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October 2008


October 3, 2008

I've been meaning to post an update all week, but we've been so tired with this darn cold that I haven't. Just when I thought Miss A. was on the mend (she had one night without any coughing spells), she developed a fever. This is the most sick she's ever been. I still just have an ordinary cold...it just won't go away. The good news is, I suppose, that I'm giving baby Zane lots of antibodies, so that hopefully he won't get the cold once he's born.

I had my final appointment with the perintologist on Monday. Although I'd had high blood sugar numbers for several days, by Monday they were lower than usual, and that trend has continued. The doctors are very pleased at how "easily" my gestational diabetes has been to control. (I think a lot of that is that I've been eating a much lower carb diet than my dietitian laid out for me.)

Zane looks great; they think he's about 7 lbs. 4 oz. On Monday, they had a hard time looking at him, though. He was wiggling so much they couldn't measure his limbs or get a good look at his heart. And because his head was facing my spine and was deep down into my hip bone, we didn't get a good look at his face. Today, I had another ultrasound with my regular OB, and he was still pretty wiggly :) Fortunately, though, he's moved out of my hip bone. (That really hurt!)

Today I discovered I've gained 21 lbs. total for the pregnancy; my doctor is really pleased. I'm having some contractions, but most I don't feel...I only know they are there because they show up during fetal monitoring. Everyone keeps asking me how I'm feeling, like these last few weeks of pregnancy should be torture, but really, it's not so bad. Yes, sure, it's uncomfortable, but I'm thrilled to be full term! Only two weeks to go, and we'll be bringing a baby home!

I need to take another belly pic, though. Apparently, I'm larger than large. The other day, my hubby saw me naked for the first time in a while and his jaw dropped. "You're huge!" he cried. Yes...Thank you, honey.

Miss A. continues to have trouble sleeping. After a coughing fit, she often can't go back to sleep, and she'll lay in bed chattering to herself for up to two hours. It often keeps us awake, so we've had a few conversations with her about it. Last night she was trying really hard to be quiet, but I heard her say, quietly: "I can't wake up Mommy and Daddy..."

It really is amazing how much that girl talks. The other night, after she'd been asleep for about an hour and a half, her daddy walked into her room to check on her. Her eyes remained shut and she didn't stir, but she said, "Daddy, did Mommy put herself to bed yet?"


October 4, 2008

Anastasia's sickness has taken a turn for the worse. She's been sick for a solid two weeks now, and two days ago she developed a persistent fever. It's been as high as 103 (with an ear thermometer) and is about 101 (with an under the arm reading) now. She's so miserable, and because she's not good about drinking much anyway, we worry. She's still got the coughing spells at night, too.

We've been hemming and hawing over whether to call the pediatrician's office, but finally I did call today. The nurse felt everything was probably fine, but that if she's still running a fever by tomorrow or Monday, we should get her in to see the doctor.

In the meantime, we're giving her lots of Tylenol and trying to push fluids as much as we can. My hubby is out right now buying every type of popsicle we can think of. She refuses the Pedialite type. And, naturally, she's not eating much, either...so much so, she hasn't had a BM in two days.

I'm feeling rotten, too, although not as rotten as Miss A. I'm just weak and have a very scratchy throat and stuffy nose. Blegh.


October 5, 2008

We've had a (not so) lovely Sunday afternoon. This morning, Anastasia seemed even more lethargic than she was yesterday, not wanting to play at all, just wanting to stare into space. She's still fighting the fever, and overall she seemed worse, not better. So I decided it was time to see a doctor.

I called our after-hours pediatric clinic and set up an appointment, but after I hung up, I realized I hadn't allowed enough time to get there. So I called again and rescheduled, feeling foolish. We hustled out the door, but soon our truck's clutch went out. Entirely. Thankfully, we were only about two or three minutes from our house, and my hubby was able to jerry-rig something together and carefully drive us back to our house.

So I had to call the pediatrician's office again to cancel. By this time, the receptionist sounded like she thought I was a flaky nut. Then I called a friend of mine who's been very generous with her time, helping to take care of Anastasia lately. I explained the situation and without hesitating, she agreed she'd take us to the doctor. "But," she said, "Our car is running on a spare tire."

I called the pediatrician's office again and explained I had a new ride: When could they fit us in? As I was doing this, I was braiding Miss A.'s hair...and suddenly noticed red dots all over her neck and chest. I told the receptionist about the new symptom and she said, "You're not having a very good day, are you?" I laughed and told her I was sick with a cold, too, and 37 weeks pregnant. "Oh no," she said, "the next call I get, you'll be saying you have to cancel because you're water broke!"

New appointment in hand, I explained the plan to hubby. But he was worried about the safety of my friend's spare tire, so he decided to create a part for his truck and fix it right then. (Normally, you'd have to order parts from the dealer in order to fix it.) Sure enough, an hour later, he'd fixed the truck. (It's great having a mechanic-hubby!)

After canceling with my friend, we took the half hour drive to the pediatrician's office and soon saw the on-call doctor. The first thing we learned is that since Anastasia's yearly check-up (about a month ago) she'd lost 1 lb. 2 ounces. :( Then the doctor said she wanted to get Miss A. an X-ray to rule out pneumonia, since she had some slightly labored breathing. But she wondered if Anastasia might actually have a cold and another virus.

We had to wait a bit for the X-ray, but Miss A. was very well behaved. I was worried she'd freak out at the X-ray machine, so I talked to her about how it's just a huge camera that takes a picture. Hubby had to go into the X-ray room alone with Anastasia (because I'm pregnant). Fortunately, Anastasia wasn't worried at all, and held still for the "picture taking."

The X-rays were almost instantly emailed to the doctor, who proclaimed Miss A. free from pneumonia. "I think she caught a cold, and then a different virus. This virus usually gives a child a fever for four days or so, then a rash." She felt Anastasia's fever should be gone, or getting better, by tomorrow, and that he rash would soon follow. She's going to call us tomorrow to see how Miss A. is doing.

Interestingly, Anastasia's preemie history came up, and the doctor wondered if she'd treated Miss A. in the hospital. Apparently her other specialty is infectious diseases. We told her, yes, Miss A. had a bad Staph infection in the NICU...but when the doctor checked her records, just out of curiosity, she discovered she'd actually treated a different Anastasia in the NICU.

Miss A. was also cracking her up throughout the visit. For example, when the doctor used the ear thermometer type gadget they use to check for ear infections, she said, "This sounds kind of like a frog." After she checked Miss A.'s ears, Anastasia's eyes lit up and she said, "It looks like a frog, too!" (Only her vivid imagination could make her say that!) Later, as I was talking to the doctor, Miss A. patted my arm and said, "I love you, Mommy." The doc said, "She's so polite!" Miss A. answered, "Oh yes. I am!"

And so our Sunday was eaten up. The good news is, Anastasia should be feeling better soon...and the doctor said the virus shouldn't be something adverse to my pregnancy. Apparently, it's a hard-to-catch virus, anyway. And it sounds as if Miss A. should be over it before Zane is born.

October 6, 2008

I awoke this morning to Miss A. coughing and crying at the same time. Soon she was saying, "Help me, Mommy!" It broke my heart. I got her up, even though it was early, and gave her some water. Her temperature was normal, which is encouraging. Her rash is worse. She was quite lethargic this morning, but I gave her some Tylenol for good measure, and she's perked up some. (She is not, as she was yesterday, staring into space and finally saying, "I don't feel well.") She's still very clingy and wants me to read to her all day...something I can't do because my throat hurts.

I'm coughing more, too, and yesterday I had tons of Braxton Hicks contractions. My hubby (who I call "Mother Hen" and sometimes "My Eeyore") fretted over this, but I said, "Honey, I'm full term now. If I go into labor, so be it!"

Of course, I'm hoping we'll all be well before baby Zane is born...

I should hear from the pediatrician this morning. I'm curious what she'll say about Anastasia's cough. She'd asked us if Miss A. was coughing so much she was vomiting from it. Yesterday the answer was "no," but this morning while coughing, Anastasia vomited three times into her mouth, then swallowed it. She's so miserable...


October 6 (part II)

I talked to the doctor late this afternoon, right after Anastasia woke up from a nap coughing and crying and begging me to hug her again. After the doctor heard about this, and about how her cough can keep her up for an hour and a half (or more!) at night, she wanted to see Miss A. again. So we made another trip, waited over an hour to see the doctor, and got another exam.

This time, there was some fluid in one of Anastasia's ears, and the doctor was impressed by how bad her rash has become. (It's now all over her face, torso, back, and parts of her limbs.) After listening to Miss A. breathe, she concluded that Anastasia may have mycoplasma pneumonia. That's walking pneumonia to the rest of us, but it can turn into bronchitis, which is what appears to have happened with Anastasia. According to the CDC, in about 5 - 10 % of cases, it can turn into full-fledged pneumonia that shows up on X-rays. It's supposed to be uncommon among children under 5, but not unheard of for younger kids, either.

The doctor prescribed an antibiotic, but by the time we got home, our pharmacy was closed. So first thing tomorrow we'll start Miss A. on it, and the doctor said it will take a few days for her to start feeling better.

This is the most sick I've seen her since her NICU days :(

And I just hope I don't catch it. Can you imagine bronchitis with a C-section scar?? (Ouch!) Not to mention I'd be afraid I'd give it to baby Zane...

Please, if you think of it, would you pray for Anastasia, Zane, and me? Thank you.


October 8, 2008

As I've mentioned before, my husband is a worrier extraordinaire. This week has been extremely tough for him. Miss A. doesn't drink enough, he pictures her in the hospital hooked up to IVs. She doesn't eat much (and yes, granted, all her little ribs stick out), he tells me to find a book about starving children in Ethiopia and read it to her. She has a rash, he's certain she's going to go into shock due to an allergy. It's exhausting to be my hubby!

I, on the other hand, while not un-concerned, can cast aside worries relatively easily. I haven't always been this way, but if there's one thing I learned through our ordeal with Anastasia's birth and subsequent difficulties, it was to put my worries in God's hands. It's true I sometimes have to purposefully think "Okay God; I'm putting this in your hands now" about a million times in one day, but eventually, those thoughts lead to a peaceful feeling, and my worries disappear (or nearly so). My two favorite Bible verses when I'm worrisome are
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him..." (Romans 8:28) and "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer.29:11)

So while the past week or so hasn't exactly been easy for me, I've not been as stressed as my hubby. Fortunately, it seems the stress of her illness may be coming to an end. Miss A.'s fever is gone, as is her rash. And while she's still coughing, she was up less last night, and didn't wake up crying and begging for me to help her. This morning she actually played for a bit before asking to be held for a half hour. Even though the doctor said the antibiotic wouldn't make her feel better for a few days, clearly it is helping. It's strong stuff, too! She only takes five doses.

In other news, I saw my OB yesterday for fetal monitoring. Baby Zane is active and doing just fine. I've been having quite a lot of Braxton Hicks, so my doc told me not to go into labor this Friday or Saturday because she's going out of town. :) I am now totally off the progesterone suppositories, my blood pressure is excellent, my blood sugars quite good without a change in medication, and we have only 9 days to go before my C-section! Yipee! Now. I need to go clean the house...


October 9, 2008

The antibiotics are doing a great job. Anastasia is already sooooo much better. Yesterday, she was feeling so well, she pulled every toy out of her toy box and played with it. In fact, she was wearing herself out a bit and I had to encourage her to sit and read with me several times. Overall, she was happy and cheerful (although she had a few meltdowns from exhaustion). She's also eating much better. She hates the taste of the antibiotic, but she bravely takes it when I tell her it will make her well again.

And last night, she didn't have a single coughing fit! Yea! (However, my body is so used to getting up with her, I had a bout with insomnia...and I would have used it to nest...the refrigerator needs cleaning, I need to vacuum, I need to wash bedding...but all that would have awakened everyone else. But after all, we have only 8 days to go until the C-section!)

Some of you have asked why Anastasia's not in preschool. The answer is that we're convinced preschool isn't a boon to children. (For a concise article summing up a bunch of studies that prove this, check this out.) That said, Miss A. likes the idea of school. In fact, all summer she asked if she could go to "summer school." :D I don't know where she heard this term--or learned much about school in general. But in response, I'm now doing slightly more formal teaching with her.

There are a number of helpful websites out there offering preschool activities and worksheets (Anastasia begs to do the worksheets; "school work" she calls them. In fact, I've been able to start saying things like "Eat your food or we won't do any school work today!") My favorite sites are First-School and tlsbooks. (See the "Resources" page for more great links.) Mostly, we're doing things like discerning which item is different in a grouping, which is smaller or bigger, which is over or under, plus beginning writing skills--like drawing straight lines between objects. We're also working on letter recognition, which she is more excited by now that I've explained you need to understand that before you can learn to read. We're counting, too, of course, and working on number recognition. And we're always learning about nature and such. We still do some Montessori style activities, like sorting and counting buttons and we're working with scissors. I also have lots of plans for fine and gross motor skill related Christmas gifts for Miss A.

In addition, we're working a little on memorization. Miss A. has learned her first Bible verse ("God is love" 1 John 4:7-8) and is so proud to recite it.

It's all been fun for both of us.


October 12, 2008

Since Anastasia has completed her antibiotics and seems almost well (she has a bit of a remaining cough, and she did have one black BM--which could indicate internal bleeding...but she hasn't pooped since), we took her to the pumpkin patch today. I really wanted to do it before my C-section, since I knew I wouldn't be up to it afterward. (Only six days to go!)

Miss A. was terribly excited, and said she wanted to pick a "BIG pun'kin" for herself and "a little one for baby brover." We went with friends, and while she was a stinker about getting her photograph taken (see her sober face?), she had a great time. It did wear her out, though.


Don't smile, Anastasia!

Hubby being silly with a pumpkin under his shirt.



October 13, 2008

What I'm going to tell you next is pretty embarrassing to me, but I decided to share it anyway because it reveals Anastasia's sweet, sincere nature so well.

A few days ago, in the afternoon (when I tend to be most exhausted by hormones and heaviness), I started crying. Immediately, Miss A. approached me: "Why are you crying, Mommy?"

Feeling sheepish, I told her I was just really, really tired and didn't have any help. (It was several hours before hubby would be home).

"Let me give you a hug, Mommy." She climbed into my lap and hugged me and patted my back. "I can help you, Mommy. I will help you!"

Now how could I continue to feel sorry for myself after that exchange?

P.S. Miss A. finally had another BM. It was normal, which is a relief since a side effect of her antibiotics can be bleeding in the gut, which leads to black BMs

October 14, 2008

I had my last prenatal appointment today! Yippee! Zane was busy, busy, busy, and pushing back at the little machine that checks his heart rate. He's been extremely active. Last night he kept me awake, he was beating me up so :)

As I was leaving the appointment, my doctor jokingly said, "Let me know if you go into labor before Friday." I replied, "I'm hoping I won't just so I can prove the perintologist wrong...again." She laughed mightily and said, "Yes, you certainly proved him wrong with your daughter, didn't you?"

(He kept telling us Miss A. would never live and that we should abort her. And this time around, he felt sure I'd go into labor before my scheduled C-section. I don't mean to be nasty, but it would give me a certain satisfaction to have him be wrong on both counts.)

Anastasia is excited and seems to understand what will be happen on the big day: We'll get up early, early Friday and go to the hospital. She'll hang out with Grandma for a while, then she'll get to see baby brother. Mommy and baby brother will stay in the hospital, and she'll go home with her daddy and grandma. Then she'll get to visit us in the hospital a few times before we come home.

I have noticed a slight bit of regression on her part, though. For example, today her grandma said, "What a pretty shirt you have on! It's a princess shirt." Normally, this would delight Miss A., but today she replied, "No, it's not a princess shirt. It's a baby shirt."

Only 3 more days to go (not counting today)! I will try to post something every day until labor day...Then (if I don't get the shakes from being away from the computer for so long) it will probably be three days or so before I post again...But when I do, I'll have photos!

October 15, 2008

Last night was interesting. I stayed up a bit later than usual because baby Zane was too active for me to sleep. I was having lots of contractions, and they were bordering on becoming slightly painful. They were even fairly consistent...about 10 minutes apart. But after a while, they became more spaced out. After I went to bed, I had to get up very frequently to use the bathroom in order to stop any further contractions. I think my body is saying there is no more room for baby!

Fortunately, pretty much everything is ready for Zane's homecoming, so other than dishes and laundry, I don't need to be doing much.


October 15 (part II)

Knowing I have to get up at 5am tomorrow, I went to bed at 8pm tonight, feeling tired. But it's now 10pm and I haven't fallen asleep...

So I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you how excited Miss A. is. She picked out a special, never-yet-worn, kinda fancy outfit to wear tomorrow, and all day she kept saying, "Can we go to the hospital now???"


October 21, 2008

Welcome, Zane!

Born Friday, October 17, 2008 at 8:57 am

Weight: 8 pounds 12 ounces

Length: 20.5 inches

We came home yesterday and all is well. I will post more information and photos soon.


October 22, 2008

Alrighty, here's the story of Zane's birth :)

On "D Day," we awoke a little after 5 am, got ourselves ready, woke Miss A. up and got her dressed, then headed out the door. Anastasia was giggling as she climbed into the truck. "I 'cited!" she said.

When we got to the hospital, however, there were no rooms in Labor and Delivery. This baffled us, since my C-section was planned and the hospital is new and supposedly greatly expanded. I suppose everyone wanted to have their baby in the new, beautiful hospital. It didn't matter much, though. They escorted hubby and I into a prep room, spent an hour asking me questions, getting me changed, and getting my IV ready. Although only one visitor is usually allowed in the prep room, they let my mother and Anastasia come in briefly. Miss A. turned a bit sober when she saw my IV, but seemed to accept my explanation that it didn't hurt at all.

Hubby put on the costume the nurses gave him: A Tyvek-envelope-type suit that barely fit, a cap on his head, a mask over his beard and mouth, and bags over his shoes. Then we all walked to the surgery room. It was sort of surreal, as we met the doctors in the hallway and made our greetings. (Whoever heard of walking into surgery?) My hubby waited outside while I got my spinal, then came in and held my hand as it became readily aware that the spinal was "too high." Instead of feeling numb from the lower rib cage down, I was numb from the breast down. Later, my anesthesiologist complimented me for not panicking. However, the great amount of anesthesia made me vomit twice--something that did not happen when I had a spinal with Anastasia.

Then the surgery began. Poor hubby was pale the entire time, but he held my hand dutifully. When I wasn't vomiting, the doctors made a point of talking to me. (The doctor who delivered Anastasia assisted during the surgery, which we loved and appreciated.) Both doctors were surprised to see my placenta looked healthy and my uterus nice and thick and strong. Looking over the surgical partition with twinkling eyes, my former OB said, "You could do this again, if you wanted to." (Normally after a C-section--especially an early one, like I had with Miss A.--the uterus becomes thin and weak.) He also commented that this time, the incision would be considerably bigger. :)

At one point, the whole surgical table shook and my old OB giggled nervously and said, "He's got a big head!" They were really yarding on me. And when his head was out of me, the doctors invited my hubby to take a peek. To my amazement, he did, and gave a big smile.

As soon as Zane was entirely out of me, he gave a loud, hearty cry. Hubby and I cried, too. It was a moment we'd long been waiting for. (Miss A. couldn't cry until she was several months old.)

Hubby got to hold Zane right away, and show him off to me. Then he went off with the nurses to clean, weigh, and measure our boy. (He weighed 8 lbs. 12 oz. and was 20.5 inches long.)

In the recovery room, two nurses looked after me, and one looked after Zane. They checked his blood sugar right away, and seemed surprised it was a little low. He "didn't look" like it should be low, even though this is common among babies whose moms have gestational diabetes. So even though I was still mostly numb and shaking from coming out of anesthesia, the nurses placed Zane on my chest and tried to get him to breastfeed. He took to it right away, and exhibited a very strong suck. His blood sugar came right up, and never dropped again during his entire hospital stay.

We also noticed Zane had tiny blisters all over his body, so a pediatrician came in to check them. He felt they were probably just a form of newborn rash--and therefore normal and would go away on their own--but he punctured one and sent the contents to the lab to check for bacteria. We later learned there was no bacteria present.

The recovery room was divided into two or three sections, to accommodate several moms. Only a curtain separated each patient. Sadly, the couple next to us had just experienced an emergency C-section and a preemie birth. Their baby was in the NICU, and I felt awful that they had to listen to our healthy, full term baby fussing.

Once I could wiggle my toes, they wheeled me into a regular hospital room, cleaned me up, and allowed my family to come in and see Zane. Miss A. lit up as she entered the room and spotted her baby brother.



I was very sick that first day. I was on morphine for pain, and vomited a couple of times. As I came off the morphine, I was unable to sleep much. The next day, the pediatrician laughed that I was worried Zane slept through most of the night.

Even though I felt sick, the entire day was wonderful and new experience for hubby and me in every way. God is so good!



On his second day, Zane was pretty fussy and seemed to want to nurse constantly. There were no naps for me! I began to feel I was starving our little baby. I seriously considered giving him a bottle...or at least a pacifier. (Generally, pacifiers aren't recommended until the baby has established good breastfeeding habits.)

I saw three lactation consultants during my hospital stay. The first one said Zane probably was hungry, but also getting some colostrum (pre-milk). The second one said Zane was chomping on me, rather than sucking (which accounted for my very sore breasts!) but this would stop when my milk came in. The third thought everything looked great, and said my milk would probably be in the following day. One of my nurses also said it isn't uncommon for babies to get quite fussy on the second day, as their stomach begins to develop flora.


Still, I was feeling pretty down that I couldn't seem to meet Zane's needs, when a terrific nurse with five kids of her own double swaddled Zane and laid him on his side in his bassinet. Viola! His fussiness was all gone! And we both got some sleep.

The next day, Zane nursed like a champ and I decided to stay in the hospital one more night, wanting to get a little more lactation advice once--I hoped--my milk came in.

Zane passed his hearing test with flying colors and his jaundice test came out fine.

That afternoon, Miss A. asked if I was coming home. When I told her "not tonight," she immediately asked, "Can baby brover come home??" She also met two of her old NICU nurses that afternoon. I'd called over to the NICU and invited anyone over who wished to come visit. We explained to Miss A. that these were people who helped take good care of her when she was a baby. She was curious and friendly with them, and gave her old primary nurse a big hug.

I sort of regretted staying the extra night in the hospital. I expected to see the pediatrician and my OB in the morning, and to be home before noon. But while the pediatrician came and discharged Zane, I waited, and waited, and waited for my OB to arrive. In the end, it turned out she thought I'd been discharged the previous day, when another doctor saw me because my doctor was away. So, around 3pm, when we realized what had happened, my doctor called and formally discharged me from the hospital. We got home around 4pm, exhausted after a day of waiting around and trying to keep Miss A. happy...but it was difficult to be too grumpy about all that because I CAME HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL WITH MY BABY! That was glorious.


I will post about Zane's first few days at home soon. Hopefully tomorrow.

Hubby happened across this black and white photo the other day, and thought to himself, "I didn't know we got any hospital photos where Zane's eyes were open..." Then he realized we, in fact, didn't! The black and white photo is my hospital photo :)


Miss A. holding Zane for the first time.


October 23, 2008

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights..."

James 1:17

Because little Zane lost 9 percent of his birth weight while in the hospital, and because he has some mild jaundice (as all newborns do), the pediatrician wanted us to come into her office within two days of being discharged from the hospital. This was a good thing, too, because the night before I'd been crying, just certain I was starving Zane.

I never got engorged, and it seemed like I was actually drying up. Zane was wanting to eat constantly, and never seemed satisfied. Both hubby and I were convinced the doctor was going to tell us to at least supplement with formula. I even dug up coupons so I could buy some after the doctor visit. I was pretty sad about it all, thinking I'd end up having to pump again.

But when we saw the doctor (not our regular pediatrician, but one of her colleges), he said, "Our scale may be calibrated slightly different from the one at the hospital, but your son has gained an astonishing 6 ounces in two days. Those extra pounds didn't show up from nowhere." He made fun of our worries in a kind way and told us Zane is perfectly healthy. His jaundice is at an acceptable level and if he keeps up at the current pace, he'll regain his birth weight within a week. In fact, the doctor encouraged me to not try to wake Zane when he falls asleep at the breast (which he does constantly...He prefers snacks to full meals.) "And once he gains all his birth weight back, if he wants to sleep through the night, let him!" the doctor said.

So hubby and I felt a bit foolish, although utterly relieved. We decided then and there that if we had concerns about his weight again, we'd pull out the baby scale we used with Anastasia. I'd wanted to avoid obsessing about his weight, but sometimes knowing the actual numbers is more reassuring than guessing at them :)

As for me, I feel pretty darn well. Much better than I did after Anastasia's C-section. I'm only taking 2 to 3 pain pills a day, and have a surprising amount of energy. I tell my hubby my perkiness is due to "mystery mommy hormones." I recall that with Anastasia I felt them, too. Despite a huge lack of sleep (something I normally need at least 11 hours of to feel well!), I am basically alert and happy. I think it may just be the whole "I'm so blessed! My cup runneth over" thing.

I do have a strange rash all over my belly, which appears to be an allergic reaction. We were thinking it was from the antibiotics given to me during surgery, but it seems if that was the case it would be gone by now. I also got a whopping cough vaccination in the hospital (it's on the rise in our area) and the shot location is super tender and red. I think my body must go over-board fighting stuff when I have pregnancy hormones running around inside me.

I also have extremely sore nipples. (Sorry to the guys who read this website!) Zane tends to chomp on me, and likes to latch on and off repeatedly during a single feeding. I'm using lanolin, drops of breast milk, and Soothies to help, but I just about want to scream when Zane latches on, and sometimes the pain continues during the entire feed. I tried a little ice before feedings yesterday, but that didn't seem to help...Although it did elicit a funny reaction from Zane, who spit out my breast as soon as it touched his lips :) If you have any recommendations, please email me.

Now here are some anecdotes from the past two days:

* Miss A: "Does baby brover's nose have buggers? Are they hanging inside his nose? Does he need to get them out? Are they green?" (This conversation actually went on for quite a long time. Later, she made sure Zane had all his fingers and toes.)

* Miss A. (in the middle of the night, knowing her daddy could hear her through the baby monitor): "My heater needs to stay on. Daddy, mine arms are cold."

* When I checked Zane's diaper for the first time in front of Miss A., she asked if she could "get a diaper for baby brover."

* Miss A. to me while I was being wheeled out of the hospital: "Cute wheelchair, Mommy!"

* Miss A., looking fondly at Zane while they each sat in their car seats: "Awwww. I love having baby brover home!" And this morning, watching him sleep: "Oh, I love Zane!"

* I have a rocking chair set up in the living room, where I feed Zane during the day and rock him at night when he's fussy. Miss A. insisted on setting up her child-sized rocking chair right beside mine, and she likes to keep a pillow on it, just like her mommy does.

* Miss A., just a moment ago: "My heart is broken, Mommy." (She doesn't know what this means, and quickly recanted.)


October 24, 2008

My sister-in-law had a great suggestion: Use breast shields. This took almost all the pain away from nursing, and is supposed to help Zane learn how to latch on properly--which is, I'm sure, the cause of most of my pain.

Baby Zane is letting me get a little more sleep every night, too. Whereas two nights ago he had me up every hour, last night he only got me up 5 times. He's a pretty easy-going baby: not overly-demanding, no more tummy troubles, not even any spitting up. Miss A. just adores him...Although when he cries, she nearly cries, too. She's such a sensitive soul, and we have to explain over and over again that he's not hurt or sad. "Crying is just how babies tell us what they need. Right now, he's saying he's hungry." She repeats this mantra to herself whenever Zane cries.

Anastasia is still on overload, too. She's been going to bed early, but always with a melt down. This morning, I taught her to tell her mommy (or daddy or grandma) "I need some attention now," if she's feeling left out. But because she's such an eager helper, I think we've done a pretty good job of making her feel included in the job of taking care of Zane.

Speaking of Grandma, I have to give her kudos. Whereas my mom was a huge help when I had all those doctor visits before Zane was born, my mom-in-law is being a big help now. She's staying with us, and has taken over the care of Miss A., plus all the cooking. I know I wouldn't be healing nearly as well or as quickly without that help!

Today, I'm off the narcotic pain pill. I want to see if my allergic rash goes away. Also, yesterday I had an alarming experience. While I was feeding Zane, I suddenly saw stars. Then, in my peripheral vision, I saw a bright light and a prism-like distortion. It was alarming enough I called my OB's office. The doctor on call said this was an atypical reaction to my medication, if indeed it was from my medication, and told me to go to the emergency room--just to be sure everything was okay--if it persisted or got worse. A minute or so after I hung up the phone, it disappeared. I haven't had a recurrence.


October 25, 2008

This morning, Zane began tracking with his eyes! He followed his daddy back and forth across the living room several times.

Because of my gestational diabetes, we haven't eaten spaghetti in a long time. Last night, Anastasia indulged :)


October 26, 2008

Anastasia says this is her space helmet. (Really a toy drum.)

Over and over, Miss A. says, "I'm so glad to have baby brover home finally."

A friend visited the other day and commented, "Oh, he looks so huge on the website, but in real life, Zane is pretty normal-sized!" It's true! He does look huge in many of his photos. It must be the chubby cheeks. But actually, he fits perfectly in newborn sized clothes (and 0-3 month clothes are considerably too big for him).

And yet...compare Zane at about his birth weight this weekend to Anastasia on the day she was born. Yes, that is the same stuffed bear:


Carving her first pumpkin with Daddy.

Overall, Anastasia is still handling things well, but she does get grumpy, tearful, and destructive by the end of the day. And this morning, as we rode in the truck to make my first venture out into the world this week (walking around Wal-Mart hurts, darn it!), Miss A. asked me with a trembling lip, "Are you going to the hospital, Mommy??"


October 27, 2008

Zane rolled over onto his side today! He's been looking like he would ever since he came home, but I couldn't imagine he'd really achieve a true roll so soon. He made it look easy, too, rolling onto his right side for a half a minute, then rolling back over onto his back.

Yesterday, Miss A. had a wildly fun time playing in a pile of leaves--a first for her.


Miss A. admiring the blue sky as she lays in a pile of leaves. Zane rolling over.

I took over more of Anastasia's care today, and her behavior was much improved. ?Things are feeling more familiar to her :) My mom-in-law is leaving tomorrow... I'm afraid that since my hubby went back to work today, I'll find myself lonely and exhausted once she leaves...But mom will be here tomorrow to help ease the transition.

Happily, my rash is completely gone. Although I am not taking one of my pain medications anymore, the rash began to disappear before that. I suspect it was a drawn-out reaction to the antibiotics given to me during the C-section.

October 29, 2008

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably know I'm not a worry-wart. But I am very worried about Zane just now. Remember how the doctor said he'd gained 6 oz. 2 days after leaving the hospital? Well, my mama instincts told me he'd lost weight again. (Or, maybe, that the doctor's scale was wrong; 6 oz. in 2 days is a lot.) Just comparing his hospital discharge photo to him now told me he'd lost weight. Plus, he just felt so light.

So yesterday I dug out Anastasia's old baby scale. Our insurance paid for it when we first brought her home because we needed an accurate scale to measure her weight on an everyday basis. It was always true to within an ounce or two of our pediatrician's and feeding clinic's scale.

What did he weigh? 8 lbs. 1 oz.! He was born at 8 lbs. 12 oz. (and I believe he left the hospital at 8 lbs. 4 oz.). By now, Zane should be at (or close to) his birth weight again.

I fretted and fretted and finally told my husband in a fit of tears. (Darn those fluctuating hormones.) He went out and bought a can of formula and a bottle, just as an experiment. Later that night, Zane took 1 1/2 oz. from the bottle, but just as when he's at breast, he falls asleep constantly. It's like feeding a preemie. Then he took a little from the breast.

Poor boy. This must have satisfied him much more than a usual meal, because then he sleep five hours straight. Normally, that would be cause for celebration, but knowing he's eating very little made this troublesome. This morning, he took another ounce from the bottle, plus a decent feeding (for him, at least) from the breast.

I do think he's having appropriate dirty diapers, though, which is confusing. However, for a long time I've wondered if he's actually sucking and swallowing at the breast. I know you're supposed to listen for swallowing, but sometimes swallowing is tough to hear. And one lactation consultant told me to try to feel the pulling action of his mouth if he's properly sucking, but I found that difficult, too. Finally, last night I came across a website by Dr. Jack Newman with a great video showing what he calls the "pause in chin" when a baby is properly swallowing. This confirmed it for me: Zane does a lot more chomping on me (like a baby does a pacifier) than he does real sucking and swallowing. No wonder I've been hurting so much! And no wonder he's not gaining weight.

Now the question is, how do we fix all this??? I am anxious for Zane's 2 week appointment this Friday. Please pray for little Zane.

And please, please God let us not go through the whole feeding issue thing again.

P.S. I just used the breast pump for twenty minutes and only got 1 ml of milk :( It looks like the breast pump and I will become intimate once again in order to try to boost my milk supply...


October 30, 2008

There are a few things I've been meaning to mention about Miss A.:

* When Zane and I were in the hospital, my hubby took Anastasia in for her flu shot. We made sure she saw both of us get one a few days before. We explained what it was, and that it felt like the nurse was just pinching us. Apparently, this worked. She was stoic during her shot, not only not crying, but watching the nurse give her the shot. (At least until her daddy suggested she look away.)

* Every day, Miss A. tells her daddy: "I like your motorcycle!" Often, she'll then talk about getting her own, pink motorcycle. But recently she said: "I like your motorcycle, Daddy! Can I have a pink one? And can Zane have a blue one?"

* Anastasia is very curious about her baby brother getting a bottle. Yesterday she asked if she could give it to him. When I said no, she grabbed her toy baby bottle and tried to give it to him.

She is more rested now, and doing a great job of being mostly cheerful and helpful...which is especially wonderful since now it's just the three of us (Anastasia, Zane, and me) in the house all day. Our routine is still a little different, since I can't lift Miss A. at all. She has learned to climb up into my lap using a stepping stool, and I dress her while she's standing up. Instead of changing her diaper on the floor, I have her lay down on the couch. The only thing we haven't figured out is how I can give her a bath. (I'd have to lift her out of the tub.) So that's Daddy's job right now :)


Many of you have written about Zane's eating, encouraging me to throw out the formula and bottle. Yes, I really want to breastfeed. It's a strong part of my fantasy of having a full term baby. I was deeply disappointed when I couldn't breastfeed Anastasia, and now I'm deeply disappointed again. However, I just can't stand to starve him!

I started taking Fenugreek yesterday, which I think is already helping my milk supply. And I'm trying very hard to pump...but it's difficult to find the time without neglecting one or both of the children. I do realize that the amount a woman pumps isn't always indicative of how much her baby gets while breastfeeding, but I do have reason to believe that in our case, it's a decent estimate.

Our main problem with breastfeeding is that Zane won't stay awake. He suckles for a minute or two, then falls asleep. I've used all the tricks I learned in the NICU to wake him: undressing him, talking to him, stroking his cheek, rubbing his body, using a cool wet cloth on his face, compressing milk into his mouth...If I'm lucky, it wakes him enough for two or three more sucks. The thing that works best is to lay him down in his co-sleeper or the floor; after a few minutes of that, he wakes up and cries for food. But then we start all over again. It's exhausting, and not a practical since I'm caring for Miss A., too.

He is actually suckling better now that I've given him the bottle. Maybe he just didn't have enough nutrition and energy to stay awake before. But sleepiness is still a major issue. (He now stays awake for 1 - 2 oz. of formula or breast milk in his bottle...Even though I use a low-flow bottle, it's faster and easier than drinking from me.)

So...I've been taking him to breast and getting him to drink as much as I'm able. Then I lay him down while I make up a bottle. Then he drinks from that.

It makes me very sad, but I don't know what else to do.

Tomorrow is Zane's two week check up. We'll see what the doc says.