Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Flutters and A Finale

There is only one word that can describe 2008.


Exhilarating change. (Okay, that was two words. So sue me.)

Not unlike the anticipation and apprehension as you wait for a rollercoaster ride to descend into its cyclonic whirlwind. The butterflies that playfully swirl around in your abdomen as you await what is to come. And then once you are released, it all happens so fast that can hardly catch your breath. In a flash, it's over and you have this stupified grin plastered across your face.

It was like that to the infinitieth power.

2008 began with a glimmer of hope. I had just handed in my ticket and boarded the p-word rollercoaster. I was excited yet fearful. Uncertain of what to expect - if anything at all. Would the ride stop before it had even started? Would I ultimately be disappointed and leave empty-handed as I had in the past? Or could it be the ride of a lifetime that I would never forget?

I had so much at stake emotionally. Having been burned twice before, it was hard to put my chips on the table. To let go and find the strength from within to believe. To not expect another setback. I knew there were no guarantees. The fear and anticipation escalated the further along I went. I just had that much more to lose. And I was that much more attached to those butterflies in the pit of my stomach.

But somewhere along the way, I did find sweet release from the pressure. I did shed layers of angst to find unadulterated happiness. I'm not sure at what point this happened because before I realized it, the joyride was over.

My son was born. And I'm still trying to process everything 5 months later. The day I gave birth was the greatest day of my life hands down. I can't wipe the smile from my face. Each day is a new learning experience. A new memory. Not that everything is always sunshine, wine and roses. Quite the contrary. But I must admit - even in the toughest times - I have the greatest reward I could ever dream of.

2009 is beginning with great promise. Although I'm unsure of what the future holds, I feel like we have much opportunity and much to look forward to.

Sadly, I know not everyone is starting the new year with the same outlook. There are people out there - possibly even some of my readers - who also bet big. But instead of hitting the jackpot, they may have lost their fortune. Some who are still waiting in line to board the rollercoaster, watching others repeatedly cut in front of them.

My greatest wish for 2009 is that you may depart the free-falling drop tower of IF and board the p-word rollercoaster without fear of loss.

I wish everyone could feel those butterflies free of consequence.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Roly Poly

HFMD is still wrecking havoc in our household - fever is over but diarrhea still runs rampant, pardon the pun. There's nothing like waking up at 2am to pffft...squirt. He even has a gash on his nose from the midnight thrashing with those Freddie Kreueger talons of his - which Mommy is afraid to cut too low. But my little trooper never ceases to amaze me. Even while feeling like crud, he can still gather the strength to accomplish a new milestone.

Nate can officially roll both ways.

On Saturday night, I placed him down on the floor on his back for playtime. Playtime consists of me making absurd faces with equally ridiculous voices that prompt uncontainable squeals and giggles. After some toe-touching exercises, he suddenly whipped himself around, landing right onto his belly and nearly hitting his head on a nearby TV tray. Once he discovered that he was on his loathed stomach, he cried out for assistance in readjusting his position.

Yes, this is an important milestone. As is tummy to back rolling, which he has been able to do since October. But Nate is inconsistent with these activities. Sometimes he will roll like a pro and other times he will be stubborn as an ass and lie there whimpering as if he simply cannot move himself and how dare I challenge him this way. It's almost as if he just needs to reassure himself. To prove he can do it at least once to refute any doubts regarding his abilities. Then, with an inexplicable, flagrant disregard for his competence, he seemingly loses interest and is on to the next new mission - whatever that may entail. A touch of ADD, I assume?

In all actuality, I am somewhat relieved by his fickle nature. I can still leave him unattended on his blanket or playmat to throw some clothes in the wash or answer the door and return to him in the same exact position. As long as this is an option, I shall retain my freedom.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

I wish I could say I had a fabulous holiday and that Nate's first Christmas was everything I had hoped for and more. Unfortunately, it was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

I woke up on Christmas morning to an overwhelming sense of joy. My first sight upon awakening was my two loves laying beside me, peacefully asleep. Despite an absence of mistletoe hanging from the stucco above, I planted a kiss on DH's cheek and Nate's forehead. It was then that I noticed Nate was hot to the touch. He was outfitted in a fleece sleeper so my first instinct was that I overdressed him. I nursed him and took his rectal temperature during his morning diaper change.

101.4. Poor little guy had yet another fever. Hadn't we had enough of this a few weeks ago with those dreadful sinus infections?!

I mixed some Tylenol with breastmilk and fed him a bottle. As he drifted back off to sleep in his swing, DH and I exchanged gifts. Blu-Ray player for him. Beaba BabyCook for me. I was delighted about my present but my happiness was short-lived as I was reminded of my sick baby.

When Nate awoke, he still felt warm but seemed to be in decent spirits. In other words, he was not wimpering in agony or showing signs of distress. We opened his gifts but there was little enthusiasm on his part. No smiles. No laughter. He was lethargic and generally disinterested in his surroundings. He would examine each gift for a few seconds before looking or turning away. It was evident that he was not himself.

I gave him another dose of Tylenol before heading out to see family. He slept for the hour-long car ride and woke just as we pulled into the driveway. I brought him inside and took his temperature again. 101.2. I was hoping for better after 2 doses of meds. He opened presents from Grandma and Grandfather with the same general malaise he had shown earlier. As more and more family arrived and the children became more boisterous, it didn't take long for a total meltdown to commence. After being passed around from person to person like a hot potato - despite the warnings of his current condition - he had had enough. The annoyed griping amplified to deafening screams in record timing.

I spent the majority of the party upstairs in a quiet bedroom, trying to soothe him while simultaneously watching reruns of A Christmas Story on TBS. While he was obviously hungry, he was rejecting the breast in favor of hibernation. During his naps, I would rush downstairs to greet neglected guests and stuff leftover hor d'oeuvres in my mouth. Trying to hold a conversation with someone was a lost cause. A not-so-funny joke. My attention was concentrated on canceling out the hullabaloo to hear Nate's distinct cries.

The sky grew dark and the guests cleared out. Nate still had a fever. I gave him a bath, thinking it would cool him off and lower his temperature. Instead, it was up to 102.4. My heart was pounding as I called the urgent care center. All sorts of scenarios ran through my head on the way to our appointment. I imagined spending the night in the ER with a baby so feverish that a seizure could erupt at any moment.

When we arrived, they took us back almost immediately. His fever was now up to 103.5. My heart sunk. The doctor examined him. Ears, nose and chest were clear. But his throat was sore and blistery.

Diagnosis: Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Expect high fever and sore throat for 3-5 days, followed by diarrhea and body rash.

Treatment: Motrin as needed every 6-8 hours

I didn't think Motrin could be given to babies under 6 months but because of the severity of the fever and Nate's weight, the doctor said it was fine. Since we had no pump on-hand, he had to be given the meds with a dropper. He promptly puked up the first dose but with a patient nurse, we were able to get it all down the second try.

Within half an hour of the visit, our baby boy was back to his sweet, smiling self. Shame his true personality only showed during the tenth hour on Christmas night. But he slept like a log and I was able to rest knowing exactly what we were up against.

I'm still quite miffed over the situation. How unfair is it that our baby's first Christmas was ruined dampered by such an awful, unexplainable virus? I had high expectations and reality just threw a wrench into everything. I have just a handful of acceptable pictures that were taken sporadically during the day. No pictures of us all together as a family. I know I should keep my trap shut and be grateful I even have a baby to be sick. Gain some perspective. I'm just really bummed that we had to be miserable on such a special occasion. I feel as if Christmas truly was stolen by a grinch this year.

HFMD: the one gift from Santa that I brutally rebuff.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays To All

Unlike gifts that come and go,

Or tinsel in the attic stowed,

May the spirit of peace we hold so dear,

Remain with us all throughout the year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and a Blessed Holiday to you and yours

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

The gifts have been wrapped and are strategically positioned underneath the Christmas tree. The ornaments and stockings have been hung with care. Aside from a few dishes we will be baking for dinner with family tomorrow, all systems are a go for the big day.

I wouldn't say I went overboard on the gift-buying per se, but from the looks of it, Nate has already made out like a bandit. No high-ticket items. Just a lot of 6-month+ toys, teethers, clothes, etc. that we accumulated over time. This doesn't include presents he has already received from our recent gift exchange with the in-laws or those he has yet to inherit. Spoiled much?

Being thisclose to 5-months old, I realize he has no concept of Christmas. And in all honesty, he'll never remember this day. The presents. The tree. The food. The storytelling. The company. His only memories of this event shall be derived from photographic or videographic evidence. It's more for me than it is for him. But I still wanted to honor this special day - my favorite holiday.

Seeing the kid's eyes light up as they visit Santa. Singing and humming holiday classics. Baking cookies in the shape of candy canes or wreaths. Decorating the tree. Christmas Eve prayers. Hot cocoa and egg nog next to the lit fireplace. It makes me feel homey. Comfortable. Soulful. Cheerful.

Last Christmas, I was just about 8 weeks along. Unsure of whether the tender, pea-sized embryo embedded in my uterus would survive. I remember praying to God, on the day of his son's birth, that he would protect this little life inside of me. This Christmas, that sweet pea is here in the flesh. So, I feel like I need to celebrate life. The life of Jesus, who is the reason for the season. And the life of the baby boy who makes my spirits bright year-round.

In my attempt to inject our own brand of fun into the holiday, I earnestly researched popular, safe baby toys. I splurged a tiny bit on some things I wouldn't have under normal circumstances. I had a hard time setting a limit on my spending. I just wanted to get him everything. Thankfully, DH acquired my common sense and wittled down my wish list to adhere to a reasonable budget. I also adopted the pajama tradition some of you proposed and bought Nate a fleece snowman sleeper to wear on Christmas morning.

For the first time in years, I am as giddy as a child, waiting for the sun to rise. To see the joy of Christmas through the eyes of my child is nothing short of magical.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

The weather outside may be frightful but inside, I'm soaking in the sun. Yes, we're in the midst of an unmistakable sunny week.

I find myself wondering who swapped my willful prince with this even-tempered angel who only complains when weary or famished. "Nate Lite" has even adopted a pacifier - the object that he would, until recently, barely tolerate. No hesitation. A trip to the mall just weeks ago would have resulted in an embarassing tantrum and a swift exit. But thanks to our new silicone comrade, we were able to finish 98% of our Christmas shopping without so much as a peep from the stroller. Just observant eyes taking in the surrounding scenery.

He has been delivering more cheesy, toothless grins than ever. Even some giggles here and there that make me feel wealthier than Oprah. He's also discovered his voice and now babbles and squeals incessantly, despite the moon's plea for peace and quiet at 1am. We're talking notes only a Bee Gees brother could hit. But since the ruckus comes from such a rosy-cheeked cherub, there's no way I could shush him in my fit of laughter and glee.

I just hope this pleasantness prevails through the holidays.

Looking back on the past month, there has been evident advancement in his fine motor skills. At 3 months, Nate was merely batting at toys and still pretty much living in his own little world, oblivious to our fervent attempts to entertain him. Either that or he just plain ignored our idiocracy. But at 4 (almost 5!) months, he can now deliberately grab objects with an iron grip and bring them to his mouth where they will inevitably drown in the drool pool. With this greater coordination comes great responsibility. I seem to have grown an invisible antenna to identify anything remotely dangerous within his grasp. I have to contain wandering arms and legs so fingers don't reach onto my dinner plate and feet won't knock over fragile goods.

It's only a matter of time until more skills emerge. With its corresponding wonder week. So, I'm enjoying this congeniality while it lasts.

In unrelated news, a coworker announced her pregnancy today. She is 38 and while I'm not sure how long she and her husband had been TTC, I do know she miscarried last summer. Due July 9, 2009.

I am truly delighted for her, despite the repugnant date.

But I'm also a wee bit jealous. And I have no clue as to why.

I'm nowhere close to feeling ready for another baby. I can't even fathom it right now. And though I've dodged those bullets that put the pressure on ("you want them close in age so they get along better", "you should do it soon since you're already accustomed to the baby phase" or my personal favorite, "you've got to try for a girl!"). I'm in absolutely NO hurry.

I mean, physically, with all of my lovely scar tissue courtesy of a second-degree tear, my vagina can barely perform the necessary function to make childbearing possible. Mentally, I'm plum tuckered out. Most days, I can hardly keep my eyes open much less stay organized at work and at home. We live in a 3-bedroom apartment, which is already bursting at the seams. I can barely meet the needs of one infant. How the hell would I manage two under two? So, you see, there are many factors as to why I'm not even considering TTC a sibling for Nate until he turns 1. Not even uttering a word about it until that point. And possibly even later if I still can't muster the courage to initiate that conversation.

But yet I reminisce about my pregnancy. And I miss it. Even the miscarriage worries, listeria concerns, crotch pain and tremendous weight gain aren't enough to wake me up to reality. The announcement tugged at my heartstrings and made me wish it were me going through that anticipation and excitement again.

I need to be committed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We Have A Winner

Alison at (un)complicate me!

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2008-12-15 14:39:01 UTC

Step right up, darlin' and claim your prize! Hopefully, I'll be responsible for yet another BabyLegs convert.

I have to say I'm diggin' mine. Not only are the patterns and colors cute - it's so hard to choose! - but they're functional too. Perfect to wear alone with a onesie or as an extra layer for cold weather days like today, when Mother Nature can't decide whether snow, sleet or rain fits the bill. If you have a baby who has an advantage in the height department as I do, you'll know how pants can ride up and leave those little ham hocks exposed to the elements. BabyLegs solve this problem quite simply.

And now that Nate has discovered he can grab his feet - and consequently pull off any article of cloth which should cover them - they help to keep his socks in place and his tootsies warm.

Not to mention that they make diaper changes a breeze. Considering Nate poops at least 3-4 times a day, it's nice not to have to constantly fight to take pants on and off of a fidgety baby.

No, BabyLegs hasn't paid me to endorse their product. But nonetheless I'm glad I invested in these. I think they'll come in even more handy once we enter the crawling phase.

Some of you have also inquired about my birthday gift. DH bought it from this seller on my newly acquired addiction, Etsy. It appears she has closed up shop for the holidays but will be reopening in January 2009. The price is reasonable, the quality is fantastic, and shipping was timely so I highly recommend her. But there are also many other great styles to consider if you perform a search using the keywords "mommy necklace".

Well, I should get back to some last-minute online Christmas shopping before the shipping deadlines expire. Why is it that every year I have the best intentions to finish up early yet I always seem to be stuck in a frenzy, frantically filling out credit card information or waiting in atrocious lines in the eleventh hour?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Greatest Gifts

Well, I rang in the big 2-6 on Friday. Does that mean I'm now in my "late twenties"?

Like any other year before it, we sang Happy Birthday as I blew out candles and we noshed on birthday cake. I unwrapped a present from my elders - a beautiful wool sweater and stylish knit scarf. It was all fairly traditional.

Except this year, I celebrated with a little fella on my lap, who flashed a winning smile as we chanted and clapped our hands. I don't think I even need to mention that he is the greatest, sweetest birthday and/or Christmas present I could ever receive.

But this is a close second:

The picture doesn't really do it justice. The chain is composed of tiny entwined hearts. The pendant is hand-stamped metal clay, with a ruby birthstone to represent the month of July.

I adore it more than words can say. If it weren't for the redudant activities of bathing or sleeping, I would never remove it from my neck.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Down With The Sickness

If this face doesn't elicit your sympathy, the winter chill must have reached your heart.

After my last somewhat ominous post, you are safe to assume the fevers and runny nose continued to make Nate miserable, despite round-the-clock Tylenol. I guess they became lonesome so they invited their friends - gloopy eyes and dry cough - to come out and play. The mucous in his nose and eyes turned a thick, gooey, green consistency. He also started to vomit just about everything that ventured into his stomach. We're talking dousing Daddy and Mommy in what seemed like gallons of rancid milk after every coughing fit. I had never seen this much fluid come out of someone so small. I considered swiping one of those floor signs to warn visitors of impending puddles.

Once the fever hit a peak 101.5, back to the pediatrician we went. I was fearing a diagnosis of RSV but instead, she surprisingly confirmed that the bug was bacterial, not viral. Thankfully, his ears and lungs were clear, so we didn't have a compound obstacle of ear infection or bronchitis. She prescribed him Cefdinir, which we are to administer once a day - 3/4 teaspoon- for 10 days. Since my prince won't drink from a dropper without a dramatic vomiting episode, I mix it with breastmilk each night before bed. After just one night of meds, he has already vastly improved. His eyes are no longer red and puffy. The gloop has lessened significantly. And he is in much better spirits, smiling up a storm.

I'm so glad to have my little guy back. Just in time for my birthday. Which is Friday, in case you were planning on caroling to me. Or bringing dessert. I promise to share.

P.S. Only 4 more days to participate in the giveaway. Don't miss out!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Snot Healthy

After almost a week of fever (up to 102), raw throat, headache, and a despicable cough that left me with a just a shred of my voice, it turns out I have a sinus infection. I'm now on 875mg Amoxycillan 2x a day for 10 days. And on high alert for any signs of thrush.

While I love to share with my little man, the last thing I wanted to do was give him this awfulness. But that's exactly what happened.

He now has the most pathetic little coughs and sniffles. His poo is forest green and his boogers resemble egg nog. He has to struggle to eat, since it takes mad skill and concentration to alternate breathing and gulping mommy's fire hose of a letdown. He's also been sleeping poorly at night, waking up to choke on his postnasal drip. And when he catches a glimpse of the Ginormous Nose Sucker out of the corner of his eye, he swats it away and grimaces in agony as I attempt to clear out the bats in the cave. Poor fella. My heart breaks to watch him suffer. Trust me - there's nothing worse than watching your sick baby's teary eyes stare at you, pleading for relief.

He also spiked several fevers, which eventually broke after we administered Tylenol. But I was so fearful watching the digital thermometer gradually increase to 101.3. I had visions of frying breakfast on his forehead. Or more realistically, waiting hours in a busy emergency room with wet washcloths and a fussy child.

After some deliberation, I took Nate to his 4-month appointment on Tuesday. We delayed the vax after his rectal temp revealed a fever of 100.8. But despite his case of the sickies, he was all smiles for the office staff and pediatrician. Little trooper was 16 lbs. even and 26.5 inches long. That puts him in 75th percentile for weight and 95th percentile for height. There's that smug smile of mine again, as I think how momma's milk made all those cute rolls possible. The doctor instructed me to use saline drops and Tylenol for his cold as needed but there were no other resolutions. It apparently just needs to run its course. She also said that due to his "excellent growth" (her words, not mine!), we should stick to our breastfeeding goal and suspend solids until 6 months.

My milk supply has taken a bit of a dive but I'm hoping that once the gunk is gone, it will adjust back to normal.

We've made it four months. What's 7 more weeks?

I'm feeling confident. Now if I can just heal miraculously overnight so we can visit Santa tomorrow...