Friday, November 28, 2008

The "right way" to parent

You try to be a good mom - and sometimes, it seems that no matter what you do - you're doing the wrong thing for your kid.

I worry all the time that the vaccinations Sadie gets are the wrong thing. But then I worry that if I didn't get her vaccinated, her weakened immune system could come back at any time and bite her in the ass.

Now, the FDA is reporting trace amounts of melamine and some acid in infant formulas. And again, I blame myself for being a bad mom because she's had primarily formula. Even when she was sick and needed my milk, I couldn't provide.

I'm sure every mom goes through this, and I'm almost positive this will continue and only get worse as she gets older.

I think I'm slowly starting to realize there is no "right way" when it comes to parenting or being a mom. I'm just going to keep trying as hard as I can to do best for Sadie - I know I'm going to make some mistakes along the way, but that's how we learn right?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Thinking about today really makes me so happy and thankful for everything we have. I don't need turkey or cranberry sauce - just a melting stove to put the thanks in thanksgiving.

The story (sorry it took so long, but I was at my sister's while the house was being aired out from the smoke)

Well, I was baking sweet potatoes and was on my second batch (all in preparation for Thanksgiving). I took the batch out of the oven and set it on top so they could cool and I turned the oven off.

I went thru the house making the bed and doing random stuff. In the background, I heard a beeping noise and thought, that's funny - I turned it off. So I went back in and turned off the oven. But I knew something was already wrong because of the smell.

So I hit the off button and it started beeping again showing two letters "ER" which I assume means "error" or "get the hell out before you have to go to the ER."

Call my husband and am like, how the hell do i turn this off? And he's like, I'm on my way home.

Well, I notice smoke start to seep from the oven and was like, oh MY GOD - so I opened the door to listen for the sound of gas......When I opened the oven door, it had gotten so hot on the inside that it was melting and IT FELL OFF.

I was like, OH SHIT at that point and grabbed the baby, called 911 and got out so fast that I put my pants on inside out AND backwards.

Now, have a good laugh because that's what I've been doing all day to cope with this.

911 - What is your emergency?

Me and Sadie sans oven. I'm holding what used to be the door

The firefighters left a huge hole in my floor. Damnit.

Moving the stove out.

My oven was around 900 degrees AFTER they took it outside.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

White Castle

Is still the best post-wedding, post-bar crawl, post-drunk food ever created.

Stupid little lamb

Should have put money on how long it would be until we all saw her "under parts" last night.

By the way, I didn't see a stripper pole in the middle of the dance floor - not proper for a wedding my dear.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Things I talk to the big guy upstairs about

Keep all the sick babies all over the world healthy and happy.
To give strength to their mother's.
Protect my cousin who has gone back to fight in the middle east.
Thanking him every single day for our daughter and my wonderful family and friends.
To keep Erik's job safe.
Being thankful that I'm still walking.
Always, always I am grateful for having another day here.

(Although I've thought about it - I don't ask for help winning the lottery)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cheap AND poor

So when I went to leave a comment on my friend's blog I had to enter in the usual word verification - guess what random letters I was given?

"cheappoor" Cheap - Poor.


Monday, November 17, 2008

The gym

Joining tomorrow for the first time since I got pregnant.

I was going to do the community center in town but they are pretty small and just as pricey as Cardinal. Erik can get me a discount through work too.

The best part is I can go with Mary - that way Sadie and Jake will have each other to play with. Or kill.

Now that the cold has set in I really feel lethargic and blobby. Ugh. I just want to FEEL good. Maybe looking good will come along with that package.

Money matters

I don't even want to know what our next gas bill is going to be.

I wish we had a fireplace.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The "ex" - Cue dramatic music

I've been having these beyond vivid and extremely bizarre dreams about Jeff. Most of you remember him. You know - hole in the roof, Mr. Badass Marine, full of rage combined with a heaping dose of jealousy.

There is no logical explanation as to why I continue to have these dreams about him. They started when I got pregnant. I don't think about him as I drift off to sleep. And besides the occassional sighting, we haven't talked since it all ended almost 5 years ago.

Last night's dream was by far the wierdest. Erik sold the house we live in now to move to dumpsville USA - Rockdale. Go figure, the neighbor directly behind us was Jeff. The day we moved in they were having this huge going away party for him - he re-enlisted like an idiot.

Long dream short - I was later arguing with Erik on the steps of our new, dumpy home about why he dragged me out here, etc - when I screamed at Erik to "leave me the f*** alone." In comes Jeffarius to the rescue. "Are you okay Michelle?" "Did he hurt you?"

"I'm fine," I mutter and then Jeff comments on the baby I'm holding - saying that she looks just like me. That was about the only good part of the dream. Then Jeff kinda gives Erik this manly "you snagged a good one" hug and said "Watch out, she'll break your heart."

I think at some other point in the dream he came over with pictures of his son but that's a bit cloudy to me.

So as I tell Erik about this bizarre sleep story I can't help but wonder why the hell I give a shit. Like, as I'm telling him about the enlist part, I honestly was thinking "could he be that stupid" then followed by the thought of "why the hell do I care?"

And when I woke up man was my back sore - which got me thinking to my first back surgery and then thinking to Jeff because he was there for that ordeal. Which is maybe why I had the dream?

Any dream interpretation would be greatly appreciated!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jon and Kate plus 8

So, I have one baby. One little, teeny - for the most part - agreeable little sweetheart.

I'm so damn exhausted from lack of sleep. It's not so much that Sadie keeps me up at night as much as it is that I can't fall back asleep once she wakes me.

Anywho - I was watching Jon and Kate plus 8 last night and they got this gift from a photographer friend of theirs - a picture of them with the sextuplets around I'd say 2-3 months old. The woman looked a wreck. She looked like someone had run her over 5 billions times with a truck. How the hell did they manage? (Note - the picture above is not said image)

Now I don't feel so bad after seeing that. And a little thankful for the sleep I do get.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Movin' and Groovin'

Sadie began crawling yesterday morning! For the past two months she's been doing this thing where she props herself up on her toes and fingers then lunges forward. With most babies, their arms are stronger than their legs, but not Sadie. She is a powerhouse.

Anyway, it took her that long to build up the strength or put two and two together to figure out the art of getting where she wants to go.

I also bought a ton of toys for her from that new resale shop across from the Target in New Lenox. It's the old Berry's Bargain World and the prices are beyond reasonable for most things. All the toys I got her were under $2 and even had the batteries already in them. Basically paid for themselves if you ask me.

It's just really exciting to see her moving and being so independent. She's really developing her personality. She is very, VERY determined. When she wants something, she wants it now. When she's trying to do something new (roll over, sit, crawl, stand) she grunts and gets angry - but never frustrated. She never ever lets something overcome her like that. I guess we've already seen that in her since she was born, but it's just so neat to see it in a different way now.

She's also a complete ham. Sadie will be perfectly content chewing on a toy or drinking from her cup, but as soon as she sees a stranger, she puts on this big, dramatic show. Guess she might get that from me - but I heard Erik was like that as a kid too so who knows?

She only gets bashful around mom and dad, and it's so darn sweet.

Sadie is also quite the talker - babbling words like mama, dada, bah, blowing bubbles and imitating mommy and daddy quite a bit. She can wave bye bye and is eating like a big girl. Tonite she had brocolli and cauliflower - not blended, but in chunks and she ate great. And the biggest accomplishment has been the sippy cup!

No longer do we need bottles, rings, caps, nipples. Just one cup and we mix abut 20-30 ounces of formula in advance and keep it in the fridge. I started giving her the cup at 6 months while also letting her drink from the bottle while she sat in the high chair. That seemed to be the trick with her. I became pretty lax about it when I was at my mom's because we didn't have her cup there, but continued with the bottle in the chair. When we came home, I gave her the thing and it was like she'd been doing it forever. It's truly a wonderful thing. Thank you Jesus!

I can also start to wean her off the formula which I'm excited about. Time for the pocketbook to get a break.

Well, I've blabbed enough about my baby girl. Until the next time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why I lost 50lbs when I was pregnant

This is an article from a writer with the Washington Post - I swear, reading it was like living it. What she went through was pure hell - for me, it ended at 5 months - but for her, carried on to the day her baby was born. I highlighted the parts of her story that hit home with our experience. Read on...

I found out I was pregnant on an early December morning last year and, for two days, went about my routine in a euphoric trance: a grin on my face, elbows out slightly to guard my belly from the crush of commuters and holiday shoppers.

I daydreamed about turning the guest room into a nursery, of taking prenatal exercise classes and bonding with other moms-to-be. We would trade tips on baby gear and shop for maternity clothes, for my body had begun the 40-week process of nurturing a new life.

But I wouldn't get to do any of those things.

By the sixth week of my pregnancy, I was vomiting so much I was spitting up blood. Dehydrated and dizzy, I landed in the emergency room at week nine. In my 20th week, I started receiving nutrition intravenously.

What I had was hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of pregnancy sickness characterized by persistent nausea and vomiting as well as significant weight loss, often more than 5 percent. It occurs in about three to 20 of every 1,000 pregnancies, hospitalizing more than 30,000 women a year in the United States, according to studies and government statistics.

Women with the condition can suffer from dehydration, malnutrition, electrolyte imbalance and, in severe instances, neurological disorders, spleen tearing, kidney failure and lung collapse.

Before intravenous fluid treatment became available, it was not uncommon for women to die from hyperemesis. It can affect the unborn baby, too: Some researchers have linked the condition with restricted fetus growth, preterm delivery and low birth weight.

No one knows exactly what causes nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, but elevated hormone levels are widely thought to be at fault. Multiple studies have found that women with hyperemesis have higher levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone unique to pregnancy, and thyroxin, a thyroid hormone, than women with less-severe nausea and vomiting, said Roberto Romero, chief of the perinatology research branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. At higher risk are women who are carrying twins, had the condition in a prior pregnancy, have gastric disorders or are prone to motion sickness; so are women whose mothers and sisters experienced hyperemesis, suggesting that genetic predisposition plays a role, Romero added.

"It's extremely debilitating," said Marlena Fejzo, a geneticist and researcher at the University of Southern California who has studied hyperemesis. "It's most devastating for women who end up aborting. Many women decide to change their plans for having another child. A lot of them adopt or don't have more children."

* * *

My ordeal began three days after learning I was pregnant, when I woke up in the early morning with a queasy feeling in my stomach. As I lay in the darkness, the sensation grew stronger until I could no longer ignore it. I felt sweaty and drowsy. My mouth went dry and in the next instant filled with saliva. As the contents of my stomach rose, I crawled over my husband, Archie, and headed for the bathroom. I retched loudly several times, then vomited.

Unpleasant, I thought, but no big deal. Plenty of friends had told me about their trials with morning sickness. It was just something most women had to put up with during the first few months of pregnancy, a small price to pay for the ultimate joy that lay ahead.

Evolutionary biologists have proposed that nausea and vomiting in pregnancy are nature's way of protecting the fetus from food-borne toxins in the critical first trimester, when major organs are formed and the fetus is still small enough to live off the mother's stored fats. This seemed to fit with research showing that women who experience morning sickness have lower rates of miscarriage, and I took comfort in that.

So I slogged along, throwing up everywhere: in trash cans on subway platforms and in the bathrooms of the white-glove hotels, law firms and Wall Street banks that I visited as a New York-based financial reporter for The Post. Once, I nearly vomited on Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, as he sat across a wooden table in a beautifully tailored suit. I excused myself just in time.

I tried everything that the pregnancy books suggested: Salted pretzels. Ginger slices. Jell-O. Acupressure. My mother, who lives in Tokyo, sent pickled plums and other Japanese remedies. My mother-in-law brought herbs from Taiwan.

But nothing seemed to help. Soon, I was vomiting 10 to 12 times a day. I lost 12 pounds, my 5-foot-3 frame falling to 96 pounds. When there was nothing left to regurgitate, I threw up gastric fluid, tinged with blood from my inflamed stomach.

I frequently became severely dehydrated. One day in January, Archie came home and found me so lightheaded and wobbly that he rushed me to the emergency room, where my fluids were restored intravenously.

Doctors prescribed anti-nausea medications: first Reglan, then Compazine suppositories, both of which prevent dopamine, a neurotransmitter, from stimulating receptors in the brain that cause nausea. They didn't do much.

Next came Zofran, a relatively new drug used to combat nausea in chemotherapy. It was expensive (nearly $600 for a week's supply), and Archie spent hours on the phone with the insurance company. I often threw up the pills, so a home nurse came to show me how to use a pump that injected the drug into my thighs. But it only made my legs ache. After a week, I gave up using the device, but I still took the pills, mainly out of fear that I would be throwing up even more if I didn't.

The round-the-clock nausea was paralyzing. The cruel thing was that vomiting, unlike the times I've thrown up because of the flu or a jerky cab ride, provided no relief. As my condition worsened, I spent all my time at home, lying as still as possible in bed, heaving on the bathroom floor or writing articles at the kitchen table with a bucket at my feet. Increasingly, I relied on my newspaper colleagues, already working nights and weekends with the economy in turmoil, to pick up my slack. I stopped seeing friends, since I could no longer do the things we enjoyed together: dining out, rollerblading, going to church.

I had lost control of my body and, worse, I had lost control of my life.

* * *

For Archie and me, the lowest point came at an appointment with the obstetrician during a difficult stretch at the beginning of my second trimester.

Overbooked, he was a very busy man, and we often had trouble asking questions during the rushed appointments. That day, there was a particularly long wait of two hours, which I spent throwing up. We contemplated heading to the emergency department next door but stayed because the nurse, seeing I was too dehydrated to give a urine sample, thought the doctor would admit me for treatment.

But he declined, saying he was the doctor and the nurse was the nurse. He repeated his refrain that I should feel better in a few weeks -- and then he was gone.

It was getting late, and we couldn't shake the feeling that he just wanted to go home. As I lay on the exam table clutching Archie's hand, I told him I wasn't sure if I could keep going. Both of us were exhausted, and on that chilly February day, my Aug. 7 due date seemed so far away.

Something had to change. We started asking close friends to stay with me. They sat by my side, late into the night, and rinsed out my bucket when necessary, giving Archie a break. Others sent cards and funny notes, which we lined up in rows on my dresser, next to framed ultrasound pictures. One wrote to inform me that elephants are pregnant for 22 months. I have no idea if hyperemesis exists in the animal kingdom, but it cracked me up.

Still others helped Archie and me look for a new doctor, realizing the stress of my medical care arrangement: harried prenatal appointments supplemented by emergency room trips and desperate calls to physician friends. In retrospect, we should have switched sooner, but neither of us had ever had serious medical problems -- I didn't even have a doctor -- and we didn't know any better.

Whenever I became too dehydrated, the new doctor, Ricky Friedman Jr., and his partner arranged for me to receive intravenous fluids at home or had me admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center. There, I was pumped with fluids and anti-nausea medication and met with a nutritionist. I was even seen by a social worker, who made sure there were no underlying psychological issues, such as an eating disorder, causing me to reject food. I told her that there were few things I loved more than eating and that I was once scolded by a caterer at a newsroom lunch for helping myself to a second hot dog before my colleagues had had their first.

At 20 weeks, with my body still below pre-pregnancy weight and producing ketones, a sign of starvation, Friedman ordered a nutritional line inserted in my arm. Ketones themselves can cause nausea, worsening the problem. "It sort of feeds back on itself," he said in an interview. "If we can interrupt that cycle, we might be able to make you feel better."

The nutritional tube, which reached to just above my heart, provided the calories and vitamins that I and my growing baby needed. From then on, I spent 14 hours a day connected to a five-pound bag of milky liquid, which I wheeled on a cart from my bed to the bathroom to the kitchen table. Every week, a nurse came to my home to change the dressing where the catheter exited from my arm. He also took blood samples so that my endocrinologist could use them to adjust the contents of the bag, such as adding potassium when my levels fell.

As the spring thaw gave way to longer days, I vomited less and found I could keep down certain foods (a potato, ramen noodles and, strangely, extra-sharp cheddar cheese) around lunchtime. I gained weight. Archie and I could feel our baby kicking, stronger each day, which gave us great comfort. The finish line, we felt, was within reach.

Early in the third trimester, the pregnancy threw us one more curveball. With the uterus crowding my stomach, I started getting acid reflux, a common problem in pregnancy, which reaccelerated my vomiting. About this time, an ultrasound showed that our baby was not growing well; the abdomen was skinny, an indication that the baby was not getting sufficient nutrients and oxygen.

As the weeks went by, the condition worsened. So at 38 weeks, I checked into Mount Sinai to induce labor.

I threw up for the last time about 20 minutes before the arrival of my son, at 2:54 a.m. July 25. He weighed 5 pounds 12 ounces and was in excellent health. I held him, he looked up at me and the euphoria from December came rushing back. I didn't think about the months in between.
The nausea vanished almost immediately.

That morning, a nurse who had taken care of me during my hospitalizations popped in and asked if I felt like breakfast. It was eggs and sausages, pancakes, cereal and fruit salad. I planned to save half for Archie, who had fallen asleep on a pullout chair. But I couldn't help myself.

I ate the whole thing.

Finding me

It's been well over a year since I've worked or really taken the time to do something for me. I've been yapping about how I'd love to take a photography class, join the gym, do a swim class with Sadie or start freelancing again.

Problem with freelancing is that I don't know if I have the time to dedicate toward it. Financially, it's not worth it - I just miss the job.

The problem with most everything I want to do is that it's next to impossible to do any of it. Erik is about to start busy season (it runs thru March) and there's no way he'd be home in time for me to do much.

I feel like if I explore and expand my dreams, I'd be such a better person. I'd feel better, be a better mom. I still think a lot of my problems stem from the ups and downs over the past year.

Taking Sadie for her NINE MONTH well baby tomorrow. I still can't believe it sometimes. It's a happy/sad feeling when you think about it. A mom feeling I'm sure.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Baby smells

One of the nicest things about having a baby is waking up in the middle of the night to feed her or comfort her - rock her or hold her.

Then going back to bed breathing in that sweet baby smell. I love it. I never want it to go away.

Crawford, TX

Everyone should go to and watch this documentary. Fired me up at 3 am.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Caring for Caregivers...

I recently inquired to Children's Memorial about saying "Thank You" to the hospital and staff of the NICU for all that they had given us last March.

We plan on accepting donations of toys for infants (for the NICU and PICU) because these are the patients in the hospital in most need of items. Imagine your child in a metal crib with nothing to look at but machines and white ceilings. So, we're hoping to gather an assortment of crib toys, teethers and rattles for all the sick babies. Maybe even make it a tradition on Sadie's birthday or something.

Anywho - we also wanted to do something nice for the staff on the NICU floor like bring in cupcakes or some sort of treat. The woman I was in contact with from the Grateful Families Initiative told me they have this awesome program for nurses and staff called Caring for Caregivers. You donate a monetary amount and it goes toward providing things like massage, free iPod downloads/players, etc to keep the staff happy and relaxed. I can't imagine the level of stress they must go everytime they got to work.

I don't know how many families take the time to say thanks like that, but it must be a lot if they've established a program like this.

I just thought what a nice little thing that made my day a little brighter and to soon brighten up the day of one family, one mother, one baby.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oh Christmas tree...

Yeah, was at Target today and pretty annoyed by the craziness of Christmas this early on. Although, Sadie felt otherwise. She loved looking at all the lights and decorations.

Which really got me thinking about Christmas and how I really need to make sure I teach her about the meaning behind it - which is usually lost by most of it. Teach her about humanity, kindness, love and baby Jesus of course!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Back surgery update!

I'm home and cleared to lift the baby!

For the first time in two months, I'll be able to be a mommy again. To not be able to take care of your child is the most frustrating and overwhelming experience. But, I'm so fortunate to have had the help from my mom that I did.

Tomorrow will be the first time in two months that I'll be on my own with Sadie. Tonight, I fed her dinner, changed her into her jammies, read her a book and put her to bed. I snuggled her in my arms and it was an amazing feeling. Finally. Of course, I cried being the sap that I am.

Sadie's been very good at adjusting to life back at home, but I know she misses my mom. It's pretty cute and sorta sad at the same time.

Also - She hasn't used a bottle now in THREE days! When we got home I gave her the sippy cup and that's all she's used ever since. She is also drinking double the amount of milk she did before. I think she just wanted to do it all on her own. Plus, Sadie's always been great at adjusting to change.

My next step is to try and teach her the fine art of the spoon. Gerber makes a great first spoon with grated edges that holds the food. We'll see how that goes. Consistancy is the key. That's how I was with the sippy and it seemed to work great. Maybe she adjusted well to it since we didn't get to nurse very long. Either way, it's nice to not have to make a bottle.

Well, I better rest up for our big day. It's supposed to be beautiful so I better get her out to the park before winter comes in full force. I also have some plants to re-pot and I've been waiting to do it for like, two months!

Here's to the future - Here's to no more pain and living life with no worries. The next time I see the inside of a hospital room from a bed - I better be giving birth or dying.

Speechless (almost)

Woken up by news that we have a new President. I feel for the first time in a long time, safe. I feel that it's time we all come together and work together toward creating a better United States of America. I can sleep a little easier knowing that so many things I've wanted for my daughter may come true. That my husband doesn't have to sit up at night and worry about our future. Thank you President Obama, we'll be seeing you off in Springfield in January - and will work toward our common goal of change for the positive, change for our future.

Getting the warm fuzzies

i LOVE the fact that everyone turning out to vote and to the rally today were predominantly age. MY VOICE!

Proud to be an American

I voted today and it was wonderful, exciting and full of anticipation.

The only glitch was when I fed my ballot into the machine and it spit the thing back out at me for all to see.

I happily accepted my sticker and off we went to the doctor, where I am all cleared to pick up and take care of my baby.

We were considering for a good 15-20 minutes whether or not to attempt to stay downtown for the big rally. But, as we were greeted with signs left and right that said expressways were closing, no street parking we pretty much got the feeling that once you were in the city, you weren't getting out. And with an 8-month-old that didn't seem feasible to me.

Peace and love and GO OBAMA!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Funny feeling

For the first time in two months, I didn't have to pack up and go back to my parent's house and am home. I don't care what the doctor says, I'm staying home too.

I miss it here more than anything.

I can barely sleep though. Not used to the bed I guess.

Wow, this is thrilling.


What time is it?

I hate you time change. What's the point?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sippy cup

Sadie has officially graduated to the sippy. She drank out of it on her own all day today. Made mommy proud!