Tuesday, January 31, 2012


This flu is owning me.  I called Dr. B in all sorts of desperation this morning and she said, back on medication, at least for now, your thyroid - which is hyper again! - is making this probable 24 hour flu into a three day (please not longer!) flu.

Then she said we should do injections directly into the thyroid, which I've been doing my best to avoid, but I've had two flus and three colds since Bennett was born, my immune system is shoddy, and if this will work, okay, let's do it.

Still scared out of my mind, though.

Needle in the thyroid.  Eek.

Dr. B was all homeopathics to calm the nerves, you will be fine. Homeopathics?  Let's try Valium.  Sheesh, needle in the thyroid needs a bit more than herbs!

I am so run down.

I started bleeding again on Saturday.  Seriously.

My milk is drying up.  I'm pumping and drinking tea to increase my supply. Never thought I would have that issue.

We did master the side lying nursing thing.  What a blessing that has been!  We just had to work through some frustration and annoyance from Bennett and now all is well.

My mother-in-law has come to the rescue and moved in.  It makes me so sad that I can't take care of my baby.

There are times - and this is one of them - when I am so bone weary tired exhausted mad at my thyroid.


Must rest.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Birthing Beautiful Ideas Guest Post

One of the posts I wrote after Bennett was born is being featured on Birthing Beautiful Ideas today.  Kristen recently had her third baby (at home!) and she is sharing posts about the postparum period from other bloggers.

Things are rough here.  I'm not used to the second day of the flu being worse than the first.  And this is a nasty one - a trash can by the side of the bed because the bathroom is too far flu.  My in-laws came to the rescue this afternoon because it's difficult for J to take time off work.  He has to shift patients, and if he shifts them, that means a later day is going to be busy. Bennett is sleeping and nursing a lot.  He has a cough and snotty nose too.  My immune system sucks, and apparently my antibodies aren't too great either.  I hope he doesn't get this flu.

Back to bed for me.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Dear, dear, dear me.  I have a wicked case of the flu, made worse by the fact that I am exclusively breastfeeding.  I hope the dehydration doesn't cause milk issues.  I can't keep a thing down, not even water.  I wish I had milk in the freezer.  Every time my sweet boy settles in to nurse the weight of his body against my stomach makes for a dicey situation.  I hate flu!  And I hope I don't get B sick, he's been sleeping in our bed the past two nights.  It was either that or no sleep all round.

This will have to be a short post.  I can't manage much right now.

Send love, please, I don't do illness well.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

everything but the kitchen sink ...

B's rash seems to be clearing up.  Thank goodness.  I bet you are so sick of rash updates and complaints.  I must share a couple rash related pictures, and then we will speak of it no more (I hope).

Oatmeal bath

Lotions, herbs, creams and a baby hand

Other than the nastiness we will no longer discuss, life has been good lately.  There's been some sadness, but that's a constant, it is always near.

Our wonderful neighborhood friend is letting us borrow (and maybe keep?) her Ergo.  Oh my good gracious I love it!  I have a sling and wrap, but I don't have baby wearing skills and Bennett doesn't have baby wearing patience.  He would much rather be on the floor, kicking, spinning and scooting.  To master slings and wraps I think you have to be crafty, and know how to braid hair. Neither skill is on my resume.  The Ergo is so easy!  I can put it on without feeling like I need hands, feet and mouth available.  I have to put a blanket in the bottom so Bennett can look out (shorty), but that's an easy fix.  And it has a little pocket in the front, which is perfect for my phone!!



Ergo and heels at a family event. Love how I stood right in front of the bathrooms for this shot - classy!

So I was messing around on the book the other day and I saw a reunion page for my high school.  Ten years?! I thought, and then I asked to be friends with the page.  It took three days to get a response, which took me right back to high school - lots of self-doubt.  As soon as I was added I clicked on over and checked out the page.  And was reminded that I didn't like the people I went to high school with.  And realized I would NEVER go to a reunion.  I doubt anyone would recognize me.  I was the strange, quiet girl who dyed her hair blue, black, or purple and wore tons of bracelets and belts with studs (seriously) and read all the time and hung out with the teachers (seriously).  And then I thought about accomplishments, what I've done since high school: I have two kids, one died, I blog a lot, I love being a stay at home mom ... And then I thought about Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion and how I would want to be the geek who showed up in a private helicopter (I think I'm remembering the correct movie).  So, not going.  No way.  You know how I have major wardrobe crisis before any of J's work events?  This would be that times a thousand.  I'm not putting you through that.

This post kind-of got away from me.  I really have no idea how I went from Ergo raves to a reunion rant.  Since this post is already crazy long I'll make it a little longer with a few more Bennett pictures.

And goodnight!

Friday, January 27, 2012


Bennett's rash is ever changing.  He has small bumps all over his face now, which looks like acne.  His legs and arms are better, less red, but we cannot control the itching.  The Aveeno Eczema cream seems to be working, thank you to those who recommended it.  However, after one lotion in the eye incident we wised up and use gentler products (herbs) on his face.

My mom stayed last night - as she does every Thursday - so I was able to sleep. We are going to search out something to control the itch this evening.  Well, we're going to try.  Attempting to find a product that controls the red rash, the bumps, and the itchiness is not fun, and may very well be impossible.  The nursery is littered with lotion tubes, herbs, and jars of cream.  I don't want to use too many products, but nothing works perfectly so we keep switching.  I would just leave his skin alone but his doctor said the dry skin is permanently changing his composition.  I don't even know what that means, but it sure freaked me out.

When he is super itchy and fussy, rubbing and clawing at his head, I put a wet washcloth over it so he will leave it alone.  Unfortunately that dries his skin out more :(

He is wearing that ridiculously large bib because we were also told to keep the drool off him as much as possible.  Easier said than done, doc.

His skin looks fine in most pictures ... in this one you can see some of the red, but not the little bumps.  Kid looks rough.

If I could I would tell the rash, or dry skin, or whatever it is to GO AWAY.  My poor sweet boy is sad and itchy and I'm afraid I can't make money off him now ... you know, if I ever get around to entering a baby photo contest.

In other completely unrelated news: went to lapsit storytime at the library today.  I have the stupidest song in my head now: Six little ducks I once knew, fat ones, skinny ones, fair ones too ... Bennett laughed and drooled it up at storytime.  He loves it to pieces.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

heart full of sadness: part two

At the dentist this morning:

How is the new baby?

He's great, thank you!

Bennett, right?

Wow, you have a good memory!

Thank you, I make an effort to remember these things.

She walks around, readying instruments, adjusting the chair.  She sits.

How is Charlotte liking her little brother?


Charlotte was our first, the one who died.

Oh, I'm sorry!  I thought you had three.  A little girl, Charlotte, and Bennett.

No, no, just the two.

"What can you do in those moments when sadness is another element in the air, just as real as hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen?  What can you do but simply sit there and breathe it in, feeling it in each long and heavy breath? - Lorna Landvik, Welcome to the Great Mysterious.

heart full of sadness

It comes, lingers, fades, comes back stronger, leaves for so long I forget the knock me over undertow it carries.  I don't know why it hurts so much right now.  Well, I do.  I think.

My life is all ease - baby, laughter, nights of sleep, nights with little sleep, you go to work, I'll stay home ... ease, ease, ease

And then

a reminder.

A simple, "any brothers or sisters?"

No.  But yes!

I have two!  One of each, the gold standard, right?

Only if they both live.

Oh.  Never mind.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

managing the fear -a blm link up

There's a link up over on Finding My New Normal about pregnancy after loss, working through it and the fear that comes along.

My two cents:

Pregnancy after loss is not easy.  In fact, it's really, really hard.  I was so focused on conceiving the babe I didn't think about what came after: long weeks of doubt, worry, tears, bursts of happiness, lots and lots of doctor visits.  Over and over again I got slammed by the hugeness of it all, by the idea that I had 40 weeks, give or take, to make it through.

Being pregnant again is a wonderful, wonderful thing, but it is also a time of extreme stress.  Here's how I made it through:

- I tried not to look too far into the future.  Honestly, I sucked at it, but I tried. Instead of thinking about making it to 40 weeks, I thought about the next doctor appointment, the first trimester, the second, the third, each trimester its own pocket in time to get through, reaching a point where I wasn't sick anymore ... etc.  Trying to take it all down in one gulp is just too hard.  I panicked repeatedly when I thought about the birth, so I thought about the next ultrasound or visit with my midwife instead.

- Build a good team.  My second birth brought up a lot of trauma.  The people I surrounded myself with as I brought Bennett into the world were carefully selected.  I needed my husband.  I needed my midwife.  I needed my midwife's apprentice - goodness she's amazing - I needed the doctor, I even needed the hospital, though I would have liked to birth at home.  I needed to be surrounded by people who could - and boy did they have to - talk me off the ledge, so to speak.

- Pray, meditate, visualize.  My naturopath - Dr. B! - had me visualize a growing, healthy baby, playing with my baby, nursing my baby, holding my baby, etc.  It was good for me to sit quietly every day and connect with Bennett. I didn't want to attach, I was afraid of losing another baby.  Forcing myself to talk with and love on the baby in my belly was so good for me.

- Hypnobabies: I didn't use it during the birth, but the sessions were very useful throughout my pregnancy.  I used the fear clearing, peaceful sleep, and joyful pregnancy affirmation tracks a lot.  The fear clearing cd helped me make it through the last few weeks.

- Have fun.  Celebrate.  Be happy.  You won't jinx the pregnancy.  While pregnant with Bennett I did my best.  I worried, but I tried not to let the worry become the focus.

- Cry, eat a lot of chocolate, cry, eat a cheeseburger, cry ...

That last one is a joke.  Kind-of.

I won't say it will all be fine (once you have lost a baby that statement only incites rage) but I will encourage you to have hope and faith and to do your best to believe that all will be well.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

severe dry skin

Seriously.  That's what the physician's assistant we saw this morning said.  She used the words eczema and cradle cap, then said, "basically, he has severely dry skin."

I so didn't need to go in.

I so lost my mind over dry skin.

I so need to see a counselor.  If you see one, how did you go about finding her - or him?

Using cornstarch on his diaper area and switching to Seventh Generation has helped the bottom rash.  Considering cloth diapers.  Go ahead, tell me what you use, why you love them.  I'm listening. We are still battling rashy spots behind the knees, on his face, a bit on the chest, neck, and tons on his head. And to make matters worse, the boy drools all.day.long.

When we were at the birth center yesterday our midwife put calendula, chamomile and coconut oil into a salve for him.  We are going to use that for now and if that doesn't work we'll move on, figure something else out.  Love our midwife, love that whole center.  We've been blessed a thousand times over by these women who have turned a job into a passion and a workplace into a home.

What a week!

There has been good news this week: my fourth! nephew was born safely last night. He is a sweet boy, his mama did a great job, my brother helping her to birth naturally like she wanted to.

And Bennett has learned how to push his bottom in the air while on his stomach.  That's the beginning of a crawl!

He is also sitting!

And falling.

And grabbing his toes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

herbs, midwives, confusion

We are still battling the rash.  Bennett's skin looked much better this morning, this afternoon it's looking bad and spreading again.  We spent the afternoon at the birth center.  Our midwife made us a salve with coconut oil, calendula, and chamomile.  Bennett smells delicious.

At 4:30 I called his doctor, he was upset, so itchy he couldn't settle.  We hadn't reached that point of awful yet.  But now that we have, it's time to take him in.  We have an appointment tomorrow morning, hopefully we can figure out what it is.

I prefer natural methods, but if he can't be soothed, if the itch won't go away with herbs, it's time to try something else.  Herbs take more time to work, but he was so sad this evening, I don't know if we have time to let them work.  I called the clinic, told the advice nurse, I'm going to be honest with you.  I don't want to use steroid cream, and I absolutely won't put it on his groin.  I asked her about herbs, she said she didn't know anything.  Not surprising, thought I would try anyway.

I just want to know what we're dealing with.

I'm not convinced it's diet.

I'm not convinced it's eczema.

My midwife said, maybe ringworm?

Maybe teething?

I looked online.  Some sites say yes, teething rash exists, some say, no.  Thanks for the contradictory advice dr. google.

I had no idea a rash, a simple thing, really, would push me so close to crazy.  I'm not handling this very well, I'll be the first to admit it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

more misery!

Thanks for the advice, support and love.  Bennett's rash has worsened and is spreading.  We are keeping him naked and covered in coconut oil.  Tomorrow we see our midwife, who will show me how to make a salve for his skin.  Our midwife said it may be teething, or a vaccine reaction.

I'm falling apart, while J is calm and washing everything in the house.  We've been using Costco free and clear detergent, but we switched to Seventh Generation until we get Allen's.  Using chlorine free diapers, bathing him in water and baking soda, no soap, switched from Burt's Bees to Earth Mama Angel Baby products, we don't wear perfume or scented lotion, only use organic skin and hair care products, I don't wear makeup, we use natural deodorant - which doesn't work half the time .... I don't know what else to do!!

Last night I slept with him in my arms, holding his hands so he couldn't scratch his head and face.  I am typing this one handed.  Bennett is sleeping in my arms, wrapped in coconut oil and blankets.

I hope we can figure out what's bothering him.  Despite the uncomfortable rash he is still my laughing, happy baby.


Saturday, January 21, 2012


Dear me, dear me, sorry about the massive blog post quantities lately.  Life is a bit intense right now. In a matter of days we've gone from a bit of eczema and a baby who rubs his eyes every now and again to a miserable baby who tears at his head and face and can't sleep.  His cheeks are no longer red, but the itchiness is making him crazy.

I feel terrible.  Why did it take me soooo long to figure out it was my diet??  Why did it flare up suddenly? How did we go from dry skin a few weeks ago to eczema?  Maybe it was always eczema and it didn't really bother him?

I posted about his itchy skin on the book and someone asked if it could be cradle cap that spread.  Anyone else had experience with that?  I don't think it looks like eczema, but the doctor said it is, though she said it's on his legs and his legs don't even bother him.  And she told us his eye rubbing was nothing to be concerned about.

The questions, the questions!  And the confusion.  And the worry.  Oh my, the worry.  And guilt!!

The salve is helping, we bought homeopathics from the health store today, I've stopped eating dairy.  Something has to work soon, he is miserable.

My poor little nursling, seeing him like this is breaking my heart.

He slept well the last two nights, tonight is a rough one.  J soothed, I comfort nursed, we patted, rocked, swayed.  J has him now, he will sleep in arms, so J is video gaming and holding him.  If he won't settle in his crib I hope sleeping with me will help calm him.

I know this isn't really a big deal, but it feels huge, and overwhelming, and like I've been making mistakes left and right without knowing or realizing.

Mama confidence, it's hard to come by.

no dairy!

Goodness this makes me sad.  Bennett is really struggling with his skin, and cutting out cow's milk simply isn't enough.  A couple weeks ago I wanted a bowl of cereal, just one!, a few hours later Bennett's cheeks were bright red. Last night this selfish mama wanted a bit of cheese, just a bit!, this morning his cheeks are rosy.  That's a reaction, yes?

I love cheese so much, but I love him more, and if cutting out all dairy will be better for him I am willing to do it. No one in my family has eczema, though I do have sensitive skin, so I'm surprised he does.  I thought it was a family thing ... ?  He doesn't have a bad case, no red, peeling skin, but I don't want him to develop a more serious case.

I'm having a hard time imagining my life without cheese.  Can I eat cheese and then pump?  I have all the ingredients for lasagna in my fridge; I was planning on making it tonight.  When I make lasagna I include cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese.  That's a whole lot of cheese!  I don't want to waste the ingredients, but I don't want Bennett to be miserable because of what I had for dinner.  Will this be a problem when he starts solids?

His cradle cap is almost gone and his legs no longer have dry patches, which is helping me stay away from milk.  If cutting out cheese helps with the itching I will be extremely grateful.  It's almost like he has a compulsion to itch his head and eyes, but he mostly does it when tired, so perhaps it's not itchy .. ?  The whole eye and head rubbing is making me crazy, because I'm worried that he's uncomfortable.  And I am not happy with our pediatrician who told me it was nothing to worry about, just put a bit of steroid cream around his eyes!


You know what I will really miss?

These crackers are meant for kids, but I fell in love with them when I was pregnant with Charlotte.  It was the only thing that helped the nausea, which I had all 38 weeks!

Friday, January 20, 2012

"if you don't like something, change it. if you can't change it, change your attitude. don't complain." maya angelou

Working on that quote ...

Things are evening out a bit here, getting Bennett back on a 7pm-7am sleep schedule is helping.  I got eight hours of sleep last night, which helped my mood and attitude.  I think part of my grumpiness stems from my inability to eat enough. Even though I'm nursing I don't have much of an appetite and nothing really sounds good.  More food, more sleep, less complaining, that's the plan.

Bennett is SO active.  I'm realizing that I have to wear him down to get him to sleep.  The Johnny Jump Up is wonderful, he bounces for ages, laughing all the while.

 He is so focused on scooting during tummy time he doesn't roll over very often.

And he does this now when I try to change/dress him.  I dress him on the floor most of the time, it's easier.

Loves & Recommends: My Mama's Love

First, some business:  I am afraid we may float away, the river and creeks are rising, more rain is expected.  We are not in the flood zone, but many are, a town a few minutes away has been evacuated.  Say a little prayer for us, please.
The park next to J's work

Also: will the winner of I Will Carry You please send me an address so I can ship the book to you?  You can email me at rodman.angela@gmail.com


My senior year of college I was the assistant editor of the newspaper.  The editor and I developed a close friendship that year and it has continued on. She helped me plan most of Charlotte's first birthday even though she lives in the Seattle area now.  We used to sit in the tiny newspaper office and talk about the future, our plans and dreams.  She is living a dream, she started a healthy living magazine, part of the Natural Awakenings franchise, and it's amazing to see what she has done, how much Seattle Natural Awakenings has grown in less than a year.

When we went to Seattle at the end of December we met for lunch and she gifted us with a whole bunch of stuff, including a ton of My Mama's Love products.  

I have been slathering the Complete Skin Ailment cream all over Bennett.  It's worked wonders on his dry legs and cradle cap.  Last night he was screaming mad, so upset, J, my mom and I could not settle him down.  We finally put the skin cream on his face and head to help with the itching, and put the Lullaby Love cream on his chest.  He calmed right down and went to sleep, I really think his itchy skin is making it difficult for him to sleep.

I love these gentle products, and of course the herbal smell of them makes me happy too.  When he has Earth Mama Angel Baby balm on his bottom and My Mama's Love on his legs and face he smells just like the birth center - comfort, calm, warmness ... it just makes me want to snuggle him.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Sleep battles, they continue.  Really don't have much more to say about it.  I'm just done you know?  My mom is staying tonight, which will help, at least J and I will be able to log some solid sleep.

Things are interesting here in Salem town.  The rains have poured down the last few days, and I live in Oregon so when I say poured I mean constant torrential downpour, day and night.  Parts of the city are flooding, the creeks are overflowing, tomorrow the Willamette will most likely overflow in areas, causing more problems and damage.

J stayed late at work today to move files and computers, back up data.  His company leases the old ER from the hospital.  It is next to a creek, part of which runs under the hospital.  The basement of the hospital is flooding and water is beginning to seep into the underground garages.  J's ten minute drive took him an hour tonight because of increased traffic and blocked, flooded roads.  A little further South the flooding is even worse.  The rain has slowed, hopefully it will stop soon.

I had an appointment with my naturopath - Dr. B! - this afternoon.  Her office is forty-five minutes from here, there were a couple high water points where water covered the road, but other than that the drive was okay.  I haven't seen Dr. B since the night we came home from the NICU.  She came to the house to administer vitamin IVs to boost my iron and blood levels.  I love her, I really do.

She said Bennett looks great - we weren't there for him, but she snatched him up and headed back to her office - and promised me he is fine, even if he is small.  She recommended breast milk for the eczema on his face (I think this is contributing to his sleep issues, his poor face itches too much to sleep).  I've been drenching his sweet face in breast milk, guess I'll keep doing it, and hope it helps.

I stocked up on hormone balancing tincture and a tincture to help with the issues I've been having.  Dr. B said my body is constantly shedding the uterine lining, it just can't hold on to it, which is why I am bleeding every two weeks. Too much information?  Sorry.  I'm the one bleeding every two weeks even though I am four months postpartum.  Seriously, done with that too.

It's 8:30, but I am going to bed.  Dr. B says I must sleep more, I'm running my poor self into the ground with the breast feeding and bleeding and being stubborn about B's sleeping.  I was so determined that he would sleep in his crib last night, because he started the night there, but at 2 I laughed at my stubborn self and let him sleep in bed with me.  I must stop obsessing about his sleep, his skin, the way he rubs his eyes ... EVERYTHING.

It will all come right in time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

babies and sleep part two: sacrifice

It all came together this afternoon, there was almost an audible click in my brain.  Bennett woke up from his thirty minute nap screaming, so I worked with him.  I held him in the rocker, he slept a while in my arms, I put him down for thirty more minutes, when he woke I held him a while longer until three hours had passed, most of which he slept for.

He needed that sleep, desperately, he went down easily for his 5:00 nap, and has settled in fairly well tonight.  He's been down since 7, I've had to go in twice, briefly, J once, but that is nothing compared to what we've been facing.  Our plans for the day got cancelled this morning, which was a blessing in disguise.

We're often busy, we do something most days, and I think it was good for Bennett to be at home.  It was hard, I'll admit.  I had to put my agenda: laundry, cleaning the kitchen, watching The Bachelor - on hold so I could focus on Bennett, and that was a struggle.

To parent is to sacrifice.  We sacrifice sleep, time, regular meals, days out with friends, watching TV, reading, focus ... I could go on, but after being on the other side, the side of no sacrifice, I know this is better.  Harder, yes, there will be no more days of wallowing with the covers over my head as the rain pours down outside, but it is significantly better.

I'm not always a good parent.  I have failed to put Bennett first lately, and I think that has contributed to the difficult times we've been having.  This afternoon I prayed for patience, calm, a willing heart, a kind voice, and it's worked.  J and I haven't fought.  Bennett is sleeping and content in his crib.  I watched The Bachelor.  Everyone is happy and ready for what the night may bring (sleep, hopefully!).

I'm sorry if my last post seemed ungrateful, or whiny, or ... I don't know ... if it offended, I'm sorry.  This week has been one of learning for me.  Learning to stay quiet, learning to offer because people find it hard to ask, learning to parent, learning to love, learning kindness, learning what it means to be a friend, mom, and wife.  I'm doing my best, but I'll be the first to admit that sometimes my best isn't all that great.

babies and sleep

I am going to write a book about this.  It will be super simple, easy to follow, understandable.  It will have the following rules.

#1. What worked Monday won't work Tuesday, what worked Tuesday won't work Wednesday ... etc.
#2. Enjoy the newborn stage when the baby will sleep through anything.  It's a wonderful time when you still love your dog to pieces, and don't mind its crazy barking at every shadow that crosses the front window.
#3. If things are going well sleep wise DO NOT post about it on any social networking site, DO NOT speak of it, and DO NOT think about it.
#4. When you are on the other side of a particular phase (baby wakes when set down) do not be all smug, it will come around again, and chances are it will be worse the second time around.
#5. When it is the middle of the night and you've just settled in to your warm, comfy bed, only to hear the baby wailing for the hundredth time in an hour remember that he or she is a baby, completely dependent on you, and whatever you can do for him or her.  Sometimes babies miss their mamas, sometimes babies need their mamas, and sometimes that desperate need for mama comes in the middle of the night.

I needed someone to scream these five rules at me last night.  Well, not all of them, but I sure needed to hear that last one.  I don't know what is going on with Bennett boy - perhaps the teeth? - but he is not sleeping or napping well.

Lately a good chunk of my days, and nights, are spent in the rocker in the nursery trying to convince that boy to sleep because it's good for his brain, and my sanity.  If J didn't take over sometimes I would lose my mind.  As it is I get so frustrated I have to take a break, deep breathe for a few minutes.  And I know there's this idea floating around that it's lovely to rock the baby, or hold the baby, while he sleeps because he won't want the holding before too long. You know what else is nice?  More than three hours of sleep.

I've had two conversations this week - and it's only Tuesday! - with mama friends about how difficult the whole sleep thing is.  Babies are strange, they don't act like adults, they need help sleeping, they need to learn how to sleep, and for that to happen parents have to go without which sucks, it really, really makes me crazy.

Last night we were at the point of absolute lostness.  I consider us smart people, J more so than me, dude is geeky smart, but when you are tired, and on hour three of putting the baby down for the night all smartness disappears. We had no solution, we couldn't find a solution, we couldn't think hard enough to posit a solution, so we threw our hands up in the air and let him cry for five minutes.  That. did. not. work.  He went from whimpering to screaming and I couldn't handle it.

Bah, he's awake.  He slept for thirty minutes in his crib ... honestly, I could have used an hour.

This post about crying it out and sleep and exhaustion is fabulous.  

Monday, January 16, 2012


It's January and it's cold, so, so cold, yet the rose bush that blooms over the memorial stone with Charlotte Ava, May 14, 2010, etched within is budding and blooming as if summer is just around the corner.  It's her rose, there must be some significance, some meaning behind the fact that is has bloomed continuously since her first birthday. 

I wonder if it will continue flowering until her second birthday, a mere four and a half months away.  Another May, this one two years after.  Bright, spring days, in May, plenty of rain too.  No matter the weather, rain or shine, the day will keep coming.  One year after another, time racing ahead so that she should be one becomes she should be two, three, four, five ...; already the time she has been gone exceeds the time she was here by so much the gap cannot be bridged.

My focus has shifted, but I still struggle.  There are still ups and downs here, for both of us, times of profound sadness when the grief overwhelms us as it has done thousands of times before.  I don't cry on the 14th of every month, no, not anymore, but seeing that number still hurts.

Charlotte's death has affected Bennett's life.  Sometimes my days and nights are full of, he won't sleep! moments of frustration followed by he is quiet, finally asleep - or maybe dead? moments of fear.  It's irrational yes, and not likely, but I saw her alive, and then two hours later I held her and she was dead, so in my mind babies can go from here to gone quickly, suddenly, unexpectedly.

Stopped writing, went for a walk, came home, read over ... goodness this is bleak.  On the way home we were walking and Bennett was fussing.  I finally stopped, pulled him out of his stroller, stuffed him in my down vest, and continued walking - one hand on him, the other on the stroller.  He laughed and laughed, stuck his tongue out, chattered, so happy to be in my arms and free from his stroller.  He reminds me of all the good in life

Sunday, January 15, 2012

photos, photos

Sometimes when I rock Bennett to sleep I catch a bit of hospital smell, which reminds me of the NICU, of tears - so many tears - tired days, exhausted nights, pumping, joy, worry, fear, a very grateful heart.  He's alive, he's healthy, I am so, so blessed.  I need to remind myself of that on days like today, when I can't seem to shake the grumpies, and get frustrated so quickly it doesn't allow much room to breathe around here (have I mentioned that I'm difficult to live with?).

Getting Bennett dressed for a trip to the dog park when he spotted J.

Bennett is just big enough for his Christmas present if we shove a blanket behind his back.  He likes to turn in circles, but is slowly figuring out how to jump.  He wants to walk so badly, and he loves to stand, so he can't get enough of this toy.

I have a fabulous neighbor who has two boys: one is five, the other almost one.  She lets me borrow toys, clothes, books, that awesome outfit in the first picture.  I was over the other night and she asked if we wanted to borrow this baby entertainment thing.  Oh my stars, it's wonderful!  We have to shove a blanket behind him in this one too, but that's okay.  Bennett loves it to pieces and it keeps him occupied long enough for me to cook, and eat, a meal.

We got a bit of snow this morning, so I sent J and Bennett out for a picture.

Bennett was not impressed.

Bennett and Ella.

All bundled up.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

that's my baby

I absolutely regret that post about sleeping.  Sorry, universe, so, so sorry.  Can we skip the whole four months sleep regression thing, please?  I looked it up online, as suggested, and it scares the pants off me.  Waking every two hours at night??  Some say baby must be trained to sleep, kellymom says he wakes because he is hungry and too busy to feed effectively during the day.  I believe the latter, because this kid is all over the place when nursing, but I am not looking forward to getting up with him every two hours.  Last night was rough and he is not napping well today.  Is this it?  How long does it last??

That first paragraph got away from me, not what I meant to write about at all ...

On Thursday my mom was over and we got all curious about baby photos and who Bennett looks like.  I dug through our albums and found pictures of J and me as babies.  Bennett looks just like me!  When I pointed this out to J he said Bennett doesn't look like a girl, but I looked like a boy as a baby because we look so much alike ... or something like that.  I'm so tired, I don't really remember.

Me at four months, or maybe three?

J at five weeks, we don't have as many pictures of him as a babe.

I was a bit fatter in the face, but Bennett and I have the same features.  Charlotte looked a lot like me too, poor dear had my nose, bump and all.

Sweet babies, love them so much. 

Friday, January 13, 2012


My midwives created a group where those of us who have birthed with them can share issues, stories, advice, etc. in an online forum.  I love being a part of the natural birth community, and learning about alternate remedies for common baby problems, but I don't feel like I belong, belong.

Charlotte was born at the birth center, but Bennett was born in hospital, so can I really be considered a part of this group?  When my midwife added me I hesitated for these very reasons.  She shrugged off my concerns and added me, insisting I was a birth center mama even if Charlotte died and Bennett wasn't born there.

The mamas are gathering at a local coffee shop this morning.  I chose not to go.  I have plenty of excuses - it's hard to get going in the morning (my mom is here, she would have us out the door in no time), it's Bennett's nap time (he can nap in the car, or in my arms), but the real issue is that I don't feel comfortable in new situations.  I don't like being surrounded by people who don't know about Charlotte.

It's easier for me to stick with those who know me best.  The friends who understand when I hesitate to hold their baby girl, the friends who understand when I disappear for a week or two as I try to get my head around what I've lost (again), the friends who understand the random tears, and bad days, the friends who understand that he doesn't replace her, and he never, ever will, though as he grows she fades.

I've been invited to a mom group at our church many times, and I really appreciate the invitation, but I don't want to go.  I do best with people who know about Charlotte, who understand that I have a baby on my hip that you can see, as well as an invisible one who trails behind me.

I shrug off the invitations, say thank you, tell myself it's okay to miss out because I have lots of friends and don't need more, but I don't know if it really is okay.  Am I going to avoid all new situations for the rest of my life because I hate ruining people's day with my sad story?  That won't work when Bennett is attending school and I have to meet other parents, but maybe by then saying, I have this one here, and one in heaven, won't be so awkward, won't stun people so much.

Now that I have a living baby I feel like I have a foot in two worlds: one where mamas parent living babies, one where mamas parent dead babies, and despite my best efforts I can't bring the two worlds together.  I'll always be stuck between, awkwardly stretching and contorting myself to try and marry the impossibly incompatible.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

ever changing

Remember when I was all too much pacifier, too much sleeping with mama, worry, worry, worry!?  Well, there was no need for all that.  New mamas, just about to be mamas: the first three months are HARD and then things settle down, you gain confidence, you forget what life was like before having a baby, going to the grocery store without help doesn't seem like the most difficult task in the world, it all gets easier.

Bennett hit three months and decided to change things up on me.  He was not happy in the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper so I tried him in the crib.  Guess what? He loves it.  Saturday night he slept 10-4:30, I had no idea what to do with myself.  Last night he nursed at 2:30, settled back in his crib, woke at 5:45, and is sleeping next to me (and nursing in his sleep, my favorite thing) at this very moment.  Every night is like this.  We had one tough night this week when he wouldn't settle down after his 3 am feed, but one tough night is nothing compared to what we were facing before.

Most nights he ends up with me between 4 and 6 am, which is fabulous.  I did not enjoy having him in bed with me all night, but by 6 am J is out of bed and I can set Bennett down on his side and have my own space.

This morning I let him sleep on my chest for a while, all milk drunk and zonked. He's so busy when he is awake he will not snuggle with me.  He will sit quietly in my lap if I am reading to him, but snuggling is too calm for him, so I steal moments whenever I can.

As for the pacifier, he is slowly weaning himself off it.  If he is not tired, he won't take it.  I worried so much about this, that he would be two with a pacifier, but now that he is a little older he doesn't need it nearly as often.  He takes it at bed and nap, sometimes in the car, sometimes on walks.  On our walk yesterday he spit it out and fell asleep without it for the first time.

This all may change, but I hope the contented crib sleeping continues.  I'm really happy we've reached this point without resorting to cry it out methods. (If you have done the cry it out thing this is not a criticism, every parent has to make their own way, I just don't think I could handle letting him cry).  There have been some frustrating nights when I've had to spend two hours patting his tummy, giving him his pacifier, singing, hanging over the crib for thirty minutes, rocking for two hours, but he gets it now - for the most part.  We turn on his music, nurse in the rocker, he gets his pacifier and blanket (it's very light cotton and I tuck it in on the sides of his crib) and goes down in his crib even if he is semi-awake.

Take heart, mamas, it gets easier.  For me it was at three and a half months, for you it may be at six or nine or twelve months, but it does get easier.  I had to learn to listen to Bennett.  He wanted his own quiet, dark room, but I didn't want him to have it.  I wanted him close to me, where I could hear him breathe, lean over and feel his heart beating in the middle of the night if I needed to.  I finally relented, and he is one happy, well rested baby now.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I walked to the library this morning for story time.  My neighbor friend - there needs to be a word for this - neifriend? frieneigh? okay, that's not working - asked if I wanted to attempt it and I was all, sure, no problem, it's nearly five miles round trip?  I can handle that, no biggie.

It was tough, hard work, but I made it.  I even huffed up the hill just before the library without falling over and begging for mercy.  Bennett enjoyed the songs and book reading, I think we will try to go again.

All of the walking is paying off.  It helps my mood A LOT and it's helping me lose weight, even though my food choices aren't the best (while walking today all I could think about was eating a cookie as a reward, but we don't have any in the house!!).  I tracked our walk with an app on my phone, we walked 4.8 miles, not too shabby.

The scale this morning showed another pound lost.  So that's 137.  I would like to be 130.  I don't actually know if I can get down to 130, for years my body has been happy at 135.  I would love to be 120, but I've had to accept that my body simply doesn't go there.  I should care less about the number, what's important is feeling good, and I feel better than I have in years.

When I was experiencing the worst of my holiday doldrums I walked four days in a row.  When my mom was here last Thursday we walked a couple miles to get our breakfast.  I never would have done that before meeting my neighbor friend, she's such a good influence.

J says all my walking is good for my future health.  He always thinks about long term health, he sees a lot of messed up hearts.  Thankfully the weather has been good this fall/winter.  We haven't had nearly as much rain as we usually do.  I was boiling hot during story time, I had way too many layers on, but it was 34 degrees when we left and I didn't want to be cold.

I've always disliked exercising, but when I lost Charlotte swimming helped immensely, and now that I have Bennett walking is my thing and I like it.  I walk all over this here town, and I've discovered so many wonderful things about the city I live in.

Walking improves Bennett's mood too.  He stays awake longer during our walks now, he loves looking around.

Happy, happy, happy, and ready for a quiet end to the week.  We've been busy and I'm ready for some down time.

Here is the boy surveying his kingdom.  He hates the bumbo, arches his back like it's the worst kind of prison, but he will tolerate it if he gets to look out the window.

giveaway winner!!

Me and screen shots don't get along.  The winner is #5, justaweebitcrazy, and I would show you the screen shot from random.org, but like I said, it's not my day, I can't make it work.  Thank you to everyone who entered.  Please send me your address justaweebitcrazy so I can send the book to you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

on vaccines, well checks, and russian nurses

I am going to rant for a bit.  I hope you'll still like me at the end of this post.

This is what I want to say: vaccines! growth charts based off formula fed babies! mean nurses (or are they medical assistants?)!  Frustrated!!  A little angry!!  Gah!

Now for the more coherent version.

Bennett is 12.4 lbs, a bit small according to his pediatrician, but his head circumference is good, as is his length - 24 inches - so no need to be concerned.  J and I are small people.  Bennett is a breastfed baby.  He is long and lean, his clothes don't fit, his diapers gape at front and back, but he is FINE.  I don't want to see your stupid growth charts with Bennett hanging on by a fingernail at the bottom.  And please don't compare my baby to formula fed babies.  The formula companies would like us to believe the products are similar, but they are very, very different.

Quick tangent: No, I will not feed him solids before six months.  And if he is happy waiting another month or two, we will.  I will not feed him rice cereal. It's not food.  It doesn't have nutritional value, it's bland, it is processed food, and I don't want his first food to be processed.

The nurse, oh my the nurse!  They ask the same questions at every appointment while they tap away on their laptop, or tablet, or whatever it is, which makes me crazy.  It's hard to give an average of wet and dirty diapers for Bennett because he poops once or twice a week.  When I tried to explain that she snapped, "Give me average!"

Same thing happened with the breastfeeding questions.

"How often he eat?"

"It varies, he eats when he's hungry."

"Give me average!"

I've had this nurse twice, her accent is so hard to understand, she's brusque, and not very nice at all.  She gave him his shots and then did the oral vaccine. He was so upset he could barely get it down and when he choked she just rolled him over to his side and thumped his back.  On the way home I was berating myself for staying quiet.  I am his advocate, why did I just stand there with my mouth hanging open?  Mama fail :(

Thankfully his doctor is nice and a strong advocate of breastfeeding.  If I didn't like her so much I would find another doctor.  The staff are terrible, terrible, terrible.

And the vaccines, oh the vaccines.  I don't want him to get sick.  I will do anything in my power to protect him.  I know all mamas feel that way, but when you lose a child that feeling is magnified (in my opinion).

Every single well child check makes me feel sick to my stomach with its choices and lecturing.  I hate standing there and smiling while I'm told not to carry the baby plus a hot drink, to use a car sear, to keep him off high surfaces if he is unsupervised.  I want to scream, I'm not stupid, I have common sense, I will raise my baby how I see fit, leave me alone!  But I was raised better than that so I smile politely and nod.

An additional bother: Bennett has very dry skin, just like his mama.  The doctor said it looks like he has eczema on his leg so we should start applying a gentle steroid cream.  I nodded my head, but was thinking, mmm, no way, not going to happen.  What the world is a "gentle steroid cream?"  I will use herbal ointments and Aquaphor and if that doesn't work we can discuss a different avenue.

Please tell me I am not alone in lying to the pediatrician.  Well, I try not to lie, but I do a lot of nodding and then go home and do my own thing.   

Whew.  I need some french fries, or chocolate, or something.  Sheesh, being a mama is hard sometimes. 

Bennett is ahead of the curve on a lot of his developmental milestones.  I am keeping that nugget of information close to my heart, even though I don't want to obsess about milestones.  Bennett will do things on his own time, he will, he will.

Who cares if he's small?

He is my fifth percentile sweetheart and I love him to pieces.


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