Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections on 2008

*Noah is 11 weeks old today!*

It's been such a busy last few weeks, and I definitely want to blog about Christmas and my birthday, but today, on the last day of 2008, I'm feeling very reflective.

A year ago today, I was in a pretty okay place. I remember not feeling so hot, and not really wanting to go to Amy & Mike's, but in the end we did and had a great time. We had just returned a few weeks earlier from the Dominican Republic, and we were definitely refreshed. I remember feeling calm and peaceful upon our return, and I remember hoping that was a sign of things to come.

I don't make new years resolutions, but last year I resolved to finally get pregnant, and within a month of making the resolution, I had succeeded!

2008 was FULL of joy, almost from start to finish. I had doubts that my IVF cycle would work and actually considered scrapping it after only one egg fertilized... thankfully, we did not do that, because the resulting embryo became baby Noah!

Sadly this year, we did lose Ben's grandfather, and of course it was hard, but with all deaths, it is important to celebrate the person's life. A good friend's mother also lost her battle with cancer earlier this year, and I just found out that a coworker's father-in-law just passed away.

This year, I've also watched friends struggle to become pregnant. A few have succeeded, while others have started down the path that Ben and I took. All I can do is be a supportive and good friend, but I know how much pain they are in, and words really cannot help that.

I've often thought years have been the "greatest of my life", most recently the years I graduated college and got engaged (2002) and got married (2003). But 2008 takes the cake thus far. After two long years, I finally became pregnant and gave birth to the most amazing human being. I look at him daily and am so thankful for him. I try to remember the pain of the journey and acknowlege that it was worth it in the end. I could have been pregnant when we started trying almost three years ago now, but that baby wouldn't be THIS baby. When my first round of IVF failed, I was devestated, but again - had it suceeded, that baby would not be Noah. I'm not a religious person, but I really think everything happens for a reason. It was not meant to be until now, and now that I have Noah here, it seals the deal!

2008 was the greatest year of my life, but now that Noah's here and part of our family, I know each year from now until the day I die will be even greater because I'll be able to watch him grow and change. While part of me doesn't want my baby to grow up, part of me is also SO excited to watch him change and find out what kind of little man he will become. I think of little things, short term things like rolling, sitting, crawling, and the thought of this little person, initially so helpless, becoming independent both excites and terrifies me!

We are so in love with Noah that it hurts. I'm so amazed at what love, medical technology, and my body created, it's almost unbelievable. I look at him and laugh because he really sums it all up for me. That probably doesn't make sense to you, but to me - I guess I just feel like I won the lottery. I have an awesome husband, an incredible little boy, great friends, and supportive family who loves us like crazy. 2008 was great, and I am the luckiest girl in the world!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sleep is nice!

*Noah is 9 weeks old!*

First of all, I was just revisiting the blog, and my belly picture from 38 weeks caught my eye. Oh my, I was HUGE!!! And I was still pregnant for three more weeks after that! I'm a *SO* thankful to have lost all my baby weight already. Yes, I said all. However, there are two types of weight - baby weight and IVF weight. I've lost the baby weight, but NOT the IVF drug weight. When I found out I was pregnant, I was at about 150, but when the whole IVF process started back in August 2007, I was just about 140. So at 148 now, I still technically have at least 8lbs to lose. I'd like to get to 135 - that's what I weighed when we went to Europe in the spring of 2006 before the whole trying to conceive thing started... Maybe I'll make a new year's resolution for once...

Anyways, SLEEP! It's becoming a common thing in our house, and I hope by typing this, I'm not jinxing it... I think we must have been jumping the gun with the middle of the night feeding. Noah would usually stir and make some grunting noises like he was waking up around 3am, and we would get up so Ben could feed him and I could pump. Well, since he started sleeping in the crib on Monday, he's been out cold until 6 or 7am! At first I thought maybe we were missing it - sleeping through a screaming spell or something, but I keep the monitor turned up so high you can hear the clock on the wall ticking in his room... If this keeps up, we will be *so* happy.

There are only a few glitches with the current sleep schedule. The main one is that we still can't get him down until between 9:30 and 10:30 (usually closer to 10:30). I think it's hard right now, for one, because I'm going out a lot during the day to run errands and do Christmas shopping, so he's napping a lot during the day. It's also hard because Ben doesn't get home from work until 6:30. Noah usually gets a bottle around 6 or 7, and we usually have dinner around 7 or 7:30, making it really hard to try to take the time to put him to bed after that bottle, so he usually goes to bed after the 9:00 bottle. I'm really hoping to make bedtime at least a bit earlier before I go back to work. As much as I'll want to be able to spend some time with him, I need to be able to get other things done too, like dishes, laundry, etc...

The other glitch, if you could call it that, with the sleep schedule is that I sleep through my pump session, making me incredibly uncomforable when I wake up in the morning. Usually Ben is able to feed Noah when he wakes up so I can go pump, but it makes me worried about my milk supply. Before 12 weeks, you're supposed to pump 8-12x a day with one being between 1 and 4am to get a good supply. By sleeping through that middle of the night pump, I could be killing my supply. It's good now, but I'm worried that it will drop around the 12 week mark... I'm up around 200oz of milk in the freezer, so at least that will keep us going for a little while after I go back to work. Like I think I said before, my first goal was to make it to 3mo with Noah getting breastmilk exclusively, and we're definitely going to make that goal. The next hurdle will be making it to 6mo. I'm feeling good about it for now, but like I said, we'll see what happens to my supply come 12 weeks.

Today, Noah went to see Santa Claus. Mommy & Daddy have been talking this guy up for weeks. Noah won't tell us what he asked Santa for - he's trying to make it hard on us. I mean, on Santa... I'll post pics soon!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Two months already!

Noah is two months old today, and at times, it feels like he's been here forever, and at other times, it feels like just yesterday I was looking at him for the first time. So much has happened in these two months, and he has changed immensely almost daily. The love we feel for him is truly indescribable...

Visiting Daddy at work - that's Zombie Noah (he just ate...)

Mommy and Crabby Noah

He had his two month check up today and got his first shots. He had three shots in all, plus the oral Rotavirus. He was *SUCH* a champ. He cried briefly - you would too if you saw the size of the needles! - but we got him dressed quickly and gave him a bottle as a reward when it was all done.

He's officially 13lbs, 8oz and 23.5 inches long. He is in the 78th percentile for weight, but better than that, his head is in the 98th percentile!! I'm surprised at his head control given the size of his ginormous melon! We are starting to transition to 3-6 month clothes, as we've noticed the 0-3 month onesies are either fitting tightly or not at all! Also, we finally ran out of size 1 diapers, so we decided to try the 2's, and they fit! Little by little, Noah's growing up!

Practicing tummy time on Daddy's chest

There are so many little things that I know won't last forever that I want to try to remember forever... Like how when he's really hungry, he raises his eyebrows with each such of the bottle for the first handful of sucks. Or how he kind of swings his feet when he's eating, like he's just hanging out... Or how his eyes smile sometimes before his mouth does. And oh my god, the faces! I need to take more videos of him I think, because I can never quite catch the faces in pictures. Sometimes he raises his lip like he's Elvis, and other times he crunches up his nose and/or forehead... The faces he makes when he's whining are pretty classic too!

Smiley Noah...

...and Grumpy Noah

He's loving sitting up like a big boy. We prop him up on the couch, either in the corner or surrounded by pillows. He looks around (and is entranced by the TV) and talks a lot when he's feeling it. He loves his changing table. That's where we can ALWAYS get a smile and a conversation. Those smiles will absolutely melt your heart!

Enjoying the changing table, as usual!

Tonight is a big night. Not only did Noah get his first round of shots today, we're going to give the crib a whirl... I really want to get on a better sleep schedule before I go back to work, so we're going to see if sleeping in the crib helps. He took a short nap in there earlier tonight, and after a big 6oz bottle and some awake time, he's back to sleep in there now... we'll see how long it lasts before he's hungry again...

Sleepy Noah

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A way past-due update

*Noah is 7 weeks old (tomorrow).*

My friends!! (Yikes, now I'm sounding like John McCain...) Anyways, I'm so sorry I've been absent from the world of blogging for what must have seemed like an eternity. I've had good intentions and have thought frequently that I need to update, but you know how it goes... the kiddo needs to be fed, changed, rocked, etc...

Things are going really well with us. I can't believe my little man's already 7 weeks old! My god how time flies. I'll be back to work in six weeks (I think), and my time off is just flying by.

Noah has been doing great since his transfusion on the 14th. He's really a different kid. His color is better for starters, and he's got a lot more energy - staying awake more, cooing, smiling - okay, sometimes I wonder if they are just poo smiles, since I mainly get them on the changing table, but I'll take what I can get! He's getting huge too! We haven't had him weighed since the day of the transfusion, but we go back to the hematologist for a follow up on Thursday, so I'll be very interested to see what he weighs. I know for sure he was 10 pounds, 5 ounces butt-nekkid on the 12th, and I'm guess he's at least 12, if not 12.5 pounds by now.

He went through a crazy growth spurt the middle of last week. He was so fussy for two days straight, and he wanted to eat every 1.5 to 2 hours, and it was KILLING me!! We had our annual Turkey Hangover party on Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), and I had intentions of getting a ton of stuff done during the week leading up, but then we had to have this dang growth spurt. We survived it by finally deciding (thanks to the recommendation of Erin on the IVF message board) to increase his intake from 4oz per bottle to 4.5oz. That seemed to do the trick, and he was satisfied and back to normal by the end of the second day.

As for me, I'm still getting the hang of this "stay-at-home-mom" thing. It's freaking hard, and I have so much respect for my friends who do it! I still stand by my strong desire to want to be able to stay home with Noah (we can't do it financially), but I do desperately crave "me time". I love my two-hour trips to Target or lunches with the girls. Anything to get out of the house!! I am looking forward to seeing my work friends again and having regular adult interaction, but actually going back to work TO WORK... that's going to be tough!

I think I've finally broken myself of the guilt of not breastfeeding. I think the cards were stacked against us from the beginning, with Noah's jaundice and anemia (both of which made him so lethargic). It was so frustrating for both of us, and while part of me feels like maybe I could have given it one more shot, I refuse to stew on it now, because I am proud to now say that I am exclusively pumping. We haven't given Noah formula since November 6th, and he only got it then because I was having "supply" issues at the time. Now I'm way ahead of what he needs, and I've got close to 80oz of milk frozen for when I go back to work! Hopefully, I can keep up the very hard work that is pumping and therefore also keep my supply up. (I'm probably averaging 37oz per day, if you're interested.)

Noah was evaluated by a developmental and physical therapist through Early Intervention and will be receiving PT once a month to work on stretching and positioning for his neck. We've tried to be very aware of the position of his head and neck, and I definitely think it's getting better, but he definitely still needs the therapy, as he's favoring one side more than the other. Noah also had an ultrasound of his neck that revealed that the muscle in one side of his neck is thicker, probably causing the torticollis. The pediatrician ordered an x-ray of his neck just to be sure there's nothing else going on.

Hm. Did I cover everything? These past 7 weeks have been such a whirlwind, and I try to pause everyday, even if just for a moment, to take it all in. Last night while I was rocking Noah to sleep in the darkness of his nursery, I examined his tiny fingers. I thought about how they're not as tiny now as they were when he was born, and they won't be this tiny in a few more weeks. I often think about how these days and weeks will soon be gone forever, and I don't want to miss a second of it. I look at him everyday and see the most precious gift I've ever received. He is so amazing, and when I stop to think about everything we went through and how he came to be, it still blows my mind. He truly is a miracle in my eyes.