Thursday, April 30, 2009

Two Month Checkup

Today was Harrison's two month checkup, and I have to be honest, I was excited to show our pediatrician all the cool things Harrison can do now. Look, he holds up his head! He's smiling!! And he's getting fat! Thankfully, our pediatrician is AWESOME and he not only let me brag but marveled at all of Harry's new tricks and commented very excitedly about how much he has grown over the past several weeks. Love that doctor.

The specifics, then. Harrison weighs 11 pounds, 8 ounces, so he has gained more than 5 pounds since birth. He measures 23.5 inches, so he has grown than 4 inches since birth. He is in the 40th percentile for weight and the 67th percentile for height...this is the baby who was hugging the 5th percentile in both areas at birth. He is growing beautifully and is doing many of the things that he should at this age. He is slightly delayed in some of the social milestones (he's not laughing yet--in fact, he just started smiling), but since he was almost four weeks premature, our pediatrician assured us that a slight delay at this point is completely normal but that he should be completely caught up to his age group by the time he turns 1.

We also talked again at length about Harrison being severely tongue-tied, and our pediatrician suggested that we meet with an otolaryngologist to discuss how this will affect Harrison when he starts eating solids and when he starts speaking, and to possibly plan to have his frenulum clipped. Our pediatrician seems to think that he might have some issues with eating and/or speaking, so it will be interesting to see what the specialist has to say. The research that I have done on this yields pretty inconclusive results...some say it's necessary to clip, some argue that clipping doesn't benefit the child at all. Our appointment with the specialist is coming up in a couple of weeks.

All in all, our little man is doing wonderfully! And now, he's zonked out--all that crying after getting three shots tires a dude out.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Making The Sleepless Nights SO Worth It

Today, I saw Harrison's first real, without-a-doubt, full-face smile. I was chatting with him about all of the tasty fruit I was adding to my breakfast smoothie, and as I was singing him a little song that I made up about mangoes, he flashed me that handsome smile and my heart melted into a little puddle of love and adoration.

Little dude, if you keep this up, you're gonna have your mama wrapped around your finger in no time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

One of Those Days

Ever have one of those days where you feel like the world is conspiring against you? I had one of those days today.

The morning started off innocently fact, Grace was in a great mood and got herself dressed and ready for school in record time and with very few complaints at all. We walked over to school, playing a game of "I Spy" on the way and I read a book to Gracie in her classroom before it was time for me to leave.

Things began to unravel, though, when my reading drew a small crowd of Gracie's classmates and a couple of the other little girls wanted me to read a book to them as well. Since I had a few spare minutes before school officially started, I decided to hang out for a few minutes and read a book to one of the other girls. Big mistake. As I did this, I noticed Gracie slinking away from me and tucking herself into the corner and the pouting commenced. Before I had a chance to finish reading the entire book to the other little girl, the pouting morphed into full-blown crying, and soon Grace had attracted the attention of her teacher as well as another mom. Good grief. I sighed and made a comment about how tough Monday mornings are, and Grace's teacher suggested I stay for another few minutes so Grace could calm down a bit. I stayed until the morning announcements were starting, and by then Grace was happily playing with her friends, so I bid her adieu and headed home.

Mondays are laundry days in our house, so my plan for today (after getting Grace off to school) was to get several loads of laundry done so that I could enjoy the evening with the family after Aaron got home. I figured that I wouldn't have any issue getting this accomplished as Harrison generally takes two good naps during the day. Today, however, was a different story. Harrison was uncharacteristically fussy all day and every time I attempted to lay him down for a nap so that I could get my stuff done, he would wake up wailing ten minutes later and I would have to drop what I was doing to care for him. Needless to say, this made my attempts at getting the laundry done virtually futile.

Speaking of Harrison, he was especially gassy today (which is probably why he was so fussy) and after one particular feeding, I was burping him and he launched what felt like a gallon of spit-up into my hair. After wiping myself down and assessing the damage, I decided that I would definitely need a shower or I would surely smell like sour milk and baby puke and I was not down with that at all. I managed to get Harrison to fall asleep soundly, so I placed him in his bassinet so that I could take a shower. I lingered for a few minutes in the nice warm water, but suddenly, I heard the unmistakable sound of a baby wailing in the next room so I had to quickly wrap up the shower, dry off, and throw a robe on so I could get to Harrison, who was practically swimming in a pool of even more spit-up. Where the hell was it all coming from?

I was looking forward to picking Grace up from school (so that I would have someone else in the house to talk to after dealing with a fussy baby all day), but when I arrived at school, I found Grace sitting in the office waiting for me instead of playing outside on the playground with the other kids. Turns out that Grace had an accident during her after school art class and soaked through her pants, socks, and her shoes. (She was participating in a new after school class that her school is offering, and when I asked her why she didn't make it to the bathroom, she said she didn't want to miss out on anything so she tried to hold it.) And, naturally, the poor kid didn't have any backup clothes at school, so she was dressed in an oversized t-shirt and a pair of socks that was in the lost and found.

Needless to say, I was so happy to see Aaron when he got home that I practically bowled him over as I was running out the door to grab a few minutes to myself. Who knew a trip alone to Walgreens for diapers could be so therapeutic?

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Plan, New Blog

Last year before I found out that I was pregnant with Harrison, I started a diet plan and my goal was to eat wisely, exercise, lose some weight (hopefully), and blog about it. Well, shortly after launching this new plan, I found out that I was pregnant and all thoughts of dieting were tossed out the window and for the next nine months or so, I ate for two. This meant that I ate when I was hungry (which was quite literally all the time) and I ate whatever sounded good to me at the time. This usually meant eating lots of fried foods, Mexican food (when my stomach would tolerate it) and copious amounts of chocolate. And 2% I loved the 2% milk...the creaminess, the thickness of it. I drank it ALL the time.

Somehow, by the grace of God, I only gained 32 pounds during my pregnancy. I credit that partially to the fact that I had a four-year-old at home who never let me sit still, despite the fact that I was supposed to be on modified bed rest. Also, I only stayed pregnant for 36 weeks...had I made it the full 40, I'm sure that number would have been higher.

After I delivered Harrison, I began pumping every two to three hours so that I could feed Harrison breast milk despite his physical inability to breastfeed. One of the wonderful benefits of pumping was that most of those 32 pounds that I had gained during pregnancy melted off effortlessly. In fact, I was still eating as though I was pregnant, perhaps even more, and the weight STILL fell off. This was the best diet plan ever!! I had lost almost 30 pounds before my six week postpartum checkup!

Fast forward six weeks, and I developed mastitis. My milk supply dropped much so that after about a week of trying my best at relactation, I decided to give up the pumping all together. Lo and behold, the dramatic weight loss came to a standstill. What did I expect??

So, now I have to figure out how to lose the remainder of my baby weight and keep it off. And, I have the ultimte goal of getting back to the weight I was at when Aaron and I got married--this means that on top of losing those last five pounds or so left over from pregnancy, I need to lose an additional twenty. For someone who struggles to lose weight, this seems like a pretty daunting challenge for me.

Luckily, I have a plan. While I was still pregnant, Aaron took an interest in changing his eating habits in order to lose some weight, and in the process, he did some research into different eating philosophies and came across one that appealed to him. He started reading some of Mark Bittman's books, and in particular Bittman's book newest book, Food Matters. In this book, Bittman talks in depth about the typical American's eating habits and the overconsumption that runs rampant in our society. He also talks about how our society of overconsumption is damaging to our planet. Then, he offers a plan of "sane eating"--eating wisely while healing the planet at the same time.

Aaron decided to follow Bittman's suggestions and he quickly began seeing results. In fact, I was so inspired by these results (and by Bittman's book) that now that I am no longer pregnant or lactating, I have decided to become a Bittman follower as well. This leads me to my new blog, For The Love Of Beans. In my new blog, I will talk about Bittman's suggestions and how I will implement them in my eating strategies. I will outline my new plan to meet my weight loss goal and I will share stories of how Aaron and I are healing our bodies, as well as our planet, together.

Check it out...the new plan starts Monday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Harrison: Eight Weeks

Dear Harry:

I'm not sure if I should be posting your two-month letter today or are eight weeks old today, but your official two-month birthday is Saturday since Saturday is the 25th. I decided to go ahead and write it today because you're napping soundly right now and I actually have a free moment, and Saturday is the day before your baptism and we're having fifteen people over for a party on Sunday, so I'll be busy cleaning the house on Saturday. Today it is. I'll rethink it next month.

Eight weeks ago right now, I was in the throes of a very difficult labor, but as I stare at you sleeping so peacefully, I can't even remember the pain that I felt. It's strange how any memory of the pain disappears...I know I had pain, but I couldn't retell how it felt. What I do remember from that day eight weeks ago, though, was the feeling that I had the first moment that I saw you, and I can tell you that the love that I felt at that moment has only grown over the past two months.

You're growing by leaps and bounds. When I look at photos from those first few days after you were born and then I look at you now, I have a hard time believing it's the same little boy. In fact, you have already gained almost four full pounds since you were born. You have been eating four to six ounces at each feeding, and thanks to the fact that you're eating more, you're also sleeping for longer stretches at night. You enjoy your last bottle of the day around 10pm and then you're only up once during the night to eat (usually between 2am and 3am), and for that, Mommy and Daddy thank you. We're not the zombies that we were just a few weeks ago.

You're doing lots of really cool things. You hold your head up for a long time when you're on your belly. You kick your little legs like you're riding a bicycle when you're excited. You're also starting to notice things. You follow us with your eyes. You turn your head to find us when one of us is taking. You love to go outside and take in what is happening in the world around you. You love it when we hold you in our laps and talk to you and sing to just sit with us, contentedly, and listen to us and stare at us and take it all in. Occasionally, you coo back at us, and every now and then, we even get the precious gift of a little smile from you. You smiled at your big sister yesterday, and you made her day. We can't wait to see those smiles more often.

My little man, you're truly a special, wonderful little dude. I can't wait to watch you keep growing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Thoughts on Co-Sleeping

So, since my last post on co-sleeping, there have been two more infant deaths in Milwaukee that have been attributed to co-sleeping. That makes a total of three infant deaths that the local media is attributing to co-sleeping within the last six weeks. No matter what the reason for these deaths, they are a tragedy and my heart breaks for the families that have lost their babies.

These deaths have captured a lot of attention in the area, so much so that the mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett, is now speaking out against co-sleeping, telling parents that if they love their children, they should put them in a crib. Not kidding--he really said that, on camera, and then his office proceeded to call more than 1300 day care facilities in the Milwaukee area to remind them of the dangers of co-sleeping and to remind them that children are safest in their cribs.

I would argue that we should all step back before things get too out of hand and take a look at the facts. In the first death, the one that I blogged about in March, the mother who fell asleep and smothered her child on a couch was intoxicated--so much so that she didn't remember many of the events of the night in which she smothered her child. In the second death, the grandmother who fell asleep and smothered her grandchild on a couch had eight beers before falling asleep. In this third and most recent death, the mother put her infant to bed with her AND HER THREE-YEAR-OLD CHILD and when she woke in the morning, the infant was dead. This mother also put her baby to sleep on a pillow. It doesn't appear as though alcohol was a factor in this particular case.

Again, my heart breaks for each of these families, and I just can't imagine the pain they are experiencing. I'm not trying to sound judgmental here. However, I would argue that in the first two cases, the adults were not co-sleeping...they passed out with the child on the couch with them and they didn't have the capacity to wake up when they were smothering these children. In the third case, it sounds like the situation was closer to what is traditionally defined as co-sleeping, but those of us who have done our research know that you never, ever put an infant in bed with another young child (because that other child may not react if they should roll over on the baby), and you don't ever put your baby to sleep on a pillow.

There are rules that need to be followed if a family decides to co-sleep with their infant. According to

  • Never smoke or allow others to smoke around your infant, whether or not you're co-sleeping. Some studies have found that babies who share a bed with parents who smoke are at higher risk for SIDS.
  • Never co-sleep with your infant if you're under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. These intoxicants could interfere with your awareness of your baby's presence and her cries.
  • If you're extremely overweight, sleep-sharing might not be safe for your baby. Installing a crib or a co-sleeper next to your bed is a less risky way to go.
  • Don't let older children sleep next to a baby younger than one year. They could accidentally harm the baby by rolling over or kicking in their sleep.
  • Put your baby to sleep only on a smooth, flat mattress. It's not safe for babies to sleep (with or without you) on a waterbed, an egg-crate mattress, a couch, an armchair, or any other surface that's not firm and could interfere with your baby's breathing — firm and flat is the rule.
  • To make sure your baby can breathe freely, keep pillows, blankets, comforters, and other bedding away from her face.
Again, I am not trying to sound judgmental, but in each of these tragic deaths, one or more of these rules was broken.

I am not ashamed to admit that I have shared a bed with both of my children (although I haven't co-slept with Gracie for quite some time, as she is now used to sleeping in a bed on her own). However, when I choose to do so, I make sure I follow the rules. I am not drunk or so tired that I am at the point of passing out. I make sure the bedding is secure and that the mattress is firm. I remove my pillow from my sleeping area--in fact, I don't even sleep on the pillow if my child is with me. I don't allow my children to sleep in the same bed together (and I won't allow this until Harrison is at least one year old). I ensure there is no possible way that my child could roll out of the bed or somehow entrap themselves in the bed. I keep blankets away from my child's face. And, I sleep facing my child so that I can respond to him or her if they should make any noise or cry out. Even though this means a less restful night's sleep for me, it makes for a more restful night for my child.

Mayor Barrett, I do love my children and I disagree with your advice to put them in a crib to sleep every night. Instead of going on the news and making parents who share a bed with their child feel ashamed for doing so, maybe we should be educating the public on these rules of co-sleeping so that parents and caretakers who choose to co-sleep know how to do it safely.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Isn't he just the cutest baby boy you have ever seen??

I put him in the Boppy to keep him comfy while I was folding laundry and he conked out while I was singing to him. Not sure what that says about me or my singing, but dang, he's adorable if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A History Lesson

Today is Tax Day and as I watched the news this morning I was a little surprised to hear about these "tea bag" parties that are going on across the country today. I was surprised at first because when I think "tea bag party" my mind tends to roam toward the *other*, more adult definition of tea bag and I was shocked that the local news outlets were covering such parties. And then I was all like, "There are PARTIES for that?!?!" Then as I listened on, I came to learn that these are protests organized by Conservatives, calling attention to our big bad government's supposed spending and taxation run amok by tossing actual tea bags around and evoking memories of the Boston Tea Party. Then I was like, "Really?"

A history lesson, if I may, and not just because I minored in History in college...The actual Boston Tea Party that took place all those years ago was staged to protest taxation WITHOUT representation. The colonists were protesting (and rightly so, in my view) because they were being taxed by the King of England without having any means to represent themselves and their best interests in the King's court.

Hey, those of you participating in and supporting these tea bag parties today--note the second word in "taxation without representation". Seems to me that we just had an election a few months ago and hey, we got to elect our leaders who WOULD represent us. We HAVE representation!! So your tea bag parties are stupid.

I guess I'm one of these crazy people that doesn't mind paying taxes, seeing as they allow us to pay for all of that silly stuff like schools and roads and the military. Sure, I don't want to pay more taxes than I have to and I know there is too much spending going on, but it seems to me that this problem didn't magically appear when President Obama took office. I heard some idiot commentator today say that the people holding these tea bag parties today are just a bunch of populist, grassroots organizers who are looking out for the common man, and to that I say, "Bull." Where were these people who are protesting today when W gave tax cuts to the wealthiest of the wealthy? Where were they when the Bush administration was busy screwing over the working class?? They were at home, slyly twisting their mustaches and counting their dough. Unless they didn't have mustaches...then they were just counting their dough.

I'm all for free speech. It's a free country after all, and if you feel the need to protest what you think is unfair taxation, then by all means, go for it. But let's call it like it is. You're just pissed that you lost and this is your way of showing it. You DO have representation, so put the tea bags away and find another object to symbolize your cause.

P.S. Aaron reminded me of this: Seems to me that not so long ago, it was considered treason by some to speak out against the president. So that's not the case anymore??

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Baby Brain: A Continuation

So, I thought Baby Brain would disappear after having my baby, but it would appear as though I thought wrong. A snippet of the odd things I have done recently, all of which I am chalking up to a nasty continuation of Baby Brain:

-Feeding Grace Oreo Cakester cookies for breakfast this morning. This is SO out of character for me that when I told Aaron what Grace ate for breakfast, he looked at me like I had just told him that I had a change of heart and now think Rush Limbaugh is wicked cool.

-Spending a good five minutes trying to figure out the meaning of the acronym "LMAO". Normally I am pretty adept at figuring out these cute little, uh, acronyms, but for some strange reason I couldn't wrap my brain around this one until I read a comment on another blog where "LMAO" was in the context of a sentence and I was all like, "Oooooooooooooooh. I get it."

-Attempting to balance a large ceramic plate on top of a tortilla warmer. Actually, I was attempting to place the plate on top of that little circular handle that's on the cover of a tortilla warmer (to make more room at our table) and for some reason it didn't register with me that plate was probably twenty times the size of the handle and setting the plate on top of it would surely end in disaster. Luckily, Aaron saw all of this happening just as the plate was teetering off of the tortilla warmer and caught it before it had a chance to smash to bits on the tile floor of the Mexican restaurant we were eating at. Then he gave me that look again.

-Forgetting to shampoo my hair while showering. I get three, maybe four showers a week these days (if I'm lucky) so you'd think I'd remember to wash my hair with each shower. However, I didn't remember to wash my hair until AFTER I had completed my shower this morning. In fact, I had already dried off and was getting dressed before I realized what I had forgotten. So, I had to get undressed and climb back into the shower so I could quickly wash my hair before Aaron could figure out what was happening. Didn't want to get The Look again. Although I'm pretty sure I'm gonna get it as soon as he reads this.

Combine all of this with the zillions of times I have lost my train of thought in mid-sentence or forgotten what's been on my grocery list or lost my keys/cell phone recently and I am convinced that my brain still hasn't bounced back from pregnancy. What the hell? When am I going to get my brain back?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Tale of Two Kiddies

If anyone had tried to explain the complex feelings that a mother has for her child before I had my kids, I wouldn't have been able to understand. I don't think you really are able to grasp the depth and intensity of those maternal feelings until you actually have a child of your own and you're able to experience the ride for yourself. And, I wasn't able to understand a mother's ability to love two children with the same depth and intensity until I had my second's like a well that has no matter how many times I have to dip into that well, there is always more than enough to share with my two babies.

What has really taken me by surprise is how different my two kids are and how differently I feel about them, but how it's really all the same after all. It's hard to articulate. I am so glad that Grace was my first child. I always wanted to have a little girl, a little princess, who I could spoil the crap out of and dress up in pretty things and giggle with. And Grace is SO that little girl. She is the little princess that I always wanted. Some of my favorite times with her are when she and I are sitting around and just being GIRLY...putting on lip gloss, talking about pretty clothes, drawing pictures of flowers and hearts, and giggling our heads off. This week Grace and I went to the salon to get haircuts, just the two of us, and it was SO FUN. I loved holding her on my lap during my haircut and talking girl talk. If I had had a boy first, I think that I might have been a little sad to miss out on that.

I'm also glad that Grace was my first child because she challenges me more than I think some kids challenge their parents. She tends to be a little more on the high maintenance side than not, and she has pushed me again and again until I feel like I am finally comfortable in my Mom skin. She is strong-willed and knows what she wants, and I am happy about that. (Even though those traits challenge and frustrate me sometimes, I know that they will serve her well as she gets older.) Grace has molded me into the parent that I am and I'm glad I had her first because of the experience she has given me. It has proven invaluable.

It's so cool to watch Grace morph from only child into big sister, too. She is way proud of her little brother, and she loves to help me out with him when she can. And, sometimes when she doesn't know I am paying attention, I will catch her singing little songs to Harrison or whispering little words of comfort to him if he gets fussy. I am so proud of the compassion and gentleness and caring that she shows for her brother. It will be so neat to watch their relationship grow and blossom in the coming years, as Harrison gets older and the two of them are able to interact more.

When I found out I was having a son, I was excited but I'll admit that I felt a bit of trepidation. After all, I have a sister, I have a daughter, and I didn't think I knew how to raise a boy. But man, I love my little boy, and there is such an awesome feeling of pride that I feel when I look at him. Any feelings of hesitation that I felt about raising a son are long gone. I find myself increasingly excited to watch him grow up and see what kind of a boy and, eventually, what kind of a man he will be. And woe to that future love interest who comes into Harry's life and tries to steal him from me. 'Cause it ain't happening.

Harrison is so laid back, too, in contrast with Grace, who has tons and tons of energy. He is content to lay on his back on the couch and listen to Grace playing or sit in his bouncy chair quietly in the kitchen as I am cooking. I'm actually able to lay him down while he's drowsy but not quite asleep and let him fall asleep on his own...something I was unable to do with Grace. If Harrison had been my first child and I had a high energy child second, I wouldn't have known what to do. In reality, I feel almost over prepared for Harrison at times. He's such an easy baby.

How lovely to be a mama and to have so much love for two wonderfully different, yet equally wonderful, little people.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Like Nothing Ever Happened

I had my six-week postpartum check today (ugh, where did that time go?) and, according to Dr. Fab, "It looks like nothing ever happened" down below. I suppose that's a good thing, although the six-week old napping next to me would probably disagree with that assessment.

It was nice to see Dr. Fab and all of the nurses who I came to know pretty well during the last few months of my pregnancy--it was kind of like a family reunion, complete with hugs and lots and lots of gushing over Harrison. And, it was great to sit down and have a frank chat with Dr. Fab about the mastitis and my milk supply...she put things into perspective to me, once again showing me that she truly is fabulous. She reminded me that I did a great job getting Harrison through those tough first few weeks and that my reward for that is a healthy baby. She told me that I should try to get my milk supply back up if I want to, but if it doesn't work, then it doesn't work and I have nothing to feel bad about. I will try for a bit longer, and I can honestly say that if things don't work out, that at least I tried and I gave Harrison the best possible start that I could.

So, I am fully recovered from the trauma of pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and I've been given the green light to resume life as usual. Once I get caught up on my sleep, I will get right on that.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Mastitis Sucks

So yeah, I have mastitis, and in case you were wondering, it totally sucks.

Last week I attempted to nurse Harrison on several occasions, and a few times, it actually worked a little. I had originally made the attempt because Harrison was hungry around the same time I was scheduled to pump, so I thought that I would just give nursing a shot, just to see what would happen and maybe save myself the hassle of pumping and cleanup, etc. To my surprise, Harrison latched right on and nursed for a good ten minutes and then we finished up with some breast milk that I had stored in the fridge. I tried again several more times last week, but I never had the success that I did during that initial attempt. Either Harry decided he didn't want to work hard and wanted a bottle instead, or his inability to form a good latch at the breast proved to be way too painful for me and I abandoned the attempt after a minute or two of pain.

On Friday, Aaron took the day off so we could go car shopping, and I packed up my pump and all of my pumping paraphernalia to take with us, as I was certain we would be gone most of the day and I would need to pump a couple of times while we were gone. Unfortunately, we decided to test drive a car right around one of the times I was supposed to pump and I accidentally left the pump in our car, so I quickly became uncomfortably engorged (and cranky) and didn't have an opportunity to pump again until we got home a few hours later. By that time, I was so engorged that I had leaked all over the front of my shirt (luckily I wore layers so no one was able to tell) but I felt much, much better after I pumped for a while.

Saturday came and I was so, so excited because that was the day that Aaron and I had planned for our long-awaited getaway to Door County. We were going to drop the kids off at my parents' house and then head up to a bed and breakfast for the night. We planned on doing a winery tour and eating a nice, leisurely dinner at a romantic restaurant and then spend the night drinking wine in our room's whirlpool. So, Saturday morning I got up nice and early even though I was feeling REALLY tired and run down, packed everything up, and got ready to go. I decided to pump one more time before we left, and I noticed that my left breast looked really swollen and it was extremely tender, but I thought the pain and swelling would go away after pumping. It didn't. Before we left the house, I grabbed a gel pack that I used to help with clogged ducts, tossed it in the microwave to warm it up, and stuck it in my bra in the hopes that it would help.

We had to make a stop at Target on the way out of Milwaukee and I noticed on the car ride to Target that my back was feeling really achy, but I chalked that up to hunching over when I feed Harrison, so I thought nothing of it. While Aaron ran into the store to pick up what we needed, I stayed in the car with the kids and called my mom to let her know we were on our way. I mentioned to her that my boob hurt really bad, and she asked if I was feeling sick at all. I said, "Not really," but mentioned my achy back and my mom asked if I had a fever. I said that I didn't think so, but that I could check my temp when we got to my parents' house. My mom suggested giving my doctor a call if things got worse, and then I told her we would be seeing her within an hour and a half.

In the twenty minutes or so from the time that I hung up with my mom until the time Aaron finally finished up inside Target, I went from feeling mildly achy to feeling downright shitty. My entire body ached and I was starting to feel some chills. I also took a peek at my breast and noticed that it had long, thin red streaks on it that weren't there before. I asked Aaron to feel my forehead to see if I felt warm to him, and he said that yes, I felt warm. I was worried about what this might mean (I had a feeling it might mean mastitis) so I called the clinic and had the OB/GYN on call paged and we continued our trek to my parents' house.

As the trip passed, my condition rapidly deteriorated. My entire body ached so much that I couldn't find a comfortable position in my seat and I was shaking even though the heat was on in the car. The OB/GYN that was filling in for Dr. Fab finally called me back about an hour after I had him paged, and I ran through my symptoms with him. He determined that my symptoms definitely sounded like mastitis, and even though he hadn't physically examined me, he wanted me to start on antibiotics as soon as I could, especially since I was traveling out of town. I gave the doctor the address of the Walgreen's pharmacy that is near to my parents' house so he could call in a script for me, and he told me to pump my breasts every few hours for the next several days to help clear up the infection but to dump the milk for the next couple of days, just in case.

By the time we arrived at my parents, my teeth were chattering from the chills I was experiencing and I felt sick enough that I considered going home. I snuck into my parents' bathroom to take my temperature, and it was 103. I quickly took some extra-strength Tylenol and grabbed my pump to try to relieve the pain I was feeling in my breasts. Much to my dismay, the pumping itself was extremely painful and I got almost no milk out of my left breast. After I had finished pumping, my mom tried to convince me to call the bed and breakfast to see if we could postpone our reservations, because, as she told me, a woman can get very sick from mastitis. I told her no, that the bed and breakfast had a 72-hour cancellation policy and we would have to pay for the room anyway and that I would probably feel better anyway once I started taking the antibiotics.

We ate a quick lunch with my parents and the kids (I had to force myself to eat because I had no appetite at all) and then Aaron and I left for Door County, stopping at Walgreen's on the way to pick up my medicine and some more Tylenol for the trip. Mercifully, the Tylenol that I had taken at my parents' house kicked in shortly thereafter and the two-hour ride from my parents' to the bed and breakfast was at least bearable and I was able to enjoy some nice quiet conversation with Aaron.

Our time in Door County was fine...the bed and breakfast was beautiful (and quiet, since peak season doesn't start until May), we had a very nice dinner at a quiet bistro, and we visited a lovely winery and tasted some fabulous wine (hey, since I had to pump and dump anyway, I figured I could have a few glasses of wine), but I felt pretty crappy all weekend. I was extremely tired and felt like I had a bad case of influenza all weekend. By the time we got home last evening, I was so wiped out that all I could do was sprawl out on the couch with Harrison laying on my chest and whine to Aaron that I wanted to go to bed.

The worst thing about this is that I have been faithfully pumping every three hours since Harrison was born and now I feel like I am back at square one. Every time I pump it is excrutiating and now it appears that both of my breasts are affected, so even though I pump for twenty minutes or more, I get less than an ounce of milk from each breast. And in the meantime, Harrison's appetite is more ravenous than ever--he has been averaging five ounces a feeding and with the way I am going, it will take me an entire day to pump what he needs for one meal.

I can't figure out what caused this...from the research I have done, it could be one of two things. It could be because I went several hours without pumping on Friday, or it could be because I nursed Harrison several times last week and the bacteria he has in his mouth made it through cracks in my nipples and caused the infection (this seems likely to me because I did have a couple of painful cracks in my nipples late last week, probably because Harrison never really latched on correctly while he was nursing). Either way, it sucks big time. The pumping hurts so much that I want to quit all together but then again, I feel selfish for thinking that way. This is the worst that I have felt, emotionally speaking, since Harrison was born.

I see Dr. Fab for my six-week postpartum check on Wednesday...we'll see what she has to say.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Two Words...

Mastitis Sucks.

It especially sucks when it makes an appearance on the first day of your long-awaited getaway weekend with your husband.

More on this all later, when I start to recover.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Babies Make People Crazy

What is it about babies that makes seemingly normal, sane adults turn into crazies? I don't remember noticing this phenomenon much when Grace was a baby (maybe because I was too busy panicking about all of the things I was sure I was doing wrong as a mother), but lately, I have been noticing what I call The Harrison Effect. My son turns some people into weirdos. Here are three scenarios that have taken place over the past few days to illustrate my point:

Scenario The First (as I was picking Grace up from school yesterday afternoon):

School Secretary: Oh, your poor baby! Having to come outside on such a nasty afternoon! He should be at home where it's warm! *tongue clicking*

My Reply: Oh I know. When is it going to be Spring already?

What I Wanted to Say: Yes, it sure is cold, rainy, and windy outside. However, my son is buckled in his car seat, dressed in a blanket sleeper and a knit cap, and completely covered in a large, heavy fleece blanket. See? And the visor on the car seat is pulled over him so that the rain can't get to him. And also, normally I walk with Harry the half block over here to pick Grace up from school, but because of today's craptastic weather, I chose to pack my son up in the car and drive the stinking half block and then search for a parking spot. And I had to make sure that parking spot was less than a half block away from the school entrance so I didn't negate the decision to drive over here instead of walking. Also, I could choose to leave my daughter here at school another hour so my husband could pick her up on his way home from work, but you all charge for each hour of after school care and I am not working right now, so I don't want to spend the extra money. So yes, the weather sucks and my infant son would probably be better off inside, but as you can see, I have taken all factors into consideration and this is my decision. Thanks for your concern. Also, bite me.

Scenario The Second (as I was picking Grace up from school on Monday):

School Principal (as she was LITERALLY wrestling Harrison away from me): Oh, a baby! Here, let me hold him for you! I can't wait to be a grandma!!

My Reply: Oh no, really, I'm fine! Thanks for offering! I'm in a rush to get Grace anyway because we have an appointment.

What I Wanted to Say: Really, are you serious? Get your mitts off of my child. I know you're the principal at my kid's school and you know how to handle children, but I have never spoken to you in my life and I'm not sure that you even know my kid that actually ATTENDS this school, so no, you're not holding my baby. And you're the principal at an ELEMENTARY school, so who knows what sorts of nasty sicknesses you're harboring after being sneezed on and coughed on and pawed all day by a bunch of young kids. And do you wash your hands after you use the bathroom? I don't know the answer to that, and I only let people hold Harrison if I KNOW that they wash their hands after they use the bathroom. Sorry. Also, we don't have an fact, Grace and I are headed home to the couch to eat Oreo's and watch crappy Canadian cartoons on Qubo, but no matter. You're not holding my baby. Weirdo.

Scenario The Third (occurring virtually daily since bringing Harry home from the hospital):

Random Checkout Line Person/Fellow YMCA Member/Teacher, etc.: Oh, your baby is so TINY!!!

My Reply: Yes, he's a peanut! He was born four weeks early.

What I Want to Say: Oh, but he is so much bigger than he was at birth. And you telling me how tiny he is makes me so mad because he worked so hard to learn how to eat and he is doing so well now. He has gained two pounds since birth, so while he might seem little to you, he looks like a perfectly fat baby to me. And even though my son doesn't understand what you're saying, I do, and my feelings are now hurt enough for both of us. So please keep your comments about how TINY my baby is to yourself. Also, you're fat/your breath smells/your outfit is stupid, etc.

Ok, ok, I know it's possible that I might be a LITTLE sensitive these days, what with the postpartum hormones and the sleep deprivation and the huge life changes, and these people that have confronted me probably didn't have the intent to upset me. But they have managed to bug the hell out of me nonetheless. Of course, I felt much, much better today after I took Harrison to Target to pick up a prescription and the pharmacist oozed and gushed about how adorable my baby is (his perfect features! his beautiful eyes!). I suppose there are people out there who know the right things to say around new mamas.