Sunday, September 28, 2008

almost october?

almost ...

i mean, the only highlight i can see, from staring into the face of the upcoming winter is, NO MORE ELECTION COVERAGE. somebody make it stop. i can't TAKE IT ANYMORE. so sure, it's jarring to think that october is merely hours away, but it brings us THAT much closer to the election and hopefully, the end of all this hoopla. you do realize that i feel as though i've been submerged in this crap for far too long. i started my final desk job back in 2005, and we were talking about the 08 elections then!....i cannot believe we're still talking about it NOW. obviously it makes sense and all that we would...being it is 08, and all....but gosh. it deters me from watching the MINIMAL amount of tv that i normally splurge on.

...i'm starving...random.

(isaac fussing in his sleep. omg. sleep. i would kill to be a baby again. when i'm not cuddling and cooing and feeling warm fuzzies about my baby....i'm bitterly staring at him in his warm swaddle, wishing i could crawl into a velcro straight-jacket and sleep for 4 hours like him. or 3 hours. 4 hours was wishful thinking....)

so i fell for the craze.
i broke down and bought "happiest baby on the block."
i got the book and the DVD.
along with "the vaccine book" pediatrician...dr. whatshisname. WHATHISNAME??? this is gonna kill me....SEARS? seers? veers? whatever.

i dunno why i wanted happiest baby on the block. i guess all my friends told me they loved it. so i bought it on amazon and it arrived last week.
i've cracked the book and taken a gander or two, but reading makes me crossed eyed these days, further explaining why moms just...become a little shall we yeah. sharp. you just dont have it in you to READ like you used to. the newspaper. the magazines. the fine print on the narcotics bottle. you know. anything.

so i didnt make it very far in the book.
maybe when i get more than 4 straight hours of sleep, i'll feel more attracted to books.
anyways. the dvd was interesting.
i decided to watch it with my mom while she was here...and it was fun to sit down and have her commentary as well.
we enjoyed the movie...but she brought my attention to something i feel a weeee bit hesitant to admit....

...i already have the happiest baby on the block....

i said it.
i'm currently ducking behind my laptop, waiting to have that "colic" mom hurl tomatoes at me.

i've never had a baby before.
apparently, according to my mom, some babies just...cry for no reason.
scream. alot. like...for hours.
and considering i've never really babysat...and considering this is my only REAL hands on, longterm experience with babies....i had no clue.

so we watched the video and wanted to wait until isaac had a FREAKOUT, to try some of this dude's maneuvers...and...were never given the opportunity. and i realized, gosh, isaac's a chill dude. sure, he cries when he's hungry. easy. check. feed him. check. and he stops crying. or when he's tired. check. swaddle. check. rock. check. he stops crying.

i realized, and i told my mom, i've never wondered what was wrong with him. he's never cried and had it baffle me. he's never wailed for hours on end...for no reason. i felt HORRIBLE for these moms on the DVD!? "my baby cries for 5 hours straight...."

and the video cuts to this scrrrreaming baby, who looks SO UPSET. i would DIE! how TRAGIC!? how can this be!?

i steal a glance out of the corner of my eye, to check out isaac, who is doing this:

my kid just flat out rocks.
and it took my mom pointing it out, for me to sure didn't get chad's looks, but he CERTAINLY got chads personality! THANK YOU LORD. all day, isaac is happy to sit in his little boppy and survey the world. he tells me when it's time to eat and when it's time to sleep...and sometimes has a quick chit chat with rudy...and loves life.

so if you wanna borrow the happiest baby book or DVD, you just let me know -- cuz for now (you will gleefully watch me eat my words, if the tides change, which i'm sure they will. i am asking for it, by pressing "publish..") i guess i don't need it? yikes. what has this world come to!!!!

in other news, i'd like to thank jujube for lending me one more baby THING that clutters up my living room with those bright obnoxious "toddler colors" that i lived to HATE during my young adult life. ISAAC LOVES IT :) of course, the "play mat" as we call it, us mostly used for this:

but he only ends up like that after a full hour of staring at all the bright shiny things, and blowing up his brain with flourescent stimulation. thanks for letting us borrow it!!! you may never get it back :)

isaac is brilliant.
he already learned to give kisses.....
har har har

more brightshinyscarypsychosis for afternoon entertainment....
dont you just wanna SQUISH those cheeks.
dang. he certainly got my forehead.

remember when i said he never cries?
how soon i forget bath time. does that count?
and no, he wasn't plugged in via wires. no children were harmed in the taking of this photograph. we politely turned off his heart monitor, as to avoid electrocution.

check out the attitude change....
oh...and my enormous ta-ta's.....

i can't STAND the cuteness....

that's it for your monday edition....
my mom, sister in law and brother took off this afternoon and it was ALOT of fun having them!!! my brothers still had not met isaac and moms are just good to have around PERIOD!

but it APPEARS from the looks of my raging social calendar, that OCTOBER is guest-free!!!! guest-free FREEEEEDOM!!!!!! no more washing sheets, towels, bath tubs, dishes....or my hair. jk. i'll still wash dishes....

on a final, and slightly more serious (delirious) topic....
...lets talk vaccines.

i've interrogated 4 pediatricans about this.
and if you've come to my house to visit me since isaac's arrival, i've interrogated you, too.
i'm exxxtremely torn on vaccines.
and the book i'm going through is incredible.

isaac's scheduled for his first round of vaccines on wednesday.
i'm pro-vaccine.....
i'm NOT excited about the current vaccine schedule.
i may reconcile all the pros and cons by simply breaking up the vaccines and re-ordering how they're administered....

but i'm too tired to dive into that topic tonight!
besides, i think i have some choc chip cookie dough distracting me....
more on this later....


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

this must be a joke.....

this past week or two have been a little crazy b/c my inlaws have been in my little crazy house to sit around and stare at my little crazy kid.

and now that the inlaws have left, my own family arrives to stay for 10 days.

not gonna cry myself to sleep when it's just me and isaac again.
well...and chad, too. ;)

we've had a revolving door for the past month with visitors and immediate family and they've all been very helpful, most specifically, in allowing me to sleep!

but without further ado, i'm going to explicitly describe (complain?) my breastfeeding hell. people, you can NEVER understand how complicated breastfeeding can be until you have a preemie. i'm sorry, but when you bottlefeed a child for the first 2 weeks of his life (with breastmilk, no worries!) and then attempt to transition to breastfeeding -- IT IS NOT EASY!!!

when isaac was born, he was tube-fed for a day and then they started taking my breastmilk and putting it in these ITTY BITTY bottles that looked as though they'd more perfectly fit in my cabbage patch kid's mouth -- not my REAL baby's! they were so small, but fortunately, he handled the milk very well and we were able to increase his milk "doses" every day!!!

by the time he was a week old, they encouraged me to attempt breastfeeding, if i was in fact, going to pursue that path. i felt incredibly intimidated by the entire ordeal and frankly, i felt too modest to try such a thing in the presence of all the NICU staff. but thank GOD i did. they gave me little tricks on how to get isaac to open his mouth, on how to best hold him, on how to get him to swallow, on how to keep him was one-on-one training, every day, in breastfeeding!

but still, we continued to hit snags....34-35 week old babies just don't really understand the "suck" ordeal. they try, and it's just ALOT easier for babies to drink from bottles, particularly ones that have massive holes in the nipples to allow the milk to drip effortlessly down their throats. and of course, since weight gain was PARAMOUNT for isaac -- and because he was so little -- we did NOT want him burning calories trying to fight through breastfeeding.

did you know that breastfeeding burns more calories than bottlefeeding? and had we forced him (if we even COULD have) to breastfeed, he'd burn more than he'd consume. SO....bottle was the way to go!!!! each day i'd sit in the NICU room and pump with this FANTASTIC hospital-grade pump and hand the milk over to the staff and they'd freeze/refridgerate it for me for his feedings every 3 hours.

as his discharge drew closer, we tried breastfeeding daily, and it was frustrating b/c i was being told my boobs had issues. they were "flat." hmm. interesting. i had never HEARD of such a thing...but apparently my puppies are particularly difficult for a newborn to latch on to. awwwesome. so we started using THIS:

a "nipple" shield.
IT WORKED WONDERS!!! if you've ever contemplated using one of these, please be encouraged to do so!!! my little preemie was able to latch on immediately and pull the milk out -- but it SUCKED having to keep it on standby for every feeding. and they're CLEAR so they're easily lost around the house. WHY couldn't they design a flourescent...or BETTER YET...a glow in the dark nipple shield. chad would have LOVED that......HA!

so anyhow, that helped up big time...
as did THIS:

the milk i was able to bring home with me from the NICU!!! i had pumped so much and he was drinking soooo little, that they kept it in a freezer for me and sent me home with it. my little treasure chest of goodness.....

and to think -- it's still in the freezer! both moms got a big kick out of it and i feel sad that it'll probably go to waste :( anybody need some colostrum/milk? ew....

so i'm finally home.....and i wake up one morning feeling....cold.
i jump out of bed to get ready for the day and stare at myself in the bathroom mirror and MY T-SHIRT IS SOAKED!? i run back to the bed and MY SHEETS are SOAKED?! why did NOBODY tell me that your boobs explode in your sleep on day...oh...5, after the baby's birth??? holy crap! my boobs were on FIRE and my shirt and sheets were covered with milk!!! it was then that i decided it was time to get serious about nursing bras and nursing pads!!! or i was going to be in a milky mess all the time!

collection of nursing bras/tanks:

i'm sorry, but WHAT SIZE do i need?

last year i was fitted at victoria's secret as a 32A.
that's just gross.

but let me just 'sidebar' for a second.
i felt HOT the first week after isaac was born.
i was limping around in pain, and trying to figure out if my world had really gone upside down as i expected....but i felt HOT. my stomach was WAY lighter and smaller than the week prior, and my boobs were HUGE!!! and by huge -- i mean OUT OF THIS WORLD big!

and then the explosion happened in my sleep all over my sheets and it wasn't as cool anymore. HA! but i know alot of women feel like crap after their baby is born, but i felt really attractive and beautiful. i felt accomplished. i felt ....very content and happy with myself in a way that i never had before...

anyhoo, i made the crucial mistake of pumping and pouring the milk into bottles and feeding isaac through a bottle during his first 2 weeks home (36-38 weeks). he was still a wee wittle bebe, and we still needed some significant weight gain, so i felt it was best to make his life easy. LITTLE DID I KNOW i was shooting myself in the foot! he would gobble up the bottles and i would pump (time consuming, but worth it!)....

and then i'd have to wash all the parts on a daily basis.
and there...were...alot...of parts.
you figure you're pumping 8-12 times a day -- and that adds up!!!
i have a freaking medela factory in my kitchen!!!

and a medela factory in my FRIDGE.....

but then things went downhill.
my milk supply started to dwindle.
apparently, pumping exclusively for 4 weeks, takes it's toll on your milk.
breasts dont like the pump.
they like BABY.
and isaac hadn't been properly trained on how to latch (minus breast shield) so.....i was eeking out ounces at a time....and my fridge was starting to take a hit on my milk reserves.

i frrrrreaked out.
and called a lactation consultant and IMMEDIATELY got an appt for the next day.
i decided i needed to revert back to my hospital grade i rented one from them. you can pay by month -- and BOY this puppy works!!!! it's the same one i used in the NICU and i may NEVER give it back!!!! :)

then the consultant put me on a crazy "suppliment" schedule!!!
Fenugreek capsules = three pills, three times a day.
Mother's Milk Tea = THREE CUPS A DAY! (and it tastes like S***)
Mother's Milk Plus drops = 1ML mixed in water, three times a day

oh...and a bowl of oatmeal a day.

then she wanted me to pump 12 times a day.
EVEN if he breastfed for a feeding -- i was still ordered to pump after he ate, regardless.
i did this at 11pm, 2am, 4am, 6am, 8am.....etc etc.

and stored it in these bags....


this is my freezer now:

yep...more milk hiding behind the ice cream!

it's HARD WORK, but it IS POSSIBLE to restore your milk flow if you're willing to COMPLETELY sacrifice your sanity, sleep, and social life.

i have been doing this for the past 5 weeks.
i have cried while pumping out of INSANE boredom.
each feeding would take an hour and a half.
try to get him to breastfeed.
then suppliment with a bottle of breastmilk.
then pump the rest out.
put it in bags....
change his diaper.
and do it all over again in about....oh....10 minutes.

there was one day where i did not leave his nursery for EIGHT HOURS.
this vicious cycle just trapped me that day and by the end of the day i was in tears.
staring out his nursery window.
wondering HOW LONG a tortured day can last.
you figure each feeding took at least an hour.
and you do that 8-12 x a day....

i have to admit, i'm shocked anybody in our generation would do this. our generation is GO GO GO...and all about convenience...and this cycle was STOP STOP STOP and UTTERLY inconvenient....

but isaac was worth it.
maybe it was my way of making it up to him.
my way of offerring him something i felt he deserved after being so short-changed because of my body.

i INSISTED on this working and nearly killed myself doing it.

i decided to eventually "cheat" and skip his 6am feeding, so that chad could feed him and let me sleep from 4-8am. and i'd skip the 6am pumping session.

it really helped restore SOME of my mental energy.
but then we had to buy stuff for CHAD to be able to do so....
new bottles that most closely resembled "the breast."

and bottle heaters:

and our little system least, established.
life got EVEN MORE complicated b/c i contracted YEAST/THRUSH infection in my breastmilk.

i noticed the pain involved with breastfeeding made EVERYTHING WORSE. i had NO IDEA breastfeeding could BE SO EFFING PAINFUL. i would hold my breath, break a sweat, get nauseous when he'd latch on. i would cry, i would want to throw isaac across the room, i would GO MAD each time he was leaning in to latch on......

my boobs would shrivel up and DIE at the thought of feeding isaac.
i went to my OB and then to my primary doctor and then to my pediatricia...


if you thought my breastfeeding regimin was bad before -- YOU NEVER WANT TO GET THRUSH!!!!!

it involved the following items:

MORE nursing pads b/c you can NEVER reuse one, once it's used...b/c of the spread of yeast.
then it involved cream for isaac's bum.
cream for my boobs.
drops for his mouth.
vinigar/hot water.
steam bags.

basically, lets go through this again:

cry through breastfeeding scenario: isaac fights to latch (so complicated), then i cry through pain, then he gets frustrated b/c he's confused as to why he's not drinking from a BOTTLE
then i make bottle of breastmilk.
then i change his diaper.
then i pump.
then i take a dropper and cutip and swab his mouth with medicine.
he screams.
spits it out.
then i wash his hands with hot soapy water b/c babies spread yeast by sucking on their hands.
then i mix 1 part vinigar to 3 parts water...and wash boobs.
air dry.
(baby still screaming)
then put ointment all over boobs.
then take oral antibiotic.

then daily STEAM all those bottle/pumping parts we discussed earlier to disinfect EVERYTHING he touches.

then cry more.
and do it all over again.

i was lucky to eat a granola bar...lucky to catch my VMs days too late...lucky to get to my emails....lucky to DO ANYTHING for myself.

but that was only for 10 days.

then i headed back to the lactation consultant's office.
follow up appointment to weight my baby and discuss our course of FUTURE action.
she weighed him.
i breastfed him.
and weighed him again.

he didn't eat enough.
which meant, i was sent home with a scale to do this myself at each feeding to ensure he's getting enough and to suppliment each meal with the difference in a bottle.

SO NOW, in addition to ALL the aforementioned crap....i had to do MATH!?
weight x 2.5 divided by 8 = ounces per feeding.

weigh, feed, weigh, bottle, pump, ointments, creams, washing, vinigar, steam, medicine...

they put horses under for far less misery than this....

but guess what?
he's now over ten pounds.
he now exclusively breastfeeds :)
he now sleeps 4 hour stretches through night.
he now GETS IT and I DID IT!!!!!!

it was ALL worth it!!!!! i feel SO SO SO proud of MYSELF and of ISAAC for making this work!!! we have had some tearful late nights and some insanely long days....but he's almost 8 weeks old (1.5 WEEKS adjusted age--one and a half weeks past his due date) and weighs 10+ pounds!!!!!!!

and the pain is FINALLY GONE....and i feel the worst is behind us!!!!!
i've spent a fortune....i've tearfully rocked my baby for HOURS and HOURS.....and the end was SO SO SO worth the means...!!!!!

this is what my boys do while i'm slaving away, at the end of the day :)
SO not fair!!!

my husband is great....
he did feel REALLY bad for me on those long days....
it was torturous for him to witness....

and he left me this next to my pump, in the baby's nursery....
a love letter....
i looooove my husband! he makes my job as mother SO much easier, through his careful support and loving care of me!!

and these :)

all to say -- IF I CAN DO IT -- anybody can do it.
if you have limitless numbers of hours to kill....and a great support system!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

shoulda' been the day.... would have been Isaac's birthday!
i could gab over all i would have accomplished, had i been given those extra six weeks of pregnant preparation -- BUT -- that would detract from the fact that i've been given the HONOR of being a mom for 6 weeks longer than i had expected...

i truly do not remember
(slight overstatement) what life was life before he was ours.
i mean, i remember FONDLY what it was like to crawl in bed with my laptop and a heap of magazines and stay up til whenever and sleep the next morning until whenever...

and i remember jumping in my car and zooming off to run a boatload of errands...whenever i wanted.

and i remember going out to dinner with the drop of a hat.

and i remember rummaging through my closet and picking whatever i wanted -- and it would fit.

but i also remember the days that i would have traded it ALL IN for a little person to love and raise.

i also remember the tears i shed in the middle of those sleepless nights -- when i could have slept till my heart was content. but my heart was not content.

i remember holding my friend's babies, resenting all of my fun and all of my freedom, wishing to exchange it for midnight feedings and miniature booties and blankets....

so though Isaac was originally due to arrive on September 12th -- it was like he became a little birthday gift to me on August 1st. (my birthday is 8-4)

i feel like i've learned ALOT about myself over the last six weeks.
alot about isaac.
alot about my true inner core of who i am.
alot about chad.
alot about family.

and i feel like there was ALOT out there that mom's failed to tell me about, warn me about, prepare me for :)

so without further ado, i'd like to share my list of THINGS I NEVER NEVER KNEW & THINGS THAT REALLY ARE TRUE:

1. i never knew that babies poop out their jaundice!?! i remember in the NICU that isaac's poo was blackish-greenish and thinking how disgusting that was!? and the doctors told me, "no no, that's great! he's ridding his system of jaundice!" ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? his skin is yellow and he rids it by way of green poo? wow. (oh gosh..i have a feeling i'm gonna be talking about poo for many years to come...i bet it comes up again before this post is over...)

2. i never knew that babies are allowed to have temps above 98.6F. i flipped at the doctor's when his temp was 99-something. nobody batted an eye. "anything under 100.5 is normal, allison...babies can't regulate their they cool down and warm up really easily....reeeeelax.

3. i never knew about "age adjustment." so even though they say babies should do "this" or "that" by this week or this month.....isaac is exempt. NOT that i let him slide. but because he was born 6 weeks early, the clock STILL doesn't start on his developmental milestones until his due date. so even though he's 6 weeks old -- i shouldn't expect him to smile at 6 weeks like full term babies. i think i'll just DIE when he smiles, so i give him EVERY loooong moment possible to bust it out, but i'm still on standby for a grin. preemies get a free pass until their "adjusted age...." and luckily somebody filled me in.

4. i NEVER KNEW and it really IS TRUE that breastfeeding SUCKS and is OF THE DEVIL. i am planning a long post on this in the near future b/c i FULLY intend to include photographic evidence of ALL the breast feeding propaganda going on in my house. i am a walking MEDELA ad campaign and should just go ahead and write my check to the lactation consultants mortgage company -- but that's how much i'm spending there. i could have SWORN breastfeeding was cheaper than formula -- but it's a lie. A LIE FROM THE DEVIL. it's EXCRUCIATINGLY painful, messy, time-consuming, frustrating, impossible...did i mention painful?....and nothing short of the world's NUMBER ONE WAY of making a new mom feel like a COMPLETE failure. (wow, that was dramatic and in my future post on this topic i will disclose that it's truly getting BETTER...but i've only cried a few times since bringing this child home and they've ALL been related to breastfeeding. and the 2343234 consultants i've seen. but i REEEEFUSE to give up and i can proudly say that isaac is 6 weeks old and has never had formula. i've sold my soul to MEDELA ...but just standby for additional updates on this at a later date.)

5. i never knew it was possible to function on so little sleep. i know this is the most cliche thing on earth -- but true. it's not the lack of sleep part that i didn't know about. it's the functioning part i didn't know about. i honestly feel like superwoman. i mean. when i'm not begging the angels for another SECOND of sleep. i sometimes stop and think "HOW am i still ALIVE right now with this little sleep? i am AMAZING!" i think God gives us the capability to somehow survive as if we're in some sorta concentration camp...or undergoing some awful form of chinese torture. i've never really been upset about the lack of sleep (barring a few COMPLETE meltdowns during that 1st week or so), i've more or less been incredibly impressed that new moms are allowed to keep their drivers licenses and be a part of a functioning society, during the first 2 mths of new motherhood. but our bodies CAN handle it and it's pretty darn impressive.

6. it really is true that hormones can do a number on you. i really can understand now how women fall into postpartum depression. it's COMPLETELY within the realm of my understanding now. the other day i spent EIGHT HOURS in isaac's nursery and NEVER LEFT. between frustrating feeding sessions, diaper blowouts, rocking him to sleep, pumping on my breast pump, folding his laundry...oh!'s time to eat again? oh! wanna be high maintenace? yeah....i can see how women just don't adjust that well and get a case of baby blues. BUT! i've decided it can be completely combated by GETTING DRESSED. (if you've had PP depression -- i'm just being cavalier, please don't send me emails on depression, to a girl who spent 4 years on Paxil. i get it. i've been depressed...i'm just SAYING....) there has not been ONE day i've sat in my sweats all day. not one. i may not get dressed till 3pm, but it is PARAMOUNT to put on makeup. NECESSARY to iron my clothes. use a little hairspray. grab a cute pair of earrings. throw on a pair of kitten heels. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER. it's a lifesaver. i'm not doing so well before 10am. but if i can JUST get that 1st cup of coffee down...and put on a half-decent outfit.....and feel PRESENTABLE by's completely changed the face of the day. a smear of lip-gloss can help you feel more pride in yourself, and offset those black circles under my eyes...and i HONESTLY feel it makes me more productive. shallow? maybe. try it. let's discuss.

7. ....breastfeeding is still of the devil.....

8. it really is true -- you love your dog less. well. scratch that. love is like a pie chart. now, there's one more person who eats into the pie. and that much less pie for the dog. and when you feed a dog less -- he's hungry for all sorts of things like ATTENTION. sheesh. and then the dog becomes neeeeedy. which is fair. but annoying nevertheless. and everything the dog does is that much less cute than before, because it detracts from the evergrowing laundry list of things to do -- none of which should ever include rushing him off to the vet for an infected bug bite (yes. i'm bitter. last week it ROCKED throwing my baby, the stroller, the dog, the apnea monitor, diaper bags, etc...into my HATCH BACK TWO-DOOR MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE the rain....with broken windshield wipers because RUDY had a bite infection.....and spending hundreds of dollars on his treatment...). call me cruel and heartless -- there's just less pie for the dog. i would have NEEEEEVER believed it before. but it's true. it really happens. be prepared pregnant dog-owners!

9. i never knew how much i'd grow to hate houseguests. now before you ask yourself, "wait...have i been or will i be a houseguest soon at the morgans?" please understand that it's nothing personal. no really. it's not you, it's me. it's just a recipe for disaster. if you knew the pseudo-routine i was trying to establish, you'd understand that your presence pretty much destroys it. unless you want to be in isaac's room breastfeeding with me, or trying to breastfeed, then bottlefeed, then change his crap, change his clothes, then hang out with my breastpump...then scramble to get dressed, eat, do laundry, do dishes, clean pump parts, wash bottles, label breast milk, get mail....and REPEAT eight times a day....then you probably shouldn't come over. because...frankly....when you do come over, i feel a HUGE need to entertain you (as i should! but i can't! the minutes run out and the day is over and you're still sitting in the living room waiting for dinner!) and that, my friends, should bring us back to the pie chart referenced above. i don't have entertainment in the pie chart. and i feel this HORRIBLE sense of obligation to make sure you're ok...sitting and twiddling your thumbs during my awful routine of the day (awful for you, not me...mind you.) and then i get stressed. and when i get stressed, the whole thing goes haywire and i suffer more than you know. so please just assume i need a little heads up if you wanna stay with me over the next mth or so. which brings me to my next point....

10. it really is true -- you have to start saying NO. and trust me -- it's never been easier. i've never said no MORE than i have over the last 6 weeks. i know i've unintentionally hurt people's feelings -- i just don't know what to say. i CANNOT be the person i was before isaac. she will return to you soon. but right now -- i'm in survival mode so i probably can't grab coffee, grab drinks, grab dinner, go to annapolis for the day, go to mom's group on wednesdays, go to bible study on thursdays, etc etc.....just can't. i get sad about it too -- but -- i got things going on and the pie is busted.

11. it REALLY IS TRUE!! (this one shocked me....even me...) i will probably make you wash your hands before touching my baby! i always made FUN of these sorts of people! now before you judge me -- i have a preemie. or had a preemie. and the day the preemie gets sick -- is the day you die if you got him sick. so to avoid this -- we made everybody who entered the house, scrub down in antibacterial lotion. gosh. i was THAT mom! but he didn't get sick....and so i'll gladly be the brunt of all stereotype jokes because it was WORTH IT!!! one of chad's friends came over and wanted to touch (TOUCH! not even HOLD!) the baby and chad just looked at him and goes, " he's not a toy. you cannot touch him..." i almost slapped chad, but found myself hysterically laughing instead. my husband was dead serious. he literally TOLD HIS FRIEND not to touch our child. so yeah. it's true. it really really is true....

but i guess the thing that's taken me by surprise the

12. .....i am a really good

i neither knew, OR had anybody tell me i would be a good mother, in all of my life.
i'm not that girl that is naturally maternal.
nobody ever looked at me and gushed over, "omg, you're going to be such a wonderful mother....i can't wait till you have were a born mother."
nobody ever told me that.
but it really is true.
i no longer need validation from anybody else on how i've passed or failed as a parent. i can stand solely on my new-found knowledge that i am capable and i am gosh darn good at what i do.
i always wondered if i'd feel bad for my children, like, "wow...i got stuck with some idiot mom who can't seem to get her act together...."
and now i know that's not true.
i am a born mother.
i can confidently say i would want to be my child....
i will do just fine....i will do great.....

...and isaac will be so proud of me.

there are days i feel like my body needs to be in 14 places at once.
just yesterday, i was breathlessly putting the fresh sheets on the beds (ahem...houseguests today), and assembling baby monitors, and sterlizing bottles, and giving isaac his medicine, while defrosting salmon, and blowing my bangs out of my sweaty face, and going through bills, the phone ringing off the hook....leaning over to give my dog his ear infection drops (which is like taking on a sumo wrestler....nearly impossible....)

and chad, from across the room, sitting in his chair just home from work looks at me with a half-smile and says....

"al...i think you like taking care of everybody...."

and i stopped dead in my tracks.
and realized i was living my dream.
each day builds upon itself....and however mundane the to-do list seems....i am living history.
each day ...a piece of my life....that i always wanted.
i will look back on all of this....on the history of my life....and know that i "took care of everybody."

and my husbands seems to think it agrees with me....

and though nobody told me i would be.....
but it really is true....

i am a mom.
and i am a really, really good mom......

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

another reason to be thankful....(pictures at bottom!)

i've never really discussed my 10 days in the NICU.
(and i am going to do so at the risk of waking my baby, b/c my laptop is in his nursery, since i spend about 8 non-stop hours a day in this one 9x9 foot room, i figure it'd be nice to have my iTunes, email, internet, etc....)

it's 1230AM...and i'm simply deciding to kill time and hold off on sleep until after my 1am feeding. i figure it's MORE hellish to go to sleep (or fake like i am actually get deep sleep) than to just stay up and do something productive for another half hour.

so here i sit, realizing it's been a while since my last post!
and as i rock here, in the glider, with my computer, in the dark -- it reminds me that i've never shared my joys and sorrows of the NICU.

i know it's atrocious to even think of your child being sent to the neonatal intensive care. trust me - youre right. it's completely atrocious. you get to walk PAST the "well baby" nursery, only to be reminded your child isn't "well" enough to join the other heifer babies who weigh all of 7 and 8 pounds. no, my dear, get to also walk past the "transitional nursery" with all of it's "eh, we're a few days early" babies. yes, YOU my child, get to take up residence in the place where heart monitor alarms fire every 5 minutes, and plastic boxes cover your bed, and tubes tangle around your body.

not a dream come true.
but incredibly perfect for a mom like me....sorta.

though it TOTALLY stinks that i was unable to hang out with isaac those first moments of his life....i was able to spend ten FULL days with every sorta doctor, nurse, practitioner, you can possibly imagine. i'm not going to lie, it was a sick sort of heaven for me.

please understand that even under NORMAL circumstances -- most doctors grow weary of me pretty quickly. i ask a bazillion questions and grow concerned about EVERY possible "what if"....and then i google the HECK out of "worst case scenarios" and call my doctors on sundays sobbing. i'm no dream patient. so you can imagine how AH-mazing it is for my baby's isolette to be placed 10 whole feet from the neonatal DOCTORS desk.

these doctors at virginia hospital center were a dream.
no really.
an absolute dream.
well, except one. who shall remain nameless until we submit our letter of complaint.
but no matter WHAT time of the day, they were on standby, for me to ask the smallest and largest of favors, requests, inquiries......etc.

it's scary having a really small preemie.
it's scary having a baby in general.
but when you're afraid to touch your child...change his diaper...feed him...because he looks so feeble, it's astounding to be able to "study" under the best of the best. we grew confident as tudors, under the careful teaching of these doctors and nurses. we were allowed to learn how to handle isaac, and we were allowed to be stupid and ask all the ridiculous questions we wanted and never ONCE did anybody look at us like we were crazy.

every morning when we'd come in, we'd get to take a study of the overnight "log" that they kept on our son. when he was fed, what noises he made, when he was changed, when he cried, when his heart alarms went off, when his blood was name it. it's all on paper. we knew who fed him, how much he was given, and how long he slept, and when he pooped. every second of every day is documented....

i may not have mentioned this, but isaac has a heart condition called bradycardia. it's essentially a preemie issue that he'll grow out of eventually, but it's kinda scary for the time being. for some odd reason, his heart crashes for a few seconds and comes back to beating normally. in the NICU, he was hooked up to these nodes that would read his heart rate and breathing and if for some reason, his heart went haywire, the alarms would sound and nurses would come in to make sure he was ok....

did i mention i'm a basketcase about this?
did i need to?

so on day 4 of the NICU, the doctor on rotation comes over to me and makes it clear that something is unusually serious about isaac's bradycardia and "we're calling our cardiologist in to run some tests on his heart to make sure nothing else is underlying...."

i cried in my fruit cup in the cafeteria that morning, with chad.
i SOBBED in my fruit cup in the cafeteria that morning....waiting for the cardiologist to come tell us if our baby had a major heart malfunction.
he finally arrived and hooked up isaac to all sorts of crappola and ran EKG's, echocardiograms, and decided to also keep him on a holter monitor for 24 hours to read each electric impulse in his heart...

come to find out, he's got a minor heart murmur which they expect him to grow out of by the 6mth marker....but other than that.....he was golden!
seems that his heart issue is isolated and that eventually he'll have less and less heart arrhythmia.

but that meant, "isaac will need to go home on a heart monitor and you will need to learn CPR before being allowed to take him home...." was a whirlwind of phone calls to insurance companies, pediatric companies and finally, we had a meeting with the heart monitor folks, who had to come in and train us on how to use the monitor. come to find out, it'll send off a REALLY LOUD alarm (think: fire alarm) when, A) his heart beats below 80 beats a minute for over 5 seconds, OR, B) he stops breathing for more than 20 seconds.

it went off 30 times the first night he was home.
come to find out they were false alarms b/c his electrodes weren't placed right.
but i nearly had a heart attack.

then before they'd let us go, we had to learn how to resuscitate a baby who was turning blue. do you have ANY idea what it's like to watch a video on how to beat your child into breathing again....while looking over at a itty bitty crib with a 5lb baby in it.....knowing he's about to be SOLELY YOUR responsibility at the end of the day?

i sobbed through CPR training.
so much so, that they kept isaac in the hospital for one more night b/c they weren't sure i was emotionally stable enough to handle him.
maybe they were right.
i felt SO scared....SO unprepared (hello, 6 weeks early anybody?!).....SO SO overwhelmed with paperwork on follow up visits with apnea clinics, cardiologists, pediatricians, lactation consultants, developmental specialists....on and on and on.....

though all of this was incredibly difficult and exhausting....i have to say i feel a little bit bad for moms who deliver their babies and are booted from the hospital 2 days later.

no chatty conversations about poop, breast milk, sleeping schedules, diaper sizes, developemental milestones, etc ...with doctors. well. maybe you do get to do that, how would i know....

but in God's providence, i was given 10 full days to give watchful attention to how i should care and handle this new baby. i was given 10 full days to think of ANY insane question or comment i needed to bring before the neonatal doctors....i was given 10 full days with chad, to process this new shocking adventure, to get a full night's sleep, to heal from my c-section, to spend time furnishing the baby room, to meet with friends and family and to meet other wonderful "NICU" moms. how cool was it to sit and chat with the other NICU families....congregate in the halls....around the water coolers (they did exist)....visit each other's rooms....track each other's progress....celebrate each new was like we were all family, sharing this scary ordeal together....

i had NO idea what i was doing.
does ANY new mom have a clue what she's doing?
it was just cool to be in a "clueless club" under the surveillance of people who have been doing this for ions....

thank you Lord for the silver linings, the peaceful afternoons in the NICU, the private nights alone with isaac, for the excuse to not answer my cell phone, and for the free meals they'd deliver to each NICU suite, for the hospital grade breast pumps we were encouraged to use -- not yet fully able to appreciate how VALUABLE that time would be....

thank you Lord for the loving hands that gave isaac his first bath, helped him take his first breath, watched his heart beat every minute, changed his diapers, fed him when i couldn't be there, ensured he was as comfortable as he could be....

with tears in my eyes, i recall being told that one of the nurses would go into isaac's room late at night when i couldn't be there -- and just talk to him and keep him company.
how do you really ever thank somebody for that? the hardest thing in the world to do, is to leave your newborn in a lonely room, as you drive off to attempt to sleep in your own house.
i sat on the edge of my bed and sobbed the first night i was dicharged without him.
you feel such grief over a body that has failed you and him...
over the physical discomfort you know your baby is experiencing...alone...all night...without you.
and to know that nurses took it upon themselves to keep him company.
there is absolutely nothing i can think of to do for them, to match my gratitude and appreciation for their support of me AND isaac.

it was so much more than a job to some of these women...and there is simply no way of expressing my thankfulness.
for all of it.
we feel nothing but overflowing love for the NICU...and every MINUTE they listened to us, comforted us, entertained us and just cared for us.

so much of the negative surrounding the premature birth was redeemed by the open arms and ears of our NICU doctors/nurses.

there are such mental scars that unfortunately develop after a experience like this.
a fear of "what if" with my next pregnancy.
lingering pain from the surgery....
frustration of things going wrong....
learning you can fear for somebody's life in a way you never knew of, up to that point....

but the experience was SO rounded off by perfect closure.
the last few months have felt rather isolating, and scary...dealing with the complicated pregnancy and such....
but because of the Virginia Hospital Center's NICU staff -- we have so many FOND memories of this ordeal....

chad and i will forever be indebted to you and your care for isaac!!!!


Monday, September 1, 2008

one month ago, today....

i can't even believe it's september 1st.
my absence can be attributed to many reasons, but i think overall, i just was too overwhelmed this month to really blog. like...really really blog.

obviously, i could have filled pages and pages with the details pertaining to weird colored poo, and breastfeeding (holy book i'll write about that...), sleepless nights, altered relationships, etc etc etc...

but it just all paled in comparison to the little human being that stares back at me each day.
back at me is all relative, but i think he's starting to stare back at me....or in my direction. or something.

i know many of you have no clue how isaac's birthday went down.
and since this IS the day he turns ONE MONTH -- why not relive a little of the dramz.

as you all know, i was admitted to the hospital on the wednesday before the friday c-section. they had no clue IF i would be delivering and WHEN or HOW.
they just kept me tied to my monitors just in case...and after weighing in with the cluster of hospital physicans -- they by consensus decided to take isaac via c-section.

you can obviously read my previous post to understand how i felt about that.
SIDENOTE: i cannot tell you how many personal emails i received about my previous post. apparently i'm not alone in my heartbreak, nor am i crazy. and many of you out there - who i don't even KNOW - made me feel more human in my emotions and truly comforted me when i needed it. thank you for reading this crazy blog and thank you even more for responding in such a personal manner and just for reaching out to simply say that you hear me. and care. gosh, that goes REALLY far during months like this last one!

end sidenote.

so since my baby shower was going to be on saturday, august inlaws were in the air, when the decision was made to deliver me early. by the time my mother in law landed, a stranger from my church was standing on the curb to pick her up and notify her of the change of plans. can you imagine how strange THAT must have been?! on top of that, chad's dad had to buy a full-fare flight with 1 hour notice, to make it in time for the c-section. it was just craziness on all fronts.

by friday morning, i had a NICU specialist come and detail how they will attend the surgery and take over isaac's care once he's been delivered. they were the NICEST doctors, those NICU folks. chad went over to the NICU to take some pictures so i could see where isaac would be sent and the parents showed up to sit and visit with me before my noon delivery.

between 8-10AM, i was in my room all alone. i broke down. cried my eyes out. prayed. cried some more. and just waited for the day to progress.

around 1030AM, they came in to give me my spinal block. now, mind you -- MY SPINAL BLOCK was originally all along, the thing i FEARED THE MOST when i'd think of delivering my baby. i was TERRIFIED of my epidural. but i always comforted myself by saying, " least i'll be in SO MUCH PAIN that i'll be excited to see the epidural team arrive."

not so much.
the anesthesiologist rolled her cart in, while i was chewing down on ice chips, chatting with people. no pain. no desperation. PURE FEAR. and was not cool. chad sat in a chair facing me, as my legs hung over the side of the bed. and he squeezed my HAND SO HARD and held his breath SO OBVIOUSLY as he watched them take the mother needle out and shove it in my spine....that he almost passed out. he gasped. i could feel blood trickling down my back. it seemed like it took forever. granted, they didn't numb me up right then...since my surgery was still an hour out....

so i got to lay back down and forget about the needle in my back ....too bad i didn't know what was to come.

people from church called to pray with me...
all 4 parents stood around my bed and prayed over me.
my friends kept coming by with necessary supplies like...diaper bags....breast pumps...etc.

and then the doctors arrived to roll me into the operating room.
i could feel my chest get tight.
my palms just broke out in a cold sweat as i typed those words.
it was just flat out terrifying.
please let my baby be ok....please let my baby be ok...please let my baby be ok....

that was all i could think in my brain, as they rolled me down the operating room, as i forced smiles and waves to family....

things took a MAJOR turn at that point.
i entered the operating room on this rolling table sorta thing.
i remember the walls being mint green tile.
i remember the lights as bright as the sun, glaring down at me.
i remember the nurses abruptly stripping my gown off of me, so that i'd be laying there naked as they soaked my body in that iodine stuff.
i remember alot of people buzzing around.
i remember my husband not being one of them, as he waited in the hallway.
probably 6 nurses.
3 anesthesiologists.
4 doctors from the NICU.
1 OBGYN walks in to get the show on the road.

i remember the anesthesiologists pinching my legs and asking if i could feel it.
i could FEEL IT.
"well, thats are allowed to feel things, it just shouldn't feel like pain..."
omg...i lost it.
i couldn't catch my breath.
i started shaking....
i could feel them pull my knees apart to shove a catheter into me.
i could hear people talking, but not be able to really listen.
where is chad...where is chad...where is chad....

the anesthesiologists kept telling me to take a deep breath....breathe allison....breathe allison...
and at one point, the head anesthesiologist looks over my head and asks, "do you want to remember your baby's birth? if so -- YOU NEED TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH...or i'll have to knock you out so we can start this surgery..."

apparently my blood oxygen level was dropping b/c i was hyperventilating....

i was convinced i'd feel the first slice into my stomach.
i could feel them draping my legs and chest with sheets....
i could feel them rubbing my lower abdomen to feel where the baby's head was...
i could hear the doctor ask for the laser...
and i could smell my flesh as it was burning, giving way to the cauterizing tools, as they dug deeper to find my uterus.

i shook uncontrollably.
i'm not sure if it was the medication or my uncontrollable nerves.
chad had to basically hold my arm down b/c as i continued to reach for his hand, i shook so much.

twenty minutes later....
they're still digging. pulling. stretching. moving things.
i hear medical lingo...times being called out...."please hold this over here...pass me this....i need this suctioned....."

and then i heard a baby crying.....
it took me by such shock that i caught my breath and started bawling all at the same time.....
my baby...crying.
he was alive.
he was alive....
his lungs were at least minimally ok....his heart was beating....he was responsive....
omg...he was alive.

you know...i think it was even more shocking because you don't have any warning when it's going to happen. i think in a vaginal delivery, you see the baby get pushed see the doctor hold him watch him take that first breath and you expect to hear a scream.

i was staring at a white ceiling.
i had no clue where in the process we were.
i had a sheet blocking my vision. (thank God)
i had been waiting (er....sobbing) for 20 minutes wondering what was next....

and out of NOWHERE....a cry.
i used to roll my eyes when people would get ALL dramatic about hearing their baby's first cry...."best sound in the world...." "i fell in love that moment..." "i couldn't have asked for anything else..."

it's all true.
it's all more than true.
i was blown away by my own reaction. i almost scared myself with how emotional i became over it.

they left him inside of me, except for his head, for quite some time. they suctioned out his nose, his mouth....etc....while holding off on pulling him out completely.

when they finally did, they held him over the curtain so that we could catch a glimpse and they whisked him over to the NICU corner of the room, while they dried him off, weighed him, cut the cord (chad was never even offered that option, it was too "serious"...), and the cry started to fade away. apparently, he could cry, but it took too much effort from his immature little lungs to keep up the crying at that pace...and he wore out. so did his breathing. they shoved a bunch of tubes everywhere you can imagine, and tried to keep his stats up.

we were given 30 seconds to snap a few pictures, and he was gone before i could even say goodbye.

it takes them another 30 minutes to wrap up the surgery.
i was in agony.
my chest was burning PERFUSELY from something they injected into my abdomen and i have no idea why, but it was SO hard to breathe. i remember the doctor giving the ok to the nurses to knock me out at that point -- and they agreed to -- and it didn't work.

my adrenaline was beyond succumbing to some knock-out drugs.
i was in pain.
i was terrified for my baby.
i was just so so so upset.

they roll me into some post-op recovery room.
nobody is allowed in there but chad.
i'm told i have to stay here for 2 hours while they check my stats, change over my epidural, watch my blood flow (yeah, fun times) and determine if i have a fever, etc.

all while the rest of the world gets to go check on the baby....
my baby....who i only got to see for mere seconds.

after a few hours of lock down in recovery, they roll me into my post-partum room.
it's a nice room...much smaller than labor and delivery...and my friends and family around trickling in and out and it's all at that point.

i note to the nurse that i'm starting to feel some pain in my lower left abdomen.
she responds with "that's normal....some level of discomfort is normal....but your epidural is still in, and you should just press on that button, to administer more pain meds...."

i start pressing like crazy.
maybe i'm just a baby? maybe i can't handle pain?'s really starting to hurt.

but i was more driven to go see isaac.
i begged them to roll my bed to the NICU so i could look at him again.
they reluctantly agreed.

i remember being in the elevator...and the pain is escalating LIKE CRAZY in my abdomen.
why is it hurting SO BAD.
we arrive in the NICU.
my brain is on fire with pain.
we arrive in isaac's room.
i can't sit up. the pain is SEARING and slicing through my stomach....i can't see him....i'm trying....but the agony.....

i burst into tears, but can't really breathe b/c it involves moving my abdominal muscles....and the nurse realizes we have a serious problem.

without even so much as a glance in isaac's direction, my window of opportunity to see him passes me by.
they run my bed to the elevator and start paging anesthesiology. paging doctors. paging nurses. paging anybody who can come check on my epidural which is OBVIOUSLY failing me.

i think i pass out for a second from the pain.
b/c i don't remember going back to my hospital room.
i DISTINCTLY remember gasping for air and staring at the ceiling as i screamed out in pain, though. and watching chad pray in silence while grasping my hand....and watching nurses scramble for AN HOUR while we all waited for the head anesthesiologist.

FINALLY...somebody runs in....and pain pump that was directly attached to my epidural is JAMMED. so everytime i had pressed it for pain relief -- it administered NOTHING. essentially, i had had my stomach ripped open, a baby pulled out, and 2 hours later, my system had ZERO pain medications flowing through it. i felt as though my guts where being sliced out of my body OVER and OVER again with each breath that i would take....

i think i wished to was so horrendous.
they shoved the BIGGEST NEEDLE of something into my epidural line...and then another MASSIVE dose of something into my IV line....and stared at me, counting the seconds until i could communicate any relief.

it took 10 minutes for me to have the ability to focus on who was talking to me. to be able to take a breath. to be able to release my white knuckle grip on the sides of my hospital bed....

for me to realize, i still had not seen my baby again....

by this time it was early evening.
he was born at noon.
i floated between sheer exhaustion and utter devastation.
fortunately, my room was JAMMED with out of town friends and family and it was SO great to be able to celebrate with them. and they would bring me digital pictures of isaac, b/c chad was giving NICU tours all the while...

again....that part of the day is a blur.....
i remember eating pizza.
i remember them checking my bleeding.
i remember my epidural wasn't placed that perfectly b/c i could feel EVERYTHING above my belly button.

i remember the room spinning b/c i was so tired.
but once all the guests left and it was roughly 11pm....i begged them to roll my bed to the NICU so i could see my son....again....yet for the first time....

nobody was happy to oblige but since they knew i'd bring up the "broken epidural line" story, how could they tell me no.

i was given 5 minutes in his room.
2 nurses stared at me waiting for the go-ahead to roll me back down to my room.
breathing down my neck.
waiting for me to "get my fill" of my son, on his first day outside my body.
i stared at him through the plastic isolette.
i choked back tears....that huge lump in my i investigated the tubes and the wires and the needles.
he slept.
i couldn't really reach him from my bed, aligned next to his.

he couldn't have felt further away from me, had they flown him to china.
he went from being a part of my being dependant upon cold and clinical medical technology.
i felt so uneeded.
so unecessary.
so irrelevant, at that point.
he didn't even feel like he was mine anymore.....
i couldn't touch him.
hold him.
feed him.
comfort him.

it is hard to articulate or really explain.
it's just not how you imagine your baby's birthday to be.
but that's basically how the story goes.

i remember what it was like to see his name, written in ink, above his head.
i remember what it felt like to announce to the family, what is "top secret" name hear myself say it....almost like slow motion....
i remember that through the tears, i bossed chad around the operating room to take pictures at every second he could....even when i knew they'd be painful to look at ...even when i knew they weren't doing nice things to our baby....i wanted to remember every minute forever....
i remember the immense relief of knowing he was going to be ok...knowing the unknown surrounding this pregnancy was over....the comfort of being under the watchful eye of doctors....
i remember watching my friends file into my room after seeing isaac for the first time, reporting how gorgeous he was and how certain features of his, looked like mine.....

and though it wasn't on his birthday -- i'll never forget how, on the following day -- i climbed into a wheelchair and was taken down to the NICU and had isaac placed in my arms for th first time. he was so small....he was so covered in tubes....

...but he was mine.

i grew particularly fond of his 1am feeding.....
i would stroll my wheelchair down to his room, and give him his 1am feeding, and he'd be awake (of course he was, that was when he'd go bananas in my stomach!), and the lights would be off, outside of the glow of the monitors, and we'd be alone. he felt most like he belonged to me, during those hours. i'd stay in there until around 3am....just being with him...holding him....he'd be so wide-eyed and peaceful. unlike his sleepy self during the rest of the daylight hours.....

God is so good to us.
if it were mine to re-write, the story would be so altered.
so many things would be changed.
so many things done differently.
so many moments reversed.

but it's not mine.
and isaac's not mine.
and the story not's mine.

and therefore, i spend each moment i have, here at home, trying to redeem those lost moments on his birthday.
i rock him a few extra minutes after he falls asleep -- just because i can.
i try to keep him awake a few extra minutes in the afternoons -- just because i want to see the color of his eyes, one more time today....
i let him sleep in his swing all night -- just because i want him to be comfortable. he spent his first days so uncomfortable, that's worth it to us both to just give him his way today.

and i recognize that -- once again -- i have no control over my life and all that transpires in it.

and you know what?
i already forgot what it feels like to be pregnant.
and the pain of the surgery is a distant memory....
and the notions i held on to, get lost is the hustle of today's grind....

and God has a way of reminding us all that we have so much to be thankful for, which is exactly what washes over me each time i look at isaac.

who cares how he got here.
who cares how it didn't go the way i wanted.
who cares how upset it left me....

he's my wildest dream come true...he made me a mother...and all the rest is just left by the side of the road...

happy one month, isaac!!