Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello Everyone,

It was the day before Thanksgiving and I was helping give my son a bath. My sister, Jillian, is staying with us for the four day weekend. It was a good time for me to reflect. I really love being a dad. We have a beautiful son. At times Melissa and I will look at Levi with the realization that he is actually here, to stay! And that he is not inside his mother anymore. No going back now. As new parents (he will be six months old tomorrow) it is amazing to think that this little, growing, squirmy, giggly baby is a small human, made in God’s image, with dignity, value, and worth, inside my wife, and now he is here. We look forward to him walking and talking with us, but right now we still can’t get over his laughs and smiles. Our son is whole, fully and beautifully formed, in amazing and wondrous intricacy. Life truly is a work of the LORD. Levi is a scosh over 16 pounds. He started out as a single cell and was the size of a poppy seed when my wife told me the news. Then we found out he was a boy and, while I would still love to be daddy to a little girl someday, we were thrilled. He is growing well, actually it is a good thing he slowed down. Little known fact: if Levi continued to grow at the same rate he did inutero, he would be the mass of the earth by his 20th birthday. That poppy seed now weighs the equivalent of 23,948,100 poppy seeds and counting. It is a both a great challenge and great blessing to be a parent. It comes with great responsibility and great joy. I have learned just a little bit about God as a Father by being one myself. My wife, son, family, friends are just a few of the relationships I am thankful for. May I be found a good steward of all that God has entrusted to my care.

Happy Thanksgiving,


Friday, July 10, 2009


The answer is yes.
In case no one ever told you (or you haven't experienced it yourself), new parenthood is HARD.
It's difficult on every level, but the hardest part, by far, is mommy guilt.
This self imposed, unnecessary guilt is horrible and consuming.
After a good meeting with my doctor I am making steps to launch myself out of this fog and toward beginning to enjoy this time of infancy. Please keep our little family in your prayers.
- Melssa

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Past exhaustion

My little 10.5lb boy - today I am exhausted.
I am not just tired (although that could be said for both your father and I), I am exhausted from the heart out. I yearn to see you happy for a time, smiling and cooing in your awake time. I long to be able to see you happily playing with me. But for now your tears, your inconsolable cries, rule my very world. They shake me to my core. I'm so tired baby boy.

I am embarrassed to say that I am rarely at peace these days unless you are sleeping. I feel like I can't feed you enough to fill you up and it tears me apart inside. Baby boy, we've tried it all and I'm just so tired. I want so badly to take you out, to show you off, to have others ooh and ahh over you. I want to go places and do things with you - fun things. But baby boy you just won't have it.

Why does this make me so tired little one? Because my dear, your mommy's inmost being longs to provide for your daddy, longs to give to others, longs to be social and interact. With the many feeding issues we still face (and my self-imposed desire to continue trying to breastfeed you) it is not common these days that we leave our little living room. The solitude is tearing this mama apart.

Oh baby boy, I know this is supposed to be such a joyful time, but I'm struggling so deeply to enjoy it. I wanted this to be so different. We were going to be such a pair - you and I. In my minds eye you were going to be a quiet, cooing, smiling baby boy that everyone longed to hold and cuddle. If only I knew what caused you to be so upset I would fix it in a hearbeat my son, in a heartbeat - for your sanity and my own.

I so wish feeding you wasn't so much of a struggle. I would love nothing more than to provide as much milk as you need and forget all of our bottles and syringes, and tubing; all those things that get you frustrated and confused as I switch from one method to another. I would love to feel that, more often than not, you are eating until you are truly satisfied. My Levi, how I love you, how I want for you the joy that I too desire.

Lord, give us the strength to face another evening, another night together. Give me an even keel and an attitude worthy of the gift you've blessed me with. I'm so tired of all our tears. I'm ready - so ready - for the joy I know you have waiting just barely outside my reach; Joy that my guilt and frustration keep me from. Oh how I want that Joy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My hands are my biggest fans!

This is Levi.
I just wanted you all to know that I'm well aware of how much you all love me.
But there's something else you should know...
My hands (not quite sure where they are yet) are definately my biggest fans.
They are everywhere!

They play with me
They find my mouth and make me happy
They dance
and sometimes - they unwittingly smack me in the face (which is why mommy and daddy tie me down (swaddle) me at night)
I can't wait 'till I can reliably find them so I can suck the bajeebers out of them and soothe my own self when I'm upset. That'll sure be nice (it might be nice for mommy too!!!) Hey, maybe then they'll stop whacking me.
I love my hands!

Not me Monday

Not me Monday is a fantastically fun blog carnival started by McMama at see her blog here. Without further adieu, here are the things I did NOT do this week:

I did not drop my boppy pillow on the ground outside the car, realize it was quite dirty, and then turn the cover inside out to save myself from having to wash it. How unsanitary would that have been? I mean honestly, I do laundry every day, it couldn't have been that hard to wash the silly thing!

I did nto wake up in the middle of the night last night (after getting up with levi at 10, 11:30, and 12:45) wondering if I was in bed or in the rocking chair. I did not also wonder why Levi wasn't in my arms and where in the world he was. No, I'm never that confused (or sleep deprived)

I did not take a picture of my son with a (clean) diaper on his head because my husband said he looked "like a sultan". He was also not screaming at the time - how insensitive of me to take a picture of a screaming 5 week old baby.

I have not fallen apart competely, multiple times this week, when my boy refuses to stop his screaming - especially when we have guests around.

I have also not neglected to acknowledge the happy times we've had this past week - a few notable hours with a totally happy baby. Nope, I'm always positive and upbeat, making note of the happy things. Certainly I wouldn't choose to dwell on the crying times we've had; times quite different from these:

And last but not least I am not sitting here, praying that my (now 10.5 lb) little boy will drift off to sleep in his bouncy seat so I can stop holding his pacifier in and GO TO THE BATHROOM!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A nursing update

"So, How's it going?"
I get this question a lot but it's usually not pertaining to breastfeeding specifically. Usually people want to know how having a newborn is going. Frankly, were it not for all the trouble we've had with breastfeeding, having a newborn would be much more of a cakewalk! I mean seriously, the kid would sleep through the night if I let him (we really don't know that for sure since we wake him up to feed him - not because he's underweight but because I have to "protect" what milk supply I have. More on that later) Yes, he's incredibly fussy in the evenings, but thems small beans compared to our feeding issues.

So where are we now... let me see, it's been a while since I last wrote about this. Well, in the very beginning Levi was taking about 30 cc's from me at one full feeding. That's about one ounce. A baby his age needs about 2.5oz every 2-3 hours. So, we began supplimenting him with breastmilk from a friend of mine, and formula from the pediatrician. I think that's where we left off. Oh, and I was pumping a gazillion times a day. blech!

I went to my midwife for a completely unrelated (birth related actually) reason and she percribed to me a drug called "reglan", also called "metaclopromide". It's used for stomach sickness but it also works as a "galactagog" (milk booster) but can have some yucky side effects. Praise the Lord, I didn't suffer any of them and while the drug didn't have a HUGE effect on me, it did work somewhat. I can now feed Levi almost three ounces at a feeding (roughly 84 cc's during a good long feeding, 3 oz is 90 cc's)

So, how do I know he' s getting that much? Well, I broke down and rented a scale. This scale actually.

A couple times a day I weigh him before and after eating to see how much he's had. My record so far is 84cc's. After I feed him I generally offer him a bottle of formula - although I'm trying to offer him less and less. You see, the more formula he takes the less hungry he is. Why would I want him to be hungry? well, now that his suck has improved (drastically) his suckling exerts demand on my body; hypothetically anyhow. The more he sucks the more I make.

His suck still isn't perfect - he still can't get much out of the playtex ventair (gotta suck pretty hard on those to get anything out) - but PRAISE GOD for an improvement. The real goal in all of this is to feed Levi, keep him happy and growing, and use whatever means we have to to get to that end. Bottle, breast, formula, anything that will feed his little body. And at almost ten pounds it seems to be working. I mean, just look at how well he's beginning to fit into his puffy butt diapers
Thank you for all you prayers. Please don't stop! We've got a long road ahead of us and mommy is getting tired. Tired of what? tired of filling bottles with small amounts - guessing how much formula he'll take. Trying not to over feed or underfeed (lots of fussiness or lots of spit up result) and managing my feelings over all of this.

Well, there's your update. I got a crier on my hands, wish me luck!
- Melissa

UPDATE: So, I'm in the habbit of writing my blog entry one day ahead so I can just post it in the morning. Aparently that isn't a good idea because so much can happen in a day. Yesterday Marsha (my wonderful doula) came by and taught me a good msany things. This morning I was able to pump 2.25 ounces. Yes, ounces. Truly, more than I've ever pumped. We are off to a great start to our weekend, a GREAT start! Did i mention we had a happy boy all day yesterday?


So, remember when I said yesterday that this child cries (a lot) more than I expected? well, two nights ago we were the blessed recipients of a reprieve. For an almost solid 4 hours we had a happy child. Ok, I may be exaggerating. He was mostly happy for an almost solid 4 hours. Is that a bit clearer? Pictures below prove my points - the happy time and the "almost" happy time as well.

UPDATE: Ok, so after I wrote this we had what may well be the WORST night in history. Jonathan is out right now driving Levi around the block trying desperately to calm him down. Wish us luck!

- Melissa

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Babywearing 101

I was not going to be one of those mothers.
I was not going to "cave" and carry my child around as much as he desired.
I was not going to spoil him and train him that he had me wrapped around his pinkie
I was going to let him "cry it out" from day one
I was going to teach him that he was a part of our family, not the center of it, by teaching him how to self soothe from the very beginning - by giving him forced alone time in his crib (during which I assumed he'd play quietly. As a newborn. what was I thinking?)
By this method surely he would become socialized, he would be pleasant, he would rarely cry, and everyone would comment on what a well behaved baby he was. Right?

The truth?
This child cries (a lot) more than I expected. Especially between 5pm and 10pm. Usually all of those 5 hours are spent trying to get this child not to cry. Now, mind you, the remainder of his day is spent sleeping, but those 5 hours are, without a doubt, the most difficult of our day. So what do we do? we cater to this child as much as we possibly can. We carry him, bounce him, swaddle him, bathe him, and yes, wear him... and the wearing part - well, I love every minute of it (until my back and shoulders remind me it's probably time to put him down)

We are now the proud owners of three babywearing devices. See below:

This is a moby. Levi HATED the moby at first (until we realized he really didn't hate it, he was jus desperately hungry. Problem fixed) then we learned to put him into babywearing devices while he is assleep. Wow, that worked!

This is an Over the shoulder baby holder. It's a sling. Old school, I know. But this devise allows me to sit down while wearing him. It gets uncomfortable after a while, but in the short term it's a great pick.

This last one, thanks to my sister Shelly, is the well known baby bjorn. Probably the easiest of the three for me to maneuver all alone, this carrier is great for walking around. It distributes weight evenly and fits him well. The downside? it's not as snug and womblike as the previous two so he doesn't tend to sleep as long (that is the goal, you know, more sleep for him and more getting-things-done for me).

Do I wear my baby all day? obviously not. You've seen pleanty of pictures of him in the swing, the bouncy seat, his crib, the bassenet, etc. But what these carriers do (like the swaddle) is keep him from starteling himself with his hands. That alone is pricesless. Just priceless. As are these few moments I'm using to update you all on the goings on of a new family. It's amazing what can be done in just a few short moments. Cheers.
- Melissa

The power of the swaddle

So you may remember me mentioning (or if you've been here you've likely seen) the miracle blanket. This blanket, affectionately referred to in our home as the "baby straight jacket" (see link for video demonstration) has true power, I kid you not. Take this morning as an example:

Levi awakes at 5:15 (normal for him) to eat. Upon pulling him out of his crib I find that he is soaked in - well, what else would he be soaked in - pee. Likewise, the miracle blanket we religiously swaddle him in is soaked. This, in my mind, was only the beginning of the end. Trying desperately to find a viable alternative I scoured the closet for a good swaddling blanket. Husband wakes, swaddles child in alternative muslin blanket, and Levi gets fed. Now, after this Levi usually goes back to bed for 3 hours giving mom just enough time to set up for the day. bottles washed and re filled, lunch made (for myself and hubby) and a bit of breakfast down the hatch. Laundry started (including that precious blanket...) But no. He wouldn't have it. The alternative, while wonderful as a lightweight blanket, simply wouldn't keep those pesky hands at his sides. So there sat Levi, screaming in his crib. SCREAMING, while mom and dad ate eggs and toast with grimaces on their faces. This is not how mornings usually go all thanks to that soaking wet miracle blanket.

And then the clouds parted. Dad took that alternative muslin wrap and secured our son so tight I could swear he was actually a burrito. Awake, he placed him in his bouncy seat (we can so rarely put him down when he's awake without suffering the consequences) and would you believe what happened? The child fell asleep promptly. fast asleep. Thank you daddy, for saving our day.

Laundry is in, mommy is fed, lunches are made, hopefully more milk is being produced in preparation for the next feeding and yes, the day will go on. Which is good, because we're going into review professional photos today to pick out a birth announcement. Keep an eye on those mail boxes (assuming I get them sent out in a reasonable amount of time).

Oh, and in case you want to enjoy it as much as I am right now, below is what our sleeping child looks at at this very moment. Very nice, very nice.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Not Me" Monday

"Not Me Monday" was the idea and creation of blogger "MckMama" (see her fascinating blog here) and so, in cooperation with she and a large following of other guilt reducing mothers, I plan to participate. Below are a few of the things that I certainly did NOT do last week. Doing these things would have been simply improper, lazy, un-motherly, and in so many other ways, just wrong. So, here we go.

I did not eat a chicken leg and an oreo for breakfast yesterday because they were easier to grab than a bowl of cereal or a piece of toast. No, those things hold little nutrition and I certainly wouldn't have done that. I also did not have a bowl of pasta salad for lunch - forsaking all notions of vegetables and fruit. Had I done that I would surely have had something healthy by now (a whole day later).

I did not swaddle my child in our only miracle blanket which was only slightly damp with what had leaked out of his diaper. That would have been gross. I also did not attempt to continue feeding him practically all day yesterday because he fussed (or slept) practically all day. Doing so would surely show a lack of coping ability on my part and likely some form of neglect for his other, non food needs. Saying this, I must also confirm that I do not associate every one of his cries with hunger. Not me. I know better.

I did not turn the baby monitor off because Levi's cry was just too loud. I also did not turn it up later on to try to hear him breath after he stopped fussing and then procede to request that my husband go in and check on our (no longer fussing) son, risking a potential wake-up. No, I'm confident that once the child stops crying it's because he's assleep, not because he's stopped breathing. What a silly notion that would be for a first time mother to have!

I did not balk when my dear husband wanted to take the (finally) sleeping baby out of the sling he was wearing him in because he needed to use the bathroom. that sure would have been insensitive and rude.
I did not eat tost over my nursing child, douseing him in crumbs. Later I did not eat a grilled cheese sandwich over the same nursing child.

And most of all I am not wondering how in the world I will manage with this newly fussier baby once that dear husband of mine returns to work today after 5 days off.

And, now you know about all those things I certainly haven't done this past week. Whew, feels better, cleansing almost!
Happy Monday everyone.

One month old today!

It's true, our little man has been in our an entire month. Sometimes it feels like it's been far longer than that (the middle of the night, for example) while other times I look back at pictures from the day he was born and it seems like only yesterday.
Speaking of yesterday - we had to adjust our carseat for our extra-long son before we went out and about yesterday. He's pretty skinny still but, man, his length is incredible! I've got him in 3-6 month clothes to accommodate his length and his puffy cloth diapers. He's finally filled out enough that we can put him in his [more convenient] snapping and velcroing cloth diapers (which, by the way, we love). True, they are very big on him, but they contain SO MUCH more mess than disposables. They have a fleece outer layer that's next to his skin and an absorbant microfiber core that sucks all that pee away from his bottom. The diaper can be FULL and still feel dry next to his little bottom. We love them!...and aparently so does he. Hey, who wouldn't want super soft fleece next to their bottom all day?

So, happy one month birthday little Levi. You present us with daily joy and daily challenge (ahem, breastfeeding, ahem) and we love the bajeebers out of you. Keep growing, keep sleeping well at night, keep enjoying your bathtime routine, and we'll keep loving and learning about this parenting thing.
- mom and dad

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

To my 9lb boy

Nine pounds! little man you are growing so fast! Now, mind you, we're doing one heck of a lot of work to get you to grow. Between all our breastfeeding, formula feeding, finger feeding, bottle feeding, and everything else we've tried, aparently you've managed to get a good load of calories in that little body of yours. Good for you!

Levi, you are already outgrowing your 0-3 month clothes, but not because you've got any chub on you. No, you're just so darn long we can't get the snaps to fasten. Now I'll admit, part of that is due to the puffy cloth diapers we have you in, but you are very very long indeed. While bath time has become a bit more enjoyable for you, diaper changes are your least favorite. Maybe that's because we change you right before you eat. it seems like you're ALWAYS hungry.

Grandma and Granddad are visiting you this week from their home in Seattle. Man, have you been pampered or what? You can most often be found sleeping in the arms of one of your doting grandparents - unless of course you're eating, did I mention that you do a lot of that? All your grandparents love you so much they're all coming out here to see you. Mommy and Daddy are getting a little more sleep while they're here to coddle you and make you happy as a clam. The only question is, what will we do when they leave?

So far it appears as though you like car rides (what baby doesn't?) but the carseat is not your favorite. We strap you in and you scream bloody murder - until we get that car going anyhow. You also aren't a fan of being put in your crib. The bassenett is the only thing that will do and, unless you're swaddled tightly so you don't startle yourself with your hands, you don't really like it there either. Nope, we done spoiled you!

Little Levi, I'm so anxious for you to grow and develop. I long to see you smile, to reach for things, to soothe yourself and to have extended periods of being both awake and happy. At the same time though I want you to stay small and wrinkly. While I can't wait for you to hold your head up on your own, it really is cute the way you flop it around. We love you so very much Levi and we pray every day that this 9 pound boy will grow into a heavyweight man of God - he loves you more than we do you know.

For now, keep growing Levi. Keep packing on those pounds and for goodness sake keep improving that suck of yours. It's getting better, slowly, but it could still use some big help. Not sure yet how we'll manage feeding you, but fear not you will be fed. We love you little one!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ecosensitivity has its limits

We have less time than we've ever had before.
You shouldn't be - we have a newborn. But you knew that.

We bought our house just over one year ago and with it purchased a number of items that every homeowner needs. Things like a weed-wacker, a lawn mower, and a ladder. Rewind - lawn mower? well, actually what we bought was this.

It worked quite well for us. We mowed twice a week. I did it once and Jonathan did it once. I'll admit, I had high aspirations for us as we embarked upon life with a newborn. I imagined myself out mowing the lawn while little man was napping. To borrow a couple phrases from the movie Clueless: Right. as if.

So, as a wonderful fathers day gift for my wonderful husband (ok, it was purely coincidental that we happened to purchase it on fathers day) we bought the lovely item pictured below.

So, did we cave? Unequivocally, yes. But I must remind myself (and you, too) that when life changes you must change with it in order to maintain your very own sanity. That's not to say, however, that you won't see us out doing the following again, our "snipper clipper" is far from retired:In other news it looks like our little boy is enjoying his granddad - or is it the other way around? Decide for yourself
- Melissa

Saturday, June 20, 2009

playing the waiting game

Blood work came back Friday - well, half of it did anyway. Apparently there is a slight chance that my thyroid is acting up, but I emphasize, that is a slight chance. If my milk troubles aren't caused by my thyroid then we're at a complete loss for understanding why in the world this is all happening. I'm kind of numb to it now though. I want to make sure my little guy gets fed, that's really my bottom line. At this point I'm not sure I care so much how he gets fed. That said, I've discovered that my entire "need" to breastfeed him is almost as much for me as it is for him. Yes, I want him to have the "best", but I also want the experience, the bonding, the satisfaction, and the pride.

Pride. doesn't it all come down to pride in the end. I was talking to my little man sometime around 4:00 this morning over a nice early meal of milk from my dear friend Dani (gosh, I should tell her she's made it into my blog shouldn't I?) and this verse came to mind: "Micah 6:8 And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to lover mercy, and to walk humbly with your God". Humbly huh? what God - do you expect me to give up some of my deepest desires for your glory - do you expect me to walk humbly with you when I haven't a CLUE why you're headed in a given direction? I have a very good feeling the answer is yes.

I am aware that I am in need of some perspective about this whole issue. I'm grateful for those few who have "been here" and have recently shared their stories of grieving and guilt with me. I am grieving. Does that sound odd? I never imagined I would feel like this because, after all, this whole thing is about feeding the child right? incredibly, as I said before, it really is important to me that I"m able to do it, as it is important to me that he can benefit from it. Stemming from a bit of selfish pride, I have no doubt there are a few things for me to learn here.

For now, I need to let this go. Eventually of course I'll need to decide how feeding this little guy will work. Not just how he'll get nourished (that's rather easy, actually), but how that will fit in with my sanity. I do have to be able to leave the house after all. I figure within the next week or so we'll have it ironed out, although I'm not sure at all how it will look yet.

In other news Jonathan is in the car right now headed for Omaha to pick up my dad and Mimi who are waiting at the airport there. Their connecting flight from Denver to Lincoln was canceled last night so they spent an unexpected night in Colorado. They'll be with us for a week, admiring their grandson and hopefully getting us some much needed rest. I'll be sure to post pleanty of pictures from their visit.

Our little man is chunking up beautifully as you'll see below. I'm not eager for him to grow out of his wrinkly newborn skin, but it's wonderful to know he's putting on a healthy amount of weight .

Oh, and yes ineed, that is a lovely cloth diaper isn't it? I have a load of them the was at this very second actually. Newborn prefolds are great for a variety of uses not the least of which is acting as changing pad covers when all of ours have been pooped or peed on (ahem, daily)

- Melissa

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The mystery of the missing milk

Remember when I said I regreted having looked down upon the decisions of other mothers? decisions such as whether or not to breastfeed for example... well, lets just say my perspective is completely different than it ever has been because of the place I currently find myself. In past years I would have looked upon a bottle feeding mommy with a bit of distain. Why, WHY would a mother choose to bottlefeed her child when she obviously has two breasts? I mean, naturally, she should breastfeed that child to give it the best start possible right? Well, come to find out, it isn't always that cut and dry.

Yesterday Little Levi and I went to see a doctor. This doctor, a special kind of MD, focuses on lactation and milk removal (i.e. my ability to make it and his ability to take it out of me, because the two processes are intimately related) What we discovered is, not only is Levi's suck quite disorganized (he has trouble with even the easiest of bottles), but my ability to make milk is what they call "marginal". I make about half of what he needs. So today, Levi in tow, I went to a lab to have four blood tests. One specifically will look at how much "prolactin" (milk making hormone) I make, while another identifies if i may have a thyroid problem. It is unlikely that, at this point, any of these issues could be fixed enough that I could achieve my "dream" of giving my son 100% breastmilk from his mommy, but at this point we're just trying to figure out what could be going wrong.

In the mean time I have to admit it's quite a struggle to feed this little guy. Each feeding is a one hour affair with a 1-2 hour break afterwards. We start with breastfeeding, 10 minutes on each side. I'm drained before that 10 minutes is up (which frustrates me to no end, every time). Then we shift to the bottle which usually holds liquid gold from my dear friend Dani. Sometimes I have some pumpped milk from myself that I'll give him first. Initially he'll suck vigerously and then, like a light switch, he'll become very discorganized and appear as though he doesn't know how to suck on the bottle at all. The This part lasts about 20 -30 minutes, either until he is zonked out, or until I simply cannot get any more food into him. Why don't I stop feeding him when he becomes discorganized and won't suck? well, because it isn't as though he isn't hungry. He is. I know he is because when I remove that bottle, however disorganized he is, he continues to root around and cry. Besides that, even if he isn't hungry the more we can get into him the faster he'll grow and there is a good body of evidence to prove that the bigger and stronger he is, the faster his suck and ability to get milk will improve - this is our primary goal.

So Here I am for another day. My life really does revolve around feedings. I'm dissapointed, I really wanted things to be different - I really wanted to ENJOY this precious time more and not be quite so irritable. I don't know what God is trying to teach me through all of this but my friend Dani may have put it best when she suggested that this whole experience may be occuring so that I can be of support to someone else down the road. We'll see I guess, but for now it really does suck (no pun intended - there is very little sucking going on)

I'll post a couple new shots when I get a chance later on. The camera must be in the office and I'm firmly planted in the livingroom trying to make sure Levi doesn't lose that Paci that's keeping him calm in his bouncy seat. I was just SURE I was going to teach my son how to "self soothe" but until I figure out just how that's done (suggestions??) I'll stick with what I know will buy me a fey precious moments.
-Melissap.s. Did I mention our little one HATED baths for his first 3 weeks? Well, thanks to a friend, we found out that if we keep a recieving blanket on him in the tub (or sink, in our case) he does MUCH better. He slept through his entire bath last night. I smell progress!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Getting Stuck

I never thought I'd be the type of mother who couldn't watch her children get immunized but, alas, I am "that mother". That mother who must turn away and bite her lip as the nurse puts that tiny needle in her son's thigh. That tiny needle which should, theoretically, protect him from Hepetitis B and other nasty diseases. Why can't I watch? Oh, that one's easy. My son, my offspring, is in pain. Yeah, I'm a softy I know. You see this is the same woman who, while pregnant, swore she would allow her baby to "cry it out" in order to teach him to self soothe, yet now she melts into a bucket of tears when he wails. It's funny how different your viewpoint becomes when the little defensless individual counts on YOU for nearly everything.

Which leads me to another realization I've had recently. In past years I've admittedly been rather hard on other mothers. No, not out loud, not to their faces - but in my own mind I've been both condescending and judgemental. Why would they choose to do A or B when C is obviously the best choice? In the past three weeks I've begun grieving over those past feelings, and truly understanding how difficult dicesion making is when it comes to your kids. Issues such as circumcision, vaccination, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, cloth-diapering, baby-food making, scheduling, breastfeeding and formula feeding become personal decisions. Decisions about these issues quickly shape your parental identity and can bring feelings of guilt and shame when the people closest to you dissagree. Knowing what I know now I am certain I will think twice before I dismiss the careful decision of another mother - it's a lot harder than it looks to decide what's best for your family and your child.

Speaking of cloth diapering, our little man has been in cloth for nearly two weeks now. I wish I had a picture of his cute little cloth covered butt, however the camera rarely makes it into the nursery. Soon enough, soon enough. For our family cloth is working relatively well. Right now we're just using plain old pre-fold diapers with fasteners and plastic velcroable covers. Yeah, he has a pretty puffy butt, and yes, it's more effort to both diaper him and wash his diapers, but we like the concept. He's so little still that he doesn't fit into any of what Jonathan calls his "space diapers' (the bum benious and the fuzzybunz), but that will come in time. We haven't had any leaks or blowouts and, even though we've bought a few packages of disposables for outings etc. I'm sure we've saved some major dough. I'll keep you posted on how this works out as he grows and gets ready to dirty a LOT more diapers.

Little man is sleeping in his carset in fromt of me. It's funny how much is face has changed in just a week. Well, he has gained 14oz in the past four days, so I guess it's believeable that he's a bit chunkier, but I guess I didn't think it could happen so fast. The picture of the day is one of Levi with Daddy last night on the couch. Enjoy, and stay in touch!

Monday, June 15, 2009

To my 8lb boy

My little Levi -
well, you aren't so little anymore I guess. You were born at 7 and a half pounds and today, after dipping to nearly 6lb 13oz, you're at a full 8 pounds. Wow.
I should preface that by first acknowledging that we've worked VERY hard to get you there. Yes, mommy and daddy have been burning the midnight oil to fatten you up. You see, little Levi, you were born with a very poor suck. Since your suck stimulates my milk production (and, as I've noted, you suck quite poorly) I have very little milk. Needless to say this has been a HUGE anxiety producer for your mommy. I have been at milkworks (our local lactation consultant clinic) nearly every day weighing you between nursings. It has been a TON of work. We've also been "triple feeding" you. Do you know what that is? Well, first I breastfeed you for 10 minutes on each side. (probably my favorite part of the whole gig, even though it HURTS due to that poor suck and poor latch of yours), then I give you another 1-2 ounces of formula or breastmilk by bottle or by syringe - whichever you'll take. IF you settle down at that point I hook myself up to the milking machine (aka the hospital grade pump I've been renting weekly) and extract what little I can from myself to give you at your next feeding. It's utterly exhausting (no pun intended). But Levi, we'll do anything for you little buddy.

Your Daddy has been intimately involved with this whole process. He's up with us each night even though he has to go to work each day. I don't know where we'd be right now without the love and support of your daddy. What a blessing he is to us - I think you'll agree.

Mommy has been so frustrated lately and most of that has revolved around your inability to nurse. Why is it that so many women think this comes naturally? It really truely doesn't. Only a week ago we were struggling to get you enough to eat (because I certainly wasn't producing enough) when along came a blessing from the Lord. My dear friend Dani, who has a 4 month old of her own, has offered to share her milk with you! So now, you get everything I can make for you, plus some of hers as well. Ever since she came last Wednesday you have been a MUCH happier camper. You sleep better, you have happy awake time, you are much more of a joy to be around. Praise God for answering our prayers for you to have a full tummy - even though it wasn't the answer I expected.

Yes indeed, your little frame is filling out quickly. You are still sleeping in the bassenet in our room and we love to hear you snore at night. Why? well, it reminds your mommy that you're there & breathing. She's a worry wart you know. Oh Levi, how we love you. I'll write to you as often as you'll sleep here in the sling & let me type. Now though you're waking & it's time to eat. Suck it down my little angel, we'll get better at this together!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Our precious bundle arrived on 5-28-00 at 10:59pm, just one day late. Head to my facebook page for more pictures!= Melissa

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Rumors are True

Yes, our due date actually is tomorrow.

This ominous "May 27th" that has loomed in our distance since early September has finally arrived. And yet - no baby. He is still quite happy inside, growing at an alarming rate, and evidently unaware of what he's missing in the outside world. Wait, who am I kidding, the kid has constant access to warmth, food, and attention. Who would give that up?

But, I digress. I'm sure you are wondering when the big day will be and, believe me, so are we. For the past four weeks (yes, FOUR weeks, and I'm not even due yet) I've had the most unlikely of people ask me (to my face) "so, have you had that baby yet?" to which I would generally like to respond "does it look like it?". Other frequent and similarly stupid questions have included "when are you going to have that baby?" and "How far is your cervix dialated?" (a note about that last question: My midwife doesn't check my cervix. Why? because it's a completely irrelevent measure of progress until one is actually in active labor. One woman could walk around three centimeters dialated for 3 weeks while another could be zero centimeters dialated one day and have her baby the next - on a totally seperate note, our co-workers really souldn't be asking us how far dialated I am, I think it's a rather innappropriate question for them to ask. Then again, I'm very pregnant, uncomfortable, and SICK of people reminding me of those two things, so maybe this is my over-sensitivity speaking. You can't blame me, can you?)

But, I dirgress (wait, didn't I already do that?). If you happen to know a woman who is pregnant, regardless of how far along she is, let me give you the following tip. No matter how tempting it may be, please kindly resist the urge to remind her that she's "getting close!" or that it could happen "any day now!" because the reality of it all is that a due date is really just an estimate -it is not a gold standard. Let me remind you that the baby doesn't know a single thing about a calendar, or about time, and he certainly has no idea what a due date is. No, a due date means very little as only 5% of babies actually arrive on them (90% arrive within 7 days of their duedate, on either side, while the remaining 5% arrive well before or well after)

Take home message: I have no say in when this baby arrives. I am more anxious than you are to have him out, BELIEVE ME! So, if you find yourself just dying to know if we've made any "progress", rest assured, be it by blog, e-mail, phone, or facebook, you will be aprised of the details eventually and if we can be patient, so can you.

I welcome your encouragement, but I really need you to help me let the due-date anxiety go by focusing on other things for the time being. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A post from dad

Hello Everyone,

My wife has done a wonderful job keeping you all up to date on the goings on with us over here in Nebraska. She is such a good writer. With the impending birth of our little one growing ever closer I thought this would be a good time to give you a sense of how Dad is doing.

It has been a wild and fun ride, though challenging. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of our midwife appointments and childbirth classes. I love the ultrasound images and the heart beats on the Doppler. I am learning a lot as a new parent already, mostly that I still have a lot to learn. It is a gradual process, one that I am thankful to be blessed with.

The big moment for me thus far was finding out we were having a boy! That certainly cemented the concept for me. As my wife began to expand (I think she is absolutely gorgeous) our little guy began to take on a personality all his own. We are head over heels and we haven’t even met him face to face.

That will be a scary and wonderful day. I am reminded of something that my dad said to me recently, something he remembers from seeing me for the first time. As I was minutes old, he was minutes old as a father. There is no instruction book that comes individualized for each child. We learn together.

Dad and Levi have “tummy time” (when Dad puts his hand on Mom’s belly to feel Levi’s acrobatics). He tends to quiet down when Dad is around, whatever that means, but I absolutely love to feel him move. I talk to him often and he definitely responds to my voice or the vibrations anyhow. I think it is because it is deeper than Mom’s, which is with him all day.
We enjoy sharing this experience with those around us who are interested.
We (our life group from Church plus Jared & the Gipe family) surprised Melissa with a baby shower a few weeks ago. Everyone played their parts well and we totally got her. You should have seen the look on her face…priceless. (the picture below is us trying to cloth-diaper a stuffed bear - only using one hand each)

It isn’t often that you can pull one over on her, the little stinker. Her intuition is too sharp, or she is just nosey, I can’t say which – I’ll get in trouble :o) If she hadn’t been pregnant, there would have been no hope. It definitely leveled the playing field.

Our “babymoon” (visit to a local bed and breakfast) was wonderful. Mom and Dad are certainly enjoying spending time together before their little one joins the fray.

The new “space diapers” will be interesting. My my…have we come a long way from squares of cloth and diaper pins or what? I’m totally on board.

Rumor has it that the decision making continues for at least the next 20 years of this little guy’s life. It is good exercise for spousal communication that is for sure. Thank you all for your support and for sharing in this journey with us.

Until next time – Praise be to God,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A manifesto - of sorts

I have never claimed to be a seamstress - in fact, many times, I've claimed quite the opposite.
Truth be told, I really don't know how to sew. Oh yes, I know, I took a semester long sewing class (back in the old days when they offered such a class in high schools - circa 1997) but try as I might, I can't remember a darned thing. It is for this reason and many more that you should all be quite impressed with my most recent sewing adventures. Behold, the baby wipe:

"It's a What?" I hear you ask... yes folks, that's right, it's a baby wipe - of the wiping-the-bottom variety. Now why on EARTH would I waste my valuable time and talents figuring out how to sew one of these? I'll get to that. First, Let me give you some background.

This Is my sewing machine. It was gifted to me by a good friend (Cheers to Dani) who received it from a woman in her church who had passed away. I'm not sure how old this Singer is, but I'm pretty sure it dates back past the 1950's. I have all the instructions to it (which are no longer in book form but rather in single pages rubber banded together) and even a box of additional parts - none of which I recognize. This past weekend I put myself to the task of figuring out how to change the stitch from straight to medium-zig-zag and, let me report, I had great success.

I still haven't figured out how to make it go in reverse (a must, if I remember correctly, for fastening a stitch) but I'll save that task for another weekend. Now back to those wipes...

Remember how I said Jonathan and I planned to use cloth diapers? Yes, yes, I see you shaking your head at me. Well, I for one was thrilled when our first order arrived in the mail yesterday. So excited in fact, that I decided to choose a model for our first collection. Mind you, these are your traditional "prefold" cloth diapers - Levi will only be in these for 4-6 weeks (max) before he moves into the oh-so-much-more-convenient "pocket diapers" - I'll get to that later too. For now, This is my dear friend Casanova modeling a prefold with a velcro prowrap. The second one shows what it looks like under that prowrap - note the lack of pins which have been strategically replaced with a "snappi". Hooray for no pins!

So, for about $40 we've got enough cloth diapers and prowraps for about 6 weeks of diapering. Can we say money saver? Yes, I know, the time and effort it will take to wash said diapers will be the trade-off so we'll just have to take it one day at a time. As a woman I reserve the right to change my mind - but optimistically, I really think this will work well for us. The picture below are two of the kinds of diapers we will have once Levi is closing in on 10-12 lbs. These are quite simple, very similar to disposables (in their ability to wick moisture away from the skin) and they adjust to fit children from 10 to 35lbs. They're pricey (about $17 each) and we'll need about 24 of them - but $400 and change is one heck of a lot less than the cost of roughly 8750 disposables over the course of 3 years. I won't even bother going into the effect 8750 diapers full of fecal matter have on our landfills and our environment, you probably know where I stand on that. Anyhow, here are "fuzzi bunz" and "bumgenius" diapers:

This is probably our favorite option: Fuzzi Bunz. Why? first, they snap shut (sounds complicated, but it's not). They have multiple snap settings for different sized babies. Snaps don't wear out like velcro does (see Bumgenius below) and this diaper has adjustable elastic in both the legs and the waist. It has a "pocket" to put an absorbent microfiber insert into (each diaper purchased comes with two of those) and the outer layer is waterproof. We like simple, we like long-lasting.

Above is a Bumgenius diaper. It also has an opening for an insert. This diaper has velcro closures rather than snaps. Easier? probably, but not as long-lasting. Eventually that velcro wears out. We'll probably have fewer of these than the others just because, for the same price, they will likely wear out sooner. All theory, no practice.

So back to those wipes - I know, I've said that a few times - why in the world would I go to the trouble? well think about this: When you change a baby and you wipe him up, where do you put that wipe? I, for one, put that dirty wipe right inside that dirty disposable diaper. I wrap the whole package up and plop it into the diaper genie. So, wouldn't it make sense (since we are using cloth diapers) to make a wipe I could simply wrap up with the dirty cloth diaper and throw in the wash bag? Otherwise I'm stuck trying to separate trash from laundry - yuck. So, while I know it may not actually work like I think it's going to, the fabric was well worth the $12 and hey, I've learned a lot about that sewing machine in the past week.

For those of you who may be interested, I used flannel for the wipes. I cut them about 9x10 (I didn't measure, I just folded my 2 yards of fabric into equal pieces, ironed, and cut - I have very little patients). I sewed them wrong side out with a zig-zag stitch, then turned them right side out and closed the gap. I noticed that they were quite "puffy" and, for extra structure, decided to put an additional zig-zag stitch around the entire outside. Now, I don't have to worry about the corners backing into the wipe while in the wash. If that doesn't make sense don't dwell on it too long, you kinda had to be there. Here's an idea of how big they are, the one in my hand below is folded in half. They are really rather large:

So there you have it, our cloth diapering manifesto. For those of you wondering, yes, my dear hubby is just as on board with this plan as I am. He and I went down to our local cloth diaper store (there's only one in the state - it just happens to be in Lincoln) and played with the many varieties they have. We have no clue what kind of an effort this will take, but financially it's a GREAT plan. If you're a mamma or a mamma-to-be, or you're just curious as to why middle class folks are returning to cloth diapers, visit this site, and this site. Both of them helped us make our decision. That said, - I maintain the prerogative to change my mind!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Some new pics!

I finally got around to taking some new pictures and, wow, have I changed. I feel a lot bigger than I look, trust me. Somewhat surprisingly, the growing part has been a lot of fun. Maybe the "puffy face" doesn't thrill me, but knowing it's primarily water retention is helpful. This, too, shall pass, and all those kicks and hiccups, rolls and nudges, more than make up for the uncomfortable feelings. Anyway, the pictures:
This is one we took at 30 weeksThis is a progression - 14 weeks to 30 weeksThis is from the shower the ladies at my home church in Shoreline WA threw for us
And this is my dear man. The baby shower had a Dairy Farm theme (it was adorable!) so we had to capture a shot of him holding the entryway sign. What fun!
Did I mention I'm feeling hiccup now? At first it was like a tiny tic-tic-tic in my groin, but now it's a full fleged bump-bump-bump. Amazing it can get so much stronger in so little time. Levi's growth amazes me also. Even since we had our baby shower in early March his movements have become stronger. I've even been woken up from a dead sleep by his rolls and jabs. ok, admittedly, I wake up many many times a night, but usually not because he's moving. Usually I wake up because I have to move and (unlike my pre-pregnancy body) I can't move this belly around without being fully awake.
So, at 31 weeks I have very few complaints about this whole process. Sure, I get a lot less sleep, I'm in the bathroom a lot, and I do get unreasonably crabby at times, but I'll take those things any day over the bed-rest that some are being relegated to. We are so blessed both to be enjoying a normal pregnancy, and to be expecting a healthy little one. Thank you for all your prayers!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I never thought I'd be the one heading off to childbirthing class.

That was for people who were really far along in their pregnancy, that was where they practiced their "hee hee whooo, hee hee whoo..." and actually prepared to GIVE BIRTH.

Are you kidding? I'm still at least a year away from that process right?

Wrong. 9 weeks.

Ok, so off we go to learn how to "breath our way through the pain" (I don't know what HE has to breath through but I'm told we "do this together") and prepare ourselves for the ultimate parenting experience. Wish me luck

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pretty Punny

I'm having an atrocious time waking up this morning. Could be the lack of coffee, or sleep for that matter, but the resulting headache is really doing me in. For what it's worth I thought I'd start my day with a little humor - Puns for the somewhat-intelligent mind. Enjoy.

1. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.......He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an.......optical Aleutian.

3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a...........weapon of math disruption.

5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other,.......'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'

14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger........then it hit me.

15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'

16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'

17. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

18. It's not that the man did not know how to juggle, he just didn't have the balls to do it.

19. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

20. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

21. A backward poet writes inverse.

22. In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.

23. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

24. Don't join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects!

Monday, February 16, 2009

In love - still

I remember right before Jonathan and I got married there were a bunch of people who said things like "you know, the first year really is the hardest" and still others who would advise us "the first year is your honeymoon, after that marriage gets difficult". I'd have to say, none of those comments have seemed to apply to us.

I'm sure that some around us must think we're frustratingly mushy. I'm sure some must think "Hey, Get a room!" as we smooch in the hallway in passing at work. It's also possible that people wonder if our affection for one another is manufactured for public effect, pretended in public and abandoned once we're alone. I have a serious confession to make: we are hopelessly in love, and we still act like "newlyweds" despite our 3 years of marriage. Oh, and no, I'm not embarrassed by the hallway smirkers.

So why does this come up now? well, I'm sure my dear husband's thoughtful valentines day actions may have jogged my memory, but in reality my thoughts are more a response to a movie he any I watched just recently. have you seen the movie Fireproof? If not, you should rent it, it's well worth the watching (despite some particularly corny moments) and even more well worth it is the book it inspired, titled "Love Dare". Click, check it out, give me your thoughts.

This book, along with the ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS floral arrangement pictured below were my husband's thoughtful gifts to me for valentines day. To anyone who ever wondered, yes, I got a GREAT catch!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Further Proof...

...that some camera angles are kinder than others.

(nearly 25 weeks)

Friday, February 6, 2009

After sleep, and a good cup of coffee

Isn't it funny how even a decent night's rest and a cup of coffee can brighten the darndest of weeks? I sure think so. After receiving these two such gifts Jonathan took some good bump pictures of me and I've posted them below for your enjoyment.

Sad to say, the navel ring is now gone as is my toe ring (which I think disappointed me more). My midwife warned me that my feet may begin to swell soon and I may not be able to get it off if I don't act quickly. Below is the progression from week 14 to week 24. I know weeks 20 and 24+ don't look like a huge change but I'm convinced that's just the angle of the camera. Levi has grown, I've grown, and it's possible I've grown more "up" than "out" over the past 4+ weeks. Breathing and eating has become quite a bit harder so I imagine there's less room overall in there.
Oh, and yet another interesting factoid: my stomach muscles have recently begun to split. Did you know they were supposed to do that during pregnancy? I sure didn't, and believe me it's more than a little disconcerting. It feels like I did a bunch of sit-ups - only I didn't. Apparently this is yet another way the body makes room for baby AND more space for stomach, intestines, etc... I don't know where those things are right now, but sometimes I swear I hear my stomach growling in my arm-pit.
Hope you've enjoyed the photo update, before long there will be a a little one to post newborn photos of too and won't that be fun?! less than 16 weeks now, I can hardly wait!