Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Little Extra Something

It was around two in the morning. In the dimly lit hospital room, I nursed my baby, studying this new little person. His sweet face that reflected a little of each of his siblings, his tiny fingers, his slender delicate arms. Carefully, I unwrapped the swaddling blanket to check out his feet. There is something so precious about those miniature newborn feet. Caressing his soft skin, I looked at his feet. Something didn't seem right. I slowly counted his toes. I counted again. I turned on the light. I paged the nurse. On his left foot, I kept counting to six! Surely I was mistaken. The nurse came in, casually looked at his foot, and calmly replied, "Interesting. Usually it is not a fully formed toe." Usually? As in, this is a normal thing to have happen? Not in my little world!

After seeing the orthopedic doctor last week, we have a decision to make. Do we have it removed or leave it alone? The doctor left it up to us, though he did say it would be hard to find shoes that wouldn't rub and irritate his foot. That little toe is a part of him and I can't imagine changing how God made him. Thankfully we have several months to decide. They typically do this surgery around 6-9 months of age.

Meanwhile, it has bothered the kids that that little piggy doesn't have something to do in the nursery rhyme. After many ideas, Anna came up with "this little piggy went to the library". No, it doesn't rhyme, but it will do.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm not complaining. Really.

Peter doesn't sleep very much or for very long. I have been trying to keep things in perspective. I mean, there are people with much worse problems than a sleepless baby. I keep thinking of those future saints who undergo being tortured for the faith. Then I think, isn't sleep deprivation a form of torture? I am averaging two hours of sleep a night. On a good night. Right now I am still functioning but I have a feeling it is going to catch up with me soon. I am offering up these sleepless nights and crazy days for a very special and worthy intention.

My arms are so tired. Not just from holding him, but from our crazy nursing sessions. I am happy to report that he has been gaining weight and we have been able to completely eliminate the formula supplement. However, any visions of sweetly nursing a newborn are not happening here. He squirms and twists his body the whole time. He pops on and off. He arches his whole body until he looks like the letter u. It is like a wrestling match.

I think I could probably handle all this but then there is Therese. She has been waking at least once a night as well. During the day, she is taking advantage of me being tied down when nursing/wrestling. She has colored the walls. She has been taking off her diaper, sometimes with messy results. I had to call poison control this week when she got a hold of stovetop cleaner and emptied the whole bottle. I was not sure if she ingested any, so I made the call. She is fine.

This morning, I finally laid Peter down at 4:15 and fell into the bed. Fifteen minutes later, Tony's alarm went off to go to work, waking Peter, Therese, and me. I cried.

How am I typing right now, you may ask? He is asleep in the snuggli and I am perched on the edge of the chair. Therese is currently naked. Again.

Thank goodness I find him so irresistably cute.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Still Wishing...

...that she was the baby.

Here's where I have found her sleeping this week...

Waiting for mom to finish feeding the baby.

She even turned on the music and started the motor before climbing in by herself.

Monday, September 24, 2012


When we lived in Georgia, we had some wonderful friends with kids of babysitting age. Their girls would watch my kiddos on a regular basis. Ben had a special fondness for their oldest daughter and she for him. He called her "Kath-a-leen" with such a sweet lilt. She would paint his big toenail a nice bright red. I always thought that the nail polish was so ironic as the first time we went to their house Ben managed to spill bright nail polish in the exact middle of the room with nice white carpet! They remained great friends in spite of that.

I received an e-mail earlier this week from my friend to let me know that Kath-a-leen is all grown up and married. She had her first baby late in August. I teared up as I read that as soon as she knew she was having a son, they decided to name him Benjamin in honor of my Ben.

I had just wondered a few days earlier if anyone would ever name a child after my guy that I miss so much. Every time I look at Peter, I see his brother staring back at me. They don't look exactly alike, but there is a strong likeness. He also holds his little hands exactly like Ben did.

My heart is happy to know that there is someone who remembers my son with such fondness. I hope to one day meet her little Benjamin and I will be sure to paint his toenail red.

Monday, September 17, 2012

God Will Provide

With the arrival of Peter, we officially outgrew our little minivan. It was not a huge issue, though, for Sophie is away at college most of the time. We were even able to get her a car. Mind you, it is two years older than she, but it is in good shape. She was already to set out to Franciscan in late August when a freak storm blew through and flooded our street. Her car was parked in the street. Her car sustained some water damage to the brakes and the electronic thingy that was housed under the passenger seat. Tony ended up driving her back to school til we could get the car repaired.

Sophie's soaked vehicle

We have been searching for a bigger van for some time now, without any luck. The 12 passenger vans are either too expensive or too worn out. I kept searching anyway, hoping for a small miracle. We knew we would trade Tony's truck for the new van, so one day last week, we decided to post it for sale on Craigslist, just to see if we would get any bites. Twelve hours later, the truck sold! Then I began to panic. We did not have a van! Tony would need to be able to get back and forth to work somehow. But luckily Sophie's car was fixed and just sitting there waiting for her. I realized that we would probably have to tell Sophie that she could not have her car until we found a van. Talk about feeling guilty. I beat myself up over this, feeling like I did the wrong thing, all because of my desire for a bigger vehicle.

Good-bye old friend!

I talked to a friend about this and she reminded me that God will provide what we need. He already made sure that Sophie's car was here and not in Ohio.

I continued looking at vans, with a deadline of two weeks, for that is when Sophie would be coming home for the weekend. While searching, I noticed an ad for an 8 passenger van. I wanted a 12 passenger, but all we really need are 8 seats. I called the number and I knew then that this was probably the answer to prayer.  It had been her father's van before he got ill. When he died, she kept it for sentimental reasons, but never drove it much. She wanted to make sure whoever bought it would take care of it and truly needed it. I know God's hand was in this, because I had not even thought of this possibility before. God gently led me to realize our need could be met in a way other than what I wanted.


God's provision!

And the best part? We were able to buy the van with the money from our truck with enough left over to pay for taxes and tags! God is good.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Too quiet

I looked up from feeding Peter and saw Tony on the couch with Jack and Anna. They were reading a new library book. But where was Therese? It was quiet upstairs. Too quiet. I went up the stairs with images of all sorts of disastrous messes in my head. But as I peered into my room, my heart melted. There she was, curled up in the crib that not so long ago was hers. She was sound asleep...sucking contentedly on Peter's pacifier. Methinks she might miss being the baby.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My own best advocate

Man, oh man. I wish that I could just trust the health care professionals whose care I am under. But unfortunately, this is not the case. I wonder if they really listen at all sometimes.

Low milk supply is supposedly helped by taking fenugreek. I bought some in the form of an herbal capsule upon the recommendation of the lactation consultant and started taking the dosage on the bottle. I definitely saw an increase in milk, but it seemed like Peter was having stomach pains and his stool started getting foamy. I could not prove that it was because of the fenugreek, but I stopped taking it and he seemed better. But my milk production went back down too. Also, during that time, but I did not associate it with the supplement, my thyroid symptoms seemed to flair up. I know this is a possibility at any time since I had post-partem thyroiditis after Therese was born. I discussed all this with the lactation consultant and she suggested trying a drug called domperidone to increase milk production. I don't know why I felt comfortable trying an herbal supplement without researching side effects, but not the drug. So I did some digging. Both these things can interfere with thyroid issues! The lactation consultant knew of my thyroid history, yet did not warn me about this possible side effect.

I had my blood drawn today to check my thyroid levels. I will know in about a week if what I suspect is true. I am having almost all my old signs of trouble. Weak muscles, excessive tiredness (I realize that most of these signs can also just be because I have a new baby, but that is how I went undiagnosed so long two years ago), heart palpitations, weight loss, hair loss, and emotional irritability.

In the next few weeks, we have so many doctors appointments for Peter and me that trying to keep up with school and trying to pump extra milk for Peter is almost an impossibility. It would be nice to think that these doctors would give me all the information I need to make wise choices for me and my son.

I have more I would like to say but it's time to give Peter his bottle of formula and then pump my milk and then make dinner and then and then....

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sleep...oh how I long for thee

Isn't it interesting how babies don't seem to understand that nighttime is sleepy time? Peter usually sleeps the longest stretch mid-afternoon, waking just when dinner is needing to be prepared and hungry toddlers are pulling on my shirt and screaming louder than seems humanly possible. Oh, I will figure out how to juggle all this soon enough, but my sleep-deprived brain is a little slow these days.

Meanwhile, Peter still struggles to gain weight. We are supplementing with a little formula at each feeding and I am pumping when I can, though he feeds so frequently, it is challenging.

Anna celebrated her 8th birthday this weekend. I did not take one picture. I was nursing a baby the whole time. We did a craft party. Anna and her friends made little tote bags out of old t-shirts. They made their own personal chocolate cakes in coffee mugs. Here is the link for the recipe. Thankfully my sister was here to help me. Thankfully some of the moms also stayed and helped. I am so blessed to have such wonderful people all around me.

Here are some new pictures of Peter...

Snoozing with dad

more nap time

sweet baby hand

complete relaxation

Peter gets his bottle from his cousin Maddie

Anna and Peter- Anna is wearing her "fake glasses" she got for her birthday.

getting ready for his first tub bath

wondering why everyone in the house is in the bathroom watching

Look how big she is and how tiny he is!