Saturday, January 16, 2010

Catching up

Things around here were getting better. I say "were" because I have developed thrush in my left boobie and it SUCKS. I cannot bear to have Lacey nurse on that side because the PAIN! Its like a needle is going through the nipple over and over and over again as she drinks. So I am pumping just the left boob, letting her nurse on the right boob and letting Bill bottle feed the pumped milk. My lactation consultant gave me Gentian Violet to use, which is messy to say the least. You paint it on your nipples and you paint the inside of the baby's mouth. It looks like I took a purple magic marker to my nips and then drew on a purple goatee on Lacey after she nurses. It better work, dammit.

So before this whole thing surfaced, things were getting better. We got her eczema treated--it was gone in like 2 days, although we need to keep on going with the treatment until Monday to make sure all the inflammation is gone. Its great to feel her soft skin again! I also saw my lactation consultant and she was AWESOME. She told me that she thinks Lacey pulling on and off is due primarily to her reflux and that the prevacid will take at least a month to kick in full strength, so she probably is uncomfortable during feedings due to the reflux. She gave me some great tips on positioning during nursing. Subsequent feedings were much more comfortable for us both. Not perfect, but do-able. I have her in football position, laying on a 45 degree incline on pillows, in a dark, quiet room. So far, so good and I am thrilled. A week ago, I thought I may have to give up nursing because it just wasn't working. Now I feel like we are getting back on track as far as breastfeeding goes. That is, until we got thrush. But hopefully the treatment will work and we will be back on track for real. Sleep is still unpredicatable. I am routinely up with her every 2h. Sigh.

I finally decided to change the name of my blog to reflect the fact that I now have two kiddos. "Roundface" is what we called Lana when she was a baby and I wanted to see what nickname would stick with Lacey. We call her "mei-mei" the most. Pronounced, "may- may", its little sister in Chinese. We call her mei-mei more that we call her Lacey.

Lacey is such a happy baby. I can't believe that I ever worried about her not smiling because this kid is always smiling! It is so joyful to approach her and consistently get a smile--so rewarding. She also likes to "talk". If I lay her flat on her back and hover over her, she will coo for like a half an hour. She has a lot to say and its so cute! Lacey has recently learned how to grab at her toys hanging on the play mat. She is no where near rolling over because I don't give her enough tummy time. I am so surprised at how content and happy she is, given all these issues. Oh, I just love to snuggle her!

Lana is getting to be so independent. She is in school 4 mornings a week now. Getting out the door by 8am each day is a drag, but we do it. She can do so many things now without my help, its just insane. She picks her clothes (they don't always a match, but I let her express herself), gets dressed, brushes her hair and teeth and even puts on a little lip gloss or chap stick all by herself. She can do crafts by herself which can occupy her for an hour at least. She helps me around the house to earn an allowance. It was my grandmother's idea--and it has been working out great! Friday is pay day and she earns a dollar a week, but she has to pick up her toys, she helps me with washing dishes, cooking, sweeping and any other household chore I help her with. I am impressed with all that she can do and she is super motivated by money, which is a little surprising. She has spent $1 so far (she has earned $6 in total) on a piece of candy.

So that's my catch up post. I have so many things I want to blog about, but so little time to sit down and write. Someday...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Out of sync

My easy baby has been having some troubles lately. Its been frustrating for us all. When she was first born, I thought we might have a good sleeper! Then about a month ago, she got a cold and all went to hell in a handbasket. She started waking up every 2h all night, every night--sometimes even every hour! Every hour makes me want to jump out the window. We thought it was reflux--she started on zantac, then prevacid and it kind of helped on some days, but overall, her sleep was still messed up--she would often wake up every 2h, sometimes every hour. Then we thought it was my supply--even during the day she would nurse every hour! So I ramped up my suppy with fenugreek and water and nope, it made no difference. I know other babies this age can go 3h between feedings--WTH is going on with mine? Then all of a sudden she started fussing at the breast--pulling on and off, yanking my nipple, crying, kicking. OUCH. Is it a GI thing? Reflux again? What is going on? I took her to the ped and she said she is probably eating out of habit and for soothing since she doesn't take a paci. She also noted that her cradle cap was BAD, and not getting better, so she sent me to the pediatric dermatologist. I am so glad we went. She said Lacey's cradle cap was not typical--she had a staph infection on top of it, plus eczema on the scalp, face, arms and legs. She told me eczema is super itchy, especially at night and can definitely cause night waking. She gave us several ointments which are so gooey to rub her down with--an antibiotic ointment for the infection, plus 2 different hydrocortizone ointments. I felt kind of relieved thinking, "okay, there is a reason for the night waking--she is uncomfortable! Maybe she never even had reflux in the first place!" Maybe she was just eating mini meals at the breast b/c she was trying to soothe herself from the itch, which would lead to all that nursing.

So we started treating her, but she is still fussing at the breast. So I pumped and bottle fed. She is not good with the bottle, but I have no choice, I will not let her destroy my nips. She drinks the bottle with minimal fussing. She will not breastfeed peacefully unless she is super tired or its in the middle of the night. I am sad. So sad. Here I am pumping and bottle feeding again, just like with Lana. I hate it. This is my routine for feeding her the past couple of days: I offer the breast. When she starts hurting me, I take her off, give her a bottle of breastmilk, then I pump for the next time and do the dishes. It is so time-consuming! I am not sure if its just a phase or if she just doesn't have the patience for letdown or if its the itch bugging her or what. I am going to see a lactation consultant b/c I don't know what to do. I know I don't want to quit breastfeeding if I think she will come back. I also know I cannot pump for a year like I did with Lana. I would rather just switch to formula if she will not breastfeed. I don't mind pumping once or twice a day, but not six times a day. I just don't have that kind of time and endurance. I am fine with formula, but I can't help but feel a loss if breastfeeding doesn't work out. It was my dream to do it this time and I felt such elation when it was so easy for us both the first 3 months.

It has been extra tough b/c I have been spending so much time focused on Lacey's sleeping/eating/reflux/eczema issues that I feel like I am neglecting Lana. Or maybe I just miss her a little b/c I feel like I don't see her much now that she is in school 4 days a week.

I know I am sounding all whiny and melodramatic, but I can't help it. We are not in a good pattern and routine right now and I so wish we were. I know we will get there and I am trying to tell myself that we should tackle one thing at a time. First let's get rid of this rash, then we work on the feeding issues and decide what the best path will be so that mommy and baby are happy. Hopefully the sleep will come after that.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas 2009, a little late

We had a very nice Christmas, actually the whole season was festive, despite my often cranky attitude, I tried to snap out of it and remember how very lucky we are as a family. I also tried to focus on the fact that Lana is at that perfect age to enjoy Christmas and all of the magical things that the season brings. Lana really enjoyed looking at all of our neighbors' lights and we always would try to find "crazy lights" which means the houses that were lit up the most. We even put up some lights after much cursing from Bill. But he did a great job and we realized that putting lights on a house requires a lot more lights and extension cords that putting lights up in an apartment, so I bought some more lights the day after Christmas at 50% off for next year. Hopefully our house won't be the most sparse on the street next year. We will get there. Sometimes I am still amazed that we are homeowners, grownups, even parents! Wasn't it like a minute ago we were young, single people living in the big city? On December 11, Bill and I celebrated, well actually we just remembered that 10 years ago was our first date, a wonderful and special first date. I can't believe its been a decade. That could actually be a whole separate post and now I am totally off-topic about Christmas.

We visited Santa twice this year. Lana was mystified! She did really great and told him what she wanted: "Hello Kitty stickers and a mini play kitchen that I can take anywhere". She wanted to know why the one Santa had glasses and the other one didn't. Contacts, I told her.

Lana loved singing the songs this holiday season. Her go-to favorites were Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and The Twelve Days of Christmas. I have a feeling we will be singing these the whole year through. She loves to sing and I think she can carry a tune pretty well for a 3.5 year old. My favorite part of Christmas Day was when after dinner, Lana skipped around the dinner table singing each of these Christmas tunes (with everyone joining in). We were all laughing, smiling and singing, even my in-laws who don't know the words. They just did the la-la-las to each of the songs. It was a great moment.

Christmas Eve we went to a friend's house who holds an open house party every year. We stopped by, had some snacks and socialized for about an hour before we took off for Chinese Hot Pot at my in-laws'. My mom also joined us and it was fun. We beat it home kind of early so we could get Lana in bed at a decent hour. Lacey's sleep has been all over the place, so I can't exactly stay up till midnight these days. We put out cookies and a carrot for Santa and the reindeer and we wrote a quick note to Santa. Lana was so excited that Christmas was FINALLY here!

In the morning, Lana woke up and said, "Baba, is it really Christmas?" Then there were tears--yes, tears. We hung a stocking in her room in addition to the stocking downstairs on the mantle. (The one in her room is from last year. I bought new matching stockings for the 4 of us this year to hang on the fireplace in our living room). So I told her that she should check the stocking in her room b/c it looked like there may be stuff in there. Before I could take 2 steps, she ran over to it and pulled it down, along with the heavy stocking holder that hit her square in the cheek, causing a lovely abrasion, complete with blood. She quickly recovered when she saw what was in her stocking. We made it down stairs and we quickly opened gifts. Lana had a blast looking for her name on the tags and ripping everything open, of course. I even managed to surprise Bill with a gift this year, which is a feat, since I am the world's worst liar and secret-keeper. After we cleaned up the mess, my mom and in-laws came over for a wonderful, casual meal. It was so nice not to have to travel or even get dressed and get over to someone else's house. Lana could just play with her new toys, show her grandparents all her stuff, while Bill and I prepared the meal. We called other family members back east to wish them a Merry Christmas, but it was so nice to have our immediate family all together. Of course this year was the first year without my dad and boy, did I feel his absence. Not his physical absence, b/c we have never spent the actual holiday together after my parents got divorced and I moved away, but the absence of my dad in our lives remains to feel immense to me.

I tried very hard to remember the things that my dad loved/hated about Christmas and I made sure I told Lana and Bill all about them. Mom helped me to remember and we had a few laughs and tears about our memories. I am so grateful to have mom here with me for the comfort of just having your mommy. I told Lana about how Grandpa Dennis always would make fun of homes with WAY too many lights, but he secretly loved to put lights on our own house, and later his house in VA. He also loved to listen to Christmas music, but he found Rocking Around the Christmas Tree and Jingle Bell Rock to be the most annoying tunes out there! Every year when I was growing up he would take me for a special day of Christmas shopping, just the two of us, list in hand, so that we could shop for my mom. Although my dad hated big crowds and shopping in general, he actually loved to Christmas shop. We would always talk about whether it "felt like Christmas" whether "we had the Christmas spirit this year", which would often depend on how much snow we had (growing up in Buffalo, you EXPECT a white Christmas). We would get mom way too many gifts, we would have lunch at Swiss Chalet (its a Buffalo thing) and then I would wrap them as soon as we got home. We both really enjoyed this day together every year.

My mom told me that when I was a kid I made my wish list for Santa, which always had a ton of things on it. Mom and Dad would then discuss what would be purchased since we were on a very tight budget at the time. Apparently, on Christmas Eve my dad would go out and buy the rest of the items on my list, which infuriated my mom b/c it blew the budget out the window. Another tradition we had was that my dad would get my mom 2 lbs of chocolate from a local candy shop--a pound of "turtles" which were carmel and pecans covered in chocolate and a pound of "sponge candy" which is a honeycomb candy covered in chocolate. These were under the tree every single year and we each got to eat some on Christmas morning.

I miss him, but we have some wonderful memories of Christmases past. I am happy that I made it through the holidays this year without totally falling apart. I felt a little sad at times, but overall, we had a great holiday with the grandparents and the kids. I didn't get a lot of photos b/c we were just too busy enjoying ourselves and each other, which is what Christmas is all about.