Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What I wish I could tell myself 6 years ago - It's just gas baby!

Those long days and nights when our first baby would scream seemed endless - but look, she's now a bubbly six year old in first grade!

We made it through the screaming moments that seemed like they would last forever!  And we did so with two following children!!   Now we have #4 and she's 3 weeks old so I'm taking this time to remind myself that gas will pass, or I should say, she will learn to pass gas without screaming and in  two years it will be cause for lots of shared giggles with her siblings.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Post Pregnancy Fog and how Ameda just may have the best customer service in the world!

After my 3rd baby, a women called me from work to ask for a password.  At the time, I only worked with like 10 people, 3 of which were women and I could not for the life of me remember this women's name, let alone the password she was asking for!  I was at Chick Fil A eating lunch with family who had just flown in and my brain was just mushy.

This time - I forgot how to use my breast pump!!!  The very pump that has traveled with me around the world, been used on airplanes and in Chinese factory bathrooms!  The first model got it's power source blown when I failed to use an adaptor in Vietnam.  I tried replacing it with a cheaper model but by my 3rd baby I had gone back to Ameda.  Now I can say in addition to being an awesome pump, they have even more awesome customer service.

It all started last week when I tried to pump and nothing happened.  I was almost in tears because baby was not cooperating and I really needed to pump but I somehow managed through that night.  The next day I called Ameda customer support even though I knew I was well past the one year warranty date, I was hoping they might have some advice.  Paula walked me through every step, listened to the pump through the phone, asked me if the SPEED was turned up to 50% to which I replied yes, then later in the conversation realized it wasn't - so THAT was the problem!  She was so sweet and understanding; I can tell she's a mom who's definitely used the product.  I apologized and said it must be my post pregnancy foggy mind and she was so understanding. 

One week after the call, the pump is working just as well as I always remembered it and I just called Paula back to thank her for the awesome support.  I think people really deserve to get recognition for their efforts so this post is a huge thank you to Paula for saving me from buying a new pump out of frustration and for teaching me how to better use this one because she also gave me a bunch of tips to get the most out of this awesome machine. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

When nursing is so painful you want to give up

At 2am baby will be 3 weeks old.  This is the time that babies seems to go from sleepy head darlings to raging angry beasties who stay up all night screaming about gas and various discomforts.  They  become ravenous in their fury and can mash those tiny jaws on your nipples so hard that you are quite certain you will never recover.  But you are so tired it doesn't register until morning what damage baby has inflicted and suddenly you are back to day 2 on the hospital when you cringe in horror at the next feeding.

At this point, I switch to my breast pump until the nerve endings have recovered.  This time it only happened on one side so I'll let baby nurse for 20 minutes on the other side and then pump.  At this time she's getting enough with one side.  I only let her nurse when she's calm and try to start nursing about 15-20 minutes before she realizes she's hungry.  This requires notes on every feeding and alarms set so I can stay on top of her schedule.

It usually takes about 2 days to recover and then we can go back to a regular feeding schedule.  Meanwhile it's nice to have started a small stockpile of milk!

The real point of this post is to not give up.  This is my 4th baby and I've had this happen with every one.  Once we get passed the 3 week mark its like the body just gives in and resigns itself to the abuse.  So don't give up at week 3; after this point it should get easier.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

How to calm a hysterical newborn in the middle of the night

It's daunting.  You're bone tired and they rage on, tiny body stretching and twisting as they try to get gas out.  Tiny nails, too small to clip still find a way to scratch at whatever exposed flesh they can find and your only job is to stay awake and soothe this raging baby.

My husband stays up the first half of the night so I can sleep uninterrupted with the exception of nursing every 2-3 hours.  I take over at 3am and on a good night I can get her back to sleep and snooze until 6am.  On a bad night, like tonight, I have to wake up and figure out how to get this tiny ball of frustration to relax and sleep.  Nursing her at 3 helped get her to sleep until 4 but I think she was tired from crying for 2 hours with husband.  

At 4am I gathered my supplies (iPhone, Kindle, water and pacifier) and headed out to the living room.  Lights on, I'm not even going to pretend this will be fast and easy.  She blinks in the bright light as I present the pacifier.  Yes, no, maybe, definitely NO she says with a long howl!  I turn on the kindle and play Jewel's lullabies and she slowly calms down and accepts the paci.  We pass the next hour going through Casting Crowns songs as I song to her and pray over her and she calms down and sleeps.  

I'm sure it's the first of many, babies cry when they are uncomfortable and it's our job as parents to get them to chill out.  I find if I'm calm and relaxed it helps her.  If I'm upset and frustrated then she feels that.  The most important thing for me is getting that first shift of sleep.  I know I can take a nap later, so I just need to get through 3am - 7am!  

She's been asleep for 24 minutes and its 5:25am, I guess I'll try putting her down and getting a nap until 6 or 7. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Unseated from her throne as "baby" of the family

Week 3 and the shenanigans level is very high.  I took a 14 minute professional call and she followed me around the house chattering like a mag pie and causing minor destruction everywhere.

At one point brown saliva ended up on her shirt, hand, toy box and the couch.  There was no food in sight so I can't imagine what she had found to eat.  I promptly put the baby down and cleaned quickly, removed her shirt and tied to put a pink one on while she screamed and flailed because she had not been given a choice so I did what I used to do with #1, grabbed her and held her in a bear hug until she stopped crying.  I've rarely seen a tantrum end quickly without some sort of intervention because its a cry for attention so I give it until they are ready to chill.

She's also begun to ask why over everything, even when it's most illogical.  This part always drives me insane because the game is simply to keep asking why no matter what mom says.

There is the "balance on beanbag on top of couch" fun factor.

The opportunistic eating of brother's cupcake with all icing removed on one side.

"Mama, go away" - Vi
"Hey!  Are you eating Sam's cupcake" - Mama
"Uh, I don know!" - Vi
"Vi!  You can't eat Sam's cupcake!"  - Mama
"Why?" - Vi
"Because it's not yours!"
- Mama
"Why?" - Vi
"Because it's SAM'S CUPCAKE so I'm putting up on the microwave where you can't reach it!" - Mama
"Why?" - Vi
"Ug, this conversation is over!" - Mama

She was not this rowdy prior to 4th baby's arrival!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

The homeless guy who lived on Fort Lauderdale beach

Husband and I moved to South Florida in the fall of 1998.  We had just left art school in Pittsburgh, a life of cold winter days, coffee shops and art galleries.  South Florida was polar opposite with it's hot humid days so naturally we switched hot coffee for cold drinks and got jobs at the Smoothie King on the beach.

Our Smoothie King was located directly under a premium gym where guys drove expensive cars and acted all knowledgeable about health products and such.  Parking was so expensive that you had to be wealthy to drive to the beach and park every day.  The irony is the drinks were so loaded in carbs that it was almost funny to mix up a 20 or 40 ounce drink for people who just worked out to burn the calories.  We had one drink that was almost 1000 calories! 

Accross the street was the International Swimming Hall of Fame which hosted non-stop events around the year for swimmers.  We'd get kids of all ages marching accross the street for a "health" smoothie.

There was also the international crowd who worked the cruise ships and would bus into the beach for supplies and entertainment on the weekends.

The local kids employed at Smoothie King were an odd mix.  Some were from a nearby private school who were very lazy and would forget to do all their closing chores.  There was also a 16 year old girl who had false teeth and lived with her much older boyfriend.  There was Jill, a girl who's mom had ruined her credit by 16 and Debra, a local with lots of tattoos who got pregnant by 16 and raised the baby with her boyfriend. 

We befriended them all, regardless of race, gender and eccentricities - well I say that last part with one exception because when we met the creepy guy who said he was an internet porn star and offered us a job, well, we avoided him. 

Finally there were the homeless.

One man stood out from the homeless crowd because of his manners.  He'd come in to ask for a drink and always ready to pay $0.20 for the cup.  Our boss had befriened this man and learned his life story.  His name was Mike.  Mike had a family once, a wife and daughter, both were killed in a car crash and Mike never recovered.  He used to have a good job but could not function after the death of his family and he turned to drinking.  We knew if we gave him money he would buy alcohol so we simply tried to be kind to him.  We'd talk to him whenever he stopped by, always gave him water and food if needed.  But it still came as a great surprise when we heard one day that he'd passed away on the beach.  With an unexpected death there is always that thought of, what more could I have done for this person?  Yes I tried to help, but could we have done more?  Death is sad no matter when or how it hits, but always more so when it's unexpected.