Monday, September 30, 2013

Milestones Galore

Time for a happy post.  Especially since our life is a pretty happy life!  Dylan is hitting milestones left and right these days.  He's right on track for his adjusted age of 8 1/2 months.

First up: CRAWLING!!

I keep saying to myself that each stage is even more fun than the last.  And it just keeps happening!  It took Dylan a really long time to be able to roll from his back to his tummy.  I think he finally got it around 6 1/2 months, but it was still occasional.  I helped him "practice" crawling by getting his knees under him and rocking him back and forth.  And that's where he stayed for quite a while.  Oh and he was really good at pushing himself backward and boy did that frustrate him!

A couple of weeks ago, he started rolling more frequently and actually using it to move his position.  Then about a week ago, he began pushing himself into a plank or downward dog-type position.  And I got the awesome picture below!  I titled it "the bear in his natural habitat."  (If you haven't ever done bear crawls as a team sport punishment, you're missing out.)

He was also doing occasional one pull army crawls mixed with rolling to get himself around.

Then on Thursday, MrGG and I both saw him take one real crawl.  He didn't continue, but we saw that he knew what to do.

On Friday my Dad watched Dylan and he's the kind of dad that really likes to be the first to see things.  It's a little annoying, but doesn't bother me that much.  So when I got home, he showed me a video of Dylan really crawling.  Now he's off!

He's not going too quickly, but he's fully mobile.  He's even sitting up on his knees, checking out the stairs and pulling to stand occasionally.

Although I'm slightly scared of his new independence, it's so much fun to see his excitement! He was getting really frustrated the last couple of weeks.

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Milestone 2: Clapping!

Dylan still goes to OT twice a month and she's been mentioning for awhile that she'd like to see him bang two one-inch blocks together.  He has never showed the slightest interest.

Then on Saturday, he started playing with his hands together, almost in a hand-washing kind of motion.  I helped him "clap" a few times and then we clapped while he was doing the thing with his hands and by yesterday, he was clapping on his own!  Not exactly a real clap - no noise - but very close.

Here he is clapping for a Chargers' touchdown!  (Well...he didn't really know they scored, but the timing was pretty close.)

*     *     *     *     *

And the teeth keep breaking through...  The first two appeared within a week of each other at 6 months.  Now finally a third appeared on the top next to center last week.

Times they are a changing!

He turns 1 in exactly a week so I am in full party-planning mode.  The grandparents only party that I wanted has turned into a party of nearly 50, kids included.  I'm trying to keep it simple, but at the same time I want my house to be perfect.  And I feel like I should probably finish the nursery. You know, since he'll be ONE.  Wish me luck!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Worst Day of My Life

September 22, 2012.

It wasn't the Friday night when I went into labor and was admitted to the hospital. That night, as soon as I heard Dylan's heartbeat, I thought everything would be fine.

It was the next day, Saturday. When I learned that everything was now changed forever. That I would not be leaving the hospital until Dylan was born and that the odds were high that it would be soon.

And now I had to consider what I would do if he was born that day, before I had received steroid shots. When I should get the shots...

And all of this with burning cheeks like my face was one fire and a brain haze that felt like I was looking and thinking through fog - brought on by the magenesium sulfate drip that was keeping labor from progressing. I had 13 contractions in one hour at one point.

I remember sitting with Mr. GG in the first little tiny closet-room.  We needed to talk about what to do, to have a plan, but we just couldn't talk. It was too big. We were just at the beginning of learning our different ways of coping in the midst of trauma.

This is the day that I made the list of all of the things I needed to let go of because I was no longer in control of my life.

School. My kids. My plans and hopes for the rest of the pregnancy. My shower. My house. My dog. I had a new life in the blink if an eye and although I guess I do trauma pretty well, I don't do spur of the moment well.

But what a difference a year makes!

Today was a wonderful day with Dylan. He smiled and giggled his way through the day (minus a short patch around bedtime). He worked on his crawling technique in the new living room rug we bought for him. It's a mix of army crawl with scoots and rolls and some occasional grunting mixed in. But it gets him around!

And then my favorite time of the day, dream feed...where I just stare at him, marvel at him while he eats. Usually I picture him older. I imagine what he'll look like, what he'll like to do.  Then I pick him up and gently pat his back as he lays his head on my shoulder and I feel so lucky and happy and perfectly content. 

I would go through the worst day of my life again in a heart-beat to be right where I am right now.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

One year later...

No, Dylan's not 1 yet.  Soon.  But one year ago this week (Sept 21st to be exact), when I was 23 weeks pregnant, I went into labor and was hospitalized for the remainder of my pregnancy.

It's been kind of difficult in a PTSD kind of way to start the school year.  I still replay all of the things in my mind that could have maybe caused me to go into labor (although I have absolutely no evidence that there was any specific reason).

It's really hot in Southern California in September.  I teach in a bungalow without air conditioning.  Last year, on Friday of the first week of school (2 weeks before I went into labor), it was 105 degrees.  I had my class moved to an air-conditioned building, but the a/c stopped working around noon.  My 6th period AP class was writing an essay and I remember sitting in the back of the classroom in a chair, just waiting for the bell to ring.  One student had to be walked to the nurse's office with heat exhaustion.  I don't know why I didn't just tell the office that I needed to go home or be somewhere cool.  Actually I do know why.  I didn't really know any better.  I thought I could wait it out another hour.  It kills me to think back on this day.

Do you remember last year when I said I finally booked and went to pre-natal yoga classes?  I was so proud of myself for actually starting to work out after feeling out of it for the entire pregnancy up to that point.  Before yoga, I had walked a bit, just in the last month or so, but that was it.  I went to two yoga classes before I went into labor.  Wednesday, 9 days before and Wednesday, 2 days before.  The second class only had three people in it, two pregnant, one not.  The other pregnant girl was much farther along than I was.  The instructor had us do a move where we put one foot on the wall and bent 90 degrees sideways.  It felt ok while I was doing it, but I have secretly wondered if it caused a placental abruption.  I started bleeding on Friday.  It's possible that a small piece of my placenta tore away from my uterine wall although it was never able to be confirmed.  I went into labor 2 days after that class.  Even though I have no idea if this class contributed to labor, I still question whether the instructors truly knew the safety of what they were asking us to do.  The studio caters entirely to pregnant woman so I assumed that they would know what was appropriate more than I did.  But I wish I had never gone.

And the list doesn't stop there...

So I'm still not over it.  How could I be?  I still am a little disturbed when I'm around women in their 3rd trimester.  I still feel a little jealousy and do not like hearing about their aches and pains, etc.  And the other day when my friend who's about to have her third said that she hoped this one came early, I kind of wanted to smack her.

Really the only thing that makes it all okay is that Dylan is okay, great actually.  We are amazingly lucky.  He has defied odds.  If he hadn't, I'm not sure I'd be able to get over it ever.

Sorry for the depressing post, but I need to put it out there.  Catharsis or whatever.

But my advice to all pregnant women is that it is so much better to be safe than sorry!  Go to Labor & Delivery for monitoring whenever something is weird.  Every other day if you have to! Don't feel stupid about it.  Trust your instinct.  Let people take care of you and carry things for you and let you sit.  You don't have to be and shouldn't be Super Woman while pregnant.  Don't leave yourself any regrets!  And I wish all of you 10 months of baby-growing!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nanny Tales: The Language Barrier

This post almost pains me to write because of the emotion is so fresh and raw.  (I like to ignore things that really bother me.  Excellent coping skill!)

Background: Before hiring our nanny, I did a half-day trial and everything went well, although I realize that's not enough time to learn anything at all. Then before I went back to school, we had a couple of half days and a full day together.  She watched me feed Dylan, make bottles, put him to sleep, etc.

I'm also pretty anal and I write everything down.  So I have a notebook where I've put important information for her.

Right from the start, I felt like Dylan's bottles were weird when I got home.  I normally have two separate bottles of pre-mixed formula and fortified breast milk that I mix into Dylan's bottle.  But there were never the two larger bottles in the fridge.  I figured she had run out.  But then sometimes the consistency of his milk was weird.  Usually, too thin.  I suspected she was using all breast milk.  So I went over the 50% mixture with her and I thought we were good.  She said she understood.

I had discussed bottles with her at least two times before last Friday and every time she said that she understood.  And she said it in such a way that I was completely confident that she did, in fact, understand.

Then last Friday, I came home and found 4 bags of frozen breast milk (empty) in the trash.  That totaled about 28 ounces of breastmilk.  Dylan eats 15 ounces MAX when he is with her, so only 7-8 ounces of actual milk since the rest is formula.  I was extremely pissed.  Livid actually.  I quit pumping at the beginning of last week and was hoping to get almost to January with frozen milk. I kind of felt like we were running out too quickly, but I just figured I was less on top of the situation because I wasn't at home.  So on Friday I realized for the first time that she was using all breast milk!

1) She was using the breast milk WAY faster than I had planned.  I spent 11 months creating this stockpile and I'm extremely upset to have it just slip away.  I know Dylan got the milk either way, but it's frustrating to have something that you have spent so much time deliberating about and thinking about just slip through your fingers.

2) Dylan liked the consistency of the mix we were giving him.  She was feeding him a much thinner solution and therefore he was eating less, therefore, he gained less weight for the first month she was with him.  This makes me angry and I feel so responsible for not figuring it out and fixing it earlier.

3) He is supposed to be getting 24 calories an ounce.  I'm pretty sure at times she has used breast milk like water, meaning she added an entire scoop of formula to 50mls.  OMG!  So maybe these super high calorie bottles evened out the lesser?  But typically a baby will eat less volume if the calories are too high.  So basically I have no idea what calories he's been getting.

I feel extremely responsible for not spelling things out in better detail and having detailed descriptions above the area where we store the formula and bottles.  I should have done it.  The only reason I didn't is because she always seemed so confident!  She watched me and read my notes and told me that everything was great.  She has really misrepresented the amount of English that she understands.  I have no problem with her asking me 100 questions a day.  But I have a HUGE ISSUE with her not asking questions when she doesn't understand.

So now I really don't know if I can trust her. I know I can fix this milk issue.  Mr. GG is going to show her (again) this morning.  Or I could make all of it all of the time, but I don't think that will be necessary.  But what will be the next thing that she doesn't understand?

I'm going to give her another chance.  I do think she takes good care of Dylan, but my radar is beyond up.  : /

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Solids: Take 2

So last time I wrote about solids Dylan was occasionally swallowing some food, but things were extremely frustrating.  We have seen an Occupational Therapist bi-weekly since he was in the NICU and she suggested trying some "meltable" foods such as Baby Yum Yums, Plum wafers, and puffs.  Dylan really likes all of these!  I truly think they are basically junk food, but they have calories and they have taught Dylan to chew and swallow food when it is in his mouth, so I like them.  Now they've become a vehicle for adding to the calories into his meals.

At our last appointment I had anticipated that Dylan would be 15 pounds.  I should've learned months ago not to set a goal, but I haven't.  He was 14 pounds even and I was pretty upset.  The 6 weeks between the last two appointments were his slowest gain since he was born.  All kids slow down around this age, but we don't want Dylan to because we want him to eventually (soon) cross the 5th percentile line and get on the growth chart.  It really doesn't matter a whole lot since he is gaining and I am confident he will get there eventually, but it's definitely difficult to know that your child is smaller than 99% of the world (it's the WHO chart).  And I'm talking adjusted age (nearly 8 months) not his actual age of 11 months.

So we are really focusing on calories.

It's always bottle first.  He's averaging 21 ounces a day (with random days of 28) and he still takes about 7 bottles a day.  He just doesn't seem to increase his volume enough if we space out feedings, so we're following a more is more approach for now.

He's getting 2-3 meals of solids a day and I'm label-reading like crazy (since most of the food is pre-packaged at the moment...still working on the cooking).  Dylan is actually pretty okay with texture in his food which is awesome.  We've tried some of the Level 3 Plum "meals" and although he sometimes gags at the quinoa in them, he still eats it all and has never thrown anything up.  His favorite is the Sweet Corn and Turkey (with added formula and oatmeal cereal of course).  Then for "dessert" he gets a Plum wafer slathered with cream cheese.  I want the solids he eats to be at least 20 calories an ounce so that they are worth it (his bottles are 24 calories an ounce).  Most packages are 60 or 70 calories for about 4 ounces so a little under the mark.

Dylan has two teeth and is pretty good at "chewing" his food with the sides of his mouth.  I can't wait until he can start eating more table foods, but he's not ready yet.  I am also pretty terrified because I'm feeling an inordinate amount of pressure to start making healthy meals that all three of us can eat.  (Mr. GG and I pick up food about 6 nights a week and he's usually the one to cook on the 7th night...)  I've pinned about a million ideas, but the start of the school-year is stressful and I feel like I'm drowning (in ungraded paper and pressure to be super-mom at the same time).  Fortunately I have a couple of months until I need to get on it.  I'll probably be asking for lots of advice, so start thinking of it!

Also, if you have any high-calorie, but still relatively healthy food suggestions, I'd love to hear them.  Like, I mentioned, he's okay with a little bit of chunky texture, but he doesn't love smooth foods like yogurt.  I think mixes will be key.

I don't have any new "eating" pictures except for this one:

And some other cuties:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Back at School

...and no time to blog!

But in a nutshell:

  • Feeding is going much better although Dylan still needs to be gaining more weight.
  • Nanny is going well for the most part although I wish that English was her first language.  I'm not sure she always understands what I'm asking. : /
  • I quit pumping!!  I'm sad and happy, but trying to focus on the freedom of it all.
  • I'm planning a first birthday party!  Where has the time gone?
  • Teaching is so much harder when you have a child at home.  Wow.  (I also had a child at home last spring, but it was a child who slept all the time and it was the end of the school year...totally different than my big boy who needs real food and daily baths and doesn't stay in one spot.)
  • Oh and I have bedbugs.  FML.  And yes, I did also just tent the house for termites in February.  I'm trying to avoid thinking about clearing out and washing everything in both bedrooms after work today and tomorrow.  Maybe that will make it less painful?  Nope. Not working.
  • And the dog has a cyst or something on her knee.  She had knee surgery the week of the termites.  Hoping this one goes away on its own (am in contact with vet).
So yeah, no time to blog although I literally think about it every single day.  School should settle down in a week or two and hopefully I'll be back at it.