure.  And I need to do research about how ovary removal affects hormones and all of that, but since I am done having children, I think it probably makes sense.

I read on another blog that anyone saying that Jolie's decision is ridiculous or awesome doesn't get it.  This is a personal decision. One she bravely decided to share with the world.  I respect her decision, but more so her talking about it.  I may change my mind, but for now, I am choosing to make a different decision.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To the IFers on Mother's Day

I truly feel that everyone who wants to be a mother should be able to be! I hope so much that those of you who aren't yet, will be on your way next year. This day was so painful for me before I was pregnant. I'm thinking about all of you today, really.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

How the other half lives?

I had "the night" last night. The night where the baby screams for an hour and nothing will make him stop...or sleep.

I knew he was tired and I first put him in the crib. He was fussy whining (and probably would have quit eventually), but I thought I could find something he'd like better, so I picked him up. Wrong.

The next hour was a series of different positions; carrier, no carrier, other carrier? Paci, no paci. Walking slowly, walking quickly, walking outside. Bouncing, shaking (me...from my legs...trying to recreate vibration), rocking. Swaddle, no swaddle? He had just eaten and burped.) I really don't think he was sick or gassy...just tired.

I tried the oven vent. He quieted down immediately! But it only lasted 5 minutes.

In total, it lasted just over an hour and then he slept for over 10 hours like my normal easy baby.

I think he knew that I was all alone last night. My dad and his girlfriend had stayed with us all week and had just gone home. Daddy had to take a client to a club. Yes, he was clubbing! (He doesn't really enjoy it...but he's still gone...till LATE!).

But this whole thing has sprung some questions in my head re:cry it out. I see over and over that people believe CIO is cruel. (I don't believe so, but plan to avoid if I can...not crying is easier.) But wasn't Dylan crying the entire time anyway? I'm pretty sure that if I had let him be at the very beginning, that he would've fallen asleep with no escalation...or with even a minor escalation...within about 15 minutes. Was it more humane that he instead cried for an hour...most of which was in my arms? He sure wasn't comforted by me!

That is all. Deep thoughts done.

Friday, May 10, 2013

New me. (Better me.)

I've heard other people say this, but I really don't know what I did with my time before Dylan was born.

Wait.  Yes I do.  I spent it on the couch or on the computer.

I think it was the fact that I always had other future hypothetical time to finish something.  I've been a procrastinator my entire life.

But now...I have no idea if I'll have future time to do something.  So I have to do it now.  It's still not perfect.  I'm still procrastinating on some small things.  Like the old bottle of milk on the counter.  I should have just rinsed it out when I set it there.  But I didn't.  I should have done it one of the other 3 times I noticed it.  But I didn't.  Baby steps.

But I just did something that I've almost never done before.

I collected an assignment from my Freshman.  And then graded it.  Right then.  And I even entered it into the online grade book.  Within an hour of collecting it.  Holy crap.

When I was grading essays last weekend, I knew that the minute Dylan fell asleep, that I needed to start.  So I did.  And was so much more efficient than normal.

I don't know why the past me tortured myself by letting things pile up physically (and mentally). With 150 students, the paper accumulates at warp speed.

And I don't really know if I'll keep this up.  But I kind of think I will.

I'm a new multi-tasking, efficient me.

*     *     *     *     * 

So going back to school has gone pretty well.  Each day I'm progressively less tired which I know sounds weird, but it's because teaching take a lot of energy...I have to get back in teaching shape!  This goes for voice as well as energy.  Going from talking a little up close to projecting all day long takes an adjustment.

Dylan has been with my dad and his girlfriend and that's gone really well.  I was most afraid of giving up control of his feedings, but he's taken 20 ounces just about every day which is perfect.  We even let him sleep through the night the last couple of nights and he still got to 20 yesterday...hopefully today will be the same.  (He's sleeping for 12 hours straight - with a couple of dream feeds thrown in - nice kid!)

I'm enjoying school too.  I was mostly worried about my freshman because the regular freshman classes are always crazy and this group had built up quite a reputation.  But they're not as bad as I had prepared for.  So that's good!  

The AP kids are taking their test right now as we speak and I think they're as ready as my classes typically are.  Also good.

I let my Sophomores choose between two novels and they chose Kite Runner which is one of my favorite novels to teach and a unit that I need almost no preparation for.

I also had a revelation this morning that I could pump on the way to work.  I've pumped in the car a couple of times before, but my post-partum brain just can't think of obvious things some times.  That freedom will definitely free up my mornings.  But my supply is not liking the change for whatever reason.  More on the that soon.

So things are pretty good!

Saturday, May 4, 2013


I never wanted to be a stay at home mom.  Career and education have always been extremely important to me.  I've been a teacher for 8 years, but within that time have become Department Chair and have taught Masters level University classes.  I'm ambitious and I'm not done progressing in my career.  I doubt it will end in the classroom.

But when I first had Dylan, I didn't care one iota about work and basically never wanted to work again.

So it's complicated.

I go back to work on Monday and I'm kind of excited.  It's a complicated excited because it's kind of nice not to work.

But being at home is a lot of pressure.  I feel guilty if I'm not interacting with Dylan 100% of the time that he's awake.  But there are only so many things you can do with a baby.  So after we've done tummy time once an eaten twice and read a book and sang songs and made funny faces and taken a walk...I run out of ideas.  And then the guilt sets in.  I do most of those things multiple times throughout the day, but it's really a struggle to keep it up.

I know that the research states the the total number of words a child hears in a day has a huge correlation with school success.  I'm very verbal, but I also like my quiet time.  So I have to push hard to keep talking.  The other day we took a long walk.  And instead of being silent like I would typically be if I was walking the dog, I instead narrated everything that I was thinking.  This ranged from worrying about the high school of the area we are in...to working...to how much Dylan eats...to whether the dog was going to be okay around him...and back around again.  He's going to think I'm nuts! (Or maybe I am?)

So I'm going back to school.

It's about as easy as it could be since it's only 5 1/2 weeks at the end of the year, after testing. Not a lot of pressure.  Then I get the whole summer with Dylan.  And I've had a nice transition back.  I went last week to go over essays with the AP kids, then another time to pick up the next batch of essays.  So in total, I've seen 3 out of my 5 classes so I won't be quite as nervous.  AND...I have a two hour prep period at the beginning of the day Monday morning which is awesome.

I'm excited to have a role in 150 more children's lives.  And I'm excited because I'll be able to give 100% to Dylan from about 3:30 until he goes to bed and every weekend.  And people that really love him (my parents) will be giving him 100% throughout the day.  So he'll probably be getting more total interaction.

I have huge respect for SAHMs and I definitely have some additional guilt for not being one.  (Detecting a guilt theme?)

But whether I work in the home or out, I know I'm doing the very best for my son.

I have a lot more to say about the state of maternity leave in the U.S. and using this as an opportunity to re-evaluate exactly what I want to do for my career, but I'll save that for next time.

If I ever have time for next time.

Don't worry...I'll make time.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bits and Pieces

So I was walking Dylan and the dog today when a neighbor asked "How old is she?" Or he might've said he.  I could hear that clearly because the dog was barking at another dog walking on the other side of the street.  Yes, I have that dog.  The poorly trained hyper dog who yells at everyone, but really just wants to play with them.  So I said, "Oh...she's about a year and a half.  Oh wait, you mean the baby?"  He says, "Yeah, the baby!" I can't believe that wasn't my first instinct!  But I've been asked so many time how old the dog is and the dog was barking... I don't know.  : )

*     *     *     *     *

I'm going back to work on Monday.  I don't think I've talked about it much here.  I'll write a whole post about it, but yep...going back.  My students take the AP test next Friday and my latest sub got a permanent job, so I've been writing the lesson plans for the last two weeks.  I felt like I really needed to give the kids some essay feedback, so I went in yesterday and went over essays with them.  It was kind of nice just going back for two hours.  It showed me how crazy it is getting myself and Dylan ready in the morning!  I gave up and had my mom come to my house instead of dropping him off.

I'm a pretty confident person, but I always get nervous on the first day of school.  Having a new "first day" seven months later is even scarier.  Because I kinda sorta know the kids.  *Sidenote* When I was grading their essays this weekend, when I saw each name on the paper, the face popped right up in my head...even though I only knew them for three weeks. Crazy!  But it doesn't work the opposite way...seeing the face and picking a name.  And I always feel terrible when I don't know their names. *Sidenote over* As I was walking toward the classroom, I was ridiculously anxious!  My heart was beating like crazy, I was almost shaky.  It's crazy to have such a physical reaction when mentally I was pretty prepared.

The day went well.  The kids were excited to see me and even though I was a bit rusty and it wasn't the most exciting lesson ever (I mean we were going over essays...), but I think it was helpful.  It went even better the second time through.

I was EXHAUSTED when I got home!  That's going to be the hardest part.  I usually go back to bed after our morning feed/pump at 6ish.  Now I have to stay up.  I still get a lot more sleep than some moms, but I have always needed more sleep than average.  It's only six weeks, so I'll live...

*     *     *     *     *

Dylan had RECORD FEEDINGS the last two days, 22.5 ounces, then 23 ounces.  I'm hoping he keeps it up and becomes a chub.  (Neither his dad or I were chubby babies anyway.)

*     *     *     *     *

Anything else?  Nope I think that does it.

Oh.  Today is the one year anniversary of our IVF transfer!  I'm so happy to be at the end of this year and not the beginning.

I'm having fun with his outfits!

This is what I wake up to in the morning. A smiling baby just rustling around and making little noises.  He's even got poopy pants!

(I only use a blanket when he's supervised.)  I love this one!