Thursday, May 28, 2009

Here We Go Again?

Desperate and at my breaking point last night, I cried to M. over the phone that I was bringing Lucy to the doctor's today, because something HAS to be wrong with her (I also went on and on about what a horrible mother I am, and how we are never, ever having another child. Ah, what sleep deprivation will do to your mental state...). My sweet baby, who had been going to sleep with relatively little assistance (though some assistance was needed, she is just a baby after all!) was now refusing to sleep AT ALL. Bedtime was a 3-hour fiasco, which was resolved only when I somehow got Lucy to fall into a tentative sleep and laid her down in bed with me so I could finally get some fitful sleep (note, co-sleeping when you are praying fervently that your baby does not wake up is not restful). Nap times yesterday were a joke, except for the one where she slept on me while I caught up on the last several Grey's Anatomy shows. When she was awake she was constantly fussing/crying and looking for SOMETHING to satisfy her. But when I offered a bottle (and even the breast, at one point, so you KNOW I was desperate since I've basically sworn off that frustration), she would eat a little and cry, then eat a little more and cry more. At the bottle, she has been making lots of sounds like she is choking and swallowing way too much air, arching her back, crying. Signs we had been seeing with her for the last few weeks during one or two bottles a day, but signs we basically ignored since she seemed otherwise content. But Lucy is content no longer, so it seemed pertinent to try and do something about it. Or maybe I just get anxious when we haven't been to the doctor in over two weeks :-). But why oh why do things like this always seem to come to a head when one parent is out of town??

And so I did bring Lucy to the doctor's office, though things always seem a little less dire by the light of day. Skipping to the end result, I just filled a prescription for Pre.vacid. Thus, it appears we are traveling down the road of Reflux once again. The way is very familiar to us, as this is something we struggled through with Finn until he was about 15 months old.

Here are the symptoms/behaviors I discussed with the pediatrician:

- at some bottles (in particular, the first one of the morning and the late afternoon/evening ones), Lucy will choke, strain, gulp air, arch her back, cry, and have a lot of gas (of the burping variety). Some bottles (like the middle of the night ones), these symptoms are not present.

- She spits up a few times a day. Not massive amounts, and not with every feeding, although this may be because we are ultra paranoid about not laying her down right after a feeding. Also, her crib mattress has been elevated at one end from Day 1.

- She is gassy (of the farting variety) and only poops every 2-3 days, and that's usually only if I "induce" the poop (ie take her temperature, give her half an ounce of water).

- Used to sleep well (at least two long naps in her crib, with a couple other shorter ones), and slept between every feeding. Went down for the night relatively easily at around 7 pm with a minimum of rocking, and we would have to wake her most nights at 10 pm for one last feeding of the "day." Now we can rock her or hold her and walk around with her for 45 minutes and she still won't go to sleep. If she does fall asleep, she stirs as soon as we lay her down, or 10 minutes later (just as we start to get comfy in our own bed...). Then we have to start the process all over again. We can start "bedtime" at 6:30 or 7:00, and she won't fall asleep until around 10 pm; this after much angst on our part, much walking around/rocking her, and several extra ounces of food to see if she's just hungry.

- Seems to be eating too much for a baby her age. I figure she's getting between 28-32 ounces a day, when she should be getting around 24. In the last 20 days, she has gained 32 ounces! She now weighs in at 10 pounds 8 ounces. Yikes! That doesn't seem healthy to me. I like a chubby baby, but not a Goliath!

- She is fussier now than she was 5 days ago (when the sleep problems began to manifest).

I am hesitant about this - to me, Lucy has not shown classic symptoms of reflux, aside from the arching at the bottle (which does not happen at every feeding). She has kind of a hodge podge of issues. Yes, she spits up, yes, she gets the hiccups, but doesn't every baby? It doesn't seem abnormally excessive to me. Also, she still doesn't poop regularly, so couldn't some of these symptoms because by other digestive discomforts? Or maybe this is related to a growth spurt (not sure about that one, though, since feeding her doesn't seem to make things better). The fussiness could be related to being extremely overtired, SINCE SHE WON'T SLEEP.

Regardless, I feel like we need to try SOMETHING to make Lucy more comfortable. With reflux meds, we can pretty quickly assess whether this is truly her problem or not, and I'm happy that the pediatrician agreed to skip over Zan.tac (worthless, in my opinion) in favor of the stronger family of PPI (proton pump inhibitor) meds. I'm just not satisfied with the approach that some doctors take, where if a baby is gaining weight well, other symptoms are ignored as developmental "issues" that need to be outgrown. While I'm sure that if Lucy does have reflux she will outgrow it, in my mind that doesn't mean she should spend the next year of her life uncomfortable just because she is still able to pack on the pounds. Doctors should strive for an acceptable quality of life for babies (and thus, their families), not just keeping them on the growth charts. I'm glad this pediatrician shares my mindset, and was even willing to let me recommend the medication I wanted. Have I mentioned before how much I love the entire practice?

We should know in the next few days whether the medicine is helping or not. The doctor also recommended that we add some oatmeal cereal to Lucy's bottles. According to her, this will do three things: 1) Help keep the food down in Lucy's stomach; 2) May cause her to eat less (she will feel fuller, thus may eat a more appropriate amount for her age); 3) May help her poop (rice cereal is constipating, but oatmeal can help bring on the poop). I'm hesitant to do this. I know babies' stomachs aren't prepared to digest cereals yet. And we tried thickening Finn's bottles with rice cereal back in the day, but it didn't stop the spit up (just made it chunkier). Also, Lucy doesn't really seem "constipated," her poop is normal looking when it eventually appears. I just need to make her go more often somehow, without the use of a thermometer! Any positive or negative experiences with thickening bottles with cereal at the tender age of 5 weeks? Also, if you did do it successfully, what nipples did you use? I remember we had a really tough time finding a happy medium of a nipple hole that was big enough to let the thickened milk/formula through but not totally choke Finn.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Spoke Too Soon, Apparently

About Lucy being a pretty good sleeper. The last few days she has been fighting sleep like nobody's business, nap times and bed times. Not sure if it's just a product of a stage (growth spurt? becoming more aware?), discomfort from gas and/or reflux, or if it's just part of her personality and here to stay for the long haul.

To make matters worse, M. is out of town right now. Needless to say, it's not going all that well. Ugh. I just keep trying to tell myself that it does get better, Lucy will one day be able to fall asleep on her own.

Fingers crossed that I get a bit more sleep tonight than I did last night!

Monday, May 25, 2009

One Month

We are officially one month into this whole "parenting two kids" experiment. Finn is now 31 months old, and Lucy is one month old. I don't suppose we can declare negative findings, and scrap the whole venture in favor of a new line of questioning, eh? Just kidding, of course! We are slowly getting used to our new life, and finding ways to enjoy it in spite of the pandemonium (which there is, in spades). And M. and I both agree that time seems to be flying. Lucy is one month old, already? It seems like in no time at all she's going to be sitting up on her own, eating table foods, talking...

A lot has happened in the last month. Finn has started talking in a strange accent, and we have no idea where he is getting it. "Uncle Andrew" has become "oncle ondrew." Doctor is now "dawktor," and car is "cawr." It's almost like he's picking up a hybrid New York/Bostonian accent - so strange! It's driving M. nuts, and I'm fairly certain that if my great grandmother Nana D. was still around, she'd be mortified. Also, in a step that has not hit the blog yet because honestly, I'm a bit to tired to contemplate it's ramifications, Finn has started to wear big boy underwear at school. Yes, just what I wanted during M.'s first week back to work - a two and a half year old who comes home from school in underwear, doesn't want to put on a diaper, but also doesn't want to sit on the potty when I ask him. Aargh. One more thing to worry about during the mad dinner prep/pre-bed rush. We've had some successes, and some, ahem, not-so-successful evenings.

"Oncle Ondrew" and Lucy

Finn is giving us a lot of grief, but at the same time he is such a joy to be around. He is developing such a sense of humor, and when he's not mad at us, he really seems to like to be around us (oh, if only that could last through the teenage years!). And every day I look at his round little face and beautiful blue eyes (those eye lashes seem to get thicker and longer each day!), and I'm amazed by how cute and adorable he is. He is wonderful with his sister, giving her kisses and hugs whenever he can, and trying to comfort her with a "Lucy, it's OK" when she cries. He even tries, on occasion, to use his "inside voice" when she is sleeping (only on occasion, though!).


Finn as an Alligator

In the last month, Lucy has gotten bigger, cuddlier, and more aware. She is definitely starting to smile - I've been bestowed a few, but she seems to like to save them for her older brother. She's already fascinated by Finn, apparently, a feeling that I'm sure will grow and grow over the next several months. She is a pretty good sleeper, going about 4 hours between feedings each night, and is a far better napper than her brother was as a baby. She sleeps best all swaddled up in a blanket in her crib - she's not much of a car seat or swing fan. I fear M. and I don't give rise to flexible, "sleep anywhere" babies, so we will be a bit chained to our house for nap times over the next couple of years, but that's OK.

I'm both looking forward to all the developing and growing that Lucy will be doing over the next few months, and dreading it. I can't wait to interact with her even more, but at the same time I want her, my last baby, to take it slow and stay my baby for a long time. With maybe just that whole "sleeping through the night" developmental stage reached as soon as possible :-).

Cute outfit, about an hour before it was pooped on

All dressed up for her first BBQ party

ps - re: the big boy underwear - how is one supposed to deal with accidents of the #2 variety? Finn has had two such incidents at school over the past week, and while it's tempting to throw each offending pair of underwear away, we could go broke very quickly shelling out money for new Mater and Lightning McQueen underpants. Can the poop-filled pants that are sent home in a little plastic baggy be thrown in with the wash? Do you hose them off first? What are your tips? Yuck!

Monday, May 18, 2009


Today is M.'s first day back at work. While he was home during the last three weeks, I handled much of the Lucy care myself while M. knocked off a list of chores around the house. He was always willing to help out with a feeding or a nap time if I needed him to during the day, though, and he provided much needed company and conversation, and a pair of arms to wrangle one of the children during the early evening, pre-bed hours. He help make things as smooth as possible for me. Now we shift to a more hectic schedule, I fear, one where I try to find some kind of routine for Lucy and me during the day so I keep my sanity, then pick up Finn at around 5 and try to juggle 2 kids and dinner prep until M. makes it home at around 6:30. Then it will be a scramble to eat dinner, clean up, keep Lucy fed and happy, and corral Finn into bed by 8 pm.

Thus, I am taking the easy way out to conserve some energy and will just post some photos from the last week or so, rather than writing anything substantive. Enjoy!

Finn goofing around with his new dump truck, a flea market find

We had one of our first really hot days of the summer, allowing me to dress Lucy in an adorable sundress from Grammy

Close up of the hair "wings" Lucy tends to develop from sleeping/eating on the Boppy. To M. and I, it's a bit reminiscent of this:

A hint of a smile

Finn with his new toy, bought on a whim just because if you have a dump truck, you should have a sandbox, too, right??

Dozing on Daddy

Big brother shows Lucy how to get through tummy time

Friday, May 15, 2009

Playground Woes

Finn had a rough day at school on Wednesday, the kind of experience that makes my heart hurt for him. He was digging in a turtle sandbox out on the playground, one that is filled with mulch. Apparently, at the same time, some older boys were also using the sandbox to create a home for some baby worms they had found. I don't know the details (Did Finn get in their way? Did he try to dig up the worm home? Or was it unsolicited?), but the older boys yelled at Finn, told him to go away and find somewhere else to play. Finn CRIED his eyes out - his teacher told me she had never seen him so upset. By the time I got there to pick him up, he wasn't crying anymore, but he was still being wracked by the occasional body shudder - you know, the whimpering/lip quivering kind that is a sign of a really hard cry. He was still a little weepy when we got home and told M. all about it.

I'm not sure how old the boys were - from the looks of it, maybe about 4 or 5. Old enough to know how they SHOULD behave, but also young enough to be self-centered when it comes to playing. It's not really their fault - a teacher should have been supervising better. I'm a little PO'd that such a range of age groups plays on the playground at the same time, but then again, there are kids of all ages at our playground at home so it's something Finn needs to get used to.

For the rest of the night, all Finn could talk about was the older boys, and how sad they made him. M. and I tried to comfort him as much as we could, and let him know that the boys who yelled at him were naughty, that he could play in the sandbox if he wanted to... It was hard to know WHAT to say, really. It's obvious that he's a sensitive kid, at least right now. He's definitely inherited that from me, and so I just get all teary-eyed myself instead of giving Finn some useful advice. I just want to squeeze him and kiss him until he feels better - why doesn't that work!? Gah, I am SO in for it when Finn and Lucy get older - I just know I'm going to be suffering every time they experience a slight or a hurt feeling from a peer, probably more than they do!

There was no mention of the older boys last night, so hopefully after a nicer day on the playground yesterday the experience is quickly fading from Finn's memory. Why does it still stick in mine??

In Lucy news (which I don't want to broadcast far and wide for fear it was a total fluke), Lucy gave us uninterrupted sleep from 10:30 pm until 4:15 am last night. I don't expect it to repeat itself tonight, but I'm hoping we'll have a night like that every now and then so we can recharge.

Lucy has definitely been more awake and alert. She is starting to put up a fight for going down for naps, and she has been waking up every 2-3 hours (at least) to eat during the night. She's also still been having some gas/pooping issues, so I can't really brag anymore about how much free time we've had while on leave, or how easy she has been. She hasn't been hard, just not really easy, either.

We are still struggling a bit with feeding, too. Lucy is breastfeeding just fine - she latches very well. But I still don't have enough milk for her, so we are bottle-feeding and breastfeeding for each feeding, even the ones at night. It's a bit of a hassle, as each feeding takes about an hour, and there are all those bottles to prep and wash... Honestly I think every day about stopping the breastfeeding. But I feel that would be more for convenience than anything else, so I've been trucking along and trying to give her as much breast milk as I can, at least for now.

M. heads back to work on Monday, so we're all going to have to get back on to some sort of schedule (we meant to try today, but failed miserably - no one got out of bed until almost 7:30). Wish us luck!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stinky in Pink

Lucy had her two-week check up today, which seems crazy to me. Wasn't I JUST in the hospital? Time is really flying, and it's hard to believe that M. has only one more week at home until he goes back to work. Now that Lucy's jaundice is gone and we've worked out a nice, sanity-saving feeding solution, the days have been pretty relaxing. M. and I have actually had time to do chores. I've showered just about every day. We've taken a walk every day that's had a pause in the rainfall. It's all so foreign to me, as when I was on maternity leave with Finn the only thing I did was sit in the same armchair all day long, either feeding him or holding him while he slept (he woke up any time I tried to put him down), leaving only for doctor's appointments. I like this way better :-).

Lucy's appointment went really well. She's already grown half an inch, and she's up over her birth weight at 8 pounds, 8 ounces. Of course, we think that number may be a bit artificially inflated, as Lucy hasn't pooped in three days, and all that poop has got to be contributing to at least a few ounces. That diaper is going to be toxic when she finally lets go - I hope M. is on duty for that one!**

The pooping is really our only concern, and she seems healthy in every other way. I think it's just related to the formula she is getting (that, and the fact that she's pretty new to this whole pooping thing and is still figuring out how to do it). We've switched her to a different brand of formula, and we are hoping it helps. If not, we'll have to experiment with a few more types. In the meantime, Lucy is a tooting champ. It's hard to believe such large, awful noises and smells can originate from such a cute little thing.

Below are some photos that clearly show off Lucy's cuteness, and a little of what we have been up to over the past week. Can you tell that I am loving dressing her in pink? All those green/yellow/white clothes that I prepped while waiting for her arrival are at the bottom of her drawers, and I have a feeling they are going to stay there ;-).

Rocking the look I loved with Finn, a simple long-sleeved onesie and pants

Sporting the faux layered look in a hand-me-down from cousin Penny

Jeans! On an 11-day-old! Who does that? But it's just so cute...

Dressed up in pink and brown for her first Skype session with Granny and Grandpa

Indignant during tub bath #2 (Mom, I swear the water was warm enough, she actually only cried right at the end)

Trapped inside during one of the many recent downpours, but happy to be watching Madagascar (obsession with Cars is waning, FINALLY!)

An outing with our SUV of strollers, the Baby Jogger City Mini Double. Do you think people will see us coming?

Self-portrait with Daddy

**Yeah, not so lucky on that one. The poop has arrived, and I was on duty. Let's just say it was roughly a 10-wipe job...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A New, Unfortunate Finn "Thing"

Which only 1 of the 4 of us finds amusing. Although, if M. was being honest, he would probably admit to being a little proud/entertained.

In the last 48 hours, Finn has put the following items in his nose:

1 corn kernel (cooked, sweet)
1 glow stick (green)
1 yogurt-covered raisin (large)

We have tweezers and needle-nose pliers at the ready in the event he sticks something up there that he cannot retrieve himself. But Lord help us, I predict an emergency room visit in the near future for some kind of nostril extraction.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

And The Winner Is...

A little belated, I admit, but the results of our online baby guessing game have been tallied (for several days now). has a scoring system and a formula to determine the winner automatically (good thing, as it's too much for my brain to handle right now). And the winner is:

Wendy and Jon!!

Their guess:
Gender - girl
Birthdate/time - April 26th, 5:10 pm (off by only 21 hours)
Weight - 7 lbs, 12 oz (off by 9 oz)
Length - 20 inches (off by only 1/2 in)

Wendy and Jon are good friends of ours from graduate school, and they are expecting a surprise bundle of joy of their own any day now. We definitely wish them (and their adorable 2-year-old Matt), lots of luck in the next few weeks!

They smoked the competition with a score of 161 - the next nearest score was 286 (lower is better). Anyone who got the gender wrong was automatically out of the running, as that earns a penalty of 400 points.

Honorable mention goes to Benjamin, the 3-year-old son of Outnumbered Gal. With a score of 500 points, he would have been the clear winner if only he had guessed girl instead of boy. He guessed the weight and length exactly right, and was off on the birth date by only 18 hours. Not too shabby for a 3-year-old!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lucky Number 11!

Lucy's results from her latest bilirubin test are in, and she's down to a count of 11 (from 15.4 on Saturday). And that was without the use of the bili-blanket all weekend. Yay! We can officially return the blanket, and her coloring is slowly returning to a normal pinkish hue.

Lucy as a glow worm - you can kind of see the bright blue lights through the swaddle blanket.

In other good news, her weight is up to 8 pounds, 4 ounces - only an ounce away from her birthweight. She gained almost 6 ounces in only two days!! Of course, this is not entirely unexpected, as we have been trying our best to keep her very well fed. This has meant a lot of bottles, but I am slowly coming to terms with that.

I had a semi-private session (1 other person was present) with a lactation consultant this morning. It was a good, if not entirely encouraging, session. I gave Lucy part of a bottle, then breastfed her. She latched on pretty well, but only managed to take in about half an ounce from me. I explained to the LC that my main goal was to reduce or eliminate the pumping - I don't need to exclusively breastfeed my baby (at this point it seems like an unrealistic goal), but I just cannot spend my time hooked up to a pump, or watching the clock to plan for my next pumping session. The consultant seems to think this is do-able, and I am now moving to a feeding plan where I give Lucy a supplemental bottle BEFORE I breastfeed (a little less than I think she truly needs to be full), and then let her finish at the breast. This should give her the patience and energy to try to get more milk out. Eventually, as she gets stronger and more used to taking in milk from me, I hope to be able to reduce the amount of the pre-breast bottle an increase my supply a bit. I am NOT going to pump after each feeding session, unless I feel uncomfortably full (ha ha, pretty sure that's not going to happen). If I feel like it, I can pump a couple of times a day to have a little extra milk on hand.

I like this plan, it takes a lot of the stress out of feeding sessions. I already feel more relaxed and human. I kept feeling, every time that Lucy fell asleep on me, that I needed to put my baby down and pump. I was feeling guilty for our cuddling time because I knew it was not helping my supply (I felt the same way when we were using the bili-blanket, too - cuddling was a no-no because it meant she wasn't hooked up like a little glow worm). And that's no good - new moms should be able to cuddle their babies as much as they want!!

Well, time to feed Lucy again and then give her her first real bath. Her belly button stump fell off on Saturday, but things have been so hectic over the weekend (Finn at home, the 2-hour feeding and pumping schedule, etc) that we haven't managed to give her a proper dunking. Time to go fix that!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Slave to the Pump

I had hoped to have a nice long post up by now, describing the events leading up to and after Lucy's birth. However, things have not been easy with regard to feeding little Lucy, and I find that I have very little free time on my hands.

Breastfeeding Finn was never an easy thing for me. Though there were many aspects I really enjoyed about it, it was always a struggle. My milk supply was never great, he had reflux that we couldn't get under control for several months, we had initial problems establishing a good latch... it was basically one frustration after another, and I don't think I handled it well mentally. But with the exception of one bedtime bottle each night (while I pumped), I managed to exclusively breastfeed Finn during my maternity leave. I was a slave to the arm chair in the living room where I nursed him but we did manage it. I was very much hoping that nursing would go much better this second time around. I was prepared for the long, never-ending nursing sessions that are required for establishing a good supply. I wasn't going to be shocked by them, and I was going to try my best to stay away from using a bottle for the first few weeks. And hey, maybe I'd even have more milk!

I didn't count on Lucy's jaundice. It's wreaking havoc with my well-laid plans.

Finn had jaundice, and we had to supplement for a day with formula and go in to the pediatrician's office for an extra blood draw. But his levels immediately lowered, and that was the extent of the problem. Lucy has unfortunately been having a much rougher time of it. The hospital barely let us leave on Monday night - they were planning on admitting Lucy to Pediatrics to spend the night under the bili-lights. They let us leave since we agreed to supplement while we waited for my milk to come in, and arranged for a bili-blanket to be delivered to our house the next day (sort of - they were actually rather incompetent regarding this, and I'm sure I'll complain about it in more detail later).

Since then, we have brought Lucy in to the pediatrician 4 extra times for a blood draw, with a 5th one scheduled for Monday. Even with the bili-blanket, her bilirubin levels have not been falling much. And I SO want to get rid of the bili-blanket - it is such a pain to use (don't get me wrong, it's better than having Lucy in the hospital, but it is awkward and keeps us from interacting with her spontaneously).

We HAVE to supplement, just to get Lucy better. My milk came in fairly early, but it came in with a whimper, not with a bang. Lucy started out as a great nurser in the hospital - she was a little rough with her latch, but she sucked well and seemed to enjoy it. Now, either because she's used to the bottles, or because I just have no milk for her, she's just not into breastfeeding. IF I can get her on the breast, she mostly hangs out for a few swallows, then calls it a day. And the sad thing is that, even with a hospital-grade pump (which I frantically sent M. to rent on Wednesday when I decided my super-expensive Pump in Style Advanced wasn't cutting it), I can only pump 1/2 to 1 oz a session IF LUCY HASN'T NURSED AT ALL. This little girl wants to eat between 2-3 ounces every 2-3 hours. How can my chest possibly keep up with that!?!?! It is beyond frustrating.

So for now, each feeding session consists of me TRYING to get Lucy to nurse, then feeding her a bottle, then pumping. The whole process usually takes at least an hour, then we repeat again an hour later. In between, I spend my time washing pump parts and bottles, and peeing like there's no tomorrow. Because new mom's need to drink lots of liquids for, you know, their MILK SUPPLY. I swear, I'm going to the bathroom more now than I did when I was 40 weeks pregnant.

It sucks, and I don't know how long I can keep it up. I have a pretty good idea of all the work that will be needed to get Lucy breastfeeding well and to a point where it satisfies her, and I just don't know if I want to do it. I really don't want Lucy's babyhood and my entire maternity leave to be focused on my crappy milk supply. I am spending zero time with Finn, and actually very little time with Lucy, too. I'm headed to a session with a lactation consultant on Monday, so I will truck on through the weekend and do my best to get more milk flowing (without putting too much stress on Lucy, which means I will pump, pump, pump). But I need to keep in mind that the main goal is to get Lucy fed and happy the best way I can.

Aside from all of our feeding difficulties, I really have had an easier time bonding with Lucy and enjoying her. So far she is pretty content as long as she is fed, and she has been napping well. A lot of that may be due to jaundice-induced lethargy, and maybe she will "wake up" next week and start showing us her true colors, but so far I have no complaints.

This post is already longer than I have time for :-). I'll just leave you with a couple of cute pictures.