Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Traumatized

I'm Traumatized. Last night after Eliot and I bathed Lydia I noticed that her tiny nails were getting long and needed to get clipped. They were just long enough that they had a tiny bit of dirt underneath her tiny nails. I am not sure how she got dirt under there, but that is neither here nor there. My mom has been the official nail cutter thus far but I thought to myself, confidently, that Lydia is now about 6 weeks old and that I could manage this task.

Lydia was comfortably still in my arms and we were both hanging out on my bed, things seemed like the perfect environment for the first nail cutting attempt calm, relaxed, with bright lights. Some folks have recommended biting her nails but I have big teeth and quite frankly I don't even bite my own nails. I find it gross and most of the time I know why I have dirt under my finger nails. So the baby clippers were certainly the better option.

I started to snip. One little finger done. Another one completed. The next one good. Tiny finger number four was on deck...suddenly I snipped and I got skin. Lydia was bleeding! She started crying. I was crying. Eliot came running and saw what happened. He quickly brought a wash cloth and I tried to put pressure on the cut but it just kept bleeding and bleeding and bleeding. In that moment a million thoughts ran through my head. I wondered if she was possibly a hemophiliac or that we may need take her to the ER for stitches and they would have to call 1-800-ABUSE or that I was causing permanent psychological damage. I continued to cry, Lydia, on the other hand, eventually fell asleep.

Eliot got out a tiny band-aid which we put on our tiny baby's finger and the bleeding finally stopped. Needless to say Lydia's fingernails are mostly still just a tiny bit too long. I'm Traumatized.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Travel Report

Turns out I used almost nothing of what I had on my list. Lydia was a laid back travel and other than her pretty dress, footie pjs and an outfit home, she used no other clothing that was packed. She also used a very small amount of diapers and luckily a small amount of wipes (I realized there that I only had taken the travel wipes that contain only 16 wipes total!) but all was good.

Our groove was great. We woke up on Saturday morning, got ready, packed the car, nursed her and off we went. Within minutes she was sleeping. We arrived to Gainesville, checked into our room. I nursed her and we were off to have our own lunch. We returned to the hotel with just a little over an hour to get ready which surely was more than enough time since all we had to do was get dressed and nurse her. We returned to our room, unbuckled Lydia from her car seat and pooplosion! She had poop all over herself and the car seat. We quickly moved on the situation.

Undressed her. Bath her. Re-diaper. Done.
Rinse clothes.Hang wet clothes. Done.
Take apart car seat. Wipe. Wash by hand insert. Dry with hair-dryer. Reattach. Done.

Madness averted. Just goes to show that no matter how prepared you may be, something unpredictable can occur at any moment. The beauty of parenthood.

The rest of getting ready occurred speedily and we were off to the wedding which was lovely. It is always wonderful to hang out with old good friends and see two people deeply in love be married. It was a lovely evening.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baby Travel

Tomorrow we head out to our first overnight trip with Lydia. We are going to Gainesville for an old friend's wedding. We are planning on driving up Saturday morning, enjoying a leisurely afternoon and heading to the celebration of love in the evening. We will stay in Gainesville and return home Sunday morning, so Eliot can play soccer later in the day. Here is my checklist for packing for Lydia:

1. Pretty little dress for the wedding
2. Tights
3. Little pink shoes
4. diapers (all the supplies with this)
5. wash clothes (you never know)
6. 2 short sleeve onesies
7. 2 long sleeve onesies
8. Jeans
9. 2 footie pajamas (cotton and flannel)
10. socks (that will fall off but I can't help it)
11. bibs (that I seem to forget to use)
12. 3 blankets (receiving and warmer)
13. Stroller
14. pump and pump bottles
15. gas drops
16. breast pads

As I sit here and list, the new mom in me wonders if I am forgetting anything. I hope it's enough. The once completely low key and rational person that is some where in my head, is sighing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Battle: Burping and Bottle

Lydia suffers from hurty gas not all the time, but sometimes. It seems to be less when she is just breastfeeding, though there must be something I am eating that isn't helping things. I haven't eaten any beans which in my world is a feat. I have now eliminated onions and peppers which I love to see if that helps. The only two items that I love that I eat enough of to make a difference are tomatoes and chocolate. It could be dairy, but this is my primary source of protein since breastfeeding causes me to be starving all the time, I pile up on yogurt, milk, and cheese. The detailed food evaluation spins through my mind every time I am patting my daughter on the back and nothing comes out and nothing seems to come of it.

Since I have been pumping preparing for my return to work in January and helping her transition to other people giving her food, she has been taking a bottle. She is a professional bottle sucker. They say that babies that are breastfeed are such amazing suckers that bottles tend to be an easy task. Though there are some babies that never like the bottle at all and there are others that like it so much that they don't want to go back. Lydia is ambidextrous. She can do both (gifted I tell you, gifted!) The thing is that she is so efficient that she sucks it down in a fraction of the time it would take her to get feed otherwise. This particular talent does not help the battle to get her to burp. Matter of fact, it makes things worse.

Baby acrobatics occur after meal time because we sit her up, then down, then up, We place on her on our shoulders. We place her across our laps. We sit and pat her little back and the occasional monstrous belch is on leached a tremendous feeling of relief overwhelms us. I must admit that selfishly there are times that I spend less time doing the burping ritual than likely necessary because there are so few hours in the day.

We made sure that we were using slow flow newborn nipples. We have tried to force her to slow down by stopping after every single ounce. We have tried to change up the bottles. We tried the breastfeeding bottle by First Year and that just makes it worse because the milk gets suck in various levels. It is a gas making nightmare. We have tried the Avent bottles and gassy pain still comes. We have tried the Dr. Brown's less colic advertising bottle and it has not proven to be any more helpful. The gas drops have not been helpful as I would have liked them to be, though we have used them sparingly. Sigh.

In our less successful moments, she pleasantly flops over and sleeps.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Top 8 Things We Learned

These are the Top 8 Things we learned in the first month of Lydia's life. If anyone has any to add please let me know. I hope this saves some of my friends that are about to have babies a little bit of time.

1. Footie Pajamas: Understand that I am a Florida girl, I can barely wear socks most of the time without feeling a little suffocated. I can't stand having my feet tucked in under the covers and whenever possible I am in flipflops or barefoot. When I was a kid, I got some footie pajamas had such a fit that my parents cut the feet right off of them, I remember this clearly at about the age of 4 or 5. Therefore, the idea of putting anyone in footie pjs particularly my own child seemed insane, but these things are genius! A sockless way of keeping tiny feet warm!

2. Diaper Changing Pad Covers: We had one. Then Tracy gave us another one. So we had two. You need more. Babies poop. Babies poop a lot. Sometimes diapers don't hold everything in, please refer to item # 3: Diapers.One needs at least 3 of these covers. One in the laundry, the one that is now pooped on, and the last one to put on the cold plastic changing table pad. Didn't even consider it until we were elbow deep.

3. Diapers: After several pooptastic poopostions you begin to wonder how such a tiny little person makes so much waste and why diapers just don't hold in what they are designed to hold. Newborn diapers only work for a little bit. There is a weight limit on diapers, so once your baby is 8lbs move up to the size 1. Our preference in diaper is Pampers because other brands still leave us scrubbing poo out of footie pjs (see #1) and washing the Swing cover (see #6.)

4. Newborn Clothes: Everyone always buys bigger sizes for babies because the idea is that they grow so fast you want to be sure to get a couple of uses out of them. Great idea! And super thankful, but Lydia is a month old and she just fits into some of her 0-3. We had few items that were newborn and belly button friendly be sure to get a couple of things for those first couple of weeks. Dressing them is one of the small entertaining things for your as the mom, since most newborns don't do many tricks.

5. Book Reading: As a new parent you do a lot of things with one hand including feeding the little bundle of joy. When you settle in to read a book to the baby while you are feeding her, books that have little flaps to lift or those that just have a couple of pictures with a word are not as handy (no pun intended). The baby can focus on the picture and you can't open flaps with one hand. Books with stories are better for you and frankly, for the baby too.

6. Swing: Lydia loves her swing. She loves the movement of it and often sleeps the night in there while one of us ends up on the couch with her. She loves the fun animals and the many song settings. She not only sleeps in there but sometimes she is so comfortable she poops there too! She is safe and sound and entertained. The Swing wins our vote for the best baby gear item.

7. Fans: Lydia loves fans. In every room she looks up and stares. I think it's the dark and light shadows in the ceiling that mesmerize her so. I wonder if shadow puppets would be as amusing. I have some philosopher finger puppets, I should give it a shot.

8. Soap: Turns out baby soaps are NOT the most gentle soaps for babies. Seriously. Sigh. When we took Lydia into to her 1 month pediatrician visit she saw her baby acne which was already on the mend but she gave us samples of Dove Sensitive and Cetaphil both more gentle and less drying than baby soaps. Don't believe the hype on Johnson and Johnson! Oh and lavender is even more irritating for babies skin not soothing!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pump! Pump the Jam! Pump it up!

Eventually Lydia will need to get nutrition without me therefore, the transition to pumping has begun. I tried to pump the very first few days that she was born but once the goods came in the focus was on her getting the juice rather then the latter. Once again I found myself in unfamiliar territory, I placed the plastic funnel looking thing on my breast and turned on the machine. This is of course is after a tube connects to the pump to the funnel and the funnel connects to the bottle with something that filters the milk called a membrane. Everything is in its place and we are off. After 20 minutes of pumping, a small bit less than two ounces was retrieved from both breasts. Frustrating. Is this normal?

I began my search for information. I sent out a text APB to all my mommy friends: tell me about this pumping thing. The consensus was that pumping is like everything else, takes practice.  Most folks confirmed that early on little would come out and after a while more would come. There were variances in format whether manual or electric but that seems to be more of a preference issue. It's better to pump in the morning because you have more of the goods. It's good to be relaxed and any connection you can have with your little one helps so looking at pictures or having a blankey around that she used would be helpful. All this amazing advice does help mostly to ensure that I am relaxed and know that it's a process. It is nice to realize that you aren't broken. I pump. I get milk. And I dream of the dairy I will open in a few weeks. It turns out...I am perfectly normal.

On another baby reporting note, Lydia has baby acne. This too is normal, sigh. Although, I knew about this one, it doesn't completely alleviate the bit of stress of seeing your baby with tiny zits all over her forehead and some on her cheeks. There is nothing really to do but wash her face and wait for it to clear up. It's much more bothersome to me than it is to her, oh and her Abuela is suffering even more.

Lydia has always been very good at noticing things. She loves the fan and when the fan is off she looks at it and she will look at us as if to ask, "What's wrong with the spinning thing?" She is really getting more into the bouncy seat and swing. She loves staring at the animals that hang in front of her and the other day, she hit the hanging toy in front of her on her bouncy seat. She is less than a month old--my child is truly gifted!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ode to Husband

When I was a little girl I wasn't really the type that played bride. I was the type that played courthouse or college lecture hall (seriously) and occasionally I played emergency room tramuma surgeon. And though, I do remember playing house, since I was an only child, I don't have many memories of playing wife. My parents have been married this year, 45 years and my grandparents have been married 63 years, so I suppose I assume that I wanted a husband in the picture. As I got older and I evaluated the concept of marriage intellectually; I knew that I wanted to get married someday but never in my wildest most amazing dreams did I ever imagine that I would be blessed with Eliot Michael Gaurkee.

As I went to meet him on our first date, I knew I was going to marry him. There just was something about him. He made me laugh, he was wickedly sarcastic (since he gave me a freaking Cranberries CD on that first meeting--yuck!) and somehow we both loved world religions and soccer. There is actually something about him that makes me feel tingly inside, still after three years--it's like that first kiss every time. It turns out that our worlds are so intertwined that it isn't even shocking any more, from him working with a long time family friend to him going to high school with friends of mine from summer camp. He played soccer for years with a coworkers son and he babysat students of mine. Endless coincidences of how small the world really is but ultimately, God and the universe wanted us together. And after the last year of life, I understand why.

There was no doubt that he was going to be an amazing father, since children near and far just adore him, but to simultaneously be an amazing husband is a harder task. For nine months, he cared for me emotionally and physically. For awhile the only thing that I wanted to eat was pasta and would happily make it for me for what seemed like weeks on end, and he shared in every bite. He packed my lunch and made my snacks for work. When the nesting hit high gear, he bought me the label maker. When I needed him to hold my hand he did and when I would get worried and ask him if she thought she was okay in there, he would always say yes! When I became obsessed with outdoor living, he built a patio. When we needed more space he laid wood in the attic and in the top of the garage for our things to be stored. He went to almost every single midwife appointment. He entertained me for hours during sugar tests. When my water broke he rushed home and went with me to the midwives to confirm it. He let me almost break his hand during contractions. He fetched nurses when needed and he was right there cheering me on during the pushing.

The proud new daddy has lovingly encouraged me in every way. He took a million wonderful pictures of the entire experience. He went with the baby to the nursery so I could stay in bed. He has changed countless diapers and provided endless words of love and support during the hardest moments thus far. The love he has for his daughter and his wife literally glows out of him and there is no way to really appreciate him for everything that he does or has done. He is everything that I have hoped for in a husband, life partner and best friend. I can't be thankful enough. So today's blog is an ode to baby daddy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sleepcation and Belly Buttons

Sleepcation [sleep-kay-shun] -noun
1. a period of time in which a person chooses only to sleep2. a trip or vacation that's sole purpose is to sleep3. sleep for extended times away from home Eliot and I were discussing the fact that I need a sleepcation. We had one once in Amsterdam. We ate and slept and explored the entire week we were there. We also realized that we would never have another sleepcation like that trip and it is unlikely to have a sleepcation at all again in our lives. At least not until we retire. Surely we will attempt to have one once Lydia is in high school, thinking she is ready to spend the weekend alone but we get home on Sunday we will discover that she and her hooligan friends, Eva and Holland, threw a party and Eli bought them beer. A drunk guy broke a window and cut one of their noses...sigh. Right. No more sleepcations for us. 
Lydia's belly button still has not fallen off. It's been almost 3 weeks. Most all of my resources say that babies will lose their belly buttons between 2-3 weeks. Last time we were in the pediatrician's office, the doctor said that the belly button was too clean and that we needed to let it be a little dirtier. There is a fine line between it being too clean and not infected and it being dirty enough for the body to reject it. We have backed off the uberclean belly but now I keep having moments where I think it's going to be on there forever. I have already advised Lydia that she should avoid the temptation of getting it pierced just because I get more conservative in my old age. But other than that, I got nothing. I imagine apologizing to her when she is 15 as she is heading to the beach about that the yucky black cord being still there and assuring her that her real friends won't care.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Extreme Parenting Paranoia

This was not taken during the even described below but it went well with the story
Last night Eliot and I took Lydia to her first Indigo Girls concert which was downtown St. Pete in honor of the Folk Festival. It was an open venue and free. We met the Rohrs down there and happily ran into Jeni and the Klinkenburgs. It was lovely. We found an easy parking spot, attached our car seat to the stroller and strolled over. We have one of those that if you open the coverings to both the car seat and the stroller it completely keeps the baby covered. Our pediatrician in the hospital was very clear in telling us to avoid people congested areas for at least two months because people like to touch babies. Wide open spaces like parks and such were of course okay and visits to close friends also a-okay but it is flu season and Lydia is very tiny. She won't get her first immunizations until she is two months old. There is also apparently a Whooping Cough epidemic out there at the moment. Of course, Eliot and I got the flu shot and the booster for whooping cough/tetanus and something else. Through my breast milk I will pass some of that to Lydia, plus the great colostrum she received she will have some great defenses against infections but we are still being cautious. Since the concert was not crowded and open air, we figured what the heck. Mind you we had the baby in stroller lock down and even our closest friends didn't hold her last night. We had a great time. It was great to be out for a couple of hours and Lydia sleep the full two and half hours we were out.

At about 3AM, Lydia made a sharp noise that woke me up immediately. I went to pick her up because it was about the right time to feed her. Her mouth had white bubbly foamlike stuff on it! I panicked. Eliot and I leaped out of bed. Lydia was not hot to the touch. She was breathing fine. She was just too deep into sleep we couldn't wake her. The panic got worse. I was sure that the hippies at the Indigo Girls concert had infected my baby with some sort of foaming at the mouth super sleep disease.

We changed her diaper in hopes that it would wake her. We danced and wiggled. We took turns trying to wake her as the other looked through books. Nothing in What to Expect in the First Year or in the American Association of Pediatrics book about spit foam. I googled spit bubbles and sure enough. This was yet another normal baby behavior! Spit bubbles... of course! What kid doesn't like spit bubbles!

Even though we had found a rational reason for the "foam". We still wanted the peace of mind of seeing her eyes wide open. Finally, at 4AM we were bathing her. She was wake! Success. She was fine and clean. Back to bed.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Baby Feeding Adventures

It's difficult to think of anything other than baby stuff at the moment and in the wild two weeks that Lydia has been on the planet she really hasn't done too much to report, other than of course eat, burp and poop. In light of such things, my repertoire of blogging topics is a bit limited. Hence the subsequent post on yet more breastfeeding adventures.
I log all of the feeding times on my phone and I can see that Lydia goes through phases in which she will feed every hour. Of course, I assumed that my milk was more like Chinese food, you eat it and an hour later you are starved. Today the doctor told me that this is actually called cluster feeding. The baby is gearing up for her long sleep stretch which is 4 glorious hours, except I didn't know this so I have been staying up waiting for the next hour and missing my one daily opportunity for real REM sleep.

The other thing that I have been working on is breastfeeding with the appropriate tasteful blanket cover. These sorts of things aren't natural and are a little difficult to maneuver since I don't have a lot of practice in such things. So I have been prepping for future outings, it's been going fairly well. Sometimes the cover up falls on Lydia's face or covers her completely which bothers me. I still need to get to the smooth groove stage.

There are so many little things like this that you just assume you would know how to do, but not so much. All in all we are doing great!