Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ranty Pants

I figure I'm due for a rant.
The following contains a story about poop, and blood. some related, some not.

Couple things: Poor Lena's guts aren't loving the transition to formula. It's been sort of hard on her tummy and she can't poop. Marcus called me while I was at the gym last night and I could hear her screaming in the background. He said it was like watching a birth. I didn't ask too many details and I assume he thought that only from the expression on her face.
At her last doctor's visit, it was discussed that she should start solids to possibly help her pack on the pounds. I know everyone has their own opinion on this, but I'm going to go with what my girls' doctor says. We talked about rice, oatmeal and barley cereal and decided that oatmeal will be the best option for her, given her poop history.
It's been about 10 days since we've started straight up formula and some oatmeal she's totally backed up. I called the doctor today to get some pointers, and the person I spoke with gave me some really excellent advice!!!!!!!
I explained to her that she was in extreme discomfort so I went out and got her a glycerin suppository. The phone med tech said they only recommend prune juice, and it should work in 24-48 hours. Well, I'm sorry I broke your rule, but she had relief within 10 minutes and slept all night.
So then I asked if the oatmeal could be part of the problem and she said definitely and asked if I've tried rice cereal. I told her that I thought that was more binding and it's not a good option for her, and she said "you're probably right" and then said I might want to try barley. "It's a different type of rice, it's called barley."
Oh you mean it's not actually rice at all, and that it's barley? got it. I'm glad I'm learning so much from you right now.
I also asked about giving her water. I never thought thought water was recommended for young babies, but have read that it's a treatment. She said never give her water, but that sugar water is okay. I seriously don't trust anything this woman has told me.

The other thing: I had to have a health screening today for life insurance. Someone was going to come to my house and perform this screening and it'd take 25 minutes. She showed up about 30 minutes early, but it really wasn't a big deal. She didn't tell me her name and I thought it was sort of weird, especially when I introduced myself. I feel like if you're going to show up at someone's house and make them pee in a cup, you should at least tell them your name. Common courtesy. You want to collect a specimen? just tell me your name, that's all it takes. She asked some question which prompted me to answer "well, I had a baby 4 months ago" (don't remember the question) and she responded with "aw, babies are cute." My guess is that she must not have children because that's a really weird response.
She then had to take a few blood samples. I've never had trouble with blood draws before, and while they aren't pleasant, it's usually not a big deal for me. She wrapped the tourniquet around my arm and pinched the ever loving shit out of it. I looked at my arm and my skin was all folded and squashed and it left a purple spot. She's all "oh my, you have tiny veins!" and I've never heard that before, but whatever. She said it at least 4 times. "tiny." So she pokes me and it absolutely killed. I've never had it hurt like that before! But whatever, the worst is over, right? Nope. No blood. Until she took the needle out, then it was spurting all over the place. So she tried the other arm (same pinchy tourniquet) and missed again because it was "wiggly". Back to the first arm, nothing. I asked her if she felt a pulse earlier, she was not amused.
Back to the second arm, poke #4. Nada. No blood. I apologized (WHY?) and she had to keep finding more band aids, smaller needles, different vials, more gauze, and then she tried my hands, where they "wiggled" out of the way too. I told her this has never happened before, and maybe my insurance would accept labs from the last 6 months? I was hinting to her that enough was enough. I told her that we'd have a real problem if I couldn't pee in a cup and I'm not even real. Still not amused.
I'm pretty convinced I just a had a weirdo come to my house who doesn't know anything about performing those tasks that just wanted my blood and pee. I don't know her name and then she was off into the blizzard.

What a weird morning.

have you ever received less than professional medical care?
I don't trust phone staff ever since the one time I was told over the phone that she thinks I had a miscarriage, and no I don't need to see a doctor about it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Two Easy

Now that Charlotte is a two year old, she's really showing her true colors. Lucky for us, her colors are laid back, easy going, and holy cow I better not ever complain. 

While I totally know there are many challenges ahead, this girl is the reason why we wanted more kids. Charlotte definitely has her moments (sometimes those moments last a couple of weeks), but overall, she is just a little peach. People occasionally will sympathize and say how it must be exhausting having a two year old and a baby, and I gracefully choose to say, yes, it can be tiring. 

There are days like yesterday (where I found out a friend fell witness to the incident) where I needed to "quick" run into the store, and Charlotte was pissed. It was raining, puddles were everywhere, and as I was getting Lena out of the van, Charlotte plopped herself on the ground in a heap crying because she didn't want to go in the store. I parked right next to the cart thinger, only to have it completely empty, so I had to carry both girls into the store. Normally I wouldn't carry Charlotte, but she was having a meltdown and it was the only way to get her inside. Then her shoe fell off in the middle of the parking lot, so I had to bend down while holding toddler and infant carrier, and I put the shoe in the car seat. You would have thought I cancelled Christmas with the reaction of "giving Lena" the shoe. Once we got into the store, she zipped it up because I started singing the itsy bitsy spider. 

But most days are this: wake up around 9:30 after 13.5 hours of sleep. Enjoy breakfast all while telling me how "nummy" it is. Get ready, play with toys, head out of the house after Lena wakes up from her nap if we're feeling especially brave (or desperate), and then on the way home she tells me she's tired, and she goes upstairs and takes a 3 hour nap. 

There are tantrums, full on tears, snot and drool mixed together...this usually occurs around 5pm. There are days where she throws a bowl of cereal at me, and days where nothing can make her happy. But the moments of sweet innocent little girlness are far more common at this stage. I am writing this down so that one day, when she does a 180 and it lasts for so long I won't remember these days, there will be proof in writing that she used to be a sweet little girl.

Today we had lunch with my husband. She had the salad bar (free if you're under 5! our server actually asked if she was under 5.)  and her three plates consisted of raw broccoli, peas, strawberries, grapes, garbanzo beans, hard boiled eggs and diced ham. She was even calling the garbanzo beans "marshmallows" and was eating the peas by the handful. Where did she come from??

Charlotte loves to dance and I try to record it, but if she catches me, she runs up to my phone and looks to see, but of course there's nothing to see once she's behind it. She loves to cuddle, read, and pretend every toy is food. Some people build towers with blocks, she serves blocks up individually as cookies, cake and muffins. Rockets are her new favorite mode of transportation, and she has sound effects and talks about outer space. Probably because that's where she came from. 

Lena has a humidifier in her room and Charlotte thinks it's a rocket, and she never gets too close because she thinks it's hot. 

I might introduce her to the Astronaut Jones theme song. 

She loves her baby sister, and even when she gets sick of her, she's still nice.
Yesterday Lena kept putting her hand on Charlotte's leg, and Charlotte would slowly take it off and act as if nothing had happened.
K, you're touching me, but I'll see if you move on your own.

no? okay, I'm just going to slowly move your hand away.

I make the call on when it's hand holding time.

And while I might only be writing these nice things because of this "story" that Kara sent me, it's also because of this, that was shared by Betsy.

So if Charlotte being herself was enough for us to want another child and having Lena was enough to make us want to be done, you might think that's cruel, or that Lena is so difficult. But the truth is, *if* we are stopping at two, it's only because we can't imagine it going any better, so why tempt fate? 

If you have younger siblings do you think it's because your parents wanted another one like you, or because they thought they could do better? 
I'm the youngest because perfection was finally reached once I was born. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Getting Fit For Bathing Suit Season

You may think that the title of the post is for me. After all, I've been running, started up Insanity and attempt to get fit on a very occasional basis.
But it's not. It's for Lena. She's on a very strict diet and I finally have her down to just under 12 pounds at 4 months! She'll be looking great for our vacation in 5 weeks for sure!!

I kid.
Lena and Charlotte had a doctor appointment today and little Lena is exactly that. Little. She's in the 10th percentile for height and weight, and as I suspected over the last couple of weeks, she's quite hungry. I've been supplementing with bottles/formula for a couple of weeks, but it's time to just switch her over completely. I always said I wouldn't feel bad about being done with breastfeeding, but there's a little part of me that definitely does. Her ped is not concerned, so we'll see how she grows in the next two months. I have a feeling it will sky rocket with the recommended intro to solids too. Hopefully!

But the doctor's appointment went well overall. I had my husband meet me at the office because I wasn't sure I could handle two kids getting shots. Charlotte was not pleased initially, but I gave her some freeze dried strawberries and she shut her yap real quick.

Their ped seemed surprised that we hadn't been in since July and when I think about it, that's pretty awesome! We've all been so healthy it's easy to take it for granted. And when she asked about Charlotte's coordination, like if she trips or falls more than other kids, I laughed and said she's never actually gotten hurt. It's not like she sits around all day, she jumps and dances, but she's gotten like one bump on her head in 2 years and a scraped knee once. She sleeps a ridiculous amount and I was almost concerned about it, but the doctor was like "ENJOY IT." and told me to keep her in her crib until she's three. Fine with me!

Yah, this is not all that interesting, but it's just what's going on. High five for making it through.
You will be rewarded with this fascinating video of how two sisters can be so different.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Adventures in Babysitting

After we had Charlotte, we pretty much stuck to family for babysitting. We occasionally had a friend or a friend's sibling help us for those quick middle of the day things, but in general, we relied on our family. 

I was just a lot more comfortable with family, I knew they loved her and had her best interests in mind.
At the same time, I didn't want to take advantage of our family or ask that they come out to our house every time so Charlotte could sleep in her own bed.

Now that we have Lena, I've finally decided it's time to find some "outside" help. After asking around, I decided to post a job at the Calvin College job board. Within a week, I had 6 responses! I couldn't believe it. I didn't do any sort of major interview over email, but I basically asked if they were comfortable watching a younger infant because I know that's probably the most challenging part of it.


Of course, everyone said they were fine with it, but I still waited 6 weeks before I "hired" anyone. Over those 6 weeks, Lena has learned to put herself to sleep in her crib, but has also started waking up more in the last 2 weeks. So now I'm supposed to instruct someone who doesn't know my kid how to take care of her when I barely know how myself.

Last night was the first time we left both girls with a complete stranger. And let me just say, she made it easy to leave. When she arrived, Lena immediately grinned at her, and Charlotte said "hi" and was really excited about a new friend. Earlier in the day we had some friends over, and Charlotte played shy for the first hour, so I was really pleased to see how she warmed up right away. As I went over instructions and gave her a mini tour of the house, I knew it would go well...except I wasn't feeling completely confident with her knowing what to do with Lena. But come on. How could she?

me: Just swaddle her up and put her in her crib to sleep. She might whine at first, but she will go to sleep.
her: What do I use to swaddle her?
me: oh yeah.
So I had to show her the velcro swaddleme thinger and hope she was okay with pinning down her arms. It's not always easy if you don't have a baby and you feel like they "don't like it."

me: okay, so if she wakes up, which she probably will...maybe around 8...? or something? you can give her a bottle. If you want, you can give it to her in her room and see if she goes back to sleep....on second thought, you can just get her up if you want....she'll probably be up for an hour or so...I guess I don't really know...

How could I expect someone to know what to do given that crappy instruct? I told her I'd check in after Charlotte's bedtime and when I did, I just told her to trust her instincts with Lena because that's about all you can do.

We enjoyed our evening out, but of course I was curious how she was doing at home.
Over all, I think it went well. She left Charlotte's door open and she's right next to Lena's room, so when the sitter told me that Charlotte woke up a couple of times I was like "huh??" She hasn't done that in over a year.  But obviously when Lena was shrieking, it woke Charlotte up. And Lena stayed up until 10 or so, which isn't a huge deal. I was reeeeaallly hoping Lena would sleep like she has in the past when her grandparents have watched her. Without fail, she would sleep 8-10 hours after being babysat. Nope. Not this time. Worst night yet. She cried from 2:15-5:30. I really hope we're over this regression hump soon.
I will feel a lot more confident leaving her with someone once she has a solid bedtime, isn't crying it out, and is down for the night (or so).

It's a good thing I'm cute, huh?

Get over yourself. I hope you're a middle child someday. 

We currently have 2 gift cards left to some good date restaurants, so our plan is to have a babysitter when we go so it'll balance out the cost of a night out. 

When I babysat, I made about $3/hour. $5 was like the jackpot. I also walked to school uphill both ways.
man, I'm old.
Anyone know the going rate for babysitters? And can I pay them in Home Depot gift cards or old clothes I'm looking to get rid of?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Like Sand Through an Hourglass...

You know those little moments that just happen and you tell yourself  "I never want to forget this"?
Sometimes they happen and it's just a nice moment and that's all. Other times, you wish there was something you could do that would guarantee that you'll never forget. We recently watched some home videos of my husband and his family at Christmas from more than 25 years ago. There was nothing momentous about the footage, and there was little to no narration, but there's something about it that makes you feel warm and I imagine his parents would remember things that were long gone when they see the old recording.

In the last couple of weeks, Charlotte will occasionally snuggle in my bed before she goes to sleep. We moved the rocking chair into Lena's room, and Charlotte is still in a crib, so there isn't much place to have some downtime with her. Besides that, she's never been big on cuddling. A few nights ago, she climbed up onto our big bed and was the little spoon to my big and I read a couple of books and we talked. Well, I talked and she listened.
Tonight she wanted to recreate that and once she was on our bed, she flopped around like a fish because she couldn't figure out how we got into that perfect snuggle just a couple of nights ago. While she couldn't make herself become the little spoon again, she found another cozy position, laying with her head on my chest while looking at my face.

This was one of those moments.

Charlotte's second birthday is tomorrow. I haven't spent much time reflecting on this lately, just with the busyness of Christmas and the New Year, and of course just not prioritizing a birthday party like I did last year.
As she lay with her ear on my heart and her hand cupping my cheek, I couldn't help but want to stay in that moment for as long as possible. There's a part of me that thinks she wanted the same thing, but then again, maybe she was just avoiding bedtime. She's growing up and becoming a little girl, and some day she won't climb into my bed and snuggle. She won't study my mouth as I speak because she wants so badly to repeat the words I'm saying, she won't pat my back like I do to hers, and she won't ask that I sing her songs before bed.

No matter what I do, and how hard I try, there is no guarantee that I'll remember that moment forever. The best I can do is write it down and take a picture. And since my phone is almost always handy, that's exactly what I did. The memory might slip through the cracks some day, but just like those home videos of Christmases 25 years ago, when you come across them again, it all comes back.

So here's to hoping that in 25 years I might just be able to come across this post, and these photos, and have those warm feelings wash over me once again.

and to celebrate 2 years, a little reminder of our first moments too.

While I can't wait to see what the future holds for this sweet little child, I wish I could just keep her this way forever. xoxo my gentle, goofy, sweet, little Charlotte.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I Run For...

A couple of months ago I started "running" again. The range of reasoning to do so has greatly varied over the course of just a few weeks.
First, I was going to run because it felt good to not weigh a bajillion pounds after being pregnant.
Then it turned into training for some sort of make believe race that existed only in my mind because I couldn't commit to signing up for one.
After that, I ran to get out of the house and not feel like I was constantly giving myself to another living thing. It was very liberating.
Then it changed to getting in shape.
Finally, where I am now, it's for mental health. I've thrown away any other reason why I might be doing it. I'm not training for anything. I'm not trying to run faster or longer. I imagine over time, I would get slightly faster and be able to run longer without crying about it, but that's just an added bonus.

For now, I run to maintain regain my sanity. About 8 weeks after Lena was born, I crashed. The first several weeks were euphoric. Maybe even a little manic, but I didn't realize it. I felt so good. Too good. About two weeks postpartum, I got a call from the mental health nurse at the hospital just checking in, and I was all "pshht. this is a breeze. I feel like a super woman. I LOVE MY BABIES SO MUCH."  But I sort of started to crumble. At my 6 week check up, I expressed concern to my OB, but he actually blew me off! So I figured, it must not be that bad. Another week went by and I acknowledged and expressed my need for extra help from my husband and my mom. Not just help with the girls, but an understanding that I didn't have much control over my bizarre thoughts and moods.

I would say I tried coping for about 2 weeks but my anxiety, intrusive thoughts and endless sobbing were not getting better. It was getting much worse.
Little things would set me off and I couldn't get myself back together. I would show up to what should have been a fun girls night, but my eyes were all puffy from crying because I saw a cop on the side of the road and I was worried I would get pulled over for...nothing. Not speeding, not drinking, not anything. But I was wracked with anxiety over it.
It was the week of Thanksgiving and after a dinner out with some neighbor friends where we lightly discussed postpartum depression in an almost humorous way (as I tend to do), I returned the call to that phone nurse from many weeks ago. When she answered, I just burst into tears. I felt so foolish. She immediately told me what a remarkable thing I was doing by choosing to get better. I cried even harder. She was so, so helpful and helped to get me in the right direction.

With just a few days before we left on our Disney vacation, I was prescribed some meds and within those few days, I really started to feel a difference. When Lena cried, I felt like I could handle it. When there were toys strewn about the entire house I didn't want to burn the house down and move. When my husband didn't say "that was the most delicious dinner I've ever eaten" I didn't assume he was going to run off with some broad and start a new life. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but these were serious thoughts inside of my crazy head.

I'm stepping forward and speaking up because I KNOW this is a problem that many, many moms (and non moms!) face. But there's so much shame. I don't know why that is. If you tripped over your pant leg because of a unfortunate pants/heels combination and sprained your wrist, would you keep it a secret? Okay, maybe you would. But I wouldn't. You speak up and warn others that you should be careful if your pants have an open cuff and you wear a non-wedge heel that could get caught in there. You could save someone the embarrassment of falling in front of all of their co workers.

But I digress.

After I started sort of bringing it up to some old friends, and some new, I learned that postpartum depression and anxiety is super common (but not any less serious because of it) and that like going for a run without children, it's very liberating to talk openly about it.
At 15 weeks postpartum, I'm feeling much better, and a little more in control. I don't hesitate to ask for help, and I refuse to be a martyr. If you ever feel like you are in this same boat, don't be shy or embarrassed. Speak up, and if you don't know where to start, just send me an email and I'd be happy to chat.

While I normally try to keep things lighthearted, I felt it was important to bring this topic to light as well.
It's sort of a big step for me to put this completely out there, even though I am a chronic over sharer. So even a high five via the interwebs is encouraging.

Here's to a happy, healthy 2013!