Friday, March 28, 2014

One year later

Yes, it's been a year since I last posted.

I won't bore you with too many details, but so much has changed!

I am due any day now with #2, a boy! We are so excited to meet him and are anxiously awaiting his arrival. Similar to S, we haven't 100% committed to a name but the major contenders are Carter, Miles and Reid.

Samantha is amazing. She has so many incredible characteristics and truly amazes me each and every day. She is 15 months old and each day is learning and doing something new. It has been amazing to be able to witness it.

Work has changed significantly. My office that was once 3 miles away moved. Now my commute would go from around 10 minutes to 1.5-2 hours each way. Thankfully, they offered severance packages to those who decided the commute was too much. I was very fortunate in that my end date coincided well with my maternity leave, and am drawing a generous severance package. I have really enjoyed my work and this company, but knew the commute would be difficult with one child and impossible with two.

Those are my major updates for now. I hope to get back into the swing of writing, so I will post again soon!

Monday, April 1, 2013

MSPI - Milk/Soy Protein Intolerance

Samantha is growing fabulously; perfectly following the growth curve and remaining in the 60 percentile for weight. In the last week, we found out that she has blood in her stool which is indicative of a cow’s milk protein allergy. Because of this, I need to completely alter my diet to avoid all things dairy so that the protein isn’t passing to her through my breast milk.

At first I was pretty bummed about it because I LOVE cheese. And ice cream. And sour cream. Heck, I love all dairy. I was even more upset when I realized that there is hidden dairy in what seems like everything. Mr.A asked me if I would prefer to transition her to formula, but I am committed to making breastfeeding work. Plus, we couldn’t do the normal formula that I have tons and tons of samples and coupons for, we would need a specialized formula to meet her needs while also avoiding cow’s milk.

I’ve done a fair bit of research on MSPI (the formal name for her allergy/intolerance) and am finding that many children have much more severe symptoms than S is exhibiting.  Therefore, we are hopeful that she has only a mild intolerance. The doctor has said that I can start to reintroduce some hard cheeses into my diet in a couple of months. If she does well with that, I will be able to slowly incorporate dairy back into my diet.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Just like birth, I’ve heard stories from many seasoned moms about how difficult breastfeeding can be. I knew I wanted to try my best to make it work for us, but also that in the end feeding my child was the most important thing.

It took S a little more than 2 weeks to regain her birth weight and it was stressful not knowing if I was producing enough for her needs. It was always incredibly difficult at night when she would cluster feed every 45 minutes to an hour, which wouldn’t give my body the time it needed to produce more milk. Eventually, Mr.A and I devised a plan where he would give her a bottle of pumped milk at night just before bed which would give her enough milk to last her a couple of hours. Once we began doing this, she would seem much more content, go to sleep easier and earlier, and sleep more than just a couple of hours. This gave him time to bond with his daughter in the evenings, as well as giving me a much needed respite.

Thankfully our pediatrician was incredibly supportive and encouraged me to be more confident with breastfeeding. Also, a friend is an LC and was also very helpful and supportive in those early weeks. Once we got over the 2 week hump, everything began to come more naturally and also became much less painful.
Once she passed her initial growth spurts and my milk supply seemed to stabilize, her evening cluster feeding decreased substantially allowing me to keep up with her needs plus more.

She has begun to sleep for 4-6 hour stretches in the night which is wonderful since I get more than a couple of hours of sleep at a time, but also painful because I become incredibly engorged. I’ve been fortunate in that I can feed her in the middle of the night and still pump and additional 4 or so ounces. This has allowed me to build up a freezer stash of milk which can be used for while I am at work, away for an evening or even potentially a couple of days.

While at work, I have also been pumping but am pumping more than double what she consumes in the same time period. For now, I’ve just been saving what she needs for the following day, and freezing the remainder.
Fortunately, I have not had many issues with breastfeeding and even credit it with my rapid postpartum weight loss. I am guessing that she is getting more than enough, because she is growing so quickly already. Her length was nearly off the chart the last time we were at the pediatrician, and her weight is following the appropriate curve at around the 60th percentile. I am so thankful that things have worked out up until now, and am hopeful that we will make it to at least 6 months, if not a year.  

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cloth Diapers

We have been exclusively using cloth diapers since S was 5 weeks old, and I am really happy that it has worked out as well as it has. Mr.A was never completely sold on the idea, but reluctantly agreed once I told him that I wouldn’t expect his help with the washing/drying/stuffing, and the change from disposables should be nearly transparent.

The majority of our CD stash are one size Bum Genius 4.0s (pockets), with a handful of sized 3.0s in small and medium. I also have a couple of Alva one size pockets which I use regularly and really like considering how cheap they were.

The majority of my CD stash are “Seconds” with minor cosmetic flaws, so I was able to buy the new diapers for about 50% off. I’ve come to learn that I love bamboo inserts, and have purchased both bamboo and microfiber/bamboo hybrid inserts from Alva for a very reasonable price. Some other items I’ve purchased are small, medium and large wetbags, a diaper sprayer (unused currently, will likely need to begin using when we start S on solid foods), as well as the diapers and inserts. I am unsure of the exact cost of all of my diapers and supplies, but am guessing that I’ve spent roughly $400 on everything.

Considering that a large box of Pamper diapers is around $45, and would last us approximately 2-3 weeks, we should break even with the cost of CDing when S is around 6 months old. I am hopeful that these diapers will last her through potty training, and that we will also use them for subsequent children therefore saving money and helping preserve the environment by not producing extra waste.

Some people argue that CDs aren’t any better for the environment because of the extra water and energy needed to wash them every 2-3 days. I completely disagree with this since we have a high efficiency washer which only uses a couple of gallons of water per load and we line dry.

Everyone thought I was crazy when I told them I wanted to do cloth diapers. I will admit that it has been a little more difficult keeping up with everything now that I am back to work, but I intend to keep it up and am thrilled so far with them.

Back to Reality

Maternity leave is officially over, and I am back to work and the real world. 

Samantha is growing like a weed! She is 10 weeks old, and already in 6m sleepers! She is in the 90th percentile for height, and 60th in weight, so even though 3m clothes are big around, her little toes curl up in the feet because she is so tall.

We are so fortunate that my mom was able to come stay with us and will be watching S during the day while I work until May. This will allow me to ease into being away from S, and help me get more comfortable with the idea of a nanny, in-home day care, or day care center. Thinking about putting her into day care makes me extremely anxious, but I know it is a necessary evil at this point in our lives.

I’ve said over the last couple of months that I would have to wait and see how the work transition went and then decide if I would want to stay at home. Well, I returned to work yesterday on a great day where the company announced their 2012 earnings and their plans for growth. I’ve been offered a promotion, raise and bonus structure; as well as an incredibly generous 401k match. In addition, while I was on leave, they sent a “new mom” package with baby clothes, blankets, towels and let me know that they had opened up a 529 account for my daughter and deposited the first contribution.

I’ve realized that I would be a fool to give up this career or this company. They provide a fantastic work/life balance, they challenge me, give me opportunity for growth, reward me and encourage me. They also have a positive impact on the community around us and give employees paid time off to work with charities around the metro area.

This company is aligned with my morals, values and beliefs, unlike anyone I had ever worked with before. I have decided that I am staying, now if I could convince them to allow me to bring S with me to work…..

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Goodness! I am not sure what I expected, but this is pretty difficult.

Right after S was born, we had family in town. Our families stair stepped but we had company constantly for more than 2 weeks, save a couple of hours between outgoing and incoming flights. With all the company, we had some difficulty establishing a routine; well that and the fact that we have a newborn and she is resistant to routines. With all of this it took me almost two weeks to finish her birth story. Needless to say, I haven't really had time to write blog entries, heck I haven't hardly had time to shower!

The little angel is sleeping at the moment, so I wanted to take a minute to write.

First, as a first time mom, I had quite a few "rules" that I absolutely-positively would not break. Surprise, surprise. I broke them.

A lot of people buy Rock-n-Plays with the intention of their newborn sleeping overnight in their room. I didn't because RnPs are only approved for "supervised sleep" (aka naps) and are not recommended for overnight sleep. So when the Pack N Play bassinet didn't work out for S, we moved her directly to her crib. We were able to keep her in her crib for about a week or so, but then she would wake up immediately as soon as we would lay her in it.

Every night, I've continued to try to put her down in her crib, but she won't stay asleep in it longer than 30 minutes to an hour. So every night, Mr.A will bring her swing upstairs, put it next to my side of the bed and S will sleep there. Talk about a device that is not approved for overnight sleep. Sigh. Oh well, it works and allows us all to get at least a few hours of sleep during the night.

Another rule I made was that I would never nurse S in the side laying position in bed and absolutely would not bring S into our bed. Broken x2 and simultaneously. I did this out of desperation and surprise, surprise, I feel asleep while she was nursing. Thankfully Mr.A was awake and put her back into her swing, but then panic ensued when I awoke and couldn't find her. Double sigh.

This whole being a mom thing is not easy, and anyone who says it is, is a lying liar who lies. S is a pretty good baby. She isn't incredibly fussy, but does often turn into a werewolf at night and usually has one or two meltdowns before finally falling asleep. We've really had to adjust our schedule around her this last month changing our bedtime from around 9:30 every night to around 11:30 or midnight. I am just hoping that in the next month or two we can establish a better nighttime routine so that I am able to function when I return to work.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Birth Story

Mr. A and I went to our 39w appointment on Monday, December 17th and met with Dr.R. Since baby girl had been measuring 2-3 weeks ahead throughout the majority of my pregnancy, and her movement had slowed significantly in a short period of time, he was uncomfortable waiting too much longer for her arrival. He checked her heartbeat on the Doppler which was perfect. He was happy with my progress, being at 3cm and 80% effaced and stripped my membranes.
We scheduled baby girl’s induction for Tuesday morning, December 18th at 5am.
Tuesday morning, Mr.A and I arrived at the hospital, checked in, completed some paperwork and prepared to get the show on the road. I was hooked up to the monitor right away, which showed sporadic contractions. They hooked me up to the IV to begin fluids and started Pitocin around 6:15.
The Pitocin worked pretty quickly, and I began to have more consistent contractions around 7-8 minutes apart. At first they were more of a tightening feeling with little pain. I could talk and laugh through them without issue.
0700: The nurses switched and I met my new nurse, Edwij (ed-weej – it is French). I was a little apprehensive at first since I adored my first nurse, but Edwij was such a sweetheart it didn’t take long to realize that she was pretty awesome.
0745: My contractions were 3 minutes apart, but still not very painful. At this point, Mr.A and I thought that the height of the “mountain” on the monitor signified the intensity of the contractions. Since some of my “mountains” were fairly high, I was pretty sure that I was a rock star with a high pain tolerance, handling difficult contractions with ease.
Edwij came in to show me some instruments that they may use at some point throughout the day and explained the IUPC. The IUPC is a monitor about the diameter of a pipe cleaner that could be inserted into my uterus and measure the intensity of my contractions. This is when I realized that the external monitor couldn’t and wasn’t accurately showing intensity.
0900: My contractions were beginning to get stronger and I was starting to have back pain. Dr.R came in to check me and break my water. At this point, I had been having contractions of some variety for about 3 hours and was hopeful when he checked that I would have made at least a little progress. Nope. Still at 3cm. Edwij increased my Pitocin and the doctor stated that he wanted it increased every 20 minutes.
After my water was broken and the Pitocin increased, contractions became significantly more painful and were coming around 2 minutes apart. I really wanted to wait until I progressed a bit further to ask for the epidural since I had heard that it can sometimes stall labor.
1023: My contractions were becoming more and more painful, and were only about 1 minute apart. It was becoming more difficult to breathe through them since they were so close together and I wasn’t getting much rest between them. I decided to give in and ask for an epidural.
Edwij explained that they would need to push 1000ccs of IV fluids before the anesthesiologist could place the epidural so it would likely be 40 minutes to an hour before the anesthesiologist would come in.  
Edwij offered me a pain medication in the interim called Phentanol but said that it would make me and baby sleepy. I didn’t like the thought of baby being affected by the medicine, so I declined.
1045: After several very painful and some overlapping contractions, I gave in and asked for the Phentanol. Edwij administered it through my IV and it took affect pretty quickly. It helped take the edge off the contractions while I waited, but unfortunately the relief only lasted 20-30 minutes before it wore off completely. Even more unfortunate than that, shortly after it was administered I began vomiting.
1130: Anesthesiologist came in and epidural was placed.
More vomiting.
1200: Epidural is a success and I feel very little pain from the contractions! Edwij came back in to insert my catheter and check my progress. I was happy to hear that I was 5cm; finally some progress!
12:15: Both legs felt like they were 500 lb tree trunks and I needed help from Mr.A and my mom to change positions at all. I was vomiting again and also realize that my left leg is completely lame and numb.
1230: Dr. R came in and stated that he wanted to insert the IUPC to measure the significance of the contractions and would also check my progress. Dr. R was happy to see my progress, now at 6cm. He said he estimated that she wouldn’t arrive until late evening based on how I had progressed thus far.  
From 12:30 until 2:45, I just hung out with my mom and Mr.A. I was comfortable and would occasionally ask if I was having a contraction because I could feel the tightening feeling in my belly. I continued to get sick intermittently.  
3:00: I started getting a little uncomfortable and began having some back pain. I wondered if things were progressing since I was feeling different.
3:15: I am going to quote Mr.A’s notes directly. “Dr. came in and checked, apparently baby is ready to go! All the barfing helped push baby down. The team is being assembled.” I am officially 10cm and ready to push!
3:20: Edwij wants to try to practice pushing while we wait for the “team”. Mr.A (who said he would never look) sees the head, she is crowning! Edwij calls the nurses’ station to assemble everyone while we waited for the Dr. to return. Edwij makes me stop pushing and wait.
3:49: During the second push, Dr. R had to stop me because he wasn’t prepared for her to come so quickly and needed to reach for something.
3:50: Healthy baby girl born with lots and lots of hair! She is 8lbs even, and 20.5 inches long.
The nursery nurse was wonderful and gave me my slimy, perfect baby girl immediately just as I had wanted. I began crying instantly. I couldn’t believe that this beautiful baby girl was mine. They let Mr.A and I meet our baby girl for the first time, and evaluated her while she was on me skin to skin.
I ended up with a second degree tear from the birth, maybe from my quick transition and delivery.  Dr. R continued to work on me while Mr.A and I met our beautiful, teeny, tiny daughter for the first time. It was so emotional seeing our perfect little girl. It is an incredible feeling knowing that we somehow created something, someone, so perfect and also that she somehow fit inside of me.  
Baby girl still didn’t have a name until late that night when Mr.A wanted to send his official “she’s been born” picture/text to our family and friends and needed to know her name. We had discussed a few possibilities leading up to her birth, but I had not wanted to decide until I saw her.

Our beautiful, perfect daughter's name is Samantha Grace.

My birth experience and recovery were/have been much better than I anticipated. The contractions are seriously no joke, but once I got the epidural I was good to go.
The only negative things about my experience were the vomiting and the fact that my left leg went completely numb from the epi and it took quite a few hours to wear off. Because of this I needed a lot of assistance shifting in bed, moving at all and going to the bathroom. Mr.A saw and learned a lot more about human anatomy, birth and pads than he ever wanted to know, but took it all in stride.