Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Two Months, Already!

Post Vaccine "stupor"...
I can hardly believe it has been two whole months already! Ok, technically it won't be two months for about 20 minutes, but close enough!
First time we ever used this SwaddleMe!

We had gotten out of the habit of swaddling Gabe because he just kept kicking out of the receiving blankets and struggled until his arms were freed. That is until we had not one, but 2 nights of zero sleep! After that we wised up and found a bigger blanket, lol. Sometimes those are too thick though and I remembered our SwaddleMe's. he barely fits in them! If you look really close, you can see his hand poking out. They fit up to 14 pounds, but don't account for length!
Daddy was blowing in his face and making him laugh!
Yesterday he had his 2 month shots and was measured at 23 3/4 inches and 11 pounds 14.5 ounces! He's already in 3-6 month sized clothes and is outgrowing some if those too! Mostly in length, apparently 2 month olds aren't supposed to also be 2 feet tall. So, he keeps ending up with the off-the-shoulder look going. I try to keep those for at home so he stays warm when we go out.

He loves the soft, snugly, blanket he's wrapped in!
Since going back to swaddling, we have even got Gabriel to sleep one whole night in his Pack n' Play! I still don't have sheets for it though so I lay a blanket in it and tuck it in nice and tight. On top of that is a sheet saver turned sideways, then baby all wrapped up.

Breast feeding and pumping are going well. Or at least working for the most part. We started transitioning away from the nipple shield, but in the last week Gabe has started refusing to even try to latch without it! No naked nipple in his mouth...

Each bag contains 4.0 to 4.6 ounces of Breast Milk!
Pumping is extra successful! I get around 25 ounces a day (which is the amount exclusively pumping mamas aim for to feed their babies)! That is on top of everything he gets "on his own". Since Gabriel still does take a bottle or two every day, I don't have everything just stored up, but I do have a lot in the deep freezer! As a "grand total", that doesn't include all I have pumped, just most of it, I have 931.9 ounces recorded! That is 116.49 cups or 7.2805 gallons. My freezer is very full right now! I am looking into donating some of it, but prefer to keep it local so we shall see what happens! Also, not sure if they would accept it because of my diabetes...
Boob baby...contemplating how long he wants to eat this morning (45 minutes)!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas & A "What To Do?"...

I want this happy boy back at bedtime!
Over the past several nights we have been having a worsening problem.  It started out "okay", Gabriel would cry for a few minutes when we first went to bed, he's still sleeping with us...every time we try to move him to the Pack n' Play, he screams and screams until we put him back between the two of us.  I assume this has more to do with the scent of us, being able to hear our breathing better, and our warmth than the actual Pack n' Play being the issue.  He sleeps in it during the day with little to no issue, as long as I get him to sleep before putting him in it.

Since Sunday though (today is Wednesday, I think)...things have gotten worse and worse!  Last night it reached the point where I now know I need to seek help in getting him comfortable enough to sleep at night!  Last night, Gabriel spent the entire night screaming bloody murder!  Garrick spent the whole night trying to comfort him because Gabriel wanted nothing to do with me and screamed louder if I tried to help/comfort him.  Of course, he also needed to eat throughout the night...  Since he gets his"bedtime bottle/boob" between 9:30 and 10pm, I got up to warm up a bottle of breast milk at 1am, two-ish hours into our sleepless night.  By the time it was warm, about 5 minutes, he was asleep!  We debated whether we should wake him up, in the end we did because I had to pump because I was so full.  I (foolishly) thought he would go to sleep again once he was fed.  After a diaper change, he was happy...until Garrick brought him into our bedroom!  As soon as he crossed the threshold into the room, Gabriel started screaming again!  This makes me think it is something in the room that is causing the issue, but what it is, I have no idea.  The middle of the night feedings take 30 to 45 minutes, so by 1:45am, we were back at the screaming...Garrick was cuddling Gabriel and let me get a little sleep while he tried to get Gabriel to sleep.  At 5:30am, it was time for another bottle (usually around 6am he is getting up for a boob, but I was the walking dead this morning), another diaper change and back in bed while I showered.  By 6am, he was finally asleep!

How do I get him to sleep at night and not keep one or both of us up all night?  It's currently ten minutes to 9am, he's been asleep for 3 hours, and I don't have the heart to wake him up...he literally did not sleep all night!  I have "pre-pumped" the side he won't be nursing from when he gets up and am tempted to now pump the other side and just let him sleep until he wakes up on his own.  But, I know that isn't the greatest idea either...I'll give him another hour to wake up on his own...four and a half hours in one stretch is long enough without eating, I get nervous about any longer than that still.  He is only 7.5 weeks old after all!

Things I want to try...
  • heating pad to warm up the Pack n' Play before putting him in it (taking it out before putting baby in, of course)
  • heating pad in crib (he's never slept in it, maybe he needs a room change? Need to also get the baby monitor up and working...)
  • get over my fear of letting him sleep on his tummy...he can lift/move his head, but he sometimes wants to sleep with his face smooshed completely into the mattress, this terrifies me!
 What else can I do?  I've been giving him "baby GasX" after his bottle before bed, burp him a ton...

New ornament for the tree this year!
Oh, and...there's only 20 days until Christmas!  That's less than 3 weeks and I don't even have my tree up yet!  It is sitting in my Living Room as of yesterday though...  Before it can go up though, I/we need to clean up the Living Room.  That means Garrick has to move his office stuff into the small area off the living room that we have been slowly turning into our office space.  Then, we need to get the curtain rod up (I bought a 12 foot rod several months ago) and find/add curtains to separate the room into two spaces.  After that, the "great furniture reorganization of 2012" can begin!  The tree is 7.5 feet tall, so it has a very specific area that it can fit in...we have to move an entire couch "out" of the area while also keeping it "in" the area so that we all have somewhere to sit Christmas Eve/Christmas Morning.  After all that happens, then I can vacuum and start getting the tree up!  Maybe this weekend I can get all that done...  I also need to get the rest of our Christmas shopping done, we have a whopping two gifts for Gabriel and one of those is something I bought months before he was born!

We did manage to get his December/Christmas pictures taken last Saturday.  The portrait studio (Wal-Mart) was so busy!  What is the point of making an appointment though when a walk-in that is there ahead of us can just waltz in and make us wait for 45 minutes past our appointment time?  They also gave our appointment to someone else who claimed to be me, they got to go ahead of us too!  However, we did get some decent photos...I am so sick of the ugly mottled brown cloth they use to sit him on (in almost every photo)!  He's all smiles at home, but he refuses to smile during portrait sessions.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ABC's & ZYX's...

A post on my Facebook page reminded me of something I learned somewhere around the Sixth Grade.  If you can read, and I assume you can since this isn't a Vlog, you know your ABC's.  But, do you know your ZYX's?

There was a substitute teacher when I was in school that I thought was just fabulous and I always thought he should be a full-time teacher (I believe he was semi-retired).  He actually took over my Speech class my Senior year when my teacher had to have surgery and missed most of the semester, I loved that class!  Anyway, rewind back to Sixth Grade and into my advanced English class.  I guess the regular teacher didn't have a plan for that day because instead of doing "normal learning", we learned to say the alphabet backwards! can learn them too.  It's easy when you break it down, almost poetic even!  So, here is the "poem"...
We learned it in "blocks", but it really only took about 30 minutes to learn.  Now, 20 years later, not only do I still know it, I can actually say my ABC's faster backwards than I can forwards!

Any other fun learning tricks you know?  Please share away!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Breastfeeding, Pumping, and Formula...

As of this morning, I have nursed (recorded, there is a good bit not recorded as well) 241 times with an average of 35 minutes at each feeding.  I could add up the actual times, but it works out to roughly 5.9 days of doing nothing but being a food source!

I have also pumped 698.0 ounces...that's 87.25 cups, or 5.453 Gallons!  Yes, gallons of healthy breast milk that Gabriel will eventually drink.  He has, of course, been working his way through the stash of stored milk along with the nursing, so I do not have 5.5 gallons of the stuff hidden away in my freezer.  But, I am about 10 days ahead of what he's currently drinking from the freezer (at ~20 ounces a day, I have approximately 200 ounces stored)!

Then there is the formula "issue"...when Gabriel was about 4 days old, we had to add formula to his feeding regimen because I wasn't producing milk yet (that came in on day 5) and he was severely dehydrated (something I feel could have been avoided had the hospital staff been more clear when they talked with us the first time we were there or when he was born, I feel like we got pushed out because they were busy and needed my bed for someone who didn't have their baby just yet).  We ended up using a couple of the "ready to drink" bottles and then around half of a container of powdered formula over the first four weeks.  We had to continue formula because he just wasn't gaining weight (actually started losing again) and his pediatrician threatened to hospitalize him again. He is now well over his weight loss and is somewhere close to (or past) 12 pounds!

I have so much formula "stockpiled" from what was given to us by the doctor's office, my sister, and directly from Similac!  I signed up for Similac's Strong Moms website (club, whatever they call it...) and am in total love with it.  Not only have they sent us formula coupons (I have a ton of these...I need to get them mailed out to formula-feeding Mom's ASAP), they also send me coupons for their bottles!  I currently have $8 in coupons I "need" to use...I think Santa might be bringing more bottles, lol.  Abbot (the company that makes Similac has also sent us 2 containers of formula and two 4 ounce bottles!  Even if "you" don't feed or plan to feed formula...every expectant Mom should sign up for that site!  I need to figure out what I'm going to do with all this formula now that we don't need it as well...I think I'm going to give it away to people who really need it, either through one of the new mom groups I joined or locally.  Anyone in the Spokane area need/want the half used container?  I don't think I can ship that one...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Green Mountain Coffee - A Review

Another BzzCampaign is coming to a close, this time it's Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade.  I received 3 single serving packets of this coffee to try out and so far, I have only managed to choke down one packet.  Normally, I can drink anything if it's coffee, but this one...maybe it's the "new mom" hormones I have going on now, but I just could not finish the pot (yes, I usually drink coffee by the pot)!

It really isn't "bad" coffee, but if you normally drink a more expensive brew, you won't care for the flavor of this one.  My "go to" coffee brand is Folgers, I think of this as a "mid-grade brew", for the price, it's pretty decent.  My favorite brews though are Gevalia, the online/by mail stuff, I haven't tried their "for sale in the grocery store" stuff yet...the mail order stuff is all very finely ground for use in an espresso machine (or you can buy most flavors whole bean and grind yourself)...I love their dark roasts, but back to this brew!

To me though, it tastes like the swill you get at Les Schwab (tire store for anyone not located in the Pacific Northwest) while you know the stuff, it's been sitting there for hours, sometimes days...and the pot hasn't been washed in months if at all this year!  I worked in a gas station with a mechanic's shop attached to it when I was in high school (my Dad was the mechanic, so I spent my fair share of time there even when I wasn't working), this coffee brought back memories of choking down the coffee we always had going in our "break room" (the walkway between gas station and machine shop)!

There are good points about GMC too, first, they sent me free coffee!  GMC is also a Fair Trade Certified coffee.  What does that mean?  They help the farmers get a fair price for the beans (I'm sure Folgers undercuts when/where they can to cut costs), they help to improve working conditions (I'm guessing they mean politically...I don't think they can control the weather), they support community development (new schools, roads, health clinics, safer drinking water...) in the communities of the farmers.  Healthier growers and better working conditions mean "safer" beans for us, right?

I mentioned earlier that I received three packages of coffee, I still have two of them...I may keep these for an "emergency" when I'm out of coffee (I have a large container of Folgers Black Silk, another of Folgers Decaf, half a package of Gevalia Royal Vinter Spice, two more packages, 1 lb each, of Gevalia, and half a box of Gevalia "pods" in the cupboard)...but more than likely, I'll give these away to my coffee drinking "people"!  I also have 10 coupons that came with my BzzCampaign package...$1 off anyone willing to give the Fair Trade Coffee a try, just send me an email with your name and address and I'll get one in the mail ASAP!  They are only good until 12/31/2012, so act fast!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gabriel and Daddy!
I have quite a lot to be thankful for this year, but most of all, I am thankful for our little boy.  He is hands down, the best thing to come out of 2012!  I realize the year is not quite over, but I doubt anything is going to top his arrival.

Thanksgiving is Gabriel's second "first" holiday and the last "first" for his cousin, Wyatt (they are 6 weeks short of being a year apart in age).  This year has just flown by,  it seems like yesterday that I was (not so) patiently awaiting the arrival of our latest nephew!  He was "late" showing up to the sister was due on Thanksgiving Day last year, but her littlest man decided to wait an extra two days before making his appearance, ensuring that his birthday will never fall on the holiday.  Today is my Grandmother's birthday though, for as long as I can remember she has disliked having her birthday on Thanksgiving.

Full after a Thanksgiving "lunch".
Tomorrow, Gabriel will be 6 weeks old (already!), he's sleeping for longer chunks of time at night (giving his exhausted parents 4 hours straight to sleep most nights), holding his head up better and better each day, and also staying awake for longer periods of time during the day (ensuring Mom gets absolutely nothing done during the day). He's also developed the habit of not liking to be put down for any length of time, he even wakes if I put him down while he is sleeping about 75% of the time (ick).  We have pulled everything out of his wardrobe labeled "nb", it just doesn't fit anymore, and have even had to put away some of the "0-3" stuff as he is so tall!  The next thing to go into storage for anther baby (a few years from now) will be the newborn sized proraps (waterproof diaper covers), but I am squeezing the life out of those because I only have one cover in the next size up!  I need to get out to the consignment shop and hope they have more in the next size...we use the heck out those covers (since we use the flat and pre-fold diapers 99% of the time)!

A few more photos for your "viewing pleasure", have a great Thanksgiving and be safe tomorrow during "crazy person shopping for stupid low prices" Black Friday!
Cuddled in a blanket from Grandma's co-worker.
Tummy Time turned Nap Time!
Snoozing in his favorite location...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

More Gabriel...

The last remaining holdout for accepting Gabriel into our family has finally "caved"!  While Baby still has chosen to sleep under the Dining Room table rather than in bed with the rest of us (the dog sleeps on the floor next to the bed), he isn't stand-offish anymore at all.  In fact, his new favorite thing to do is cuddle (or attempt to cuddle) while Gabriel is getting his bottle after nursing.  This photo was taken post-bottle while they both got a little cuddle time in with "Dad".  Do you know how hard it is to get a cat and a baby to look at you (in your general direction at least) at the same time?

We are officially out of the newborn sized clothes!  Look how tight that onesie is!  Good thing we only had a few things in NB size, lol.  He is outgrowing the 0-3 stuff too, but only the really "short" ones. 

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on a Mei Tai (tei?) style carrier, I finally got it done!  I've had a few set backs that I never had pre-baby, like needing to care for a baby...also, I screwed up the tension on my machine and spent an hour trying to figure out what was wrong.  Then, I ran out of thread!  I have thread now, two spools even, but time is something I haven't found any more of.  So, I have one top strap complete (I am making them twice as long as the pattern says because I want to know it's going to fit me well) and am working on the decorative top stitch on the second one.  The rest of the carrier is not getting the decorative top stitch, just a straight stitch...  It took a week or so to finally get it done, but once I got the decorative stitching done, the rest went together extremely fast!  Pardon the messy hair and room.

We went on the 1st of November and had Gabriel's first photo session that didn't involve a cell phone!  We missed out on getting any newborn photos because he was born on a Friday and apparently, the photographers that work at Sacred Heart (they contract out to a studio) don't work on Fridays or Saturdays and the one that was working on Sunday didn't have the time to take his photos and never called to schedule an in-home visit, not that we were home in that first week anyway.  Anyway, we had his first visit to the WalMart Portrait Studio at 3 weeks old for his "1 month" photos!  I'm hoping to get the time to go in this evening or tomorrow to pick them up (they were ready a couple of days ago).

Little man has started smiling when he's happy (or rather, "when not pooping or farting")!  In the photo above, Garrick was tickling his cheek and making him grin...he almost laughs too.

Now that he's almost 5 weeks old, he's finally put on enough pounds (ounces) to fit into our pocket diapers!  Now, if we can just get them to stop leaking...  You can see it a little bit in the photo, the white part poking out is the lining for the diaper, it wicks moisture into the inserts and away from baby's skin.  Except in this case, the parts that are poking out are wicking the moisture (urine) into Gabriel's clothes and away from the insert!  The issue we are having is in the leg area, the elastic specifically.  The elastic is rolling funny and pulling the interior to the outside.  We went through 6 pocket diapers in one afternoon because he kept leaking out of them and soaking his clothes too!

Don't worry about the upset baby...he just doesn't like to be naked!

Medela Symphony (Medical Grade Pump)
We rented a medical grade Medela pump one month ago today (the other day anyway, it's taken me a few days to get this written around baby).  So, we had to either return it or pay for another month this morning.  As much as I love the medical grade pump (I was getting 5 ounces per pumping session overnight last night), we just can't afford the $100 a month price tag to continue renting!  So, my sister gave us our Christmas present early!  She (and her husband) gave us the money to buy a really good pump!  I still need to call the company and get a refund on the First Years Mi just does not work and from talking to the lactation consultant about it, she has only met a handful of people that it works for (flaws in the design make it not very useful for most nursing mommas, big boobs don't go well with the tiny "funnel" part).

Our Christmas Present!
I can honestly say that I love the Medela brand though.  Expensive, yes, but well worth the money after having used several of their products since Gabriel was born (breast pads, hand pumps, (double) electric pumps, custom fit parts, bottles...).  I usually go for the "best for the price", but in the case of something to torture your boobs with...I now believe in getting the "best" and worrying about "price" only as far as "how long do I need to save to be able to get the best"!  So, with the money in my checking account (and a 20% off coupon in hand), I went and picked up the "next best thing to the medical grade" pump.  If I could have afforded it, I probably would have spent the money to get a medical grade just because it is "the best" as far as suction goes and can be programmed to use the same suction level every time without fiddling with the controls...but those run in the $1500 to $1800 range!  If we had triplets or something, I might have considered it more, lol.  At Babies R Us (the baby version of Toys R Us), they offer four different Medela double electric pumps and a single pump option as well.  The most expensive is the Freestyle pump, it takes a whole different set of parts, but does offer the same digital features that the Symphony pump has, plus a timer (I use an app on my iPhone to do the timing on).  The Freestyle is also a "hands free" model, but no one I know that has this one has been able to figure out how to actually use it hands free (Mommy groups are so awesome)! 

The other three double electric options are all the same pump, the Pump In Style Advanced, the only real differences are in the style of the bag and what comes with it.  The Metro Bag is slightly more expensive because the pump "guts" are removable from the bag, so you don't have to clear the whole counter/table/whatever to set it down.  The Backpack has the pump built in (though they are removable so you can wash the bag) to the bottom of the pack and a zipper around it to open the front of the bag to use it.  The-On-Go Tote has the most storage space for the lowest price (for the DE pumps) and is the option I went with after staring at the comparison chart on the back of the boxes for a good 10 minutes in the store!  The pump takes up about one-quarter of the bag and it came with a little cooler that holds four 5 ounce bottles (also included)!  It also came with a standard feeding nipple, so you can pump and feed without having to pack around "feeding bottles".  I was a little worried that I wasn't going to be able to get as much pumped with this as I was with the medical grade, boy was I wrong!  Friday morning Gabriel only ate off my left side (for 45 minutes and then fell asleep), so I pumped the right side while he napped...I got 4 ounces off that side and another full ounce off my left!  I only pump for 15 minutes at a time and can usually "empty" pretty well in that time, after feeding him, I never get a 5 ounce pumping, but during the night when we bottle feed and pump to shorten the amount of sleep we lose, I am now getting over 5 ounces in the 15 minute time frame!  The PISA pumps also take the same parts as the Symphony, so if you have had to rent a pump, you can still use all your parts (except the hoses, but save those to use with the hand pump that came in the kit)!

If you only want a single pump, though honestly, you might as well get a double, they can be used as a single as well, you have two options.  The Swing Pump is the electric version, it has different parts than either of the double pump options...  There is also a hand pump option, the Harmony.  I have two of these!  I like it and keep one in my diaper bag for on the go pumping and one in the bottle cupboard for when I need to pump one side while he's eating!  I got mine at the hospital though, I did not pay $40 for them.  I also have two of the  Symphony pumping system kits (all but the tubing in one kit) from our hospital stays and from renting the pump (they forgot to tell us it didn't come with parts and we, Garrick, ended up going and picking one up from Labor & Delivery late that evening).

Other products...the Hydrogel breast pads are awesome for sore nipples and I am wearing the heck out of a set right now!  I picked up a 4 pack (2 sets) at Wal-Mart for $10, but I have also gotten 3 more sets from the Lactation Consultant too!  Just remember to keep the clear harder plastic card they come on for storage during a shower and if you haven't totally destroyed them during use and are not sore anymore.  I have lots of options when it comes to breast pads...  Cotton reusables, these are good, but I can run through all three sets in a morning if I'm having a day where I don't get to pump.  Disposables, I wear these 24/7!  They are "reusable" up to a certain point and I have been known to wear the same set for a couple of days if I haven't been super leaky.  These are also good for wearing "out" because if you have an emergency "baby needs to be fed right now and you are in the middle of Wal-Mart trying to hurry up and shop because you both thought you could get the shopping done before the baby woke up and was hungry, but you were" moment, then you lose your pad for the side you quickly whip out under your udder cover.  Yup, so nice to not have to go searching the floor of the store for your expensive breast pad when that happens...  (As a side note, I don't condone "littering" in the store and I did, in fact, find the pad wadded up into a tiny ball waaaaay under my boob in a corner when we got home.)

And then there are the "funnels" (Breast shields)...The hospital kits come with two sizes, 24mm (medium) and 27mm (large) and the pumps from the store come with the Medium size only.  I started out in the Large size and have gone up to the 30mm (X-Large) size after pumping became very painful from the shield rubbing me funny because it was too small.  They also come in 36mm (XX-Large), which is awesome if you have gigantic nipples!  I paid $17 for a set at Babies R Us, sells them for around $15.

And a little glimpse of the newest project I have floating around in my head...  Using the framework of a Super Scrabble board as a background (and as the color scheme), I am working on making a "Names Quilt" for Gabriel...I'm guessing this will take me a while since I haven't even started looking at my fabric stash to see what I have to work with, so this will probably be a birthday present for Gabriel when he can read, lol.  It has all of his relatives (up to Grandmas and Grandpas) and general words like "family" and "cousin"...that sort of thing.  I'm even toying with the idea of applying the letter value to each tile too, but haven't figured out if I will or not just yet.  As you can see in the upper left hand corner of that screenshot, Jef is spelled without the second "f".  When I first met Garrick's brother, this is how he spelled it (and may still when not using it professionally), he has since added the second "f", but I couldn't fit his name in the squares with two f's!

This always brings to mind this clip from Jeff Dunham and Peanut!  Jeffafahhh!  This guy is my favorite comedian.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

SMARTFOOD Selects - A Review

Right before we were headed to the hospital to have our baby, I received a new BzzCampaign item in the mail.  All Natural SMARTFOOD Selects...this is pre-popped popcorn and humus chips.

The flavors I got are pretty darn good, but the one I'm most interested in trying is theCinnamon Brown Sugar one!  I received a bag of Buffalo flavored though (think the spicy sauce on chicken wings for a mental image of the flavor here)...I'm not a huge fan of hot/spicy and this flavor is most certainly hot/spicy!  The Humus chips are pretty good to, but in all honesty, I think the flavorings there are a bit too "jumbled" for my liking...I got small bags of two flavors of these (Garlic Tomato Basil and Feta Herb).  The Garlic Tomato Basil taste like the Mrs. Dash with the same name, which is good...but not really a "chip" flavor.

As an alternative to eating potato chips, these are worth 13 grams of carbs per small (single serve chip bag) bag, you're probably better off eating a stick of cheese anyway (microwave that and toss a little Mrs. Dash on it and you can even have the same flavor!  On the plus side, there is no MSG in these, they are Kosher, they claim 0g trans fats (and I don't see any of the sneaky, hidden trans fats), and there are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in these.

The single ingredient I think they need to work on eliminating from these?  Brown Sugar!  Who the heck needs sugar in a savory chip?  It's just adding calories, carbs, and a load of other things to a product that is relatively good for you (there is still all the flours used to create the chip, but sugar is BAD)!

In the end, this was a great snack to have on hand when we were making all of our trips to the hospital that first week when the baby was so sick and I was living off of fast food and snacks people brought me (I never left the room he was in other than to pee when Garrick was there with me...and believe me, I really had to go by the time they returned that first morning after going back to the hospital)!  They won't, however, be something I purchase on my own...mostly because they are not part of a low-carb diet and we are going back on that "soon"!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

OMG, We Have A 3 Week Old!

After a very rough start, we have slowly been getting into a "family routine" and haven't forgotten the baby at home even once in the last 3 weeks!  Okay, one of us (who shall remain nameless) tried to leave him in the car when we got home last night, but I think he just wasn't thinking about how many hands we really had between the two of us.

Gabriel still isn't up to his birth weight (9 pounds 7 ounces), but as of yesterday he is officially back into the 9 pound range!  At his Pediatrician appointment yesterday, he weighed 9 pounds 0 ounces (and after nursing for a bit, 9 pounds 0.5 ounces) at 21 days old!  His slow gain has been causing all sorts of issues and has had us going to see pediatricians and the lactation consultant multiple times over the last few weeks!

When Dad makes sure we have a pacifier with us...
We also changed to a new Pediatrician as of yesterday...the one we originally "chose" just wasn't meshing with us (me specifically) very well.  As an example, she kept calling Gabriel a girl, even when she was asking to see his circumcision to make sure it was healing!  She also was pushing me to stop breast feeding and put him on formula exclusively...not something we want to do (mostly for monetary reasons, but also because Breast is Best)!  The new Pediatrician though...I kind of like her.  She breast fed her 2.5 year old and is currently pregnant again (and planning to breast feed), her daughter had a tongue tie and so she can easily identify the issues (poor Gabriel has a "slight" tongue tie that is finally going to be addressed next week by the Ear, Nose, & Throat specialist now that I got a Pediatrician to agree and make the referral), also...she didn't call my little boy a girl once!  I know the whole "girl/boy thing" seems trivial, but after correcting the doctor a dozen times in a single visit, you start to wonder if they are really paying any attention to you when you talk...

That's a 9lb baby there...
Breast feeding has been a struggle, I won't rainbows and sprinkle farts here!  In the hospital, right after Gabriel's birth, my right breast got clogged and engorged within a few short hours!  It took hand expressing for hours to unclog it and get the engorgement to go down enough that he could latch again, the nipple even started to invert a little and that made it even harder on that side.  Because of the Tongue Tie, our Lactation Consultant (Sarah) gave us a Nipple Shield.  This has helped him be able to pull more of my nipple into his mouth, but he still isn't able to really suck and pull the milk out on his own.  So, I started pumping (or rather continued pumping, but this time for the purpose of feeding it right back to the little man)...I believe I mentioned in my last post that my First Years MiPump is a total failure, it still is and the only "good" thing to come out of it so far has been the bottles and the one nipple that came with it!  However, the Medical Grade Medela Symphony 2.0 has been a dream come true!  Oh how I wish I could afford to buy one of these!  But, besides the fact that you cannot buy the medical grade ones unless you are a hospital (maybe a doctor's office?), they cost around $1800 for the unit!  I found one of the "other" Medical Grade Medela pumps listed on Ebay or Amazon (I forget which) for $350, but you have to have a license of some sort or they won't sell to you because it is "illegal in the US"!  So, I'm trying to save up my pennies for a Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump (on the go tote), it's $269.99 at Babies R Us, so still not cheap!  However, right now BRU has a coupon out for all Medela products (15% off) and if you were in the store to buy anything in the last few weeks, you probably got the little coupon book that has a 20% off coupon for any "regular priced item"!  With the 20% off coupon, that means I can pick up the pump for $215.99 (plus tax unless I'm lucky enough for my Mother to come up for a quick visit or something)...that helps a little.  As it stands right now, it looks like we will be having to rent the Medical grade pump for a few more months (one for sure).  We paid $113 for the first month and a second month will cost us another $90 (plus tax), so there's $203 right there...I really need to save pennies quickly!

I now label them with the qty in ounces as well.
We have gone from Exclusively Breast Feeding (EBF), to Breast Feeding with pumping and Supplementing with pumped "boob juice", and are now Breast Feeding and Supplementing with a mixture of 50% "boob juice" and 50% formula.  It sucks, formula stinks and means I need to get a diaper sprayer sooner than I expected (formula doesn't wash out in the washer like BF poo does).  But, Gabriel seems to be much more content now and hasn't been screaming as much.  I feel bad thinking that I've been starving him (even though I know I haven't been, after nursing he has taken a 4 ounce bottle of boob juice and been just fine)!  After Wednesday and he (hopefully) gets his Frenulum clipped (the little bit of skin that is under your tongue), I'm hoping we can transition back the other direction and get him back to being an EBF baby!  Boobs are so much easier to pack around than all the junk needed to make bottles of formula (and even bottles of boob juice take a good amount of equipment)!  I'm lucky enough to have almost two sets of pump parts for the pump we are using (another reason I want to get the pump I mentioned above), so it isn't as critical that it get washed in the middle of the night, which is nice...but those kits cost $50 each!  The new pediatrician wants him to be at or very near 9 pounds 10 ounces by Wednesday we shall see!  My "OCD" is showing up in how I label my pumped breast milk supply...each 2 ounce bottle gets a piece of freezer tape with the date, time, amount in the bottle, and what number for the day that bottle is...this makes it fast and easy when we are trying to get a bottle made quickly because baby is still hungry!  We just look for the oldest date and then grab numerically or by how much we want to feed him (sometimes we are looking for larger/smaller amounts than the next bottle in line).  This is now helping with the 50/50 mixing with formula as well (which I premade an 8 ounce bottle of and put in the fridge so it's a "pour & warm" game now...).
Overnight bottles drying in the morning...
While I'm here and talking about the "equipment"...see the green in the photo?  That's my boon Grass!  It's a drying "rack" for bottles and stuff!  They were on sale at Target last week (might still be, I haven't been back since) and so we picked this up using our $20 gift card we got for creating a baby registry there!  Well, I got this, a bottle brush, and have about $3 left on the card...  I love this rack!  Not only does it work for all the bottle and pump parts now, but it'll work great for all the sippy cup parts and later on, straws!  Also, regular glasses and stuff too...ya know, after you don't need it for the "kid stuff".
Gabriel's First Halloween Costume!

Halloween was last week! While we did not go trick or treating (what would an almost 3 week old do with candy anyway?), we did go out for a meal at a restaurant as a family and Gabriel was dressed up for the evening!  It was Wednesday, so we went to Shari's for dinner (free pie night!) and then Garrick went down the street to play pool (Wednesdays are still league night, I just can't take the baby into a bar...or rather, I wouldn't take him in...technically until he's out of the infant carrier he is legal to take in) and Gabriel and I came home to hide in the back of the house with all the lights off (we don't buy candy for the neighborhood anymore...too many greedy parents/kids).  He has another "costume" that I picked up after Halloween, it's a onesie that is "scrubs green" and has doctor related items like a mask, stethoscope, etc... printed on it.  I got it for $1.75 and it's size 0-3 months, but I think it's cute and he'll wear it over to his grandparents' house this weekend before it becomes an "under something else" onesie.
During Halloween dinner!

Bib by Grandma
"I hate hats!"
(L-R:Garrick, Jef, Ron, Gabriel, Koa)
Right after Garrick's birthday, his brother and sister-in-law came up to meet Gabriel and visit us and his folks.  We got lots of great photos of everybody!  Of course, not everyone looked at the same camera at the same  I really love this photo of all the guys together!  I don't talk nearly enough about how proud we are of Garrick's little brother, he owns his own restaurant in Eugene, Oregon and is the 2012 Iron Chef Oregon winner!  If you are anywhere near Eugene, you should totally go check out Koho Bistro!  Shameless plug out of the way....ha!  Even if you just want to see how absolutely talented Chef Jef is..go check out the photos of the restaurant, he made the wall art that's in the bar (old wine crates) and I believe, but could be mistaken, that he did a good portion of the decor woodworking as well.
Captivated by Grandma!
Luckily, Gabriel seems to have the same amount of "love" for his pacifiers as he has for formula...he doesn't really "like" them but will tolerate them as long as they are masked by boob juice or the promise of boob juice soon to come!  In fact, he spits the pacifiers out when he falls asleep (win)!  He does, however, require they be kept close at hand...literally.  What?  He likes to hold it...easier to hide when he's older than a security blanket, lol.

I briefly mentioned that we did, in deed, have our little man was more painful on us to watch than it was for him, I'm sure...he did great!  There are apparently "options" on how this is done, but our doctor's office only does it the "surgical" way and we were unaware of the Plastibell until after the fact.  That being said though, our oldest nephew had the Plastibell (or something very similar) and had infection issues with the string used with it!  We both went with him, by choice.  I wouldn't have made Garrick go if he didn't want to, but I was very grateful that he chose to go in with us.  Basically, they strapped his legs down to a plastic "form" but left his hands free so that he could self-soothe by touching his face, grasp our hands (fingers), and such...they said they are the only office in our area that do it this way.  We were there to provide comfort to our little boy, even though he didn't feel any pain (other than the shot to numb his junk up), it was disconcerting to him to feel the movements.  The way it was described to us, it seems his local numbing shot worked just like my spinal during the cesarean...I felt no pain, but could feel things being "moved around".  Luckily, he didn't pee during the procedure!  After it was all said and done, we were taken back to an axam room where we could nurse him for a bit while the gauze did it's job to help cauterize any leftover bleeding at that point.
The look on his face was so amusing to both of us! He sure has a "What the heck just happened?" look, doesn't he?  I get a kick out of his "outside innie" of a belly button is slowly going down and laying smoother, but this photo was taken the day after it fell off.


I love, love, love doing this!  Not just because it leaves me hands-free to actually get things done, like washing all those bottles, doing a load of laundry, folding diapers, or you know...playing on the computer, but also because Gabriel loves it!  We have several different "options" when it comes to baby-wearing in this house. 

This one is one I haven't used yet, but Garrick seemed to like it, it's just a bit too warm for it right now.

This is the one I sewed and it is our favorite!  The sling is sized just right for him and I to use together and I believe Garrick also fits this one very well.  When I wear Gabriel in this one, I can bend over (holding on to him of course) and the sling doesn't even shift a little, he stays sucked up right against me, sound asleep!  We take this one everywhere with us and have even NIP'd (Nursed in Public) in McDonald's while in this!

The Moby Wrap (or more likely, someone's homemade version...I got it for $15 at a resale shop and it has no label) is tricky and we are still working out the kinks of this one, but were able to successfully wear it once.  So much so that he leaked out of his diaper and I was so engorged by the time that I realized what time it was, we were both soaked and I was spraying breast milk all over the place while I tried cleaning us both up!  With my larger size, all over, the ends barely reach to tie and do not knot at all!  I'm considering adding snaps to it...

The Ring Sling was great for the first few days, but I don't know what I did that made it work so well...I haven't been able to use it successfully for the last week!

We have an old (like my Mom used it with my sister who will be 27 next month) Snugli that is denim and has metal zippers as well.  I used this one a few days ago when everything else was dirty (he's started spitting up after eating)...  I like it except it has no head support!  The white is a receiving blanket I wrapped around the carrier to help support his head while I was playing around on Facebook... Those big foam blocks on the shoulders really cut into my neck!  This might work better when he can hold his head up and be forward facing.

I also bought the fabric to make a Mai Tei carrier...I even have the (simple) directions for cutting it printed!  I was going to make it last night, but plans got hanged when Gabriel  vomited up bright yellow stomach acid after doctor's hours and we were sent to the ER to have him checked out (he's fine, just a bout of acid reflux from adding formula to his diet).  So, if I can manage to squeeze an hour or so of "me time" into the weekend, I'll have yet another option!  I got home decor fabric because it's heavier duty than normal cotton and should be able to take his weight for a long while.

Notice how he's asleep in all the photos?  He literally passes out as soon as he gets situated in a sling!

Our morning routine goes as this...
  1. boob
  2. boob juice & formula in a bottle together
  3. nap while Mom pumps and gets a little housework done!
  4. boob again and repeat process every 2-3 hours!
He naps every morning in the rocker we got as a shower gift.  He even takes his late afternoon nap here!

We finally got around to giving the baby a bath too!  His cord stump didn't fall off until the day before his circumcision and then we had to wait for that to heal (though he did get a few "showers" in the sink while he healed to rinse poo off of his wiener while it healed).  He did not like "sitting" in the water one bit!
However, when we flipped him over to wash the back...he even smiled at Dad!  Little man liked it, conditionally, lol.

Last, but not least for today...a nap with Dad...they both slept from about 7:30 until 10pm when I got them up to eat and get ready for bed!  I love how they have near identical expressions on their sleeping faces!