Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rice and Beans: Month Four

I wrote this a week before Amélie's four month birthday and never posted it because I never got around to adding pictures...she's over five months now. oops!

Dearest Amélie,

Every month of your life has brought forth many changes, yet this fourth month was full of the most dynamic changes we have seen. Therefore, I will characterize this month in one word: Change.

The most drastic of all the changes was me going back to work. You and I had been in our blissful "mommy and me" bubble; with days overlapping and the routines, smiles, playtimes, and kisses running one unto the other. I could have lived the rest of my life enjoying every second of every one of those days and I'm very thankful that I really took advantage of that time. No awake time was spent with me finishing laundry or washed dishes. Nope, you became the center of my universe and I absolutely loved it. I'm not sure your daddy loved taking on new duties, but he never seemed upset. I dreaded even the thought of returning to work and those feelings were quantified once I actually did start.

That first week was extremely hard for both of us. I was not and still am not getting enough sleep, I miss you soo much, and you had a difficult time with waking up earlier and not napping enough during the day. But, by the end of that week, you had adapted quite well, where, I, on the other hand, have still not gotten used to it. People say it gets easier, people say I'll get used to it...well, what if I don't want to? It's been a month and it's still not easier and I'm definitely not getting used to it. Work is work and it's really not that bad. But, I miss you every day and I would rather be with you a million times over being at work. I try not to think about all the little things you're doing while I'm not there and I hope that they will be as shiny and new to you when I see them for the first time. I'm taking the time we have together and putting those memories somewhere where I can bring them up when I feel like crying when I'm at work and I'll treasure the moments we have together in the later hours of each day and every weekend because  they are what get me through each work week.

You, little bird, have changed and grown so much. You've acquired some new blondie/brown growth on the crown of your head. As your daddy pointed out, this will probably be the only time that I will ever purposely make your hair stick up because I absolutely love the way it curls at the end and makes you just a little more unique. The rolls on your legs have also gotten a little bit bigger and those cheeks have filled out just a little bit more. You're love for the milky is undeniable and we're seeing it in your growth. Your eyes continue to change, one day they're true blue and other days they're green. My guess is they'll be similar to your daddy's with blue around the edges and green close to the center.

As I share what you are like with others and from the kinds words of people that have met you, we have decided you have a golden personality. You have the most beautiful gummy smile where you stick your tongue out just a bit and lift your shoulders as your whole body smiles too. You are not quick to make judgements on people, instead you observe and then provide smiles as your way of approval. Also, fussing, crying, and grouchy faces are not your style. You much prefer being a happy laid back baby and we love you so much and appreciate that since your daddy and I are in fact pretty laid back people as well. We see this in the way you're okay with just hanging out in your crib while I get things ready for you and as you laugh hearty giggles randomly and purposefully throughout the day.

Your keen observations extend beyond people. Color and movement attract your attention and you're taking it all in and learning. You're a perky little thing with a lot of interest and we hope these characteristics stay with you for the rest of your life.

Thank you, mi amor, for allowing us to be your mommy and daddy. You have been the best change in our lives.

mommy and daddy

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back and Better Than EVER!

In two weeks I will officially be a stay-at-home mom.!

I've been away from the blog a while because life has been full. Full in a good, but also in a not so good way. There's lots to say, but I think I will save it for another day or perhaps only save it for our close friends (you'll know soon, girls!) because it really is very complicated. But, the gist of it is that we're moving out of the City, closer to the hubby's work; I'm not going to work anymore, the doggies will get a yard to run in again, and I get to be at home with my baby girl

I turned in my letter of resignation today and I can breathe just a little better and forget the fact that I'm tired on this dreary Monday morning because life will be less complicated soon.

There are lots of pictures and stories to be told about our growing girl and I'll get to those as soon as life slows down a bit.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just Because: Paris versus New York

Everytime someone new finds out Amélie's name, they very often will say,"Oh, like the movie!" Yes, just like the movie; although that is not the reason we named her Amélie. We do love that movie and I do love anything French, but we also simply loved the name. It fits our cutie patootie perfectly.

So, when I saw this, I just had to post it. Not only do I love Amélie, the movie, but I also really love Sex and the City. 

hehe...after rereading my post, could I have used the word "love" anymore than I did? I LOVE it! 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sleeping Baby = Happy Baby & Mommy

a note: or should I say a warning? This post is a bit long and may ramble on. I realized it was lengthy after completing it and was too lazy to go back and revise. Read at your own risk. =)

As I mentioned in Amélie's three month post, our little girl started what people term, "sleep training." I much prefer the term, "mommy needs some sleep soon or else everything is going to spontaneously combust!"

It was a serious problem here in our abode when I was just not happy. Our once sweet girl made a 180 in her attitude during one night and for almost two weeks I could not get her to sleep soundly enough for me to eat, get a drink of water, or even have a potty break. She would not let me put her down and the once successful use of the Ergo was no more. I remember a day(or more) where I literally held her in my arms all day because that was the only way she would sleep or be content. Try going to the bathroom with a baby in your arms or better yet, a baby that is screaming at the top of her lungs because she can't wait to eat a minute longer (She could have waited. I'm not starving my baby). I also started seeing a lot more of her at night. She was down to waking up two times during the night, but she started adding one and sometimes two more times. That was NOT good! It got to the point where I was really resenting Eric for getting a full nights rest and when he got home from work I was really mad at him all evening. I probably made it worse by not really letting him help me out in the evenings. I wanted to prove to myself that I could actually make her happy. Also, her bedtime routine was just not working anymore. We've been doing the same exact thing for a while now and the routine itself didn't mean anything to her anymore. It would sometimes take us up to three hours to get her to finally sleep. This meant no quiet time for Eric and me in the evenings and definitely no chance of us eating dinner together. It was bad. After dealing with this for two weeks, it was definitely time for a change.

We'd been hesitant to try any kind of sleep training before this because a lot of books/web say that a three month old is too young for such methods. It is also excruciating having to listen to your baby cry for any length of time and boy can Amélie cry. She's got some lungs on her! I finally convinced Eric that we needed to do something because I was exhausted and we both felt there was definitely some tension between us. I did some online research that night we decided to give it a try and found Dr. Weissbluth's method and his book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Eric also mentioned that one of his friends at work had used Dr. W's methods and that they recommended his book. The next day we bought the book and I finished it before Amélie's bedtime that night.

Dr. W's method is not about letting your baby cry it out. Instead, it's about learning your baby's cues so that you can start their sleepy time routine before they start to cry. You're supposed to watch for signs like yawning, eye rubbing, the far-off daze, and basically anything that will signal that you're babe needs to take a nap or go to sleep for the night. His book has a general overview of how his method works and then it's separated into different chapters based on the age of your child. We focused on the 2-4 month chapters. He gives two different ways of soothing your child for sleep, how much sleep he/she should be getting, how sleep benefits a child now and then years later, what a sleep schedule looks like and a lot of other information. I basically just took what we needed. Two things that we didn't follow per Dr. W's suggestions were/are letting the baby cry it out for up to an hour and leaving the room immediately after putting the her down to sleep.

Did it work? Heck yes! Amélie improved with every passing day. We actually went in reverse with her training because of our little vacation to Hawaii where there is a three hour time difference, but she's getting it a lot faster than the first time. Here are the details on our routine and her sleeping habits:

-We start by closing her blinds and turning on what we call her "sleepy time music," even though it's not music at all. It's actually Hawaiian white noise I downloaded onto my Ipod. We have a speaker docking station in her room and we play it on repeat for the duration of her nap or all night. We started using it after your suggestions on her previous sleep issues. It works!
-If it's bedtime, we change her into her pj's and give her a little massage on her legs and tummy with her "sleepy time lotion." Yes, we use the term "sleepy time" a lot. It's actually a lavender and chamomile scented lotion that's supposed to help her relax. I don't know if it actually works, but I think the scent itself and the action of the massage are a signal for her.
-If it's her nap time we skip the massage and move onto the next thing which is putting her in what we affectionally call "the bag" or sleep sack. She wears it every time she sleep because she's a crazy sleeper like her daddy and swaddling blankets don't stay put anymore. Her sleep sacks have an attached band that can be wrapped about her arms to create a swaddle. For a while we didn't swaddle her because she would fuss and cry about it, but now it's a necessity. She'll wake herself up with her flailing arms and legs and also scratch her face. She now loves to be swaddled. I can swaddle her and just leave her in her crib and she'll hang out, talk to herself, and just smile. I also like the fact that her little arms stay warm at night. Although...she's a Houdini. I'll check on her periodically throughout the night and sometimes only her hands will be peeking out right below her chin (I wish I could take a picture because she looks so freakin' cute!, other times it's one arm, and most often she'll get both arms out completely while she's asleep.
-After the lights are dimmed or turned off, the music turned on, and she is wearing the sack, we lay her down in her crib and give her the pacifier. This is the only time she gets a pacifier. Sucking really soothes her and every single time I give her the paci she immediately starts closing her eyes. It doesn't mean they stay closed, but this lets me know she really is tired.
-Depending on how tired I think she is I'll either leave her room after giving her a kiss and gently rubbing her brows (she loves this) or I'll stay for a few minutes and continue with the rubbing. Sometimes I'll just stand by the side of her crib and look at her. That's enough to calm her down and get her to sleep. I really think she just wants to know I'm close by. She goes down with almost no crying, although there have been exceptions. She will fuss a little and spit out the paci a couple times, but eventually she'll close her eyes and just fall asleep. It's been amazing!

Sleeping Habits:
-Since we started the sleep training Amélie's only been getting up once at night. She goes to sleep between 5:30 and 6:30. This time includes the routine outlined above and being fed if it's her bedtime. Nap time comes after her activity time, so there is no feeding involved. She'll sleep until about 2:30 or 3AM, get up to nurse, and then sleep until 7AM. That's when her day begins.
-After nursing at 7AM, we'll hang out until I notice that she's getting sleepy again. She either starts making her fussy/sleepy grunts or starts yawning. By the third yawn, she'll already be in her crib or in bed with me since Eric is up getting ready for work. I usually nap with her during this time. This is usually her longest nap of the day from about 8-8:30ish to 10ish.
-After our morning nap, the rest of the day goes pretty much the same: activity, signs of sleepiness, nap, and then nursing session. She naps from about 11:30 to 12:30 and then again at around 2:30 to 3:30. There have been times when she slept longer for those naps, but 45 minutes to an hour is the norm.

I hope to get her to a place where she can go to bed a little bit later so Eric can at least see her awake for a few minutes. Right now she's already asleep when he gets home from work. If she'll nap more, the idea is that she'll be able to stay up later. But for now, I am very happy. In the last few weeks I've actually sat down and had a relaxing quiet lunch every day and used the bathroom without screaming in the background. Amélie is also back to her normal super smiley self and has learned how to put herself to sleep. Everyone is happy. Woo for sleep training!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I just wanted to pop in and post a tutorial for a beautiful ruffle cake that I posted a while back on my other blog. I'm just in love with how cute it is and really, anything with sugar gets an A in my book.
Wouldn't this be the cutest cake for a little girl's birthday?



Rice and Beans- Month Three

Dear Amélie,

Happy 3 month birthday sweet girl!

This month brought forth your exploring nature and many new learning opportunities. The world seems to have expanded many more times for you during this month because you spent every day with your eyes wide open looking at what it has to offer you.

Those smiles that were so rare and seemed almost accidental last month became much more purposeful and frequent. Your smile makes my heart flutter and my love for you just oozes from every pore in my body. You smile so often now, but every smile makes your daddy and I just so excited! You've even included giggles along with those adorable gummy smiles. Not only do you smile at us, but that baby in the mirror now also makes you smile instead of crying or showing us that protruding lower lip.

You have become fascinated by things that previously did not seem to affect you in any way. The little toys hanging from your swing now capture your attention and seem to make you enjoy the ride that much more. The rattling figures I've attached to your bouncer have now become punching bags for your little fists as it seems you have learned that every time you hit them, they make noise. You have also started exploring everything by using your mouth. Your hands, the blankets, your toys...whatever you can find will go in your mouth.

That once horrible experience of having to be on your tummy has now become somewhat more enjoyable. You hold your head up high exploring the area around you and when you're on your back you're just happy as a clam looking around and sometimes watching me as I move around your room. It surprised me the first time I realized you could actually see me from a distance and how your little head turned as I moved this way and that. Your tummy time practice this month allowed you to learn how to roll onto your back. You're daddy and I were just beaming with pride as we watched you roll over and over again, yet, I have a feeling you're not excited as we are since you often start to whine once you've rolled.

Along with learning how to roll, you also learned how to stand strong on your legs. Your daddy and I will hold you with our hands under your arms and your feet placed on the ground and you will keep yourself up with your strong rollie pollie legs. Sometimes you'll even dance while moving your arms around when we play music.

The most challenging learning experience this month has been learning how to sleep. During most of this month there were ups and downs in the realm of sleeping. You have still maintained your status as a good night sleeper, but you started waking up more often and your naps were still sporadic and a struggle. After a week of your mommy not getting very good sleep, days where you cried and fussed incessantly, and obvious feelings of tension in our home; your mommy decided it was time for a change. Your daddy and I read up and we changed the way we did somethings in relation to your sleeping. You've improved a lot, but we still have some more work to do. You're now falling asleep in your crib every time and most of the time it takes less than 10 minutes. The first night we started the training, one of the stretches you slept was a total of nine hours, then you woke up once to nurse and then slept an additional 5 hours! We realized you were not getting enough sleep and that night proved that you definitely needed to make it up.

My little girl, you continue to amaze us and make us incredibly happy every single day. Even the rough moments are forgotten immediately after they are over. We're just so lucky to have ended up with you as our daughter.

We love you more than you can imagine.

Mommy and Daddy

p.s. This month you also grew hair!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Amélie- Week Twelve

A classic Amélie look. She's perfected this look as well as the protruding lower lip. 

You've got lots of character chiquita. We love you.

Amélie- Week Eleven

We're loving your smiles!

We love you baby girl!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Summer Tradition

Every summer while I was growing up, my immediate and extended family would travel up to the warmer climates of Sonoma county. Growing up in San Francisco meant not really understanding that the sun existed for more than a few hours at a time and that hot weather worthy of owning a pair of shorts really did exist. When it was time for our pasty "white" selves to get some color, we would head out to Agua Calientes to soak our cold bodies in warm natural spring pools and enjoy a long day of overeating and delicious cool treats.

This was a tradition my brother and I most definitely looked forward to each year. I remember us gathering our supplies, getting into our blue Ford with the bench seat in back, traveling for what seemed like forever, and then finally arriving to our destination. Our trip included a stop at a deli beforehand where we would buy sandwiches, macaroni salad, drinks (for some reason I really remember drinking "Clearly Canadian"), and whatever supplies were needed. The place we'd spend the day at was a park with three pools outside and a really large grassy area for BBQ'ing and playing. I have soo many great memories of our days there. We would always visit the snack bar for rainbow sherbet and the pool with the really high diving board was freezing! Then, after a long day basking in the sun and enjoying family, we would make one last stop before heading home- a vanilla cone dipped in chocolate from DQ was the perfect ending to our lazy summer day.

A few weeks ago my brother (the oldest one of the three and the only one that experienced these summer visits to Sonoma) suggested that we continue the tradition we had as kids. I thought this was a brilliant idea and I got started making plans. Well, it turned out that the place we visited as children is now a members-only park. poop. But, I was able to find another park that would provide us with the same memories and we drove out there this past Saturday. This time, it would include all my brothers, their significant others, our mom, the hubby, our children, and new memories/traditions for them.

{our bathing beauty}

{the hubby called her our Amish baby because of her bonnet}

{the cousins, Corbin and Amélie}

{three generations. Amélie enjoyed pool time by 
sleeping and dipping her feet in the water. It was a very hot day.}

{my brother Gabe and his baby boy. the boys were the only 
ones that actually went in the water.}

We had a wonderful time. I'm sure this is something we'll be continuing. 

Thanks Gabilan for reminding me of our great summer tradition and for driving up to make it happen. We love you!

Rice and Beans: Month Two

To my sweet Amélie,

It sounds so cliché, but the time really is flying by. On this particular day you are actually closer to three months, but the days are really moving by so quickly that I have not gotten a chance to write this. But I cannot allow myself to skip detailing your exciting second month of life. 

Although you started out as an itty bitty thing at just a little over 5 pounds, you spent your second month making up for it. You have created a very good relationship with your food source (your mama) and those once skinny legs have filled out and developed little rolls. Those kissable cheeks have gotten bigger and have received enough kisses from me to last you over a lifetime.  

You are my sweetest, my nena, chiquita, hermosa, preciosa, bonita, rubia. Over the last month, you and I have created a deeper understanding of what our roles mean. I am amazed every single day by you- your movements, your tiny nails, your fleeting smiles, those big blue eyes, the perfect shape of your lips, your adorable nose, your ability to identify us as your parents, and...I could go on. There have been silent moments during the night when I cannot get enough of your smell and your soft baby skin and instead of returning your to your crib, I sit rocking you, loving you, and eventually sneak you into bed with me because I cannot let you go. I have loved every second I have spent with you during your second month and I dread the idea of eventually going back to work. In my ideal world, my only job would be to be your mommy. 

This month introduced your refusal to sleep during the day and your little fighting spirit came out. You detested having to sleep although you very well, as we did, know that sleep was what you needed. By the end of the month, we came up with a happy medium to your naps. You started to learn it was okay to fall asleep and perhaps even sleep in your crib during the day. 

During this month you were able to meet your cousin Corbin, uncle Gabe, and auntie Amberly. You enjoyed their visit by sleeping almost the entire time they were here. When we compared Corbin to you, your small size was only emphasized. Although he's much larger than you now, by this time next year, we probably won't notice much difference between you two. It's exciting for your uncle and I to imagine you two kids growing up together and sharing your milestones with one another. We are looking forward to creating new traditions as well as continuing ones that we had growing up. 

Chiquita, you have taken after your mommy in many ways. One of those ways being your love for warm weather and cozy environments. Your second month welcomed some very HOT days. Not only did I get to put you in all those cute little summer outfits I never thought you'd wear, but you slept like the baby that you are. Those hot days spent walking around town were blissful for both of us!

Whenever I look at you I see a little bit more of me. Your first few days I thought you resembled your daddy in almost every feature, but you're now looking like a mini blondie baby version of me. You have very light brown hair that has a tint of red and it's slight wave is transformed into curls when it is moistened. I love looking at your eyes as you nurse and have noticed how those once invisible lashes have become darker and longer. I'm in love with the little crease at your wrists that has developed because of your cute chubbiness. I miss you when you're sleeping and I welcome every new day because it means getting to look at you longer, smelling your sweet scent, and enjoying every bit of your being.

It is truly amazing to see the way you change and develop every day. Your "fur"brothers even enjoy getting to see the new things you'll do each day.

The weekends are some of our favorite days of the week. The presence of your daddy makes our days complete. We all enjoy sleeping in together and your daddy and I love waking up to your wide eyes and "agoos." We've enjoyed lazy days and beautiful sunny days strolling around the city. You love being carried by your daddy in the ergo and will fall asleep almost simultaneously.  We may be a bit biased, but we think you are the cutest baby in the world. You are the first one we kiss every morning and you're the last thought in our minds as we fall asleep. 

My muñeca, you have gone from a tiny thing to a girl with a big personality this month. You have shown us what you want and that you expect it immediately. At the beginning you were unhappy with tummy time and now you hold your head up so strong and high. You won't accept the bathwater unless it's perfectly really warm; just like your mommy. You will let mommy take a shower but only if it means you get to play. Your nap time and eating schedule is exactly how you want it every single day.

Amélie, you have brought us so much joy. We have fallen even more in love with you this month and we're sure every month following this will only bring the same. You are the light of our lives and we are incredibly thankful for all 10 pounds of you!

We love you,

mommy and daddy

p.s. Here are her stats from her two month wellness visit. 
                 weight: 9 lbs. 13 1/2 ounces (4 lbs. and 2 1/2 ounces bigger!)
                 height: 21 3/4 inches (3 inches longer)
                 head circumference: 38 1/2 cm (up 4 cm from birth)

      Our little girl was in the 20th-30th percentiles for all of her measurements. We've got a chiquitita!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Mom Cut

I've been having the urge to cut my hair. Could this possibly be due to having a baby? When I mentioned to the hubby that I'm thinking of cutting my hair he gave me a look that said,"Oh no." Apparently he has some kind of association with women getting "mom" cuts after having a baby. I wonder if this is true because I also questioned myself when I started to think about getting a new do. Will I be following a trend or could it be the fact that Amelie loves looking at my hair and then grabbing onto it like her life depends on it?

The last time I really chopped my hair was about six years ago. After that I told myself I wouldn't cut my hair again until it was the longest it ever had been in my life and long enough that I could donate it to Locks of Love. Unfortunately, my hair takes forever to grow(it must be because it's curly) and so I don't know if I can donate it now. But, I had good intentions. I really loved my hair when it was short, but I really like it a lot now. I'm really torn about whether or not to cut my hair now and so I need some advice. Who better to ask than the girls I trust. Cut or no cut?

I was recently inserting a new picture into a frame and found one of me with short hair hiding behind the picture. It is my school/work picture from 5 years ago and made me think about this whole hair decision again. I started looking for pictures to take along with me when I get my hair done and I think the picture below is basically the look I'd be going for if I cut it.

{i won't look this adorably angelic, but you get the idea}

{this is what it's looking like now. 
although it's actually much longer than it looks here}

{this is what it looked like when my hair was shorter.
 i'm thinking of going shorter than this now. 
oh yeah, when it's shorter I often straighten it since it's fast and easy.}

I have an appointment to get my hair done this weekend and if I'm going to cut it I think this will be the time. 

Should I get the "mom cut" or not? Did any of you mommies get a new "do" after baby?

Amélie- Week Nine

Your personality is really coming out baby girl.

We love you more each day.

Amélie- Week Eight

You are our sunshine!

We love you sweet girl.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wanted: Naps

We have an amazing nighttime sleeper. She usually goes down for the night around 8, gets up about every 3 1/2 hours (or longer) for her feedings, and will sleep until 9 in the morning. Our night feedings are quick and easy: diaper change, feeding, burping, and then back to bed. We're usually done in about half an hour but they can take up to 45 minutes depending on how quickly Amélie's eating. Since we brought her home she's been sleeping in her bassinet beside our bed at night. Yet, I've been enjoying snuggling up and co-sleeping with her after her last night feed. We both tend to sleep really well during that time and I love waking up with her big eyes looking at me in the morning. Basically, we're golden when in comes to night sleeping! But...daytime sleeping/napping...a whole other issue.

Actually, our sweet little bean had been sleeping as we'd planned in her crib during her naps. I thought we had the whole schedule thing going really well. She'd eat, play for about an hour and when she started acting sleepy, I would wrap her up, hold her, and she'd fall asleep fairly quickly. I'd then put her down in the crib. Now, Amélie is resisting sleep during the day and sometimes her evening bed time. We still have the same routine of eating and playing, but now when I can tell she's sleepy and follow the routine we had before, she will fuss and cry...and cry at the top of her lungs! It's to the point where I have to put her in the ergo carrier and walk around for at least an hour in order to get her to sleep. Then, setting her down in her crib is like deactivating a bomb. I have to put her down slowly, carefully, and without removing my hands from her body for another five minutes. Usually this will work but other times she'll be up again in 5-15 minutes.

I mentioned Amélie's new sleeping habit to my brother and he said my nephew went through something similar when he was about the same age as her so I'm hoping she will get over it as he did.  I told my dad about our new issue, which, coincidentally began once he left us to go back to Guatemala, and he thinks that she's gotten used to sleeping in the ergo and that's why she has a hard time falling asleep otherwise. We've used the ergo almost every day since she got home because it's easy for me to walk the dogs and run errands alone and she's always fallen asleep in it. But, we've also used the stroller as often and it does not have the same effect. She also does not like the carseat! Sooooo....I'm stumped and frustrated.

Yesterday,  we decided to try putting her down in the bouncer, which, before today hadn't really proven to be a soother for Amélie. It proved to be successful during her second afternoon nap. I tried it again today and it didn't work. We've tried the stroller, driving, rocking her, the swing, the bouncer, lying with her, holding her and jiggling her around, swaddling her, laying her in her crib with her sleep sheep on, playing her lullaby CD, nursing her, the pacifier, singing to her, and other variations of soothing her by holding and none of these things consistently work. The ergo carrier seems to be the only thing that does actually work every time, yet she will still cry and fuss for a while before she actually falls asleep. It just breaks my heart when she cries. Those little tears make me feel so bad. So if there is ANYTHING, anything at all that I can do to prevent her from crying and shedding tears, I will do it.

Does anyone have any suggestions, answers, magic spells, prayers for us?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Amélie- Week Seven

We can't imagine life without you sweet girl.

She's discovered her legs and cannot stop moving them. She loves pushing on the armrest of the glider when I'm nursing her. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Amélie- Week Six

We can't believe how big she's getting!

Amélie, we love waking up to your sweet baby sounds and big eyes. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Breastfeeding: Friend or Foe

It's time to talk about boobs.

Definitely not a subject I would ever think to write anything about, but I definitely have a lot to write about now. I could write a novella about my boobs. It would be my Boobagraphy.

The story begins on a sunny day in July- the 12th to be exact. As would be expected from myself and the medical staff, my boobs would now be supplying our wee babe with everything she'd need to thrive. So, I said to the twins, "Girls, we've got a big job and you've got a lot of work to do!" They were not completely in agreement and so they took their sweet time. They also did not think too fondly of all the criticism and fondling by random people that wanted to "help."

Well, ladies, we all know how it starts. I knew it was going to be hard. Everyone told me it was going to be tough and that I had to just stick with it and it would definitely get easier. At this point, I can agree and I'm very proud of myself for staying with it. It feels amazing to be able to provide so much for our little bean and really see the effects of it as she grows and fills out. But, it was not an easy road to get here.

Since Amélie arrived earlier than her due date, she wasn't up for the sucking she'd have to do to get herself some grub. She'd latch on, but really just spend her time playing around and not really sucking. When the lactation consultant at our hospital made her first visit to our room, she immediately suggested that I pump. The idea was that by pumping, my body would get the whole system working sooner and more efficiently in order to feed the babe. So, I pumped and pumped and pumped my little heart(boobs) out to produce almost nothing those first few days. Mere drops appeared and I felt extremely frustrated and emotionally drained. How come it wasn't working?! It took about a good 4 days for anything more than a teaspoons worth to actually come out. It was quite a victory for me when I actually got a half ounce of real milk out.

During the time we were in the hospital, a lactation consultant visited us to check-up on my progress and to make sure that Amélie was latching on correctly and actually sucking every day. It was really nice and all to have the help, but man, it was a lot of stress on me to produce and a lot of times I felt like I wasn't doing my job. With the suggestions of the nurses and LCs, this is what our routine looked like during our first week:

1st: Try and feed Amélie. Force my boob in her mouth and hope for the best. Try one boob and then the next. She tended to prefer one boob over the other. We'd sometimes have success with that one. 
2nd: Pump. During that first week I truly detested that dumb pump. It was a little painful and until day 4, it didn't really feel or look like it was working. 
Repeat! Over and over again every two hours all day!

{the scary pump I've been using at home and used part of the time we were at the hospital}

Well, eventually we had success with both-the pump and Amélie. Yet, when we returned to the lactation center a week after her birth, I once again felt like a failure. Using their method of weighing her before and after a feeding, the nurse practitioner said Amélie needed more. That meant supplementing her with formula in order to get her weight up. Ugh! She also suggested I try this and that product to increase milk production and also rent a hospital-grade pump. Ugh, again! I was sucking at this whole breastfeeding thing and I just broke down and started crying in their front office. Even though I felt like they were telling me I wasn't doing my job(I know they weren't on purpose) and I really just wanted to cry and punch them in their faces; I took their advice and swallowed those pills, drank that tea, and used the big scary pump. The results: they worked. I'm a milk making machine and my baby's got some rolls on her legs!

Now, Amélie's feeding like a champ. I do wish I had some kind of gauge on the boobs to measure how much she is getting during each feeding. I'm just curious. I also still pump maybe once or twice a day after she eats because I'm working on creating a stockpile of milk in the freezer for when I go back to work.

I'm really happy I made it through the first weeks and that Amélie's gaining weight. When we went back for her two week check-up she had gone over her birth weight after losing a little more than she was supposed to and I have a feeling she's going to be right where she should be when we go to her two month appointment in a few weeks. Aside from supplementing with stinky formula(it really does stink) for two days, Amélie's been gaining her little rolls only from drinking the boob milk I worked so hard to get. So take that well-meaning lactation center ladies!

p.s. I'm in the market for a pump of my very own! woo. Can you sense the excitement or sarcasm? I'm looking at either a Medela or Ameda since that's what I had more success with. But, the Ameda has always been the hospital-grade one, so I don't know if I can compare it with the one you can buy at the store. Anyways...does anyone have any suggestions/comments/advice/whatnot on any pumps?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rice and Beans: Month 1

Dearest Amélie,

What a month it has been! What started as a quick visit to the doctors turned out to be your birthday! Although you unexpectedly showed up a few weeks early, we couldn't be happier to have gotten to meet you. I'm especially happy because I get to spend a few extra weeks with you during my time off. Your daddy always said he'd hoped you would arrive a bit earlier because he thought I'd enjoy getting more time with you and he couldn't have been more right.  Since the moment we met you, your daddy and I have just been head over heals in love with you and I wish there were more hours in the day because I can't get enough of your sweetness.

Along with your arrival came a few other surprises. You did a very good job of fooling us all about your size, especially the doctors, who predicted that you would be well over seven pounds, but out you came only carrying 5 lbs. and 5 oz! You were so tiny that the clothes I hoped to bring you home in were much too big and the only thing that fit you were a pair of preemie pj's your Abuelita Cookie bought for you. You really looked so adorable in your ducky pj's!

Nena, you also played around in mommy's tummy and turned yourself around in the last few hours before we met, so that it made it quite difficult for me to get you out. That's why you came out all bruised and bumped on your little head; it took us all a little (okay, maybe a lot!) extra work to welcome you into the world. The combination of your itty bitty self and the bruises on your cutie head are part of your other surprise- jaundice. It wasn't a big deal, but we did get to spend a few extra days in the hospital so that you could experience the bili lights; which, you absolutely loved.

My girl, in the first two weeks of your life, your daddy really thought you were sleeping 23 out of the 24 hours of the day. Perhaps he was exaggerating a bit, but you really did sleep A LOT! Lucky for us, sleeping has not been much of a problem for you. I wondered if you were going to have a tough time differentiating between day and night, but if you did, I never noticed. Aside from two crazy days where all you wanted to do was fuss and eat, you've been really wonderful about keeping your schedule. Mommy and daddy really appreciate this!

Your daddy has been the most fabulous supporter to me and a wonderful daddy to you. I really loved watching the sweet way he held you in the first days of your life and the way he speaks to you is just so adorable. He's totally in love with his "Sugar." Since going back to work, we're definitely missing him, so we're trying to make sure you're awake in the evenings when he makes it home. Since you and I have spent so much time getting to know each other, you're daddy hasn't quite figured out how you like to be held and what makes you completely calm. But, he's got lots of patience and is trying his best to make you happy.

My heart has completely opened and is spilling with love for you, baby girl. I cannot put into words what I feel for you and how unbelievable it is to have you in my life. You are truly a miracle. I love the bond that we've created by spending time looking into each other's eyes, by breathing together, and by getting to know each other's scents. You definitely know it's me and I feel very special knowing that I have the ability to soothe you when no one else can and by providing what you need to live and thrive. Although you started out as somewhat of a daddy's girl, I believe you are most definitely a mommy's girl now. I look forward to every moment with you, mi amorcito, and I cannot wait to experience more of life with you.

Your first month has had many firsts. You had your first bath, which, you did not like. But, now you're a fan if the water is just the right temperature. Chiquita, you have "walked" around our neighborhood many times, the first being within the first hour of arriving home. You especially love going for a walk in your ergo. We love it too! You rode the bus for the first time, to go to our first "mommy and me" group. You went to your first yoga class with your little friend Sophie and her mommy Jen. We ventured out to downtown as a family on the muni train for your first city tour. You and I have also had many little shopping trips, mostly to our fave store Tarjay, to buy things you need.  Oh, baby girl, you also had your first photo shoot! You are quite the adventurous girl.

There's definitely been some hurdles, but many, many, many unforgettable happy memories to keep in our hearts during this first month together. I am so overjoyed. Us three, we're meant to be; just like rice and beans.

We love you Amélie Sophia.

-Mommy and Daddy