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November 2008


November 1, 2008


Yesterday was a long, long day.

It actually began (for me, at least) the night before. Zane was extremely colicy. I got 3 hours sleep total. I decided the problem must be the formula I was supplementing with, so I switched entirely to giving him breast milk. Fortunately, I had some pumped breast milk in the fridge, but even so, he was constantly hungry, on top of having a very painful tummy.

Then Anastasia awoke, all too eager to dress up in her princess costume. (I'd given her a choice: She could wear her Little Red Riding Hood outfit - I didn't remind her that she'd worn it last year - or the princess dress-up costume her grandma bought her last Christmas. Naturally, she chose to the princess outfit.) Then we were off to Zane's pediatrician.

I was not looking forward to this visit. It was his 2 week well baby checkup, but I knew we'd be discussing his weight...and that he'd be getting circumcised. Although I'd done tons of research on the latter, and intellectually am convinced it's best, I wasn't looking forward to the actual procedure. As it turned out, I was the one who went into the little operating room with him, held his hand, and gave him sugar water via my pinkie finger. It might not have been so bad except that Zane suddenly decided he was hungry...so we interrupted a feeding. That alone made him mad.

When the deed was done, they had to prick his heel for a standard metabolic test; unfortunately, Zane seems to be like me: It's tough to get blood from him. So he wasn't happy with that drawn out procedure, either.

When his weight check came, he was 8 lbs. 7 oz., which is what he weighed at our house, too. Clearly supplementing with formula has made a difference. "You did the right thing," the doctor told me. If he'd come in weighing 8 lbs. 1 oz. (as he weighed a few days ago), she would have told me to supplement. She also wants me to try another lactation consultant. Sigh.

Miss A. was extremely well behaved at Zane's appointment. She was reveling in her costume. "Do I look cute?" she asked her daddy. The costumes on other people concerned her a bit, but overall, she was in her element.

After Zane's appointment, my husband had to get his allergy shots. Then we went to grandma's house to get some treats. I was totally out of it by then, and I needed to change Zane's diaper but didn't have the required Vaseline on hand to protect his circumcision. We also needed to go buy some more Fenugreek to help up my milk supply.

Shortly after coming home, Miss A. completely melted down. We put her to bed, kissed her, and told her when she was ready to stop kicking me and throwing a temper tantrum, we'd come in and talk with her. Then we shut the door. She actually got out of bed (something she never does!) and pounded on the door screaming "No! No! No!" We've never seen anything like it from Anastasia. Trying to keep a sense of humor, we decided if trick or treaters dropped by, we'd tell them occasionally we grab a little kid and put them in a torture chamber...Hence the screaming in the background.

She threw this awful temper tantrum for nearly an hour, then finally laid down and cried in her bed. So I went back into her room and hugged her and talked to her about her behavior. In the end, she fell asleep, utterly exhausted. And I soon followed. Blegh.

She's better today, but boy she resists sleeping. It's become quite a production at every nap and bedtime. I just laid her down, but not without plenty of tears and "Mommy, hug my eyes! Hug them again!"s. (She means she wants me to kiss her eyes.)

Zane is eating well, but he still falls asleep constantly at the breast. He usually will suck down a bottle pretty quickly. (I'm using Enfamil Gentlease now, which has broken down proteins; so far, no tummy troubles.) As our pediatrician said, "He wants to do things the easy way." Breast feeding takes some work on his part, while a bottle is pretty much a no-brainer.

I'm able to pump about 3 times a day. Not great, but better than nothing.

No, I don't let Zane sleep with a pillow. (A major risk factor for SIDS.) But he looked so dang cute after falling asleep after breast feeding, I just had to snap a photo.

November 4, 2008

Between typical newborn-in-the-house sleep deprivation and trying to get back up and running with my web content job, I'm exhausted. So here are just a few quick catch-ups:

* I'm soooo very tired that last night when Zane cried for food, I thought I'd gotten up to make him a bottle...But when he cried louder, I realized I'd just been dreaming about fixing the bottle.

* The Enfamil Gentlease seems to be working great. Zane's "colic" is gone. Thank God! I'm still breastfeeding him first, then bottle feeding him...Unless I'm too tired. Then I go straight to the bottle, even though that's not good for my milk production. I'm also pumping three times a day and have seen a doubling of my milk supply now that I'm taking Fenugreek. My supply is still pretty low, though.

* Anastasia was so busy pretending to give us all shots, I bought her a toy medical kit. So now she goes around giving us shots, taking our blood pressure, and listening to our hearts. Overheard, as she listened to the heart of a plastic horse: "I'm going to listen to your heart with my stethoscope. Don't scream."

* While I was in the hospital, Miss A. suddenly developed that ability to entertain herself. This is wonderful, of course...but I need to figure out a way to get some more cuddles. And I really miss reading her books, which she rarely wants me to do any more. (She'd rather "read" to us.)

* A good lesson: In the wee hours the other night, as I was feeding Zane, he went potty. So I laid him on my bed to change him. As I was wiping up his poop, his legs high in the air, he started pooping again. It quickly rolled down his back, soiling his clothes and his swaddler. As I proceeded to try to clean up this mess - again his rear was high in the air - I heard a whizzing sound. He'd shot pee way over his head and onto my sheets. Right where my rear end was supposed to be laying, in fact. If it had been a movie, I would have been laughing hysterically.

* Zane is more and more wakeful. Today he was awake for 2 hours straight!


Left: We set up this baby toy for Zane the other day, but Miss A. thinks it's the best toy in the house. Right: I caught Zane reaching out to his reflection today.

As I was preparing lunch today, I sat Zane in his swing. A couple of minutes later, I turned around and discovered Anastasia had piled his lap with toys ("I was trying to make him feel better," she said) and put bunny ears on his head.


November 8, 2008

He's 10 lbs now. 10 lbs! A week ago he was only 8 lbs. 7 oz.! As our pediatrician said this Friday, "I guess we don't need to worry about his weight any more!" :D

Zane does a good deal of cracking us up, too. He's such a serious little soul. Our pediatrician was giggling at his stern face, which only made him wrinkle his brow and look more stern...which only made her laugh more. It's going to be interesting to see if he ends up being a smiley baby, because right now he's all business.

Miss A. continues to adore him. She becomes quite indignant when I take over some of "her" mothering duties. For example, she insists on being the one to push the buttons to make his swing go, and wants to be the only one to put his laundry in his hamper. Even though she's been having some temper tantrum issues lately, she doesn't seem to direct them at Zane. She still tells me, "I'm so glad to have baby brover home finally!"


November 10, 2008

Although we've been living with the facts of prematurity for over three years now, the statistics still shock me:

  • Prematurity is still the leading cause of newborn death in the United States.  

  • One out of every eight infants is born premature.

  • Prematurity has actually increased 33 percent since the 1980s.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month. The March of Dimes is seeking to find an end to prematurity and give aid to parents of premature infants. Spread the word! And please consider making a donation. Do it now, using your MasterCard, and MasterCard will match your donation, dollar for dollar.


And now, a word from our resident preemie:

  • When her daddy gives her a stern look for disobeying: "Daddy, don't make a mad face." or "Don't give me mad eyes, Daddy!"

  • When she isn't doing what I've asked, and I'm giving her a countdown to her last chance: "No! Don't count, Mommy!"

  • While trying to convince her daddy to let her walk in the grocery store...Daddy: "You always ride in the grocery store." Anastasia: "That's right. I always walk in the grocery store, Daddy!"

As you can see, we've been dealing with some disciplinary issues. Basically, Anastasia is acting her age suddenly :) We're trying to find the best motivators for her. Right now, using a sticker chart seems to help some. I wouldn't have thought placing stickers on a responsibility chart would be a big deal, but it is to Miss A. For example, the other night, after we reviewed her responsibilities and let her place some stickers on the ones she'd achieved, I pointed out the responsibilities she didn't get stickers for. One was picking up toys without complaint or nagging. A few minutes later, when she was about to go to sleep, she said, "Can I get a sticker for picking up my toys later???"


November 12, 2008

First, it was my hubby. Then Miss A. And then poor little Zane. Now I'm catching the cold, too. Ugh! I only got over the last cold two weeks ago!

Zane's taking it like a trooper, though. I let him sleep in his bouncy seat at night, so he can breathe a bit easier. (Bouncy seats are one of my favorite baby gadgets. When Anastasia came home from the NICU, we let her sleep in one to help relieve her reflux and colic. And when she was impossible to burp - which was often - I turned on the vibrating feature and viola! We had an instant burping machine!)

Even with his cold, Zane enjoyed his first tub bath. I'd been putting this off, since until recently it was difficult for me to get up and down off the floor. (For safety reasons, I don't bathe my babies on tables or counters.) Miss A. was delighted to "help," carrying and holding onto the towels and shampoo.

She also said, "Oh! Look at his bottom!" I think she's beginning to realize he looks different than she does... :D


That's Zane on the left, looking so very serious. On the right is a photo of Anastasia, taken shortly after she came home from the NICU. She was 5 months old (2 months, corrected age). Zane will be a month old this Friday.


November 14, 2008

It's hard for me to fathom, but Zane is one month old today. In that one month, I've  had lots of time to ponder how different a full term baby is from a premature one. The two most dramatic differences I see have to do with feeding and sleeping.

Although Zane still falls asleep almost instantly upon breastfeeding (which is very preemie-esque), he sucks down a bottle like a champ. It's a dream come true to the mom of a preemie! And he's so wakeful these days...He spends many hours each day, eyes wide open, examining things around him. Anastasia, on the other hand, slept and slept and slept for many months after finally coming home from the NICU.

As I've said before, I'm sure it will seem like Zane grows up super-fast. He will almost certainly follow a "normal" time table for development, whereas Anastasia was infantile beyond her first birthday.

One month old today!

The past two days have been a bit easier for Miss A. Yesterday, she was back to her old self, and got many stickers on her sticker chart. Today is going well, too. Although I do think the sticker chart is motivating for her, I also think she may be finally catching up on some rest. Also, I've been working hard at trying to spend some more one-on-one time with her. Too, I've developed techniques for spending time with her while occupied with Zane. For example, I'll ask her to "hop like a frog," "gallop like a horse," etc. around our house while I feed her baby brother.

Today, after discussing the original Thanksgiving, Anastasia made an "Indian headband."

Oh, and Miss A. is still fascinated with breast feeding and pumping. Being three, she's not afraid to ask any question about these things, so it makes for some interesting conversations. The other day, after such a conversation, she said: "I want some boobs, too."

(Thank you, hubby, for teaching her the correct word for this piece of anatomy...)


November 17, 2008

I am now going to inflict my child's artwork on you.

Anastasia has made a great deal of progress with her fine motor skills lately. Normally, when we did artwork projects, she really couldn't do much. I'd roll some clay to show her how to make a snake, for example, but she could never imitate me. That's changing. Take a look at this seasonal picture we made a few days ago:

I painted her hands and helped her press them onto the paper, and I cut out the beaks, legs, and grass, but Anastasia did a terrific job gluing the legs, beaks, and grass into place and drawing in the eyes.

And then there's this:

I traced her hands for the basic shape of the turkey, of course, but she did everything else. I can really see the turkeys' eyes, beaks, legs, and feathers. She tells me the circle at the bottom of the page is a puddle the turkeys are splashing in. The lines at the upper right are the sun's rays.

This is the first time I've ever seen her draw something that resembled a real thing! :)


P.S. My father is coming for a visit from out state, so I probably won't blog again until next week.


November 25, 2008

I'm crazy busy trying to take care of both kids, plus work at my web content job, so I'm going to update you the lazy way: With bullet paragraphs :)

  • Miss A., as I was about to shut her bedroom door after putting her to bed: "Can I talk to myself?"


  • Hubby, looking around Miss A.'s room: "It looks like a tornado came through here!"  Miss A., with a perplexed look: "I'm a tomato??"


  • Miss A.: "Jesus, be with Daddy, Mommy, Zane, and my toys and my books and my clothes."

  • Miss A., while her grandpa opened up a gift at his 70th birthday party: "I cannot believe my eyes! It's chocolate!"


  • Miss A. was also excited when Grandpa received a book - but quite confused by the trick birthday candles that kept flaming up after Grandpa blew them out.


  • Miss A., as we drove past a brick building (They aren't very common here): "It's a brick house! Just like the three little pigs!"


  • One day, I discovered Anastasia walking around the house with Zane's pacifier in her mouth. I found that amusing, since she never liked pacifiers when she was a baby.


  • While Grandpa was visiting, Miss A. tried (and liked!) a lot of new foods, including Cheerios in milk, whole pears (and I do mean whole...she wouldn't eat them if I cut them up), chicken leg (we had a little trouble teaching her not to eat the bone, too!), and pecan and pumpkin pie.


  • Although Anastasia's behavior was beginning to improve before Grandpa visited, it got much worse while he was here. She didn't want to sleep. Ever. And threw huge temper tantrums whenever I tried to put her to bed. Finally, Grandpa started putting her to bed, and the tantrums ceased. She even got all her reward stickers two days in a row. Now she's still not temper tantruming, even though Grandpa has left.


  • I tell you, those stickers really work. Last night, she began fighting getting her teeth brushed. I said, "You want a sticker for brushing your teeth, don't you?" Miss A. stopped suddenly in her tracks, growled, and headed toward the sink.


  • Zane is batting at toys now, and cooing. Out of curiosity, I weighed him today; he's 11 lbs. 11 oz.

  • Zane smiled - a real smile! - today. He was complaining a bit while we ate lunch and he sat in his bouncy seat. When I picked him up and turned him so he could see all of us, he gave a huge smile...then paused, then smiled again.


  • I'm afraid I've lost the breastfeeding battle. Not only does Zane get frustrated when I try to breastfeed him, but I'm now pumping less than half an ounce of milk per day :(  I will probably stop pumping tomorrow. I'm sad that I wasn't able to give Zane all the good breast milk I gave Anastasia, and I'm sad Zane and I have missed out on all that cuddly breast feeding time. Plus, formula is expensive! Right now, we're spending $150 a month, buying Gentlease at a rock bottom price. Ouch!


  • Miss A. and I created a paper turkey the other day. I asked Anastasia what she was thankful for, and on each feather, wrote down one thing she mentioned. Without any prompting from me, this is what she said: God's love, Mommy and Daddy, my cousins, Zane, my house, Jesus, grandmas and grandpas, turkeys, and God.


  • Miss A., on the 24th, as she was finishing her dinner and I was doing dishes: "Mommy, does Jesus live in my heart??"   Me: If you ask him to, he will.  Miss A., closing her eyes and clasping her hands: "Jesus, please come live in my heart. Amen."


November 29, 2008

Our Thanksgiving was mostly pleasant, although Miss A. was utterly exhausted. She gets so excited about these things, it wears her out. She did enjoy playing with her cousins, but spent an awful lot of time cuddled with one of her grandmas, sleeping with her eyes shut. (I wonder if we can pull off not telling her it's Christmas day until the morning of?)

Anastasia thrilled to dress up, wearing new patent leather shoes, a hat, a purse (complete with toy cell phone and car keys), matching coat, a real gold bracelet (given to her by her great-grandma on her second birthday, but which she only now can leave alone enough to wear without loosing), and faux gold bead necklace. She really thought she was hot stuff :)


When we piled back into the truck for the ride home on Thanksgiving evening, the conversation went like this:

Miss A.: Mommy, is Thanksgiving over now?

Me: Yes, honey.

Miss A.: Is it Christmas now??

Unfortunately, Miss A. threw a temper tantrum for about 45 minutes on the way home before falling asleep. Then she awoke and started it again. She really gets hysterical, and there's not much you can do but ignore her and let her calm down on her own. It's related to fatigue, but no matter what we do, we can't get the girl to nap. It's also related to just being 3 and wanting so much to do everything herself, getting frustrated that she can't, and really not wanting Mommy to step in with even a little help. Too, I'm sure the changes in our household recently play a part. She's very strong willed, but we have no doubt that strong will played a big part in keeping her alive in her NICU days.

I don't think Zane ever felt quite so excited as he did on Thanksgiving. He was eager to take in a new setting (Grandma and Grandpa's house) and new people. We delighted communicating with him through coos. And yes, I know this sounds totally ridiculous, but he really did imitate certain words. I'd say: "Here's your Aunt Anya. Can you say Aunt Anya?" And all of us agreed that he did. Repeatedly! He also "said" "grandpa" and "hi." And when I said "Where's Aunt Anya?" he turned and looked straight at her, three different times.

By the way, I have to tell you that when my Dad saw Zane for the first time in person, he said, "He looks huge in the photographs online, but he looks normal-sized in real life!" I hear this all the time. I don't know why he looks so big in his photos; he's not a small baby, but he's not a sumo-wrestler, either.