Tuesday, December 26, 2006
It shocked me. I look at my daughter who is now over 13 pounds and I have trouble reconciling the idea that she is the same teeny tiny baby that was in the hospital for a quarter of this year. How is that possible? She is so big and healthy and happy. How can this be the same kid who was hanging onto life by the thinnest threads of hope? This girl, who was giving out belly laughs as I alternated tickling her toes and her belly yesterday was at one point muted by tubes and too sensitive to be touched.
My Cousin A made a digital photo montage using pictures of Azure set to music for a school project. At the end it said "Elephant Family Miracle". She said it made her teacher cry and she received an A.
I think I have reached a point where I do not like looking back at where we were. We are moving on, focusing on her new developments and skills, like blowing spit bubbles with a mouth full of carrots! Life handed us a pretty big lemon at the beginning of the year, it was sour too, but we squeezed the shit out of it and I think that Azure is now the sweetest lemonaid ever to have touched my puckered lips.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I took the progesterone last week. Today is CD3. It is also day three on the progesterone-only "mini-pill". So far the cramps have been only teasers, nothing much to speak of, not even requiring painkillers. The bleeding and clots however have gotten a bit out of hand. You know the feeling when you are snuggled into your covers and the morning alarm has not yet gone off and you turn over only to be horrified by the feeling that should you pull back that downy flannel comforter you would find something only fit for CSI: Ute Division or possibly Nightmare on Menstrual Street? Well, yeah. That has been my start to the day the past TWO mornings. I am running to the ladies room hourly to keep things under control. Happy Holidays!
Of course I have been slightly distracted by the new pimples that are erupting around my nose every hour or so. Rudolph ain’t got nothin’ on me yo! We are not talking tiny whiteheads but the big red puffy painful suckers.
The worst part is the appetite. I have been participating in a weight loss competition at work. So far, I have done very well. Until yesterday when I ate not one, not two, not even three but FOUR pieces of pizza for lunch. All together now, H-O-R-M-O-N-A-L. This morning I had a Cinnamon Crunch bagel with hazelnut cream cheese for breakfast. Mmmmmm. We have a weigh in tomorrow. I may just be voted off the Red Team this week. *sigh*
All kidding aside, I think this is good for me. All the blood, all the huge, enormous, voluminous amounts of blood have been bright red. Not a single brown spot in sight. If I can do this every month (hopefully on a slightly lesser scale), I might actually function like a normal human! Wow!
T has been great. He even went out and bought my favorite citrus flavored vodka. I enjoyed a couple glasses on the rocks last night while holding up the Christmas tree so he could secure it into the stand. It actually looks pretty straight considering. We shall attempt to decorate it tonight. I cannot wait to see Azure’s face when she sees those lights start blinking!
I still have a ton of shopping to do and must prepare the house for the first of three family parties which we are hosting Saturday afternoon. (That is, we are hosting the first party on Saturday the next two are at other people’s houses Sunday night and Monday night.) There are also family birthdays to be celebrated and my girlfriend’s 10-year wedding anniversary coming up. (How can she have been married for ten years when we have just gotten out of college? Yes we have! It has only been, um, *gulp*, nine years, but it feels like only yesterday! No really, I am not getting old, I swear!)
I think I need some more vodka.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
We received the first update on our boy O on his fourth birthday back in 2001. He was SO cute with white blond hair and big blue eyes and a great smile. His mother was a drug abuser and unable to take care of him but she visited him in the orphanage. He was diagnosed with "moronity" and showed several delays. I keep the most recent update with picture up on our fridge so that we, and everyone else, can see it. Through the years we have received updates and new pictures and have watched O grow and learn. His delays are becoming less and less of a problem as he is participating in play therapy and working with teachers. He was progressing very well. Last Christmas we received a card from him and a picture of the new playground at the orphanage. It was beautiful, it too went up on the fridge.
In the back of my mind, I kept thinking that someday, eventually, we might be able to adopt him. Every update ended with the same line. They were working on beginning the process to deny his mother’s parental rights, which would allow him to be placed for adoption. Every single update for the last five years has said the same thing. They were working on beginning the process.
This fall I was excited to see the large envelope from the adoption agency, knowing it would be another update on O. Instead, I found a letter explaining that O had reached an appropriate age to be transferred to a boarding school and was no longer under the supervision of the adoption agency. We would no longer be able to get information about him. While this was good news for him, he had advanced enough to go to school, I felt like he had been taken from us. Our boy was gone and we could not do anything about it. So sorry, here is a new boy for you to sponsor. While the new boy, V is adorable and certainly deserving. (He lives with his father and grandparents, not in an institution.) He is not O. We have lost him forever.
Wherever O is, whatever he may be doing, whoever is loving him now, I wish him the best.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
My neck, right shoulder and right wrist have been quite painful this week. The wrist I can pass off as typing too much at work. While this makes most people nod their heads in acceptance, I do not believe it myself. The shoulder hurts while I am sitting at my desk, driving my car and holding my increasingly heavy little girl. How is it that my arms were empty for so long and now I am in pain holding that which I coveted? Just doesn’t seem right.
Another strange thing. So I have the Rx for the progesterone to start my period so that I can start the bcps. However, this Saturday is T’s company Christmas party. They always have a dinner at a hotel with a bar and encourage people to wine, dine, do a couple rounds of taquila shots, a little more wine, etc. and then spend the night in the hotel. It is a really fun time if you do it right. We are taking Azure and spending the night. Don’t get all up in my grill just yet. There is more to the story. We have hired a dog sitter to take care of Maggie whilst we are away. The nanny and her sister will be watching Azure for us in our room while we take part in the festivities. The sister has wanted to meet Azure and this is her chance. It also takes a bit of the creepy out of the married couple inviting the nanny to join them at a hotel room in town. *wink, wink* We plan to take Azure’s bassinet, a few select toys and a blanket large enough for her to lay/play on without having to come into contact with the hotel bedspread. Blehck! Once the party is over we will go back to our room and send the nanny and her sister home. Everyone wins! If you can see any flaws in this plan, please tell me. I am one of those go with the flow parents but if you see any HUGE RED FLAGS that I am missing I would love to hear about them.
Sunday we will be celebrating the second birthday of a girl who would be my godchild if it weren’t for the whole me being an atheist thing. She is smiles and sunshine walking around with big eyes and curly hair. I am very much looking forward to the party. This will also be the first time that some friends will see Azure in person and I am looking forward to that too.
One last item. Azure turned 6 months adjusted yesterday and so we celebrated by giving her oatmeal for the very first time. *GASP!* Not rice cereal? She will never eat again and develop speech delays! Well, bite me, she’ll be fine. If you are really that worried about it would you feel better if I told you that it was organic oatmeal? What if I said she had a ball playing with the spoon but turned her head away from the actual "eating". We ended up putting the remainder of her bowl in a bottle and she drank it that way. If at first you don’t succeed…
Monday, December 04, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
#2 - I am still living sans period. I have been waiting for this type of life-style since the fifth grade! However, now that I have it, I do not want it, at least not this way. I feel pain and pressure in my abdomen like PMS but never get anything out of it. At least if I had a period something would eventually relieve that pressure. History tells me that once I do get a period all Hell will break loose. So, I am considering the mini-pill. A progesterone only bcp. I used to take Provera (oral progesterone sup.) in order to stay on a regular cycle. One pill every day CD16-26. If I did not take the pills, I did not get a period. My body does not like that; it is better to be cyclical. I tried the take the bcp all the time so I did not have a period and my body revolted with seven straight weeks of breakthrough bleeding. Fun times. So, we are looking into our options. We still have to figure out what to do about #2. I am all in favor of adoption, but as we all know, it is not just up to me. I think we are a few months away from making any decisions and I cannot lose complete control of my body in the meantime. I called my GYN today to see if I could get an Rx for a megadose of Provera to kickstart a period and then start the mini-pill. I had some bloodwork done a couple weeks ago, which included a pregnancy test (negative). Unfortunately since it was two weeks ago they are now requiring that I stop into the office again to prove to them I have not fallen pregnant in that time and THEN they will give me the scripts. *eyes rolling*
#3 - New Years is coming up in about a month. We have traditionally spent New Years Eve with some college friends who have a bunch of people over to fondue, drink, watch the ball drop and spend the night followed by breakfast the next morning. It is a great time and we all have a blast. This year we have some things to consider. I am sure you are thinking child-care would be tops on that list. Not so much. I am sure my parents would watch her overnight without any question. My main concern is that I know they have been trying to conceive since well before last New Year’s. "Our room" at their place is actually a futon in their home office. I happened to spy a copy of "Fertility for Dummies" on the bookcase last year but they claimed they were not trying but not preventing. It does not take an infertile genius to put two and two together does it? Now, last year I was pregnant and not drinking but was not showing much yet and so we did not make a big deal out of things. They knew about our fertility treatments and I think they genuinely wished us well. We saw this couple over the summer and they inquired about Azure and how she was doing. I have always answered their questions and then tried to change the subject so as not to dwell on the fact that we have a child and they do not. I am concerned things might be more difficult at the party this year. We have gotten to know the other regular guests but the only time we see them is once a year, at this party. I am sure they will ask about Azure. I do not want to make our hosts uncomfortable. Maybe they will conveniently forget to invite us this year but I would really miss it a lot. Any suggestions?
#4 - Has anyone switched over to the "new" Blogger Beta version? If so, do you like it? I am afraid to switch and then not be able to switch back. I would like to know what you think of it after using it. Is it worth the switch?
#5 - Holy Cow with the snow! My entire city is covered in a sheet of ice which is now being covered with snow at a high rate of speed. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas indeed!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
We want another baby. We would prefer sooner rather than later. We do not want another preemie. Another premature birth would effect not only ourselves, which is bad enough, but also Azure, our poor Maggie-dog who has been so starved for attention, the people we would have to rely on to watch Azure if I were placed on bedrest, hospitalized or if the baby did require a stay in the NICU. We cannot just think of ourselves, there are far too many others to take into consideration. We did not ask for a premature birth the first time round. If we chance another pregnancy we would be deliberately gambling on just such an outcome. Keep your fingers crossed all you want that it lasts longer next time around, but those crossed fingers will only get you so far.
All of this is on my mind today, Prematurity Awareness Day.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Before Azure was released from the hospital we were required to watch a video on infant and child CPR and then demonstrate the techniques on a doll. We are not technically certified but we know enough to get us by in an emergency.
What we did when the alarm went off:
Check her color. Is she pale, blueish around the lips? This is an indicator that she needs oxygen. We would call her name and place a hand on her chest and gently but firmly wiggle her side to side as if to wake her from sleep. (I hesitate to use the work "shake" because of the implications of Shaken Baby Syndrome. I can very easily see someone panic and over-do-it in an attempt to stimulate a non-responsive baby. The irony in the possible tragedy is chilling.) We sometimes would turn her on her side and vigorously rub her back. Most of the time, this was enough to wake her and nothing else needed to be done. We would then spend a few moments calming down our own racing hearts. We usually gave her extra hugs and kisses at this point and told her that we don’t require much from her but the breathing and heartbeat thing were not optional.
If the jiggling was not enough to bring her around, we would try lifting and wiggling her arms by the hands. One nurse showed us how to pinch her big toe. Pinch it enough so that it hurts. Pinch the toe while lifting the foot into the air and then drop it letting the leg fall back onto the bed. It sounds mean, but the pain in her toe should be enough to make her upset and draw her attention to that, which will probably make her mad and possibly cry. When you are trying to save the baby’s life, a little pinch on the toe seems like a necessary evil. I thought that I could never do that to my child, but when I was there alone with her and she needed stimulating, I was pinching that toe and instructing her to get mad at me, cry, yell at me!
You do whatever you have to do to get a response while keeping in mind you do not want to injure her in the process. It is this cool under extreme pressure thinking that scared T out of watching her on his own. He saw that I could handle these situations and do what needed to be done without panic. He did not trust himself to be calm enough to remember what to do.
I would recommend:
#1 Go to an infant and child CPR training class put on by the Red Cross. This will ensure you are given the correct information and instructors can watch you practice the techniques and give you hints or corrections on ways you can improve. This should give you some peace of mind, knowing you did everything you could to educate yourself on these lifesaving steps.
#2 Get a training video and watch it a few times to get familiar with the steps to take. Practice on a doll or teddybear. Watch the video again every couple of months to refresh your memory. We were told this was the best way to keep our up our skills.
#3 You can find a quick and easy to follow guide online here. This is no substitute for a class, but it is better to have some information rather than none. The class is still the best way to go.
Finally, I would like to make the distinction between Azure’s case and SIDS. Azure, being a preemie was in a period of frequent Apnea and Bradycardia and occasional irregular breathing. This is a stage that many preemies go through and eventually outgrow. It is a matter of brain development. They need to "learn" to continue the involuntary actions of breathing and keeping their hearts going. Once the brain "gets it" they do it automatically just like anyone else. I also believe that reflux played at least a partial role in the incident in June when she turned blue. There was milk oozing slowly out of her mouth when I turned her on her side rather than the quick stream of spit up one would expect. I am not an expert on SIDS. I follow the "rules" of back-to-sleep and keep her sleeping area clear of blankets and stuffed toys. She goes to sleep with a pacifier but not a bottle. She is still getting mostly breastmilk from the freezer and we do not smoke (nor does the nanny or my parents who watch her while we are at work). She sleeps in a bedside bassinet right next to me rather than in our bed. (Does that count as co-sleeping? People ask about co-sleeping and I feel very wishy-washy with my answer.) You can find more information on SIDS here and here.
Maggie, I wish you luck and thank you for bringing up this important discussion.
*If you have ever taken a CPR class from the Red Cross you will recognize this as the first step in adult medical intervention with the practice doll named Annie.
To hold me down
To make me fret,
or make me frown
I had strings
But now I'm free
There are no strings on me
Hi-ho the me-ri-o
That's the only way to go
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me
Hi-ho the me-ri-o
I'm as happy as can be
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me
I've got no strings
So I have fun
I'm not tied up to anyone
They've got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me
The monitor is officially FINALLY a thing of the past. The last two reports showed that she has gone two full months with "no patient events". This means that even though the alarms sounded off, she was actually fine, they were false alarms.
The irony of the monitor: It was there to keep her safe, to alert us when/if things went wrong with her heart or her breathing. All the experts will tell you that a baby’s crib should be free from loose blankets, stuffed animals and anything with a cord or ribbon longer than six inches to prevent strangulation or suffocation. Then they go and attach a ten-foot cord to her 24/7.
The bad part of the monitor: It is a ball and chain in the most obvious sense. You must drag it everywhere. It comes in a handy little shoulder bag but that is just one more thing. When it is plugged into the wall, you are stuck. When you are pacing with a crying baby you must be careful not to turn in circles or you will tie up your own feet. You must hold onto the cord so that the weight of the cord itself is not pulling on the leads which must be taped to the baby’s skin since the adhesive does not stick on its own. The skin will develop sores from being covered in tape all the time. No chance to breathe since the only time it is not covered by tape and leads is when the child is actually in the bathtub. You cannot lotion the skin or apply healing ointments because then the leads and tape will not stick next time. You will accidentally unplug the leads or let the battery run out setting off the alarm and scaring both the child and you. The monitor alarm sounds just like other noises in your daily life, which will scare the crap out of you. The smoke detector, a truck backing up, the microwave going off, that ringing in the pipes when you are in the shower and noises on TV will all make you jump in panic. You will suck in your breath and look for the baby each and every time you hear such a noise, even when the baby is not there.
The good part about the monitor: When the baby’s heart rate decelerates and she stops breathing and turns blue the alarm will go off to alert you that the baby needs help. Without that alarm you would not know until it was too late to intervene and you could lose her. That one instance in June has made these past five months of lugging that thing around worth it. The false alarms have done more psychological damage to T and me than anything else could have, but it was there when we really needed it.
What do we do now? We check her every few minutes and feel her chest rise and fall and listen to her sigh in her sleep and must reassure ourselves that she is Ok. She is free from her strings and she is a real live normal kid, just like Pinocchio.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
My right eye is bloodshot. It has been this way for two days now. I think I have a "cold" in it. It has happened before. I dumped about a gallon of eye drops into it yesterday before I remembered the last time this happened and the doctor said that the eye drops were bad because they constricted the blood vessels more and so defeated the purpose. So, I am walking around looking all funky in the one eye. I might wink at you once in a while just so as not to freak you out.
My office has started our own version of The Biggest Loser. Do you watch that show? I am addicted. T and I watch it religiously. Anyway, yesterday was the big weigh in at work. We have two teams of four people each. Each person kicked in $20, the winner gets the pot. We will weigh in twice a month from now until February 7 (yes, the competition runs over the holidays!). The losing team each weigh in has to vote off one member of the team to be replaced by a member of the winning team. I need to do this. I am the same weight now as I was six months pregnant. I have gained 20 pounds since returning to work! Not good. I am really watching what I eat and have started walking around the park on my lunch hour. I need to get back to the gym. I haven't been since February. I want to go, it is just a matter of childcare. They have a nursery at the gym but I don't want to pick her up after working all day and drop her off there for a couple hours while I work out and then go home and put her to bed. That just sucks the big one. T thinks we could alternate days, one watch her while the other goes to the gym but then we have a car/carseat issue to deal with. It will all work out in the end. (Get it? Workout? Ha!)
I am waiting for a call back from the pediatrician about getting a second opinion on Azure's scar surgery. It shouldn't be a problem. Oh, and she had her first Synagis shot yesterday. Poor thing looked completely offended by the poke. She looked shocked and then sad in a way I cannot even describe, like she was thinking, "Why would you do that to me?" To keep you safe and healthy Sweetie.
Azure had a wonderful Halloween with one slight exception. She was a pumpkin! I had decided that I wasn't going to spend money to buy her a costume this year but my mom's friend gave us the costume with some other beautiful clothes as a baby gift and she was just so incredibly cute in it I can hardly stand it. The exception came about 12:30am when the child who has been sleeping through the night for a few months suddenly awoke crying which lead to screaming and her usual comforts did not comfort this time. We walked and bounced and shushed and offered the pacifier and she was just not having it. It occured to me as I was bouncing and rocking and swinging my poor destraught child that it was officially Halloween. It is said that the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest on Halloween. I wondered if she was being visited by some unhappy spirits. It actually came into my tired mind that maybe she was being visited by the spirits of the babies in the NICU that did not go home. How is that for creepy? I was finally able to settle her again. I do know that she dreams and it could have just been a bad dream that scared her, then again...
Monday, October 23, 2006
Thursday my mother and I took Azure in for a check up on her hemangiomas. She has a large one on her leg, which we have watched and bandaged when it ulcerated but are completely unconcerned about. She has another one on her lip. This is resulted in a referral to the plastic surgeon. If it got so big as to interfere with her ability to eat, we would need to intervene in some way (steroids, laser treatments, etc.). It never actually got that big and is now much smaller and lighter in color. He wants to see her back in a year just to double check. No big deal.
Then, things went wrong. I said, “As long as we are here, can I get your opinion on a scar she has?” He consented. I removed the clothing covering her upper arm and the large starburst scar thereon. The scar is left over from a sore she developed her first week in the NICU. They had an electrode cuff on both of her upper arms. Because her skin was so sensitive, she developed this sore. They moved the lead to a different place and we treated the sore with antibiotic ointment several times a day, but before the sore was completely healed, it was once again covered by an electrode. It never did heal properly and left a sizeable scar. I expected him to say something to the effect of: it was a large scar but as she gets bigger it will get smaller and she will probably end up with a bit of puckered skin there or maybe a slight discoloration but in the end, no big deal. I imagined her coming to me as a teenager complaining about this mark on her arm and me sitting her down and explaining that scar was a badge of honor. She fought for her own life and she won! That scar is the reason behind the placement of my latest tattoo, the one of her tiny foot directly off the birth certificate. I had it put on my arm in the exact place she has that scar. (It comes across as a little redneck until people hear why I put it there.) That scar is a part of who she is and what she has been through!
The doctor however, did not say what I expected him to say. He said that the scar would grow as she grows and spread out and that the tissue had separated from the fat below and would never correct itself. He said he could feel right down to the bone and tendons and that this was dangerous. He said the older she gets the tighter the skin will get and she will end up with this giant indentation in her arm. He said that she needs reconstructive surgery to repair it, sooner rather than later.
Now, his idea of “sooner” is in about 5 months. That is how long it will take us to get approval from the insurance company (very likely as it is a result of the NICU) and get her placed on his surgical schedule (he is booked that far out). Her age does not really bother me since by the time we get this done she will be a year old (1yr actual/8 months adjusted). What bothers me is that we thought she was going to have to have heart surgery and it scared the Hell out of us. It is a life-threatening situation when you need heart surgery. They don’t just do it for kicks. Her arm is not life threatening. I never would have requested the scar be fixed for cosmetic reasons. If that were the case I would let her make up her own mind when she got old enough to understand what she would need to go through in order to fix it. What he is saying is that it is medically necessary. Not cosmetic, but important to her health to protect those bones and tendons that are exposed at this point.
I am left feeling torn. If she really does need it, of course I have no problem with her having the surgery. However, this particular doctor is a plastic surgeon. It is his business to fix things that do not look right on people. I want to sit him down and tell him that we went through infertility and that she was an IUI baby and then she was born 3-1/2 months early and we went through the Hell of the NICU and now she is home and relatively healthy and this mark on her arm is pretty much the least of our concerns. I want him to completely understand our perspective. Is it really medically necessary or are those buzzwords to get insurance to pay for cosmetic improvements?
At the same time I am horrified at my own obliviousness. What if I hadn’t asked about the scar? What if I had let it go only to find out in a year or two that her arm was growing abnormally due to the tightening of that tissue or an injury to one of those tendons? I thought it was just a scar!!!!! I thought if anything I might have to rub one of those new scar treatment ointments on it or something. Surgery!
So, I asked what I thought was an innocent question, let Pandora out of the box, and now I am SCREAMING in my own head, Get Back In The Box!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Blue: This is Guns-n-Roses!
Azure: (Wide eyed stare at the TV, drool cascading down face.)
Blue: If you become the black sheep of THIS family, you’ve got issues!
T: (Laughs hysterically from the next room.)
Scene: T lifts Azure up in the air and she drools into his goatee.
T: Blehck! Ugh! Ewww! You can go back to Mommy now!
Blue: So you will kiss the dog who licks her own ass but a little baby drool is gross for you?
Blue to Azure: Did you hear that sweetie? If you can learn to lick your own ass Daddy will kiss you.
Scene: Family sitting on couch together after dinner.
Blue: OHMYGOD! Azure has a big bleeding gash on her head!
T: (blinks and stares not saying anything)
Blue: Oh, wait, it is just cherry ice cream.
Blue: Is it wrong if I lick ice cream off the baby’s head?
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Whatever the reason, this just feels so fucking wrong!
Monday, October 09, 2006
The baby will become frightened and cry with real tears when you suddenly stand up and yell "No! You Stupid Idiot! You Idiot!" at the television during a last lap crash which took Dale Jr. out of the lead. Luckily, when scooped up into your arms and hugged and shushed she will settle right down again. Someday she will be big enough to yell at the TV too.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Wanting to show the most progress possible I strategically dressed her in a horizontal striped onsie this morning. You know, horizontal stripes make you heavier, right? We checked to make sure the diaper was dry and placed her on the scale. She weighed in at 11 pounds and measured 23 inches long! My big girl! Now here is the best part. She is in the 25th percentile for a 4 month old (her adjusted age). This is the first time she has registered on a regular (non-preemie) growth chart! WhaHoo! Of course directly after the weigh-in, while we were in the question and answer part of the visit, Azure filled her diaper. Lovely. Thankfully my mother took her and changed her while I finished the interview. We probably should have weighed her again after to subtract the poo weight but whatever.
The nurse documented the following:
- “Laughing” which is actually more of a single happy shriek
- “Talking” coos and bubbly tonguey noises
- Grabbing things and putting them in her mouth
- Holding head up
- Alert and follows people around the room with her eyes
- Poops two days in a row every 5 days or so (Yep, today was one of those days)
- Drinking thawed breastmilk and one bottle of Neosure formula per day
- Surrounded by books and toys and is held more often than not
- Earwax being treated with oil
Oh, and the big news this week is, she rolled over on Saturday! Holy Cow! She was on her playmat on the floor and doing her usual spinning in circles routine when she pulled up her legs and rolled onto her side. I thought she was just going to stay there as she seemed to be perfectly content so I went to the closet to get the broom. When I turned around again she was on her belly! I scooped her up with lots of praise and smiles and saying “You did it!” and probably freaked her right the fuck out. I was so proud it brought tears to my eyes. I haven’t been that happy since she first tried to breastfed (sort of) in the hospital.
All of this makes me just feel like we have dodged one HUGE bullet.
Please consider signing the petition. It will raise awareness of prematurity and hopefully also increase traffic to the March of Dimes website. One in Eight babies is born prematurely, that is too many. Help me to help them put a stop to this.
I signed the petition and now I am asking you to follow my lead.
ARE WE DOODLE-WORTHY?
Thursday, September 28, 2006
**Edited to add**
Ok, I still stand by what I wrote earlier, but life can't be all bad when your boss brings you a beer to enjoy at your desk the last hour of the workday and you agree that the best new flavored vodka they should come out with should be chocolate chip cookie dough.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Jeff Foxworthy once said, "I like to shake my daughter up and then hand her to people I don't like!"
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
- Our receptionist was out yesterday so I had to do my job plus some of hers.
- Azure decided after the nanny left that it would be a good time to become inconsolable. This is a big blow to the ego considering I am the main consoler. She refused to sleep and wanted to eat CONSTANTLY. I think there was a bit of gas in there too. My knee is a bit numb and funky feeling today, probably from all the bouncing that took place last night.
- I decided that since she was pitching a fit anyway it would be a good time to give her a bath. This worked. She was quiet the entire time she was in the tub. The second I took her out to dry her off the fit was re-pitched. I immediately unpitched it again by distracting her with a small bottle. Not a complete feeding but enough to calm her down, momentarily.
- I strategically gave her the Reglan (required 15-20 minutes before a feeding) so that she would eat 15 minutes before we would eat dinner thinking that I could feed her, burp her and put her down in her crib and then T and I could enjoy the nice dinner he had prepared (LOVE THAT MAN!). This did not work. We each left our plates and ran into the nursery to calm her (without picking her up) every 5 minutes or so until I had finished eating. (NOTE: She likes to be entertained. She does NOT want to be alone.)
- Knowing that she was full and dry, I decided it was time for rocking. We settled down in the recliner and we rocked as I sang and then rocked some more as I pulled book after book onto my lap and began reading in a soft low soothing voice. We read Dr. Suess's Sleep Book (if you don’t have it you must go get it, no seriously, go now and get it), we read Sandra Boynton’s bedtime book, we read The Kissing Hand, which is just the most beautiful story ever, we read several stories from my collection of Little Golden Books which included French pigs and yawning sleepy bunnies. We read until my voice was no longer soothing but rather rough and crackly from lack of lubricating beverage.
- We read and read and read and rocked and rocked and rocked and she fell asleep. I finally decided it was time to get up and put her to bed in the bedside bassinet upstairs. I smoothly stood so as not to jostle her too much and promptly stepped on the cord to the heart/apnea monitor, in so doing I unplugged one of the leads. This, for those of you who do not/have not had a home monitor, SETS OFF THE ALARM to let you know the lead is not making contact. The alarm blared, T came running and she woke up. SHE.WOKE.UP.
- ANOTHER bottle later and some burping and shushing and cuddling and swaddling got us to all to bed at last. Four straight hours of attempting to make my daughter happy and failing.
- One would think I would have slept very well. Not so. Tossing and turning and dreaming. (Something about T throwing BBQ chicken into the snow covered front lawn of my parent’s old house and something else about spiders that were missing a few legs. Don’t ask me to interpret this one, it is beyond me.) I was not ready for the alarm to go off this morning.
- I spilled coffee on myself in the car while taking Azure over to my mother’s house. No way to hide it, no time to change.
- I went back to the office today to rest a bit.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The wife of a co-worker just had her gestational diabetes screen yesterday. She stopped into the office to pick him up so that he could go with her. I delivered the day before my GD screening was scheduled. I suspect I may have had it but I will never know for sure.
At the time of Azure’s birth, I went into Fight or Flight mode. I was all about handling the situation. What needs to happen next? What do we do? What do I do? What does she need? It was a time for problem solving, not for grieving. Besides, she lived. What was there to grieve, right?
Ah. There is the question. What is there to grieve? How can I even contemplate grief when I know my daughter is healthy, safe, feisty, and happy?
Let me tell you. There is grieving to be done, grieving for the loss of the pregnancy. The baby came out relatively unscathed, but the pregnancy was lost. I really enjoyed being pregnant. I was just getting to the point where I was settling into my body and the changes it was going through. I was just starting to feel her movement on a regular basis. I had gotten my energy back and I looked pregnant. I could wear maternity clothes, and I looked and felt normal in them.
The birth went so fast and was so completely surreal I did not have time to think about what was happening. I shut down; I was numb to the emotional aspects of it. T was amazed at how well I handled everything but the truth is, I didn’t handle it. Like Scarlett O’Hara, I did not want to think about it right then; I set it aside to think about it tomorrow. However, tomorrow hasn’t come yet.
I tossed and turned last night thinking over and over about all the things that could have gone wrong, the things that did go wrong and the many many ways in which we lucked out so that T and I were together in the right place at the right time. What could I have done differently, what should I have done? Would it have made a difference?
After the birth, it was the physical feelings that bothered me. Whenever I felt my stomach a bit upset or passed a large blood clot I thought, “Oh no! The last time this happened I had a baby!” I have gotten over those horrors now, thank goodness. Now, how do I get over the sense of loss?
It would be easy enough to say I want a do over. Let’s try for number two and see if we can change things. I want to try this again and hope for a different outcome. The problem with that theory is, we do not know why Azure came so early. We cannot guarantee it will not happen again. We lucked out with Azure. Most babies born in their 24th week do not pull through the way she has. She was large for her gestational age; she did not have any major infections or bleeding. She struggled with the breathing, she had to have surgery to close her patent ductus (basically heart surgery), she suffered a blockage in the bowel and a collapsed lung, but she lived. She got through all of those things. She has scars and we do not yet know whether she will suffer delays in development in the future. But, she is alive and amazingly healthy considering her start in life.
If we risk all that again, it might not turn out so well. She could be an entire life’s worth of Karma for both T and I wrapped up into one big package. Here is the daughter you wanted, don’t ever ask for anything again. If we do ask again, whatever happens will be on our shoulders. Moreover, we will deserve what we get.
Thinking back about Azure’s beginning is all wrapped up in my head with thinking ahead to number two. Every time I think I might be willing to risk another pregnancy I go over what we went through to conceive her and to keep her alive when things went wrong. I do not wish to do that again. I think, “Fine, we will adopt. It will take the physical risks out of it for us and will be easier on us emotionally”. Then I think about the infertile couples who do not have any children yet and how I would be taking a child away from a deserving couple in order to add to my family. How can I do that to them? Is that really fair of me?
I have a beautiful healthy little girl. I would not change that for the world. It is my own part that I look back on with regret. I could not hold onto the pregnancy. Labor and delivery were a 20-minute blur of chaos. I keep thinking of when it was all done, Azure was getting set up in the NICU and T went downstairs to make some phone calls and I was left alone in my hospital room (room 911 eerily enough). I should have cried then. I should have let it all out and just wept and hugged my pillow and cursed and punched the air and the bed with my clenched fists. I did not do that though. I made phone calls of my own and I “sounded in good spirits”. I was completely detached emotionally. The thing that bothered me that day still bothers me. Everyone we told about the birth congratulated us. I am sure they didn’t know what to say. They asked how Azure was, but what could they really say at that point? “Good luck! I hope she pulls through!” No one acknowledged the gravity of the situation. No one said they were sorry she came early. I wanted someone to recognize the bad part, the sad part of the day. The day your child is born is supposed to be the happiest day of your life. T and I cannot say that. There was nothing happy about it other than the fact that they were able to resuscitate her (that is obviously a good thing, but not quite the same as overflowing joy at meeting your offspring).
It all boils down to envy. (This is why I would make such a bad Buddhist.) I want what others have, what I should have had but didn’t, what I still want but am now too afraid to go after. I want to turn back time to a year ago this week. I was in the 2WW and convinced the IUI had failed. I want to relive finding that second pink line, I want to relive that first trimester knowing what I know now, letting go of some of that anxiety. I want to relive those doctors appointments, push for more tests, and question the Braxton-Hicks, the edema, and the polyhydramnios. I want to seek help the moment I started feeling like crap instead of waiting it out for 18 hours before calling the doctor. I want to be able to get that shot to mature the baby’s lungs and give it time to actually get to the baby. I want to save my daughter from having to live life outside of the womb 3-1/2 months sooner than she should have. I want her to never have felt those needles, to never have been silenced by the ventilator tube, to never shudder at the loving touch of another person. I want people to think that she is special because of who she is, not because of how she entered this world.
Crap. Can you tell it is a gloomy rainy day and I didn’t get enough sleep last night?
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Azure Elephant Trunks: To prove that her name fits her very well.
Tummy Time Gone Wrong: I think she will be a pole vaulter when she grows up. (Is it wrong that I stopped to take the picture of her before I lifted her back upright again?)
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
We recently purchased a new doggy shampoo, which for some reason is scented like boysenberries. Why? Ya, got me. I have never known a dog to smell like a boysenberry before. I suppose it smells better than, well, wet dog. Anyway, T was laying on the floor in front of Azure who was happily swinging and intermittently yanking on the links to make the swing light up and play music. I am not sure she realizes this is a cause and effect sort of thing yet, but she likes to hold things and to yank those things that she is holding (i.e.: my hair, my earring, T’s goatee, etc.) so the lights and music are actually just a bonus. I smiled down upon my husband and daughter who were making each other smile when T sniffed the air.
T: "Girl! You smell like a brown dog!"
Blue: "Does she smell like boysenberries?"
T: "Nope", he replied, "That is NOT what I smell."
Blue: "Oh, you mean she smells like the dog’s area out behind the garage?"
T: "Uh, yeah. I think it is Mommy Time again."
I changed her and T picked up the crying babe (diaper change = crying baby) while I was tossing the dirties. He was bouncing her, trying to soothe her and I thought I could make her smile over his shoulder. This backfired, big time. She saw me and reached for me, over his shoulder. She wanted her mother, not Daddy. Poor guy. He handed her off and went and sulked on the couch for a while.
Later, we decided to go to bed early. I asked him to hold her while I got her bottles ready in the cooler that I keep by the bed at night. He agreed but said he knew she would cry because she does not like him. Sure enough, she started fussing. She continued to fuss but I was busy in the kitchen, it was not my time to calm her, it was his turn. Eventually I heard, "I think she is calling for Mommy!" Seriously, it had not been 15 minutes. I know she calms for me. I know he doesn’t know what to do with her, but how are the two of them going to get to know each other if I run in there and "save" him all the time?
I keep hearing, "let him watch her". This may just be a difference of syntax, but I think I need to MAKE him watch her. Trial by fire and all that. I need Supernanny to come in here and tell him some things because it just would not sound the same coming from me as it would from a third party. Things like, "When she is upset it does not help when you cry louder in empathy. You should talk in a calm soft soothing voice and work on less stimulation rather than more". However, I fear if I say these things it will sound too critical and I do not wish to start a conflict on parenting style. He may just back away further instead of getting more involved. If she is in no danger then I think I should let him learn what works best on his own and by watching the way I do things.
So, when I go to my work social function on Sunday, Azure will be spending the afternoon at Grammy's instead of at home with Daddy, per his request.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I read your archives over the last few days and just wanted to tell you how much
I enjoyed reading your blog. Especially the parts about you and your husband's
relationship. I imagine you don't have much time to post now. But I have a few
How is Azure doing?
Is she at daycare?
How are you doing?
Is your husband helping out more now?
I am a mom to a 6 month old who works full time myself.
Well, thanks Lisa! Let me see if I can address some of these questions.
You are correct. The posting time is minimal but I will try.
How is Azure doing?
Azure is doing really well. She is up to 9lb 14oz and 21-1/2 inches long. She is eating six or seven 3oz bottles per day. She is getting some fresh milk, some frozen milk and some Neosure (preemie formula). She is smiling and “talking” more and more.
She is still struggling with the pooping thing, but I think I have figured out her schedule. She will poop two or three times within a two-day period and then go about five days before she fills her pants again. (I have gotten quite used to saying “fills her pants” as my mother detests the word poop and refuses to use it and hates it when I use it, etc.) The doctors seem to think this is just fine as long as her stools are soft. I have been told that “swamp green pudding” is nothing to worry about, which is good, because that is what we get most of the time.
If we feed her at around 11pm we can pretty much sleep through the night. I have been screwing this up lately however because I have been so tired we go to bed early which means she will wake up around 3:30am wanting a bottle. Our latest doctor’s appointment found her right on target for 3 months adjusted. We are thrilled!
On the not so good side, she has been having apnea alarms a lot lately. Over the summer she would have some here and there but the reports from the monitor downloads all said they were “not significant” or “not real”. Then, the download on 8/16 showed the apneas were real and one was very significant (22 seconds between breaths) and paired with a Brady (slow heart rate). They asked if she had turned blue. Um. No. I did not even know about it, and you are asking about something that happened two weeks ago. Now I look like an asshole. Since we found out about those apneas being real it has been ringing off all the time! (“all the time” would be once a day instead of once per 7-10 days) We have never taken her health for granted and always jump at the sound of the monitor even though the majority of the alarms are for the leads coming off. However, this has brought on a new heightened awareness and anxiety. I am now tracking poops and apneas to see if there might be a pattern. Is she pushing too hard and then wearing herself out? Maybe. It also might be related to the reflux. If she has milk stuck in her throat then she cannot breathe very well and that could set it off. We have upped her dosage of Reglan to see if this will fix the problem. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
Is she at daycare?
Azure is not at daycare. Her immune system is just not strong enough to be around other kids right now. Once we get her through next winter (her first full RSV season) then she should be strong enough to go. For now, we have a nanny who comes to our house two days per week and the other three days I take her to my mom’s house since she lives very near my office. We are working on making it so that I do not have to work anymore but for now finances require two incomes. I hope that next spring things will be set for me to stay at home with her. Of course, the irony is that next spring will also be the time she will most likely be able to go to a regular daycare.
How are you doing?
Wow. Thanks for asking. Most people ask about Azure but not T or me. I am tired and stressed and a bit overwhelmed at times. I have found myself tearing up at the drop of a hat. I think it is a matter of never having any downtime. I get up, get Azure and myself ready in the morning, go to work, and then it is right back to Azure until bedtime. Every.Day. I love my daughter, to the point of tears. I miss her intensely when I am at work. I prefer to hold her when I am at home rather than put her in the swing or bouncy seat, trying to make up for the time I have been away from her. BUT, it is getting to me. The constant pressure of things to do and fulfilling her needs and getting bottles cleaned and ready for the next day and taking a shower and remembering to pay the bills. This working mother thing ain’t for sissies.
I am still waiting on that missing period. I know they may not be so regular, but good grief can the cramping go away? How about the hormonal eating? I feel like a bomb gaining pressure increasingly every day and at some point I am going to explode and it will not be pretty. If all the PMS stuff would go away I would be more than happy to go on about my life and not worry about it. Blehck.
Reading this it sounds like I am heading for a major breakdown. It is really not that bad. I just need an outlet. Some time for myself to take a deep breath and not have any responsibilities on my shoulders for a few minutes a day. Right now, that comes in the car on the way to and from work, so I am listening to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on audiobook. Then I will listen to The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. My commute is only about 20 minutes and it is a straight shot from one place to the other. I wish it were longer.
I am still pumping but instead of taking it month by month, I am now taking it session by session. I am a grumpy about it. I find myself asking whether or not it is worth it and I know the answer is “YES”. I also find myself wishing I could breast feed and I know that it would be a difficult transition to make and I would only be doing it for my own selfish reasons. I want that closeness with her, but I do not believe the dream of it would be the reality. She chomps rather than sucks and she is used to the speed of the nipples now and my struggling supply would not suffice. It is not worth putting either of us through that at this point. This is just one more thing that I wish had turned out differently. (You know, along with not having infertility and not having a micro-preemie and not having to work while my baby was in the hospital for 3-1/2 months.)
Is your husband helping out more now?
T is pitching in, in his own way. He does everything else around the house like cooking, cleaning, shopping and making sure that I have what I need to take care of Azure. The actual care is still my responsibility. We did have a major breakthrough yesterday though. I had a dentist appointment scheduled after work. The nanny usually leaves at 6pm but I would not be home by then. T relieved her and watched Azure, alone, by himself for an hour and a half. This was his first time doing this. I wish I could say it had been easy for him but she was fuzzy the whole time. (It turned out later she was working on another major poop.) The good news is that she did not alarm for him and once the poop happened and she had a bottle she calmed right down again. I hope this builds his confidence a bit. I think the more comfortable he gets with her the more he will take care of her and relieve me a bit. I sound pouty and I guess I am. I am envious of the time he gets to go down to the basement and play his GT4 game while I am still upstairs calculating medicine and feeding times and when can she eat so that I can eat and possibly pump before bedtime. On the other hand, I do not begrudge him that time with his game. I just want some time of my own.
I spoke to the nanny and she agreed to work a couple Friday or Saturday nights so that we can have a “Date Night”. We REALLY need some time together as a couple to reconnect.
*sigh* That was probably more than you expected. I guess I just had to get it all out while I was at it since I do not tend to write very often these days. The simple answer is we are mostly good. The tough parts are there but we are working on them and hopefully they will pass into memories sooner rather than later.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
This was the first occasion that many of A’s family and friends had a chance to see Azure. They have all been praying for her and sending good wishes to us through A but this time they got to meet her live and in the flesh. She performed beautifully. It worked out perfectly so that as soon as we got to the party she was ready to eat. I gave her a bottle and she promptly fell asleep for the remainder of the party.
A’s mom, who has been my “Other Mother” for over half of my life now, was holding the snoozing Azure while we all watched the kids opening presents.
She said, “Blue, she is so sweet! Don’t you just want to close your eyes and cry because you are so thankful to have her?”
I said, “I do sometimes”.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Absent Without Official Leave
AF is missing. Have you seen her? Not that I am all, "I want to cramp and bleed, please may I cramp and bleed?" No, not so much. On the other hand, I have been getting twinge/pains in the ovarian region(s) for about a week now and still no AF in sight. Actually, if I were one of those people who paid attention to mucus and such, I might think I was ovulating, which on CD 64 only makes sense if I completely skipped a cycle rather than find myself lost in the midst of one of those freakishly long ones. It is a bit disconcerting when you are expecting something at a certain time give or take a week and then here you find yourself month later and still nothing. I have been stood up!
Points of Interest:
I am no longer on progesterone which I took to regulate my cycles.
I am no longer on Metformin for help in ovulation (which might also regulate the cycles).
My face has broken out.
I gained the requisite weight and bloat.
Nothing in the undies to show for it.
I would say I am getting all the crap without any of the benefits but really, what are the benefits? I suppose one might say that a benefit would be just getting it over with instead of this drawn out state of PMS I seem to be locked into. I highly doubt it is the fact that I am still pumping since I only pump 2-3 times per day. Not enough to throw off my cycles, especially since I have already had a couple normal-ish ones since Azure was born.
One family member just had major surgery to remove a 5"x 5" cyst, the ovary and tube on that side. The other ovary was cystic but the Dr. thought she could treat it. Another family member (15 years old) is going in for her first gyno exam because her period won’t stop. We believe there might be something wrong with the Elephant Uteri. Ya think?
I fear for Azure’s future. I don’t want her to have to deal with this crap.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Pros to weaning
- No more sore boobs (Did you hear the collective sigh of relief coming from my battered cleavage?)
- More time with Azure
- Fewer demands on me/my time
- Easier to prepare bottles & easier to travel
- I can stop spending money on Domperidone which is no longer helping (or maybe that is what is allowing me to get the little bit I still can?)
- I can have a real lunch hour again. Time to myself, time to run errands or time to visit Azure.
- Fewer restrictions on my diet!!!! (Think of Homer’s voice saying, "Mmmm, peaeaeannnnnnnnuuuuts" and drooling.)
- I can get the breastpump off its place on the back of the livingroom couch (for all the world to see)
- I can sleep comfortably on my stomach again
- It will allow me to be a better mother
Cons of weaning
- No more antibodies for Azure, her health/immunity is a huge concern in this decision
- Formula Poop, blehck!
- I wanted to get to one year and will only make it to around 9-months-actual using the remainder of the freezer stash before it goes bad
- Formula is more bubbly in the bottle, I worry about her getting gassy
- I worry about drive-by parenting when seen with a bottle (Of course this happens with breastmilk too but at least now I can say "Hey, lay off, it is breastmilk!")
- I spoke to the neonatologist who attended at Azure’s delivery the other day and she said she has been researching breastmilk and formula and has found that the donated breastmilk gives no more benefits over formula. The way it is frozen and processed, etc. destroys whatever special qualities the fresh milk has over the formula so you might as well use formula. She also said that no matter what they do to synthesize the breastmilk they just can’t get it quite to the point where it is equal. This blows. I wonder if my freezer stash is any better than formula at this point. (NOTE: The freezer stash will last us well into November.)
- I dread pumping now since I used to get 4-6 ounces per session and I am now struggling to get 1 ounce per session
- I worry about Azure’s digestion. She seems to really struggle to get the poop going. She is having a dirty diaper or two every few days but she gets gassy and uncomfortable while trying to get those out and I don’t want to make that worse. We are still giving her juice each day.
- We have been told by more than one health professional that Azure would probably not be doing as well as she is if she had not had the breastmilk this whole time.
- It will make me feel like a bad mother
I am glad I made it this far (6months / 2-1/2months adjusted). Many women would not have in my shoes, but I want Azure to have more time with the breastmilk (because she is a preemie and because she has had digestive issues). It used to come so easily for me and now it is a struggle and I don’t know why that changed and I wish I could go back to the way it was when she was in the hospital and I was just swimming in it. I thought that going back to work would help and it did at first. I actually added more pumping sessions to my day since I had a quiet place to do it with no distractions. However, I think the stress of transporting Azure and milk and our colletive stuff and getting to where we need to be on time plus trying to get her to sleep through the night (we are close, it is hit or miss at this point) is taking its toll on me.
There I was typing this out in a calm and rational manner when the thought struck me, "I am failing her", and I had to stop to CRY and pull myself together.
What do I do when what is best for me conflicts with what is best for her? Is her nutrition more important than quality time with her mother? Why does she smile more easily for others than for me? Is she reacting to my own stress?
I always figured that when I got to the point where I would move on from pumping to formula it would be by choice and that I might feel conflicted about it logically. What I did not expect was that I would feel so strongly emotionally. I think my feelings about this decision are all wrapped up with my missing her so much due to my return to work and the helplessness I feel at the fact that T is not as actively involved with the parenting as I had hoped he would be*. I am tired. I am depressed about my situation and I don’t have any time to myself to process these feelings. (Could hormonal changes be effecting my supply and also/therefore my mood?) (Does it matter that I am now on CD 57? I did test last week and it was negative. I was relieved. For the first time in 5 years I was happy to see a negative.)
Therefore, it must be time to blog about it.
I know that if I were reading this post on someone else’s site I would offer support and let them know that they did the best that they could, and their child is so much better off for it and they can now go on to building a better relationship without all of the pumping getting in the way. I know what I would say to someone in my place. I think though, that since it is me, I do not necessarily believe what I am saying. (Lala, feel free to slap me at any time!)
*I do not mean to make out like T is a bad father. He is helping by doing everything else, cooking, cleaning, shopping, everything that has nothing to do with Azure. He leaves her to my care, 100% my responsibility. It just gets draining sometimes never to get a break from her. Sometimes it would be nice to let him feed her and I could do the dishes, ya know? He does hold her and play with her but I provide all of her care.
PS. I told you I write when I have issues!