Sunday, November 25, 2012

Five months!

 A few days ago Paisley turned 5 months old!

She loves:
-       Grabbing at stuff.  Everything.  Especially my hair.
-       Putting things in her mouth.
-       Mirrors.
-       Standing.  (With help.)
-       To be held. 
-       Rolling.  She rolls from her back to her tummy anytime I put her down on her back, including when I change her diapers.
-       Books.  This past month we mostly read: My First Thanksgiving and The First Thanksgiving, When Snowflakes Fall, Winter, and Goodnight Moon (we read that one every night as part of our bedtime routine).

Paisley has started to think more things are funny—a while ago she thought it was funny when I used the lint roller on her; a few days ago she laughed and laughed as I popped packing bubbles.  Sometimes she laughs if we toss her up (we don’t let go).

Swimming is going really well.  We go every Wednesday.  The past couple weeks have been the best so far.  Two weeks ago Paisley got the hang of going underwater.  Previously she really didn’t like it; she didn’t cry much or anything, but sometimes it seemed like she might.  A couple weeks ago she realized that you shouldn’t breathe in when you go underwater and now going underwater is no big deal.  So, since class ended early that day, I decided to have us try doing underwater pictures.  We got a couple pretty good ones.  Last week Paisley still was good about going underwater and she also did better with floating.  It’s fun to see progress.

Paisley’s Souns arrived towards the end of this month.  We tried to have them in time for her to start at 5 months.  So, we’ve introduced the letter “o”, which we call “ah” (as in “pot”).  We try to interact with it for at least a couple minutes every day.  “Paisley, do you want to play with your ‘ah’?  Are you putting the ‘ah’ in your mouth?” etc.  I was kind of disappointed to read in the instructions that we’re supposed to work with only the “o” until she is 11-12 months old (or demonstrates that she really understands it).  Babies are supposed to spend longer with the first letter because it creates a foundation for future letters.  (Well, all right.)

We tried a Kindermusik class.  It didn’t go so well.  They were offering it at the same place where we go swimming, and it was supposed to be an introduction class.  We thought we were signing up for a Village class (0-18 months), but it turned out they had more kids that were 18 months to 3 years, so they put them in the time that was supposed to be the baby class and Paisley ended up being the only really little kid.  The class was full of toddlers, and the activities were all toddler activities, except for just a couple things that were for babies.  It was also held at Paisley’s naptime, so she was a Fussy McFusslepot.  The maraca noises made her cry.  The songs made her cry.  It was kind of awkward.  We had signed up for both of the 2 weeks of introductory classes (at the office’s suggestion), and even though the office said the following week would have more babies, we didn’t go.  The real classes start in January and we may go if they have an actual Village class…but I think even if we do Kindermusik we should probably do one of the groups that is closer to home.

Paisley attended her first funeral, for my Aunt Janice.  We spent most of it in the mother’s lounge, because she was fussy.  (It was kind of weird, actually, because if you think about it, crying is not out of place at a funeral.  But infant crying still is.)  The funeral was very nice.

For Halloween, Paisley was a bee.  We didn’t go trick-or-treating, and we didn’t attend any parties.  We did pass out candy to trick-or-treaters, so she was dressed up for that.

Paisley recognizes people better.  She loves her grandma and grandpa (we’re halfway living with them right now), Jeff, and now she likes Liu (her Chinese babysitter).

She is drooling a ton.

We got Paisley a “lovey”—a Sneudel, as recommended in a book that I started reading (about helping babies sleep better).  Paisley does not sleep very well lately, ever since we started living in two places.  Very recently we also stopped swaddling her at night, because we had a couple times where she rolled while in her swaddle and in her swing, and she ended up in really uncomfortable positions.

Also ever since we started living in two places, elimination communication is not going so well.  Partly I am too tired to pay attention to her bathroom needs, and partly she is not communicating with me as well.  We still have a few successes every day, but mainly right now I’m just not trying much. 

Maybe also related to sleeping badly, it seems like every time is Paisley’s naptime.  No matter when things are scheduled, it seems like Paisley is tired and cranky.  This has been true of the Kindermusik class, swim (but we switched times and now that’s better), church, an afternoon house showing, an evening house showing, etc. 

Paisley is rounding out a little.  I don’t know what she weighs, but she has chubbier cheeks, a little bit of a tummy, and chunkier thighs.  I’m happy about that.

That’s our Paisley.  This last month was kind of a fussy one.  It’s looking like that phase has pretty much ended and now she is becoming very social.  She’s a neat little girl.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Our Annual Family Photo!

Jeff and I have a little tradition of going on a hike at the beginning of each October and taking our picture in the same place every year.  It's kind of neat to see how our family has changed.  I mentioned this tradition a couple years ago, but I guess I didn't post it last year.  So, here is our sequence:




Four months!

As of this past Saturday, Paisley is four months old!

We went for her four month pediatrician appointment a week early, and at 3 months and 21 days, Paisley weighed 11 lbs 8 oz (16th percentile) and she is 25 inches long (85th percentile).  We have a long, skinny little girl!  Her pediatrician asked me whether Paisley is getting enough to eat (she is—she eats whenever she wants all day long, and I pump extra every night), and the pediatrician asked about different milestones: Does she grab for things? (Oh, yes, she’s been doing that for a while.) Does she lift her head up when I lay her on her tummy? (Yeah, she’s been doing that for a while too.)  And so on.  So, since she is still gaining weight (not losing), and her length and head circumference are fine, and she’s still developing properly with milestones, the pediatrician said she’s not worried. 

Partway through this last month we sort-of moved in with Jeff’s parents.  We still spend most of our daytimes at our house, but we also spend a lot of time over at their house.  So, Paisley is getting to see a lot of her grandparents lately.  At first she cried for them (because they are not me), but within a couple days she warmed up, and now she’s very chummy with them.  She especially likes Jeff’s mom, but a couple weeks ago she chewed on Jeff’s dad’s finger, and he took that to mean that they’re friends now.
Pretty baby!

Paisley is teething.  She has been for at least a month.  I don’t know when she will actually get teeth—who knows, it could still be months away—but she drools all over, and she is constantly chewing on her fingers.  Or chewing on anything else she can get to her mouth.  Jeff got his first tooth when he was 4 months old.  I got my first tooth several months later.  There have been a few times when it is really obvious that she is hurting, but mostly she’s just a drool and chomping machine.  We still have her wearing her Baltic amber necklace to help with teething.  If I had to guess, I’d say it makes things about 15-20% better.  But I don’t know.

When I noticed that Paisley really enjoys chewing on the toys at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, I felt like a little bit of a bad mom for not getting her any toys.  Whoops!  Even though I am Jeff’s Realtor now, we are still friends with our awesome Realtor who helped Jeff buy our house and our fourplex, and she gave Paisley a little bunny soft security blanket thing with a rattle and knots on the corners.  Now that Paisley is teething, she really loves the bunny.  (We take it everywhere.)  But, that’s the only toy she had!  So I ordered a few toys on Amazon and now she has another favorite: two wooden triangles.  Best. Toy. Ever.  It rattles, and it is colorful, and it is just perfect for grabbing and for putting in her mouth.  We also bought a couple other wooden toys by the same company, but Paisley is crazy about the triangles, so when we go places we take the bunny and the triangles.

Halfway through the month we went for Paisley’s first swim class.  It’s a parent/tot class at a pool up in Holladay.  Paisley liked it!  The class had 6 parents and 6 tots, all younger than 2 years old, so I wondered how much they could possibly do.  They did a lot, actually.  The idea is that really little kids can learn to float if they fall in pools or water, and they can just kind of hang out and call for help instead of drowning.  Kids that are a little bigger learn to swim, float, swim.  So they paddle towards the edge, and then when they get tired they relax and float on their backs until they feel ready to swim some more, and the pattern repeats until they get to the edge and climb out!  The videos make me cry, and I don’t really know why.  My youngest brother almost drowned, actually, when he was a baby.  It was pretty intense.  We pulled him out of the bottom of the spa, and I did CPR? (Or something?) while my sister called 911.  My parents weren’t home when it happened.  My mom came home to all of the emergency vehicles at our house.  My brother started breathing again pretty quickly (I think?), but they still life-flighted him in a helicopter to a children’s hospital.  Miraculously, my brother had no brain damage or anything, and he is totally fine.  I rarely even think of that story, but maybe it is part of the reason infant self-rescue classes appeal to me?  Not sure.
Paisley meeting her grandpa (Em's dad).

So, anyhow, about the swim class—it is only a 25 minute class.  Everyone sings a lot.  When we first got there they were singing “The kids in the pool…” to the tune of “The wheels on the bus.”  And there are different motions—the kids in the pool go side to side, in and out, and up and (!) down.  We also sang “Row, row, row your boat” while the babies floated.  There were a bunch of group activities that we did in a circle, a little bit of individual play-time while the instructor spent a couple minutes with each baby individually, and then there were more group activities at the end, too.  It was very cool.  Paisley went under water three times, and only got a little upset once, although she didn’t actually cry at all.  One little boy was sad for most of the class, but everyone else did just fine.  At 3.5 months, Paisley was the youngest participant, but there were a few babies that were 6 months old.  Lately I’ve been too busy to commit to a weekly class, but I plan for us to start going to a weekly class soon.  I ordered another (reusable) swim diaper in the tiniest size, plus an infant wetsuit.  That was the only problem, I think; Paisley did seem a little cold partway through.  So, I think that will make it even better next time.  (If anyone is curious, you can see some videos of babies swimming on the website HERE.)

This month I also started signing to her.  I think it’s still wayyy too early for her to sign back, so it’s kind of a half-hearted effort, but we do “bye-bye” (or “zài jiàn,” as the case may be!), and I often sign “milk” when I nurse her. Paisley’s Chinese babysitter still comes twice a week, and although I am usually home for her visits, it gives me a perfect opportunity to actually get some things done!)  Last week her babysitter crocheted a red hat for her (“Red because it is lucky.  Chinese believe red brings luck in all things.”) and this week she crocheted a headband with a flower on it for Paisley.  I think that is just so sweet when she makes stuff for Paisley. 
Paisley meeting her great-grandpa (Em's mom's dad).

My little sister Sarah got married this past weekend, on the day that Paisley turned four months old.  So, my family came to town for the wedding, and Paisley finally got to meet my dad, my sisters, and her cousin that is a month older than she is.  I sewed cute little matching baby dresses for Paisley and her cousin “Ally” (Allyn).  Paisley also met her great-grandpa (my mom’s dad) at the wedding, plus some of my aunts and uncles. 
Quick family picture at the wedding.

Paisley with Ally - during their month photos.
It was pretty funny having Ally at our house for a couple days.  Since Ally is exactly a month older than Paisley we did their month photos together.  Ally weighed 16 lbs when she was four months old, and now they think she weighs about 18 lbs—almost double Paisley’s weight.  Ally is a really relaxed little girl; Paisley is either grinning or screaming most of the time, but Ally just kind of hangs out; she doesn’t seem to have such strong emotions.  When we were doing photos, though, Ally kept grabbing the bow out of Paisley’s hair, or grabbing Paisley, etc.  Paisley tolerated the attention pretty well.

I think that’s about it!  I’ll finish this post with a video from this past Sunday.  Paisley had been fussy all afternoon and evening.  She cried the whole way home from Jess & Mitch’s house that night.  Then I changed her into jammies and we discovered this fun game.  Adorable!  The game isn’t as funny anymore, but it sure was that night!  So, I had my dad make a video.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Three months!

Life is very, very busy right now, and Paisley is actually almost four months old, but I still wanted to write about three months anyway.  Here is a list of notes that I made a couple weeks ago:

Paisley likes to reach for things!  She is especially interested in my food and my phone.  No matter how far away I sit from the table, it seems like she is always able to grab for my plate.  She also loves grabbing at my phone when I am texting or using the Internet.  And, of course my phone has a touch screen so sometimes she sends things before I mean to, or closes things, etc.  It's kind of obnoxious. 

Paisley smiles a lot.  She also talks a lot.  We enjoy both.

Paisley has laughed a few times now (while awake).  There was one night where it was 1 am, and I had already put her to bed a few times, and I was needing to get up early the next morning, so I was kind of frustrated about being up with her again.  I took Paisley into her room and put her on her changing table, and as I was doing whatever I was doing (changing her? dressing her?  swaddling? I forget) she thought something was so funny.  She laughed and laughed for like 5 minutes, and it sounded like angels dancing, or the most wonderful noise there is.  It was the best.  (Now when she laughs it doesn't sound quite as beautiful and bubbly as that first time when she was just discovering laughing, but we still love it.)  

I am Paisley's favorite person, and she is very open about that fact.  I'm her first favorite, and second favorite, and third favorite, and fourth favorite, and fifth favorite... Jeff is probably her tenth favorite, and the babysitter is her eleventh favorite. 

Paisley likes to be held all the time.  I hold her most of the day every day, lately we've been using our ring sling a lot.

I found out about Souns, and we're looking forward to using them with Paisley!  (The age to start them is 5 months, so we'll probably order them in a month or so.)  I'm sure I will probably blog about this separately sometime in the future, but basically, Souns are 4" lowercase alphabet letters which are introduced to babies and toddlers one at a time and called by the sound that they make instead of the name of the letter.  So, effectively, young children learn to read and "write" before they are coordinated enough to use a pen or pencil.  It's really exciting, and I think it makes a lot of sense.  So, we're definitely planning to do it.  I'm happy that I discovered them when I did, because it seems like they are relatively new and not very widely used yet, and we will be able to use them at the perfect time.  That's great!

Paisley had been sleeping 10-11 hours straight every night until recently.  Just lately she has started sleeping poorly--she wakes up every few hours, and lately I have to put her to sleep 3-4 times every night.

Paisley does not like car rides much anymore. 

Paisley likes a little game that I read about in the Wonder Weeks book: I sit on the couch with my feet up on something in front of me, to make an incline facing me.  Then, I lay Paisley on my lap, facing me.  I hold her hands and pull her up into a sitting position.  Last month Paisley didn't care for this, so we didn't do it much, but now she likes it a lot.

We're still doing pretty well with EC.  It used to be that I would take her to the bathroom a lot and she would only go once in a while.  Now I don't take her very often, but she usually goes when I do take her.

We love this little girl so much!  She is such a sweet baby, and it's fun to see her growing into our own little person. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Paisley's New Nickname

We have a new nickname for Paisley.  We (affectionately) call her “Boo-Hoo Baby”.  Here’s how it came about:

I ordered a bunch of bilingual (Chinese/English) kids’ books for Paisley.  We thought it would be a good idea to have them around so that the Chinese babysitter would have some inspiration, and so that we could read them to Paisley to reinforce the language (even though we don’t speak Chinese). 

One of the books that we got was the Mantra Lingua version of a book called What Shall We Do with the Boo-Hoo Baby?  For our linguistic purposes, it isn’t great, because the Chinese is only in traditional characters, and this one didn’t come with a CD, so only the babysitter will actually be able to read it to Paisley in Chinese.  Aside from that, though, the book is fantastic!  The pictures are really good, and the story is great.  Basically, it’s a story of a baby that just keeps crying, while a cow, a duck, a cat, and a dog try to make the baby happy.  The animals keep trying different things, and nothing works until at the end something finally does work.  I read the book to Jeff when it first arrived, and we both really enjoyed it.

Here’s why: Our baby is fussy.  She cries about everything.  I like her a lot, but man, oh, man, she sure is needy!  She cries when she is hungry, when she needs to go to the bathroom, if she wets a diaper, if she wants to be with us and isn’t, if she is tired, if she wakes up, if I am holding her but she wants to also be bounced, if I set her down, if I stop patting her back, etc.  Jeff is a very loud sneezer; he can’t help it.  Almost every time Jeff sneezes (which is a few times every day) it startles Paisley, and she starts to cry.  (I think this ought to be a “you break it you buy it” type thing—if I finally have Paisley happy and Jeff sneezes, I think he should have to be the one to make her happy again.  He doesn’t think so.)

Sometimes Jeff tells me he thinks our baby cries a lot.  I usually tell him I think maybe she is in the 60th percentile for crying—meaning, she cries more than 60% of all of the babies.  Because all babies cry sometimes, I think.  I don’t know, some days I feel like she’s in the 85th percentile.  Anyway, we still like Paisley, but I really hope this is just a long phase, or something she grows out of.  And next time (if there is a next time), I think I want to put in a request for a baby that is a little more easy-going.

Paisley doesn’t cry all day long…she just cries kind of a lot, pretty much about everything, and she usually wants 100% of my attention in order to calm down, and I often have to keep giving her my full attention and effort for her to stay calm.  For instance, I carry her in the sling most of every day, but a lot of times being carried isn’t enough; she also wants to be bounced or for me to walk in really exaggerated, bouncy steps.  (That gets tiring, but she doesn’t care.) 

So, for now, the nickname seems really appropriate.  This will go by quickly, though.  She’ll only be little for a short time, so I just need to keep enjoying the fact that she wants me.  

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Two months!

Paisley is just over two months old.  (Actually, today she is 11 weeks old, so she's about two and a half months old.) 

I am finally totally in love with her.  For the first while, I felt like she was a little stranger that I was very interested in, and inexplicably compelled to respond to, and I liked her…but…when I saw people talk online about being “in love” with their new babies, I didn’t totally relate to that.

I do now.

I am so sweetly, deliciously in love with this little girl!  She is the most wonderful, most beautiful, amazing creature, and she is the smartest, best baby in the world.  (I must be her mother.)

We’re so lucky to have her in our family, and to have this great opportunity to be the ones to help her figure things out as she orients herself on this planet.  We’re her mom and dad

I feel like I could just stare at her for days, because it’s so amazing that she is a real person—a whole person—that we made.  And she has her own thoughts, and her own little personality, which we’re helping her discover.  That’s incredible.

Anyhow, she’s two months old and she’s lovely.

We went for Paisley’s two month pediatrician visit precisely on the day that she turned two months old.  We found out she’s a lightweight (I think she is 10 lbs 2 oz now?), and she is very long, and she has a big head. 

Paisley is a champion sleeper.  Not long after my last blog post, she started sleeping about 10 hours straight every night.  At first I was a little worried…are babies younger than 2 months old supposed to sleep for that long?  Didn’t she need to eat or something?  But mostly I just enjoyed finally getting enough rest!  And, her pediatrician said I don’t need to wake her up to eat; she’ll make up for it by eating more during the day.  Good baby!

She is also starting to be a lot more smiley!  We play this game where—this will be hard to describe without it sounding weird—I say “doo doo doo” in increasingly elevated pitches as I tap her from her belly button up her chest, and then when I get to her face I tickle her cheeks.  She loves it!  And, not only that, it’s obvious she’s figured the game out, because now I only have to start tapping her belly while I make the “doo” noises, and long before I tickle her cheeks she starts to get excited.  It’s adorable.

Another pattern she’s figured out is “being swaddled.”  At night I take Paisley to the bathroom, and then I swaddle her, and I nurse her, and then I pat and bounce her until she is most of the way asleep, and I put her to bed.  The way the swaddle wrap works is, I lay the wrap out, and I set her in the middle of it.  I tuck her legs into a leg pocket, and I hold her arms at her sides.  Then I wrap and Velcro the left side closed, so that her left arm is snugly in place.  Then I wrap and Velcro the right side so her right arm is snugly in place, and she is totally wrapped like a baby-burrito.  WELL, a few days ago, Paisley figured out the swaddling routine.  Now, as soon as I tuck her legs into the leg pocket, she gets this big smile on her face, and she straightens both of her arms and plunks both of them down along her sides so that I can just wrap her right up.  It’s kind of fun that she’s figured out what’s going on some of the time.
At church for Paisley's baby blessing.

She “chats” with us a lot, too.  That’s really cute.  And she likes to watch us.

Jeff blessed Paisley in church last Sunday.  That was nice.  A bunch of our family members were able to attend.

A week and a half ago we started to have big successes with Paisley’s potty training.  I think I’ll post about that separately, though.

We hired a Chinese lady to babysit Paisley for a few hours at a time, twice each week.  Our goal is for Paisley to grow up speaking English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese.  We don’t speak any Chinese, but in order for her to have a native accent herself, Paisley needs face-to-face interaction with someone who is speaking Chinese to her before she is six months old.  We thought hiring a Chinese babysitter would be a good way to do that.  So, finding a native Chinese babysitter in Utah was no easy task, but I’ve found someone, and so far I like her a lot!  Yesterday was her first day.

Those are the main things that have been going on here!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Baby Update (and a few other things)

We’re getting into kind of a routine, sort of.

Paisley usually takes a morning nap, an early afternoon nap, and a late afternoon nap or an evening nap.  Sometimes the naps are broken up into little pieces, and sometimes they are long naps.  Most naps are preceded by a very fussy period, because Paisley is tired, but she doesn’t realize it’s up to her to fix it.

In the evenings, for the past few weeks, sometime between 5:30 and 11 pm Paisley becomes VERY SAD, and MAD!!! for at least an hour and a half or two hours.  Is it colic?  Purple crying? A “wonder week” [Plooij 2012]?  I have no idea.  What I do know is that it is almost impossible to comfort her, and it’s a rough time for us.  Reading The Wonder Weeks: How to stimulate your baby’s mental development and help him turn his 10 predictable, great, fussy phases into magical leaps forward has helped me feel compassion for Paisley when she is fussy.  Instead of being irritated with her for being so needy for so long, I’m usually just sad that she feels so much distress.  Feeling that way makes it a lot easier to be patient with her, and to continue trying to comfort her, even when it seems like I’m not helping at all.  Sometimes I have set her down, because it seems like she is so unhappy that she must not want to be cuddled right then…but setting her down only makes her shriek and cry more hysterically.  So, it seems that she does want me to keep trying to comfort her, even if it isn’t helping much.  If she’s having that hard of a time, the least I can do is give her some familiar, loving company. 

Last time, I mentioned that Paisley had started sleeping badly at night.  That got better again!  We started letting her sleep in her swing, which seems like something we’re maybe not supposed to do…but when we tried that she slept in 4 hour chunks again.  And then this week there have been a few nights where Paisley has slept 6.5-7.5 hours.  Part of me wonders if it’s okay for her to sleep that long, but mostly I’m just appreciating the sleep!

Paisley is starting to smile more.  And she vocalizes with us more.  I usually have a few “conversations” with her every day.  Twice I’ve heard her giggle in her sleep, and once I’ve heard her laugh in her sleep; it made me laugh, because it was such a surprise to hear it coming from her.  She never giggles or laughs when she is awake, though, so I’m curious: what is she dreaming about that is funny, if she’s never thought anything was funny when she was awake (not even once)?

We’re getting to know her better, and we’re figuring out what she likes and doesn’t like.  If Paisley is awake, she only likes her swing for about 2-15 minutes.  BUT!  I had a breakthrough about a week ago: Paisley likes to be bounced.  So, I sit on my “birth ball” (is it an “exercise ball” again now that the baby is born?) in her nursery and we bounce while I shush her, and pat her back.  That usually works!  [We finally ordered a bouncy seat from Amazon and it’s coming on Friday.  I’m predicting that she will like it better than her swing.]  She also likes the MOBY better than the maya wrap (ring sling). 

When I read Beyond the Sling, I heard about EC (“Elimination Communication”) for the first time.  Since then I ordered a book and a DVD about it, and I decided we’re going to try it.  Basically, it’s infant potty training.  The idea is that babies actually are not interested in soiling themselves, and that they just get used to diapers, and then people have to un-train them to soil themselves as toddlers.  Moms in some African and Asian areas don’t use diapers at all—they just give the baby opportunities to go to the bathroom, and the baby learns to wait for those times. 

The Western version of infant potty training is kind of cool—babies end up potty trained really young, and they’ll let you know that they need to go by crawling to the bathroom, or using sign language.  I think it sounds really interesting, so we’re going to try it.  We have a tiny infant potty, and prefold cloth diapers (for starting with).  I ordered tiny infant training pants, and a pattern for them so that I can make more if we like them.  (I found out today that one of my friends actually did EC with her youngest child—and they were totally successful.  Huh.)

Hm, what else?  Here are a few non-baby things: 

I got new glasses yesterday.  Well, I didn’t get them, but I picked them and paid for them.  I decided to live large and go for the thin polysomething lenses with anti-glare, so I may actually wear them sometimes!  The frames are pretty cool. They’re different colors if you look at them from different angles.

Jeff is using all of his time at home to develop his own program.  He is very, very, very excited about it.  It’s an investment-related program, and he loves to talk to me about it, all the time.  He also loves to sit next to me with his computer, and program while he talks to me.  About programming stuff.

I’m doing more property management stuff.  Lately, I feel like I am in the business of collections, because I have several tenants that have slipped into a pattern of paying late every month.  I really hate having to confront tenants about late rent.  That is definitely one of my least favorite parts of the job.  In good news, I have a new management account, and the tenants will be moving into the house this weekend. 

I think that’s all for now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Parenting Things That Are Different Than I Expected

Here is my list of some of the things that have been different than I expected:

1.     Breastfeeding is a beast.  But it is getting better.  For a while, I was pumping and Paisley got half of her food in bottles; now, Paisley usually just breastfeeds.  I had no idea we would have such a rough start.  I thought that if we trouble, I would talk to my mom, or to someone from La Leche League, and we would adjust something small and everything would be better.  La Leche League helped a little, but not as much as I thought it would.  More than anything, they were just sympathetic as I tough it out.  But, I think I will probably keep going, because the ladies are friendly, and going to the meetings feels good socially.  Everyone brings kids, and they sometimes cry, so if Paisley cries or gets hungry, it’s no big deal.  Which leads us to the second item…
Sunday, June 22

2.     It’s really hard to go places.  Paisley may be sleeping, and it could be no big deal.  She sleeps a fair amount.  Or, she could be inconsolable.  I can’t just plan to take her somewhere if she’s hysterical.  What if I get somewhere and out in the parking lot she’s crying?  Do I try to cheer her up out in the truck?  Do we turn around and drive back home?  It’s hard to know what to expect because things change so quickly.

I had an orthodontist appointment recently and I was planning to take Paisley, because they said to bring her.  That morning my mother-in-law volunteered to babysit, so I ended up leaving her at my in-laws’ house.  I was so grateful to be able to do that, because when I left Paisley so was so SAD.  And so MAD!  What if I had taken her with me?  What would that have looked like?  But it was an appointment, so it was at a specific time.  Which leads to the third item…

3.     It’s hard to be punctual.  Even if we plan ahead and get ready, and even if I plan time for feeding Paisley and changing her diaper, etc, at the last minute she could have a burp up and need to have her clothes changed, or she could decide she is starving again, etc.  Being anywhere at a precise time is very difficult. 

4.     I thought we had way more baby clothes than we would need.  I thought she would wear each outfit once or maybe twice.  Ha!  I didn’t realize babies sometimes wear 3-4 outfits per day.

5.     I keep having to choose: Shower?  Sleep?  Eat breakfast?  Pump?  Things that seem like they should be givens are all competing for my time.  Since I have such a limited amount of “free time”, I end up having to decide.  So, some days I get a shower, and other days I eat breakfast.  Not to mention other things, like laundry or property management. 

Monday, June 23
6.     I miss Paisley quickly.  Lately, Jeff watches Paisley while I go running in the evenings.  I’m not gone for very long, but usually by the time I’m driving home I realize that I miss Paisley.  Sometimes when she takes long naps I miss her, too.  A couple times I’ve even woken her up.  That’s kind of weird.  What is there to miss?  Her crying?  Her staring at the skylight?  I don’t know.  Her company, I guess?

7.     I am becoming an intense photographer.  Every time I change Paisley’s clothes, I feel like we need another picture because she just looks so cute!  When she sleeps in cute positions, smiles, stretches, yawns, (breathes, etc), I always feel like we should take a picture.  We have a ton of pictures of this baby, most of which are bad.  The problem is, our camera doesn’t take a picture when I click the button—it waits 2-3 seconds.  By then, Paisley has moved or blinked, or stopped smiling.  I think that must be one of the benefits of having a nice camera: I think nice cameras take the picture you’re trying to take, instead of the picture 3 seconds after the picture you wanted to take.  So, I’m thinking about saving my money to buy a real camera.  [Jeff thinks ours is a real camera because it is 12 mega pixels! and it can do high definition video!]

Those are just a few of the things I’ve thought of.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Things that are happening...

In a couple days, Paisley will be five weeks old.  That’s kind of weird, because I feel like she was born about a week and a half ago. 

When I look at pictures, I can see that Paisley looks like she has grown up a lot.*  In some ways that kind of makes me sad. Last week we finished our case of “N” diapers, and we moved on to “1” diapers.  I also started making a pile of “newborn” size clothes, so that I can box them up and put them in the garage.  Paisley still fits the size 0-3 months stuff, but newborn clothes are a little too small.  I guess that means she is a baby instead of a newborn.  I see pictures on Facebook of other new babies, and I feel like Paisley should still be brand new.  I’m not quite as bad as I was when I was pregnant, but I still get kind of emotional about these things. 

It’s funny, though, because at the same time I can’t wait for her to grow up.  I like that she cuddles, and it’s kind of neat to share so many first times with her**, BUT, she’s really very needy and she’s a lot of work.  Jeff and I were talking about it the other day, and I remembered that actually we have never been excited about having a baby.  We have always been excited about having a child, but we were more excited about having a 3 year old, or something; not really a newborn.  So, we’re looking forward to her becoming more of a little person, and less of a noisy loud thing that chews up my nipples and burps up milk all over everything.
Here are some of the things that are happening:

I’m reading a whole lot more than I have in a long time.  We’re still not champions at breastfeeding yet, so we can’t do fancy things like nurse while we sleep or nurse while Paisley is in a sling and I’m up and about doing other things.  Instead, every time I feed her, I have to just sit and feed her, which is kind of boring.  I really only have one free hand, so I’ve found that it is a good time for me to read.  Turning pages of a real book is tough, but flicking from page to page on my Android Kindle app on my phone worked perfectly. 

I read Born to Run (about barefoot running) and Beyond the Sling (about attachment parenting), plus another book that a publisher sent me to review on Amazon.  Now I’m reading Superbaby (slowly, since it isn’t digital), Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food (for a real food book club on Facebook!), and Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children.  I also finally ordered a Kindle Touch last week, and I absolutely love it.

I’m thinking of trying to do another ½ marathon in October.  After reading Born to Run, I am even further convinced that barefoot (or minimalist) running will fix my knee problems.  Some new Utah marathon and ½ marathon are starting up in October and they have started spamming me daily, and that got me thinking that maybe I could do it.  Last week I started a training plan, but I don’t know if I’ll be ready in time.  I’m still recovering from the birth, so I get tired more quickly than I normally would.  I’m trying out barefoot-style running with Moc3s that I ordered earlier this year.  My calves ache!

Things are constantly changing.  Paisley used to always sleep in 4-hour blocks.  After I told my mother-in-law, and Paisley’s pediatrician, then Paisley switched to sleeping in 2-3 hour blocks—tops.  Now, she often sleeps for an hour or so.  Or, she used to do great in her car seat.  She used to fall asleep when we drove places.  Then, I told my mother-in-law about it, and on the way home from my in-laws’ house, she bawled.  Now, about half of the time we go places Paisley cries and cries.  Poor girl.

I’m getting a little better at doing things!  But I still get almost nothing done.  It’s kind of frustrating, because I still have a lot to do. 

I’ve been gradually making a list of things that are different than I expected, but this is already pretty long, so I’ll post that separately.

Last weekend I finally went to go have my hair done and my stylist wanted me to show her some pictures of Paisley.  So, I showed her a bunch that were on my phone, including one that I think is really funny, from when she was 6 days old.  I was like “Oh, but this is a really old one.”  And my stylist was like, “Isn’t she only three weeks old?  How is it a really old one?”  And I was like, “It’s from like two weeks ago.”  She thought that was really funny, that a picture that was two weeks old would seem really old to me.  And I guess that does sound kind of funny, but when you’re only a few weeks old, two weeks is a long time!  
**  Yesterday I saw out the window that the trees were really blowing around, so we went outside so that Paisley could experience WIND.  For the first time.  She didn’t know what wind was, because she had never felt it before.  (It surprised her!)  Weird.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Proof that Paisley looks a lot like her dad.

 All right, first of all, here's Paisley:

(I love this picture.)

Now, here is one of Jeff's baby pictures:

Annnd, here's one of my baby pictures:

Yeahhh, good thing I gave birth to Paisley, so we know she's mine too, because she looks nothing like me.  She has Jeff's round face, his big cheeks, his little chin, his nose, and his lips.  (We don't know where she got her full head of hair from, because Jeff and I were both pretty bald.)  Jeff's mom said Paisley has my eyebrows, but I think she was just saying that to be nice, because when I look closely at the pictures, I think even her eyebrows look more like Jeff's.  But, I like Jeff, so that's all right.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Paisley's Birth Story

 All right!  Here is the kind-of-abridged (but still very long) version of Paisley's birth story.

[Jessica took pictures at the birth, and I don't have them from her yet, so I only have one picture to share from the actual birth.  I also have a really bad family picture, which Rebecca took for us when we came home from the hospital.  Maybe I can add more pictures later?  We'll see.]

Tuesday (June 19th), Paisley was three days overdue so I texted my midwife (Rebecca) and asked her whether we should schedule another appointment.  We decided to meet the next morning at 9 am to invite Paisley to be born, if she wanted to be.  We couldn’t strip membranes, because I was Strep B positive and I was planning to refuse antibiotics in labor, but Rebecca had an herbal tincture that I could drink to encourage labor, and a castor oil rub that could also help.  If those things didn’t work on Wednesday, we would try again on Friday.  Rebecca suggested Jeff and I have a nice evening, and she said that if I wanted I could have fresh oregano and basil, because those are also said to encourage labor.  (“Really?”  “Well, some people say Eggplant Parmesan does it, but they’ve studied that, and they think it’s actually fresh basil and oregano.  So if you want the real deal, you could make Eggplant Parmesan.”)

So, Jeff and I had a nice evening, and I made Eggplant Parmesan for dinner, with fresh basil and oregano.

The next morning, Rebecca called to let me know that she had another lady in labor, so if I wanted to come by sooner than 9 am, she would be able to spend more time with me.  I got to her office a little after 8 am.  We did normal appointment things—my urine test was still perfect; I was dilated to 3 cm, very stretchy, very effaced, and the baby was very low.  That morning I had also had some show, and I’d had a couple contractions on the way to Rebecca’s office.  I drank the tincture, and Rebecca gave me a little cup of castor oil rub to rub on my belly an hour later.  Rebecca guessed that there was probably a 75% chance that we would have a baby that day.

As I drove home, I started having more contractions. 

I never used the castor oil rub.

By 8:45 am I had downloaded a contraction timer onto my phone and I was timing contractions.  I had contractions that lasted a minute to 90 seconds, and they were coming every two or two and a half minutes.  Things got pretty intense pretty quickly.

I was reluctant to decide that I was actually in labor because I wasn’t sure whether the contractions were from the drink or from being in labor.  (Rebecca said, “Could be both.”)  I also thought that first time moms usually are in labor for a long time (I was expecting to be in labor for 11-15 hours or so), and I didn’t want to be a wimp and have everyone come over way too early.  By 10 am, I was starting to have trouble coping by myself, though, and I had asked Jeff to please come home from work, now please.  I had also invited my sister (Jessica) and Jeff’s mom to come over.  Rebecca would join us after she finished the birth that she was already attending.

So, everyone came over. 

My details for the rest of the day are kind of fuzzy, because I was pretty distracted with contractions.  Rebecca said the contractions could go two ways: contractions from the drink could go away after a couple hours, and labor would slow down, OR I would continue to have close contractions the whole time and I would have a shorter labor.  I would have preferred the first option, but I got the second one. 

When Jeff got home, he inflated the birthing tub, and filled it.  The water was not as relaxing as I hoped it would be, but nothing was really relaxing, so it wasn’t any worse than not being in water.

I mostly labored on my hands and knees, because that seemed like the most comfortable position.  Contractions were so frequent that I also labored on the toilet when I went to the bathroom, and I sometimes labored standing up as I was walking to the bathroom.  During my contractions everyone had to be quiet.  Jeff was the one who had the most trouble being quiet.  He was just so excited.  He kept grinning, and he would forget to be quiet when contractions started.  I thought it was cute that he was so excited, but I did remind him to be quiet every time he forgot.

When Rebecca arrived, she asked if I wanted her to check me, to know how dilated I was.  I was curious, but I didn’t feel like I could stand to be checked because I was too consumed by the contractions.  So she didn’t check me.  She had kind of a neat trick, though—each time she checked Paisley’s heart rate, Rebecca noted where the heartbeat was.  It started on the left side, and I guess as a baby gets ready to be born, it moves more to the center, so that right before a baby is born, its heartbeat is found right beneath the mom’s belly button.  Interesting!  So, Rebecca knew approximately how dilated I was based on the location of Paisley’s heartbeat.

When Paisley’s heartbeat was below my belly button and just to the left, Rebecca told me sorry, she needed to check me.  At that point I was dilated to 9 cm and the waters were bulging.  She asked if I wanted her to pop them, and although I wanted to be done, I felt like things were intense enough already, so I decided to hold off on that.

I got back into the birthing tub to keep laboring, and I think within a few minutes I popped the bag of waters from pushing.

Pushing lasted longer than I thought it would, and I hated that part.  It hurt, and I felt like we kept not making any progress.  It took a long time for the baby to crown.  Rebecca had me try pushing on the toilet, and then on the bed, and I think at that point the baby’s head was turned properly.  So, I went back to the birthing tub to finish pushing.  After pushing for a little while longer, her head came out and everyone got pretty excited.  (And that finally felt like progress.)  I thought at that point she would kind of just slide out and it would be easy, but it wasn’t; apparently she has bigger shoulders, so I had to keep pushing.  Pretty soon after that, she was born, at 4:05 pm.  (My labor lasted about 7.5 hours in all.)  I sat down in the tub and someone handed Paisley to me.

Paisley was purple, which I guess isn’t unusual for babies born in water.  She got normal color pretty quickly.  She was quiet at first, but then she cried.  She had a whole lot of hair, which is kind-of two-tone colored; it looks like she has highlights.  I thought she looked a lot like Jeff, and I kept saying so.  Also, she seemed to have big feet and long fingers. 

I asked if she was still a girl.  Nobody had thought to look, so we looked, and she is.

I held Paisley until I delivered the placenta; around then Jeff cut the umbilical cord.  I also thought delivering the placenta would be painless.  It wasn’t.  I had to push, and it came out halfway, and I had to keep pushing to get the rest of it out. 

Once the placenta came out, there was also a big gush of blood.  The pool started to turn red.  Rebecca said we needed to move to the bed, so someone helped me get there.  I started to feel like I might black out, so Rebecca gave me a shot of Pitocin to help my uterus clamp down, and she set up an IV to help since I had lost some blood.

Things were still pretty calm, though.

My sister helped me try to breastfeed Paisley, and Rebecca put in a few stitches to tack down the places where I tore.  I was feeling pretty weak, so I just stayed there in bed with my IV, and other people held Paisley.  Rebecca did the newborn testing that she needed to do—Paisley weighed 8 pounds, 13 ounces, and she was 20 inches long.  Rebecca also checked my pulse and blood pressure regularly to see how I was doing.  They were not bad, and I was still bleeding, but not an unusual amount.

At about 8 pm, the IV was finishing, and Rebecca thought we should see if I could sit up.  I tried to sit up, and even at only a 45-degree angle or about that, my pulse went up to 140, and I started feeling like I would black out.  So I lay back down.  We started talking about whether I should transfer to a hospital, since I still wasn’t in stable condition.  Rebecca gave me a pill (started with “M”) to help my uterus clamp down, and maybe that would make the difference between whether I needed to transfer or not.

It didn’t.  After we realized we’d been discussing the hospital option for another hour and I was still doing the same, we decided to go to the hospital.  If there was a way for me to get out to the car, we would have just driven there, but without even being able to sit up at all it was a pretty lost cause.  Conversation with my insurance revealed that an ambulance was only covered if we called 911; we couldn’t just call an independent ambulance.  So, someone called 911 and I don’t know who all came, but I know there was at least a fire truck in addition to the ambulance.  My neighbors were pretty excited about that, I guess.

Four big guys came in and started asking a bunch of questions about my condition and what happened.  They had the perfect tool for moving me—it was basically a metal person-carrier that split down the middle, so I just had to roll to each side and they assembled it beneath me, and they carried me outside to an ambulance bed, which then went up into the ambulance.  Jeff came along in the ambulance, Rebecca followed, and Jeff’s mom and Jessica brought Paisley in our truck. 

There were two things that could have been my problem: most likely, I just lost too much blood.  We weren’t sure how much blood I lost since I had been in the tub, but the tub was so opaque with blood that someone said they couldn’t read the writing on the bottom of the tub, so I had lost a lot of blood.  The other thing it could have been was that I could have retained part of the placenta; it came out pretty ragged-looking, so Rebecca was pretty sure it was all accounted for, but it was hard to be certain.

So, in the ER, they decided to do an ultrasound to look for pieces of placenta, but first the doctor needed to manually clean out anything that was in my uterus.  He reached (shoved?) his hand up inside me and kept pulling out blood clots.  He told me later that he pulled out about half a gallon of blood clots.  That procedure was absolutely the worst, most painful experience of my life—even after just having had a natural childbirth.  Later we realized he also tore out two of my three stitches. 

They gave me some Cervidil, and a shot of the M drug that Rebecca had given me earlier.  At some point the doctor did that same terrible thing again, but it didn’t last as long the second time.  They did the ultrasound, and they didn’t find anything.  My blood work came back and my hematocrit was at 26.  Usually after giving birth women get down to 32; if someone comes into the ER at 23 that is the number where they automatically will do a blood transfusion.  So, they said that since I was still losing blood they thought it would be a good idea to give me two units of blood.  After the radiologist had a chance to look at my ultrasound, they would know for sure on that too, whether I needed surgery or not.

So, someone moved me to the postpartum recovery portion of the hospital, and that night and the next morning I got the two units of blood, plus at least a couple more bags of fluid.

We stayed in the hospital for the next day and a half; a lot of the time Paisley just snuggled with me.  Jeff was on diaper duty 100% since I couldn’t really get up or use my arms.  Jeff’s mom came to the hospital in the mornings and evenings so that Jeff could go home to milk goats and shower. 

Friday, after we left the hospital. 
On Friday morning, my hematocrit came back as 23, and they were deciding whether to give me more blood or send me home.  I was still pretty weak, so I wanted more blood, but the doctor decided to send me home, since I didn’t have the same problems as I had when I came into the hospital—I could sit up, and I could walk across the room to use the bathroom.  And, because I had received so many fluids, the hematocrit was lower than it actually would be after I got rid of the extra fluids.  The doctor guessed I was actually at about 26.  He told Jeff and I that we should expect my recovery to take weeks, not days.  Great.

Jeff and I were both pretty exhausted from our hospital experience.  We were grateful that Paisley was not a patient in the hospital, so we didn’t have to worry about any interventions with her. 

Now Paisley is about two and a half weeks old.  Jeff had two weeks of paternity leave, so he went back to work this Thursday.  I’ve been really weak and exhausted, but this week was much better than last week.  Last week, when I carried Paisley to the changing table, I had to sit and rest before I changed her.  This week, I can just change her.  That’s nice.