Why do Trees Grow?

We were in the car running errands today when Future President asked, “Mommy, why do trees grow?” I explained that the sun and rain feeds them, just like food does for him.

A few minutes later Future President told Junior, “Baby Brother, trees grow tall because of sun and rain. Like you when you drink milk.” And he said it with such sincerity and belief that Junior could understand.

He’s been a big brother for a month and while we’ve had some bumpy roads, I am hopeful that there is more love than jealousy. Tonight he even tried to put a Christmas bow on baby’s head.

Happy one month to our family of four.

Look Away

In his short life, Junior has been to the doctor and has been poked and prodded more times than I can count.

His first PKU screening in the hospital took 20 minutes and was so bad I almost demanded the tech stop bending his foot so hard to squeeze out enough blood. But we survived.

In the ER I left the room when he got his IV. I left my husband to take care of him while the nurse found a vein and I’m told he barely made a peep.

At the pediatric urologist, I stood by and tried to comfort him the best I could while a catheter was inserted and X-rays taken of his kidneys. He was so brave, swimming in the too big hospital gown, adorned with pink elephants.

Last Friday I sweated and almost cried as I watched a phlebotomist and a NICU nurse attempt to find a vein to draw enough blood for multiple tests. I sang songs and tried to soothe him while he was pricked not once but three times and in the end there was barely enough blood drawn to run the tests. He cried but recovered faster than me.

Today I left my baby with the doctor while he underwent a procedure to fix his tongue tie. I just couldn’t be in the room while he was hurting. The nurse wrapped him up and the doctor did the procedure while I stood outside the door. He cried for less than 30 seconds. I felt terrible that I couldn’t be there for him.

Next time I vow to be braver but today I had to look away.

Friday Reads

Glad it’s Friday? Me, too. It means one of my best friends is arriving from California to meet Junior and my husband is home more so he can help feed the baby his bottles. Happy Friday and happy reading.

Love the Amazing Race? Go behind the scenes.

A love letter from a son to his father, describing the most beautiful way to die.

I love this list of non-toy gift ideas. I’ve never thought of giving memberships to the zoo or a museum – what a great gift to give or receive!

This story about a woman who deserved a spot on Mercury 7 but was denied her rightful place because of her gender makes me both mad and glad to live in a slightly more female friendly world.

Ever wonder who keeps alarming and explicit images off of your social media feed? Meet them.

Three Weeks with Junior

The past week has been a blur of doctor’s appointments and weight checks. It’s also been a blur because “triple feeding” – feed baby at breast, then bottle, then pump, is an exhausting process, especially when baby’s favorite time to actually be awake is usually from 10pm to 2am.

But the good news is that between Friday and Sunday, Junior gained four ounces, and between Sunday and Tuesday, he gained six ounces, so he is finally gaining the weight that he should be and then some. We have another weight check tomorrow and I’m really hoping we can stop supplementing with a bottle, but until we get the all clear from the doctor, I offer him a bottle after every feeding if there are any signs of hunger. Because he had been losing weight instead of gaining, I also stopped giving him a pacifier, and I’m really ready to go back to that again.

The best big brother decided the honeymoon period after baby is over and has been acting out and disobeying. On the one hand, I’m willing to give him a break since so much of my time is devoted to Junior but on the other hand, I’m not willing to give in to his demands and bad behavior. There are consequences to not listening, and by the end of the week, most of his toys may have disappeared, along with five of his cars that are currently on top of the fridge.

I keep marveling over how different parenting is the second time around. I take a shower without worrying that the baby will wake up, because a little crying is just fine. When we have the chance to eat dinner as a family, if Junior doesn’t want to lay in his bouncer, I just put him on a blanket on the floor instead of holding him during the entire dinner.

We had to buy premie diapers and he barely fits into newborn clothes, but his last weight check was promising. Thank you to everyone who has sent thoughts and prayers (and food!) as we deal with this sometimes scary situation.

Oh, and I’ve told multiple lactation consultants and pediatricians I’m not afraid of formula. I’ve turned into that mom.

Friday Reads

The most hilarious tumblr ever – stock photos with sarcastic captions.

How decisions are made and the happiness quotient, a fascinating read that certainly provides insight into my marriage!

Breast is best…some of the time.

Two Weeks Later

Today is my official due date and I’m celebrating with a two week well child checkup and follow up with Junior’s pediatric urologist. But that’s nothing compared to the seven hours we spent in the ER on Sunday or the two visits to various specialists yesterday. For such a small guy who sleeps so much, Junior is exhausting.

In my week 1 post, I mentioned that we had a visit at his pediatrician’s office after a period of long sleepiness. On Saturday and Sunday he was again really lethargic, hard to wake up and was latching really poorly. On Sunday he had a strange pink color in his diaper and didn’t produce enough wet or poopy diapers. After a call to his pediatrician’s office, we decided to take him to the ER.

The pink in his diaper turned out to be crystals in the urine that is a sign of dehydration. The doctor ordered his blood sugar checked and it was too low. So my tiny baby was pricked and prodded and given an IV with fluids and glucose. His blood sugar didn’t rise rapidly enough so the endocrinologist ordered special labs and they waited for me to feed him to see if that would also help.

A lactation consultant came to help and her immediate theory was that his latch has been poor since birth and his blood sugars were related to poor feeding. The doctor was quick to agree and slowly it emerged that I am the worst mother ever for not noticing that he was getting insufficient nutrition.

Seriously, what mother wants to hear that the reason their baby is dehydrated and has low blood sugar is related to their breast milk and latch technique? Talk about guilt. And then we were sent home with instructions on supplementing and pumping after feeds. Basically, go home and spend all day figuring out how to feed your kid properly.

On Monday we had a follow up at the pediatrician’s office and we’re thankful
he gained weight overnight and he weighed in at 6 lbs. The doctor recommended he be evaluated for tongue tie and tight upper lip, so yesterday he was evaluated by an ENT. Fortunately he didn’t need the procedure but once again it’s up to me to train him to eat properly and use a nipple shield if necessary for a good latch, all the while continuing to supplement and pump after feedings. I am so physically and emotionally exhausted just three days after our ER visit I am THIS close to calling it quits and switching to formula.

Yesterday afternoon Junior had an ultrasound on his kidneys and a procedure called a VCUG that looks for reflux of the bladder. Today I go back to the urologist to discuss the findings of the tests.

I am thankful for modern medicine that has helped Junior in his few weeks of life. I am not thankful for terrible parental leave policies in this country and the fact that my husband has had to continue working throughout most of this ordeal. I am not thankful for the extreme pressure placed on mothers to provide food – not once has it ever been discussed at any of these appointments that formula is an option. Of course I know it is, but it would make me feel so much better if a medical professional said, hey mom, you’re doing the best you can. It’s okay to choose formula.

In the end, I just don’t want to worry whether my son is getting enough to eat and whether we are descending once again into the cycle of not eating and then becoming more tired, leading to low blood sugar. Parenting is a great joy but also a great burden.

The Best Big Brother

Future President is a spectacular big brother. On the day Junior was born, he insisted on bringing him a cake (a large cupcake was a good substitute) and we all sang happy birthday to the baby even before the baby had a name.

He is helpful and runs when I ask him to get something like a pacifier, diaper or blanket. He is very concerned when the baby spits out his pacifier and hates it when the baby cries in the car. He’s willing to sing him songs and lay on the floor with him. He even drives his precious cars near enough for baby to see them.

Much to my happy surprise, so far he hasn’t regressed in potty training and the only jealousy he’s demonstrated is complaining that it takes baby a long time to eat. He has, though, started to act a bit like a baby sometimes, wanting to cuddle more on our laps or imitates some of baby’s movements.

But there are more precious moments than not: he literally coos at the baby and says “he’s so cute” and “he’s so adorable” and “kitchy-coo-coo” (a phrase I think he picked up from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood).

We are incredibly blessed that the transition to two kids has been as easy as it has, despite many hiccups with Junior’s eating (which required a trip to the ER this weekend) and some other health issues. Big Brother has made it as simple as he possibly could.