And, this one is for the ladies...Scotty really seemed to like his shirt. I kept telling him to put it down, but he really wants to show off those washboard abs. (haha). Future Chippendale? Let's hope not.
Whoops. Forgot to mention Scotty's four month stats -- and of course, the obligatory picture.
The little bear weighed in at a hefty 18lbs, 7 oz. He is now 26 inches long and his head circumference is 17 and 3/4 inches. Whatever we are feeding this child seems to be working! Although I think his major growth spurt (like the one from months 2 to 3) is now over, for the most part. He was 17lbs, 3oz at 3 months, so he really only put on about 20oz in the last thirty-one days or so. *only* 20oz.
And, this one is for the ladies...Scotty really seemed to like his shirt. I kept telling him to put it down, but he really wants to show off those washboard abs. (haha). Future Chippendale? Let's hope not.
Sorry that I haven't been posting very much...it seems like the days are flying by and writing has taken a backseat to everything else in my life. I'm sad to say that this will be the last post for 2009, as Brian, Scotty and I jaunt off to the frozen Midwest (::eeeeeeeeeeeee!::) for Christmas with my family. I am BEYOND excited about the trip, although the logistics of getting there rival nothing short of a full scale military operation. I'm actually really quite surprised that more moms don't enlist at some point, since our organization skills would win wars in a matter of seconds. At this rate, I feel fairly confident that I could both get our troops out of Afghanistan AND make a mean batch of Snickerdoodles, all in the same afternoon.
Anyways, I wanted to thank everyone for reading my wee little blog this year. Blogs don't exist without readers (*actually, they do, but why debate semantics?) and I've read every single comment and every single email that you've sent and please know I appreciate the time you've taken to be interested in our lives out here. 2009 has, by far, been the best, most exciting, scariest, strangest, most eye-opening, and most adrenaline-fueled year of my life. It was on December 29th, 2008 that I found out I was pregnant, and I remember thinking, "Wow, this year ahead is going to be a big one!" Um, understatement of the year. Decade, perhaps. I don't think anything could have prepared me for the ups (Scotty! Ben!) or the downs (jaundice! Emma! our ghetto neighborhood!). A little part of me is relieved that a lot of the drama appears to be over (please knock on a piece of wood near you, right now) and we're hoping 2010 is a happy, fruitful, drama-free year full of Scotty milestones and adorable baby moments (and perhaps, maybe, fingers-crossed, a new house, too).
I feel like I've grown by leaps and bounds this year. I learned that bedrest sucks, but you can make the best of it. I learned that breastfeeding is intensely complicated, but pumping is a good alternative. I learned that catheters suck but...nothing. They just suck.
I learned that pets are wonderful but cannot and will never compare to a child. I also found an amazing friend in my sister, with whom I talk almost daily. I am so, so thankful/grateful/excited that we get to take this journey of Motherhood together, literally taking each step at exactly the same time. I found a new respect for my parents and everything they have done (and continue to do) for Brian and I. I found walking away from my job is a lot easier than I ever imagined, and being a parent is seriously the hardest, most exhausting job ever.
I feel so thankful that everything turned out okay, too, this year. It was on New Year's Day when I started to have unexplained bleeding with the pregnancy, and I remember thinking, "Oh my god, it's over before it even began." Somehow, someway, things managed to right themselves and that little baby bump eventually became our little Bear. Brian and I were talking last night and we both agreed that while our lives were so much easier and more uncluttered before the arrival of Scotty, we wouldn't trade anything in the world for that convenience since we love our little guy so much. It's more work that I anticipated but when Scotty smiles or laughs or buries his face in my chest, I can't help but laugh or snuggle back. He truly is the best of both Brian and I.
I hope, too, that if anything, I've been honest in this blog and that honesty comes through. Motherhood isn't all cuddly babies and raspberries; it's a freaking ton of work, complete with gallons of spit-up, dirty diapers, sleepless nights and more breastmilk than you ever thought possible. I've never been one to 'put on a good face' - if I'm upset, there's a very good chance that you (and the rest of North America) knows it. I don't ever want to come across as something I'm not, so thanks for being with me even when this blog was hard to read or uncomfortable at times. If this blog was helpful to new moms or pregnant folks or hell, even folks without kids, than it was all worth it.
So, I'm raising my glass of champagne (figuratively) and wishing you and yours the best this holiday season. Thanks for reading, and we'll see you next year!
Again, I can't believe it's been so long since I've blogged. I'm blaming this on the holiday season. If I'm not hanging the stockings by the chimney with care, I'm probably roasting chestnuts on an open fire, leaving very little time to write.
Ha! Actually, none of that is true. We have neither a chimney nor a fire to roast chestnuts. No, my time has been taken up with posing the little guy for ridiculous Christmas cards (see below) and attempting to tease my hair into a beehive (ala Betty Draper) for Brian's Christmas party. Lots' o 'fun, let me tell you.
In all seriousness, things here have been business as usual. I made a huge *HUGE* gaffe with breastmilk the other day. In September, this would have sent me over the edge. But now that I'm sleeping better (i.e. Scotty is sleeping better), I'm only reducing to a weeping mess for about 3 minutes. This is a 27-minute improvement.
Anyways, for those of you who have lactated/are lactating or plan to lactate...read this and weep, too.
So on Thursday, I woke up at 5am. Pumped. Managed to eek out 8 ounces (sweet!). Scotty had 4 ounces at 6am and I saved the other four for his next feeding. He was up again at 8am and had another two ounces. I had (another) appointment with George at 10am, so I combined those two ounces with my 9am pump and headed out the door.
Well, Scotty fell asleep in his carseat on the way home from the appointment. I mean, totally gone. Sleepy-bear in Sleepyland. We've installed his 'Bundle-Me' in his carseat, and this child went from hating his car seat to loving it. (A Bundle-Me is this soft, fleecy piece of fabric that covers the baby during winter months, so you don't have to dress them in some crazy snow suit/massive blankets. It's like God's gift to car-seat hating babies.) So he slept from 11am until 1:30pm. I started looking at breast milk from 5am with trepidation since this was going on 8+ hours of being un-refridgerated. I'm fairly lenient about breast milk at room temperature - like everything in Motherhood, there is no exact number of hours that it is good for, but lots and lots of speculation. I'll go as long as 5-6 hours, as long as the milk looks and smells okay. But this was really pushing it.
So I set the milk I pumped at 12:30pm on the counter and dumped the milk from that morning. I was so caught up in the fact that I had just *sniffle* wasted four precious ounces of breastmilk that I didn't realize I had dumped the 12:30pm milk instead...yes, the milk I just made.
Eight wasted ounces. Four ounces that were user error (my fault for not refridgerating them) and another FOUR good OUNCES DOWN THE DRAIN. Literally. It was one of those, 'Oh my god, did I really...I did. I did. I did!" Cue the sobs.
In typical form, I called Brian at work, practically hysterical. He talked me off the ledge and then I paced the house for awhile, beating myself up.
Thankfully, I got over it. (cookies helped). But then I started thinking about our upcoming trip back home (::squeal!::) and how I was going to cart all of this breast milk on the plane. I mean, after the new security regulations back in 2006, I was almost apprehended at the security checkpoint in the Philadelphia airport due to the massive number of lip glosses in my purse. I'm not joking. I was flying home from Jen's (mom to Rowan) wedding and that whole 'mix-it-on-the-plane' terrorist plot had just happened. The woman at security told me to either dump all 24 of my MAC lipgloss (um, why don't you just rip my fingernails off?) or go back to the counter and CHECK my purse. Again, I credit Brian for this, because although we had arrived at the airport separately (he was on the East Coast for work so we had two rental cars), he, inexplicably, arrived at the security gate right as I was about to give the security woman a piece of my mind. (note to self: not a good idea). He talked me down (again) and convinced me to walk back to the counter and check my purse, thus salvaging the $200 worth of gloss I had accumulated AND saving me from possible jail time.
Anyways, I have since reviewed every single TSA website and memorized the 3-1-1 rule (with breast milk, baby formula, and medication being the exception). I'm praying that McCarran security will not make me taste the breast milk (eww) or worse, POUR it out at the gate. As I was telling Brian, "If they make me dump it out, I will seriously go postal." And again, my better half had an appropriate come-back: "Yes, because going postal at an airport security gate is always a good idea." He turned to Scotty and said, "Because we (meaning himself and Scotty) will be visiting Mom in jail on Christmas."
I hate it when he's right.
GanstaBoy, in our brief conversation last night, asked how "baby Stevie" was doing. I told him baby Stevie was great. Just great.
The weather here in Vegas was just terrible today. It was about 45 degrees and rainy. People actually cancel appointments when it rains. It's like the Midwestern equivalent of an ice storm. I guess when you live in the desert, anything that falls from the sky is slightly disturbing.
Two scary events happened today...
First, my breast pump died! I cannot tell you how traumatic this was. I had an inkling that his days were numbered but the actual end was unexpected and rather tragic. I mean, Mr. Medela Lactina has been with me through a lot. Scotty's ambulance ride. Scotty's second homecoming. My re-lactation. DairyGate. I have probably spent more time with this pump than my own husband.
Medela Lactina had been wheezing for about a week now, and after a quick review of systems, my (very basic) diagnostic test came back positive for motor failure. The little guy managed to eek it out through my early morning pump (usually a 30+ minute adventure) but by noon, he had joined the other good breast pumps in the sky. I packed Scotty in the warmest outfit I could manage (onesie, pants, sock, sweater, and I installed his 'Bundle Me' in his car seat) and headed out to the lactation center. Thankfully, the women at the front desk didn't ask too many questions (like, how often did you use this? I would have had to reply, "At least six times a day for the past four months, usually averaging 20-30 minutes per pump. That comes out to approximately 15,725 minutes of use. Yes, I used the beejesus out of your pump. And thank you for giving this to me for free" -- which, inexplicably, they 'scholarship-ed' us the pump so we haven't paid a dime -- "as I now return it to you, deader than a doornail. Sorry about that.")
I was given a replacement pump and quickly hightailed it out of the center before they could plug the old guy back in. The less questions, the better.
(In my defense, I did try to get Scotty back on the boob...it just never worked. I'm sure these pumps are not made for in the insane amount of use I have put them through, but what's a girl to do? Scotty's gotta eat.)
And so, R.I.P., Medela Lactina Serial Number 309485. You will be missed. XOXO.
And the second scary thing to happen today...
Just as I was preparing to pump (honest! My whole life really does revolve around pumping), there was a knock at the door. Now, many of you would probably think, "Hmm. There have been some shady folks in Kim's life lately. Weird people in the neighborhood. You would think she would learn her lesson and not answer the door." You would think.
But I swear, I was a cat in another lifetime, and yes, we all know how it ended after that bout with curiosity. Thankfully, I hadn't started pumping yet and when I looked through the peephole, I was practically blinded by the green and gold figure standing on the porch. Yes, GanstaBoy was back. The Packers were on Monday night and GanstaBoy was wearing his colors. How could I forget?
He, again, asked if Brian was home. At least this time I didn't have to lie - Brian was still at work. (he was taping the game, but I casually omitted that fact.) GanstaBoy then proceeded to tell me about his job ("It's going great!"), his wife ("Well, we're not married yet, but I still call her my wife." I snorted and told him that once you're married, it's not going to feel nearly so clever), and the Packers' season. He still looked a little too eager for my liking (no, there is NO chance I will turn on football if Brian is not in the home, and there is NO CHANCE IN HELL I will invite GanstaBoy in if Brian is not home) so I rather bluntly told him that DirecTV is offering all kinds of holiday specials and he should look into. I have no idea if that is even true, but it was worth a shot. He got the hint (?) and left.
I'm off to curl up on the couch and watch a tape-delayed Packer game (yaaaaay. Not really). This storm is moving east, so it looks like it will touch all of us. Be sure to stay warm!
How in the world is it already Sunday? This weekend has flown by, hastened by the fact that I actually worked on Friday. Well, kind of. I was forced to face the outside world for approximately eight full hours. This involved kissing the Bear good-bye (::sob::) and hanging up the stretchy yoga pants in favor of...jeans. So, yeah, don't cry for me yet, I only had to attend a CEU. The day I actually face clients...well, that will be a terrifying day indeed. (when, and if, that day ever comes).
For those of you who are not familiar with CEUs, it stands for "Continuing Educational Credits." Brian has to complete CLEs (Continuing Legal Education), doctors have...something, and we therapists need CEUs to keep our license current. Considering this is the first CEU I've attended since the year began (whoops), I am woefully behind. I only need to make up (gulp) 14 more credits before 2009 ends. I'm planning to put my license on inactive status, so maybe the MFT board will look upon me kindly and with empathy. (I mean, I did not anticipate limited activity as of 17w, bedrest at 25w, and then CatheterGate/SwaddleGate/PoopGate post-delivery.) And yes, I plan to beg for their mercy if they don't accept my measly 6 credits.
But, as per the speaker on Friday, it's important to share what I learned during my eight hour seminar. So, consider the following:
1.) I learned that I'm not quite sure I want to continue in the therapy profession. This epiphany hit me as soon as I picked up my workbook and shuffled into the conference room and slid into a seat closest to the door in the back. (I'm sorry, my motivation to be there was zero. I had only slept about 3 hours the night before. I can't even blame the lack of sleep on Scotty - no, it was all my fault. My excitement over not being on night shift [Brian had taken the day off of work and was Mr. Mom] literally kept me up all night. By 3:45am, when Brian got up with the baby, I felt like screaming and crying, "I want a do-over! It's not fair! I haven't slept at all!" [ahh, maturity.] But instead, I grabbed my pillow, headed to the guest bed where I wouldn't hear the crinkly static of the monitor, and proceeded to pass out until 6:28am. Brian woke me up with a concerned look on his face. "Aren't you supposed to be up by 6am?" he asked innocently. This resulted in me flying out of bed, expletives falling out of my mouth as I banged into the shower, threw some soap on my body, jammed a toothbrush in my mouth, and put the wrong contacts in. I then proceeded to pump while crying and then flew out the door with coffee stains already on my shirt, still sniffling from having to say good-bye to Scotty and frantic to miss rush hour traffic. See, people? I am not cut out for the working world.)
I try to never make eye contact with other people at these kinds of events. In a room full of therapists, you are just asking to get involved in a conversation you don't want to be in (and a conversation you can't get out of). But as I gazed around (more in search of the free continental buffet than anything), it hit me: I don't look like anyone in this room. It was a packed house, too. There appeared to be two kinds of people: women in their 50s that wore half-glasses and filmy scarves, and older men with beards and overly-enthusiastic handshakes. No one was my age. No one matched my demographics in any way shape or form. Where was the young 30-crowd wearing jeans and a fleecy pull-over? Where was the pony-tail crowd? Anyone else have spit-up on their shoulder?
I have to admit, this revelation is on top of the fact that I haven't been happy as a therapist for several months. Since maternity leave started, I've absolutely loved not having to worry about BPDs calling my cell at 10pm on a Saturday to tell me their suicide plans. Or marital couples screaming at each other in session. Or bipolar clients who continutally miss appointments but have all the excused in the world. Clients aside, I've never really felt 100% comfortable as a therapist. I don't have that global do-gooder attitude that so many of my colleagues possess. I don't have unending patience. I don't even really like most people, to be totally honest. I'm just not that nice of a person. Which, sadly, is kind of necessary to be a therapist.
And this was confirmed on Friday. The woman next to me, oblivious to my anti-conversation vibes, started talking to me. She had that post-40, bleach-blonde-hair-divorced-this-is-second-career-so-I-can-prove-to-my-ex-husband-that-I-can-make-it-on-my-own look to her. She asked me where I worked, and I told her I was currently (and forever...) on maternity leave. She asked if I was licensed. (Strike one). When I told her yes, I've been practicing for almost eight years and have been licensed for five, her eyebrows almost raised off of her face (they would have, had it not been for the Botox. Must have been a good settlement).
(For those of you who don't know, I've constantly been questioned about 1.) my age and 2.) my marital/family status since the day I started practicing. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to feel like you have to justify yourself to clients for factors that are beyond your control. I think most people go into Counseling Psych as a second career, which means they look older and more seasoned instantly. I, however, got into the profession at the ripe old age of 22 and have never been able to live this down).
I then saw Bleachie check out my wedding ring, almost as verification of what I had just told her. Part of me was flattered (wee! I look young!) but another part of me was just irritated. I am sick of always being the youngest in the room, the youngest in the practice group, when in reality, I don't even think I'm that young. I'm 31 here, people. I may not remember World War II or qualify for the AARP discount, but I do have some life experiences under my belt. However, I definitely am a different generation than my fellow-CEU collegues. Case in point: the aforementioned filmy scarf-wearers forgot to turn their cell phones off and the phones proceeded to go off at various intervals throughout the day. Each had the loudest, most annoying ring. Each scarf-wearer had the same reaction, too: Oops! Oh my! Is that me? [long pause] Oh, it is me! Let me turn off my phone! How do I turn off my phone? Gosh darn it, where is that darn button...? Which button is it? [fumbling] [more fumbling] [phone finally, blessedly, goes to voicemail.] Oh! [click].
So, yeah. Friday made me think about what my life would be like if I was not a therapist but instead, a...writer. (a good writer, not a spew-it-out-on-my-blog writer, which is the kind I am now.) Jen Lancaster did it...J.K. Rowling did it. Stephanie Meyers did it. (yeah, those last two women currently are richer than the Queen of England. Good think I set my sites high.)
Hmm...what would a writers conferences look like? Quiet, thoughtful folks in tweed? A lot of tea drinkers? Would it be BYOC (bring your own cat)? Would we all sit around, drinking tea and petting cats while discussing the proper use of adverbs in America? The thought is intriguing, and I certainly have enough to write about, both fiction and non-fiction. [Start humming the Imperial March now...]
I don't know...time will tell, I guess.
2.) I also learned that I have an awesome husband. Of course, I knew this before, but it's always nice to have confirmation of the fact. Not only did Brian take the day off from work, but he also took the night shift and managed to send me off on my way successfully. When I returned home for lunch (to pump, natch), my turkey sandwich (and a nicely cut pickle spear, as well as some Baked Lays) was waiting for me. He had managed to put the baby to sleep, start the laundry, wash the bottles, make lunch, and tidy up the house. Yup, he can do what I do, he just does it better. (trust me, I'm not bitter, but so, so grateful.) Team Brian is a good team to be on.
3.) I learned that writing has high therapuetic value. Again, I knew this before, but I finally learned why: during the writing process, the information in one's brain is transferred from the limbic system (i.e. the emotional response center of the brain) to the pre-frontal cortex (i.e. the manager or "CEO" of the brain.) While in the pre-frontal cortex, the information is organized and "filed" into the appropriate chambers, thus relieving some level of the initial emotional impact.
This info made me think about those who have been traumatized as well as my blogging about and during Scotty's hospitalization. No wonder journaling is so effective. I know I felt better after blogging - not so much for the support it generated (which was significant and very helpful), but just typing out our experience was cathartic. Thank you, pre-frontal cortex.
4.) And finally, I learned I have an enormous appreciation for those women who have to return to work after having a baby. Wow, what a crazy, tough job. By the time I got home on Friday afternoon, I was wiped out. We put the baby to bed and then I passed out on the couch for about two hours (until I dragged myself to bed). Again, I am so thankful for my wonderful, high-earning husband who believes in stay-at-home-moms who have the luxury of pursuing their dreams (watching their children grow up, dabbling in writing). Three cheers for Team Brian!
It just occurred to me that I haven't posted since last Friday...nothing is wrong here, just time seems to be slipping by so quickly. I can't believe Scotty and Ben turned 15 weeks yesterday. It's crazy to think that this year will be over in 29 short days. For a year that feels like it simultaneously went on for eons, while at the same is over in a snap, well, I can't believe we're almost ready to send 2009 packing. What a crazy year indeed.
Not a lot new here to report. Let me think...um, a good friend of ours recently had a baby on Sunday night! Paul and Michele welcomed little baby Drew into the world early Monday morning. Mom and baby are doing great. It's really cute b/c they have been calling baby Drew "Drew-bear" for a long time, unaware of our nickname for Scotty. So now there are two bears in the world. We are creating a den here. I'm excited for Michele to recover and we can take the little fellows on long walks in the lovely Vegas sunshine. (gotta love Vegas in December).
In Scotty news, we put together the famed 'Jump-a-roo.' I'm actually not sure if it's "jump-a-roo" or "jumperoo." Either way, this thing is crazy. It has so many bells, whistles, flashing lights, and small creatures to grab on to, even I was overstimulated looking at the thing. Brian put it together for us on Sunday, and thank goodness for his Ivy league education. This baby gear stuff is complicated. Clearly, Fisher Price is run by former NASA engineers. I *think* we have all of the pieces in the right place, but who knows. Check out Scotty's happy, though confused, expression below.
Aside from general overstimulation, Scotty is doing great. He has very little interest in the Christmas tree and would much rather hang out with Mr. Turtle and Mr. Frog (and Mr. Snail, too, though he's a distant third in terms of favorites.) I think most people would agree that even prior to our kernicterus scare, I would have been the Developmental Milestone Nazi, and yes, since our scare, I am absolutely all over this kid like white on rice. I'm proud to report that he is doing everything a 3.5 month old child is supposed to do, including:
-- opening his hands
-- reaching and grabbing for toys
-- holding his head up during tummy time at a 90 degree angle
-- rolling over
-- smiling spontaneously
-- blowing raspberries
-- saying 'a-GOO!' with such enthusiam it makes Brian and I both laugh hysterically
The last two...wow. We had a tough night on Monday that involved something I like to call, 'Pop-up Baby.' I put Scotty down at 6:30pm. He popped back up at 6:50. Brian put him down next. Twenty minutes later, he popped back up. Then I took a turn. Then Brian. Then me. This went on until 9:30 and Brian and I were looking at each other with concern. Like every new parent, we blamed it on whatever was convenient: it was gas. An ear ache. The breastmilk. (ahhhh...it's always the breastmilk.) He was still hungry. He was too full. Blah, blah, blah. I would have blamed it on Bush (the real Bush, not my ob/gyn) but then realized he hasn't been in office in almost 12 months, so Brian blamed it on Obama.
Anyways, by 9:30, I trudged upstairs with Dr. Awesome's phone number swirling in my brain. When I picked Scotty up for the millionth time that night, he instantly calmed down. I went for the obligatory diaper change when he looked at me and I'm not kidding, he began talking. Obviously, no real words, but every sound out of the book came out of his mouth. "La! Goo! Coooo! Babababa! A-gooooo!" He then proceeded to blow some raspberries and even though I knew it was bad form (enabling the negative behavior, Mom...) I started laughing and smiling at him. He took this and ran with it.
I called Brian upstairs (more enabling! Now we are giving him an audience! Eek!) to watch the Scotty Show. This lasted for about ten minutes until the little showman got tired and finally fell asleep. I mean, is this what is in store for the next few months? Insanely adorable baby-ness? Because sign me up if it is. I would prefer him to get more sleep, but coo-ing and raspberries are about 100x better than a crying baby any day.
Think of this as the epilogue to Bridget Jones' story. Well, mostly. Bridget marries the handsome lawyer, starts a blog while on bedrest, and decides marathon running sounds like fun. Bridget goes through a divorce but keeps running. Hilarity ensues.