The Orion Nebula

This is one STELLAR nursery!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Stop Hitting Yourself!

Sometime in the last week Orion has discovered that he has limbs. So now, like any kid with a new toy, he wants to play with them non-stop.

Of course, there's the regular squirming, kicking, and arm waving. We had to run out and get him one of those floor gym thingees on the fly Saturday because the poor guy needed something to make him look like the spastic movements had a purpose. You would have thought he'd won the Nobel Prize or lifted the Stanley Cup with how proud I was when he managed to bonk the ball hanging from the plastic kitten to make the music play.

However my favorite new maneuver by far, is the Reverse Kung Fu Chop. Out of nowhere, his little baby brain will send an impulse to his little baby right arm which has heretofore been hanging limply to his side. This causes he right arm tosnap indescriminately into the air with all the force his little Micheline Man bicep can muster. Without fail, this results in him smacking himself in the forehead. I'll have to get a video up, because that' shit is awesome.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In the Eyes of a Boy

I don't get too sappy around here. I just assume that anyone reading this knows that I love my boy beyond anything I imagined. Sometimes when I'm covered in puke and changing diapers full of blue poop at 4am, I do forget how much I wanted him and how lucky I am that he's finally here. So I wanted to say it. Today and always, I love my son.

A New Day Has Come

I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don't shed a tear

Through the darkness and good times
I knew I'd make it through
And the world thought I had it all
But I was waiting for you

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

Where it was dark now there's light
Where there was pain now there's joy
Where there was weakness, I found my strength
All in the eyes of a boy

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

A new day has...come
Ohhh, a light... OOh

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Under Pressure

Getting my boobs out of the milk business has proven to be one of the most difficult and painful parts of the whole baby-making experience. At least with my pelvic pain and swelling during pregnancy I was fine unless I moved. Same with my surgical pain. Plus, for both of those I was given a handy stash of narcotics. This boob thing is nuts.

None of the methods I've heard of to decrease my production are working. I honestly think that most of these methods are designed for girls who are making about an ounce an hour. I'm making more like three ounces an hour. While Righty is playing ball, my left boob is just getting larger and larger. About an hour ago I decided to throw caution to the wind and went to pump just a little bit to kill the worst of the pain. Right there in the file room of work I moved aside the flap of my nursing bra and hosed down the cooler the HR department uses for their pot-lucks. Seriously, my boob was spraying like the fucking Bellagio fountain under it's own pressure. I aborted my plan to pump, and instead just held the little bottle and let my boob deflate itself. People, this is insane.

The only new advice I received in the last 24 hours was to see if I could get on the pill since that's supposed to reduce supply. I was thwarted yesterday, and decided to call and throw myself upon the mercy of my gyno to try to get a prescription in advance of my appointment in mid-July. He was on vacation, but the nurse offered to ask him when he called to check in. The answer wasn't just "no". The answer was "never". It turns out that due to my Factor XII deficiency and history of blood clots, I am no longer a candidate for the pill OR an IUD (which I previously planned).

I'd already been thinking about it, but now I'm pretty sure I'm going to get my tubes tied. I hated the back nine of my pregnancy, and I don't even want any more kids. The squirrel is awesome and I wouldn't trade him for anything, but I don't plan to go through these newborn days and nights again.

Another thing I don't plan to go through again? Getting my milk to dry up. This seriously sucks. It's like the body's last big "fuck you" of giving birth. I'm starting to feel like I'm not any closer to being milk free than I was two days ago. I'm sure I'm pumping too much too often, but the pain is intense and I'm a wimp.

Monday, June 23, 2008

We learned a couple of things over the weekend. First, Orion can poop out Nestle Good Start just fine as long as it doesn't have rice ceral in it. Second, Orion doesn't spit up Nestle Good Start as long as it has rice cereal in it.

That's just the kind of weekend it's been. We'll try oatmeal next. If Dr. Google can be trusted it will thicken the formula but not cause constipation. We'll see.

We also got a pretty crappy recommendation on Dr. Monorail. Evidently he provided pretty shoddy care to a friend of a friend, and was a dick about it to boot. We were over visiting the Gaxes (Melissa and Jeff) and since we were having so much fun, the visit ran longer than expected which required more formula. Doombot went all cheap ass on me at Babies R Us and made me feed the squirrel some breast milk, which he immediately refluxed. Bad.

Melissa picked up the phone and called Sandy, who proceeded to scare the shit out of me. I did learn about the oatmeal option and Dr. Monorail's people skills, but I also learned about how bad this could get. As it turns out, Sandy's baby also had laryngomalacia. The tests they did to diagnose the cause of the reflux showed that her baby was actually aspirating formula because of the weakness in the epiglottis. What tipped them off? The same nasty congested sound that Orion makes when he finishes eating. The solution? First, an NG tube that the baby kept pulling out and then whatever god-forsaken tube they actually put straight into their stomach. So now I sit and wait for my appointment knowing that I may end up having to tube feed my little guy. I don't know if my daycare will even accept him like that. I wonder if it would even help? Frankly, I'm so terrified, I'm not even talking about it.


Instead, I'm talking about my boobs non-stop to anyone who will slow down long enough. With all signs pointing to successful formula deployment, I've started the weaning process. I don't have a baby to wean. No, I have to wean my Medela Pump-in-Style and that is one greedy bitch. It's actually kind of funny, because when I decided that we would move to formula I was pumping every four hours or so and getting five to six ounces. But once the girls discovered they were being put out to pasture, they've started working overtime. Suddenly I'm fully engorged after about an hour and a half and yeilding about 11 ounces, that's going straight down the drain.

Things are starting to get somewhat better except for the occasional hard knot that keeps cropping up. I owe what little relief I am getting to the sage and peppermint essential oils I'm taking along with as much sudafed as I can stomach. It's been five hours now since I pumped and I'd be doing fine (ish) except for a hard knot on the top of my right breast that I'm dealing with by applying a cold compress. By "cold compress" I mean that I have a can of Caffeine Free Diet Coke shoved in my bra.

Gimme a break. I'm desprate.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Please Stand Clear of the Doors

Orion is not a happy guy. Over the past couple of weeks things have gone steadily downhill in terms of his gastric comfort. His reflux started breaking through the laughably low dose of Prevacid he's on and he started pooping this toxic orange mucousy stuff. Tons of it. I think the poop problem most likely has to do with the obscene number of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups I've been mainlining for the past month. Obviously he's allergic to something, but what? Is it the peanut butter? The milk? The chocolate?

The solution we came up with is to try to switch him to formula once and for all. I did some research and figured out that the best balance of "unlikely to cause an allergic reaction" and "unlikely to make him constipated" is Nestle Good Start. After just half a day of making bottles with half breastmilk and half formula, his poop was back to normal. The gas, however was plentiful and frightning. The reflux, remains terrible. The baby, miserable.

We called Dr. Crazypants about it to try to get a referral to a pediatric GI doc. At first the nurse was all offended and like, "Dr. Crazypants usually deals with this himself." So we said, "Fine. If it's gonna be like that, here's his symtpoms." She said she'd talk to the good doctor and call us back. When she called, it was with a referral to a pediatric GI doc. That's what I thought, bitches.

So on July 2, we'll take him over to Tampa to meet with a very experienced Pediatric Gastroenterologist who looks like Opie and has this as part of his bio:

Dr. Kaiser also has ties with both the Walt Disney and Anheuser Busch Entertainment Corporations serving as an entertainer and voice over artist for commonly heard recordings such as the monorail.

So, essentially, I'm trusting my little boy's thorax to this guy:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Praying to the God of Comfort Proteins

There's a lot of stuff that I know I'm supposed to do if I'm going to be considered a good mom in today's environment. I don't care anymore. I didn't spend my pregnancy eating organic food and washing my pre-natal vitamins down with spring water. Instead, I ate shit loads of pizza and washed my viocdin down with diet coke. I didn't do yoga. Instead, I laid in bed in front of the TV and let Doombot bring me icecream. I didn't have a natural child birth in the comfort of my own bathtub. Instead I had a scheduled c-section and accepted every percocet the nurse offered me. I did not nurse on demand. I pumped breast milk and fed Orion with a bottle. And now, if the Comfort Protein gods are with me, I'm not even going to do that anymore.

The first time I realized I hated being tied down to a breast pump and tried to to switch Orion to formula, he was four days old. After one day he went two screaming days without pooping and finally passed what looked like a small glob of green Play-Doh. We tried again a few weeks later when we heard that thickened formula makes babies sleep through the night. He got a dose of the rice protein stuff and was wracked with such horrible gas pains that none of us got any sleep for three days. Then when we started realizing that he had a case of the squirrel reflux we tried the hypo-allergenic formulas. Even if it hadn't given him horrible gas again, the experiment would have failed based on the stench alone.

I've been thinking alot lately about the horrors of exclusive pumping. Essentially, I have to do everything related to feeding him twice. I don't just have to wash the bottles he eats from, I have to wash the pump parts and collection/storage bottles. I don't just have to take the time to feed him, I have to take the time to do the pumping (not to mention the fact that I have to find something to do with the baby while my hands are tied up with the pumping process.)

Having had such terrible luck with our formula experiments, I tried to go back to nursing the old-fashioned way. There were a few problems with that. First, Orion didn't so much suck as chew on my nipples. Second, he really enjoyed chewing on my nipples. I'm as much for attachment parenting in concept as the next girl, but I had to draw the line at being treated like the squeaky rubber hamburger we gave the dog. The cruelest part of this chewing was that once we started, Orion would only fall asleep with my boob in his mouth. As soon as he'd stop chewing and start snoring I would attempt to ease him off to be carried off to bed. Every single time that little motherfucker would start chewing in his sleep. I might have kept with it anyway, except for the fact that I still had to pump! Orion didn't eat enough to take care of my supply and I still needed some bottles to send to daycare. So, just add the nursing to the list of pumping indignities from above. No time or effort was saved. I even lost the ability to divide labor by having Doombot feed the bottle while I pumped in the middle of the night. Fuck. That. We went back to the bottle.

During all of this, I kept seeing mention of Nestle Good Start formula being a miracle cure all. I don't know what the hell a Comfort Protein is, or why it's a good idea to be predigesting milk for babies. What I do know is that it seems to be the last, best chance for me to move the squirrel to formula and get to back over my Medela Pump in Style with the car. Tonight and for the next couple of days we'll give bottles of half breast milk and half formula. If that works out, we'll be at full formula by this time next week. Maybe by the middle of July I'll get to stop pumping completely.

Please God, let this work. I don't want to have to pump for another two years.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Get in the Hole!

We've grown to love golf. Oh, we don't play. It's entirely to hot and muggy for that. What we love is watching golf on TV, specifically in HD. Sitting here at work with the US Open playoff going in the background I've been reflecting on why we have such sudden affection for a sport that neither of us has ever played and we don't even really know anything about.

The first thing that struck me was the surface stuff. The visuals are stunning. On it's own though, the picture quality would not be enough to overcome how annoying it is to hear the crowd yell "GET IN THE HOLE!!!" after every shot. So, our love must come from something deeper than that.

I think that what's really at the root is the fact that by early afternoon on Sundays, Doombot and I are beat. We're a special kind of exhausted that only comes from interrupted sleep and two days running around in service of a squirming, screaming, nap-refusing howler monkey. When we finally run out of gas on Sunday afternoon we'll all crawl into bed with the lights out for a little bit of mind numbing entertainment. Between the darkness and the mind-numbing voices of the announcers, Orion generally starts to wind down. Yesterday, as Tiger Woods came back to tie the...the...what? The match? The game? The set? Whatever. As he forced today's Playoff, the squirrel drifted off to sleep.

Guess what we got in return for his screaming every time he wasn't being held for three days! He went to bed at 8pm and slept for six whole hours in a row. The web tells me that anything over five hours is considered sleeping through the night. I want to call bullshit on that. Especially when that sleep session ends at 2am. Thank goodness Orion took a quick feed and went back down until 5am and then again after a longer servicing (free diaper change with fill-up!) went back down until 8:30. For those of you keeping score at home that means that Doombot and I slept for a blissful seven hours last night! Oh, they weren't in a row or anything but beggers can't be choosers.

So for those of you parents out there wondering how to lull your little tyrant off to sleep after an exhausting, cranky weekend. Try golf.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wrist Strong

I've got DeQuervain's syndrome

It sounds fancy that way, doesn't it? What it really means is that I am so freaking weak that I've gone and given myself tendonitis from picking up my baby and using the manual breast pump. This injury is also known as "mothers wrist". Hey! I'm a mother and I have a wrist, so why the hell not?

I'm currently on a regimen of immobilization, Ben Gay, anti-infalmmatories, and wet heat. If this doesn't work I'll get a cortisone shot and try to avoid surgery. Won't that be fun?

In other news more directly related to the care and feeding of our (increasing less) tiny person, we moved Orion into a makeshift nursery in our walk-in closet. He had gotten too big for the co-sleeper and I felt like we were all keeping each other from getting good rest. Doombot however, isn't ready for the baby to be on the other end of the house and this was our compromise. The squirrel went both weekend nights with sleep blocks of four hours rather than his usual 2.5-3 hour stretches. I'm taking full credit.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Cranky. Pants.

God, I had such high hopes for today. We set up the closet as a little bedroom for Orion last night, moving him to the PNP and moving his real dresser in there so that I didn't have to have his clothes in baskets on the changing table shelved. The first round of sleep he made it from 11:30 to 5:00. I was thrilled. Not only did he sleep longer than ever (without having pooped himself out screaming for 4 hours first) but it was better sleep for me since I wasn't listening to him grunt and groan all night. The 5:00 wake up was really easy. Quick feed, meds, and diaper change and back down. Then the fun started. He woke up fussing pretty badly at 7:30. Since I wasn't ready to be up for the day yet, I brough him to bed with me. He kept fussing and would only sleep if I pulled him in really close and tight.

Since then, all of his awake time has been spent fussing. He's not gassy. He's not sick. He's not tired or hungry. He's just being a tiny, adorable asshole and he wants to be held non-stop. The funny thing is that he's napped great in his new little bedroom. He's had one 3 hour nap and another 1.5 hour nap. Then he just dozed off again about 20 min ago at 7:30pm. It's been exhausting. Doombot offered to take him along to go pick up dinner, but I knew that would just be a disaster. I'm not sure what kind of night I have ahead of me but I just hope my cranky little man gets some sleep.

I'm wondering if this is due to some kind of growth spurt. He's eight weeks on Monday and I'm pretty sure I've heard there's one right about then. I hope so, at least that will mean this isn't about to be the new normal.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I don't think he likes us

We're working hard to get Orion's medication worked out. We're dealing with a lot of pain from acid reflux and backed up gas. Yesterday morning he worked up grunting and straining, his little squirrel body twisting in pain as he tried to work out the gas I'd given him from trying to see if a little rice in his bottle would help the reflux (answer: HELL NO!) We figured it would be decent of us to warn the daycare people that we were handing over a very cranky baby. I spent the entire day waiting for Ms. Haylee to call and tell us to come get him because otherwise they were going to throw him in the sinkhole since he wouldn't shut up.

When Doombot picked him up last night he asked how the squirrel had behaved himself. The report? He was great. He'd been smiling and laughing all day. The fuck? Laughing? We'd never heard him laugh! Then as Dannon lifted his carseat the squeaky sun on the toybar swung and the squirrel? Giggled. Then he took a look at Dannon, realized what whas going on, and started fussing.

In all fairness, he was decent last night. Now that we've realized that he's coming home exhausted every afternoon and needs a decent nap almost immediately, I think we're going to be able to elimnate most of the crankiness. But still, this sucks! He's all smiles for the daycare girls but we can't drag one out of him? Why does he like them so much more than us? Is our house to quiet? Are we too boring? Maybe the only way to make him happy is to have a bunch of screaming four-year-olds running around.

I knew there would come a day when I would have to deal with the cold hard fact that there would be places my baby would rather be than in my arms. I just thought that day would wait until he was at least two months old.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

That's Mr. Floppy Epiglottis to you!

On Orion's very first day with us here in the outside world, we couldn't help but to notice that he couldn't eat without gasping for air like David Blaine coming out of that crazy plastic sphere after attempting to break a breath holding record. We were stopped by concerned strangers on more than one occasion. When we asked Dr. Locobeans about it he wasn't concerned and told us simply that "some babies are loud eaters." Doombot and I weren't satisfied with that.

The problem is that the horrible gasping noise causes the squirrel to be so very gassy. It caused him to have very painful reflux. It was simply unacceptable. So, on our last Locobeans appointment we brought a bottle and gave him a front row seat to the show. Funny how actually having to listen to a precious little baby grasp like he's dying tends to make a medical professional take you seriously. Dr. Locobeans declared the awful noise to be a "stridor" and promised to call a "lung doctor" (did we look like we couldn't understand what a pulmonologist is?) for a consultation.

A funny thing happened while we waited for the "lung doctor" to return Dr. Locobeans' call. The gas got much better! I'd like to take credit for switching the squirrel to eating exclusively from standard Dr. Browns bottles. However, what replaced it was a return of the reflux that had been somewhat controlled by zantac at that point. Luckily, when the lung doctor returned with a diagnosis of laryngomalacia (a real live condition!) it bought us a little bit of credibility with Locobeans. As it turns out, Laryngomalacia is a condition where the epiglottis (the flap of skin that decides if stuff goes down your food hole or your air hole) is too floppy. He kids with this condition, the epiglottis is too floppy and so they do a bad job of swapping between eating and breathing. We're lucky. In severe cases babies sometimes stop breathing or can't eat. I'll take a nasty noise, some reflux, and gas over that stuff any day.

Once we understood the underlying cause, we settled in to treating the symptoms. The gas was much better but the reflux had reached an unacceptable level. Some research turned up the fact that it's fairly common for zantac to work for a couple of weeks and then stop. Dr. Google told me that what we really needed was prevacid. We talked the nurse into getting us upgraded to prevacid, filled the prescription, argued with the insurance company to get it covered, stopped the zantac and switched over. The squirrel was miserable. It was like he wasn't taking any medicine at all. I spent last night alternating between soothing Orion and frantically searching the internet for answers that might help us.

I finally found the awesome forums. I quickly discovered that it does take up to two weeks for the prevacid to start working and that in the mean time babies should keep getting their zantac too. One zantac dose later and the squirrel was zonked out and happy. Of course, it can't be that easy, can it? I had decided to try a little bit of rice ceral in Orion's nighttime bottle to help him sleep a little longer. The rice? It brought the gas back.

Are we ever going to have a happy baby that isn't screaming because something's wrong with his tummy?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Squirrel Storage

We dropped the squirrel off at daycare this morning for the first time, and it was a nightmare. The first challenge was simply getting out the front door without killing each other. Doombot decided that he should be able to go about his morning routine as usual while I attended to all baby and baby-adjacent duties. He blew off my request to watch the baby so I could pump, telling me that instead I should pump as soon as I got to work. Yeah, that’s professional. He finally agreed to pack up the pump while I was in the shower. When I went to grab it on the way out the door I realized that to him “packing up the pump” means “unplugging the pump” because all of the hoses and cords were still coming out of the main compartment of the bag like some kind of post apocalyptic octopus and were hooked to the pump, which means that the front flap was still open and unzipped too. I wouldn’t realize exactly how useless his “packing up” job had been until we were already in the car backing out of the driveway and I thought to say, “I bet you didn’t give me any storage bottles to pump into either, did you?” Of course not, so I had to run inside and get them. If any of ya’ll are married to guys with ADHD, please let me know if you figure out a way to get their Vyvanse in their pill holes about an hour before they wake up.

When we got to the daycare, we had to stand around and wait for someone to talk to us. I guess it was more important to make sure that the four-year-olds had stopped singing long enough to stop coloring. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I don’t have the patience to manage six four-year-olds. But if it’s what you do for a living shouldn’t you have the patience to make it past 9:30am before the sound of a happy kid singing “Jesus Loves Me” irritates you to the point that you feel the need to shut him up?

We finally got back to the infant room, where we handed our squirrel over to the vacant eyed teenager who will be spending more time with him than we will from here on out. I didn’t really feel like I got the level of enthusiasm out of her that I was looking for, but Doombot reminded me that she is alone in a room full of infants all day long and is probably a little bit brain dead as a result. When we set Orion’s carrier down on the floor the chubby eight-month-old on the play mat started screaming. We were told that she doesn’t like new kids or anything that takes attention away from her. I don’t think I like that little girl very much. I left the room feeling a little bit worried and very sad. I wanted to pick up the squirrel and cover him in kisses before I left, but he’d fallen asleep in his carrier and I though it best to leave him be.

I hope he’s happy enough there to be ok, but that he’d still rather be with me. I hope they take good care of him and that the bland little girl who’s caring for him doesn’t forget to get under his penis with the wipe when she changes his diaper so he doesn’t get that cheese under there. I hope she burps him enough and tickles his tummy sometimes. I hope she doesn’t leave him in the crib all day. His head isn’t flat now and I expect it to still be round when I come get him this afternoon.

I’ve walked around for the last couple of weeks telling everyone that I wouldn’t want to be a stay at home mom. That’s what I thought at least. It’s taking everything I’ve got not to get in the car and drive to that daycare, snatch my baby back, and never darken the door of that place (or my office) ever again.