I wake up at 4:30 in the morning so there’s enough time to exercise, drink a little coffee and get ready *hopefully* without any little children distracting [Of course there are the dog and the cat that often are distracting, but they are nothing compared to children. It makes me chuckle a little to think of all the people who have never had children and have said to me that their dog was preparation for her raising children, but anyway…].
I decided I should post some of my parenting moments in a place more easily referenced than facebook. Here is a glimpse into my world in July.
12 hours with 3 kids, ages 4 and under….
Somehow the stars align and ALL 3 kids are sleeping (for now) at 8pm. It’s actually not that magical, but I’ll take it – Brooklyn is down at her normal bedtime (and has taken her diaper for 3 times. I put a cloth on backwards hoping to have that secure the disposable), Eli has a fever that started suddenly after bathtime and fell asleep on the couch. Elizabeth is just taking a nap (I think). Regardless, I’m exhausted and just want to go to bed, but there are things to do. I basically complete 10% of what I want to get done and realize it’s 9pm.
Elizabeth is still in a cloth diaper from 5pm, because when she went down at 7 I figured it was just for a nap. So my choice is to let her sleep, knowing whenever she wakes up, she’ll be waking me up from sleep and that she will be soaked. So, I roll the dice, wake a sleeping baby. I change her into her PJs and attempt to nurse her. She eats for maybe 5 min and then is over it. Instead of just drifting back to sleep (as I planned would happen) she decides to scream uncontrollably. Nothing we do stops her. Does she want her arms out of the swaddle? No, that just makes her more angry. Does she need the swaddle sack to be tighter? No, now she’s really mad. Does she want a looser swaddle so she’s snuggled but can get her arms by her face? Yes, that seems to work and after a few min of rocking she’s asleep. Now it’s 930. Since she didn’t eat, my choice is to not pump, knowing she’ll probably wake up in 2 hours and want to eat anyway, or pump to be comfortable and help keep up my supply with the hope she’s going to stay asleep until her usual waking hour of 3am. I choose to pump.
Now it’s 10pm. I thought I was going to go to bed at 815? Well, nevermind that. I say goodnight to Jason and lay down. I can’t stop thinking about how Brooklyn has a little blister on her lip and I’m worried it’s a cold sore – where did she get a cold sore from? We don’t have cold sores. What crazy person is kissing my baby when I’m gone (likely no one -she probably put someone’s toy in her mouth). Is it actually a cold sore or did she just get a cut there? She is always getting hurt so it wouldn’t surprise me. But, it really looks like a cold sore. So I look at pictures of different lip ailments and for 15 min, decide it’s probably a cold sore and go to bed.
I hear uncontrollable screaming again and am woken up from sleep. I look over and it’s 10:35. Ugh. I get up and try to help Jason. Elizabeth’s diaper is dry (it was just changed an hour ago), she doesn’t have a fever, and doesn’t have a random hair tied around her toe to explain the shrill scream she has. Since I just pumped I have maybe a measly 1 ounce to feed her so I try nursing which works for a total for 1 min and she’s mad again. Jason consoles her while I warm up some freshly pumped milk and give Jason the bottle. Nope, not hungry. She’s just mad at the world that she needs to be up at 10:35 (I feel for you you, baby girl…). We give up and put her in the swing and close the door. She screams for another 20 minutes and eventually goes to sleep.
I probably fall back asleep around 11. Then the door opens. It’s Eli and the clock says 11:28. He has a fever again and just wants to sleep with me. Jason was just getting ready for bed and agrees to sleep in the spare room (which is on the other side of the house in the basement – you can’t hear anything else in the house with the white noise/box fan on – tough decision, I’m sure). Eli takes some ibuprofen and quickly passes out in the bed. I finally fall asleep just before midnight.
I hear Eli cough a few times and moan a bit, who knows what time it is. It seems like uninterrupted sleep compared to usual. But then it’s 3am and I hear screaming, which is expected because that’s when Elizabeth usually wakes up these days anyway. I start feeding Elizabeth and realize I need to pump too, but the pump is still in the living room. She’s being finicky with eating so every 20 sec she comes off and screams as I try to balance the pump and bottles form the kitchen and bring them back to her room. I get the pump set up and pump on one side while she half nurses/half screams on the other. She somehow eats 4 ounces in what feels like no time and then is just mad like she had been earlier in the night. I stop pumping and try to soothe her, even though nothing that usually works is working tonight. Eventually she dozes off and I can set her down in the swing again (it worked the first time so it’s got to work this time, right??). She’s mad and doesn’t want to swing. I calm her down and put her in the rock and play and she’s quiet at last. Sigh of relief. I finish pumping and store the milk. Now it’s almost 4am.
I crawl into bed and Eli feels hot. He’s awake but doesn’t want medicine. Fevers are your body’s way of fighting infection so I decide I’m not interested in forcing it – if he feels poorly he’ll take the medicine. We both go to sleep.
And then it’s 4:45 and I wake up to yet another shrill scream from Elizabeth’s room. I change her diaper, which is basically dry and redo my ritual. Nothing works. Maybe she’s still hungry? I warm up some freshly pumped milk again and try to feed her. No luck. Ugh. But she does want to nurse the maybe ¾ ounce per side that’s accumulated in the last hour. But only on the right. I guess the left is bad or something. She dozes off and will eventually take the pacifier again. We go back and forth a few times as I try to put her down and she wakes up and gets mad, so we repeat. I kind of doze off on the chair holding her for long enough that I think she’ll stay asleep. Decision time – do I just sleep in the chair with her or put her down. I try to put her down again and it works this time. Yeah.
Now it’s 5:45. Do I just stay up so I can enjoy coffee in peace and start my day, or do I go back to bed. Usually I chose the former but I’m SOOOOO tired and this is my last chance to sleep in for the foreseeable future, so I chose the latter.
I quickly fall asleep and hear screaming. It’s 730. How in the world is it 7:30? Oh yeah, I closed the blackout shades so Eli would sleep longer. But there’s screaming so I need to go. I feel guilty I’ve slept this late and make my way to Elizabeth’s room but it’s not her (thankfully). It’s Brooklyn, duh – I kind of forgot there was a 3rd because she hadn’t caused trouble for the past 11.5 hours. I open the door and she is naked. How did she get a snap cloth diaper off backwards? Freaking Houdini. Anyway, I turn the light on – not only was she naked but there was poop everywhere. Ugh. So I get the wipes and clean her enough I can get her to the tub without contaminating myself. She gets scrubbed, screaming the entire time but then gets mad when she has to get out and can’t stay to play. Jason wakes up (I can’t blame him – he’s in the room in the basement and can’t hear anything. And went to bed at midnight so still didn’t even get 8 hours. And he is also sleep deprived because he usually helps with Elizabeth at night every other night) and gets Brooklyn dressed. I go clean up the crib and start the 5th load of laundry I’ve done in the past 24 hours.
And now it’s 8am, 12 hours later, and it’s time to start the day. I really need some coffee.
When I go back upstairs from cleaning up Brooklyn’s crib and starting laundry, Eli is smiling and playing in the living room, asking if I’m happy now and will play with him. Doesn’t seem like he was sick for a minute. Brooklyn is in the kitchen asking for “cinmin” (aka cinnamon and butter on bread) and trying to hug me. Elizabeth is sleeping soundly. Jason is making coffee. As tough as it all is, life is good and I need to remind myself that this is all just a phase that will be a distant memory one day. I’ll miss those baby snuggles when Elizabeth doesn’t want to sit still. We’ll laugh at the fact that Brooklyn somehow got her diaper off and thought playing with her poop was a good idea and not let her live it down. I’ll miss Eli wanting me to hold him, take care of him and sleep by him when he’s a big kid and has way cooler things to do than hang out with his mom.
In 2017 we decided to move back to Wisconsin. And then stay in Colorado. And then move back to Wisconsin…
We couldn’t decide. Wisconsin offered a lower cost of living, higher paying jobs, family just around the corner and 4 complete seasons (0 degree winter days are normal, snow lasts 4 months straight, summers are very humid. But there are beautiful fall colors, rainy spring days, and more green than you can imagine). Hiking is limited and the area isn’t very diverse, but with all the money and family support, we could visit Colorado any time. Colorado offered 4 light seasons (60 degree days in February – I’ll take it; snow only last a few days- yes, please; no humidity in the summer), endless outdoor activities, and a diverse, young, and healthy population.
But then we stopped to think – we love it here in Colorado. If we move back to Wisconsin for family and jobs, when will we ever work up the courage to come back out here? All of the draws to WI will be stronger once we’ve re-established there and family and friends are around the corner. Even if we wanted to leave, I don’t think we could. After a lot of long talks, it was settled – we would stay in Colorado.
Once we decided, we also decided we would buy a house. While the townhome we were renting was great, there was no yard and we were spending money that could have been going to our mortgage. There was a nearby town we loved to spend our time, closer to the mountains, with better schools and endless activities for families. While I’d have to commute – a lot – during residency, it would slow down after June. It was settled.
We spent weeks learning the market. It was crazy! Houses went for cash, well over asking. Especially if in our price range. One Saturday when we were out with our realtor he mentioned that a house on his street just went on the market – would we like to look at it? Sure, why not! It was just what we were looking for: close to the mountains/hiking, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, large yard, quiet area with lots of families, near schools, and no HOA (which is hard to come by in northern CO). After a second look we placed and offer that was accepted and it was ours.
It’s pretty hard to escape sugary treats for Halloween, but here are a few healthy and cute treats to try at home to balance your trick-or-treat indulgences:
Too corny? I think so, but we’ll give it a shot. For some reason I really like alliterations. I thought having a purpose to my posts might help me stick with it, even when things get crazy. Mommy Monday posts will be random thoughts and experiences while being a mom. I’ve got a whopping 8 months in so I’m an expert, right? Yeah, well, no, but I’m learning as I go and you can all join me in the process. So, without further ado, today marks the first “Mommy Monday” post.
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With my background in dietetics, I knew that breast milk was the best thing for Eli and I planned to breast feed exclusively for the first 6 months and continue for at least a year (if my supply allowed – which is absolutely does – more on that some other time). Being super type-A, I started to read about introducing solids around 3 months so I’d be prepared. I was very interested in baby-led weaning (BLW) and decided that would be the route we would generally go. I didn’t want to waste money on baby food and who has time to puree everything? My skeptics talked about how Eli would choke on solids. So, I did a pubmed search to see if any studies were out there on BLW. Sure enough, a handful of studies exist. What is the consensus? Well, babies who followed BLW were no more likely to having choking or gagging episodes during the entire weaning process than those who were weaned using stages of solids. Yes, they tended to gag more than their age-matched peers (i.e. BLW kid getting chicken while the traditional kid got rice cereal – of course there is more gagging with chicken), BUT when the traditional kids finally got to solids, they gagged just as much as the BLW kids did previously. So the difference is just when the gagging happened (6 months vs 12 months old). Again, there was no difference in choking episodes, so BLW kids gagging earlier didn’t mean they choked more. They just learned how to handle solids sooner. What else did the studies find? Well, kids who did BLW were leaning, more in-tune with their hunger/satiety cues, and had a broader palate for food. Yes, yes, and yes! All things I hope for Eli. After all of this, I had no doubt that BLW would be the way to go for us.
Around 4 months, Eli was sitting up unassisted in his bumbo and started to take a lot of interest in what we were eating. He would grab at everything and bring it to his mouth. It was obvious that he wanted to join in. So I realized that waiting to 6 months wasn’t appropriate – he was ready for solids at 4 months, regardless of what some book says. All kids are different and the key is to use the guidelines as guidelines and modify them as needed for the individual child. So Eli’s first food – a banana! He handled it so well. Take a look here. We offered him foods here and there, but nothing rigid. We decided it was more about him learning about new foods than getting his nutrition from them (he was still eating breast milk the rest of the time and growing well). There were some foods that scared me a bit and I decided it was best to do a modified version of BLW. He got some textured purees, like applesauce, and some solids. Sometimes we fed him, sometimes he used his food feeder, and other times he just used his 2 hands.
Around 6 months we decided to be more regular with his solids. We began offering him 3 meals a day and were trying a variety of foods. We offered mixed foods and didn’t follow the traditional “1 food for 3- 5 days” method. Yes, there was a chance he wouldn’t tolerate a food and we wouldn’t know what the cause was, but I was willing to take the risk. He was developing a very broad palate and absolutely loved food. Around 7 months he had the chewing (or gumming since he doesn’t have teeth) motion down. I was amazed watching him – how did he figure that out?!? I could give him a strip of toast or chicken and he could gum the whole thing down without gagging once. Amazing. I’ve taken pictures of Eli trying new foods over the past few months and plan to put page together with all of these. In the meantime, here are a few to enjoy!
Wow – I can’t believe I haven’t posted for over 6 months! Where has the time gone? Oh yeah, being a mom, wife, and 4th year medical student. I have so much to update but I’ll keep it as short as possible.
Let me start by saying Eli is absolutely amazing and I truly love being a mom (most days). This wasn’t the case at the beginning and now I am realizing that I’m not alone in that feeling. I didn’t cry when Eli was born or feel an overwhelming sense of love for him the second I saw his face. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him and he was beautiful, but it wasn’t much different than what I felt when I saw another friend’s beautiful new baby. I wondered when this would change and honestly, it was probably around 3 or 4 months when he really started to be interactive. The first few months were OK. I was tired from never sleeping more than 2 hours at a stretch, but I was getting the hang of things. I really wanted to go back to work and thought about starting back a few weeks early. I missed the mental stimulation of medical school rotations and needed a break from baby. I decided to hang in there and went back after 10 weeks, as originally planned. Going back was the best thing for our relationship. It made me realize how much I did love him and left me looking forward to our evenings together.
As the weeks passed by I became amazed at how much he changed. By 3-4 months he was sitting up in a bumbo and grabbing at our food and trying to feed himself. We decided to let him taste a few things around 4 months, even though I originally planned to wait until 6 months. He was developmentally ready, so I reminded myself that books and recommendations are guidelines that need to be tailored to the child, not the other way around. By 5 month he was sitting up unassisted and loving his food feeder. He was babbling up a storm and really turning into a little boy. He took his first flight at 5 months and did OK. By 6 months he was trying to stand on his own (while holding something) and really started to love his solids. By 7 months he was able to pull himself up to stand and was trying to figure out the whole crawling thing (thankfully he hasn’t figured it out yet!). He officially loved food by this point – a lot – and figured out chewing, despite having no teeth yet. He will be 8 months in a few days and it looks like crawling will likely happen in the next few weeks -eek!
He is one of the happiest babies I have ever met and I am so incredibly in love with him. We were able to spend a lot of time together these past few months because I am wrapping up rotations and have some time off. I am so grateful for our time together! Looking back, I’d rather have started back at work after 6 weeks if it meant I could have 4 more weeks with him now. He finished day care in December and has been home with me, my mom, or J over the past few months. J is going to be a stay-at-home dad starting in April and is so excited about it. He knows it won’t be a walk in the park, but he is looking forward to really getting to bond with Eli.
I am so grateful I finished my board exam before Eli was born, because baby brain is for real. Sleep deprivation does some crazy things – one thing in particular is loss of word-finding ability. I can’t begin to count the number of times I couldn’t think of simple, everyday words. Going back to work was an adjustment – if I couldn’t think of the word cardboard how was I going to take care of sick patients with pneumonia?? After a few weeks I got back into the swing of things and it started to improve. Even now I still have trouble recalling things, but I just look it up and study harder. Thankfully the year is wrapping up and I haven’t had many tests. In fact, I just finished my last exam of medical school and only have one 4 week rotation left (for the month of April)! Where has the last 4 years gone??
After med school there is this thing called residency. It’s sorta a big deal. Most of 4th year is spent applying and interviewing for residency. I have decided to go into family medicine with the intention of practicing full spectrum FM (outpatient, inpatient, and deliveries – you know, the way all doctors used to be). These jobs are a little hard to find, which means the residencies are also hard to find. I had specific criteria for what I was looking or and ended up interviewing at 9 programs in Wisconsin and Colorado. I have found my dream program and next week (March 20th) I will find out if they liked me as much as I liked them. The way residency match works is I rank the programs I like and the programs rank all the people they like. Then this fancy computer program looks at all of the lists across the world and puts you in your best possible match. On March 20th, I will open a white envelope at 11am and find out where I will spend the next 3 years. It’s pretty exciting and I can’t wait to find out!
I have been spending too much time on facebook. I justify it by saying that I am showing family members pictures of Eli, when really I’m just wasting time I don’t have to waste (which has to come from somewhere, so it probably comes from more important things like sleep, exercise, and family). So, I am thinking about giving up the facebook thing all together and just updating this blog more often. We’ll see if that happens. If it does, you all have lots of cute baby pictures to look forward to 🙂 Here’s a great one to tide you over:
I’ve posted before many times about DIY home projects we’ve done. I think this room was the most fun of all. Take a look at Elijah’s Wilderness Themed Nursery.
Elijah James was born on July 17th at 6:13pm. He was 6 pounds 7 ounces and 18.75″ long. He was 2 weeks early, but that was when he decided he was ready to come. My water broke at 9 am that morning, while I was at work. Note to all pregnant women – be sure to wear black pants to work when your due date is approaching!
The labor and deliver went smoothly. Honestly, I would do 10 deliveries over 1 pregnancy. I am positive that being physically fit played a role in this. Little Elijah did have a triple nuchal cord, which is very rare (0.5% of all births), but thankfully there were not complications from this after he was given some oxygen.
I’m nursing and was very lucky that my milk came in by day 2. He latched on his first attempt after birth, which is also very lucky. He’s a natural 🙂 We went home after 36 hours and quickly began adjusting the new routine (well, lack there of). Bailey didn’t realize there was a new addition, but Bandit noticed right away. The first day he was extremely jealous and gave us the cold shoulder. Then he realized if he warmed up to Elijah, he’d get more attention to. Now he sleeps under Elijah’s cradle and tries to sit on my lap when I nurse. I think they will become best buds in a few months.
During his first week home we had his newborn pictures taken. They turned out great. Feel free to take a look here.
He is now 2 weeks old and has been doing great. He had some issues with gas that made him extremely fussy. I thought he was in a lot of pain, but it turns out that he was likely just frustrated that he couldn’t get the gas out. He has been starting to do much better with this.
At his 2 week appointment he had already gained 1 pound from his birth weight! In case you aren’t familiar with baby weight gain goals here is a summary – all babies lose some weight in the hospital b/c the mom’s milk isn’t in yet. Elijah was down to 6 pounds 2 ounces at discharge. Two days later babies go in for a weight and color check (to see if they are jaundiced) with the goal of <10% total weight loss from birth. Our little eating machine had actually gained 1/2 ounce from his discharge weight, so he was on the right track. At the 2 week appointment the goal is to be back to birth weight. Elijah is already an overachiever and decided to gain not only 5 ounces, but an addition 16 ounces…in just 10 days. Needless to say I feel that all I am doing is nursing and changing dirty diapers, haha.
Surprisingly, I have been adjusting well to the lack of sleep. I get 1-2 hours at a time during the night. I usually get 3-4 of these naps in so it is total of 5-6 hours per night. I usually am pretty awake all day but occasionally take a nap sometime after 3pm when I start to crash. So far so good, but I am sure this will start to wear on me. Let’s hope he is one of those magical babies that sleeps through the night after a month or two.
I never had a chance to post my 3rd trimester bump pictures, so here they are:
Second trimester has come and gone…2 weeks ago already! I have been busier than ever (hence the lack of posts), but have been feeling well. Around 20 weeks the nausea ended – yes! and then returned – no 😦 and then left for the most part – I’ll take it. Around week 20 we also found out that we will be having a little boy! We don’t have the name officially picked yet, but we have a few in mind. We are keeping them a secret and will decide once we see him.
During 2nd trimester I finished up my stent in family medicine, completed my internal medicine rotation, and started my general surgery rotation. I went from being 99% sure I’d do ob/gyn to considering family medicine to loving internal medicine. Right now I am pretty sure I’ll end up as a hospitalist after doing an internal medicine residency. However, there is still hope for family medicine – I have 4 weeks of family medicine coming up at the end of June, during which time I am hoping I’ll make my final decision. While I loved ob/gyn during the rotation, I think it was just the first rotation that got me excited about being a doctor and not actually what I want to do forever. I am in the middle of my surgery rotation and while it is fun and interesting, I don’t think I want to be a surgeon, so it has made ob/gyn less of desire as well. But, things can change and we’ll see what the next few months bring. I have 4 weeks of surgery left (cardiothoracic and plastic surgery) followed by 4 weeks for family medicine and hopefully 2 weeks off before baby comes. In the next month I have 2 big clinical exams (i.e. standardized patients) and 2 big multiple choice exams (surgery shelf and step 2 CK board exam). I am not sure how I’ll do it, but I’ve realized not worrying about that part makes it much easier – it will all work out in the end and I’ll do what I need to do to get there. The best part – when baby comes I can spend all of my time with him 🙂 and hopefully it will make the transition to parenthood a little easier.
So, on to the pictures. At the start of 2nd trimester I thought I was HUGE. Then each week passed and I realized how much huger I was becoming. Looking back it makes me laugh to see what I thought was “such a big bump” at the time. Take a look to see how much he has grown:
Sundays are busy days at our house. J cleans (could I be any luckier?!) while I cook up a storm in the kitchen. During rotations I just don’t have time to cook during the week. And if I do have time, I really don’t want to slave away in the kitchen after a 10-12 hour day. Here is an example of what we eat for the week:
Back Left – Salads
- Fresh lettuce washed and chopped, ready to eat
- Celery sticks, washed and trimmed
- Cucumbers and Tomatoes, washed and diced, ready for salads
Front Left – snacks
- Banana Oat Muffins
- Mixed nuts (low salt), 1/4 cup portions in individual baggies
Center – Breakfast and Lunch
- Roasted mixed vegetables with wheat pasta and balsamic vinegar. Roasted veggies are so easy – just throw them in a large pan, toss with olive oil and spices, and roast at 425F for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes or so to prevent burning.
- Egg Bakes – the easiest way to get a vegetable serving in before 7am
Back Right – Dinner
- Crock pot chili, half for this week and for the freezer for a week when I don’t want to cook 😉
Front Right – Dessert
- Black bean brownies, because pregnant women love chocolate and desserts…and since I’m a dietitian I will feel less guilty if I know they are full of nutritious black beans.