March for Babies

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Positives and Negatives

One year ago today I saw my first pair of lines.  I never thought that I would see them and then I did.
I never thought that I would have an uncomplicated pregnancy and I didn't.
My life has changed so much in the last year.
We went through some really bad and have come out on the good side.  Things are getting better as time goes by.
However, I am self-medicating with food.  I am eating things I know I should not eat.  I ask myself what it is that I am trying not to feel when I eat these things and I tell myself it is not polite to talk with one's mouth full and continue chewing.  There are some things to work out in my head (and off of my expanding butt) but knowing this and accepting this is half the battle I think. 
My daughter is incredible and everyone in my house smiles at least once a day which is a far cry better than a year ago while we were in the midst of treatments. 
I am looking forward to New Year's Day 2007.  I think I have had enough of 2006.  I feel the need for a fresh start for my family and for myself. 

**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!"

I have almost gotten used to hearing that urpy burpy noise followed by the slow volcanic flow of warm spit up meandering down through my cleavage.  (How is it that I can cover myself with a burp rag and she knows just the right angle to turn her head to completely bypass the cloth and shoot right down my shirt?)  I can get over it easier than T who seems to think this is putting a damper on our love life.  Afterall, who wants to get all cozy and amorous with recently vomitoused boobs?  I can say however that I prefer the pear juice spit up to the mucus/milk spit up.  It comes out easier for her and also cleans up easier. Last night was fun as I was holding her facing away from me, she burped followed by a stream that poured over my arm and then finishing with a lovely splat on the kitchen floor. Ya gotta love reflux. Poor thing.
This morning was the best.  Having shed the unhappiness of Monday night (thank goodness) she was all smiles and coos with waving of arms and kicking of legs.  She was positively giddy considering she had just woken up, was in the process of a diaper change and had not eaten yet.  She looked up at me, smiled HUGE, clutched her hands together brought her knees up to her chest and let out a fart that would make a bean eating trucker blush.  She was so happy with herself and I couldn't help but laugh out loud. 
I have found however that my daughter is much like those old cans of juice, the kind that you punch a hole in the top to pour out of.  You have to put a small vent hole in one side then a larger one opposite that for the actual pouring.  You relieve the pressure on one end to ease the passing of liquid from the other.  Azure is the same way!  Whenever something happens on one end I can pretty much bet something will immediately happen on the other.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I Love Mondays

- My cold is mostly gone. All that remains is the sinus/eustachian tube pressure. Snap.Crackle.Pop.

- 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

"I'll think about it tomorrow."

I do not think that I am over the trauma of Azure’s preterm birth. Not just the birth itself, that was traumatic of course, but I mean the big picture. I lost a whole trimester, the bonding with the baby in utero, the labor and birth experience (I don’t think my 20 minutes count) and the normal taking the baby home from the hospital (not on a monitor and not scheduling appointments with specialists every other week.). I lost the normal. I thought once we conceived I would get some normal, but I didn’t. That has been bothering me for the past couple of days.
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

Visual Aids

Because I haven't posted pictures in a while...

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

A Few Things

T is trying.  He has stepped up to comfort her while I ate dinner the past couple nights.  Last night he struggled to find a good position where he could sit comfortably and she would settle down and stop fussing. (These two things are generally mutually exclusive.) He got frustrated with me for not telling him what to do, how to hold her, etc.  I told him that I wanted them to find their own way.  This pissed him off but he did get her to settle down and then didn't want to give her up when it was time for her bottle.  Of course, he didn't want to be the one to give her the bottle either.  Whatever, it is a step forward and I will take it. 
I have stopped pumping.  I haven't pumped since Friday.  Twice over the weekend I became engorged and I put Azure to breast thinking that A) there would be plenty of milk there to keep her interested though not enough for a real feeding and B) if she refused it, I could always pump it out later.  She took it.  She did great!  No chomping and her latch was better than I have ever seen it.  If she had done this right out of the hospital I think we would have had a nursing relationship instead of a pumping/bottle feeding one.  That being said.  I am still ready to be done with the lactating.  I will let her nurse a bit as long as she is willing and I am able.  If I end up being a human pacifier that is fine too.  As long as she is healthy and happy.  Mentally and emotionally I am ready to "own my decision" which was T's only request.  He didn't want me to look back with regret.  I am happy not being slave to the pump, I know that much.  Now I have to figure out how to return the Lactina and whether or not I should keep the Pump In Style at the office just in case.  There have been a few moments of leakage in the past couple days and I do not want to be trapped with no means of release. (In a slightly related topic, my bra today is too small for my post-pregnancy rib cage.  Ugh, I feel like I am suffocating, but I shall not go braless at the office. *wheeze, wheeze*)
In the Small World Department: My mother was at the back of the church on Sunday waiting to process in with the choir when she noticed a woman sneak in and sit near the back.  She asked a fellow choir member who it was since she looked very familiar but she couldn't quite place her.  She was the wife of the new man in the choir.  She is a pediatric developmental specialist.  OH! She was the ped we saw on Tuesday who said that Azure was right on target for 3 months adjusted and she seemed to be doing fabulously and we should just keep our eye on that reflux to see if that might be causing the apneas that seem to be alarming lately.   What do you know?  They are new members of my parent's church.  My mom spoke to her after the service and she remembered us and said if we ever need anything, like a referral to a pulmonologist, just call.  Um, YAY!  It pays to know people, I tell you what.  The President and CEO of the hospital where Azure was in the NICU is also an active member of my parent's church and he came down to the NICU one day to meet me and to check on how Azure was doing.  That got the staff jumping!  I am sure we received the best care possible even before his visit, but afterwards, knowing that he was interested in our case, I think they all just kept it in the back of their minds to keep us happy.  It is almost enough to convince me to start going to church again.  Ok, not really.
We see our regular pediatrician this afternoon.  I am guessing we are over 10 pounds at this point.  Holy Cow!  She is solidly in 0-3 and 3 month clothes.  I weeded out most of the newborn stuff, though she still has a few things that fit.  She is still long and lean and has tiny legs. She also has a big head and a nice round belly.  Amazing.  A year ago this week we had our second IUI.  I was convinced it wouldn't work, so much so that I got sloshed on Maker's Mark at the company golf outing that weekend.  Little did I know that Azure's first drink would be Kentucky Bourbon! Oops.  That week I was depressed.  I was fully consumed by infertility and dreading the big IVF vs. Adoption debate since T was voting for IVF and I was all about adopting.  It would have been ugly.  I had no idea that one year later I would be getting ready to go to the golf outing as a fun way to "get away" from the demands of working motherhood.  I shall not be getting sloshed this year, but I will have a good time and I will hug and kiss my daughter all the more before and after I go since I will not carry the depression with me this time.  We have not had an easy road with our daughter but DAMN I am glad for the way things have worked out.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Daddy Time

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

How Are We?

Lisa wrote:

Hey Blue,
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.
Take care!

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

Good Question

Azure and I attended a birthday party yesterday for my best friend A’s three children. They are turning 5, 6 and 7 this fall. They live out of state so we have to celebrate when we can. The kids don’t mind. It spreads the presents out.

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”.