Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good-Bye 2011

The days are long, the years are short. Except since LM arrived, the days don't feel so long. More like water running through my hands they go so quickly.  

2008 and 2009 where rough years for me. 2008 was the year of me rebelling. 2009 was the year of D. There was a constant flow of major life-changing events, and some  bad lows. I came of age and not gracefully. I meet the man who would become my hubs in 2008 and our relationship felt like it was on fast-forward. A week before 2009 ended, we got engaged. 

  2010 was a year divided, the year of Ember. The first seven months where wonderful, though challenging in their own way. We married after only a year and a half. We moved out of state for the second time in under a year. We prepared to welcome our first child together. The last five months where the worst of my life. Our daughter died, and that is hell on earth. 

2011 was the year of Little Man. The reason to keep on going, the reason to love and laugh again. We carry Ember with us always, but Little Man has soothed our hearts some. His pregnancy and newborn-hood flew by, 2011 seems almost like a dream it sped by us so quickly. Also, we moved back home, now to our OWN home instead of rentals. Hubs started school. A wonderful year despite grieving. Which feels very odd, btw. To be happy at the same time as being eternally heart-broken makes you feel crazy. 

January brought a rough start to 2011. I'd moved through shock (which lasted months) and denial (mostly) but despair was deeply rooted. I was unknowingly pregnant with LM, who was conceived in early Dec. 

February brought taking an eleventh and twelfth home pregnancy test, the ones that finally showed positive! This month was the beginning of the heart-soothing joy that is LM. We celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary mourning Ember but anticipating LM. We struggled with finding a new doctor.

March was worrying about losing him and lots of dreaming of our new home. Priss turned six and became an official "big kid" in my mind.

April was moving on from thoughts of a miscarriage to worries of a congenital heart defect like Hubs'. ShortStuff (Hubs' oldest child) turned nine, becoming an official preteen. Our new home being bought but needing some renovations. 

May was moving back home after almost two years living out of state. Being so relieved at being back by old friends and my family. Struggling with finding a new care-giver once again. 

June was impatience personified. Waiting on renovations to be finished and LM to finally be ready to join us earthside. 

July was moving into our new home, loving it and both grieving for and celebrating Ember's first birthday. The whole month is full of her "dates"- like the day she was due, the day she died, the day she was born, the day she finally came home in an urn instead of a carseat etc. So many dates belong to her in July. It's a desperately horrible month. I finally leave my teenage years behind and turn 20. It's now also been a year since I've last hugged ShortStuff. Start having weekly ultrasounds to check out LM's heart. 

August is excitedly rushing to prepare for LM. Growing hope that his heart is ok. Hubs gets ready to go back to school after several years. Feeling more and more pressure from seemingly all corners to induce labor.

September begins with LM's birth. Labor is horrible. Leaves me with feelings of regret I can't face yet even four months later. But he is here and safe. Life is blissful for a day, and then his oxygen saturation drops into the mid-80's. A wirlwind NICU and then a Couplet Care stay but then finally he comes home fine.

October is struggling with breastfeeding. So much self-doubt and distrust. It begins with struggling to wean LM off nipple preference and formula supplementation. It ends with a hospital trip for mastitis. 

November is LM's first full month of NO formula. This is exhilarating to me. And LM finally meets some more of my family and we venture out into public more. 

December is Christmas craziness. Wanting LM's first holiday season to be perfect. Missing Ember for her 2nd Christmas but finding ways to include her memory. Watching the year wind down and wondering how it went so fast. 

I'm sorry 2011 is ending so fast but this year has brought me back to life. 

I threw in some of my favorite kinda random shots of the year, in no particular order <3 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Target Nurse-In Feels Like A Success

        I'm proud to say Hubs, Little Man and I all attended the nation-wide Target nurse-in yesterday at one of our local stores. Proud that we where a part of this. More than 250 stores had nurse-ins, with groups ranging from one mom-baby dyad to over 50 participants.  Our local nurse-in went great. Our group at one of the Baton Rouge stores had eight moms with too many babies, toddlers and big kids to count (one mom brought all five of her kids, who all rocked it), one dad (my Hubs) and one non-parent supporter (my awesome friend Emily). The big kids waved our signs when we where outside, one of them wearing a lactivist t-shirt. And one of the toddlers was wearing a boobie hat. He stole the show at one point dancing around in itAll of the moms are from our Facebook breastfeeding support group, which also got into the news clip. Oh yea, we had news crews for three different stations out there! I had called them to try and get them to cover it but as of leaving the house to head to Target, I had not heard back from them so I was surprised and thrilled when they showed up.

   Hubs, LM and I arrived first and ran around Target looking for "our" moms. After a bit of confusion, we got everyone gathered together in the cafe. We hung out there, getting lots of looks from both staff and the few shoppers already there but no one approached us. Once the news crews arrived, we went outside to talk to them and unrolled the signs (which we did not flash inside the store but they where positive messages anyway). We stayed out there for pictures, filming and interviews for about an hour. Then the reporter asked us to attempt to re-enter the store, to see how employees would feel us knowing the media was there. They largely ignored us, though some did make a point of walking by over and over. However, it didn't seem hostile, maybe curious. The news crews finally left. They where very nice, btw. After hanging out again in the cafe for awhile, having now been there for almost two hours, we decided to call it a success and go thank the manager for "allowing" us to hold the nurse-in without problems. We mentioned that several of our members had nursed openly in this store without problems and thanked him for that too. He seemed pleased by the exchange as well.

 LM and I nursing on the bench at the Target nurse-in. We where actually being filmed by one of the news crew while nursing then.
 Talking to another of the news crew
Some of us inside the cafe as the nurse-in was beginning to wind down.

  We where shown on at least three different stations, but two of them used the same clip. In one of the articles, my name is spelled wrong (a C for Katherine instead of a K) but still very, very cool personally and wonderful for the "cause."

And here's a story summing up the nurse-in afterwards. The Meghan Nolan quoted in there is a friend of mine and was at the same nurse-in as Hubs, LM and me.

I'm so glad we where a part of this. All the media coverage and the nurse-in itself has helped normalize breastfeeding (or natural feeding) if nothing else.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Presents

            Little Man's 1st Christmas is fast approaching! We want to keep the focus of Christmas to be on family and fun. But LM is only 3.5 months old so it's not like he can be materialistic at this point. And he only had a couple toys to begin with, mostly a play gym and a mobile with a couple of hand toys and way more stuffed animals than he needs. 

          Here's his stocking stuffers. And his awesome blue toile stocking. We got it from the Xmas Muse etsy store ( ). It matches his bedding set. And I just love toile in any color. Of the four stocking stuffers, half can be used now and the rest later. Didn't plan it that way but it works well I suppose lol. All three our brands I'm very pleased with. These are classic baby toys with a safer, greener twist.

1. Haba clutching toy
2. Plan Toys rolling toy
3. Green Sprouts wrist rattle
4. Green Sprouts stacking cups set

    These are his "big" presents. Six different things, with half of them usable now and the rest in the next few months. Four of these brands I really like (Plan Toys, Green Start, Wonderworld and Melissa&Doug). The Skip Hop mirror isn't a green brand. But it's mostly cloth with the mirror in the center. As long as Caden doesn't start chewing on it, I can live with it for the amount of amusement I'm expecting him to find it. He loves to be held in front of mirror so I hope he likes it for on-the-floor play. And then there's the ones that breaks my personal rules- the Fisher-Price kick and play piano. Batteries. Noise. Did I mention batteries? Not an open-ended toy. Not an imagination-encouraging toy. Hehhhh. I think he will love it though, NOW. Right now, when he's not sitting up on his own and can't do THAT much playing by himself. I think he will love it and that's worth breaking a personal rule this time.

1. Plan Toys xylophone
2. Skip Hop mirror
3. Melissa and Doug bead maze
4. Fisher-Price kick and play piano
5. Green Start Book Towers: Animals
6. Wonderworld ABC Touchy blocks

So, he's getting a set of cups, a set of blocks, ten books and seven toys from us. Too much? I don't think so but next year, I'm thinking of going with the tradition of "one present you want, one you need, one to wear and one to read". Or something like that. I want it to be purposeful. I want it to be planned, to be tradition.  I have a whole year to get ready for it though thankfully. What do you do for Christmas presents?

Now I have NO idea what LM is getting from anyone else. I know two or three of his relatives on my side are getting him something but that's all I know. They want us to be surprised for him. I'm rather anxious to see how well  my mother and grandmother listened about the anti-plastic, anti-battery "thing".

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gearing Up For Christmas!

        Some of the Christmas cards we've received, mostly from angel moms/families. Sending out paper Christmas cards doesn't seem very green. Like it's a waste of paper... but I love Christmas cards. I don't just send out a ton of them, I send them to those who I think WANT one. I don't throw away the ones we receive but keep them and plan to make a little book with them one day.
 A friend has helped me start one of the traditions for Little Man. A special frame for the annual Santa/christmas-y picture, to be put away after New Year's and to only come out for the Christmas season every year.
 Since our tree didn't hold up well to lights, the entertainment center got decorated. Little Man loves it, seriously.
Our tree! It's been decorated, stripped and re-dressed several times but I'm finally happy with it! LOL Pink and gold are our Christmas decorating colors. The angel on the tree is for Ember, one a few ornaments we've been given for her this year. Our tree is living, and after Christmas will put into cold storage until spring when it can be planted. Ir's Little Man's 1st tree and will grow up at his great-grandmother's house. After this year, we plan to try to donate the trees after Christmas to local parks.

And this pretty much sums up our Christmas decorations. I didn't get a picture of Little Man's or Ember's stocking yet though. Not a ton of stuff but still cheerful without making a lot of clutter that has to be stored for eleven months of the year. The etsy store I was going to get santa sacks from went on vacation before I could get them. And everywhere I've seen them is much more expensive, which we can't afford this year. So wrapping paper/reusable paper gift bags will have until next Christmas.

Tomorrow my grandfather is coming to visit and meeting Little Man for the first time. I'm losing my cool trying to get the house in order by then. "Ommmmmm"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hands Off The Foreskin

 Where have I been for the last week??? Mostly sitting on the floor of our steamed up tiny hall bathroom with Little Man. He had his first REAL cold and he's finally over it today. He's gotten sniffle-y a few times before, but with The Husband sick for a week, LM couldn't help but catch it eventually. And then I got sick too. We *might* have taken a nap or two on the bathroom floor but I'm admitting nothing.

Last week right before we came down with the plague (err, colds) Little Man had his three month well-baby check-up. He weighs a hefty 17lbs! Which is off the charts for weight. And came up from 50th to 75th percentile for length. Hooray for breastmilk! He got no vaccinations this month, and his doctor was fine with that which was nice. But she messed with his foreskin. Total complete shock and horror. He showed no sign of pain at all (actually did not seem to notice) and she tried to tell me it was ok because she wasn't forcibly retracting him. I've been emailing the Whole Network for advice. Depending on how our talk at his 4month check-up goes, he may or may not be getting a new doctor. So far, she has been willing to go with our preferences. If she is receptive to my belief that the foreskin should NEVER be messed with, then we will stay and I will remind her before every visit. If not, I have a few doctors in mind that might work for us. Almost a week after the visit, LM developed some redness. It seems to simply be irritation, and he has no pain or fever but he's spending his days naked and getting lots of warm baths just in case. I am sick at heart at how close he came to pain. I looked away to dig something out of his diaper bag and didn't even hear his diaper unsnap.

Even more than a week later, I'm still feeling so sick to my stomach with anxiety wondering if she could have caused some damage that hasn't shown yet. He seems fine except for some redness still. I've warned local moms about this doctor's ideas about care of intact boys and now, just have to wait and see if any problems occur.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My, err, LM's Amber Necklace And Meeting Santa

                                                        Little Man wearing our new necklace

       Awesome day over here. Hubs, Little Man and I went to go buy an amber teething necklace from a new facebook friend since Little Man is showing signs of starting teething. It's raw amber, lemonade color. Turns out, she lives two minutes down the road from us and is really cool. Her son, who's a older than LM, wouldn't ever wear the necklace. Hubs didn't think LM would wear it either. But I though even if he didn't, she was giving them to me at a really good price so it wouldn't be a huge loss. Her son looked like he was thinking about getting LM to move over and share when LM was eating. It's always awesome when someone says to feel to get comfy and nurse where ever you want. We spent a nice hour hanging out and now have a new IRL mommy friend- awesome.

  LM napped in the car and we went over to Bass Pro to try getting a pic of LM with the local guy in the red suit. Figured we'd start early in the month so if it went horribly, we could bail out without traumatizing LM and still have time to give it another shot later. See, one of the little misses in my life, in this case my six year old baby sister HATES the jolly red guy. And has since her very first Christmas. She loves random people but something about Santa sends her over the deep end. So one of the things I wanted to stick in the diaper bag was a bottle of vodka in case Santa needed it after meeting my little elf. Only, we don't really drink so there was nothing in the house to bring lol. Turns out though, we didn't need it thankfully. LM wasn't exactly thrilled but he was pretty chill. In the car on the way over, I tried on the necklace and it actually fits as an adult-size choker. Got our "bass pass" when we walked in, which gives you a set time to come get in line with a small group. Originally, they gave us a pass for 4:30, and it was only 2pm. I about cried, so the very nice woman doling out passed swapped it for a 2:30. Score! We had plenty of time for LM to nurse (on the very comfy) couch in the lobby and then to put on his bib, suspender-thingies and hat. I waited till the last minute since LM isn't really fond of bibs or hats. He freaked a little while standing in line (he inherited his impatience from his grandmother, not me I swear), so if you happened to be the Denham Springs Bass Pro and saw a crazy woman dancing in line to see the big jolly guy, that was me. Lol. With the bouncing and dancing, he calmed down and sat on the santa's knee very chill. On the guy's other knee was EmberBear, the MollyBear we received that weighs exactly what Ember did. We brought it with us for the picture, and I told the jolly guy a little about her. He was very sweet and handled EmberBear just as gentle as did LM. That almost made me cry right there but I was too busy trying to convince LM to look at the photographer. He didn't, but he was still cute and more importantly, not crying so I'm happy.

  I finally handed over the necklace once we got home. I already love it. I have jaw pain and I really think it helped. LM doesn't mind it at all. I tucked it under his onesie and he's paid it no attention. He'll only be wearing it under supervision and I'll probably wear it when he can't!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bye-Bye Newborn-hood

Three month old Little Man

Today Little Man is three months old! A big ol grown-up infant, not a itty bitty newborn anymore. Actually, ok, it's been a while since he was itty bitty anyway. But still, now it's official- no more newborn-ness. I'm actually quite excited for his three month check-up, which is still a week away. Oh, not for the shot/s (I'm still not sure if we're going to do one or two and if just one, which one, this time ack). It's the weigh-in I'm ready for. He was just under 8 at birth and a little over 14 at his two month check, so guesses are ranging from 16 (me) to an unbelievable and likely impossible 20 (the husband).  That picture is from today, so if anyone wants to take a guess themselves, go ahead!

It seems difficult to really see how much a baby grows when you see them everyday. It's not until I look back at his brand-new pictures that I see how big he is now. Which is a total mind-warp because he was BORN big to me. Less than an inch longer than his big sister, he was two pounds and one ounce heavier at birth. Em looked little but now with the added perspective of Little Man, I realize just how very slim she was. She was long, but achingly slender. Those last weeks of pregnancy count. Ember was born at 37weeks, full-term but a few extra weeks to bulk up before birth would have been nice, if she'd lived. Em is one of the reasons, besides just pure "my little baby is growing up!", that Little Man's newborn-ness ending is such a huge milestone to me. I will always be the mom of one newborn, but now her little brother is so much older than she was.

In a way though, it feels like cause for celebration- we got through the newborn months with only one night of mommy crying because the baby wouldn't stop crying. Despite problems with gas, breastfeeding issues, a possible dairy intolerance, reflux and a hatred of all sleeping-spots without a pulse, Little Man is an easy baby. Feed him, let him sleep on me and smile back at him when he smiles (which how could you not anyway?) and he's a content little dude. If I thought all babies had this easy of a transition to life earthside, I might out-do Michelle Duggar. Don't get me wrong: my house is a mess always, I've haven't cooked in who knows how long and if it can't be done with a baby sleeping on me, eating or on my shoulder, it probably won't get done anytime soon. But me and Little Man are happy just hanging out. It's been the most amazing three months of my life. I just wish I could have slowed it down.

Bye-Bye Newborn-hood, I hope the rest of infancy doesn't fly by as fast as you did.

                                                        Couple day old Little Man