Friday, June 24, 2011

Babies and Anxiety Go Together Like...

...newborn poop and diaper rash cream?

I guess that was kind of gross. Have a baby. Then it won't be.

Today, my "faux-brother", Rob Naylor, and his wife Kathy, had their first baby. In Provo, UT, six hours from us. Their baby went into distress and had to be delivered by c-section around 6 pm tonight. That's the same time I had my c-section almost 8 months ago! I am really feeling for them right now!

I have, in fact, never met Rob's wife, but the Naylors have been very close to my family since before I was born. Rob was my favorite babysitter, and he made us laugh so hard playing "Little People" with us that I swore I would always play with the kids I babysat. I can't think of one (out of hundreds of thousands) of babysitting jobs where I didn't play with the kids. I feel like I know Kathy. When Nathan outgrew clothes, they were passed on to Rob and Kathy.

For some reason, I have been intensely stressed out and thinking about them all day. I don't know why. It isn't my place to worry, and it isn't my place to offer help when they have a lot of willing family nearby. It makes me sick that I am "stuck" in Rexburg and can't help.

I just think about how having Nathan was the hardest thing Mitch and I have ever done. I tend to think/imagine that having your first is harder than having any subsequent babies because, after the first, you've done it before. Your body has done it before. Your body has recovered before. The first time, it's all new. It is also amazing how much love you feel that day; love like you've never imagined is possible! I assume with subsequent babies you know what that feeling is like because you've felt it before for new little children born into your family. But the first time, I think the surprise and surreal-ness of it all is another thing that wears you out.

I have a lot of friends in Rexburg who are expecting babies soon. One is 37 weeks along and doesn't have ANY help lined up. I asked if her mom is coming into town. "No, she and I agreed it probably won't be a big deal. My husband and I have been around babies a lot. We won't need help."

HELLO!? I was queen of caring for other people's children. I would still take a houseful every day, just to have fun and play with, if it meant I didn't have a school and two work schedules to keep! Mitch and I were both the oldest. We took classes. We read books. We babysat our neighbor's baby all the time. We thought we were ready.

Turns out, it's nearly impossible to do it all yourself, especially that first week. Both our sets of parents were so willing to drop whatever and come out on a moment's notice. I will never be able to thank them enough for everything they did! If my mom wouldn't have been washing dishes and taking nights with newborn Nathan, I would have died, I think. There were so many times where I just burst out crying (oh, hormones!!) and she'd scoop up Nathan and help me up to take a shower or nap. My Dooley mom traveled 8 hours just to come to a shower that only 4 people showed up for; just to support us and help us and spend time. Moms are the best.

So, here's my promise to myself and anyone I know:

I want to be able to help new moms. I even considered a job as a doula or home maternity/postpartum nurse or something. That's right, almost completely changed my major with only 2 semesters (and an internship) to go! I want this so bad! But, it isn't practical at this point, so here's what i'm doing instead:

If you're having a baby in Rexburg, and I can help in any way, PLEASE ask. PLEASE don't hesitate. I will bring you a casserole or scrub poop out of onesies or do dirty dishes or take out trash or sweep floors or whatever. I just want to support my dear friends who are experiencing that amazing, wonderful, tiring-yet-SOOOOOOO rewarding new addition to their families. The last thing you (or your husband) want to do when there is a new member of your family is housework!

I would also love to experience newborn photography. My biggest regret was not being able to move around well enough to get good pictures of sweet Nathan. Before I knew it, he wasn't a newborn anymore and I couldn't fold him up and take pictures! Let me know, Rexburg moms-to-be!

...Whew. That made me feel better. I just need to pass forward the amazing care we received.

I've only had one kid, yet he was a fussy kid (still is) who came through difficult means (my insides are STILL recovering). If I can give advice to anyone, I will if they ask questions. But, I'm not going to make an "advice post" and act like I know it all. I think the only women who are qualified for that are the women who have had all their kids--at least more than one!

I will never forget this face, brand, spankin' new from heaven:
I will never forget holding him for the first time, after waiting for hours to meet him.
I will never forget the first four days spent in the hospital.
I will also never forget the guilty feeling I felt that somehow, having to have a c-section was my fault; that I had failed (trying to push him out ON the operating room table, while at a 9 1/2 and failing doesn't help). Finally, after almost 8 months, I am past the guilt that I never should've felt. Nathan wasn't getting oxygen. The few more minutes I wanted to wait, to try and get him here normally, could've caused brain damage or worse. The right decision was made, and I wouldn't change it for the world after all the lessons I've learned from that experience!

Sorry I'm always dwelling on my one baby boy. I know those of you with several are probably rolling your eyes. Oh well...this is a journal for me if not anything else, and I want to record this...roll away!

After years of caring for others' children I was so instantly proud to have my own. It is something that I have wanted more than anything else since I was about 10-11 years old. Since we are planners, we are planning the second one, but not for awhile. Don't get excited. We are just enjoying this little face for the time being. He keeps us plenty busy!
Thanks for reading about my ranting! I figure Nathan is more entertaining than anything else, so I write about him. Our classes are kicking our butts but we're managing. Our work at church is going well. Mitch is in charge, with our neighbor (and one of his best friends) of the 11 year-old boy scouts and I am in charge of teaching our little ones (ages 3-11) music at church. We are loving life!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This has Gotta be the Good Life

I've been loving this song for the past few months.

"The Good Life" by OneRepublic

Great, upbeat song; only one bad word, so buy the edited (radio) version!

(But the music video's very clean!)

It's also how life's going right now...good! Just good!!

We're keeping our heads above water in classes and getting good grades,

keeping work schedules straight and getting good hours,

some good language skills developing in little Nathan man, who babbles constantly with the best of 'em nowadays,

no more constipation issues for the little guy, which makes for good moods most of the time,

and we've now trained Nathan to sleep for 8-10 hours STRAIGHT, so we're getting GOOD sleep!

I am loving it! I have energy to do my homework, church lessons, and even energy to play with my little man and enjoy family time!

We did, however, have to completely Ferberize him. It was not our first choice, but was a great last resort. We hated to let him cry it out all night, especially with neighbors upstairs and downstairs (who we owe cookies...), but it only lasted 3-4 nights and then he was waking up once and getting himself back to sleep...then just waking up in the morning!

We feel like Nathan was a good candidate for the Ferber method because letting him cry it out meant that, once he got to sleep, he wasn't waking up any more than he normally did when I'd go in and comfort him back to sleep.

(I never picked him up out of his bed when I did this, but it was still proving to be more destructive for him than helpful!)

Now we all enjoy full REM cycles. Man does having sleep make a difference! He also puts himself down for naps within a couple minutes and doesn't even cry anymore!

Now when he gets sick or has some ailment where he needs extra help at night we'll know exactly how to get him back on track, and hopefully he'll get the message.

I read this week that 2 days or nights (in a row) of doing the same thing is all it takes to solidify an expectation for a baby. Hopefully if we have to Ferberize him again anytime soon he'll get the message in just 2 nights!

He's babbling like a fool and has also learned how to click his tongue. It makes him very proud of himself. He sounds like a little tribal baby: it's so cute, and hasn't gotten annoying yet :o)

He still loves his "whoozit friend" and doesn't sleep well without it. He loves to wrap his arms around it and rub it against his face when he goes to sleep. I think it's a perfect sleep toy because it's shaped to not block his breathing, but he can still cuddle into it.

(this was back in April at his GG and Papa Dooley's house, but he still pretty much sleeps like this!)
Binky in mouth (where it STAYS, very tightly, all night, talented kid!) and whoozit where it can be his friend. And his gloworm off to the side where it can sing. He's just recently started picking it up. I love to see him cuddled up to both of them!

Mitch and I are getting antsy for change, which is weird to us. We got a new entertainment center with yard sale money from selling our stuff last weekend, and we absolutely love this babyproof version. (We'll need a lock for the doors, but it has DOORS!) Nathan loves to watch his reflection in the glass doors. It's adorable.

So, I guess that's all the change we'll have for now. We're antsy to redo some piece of furniture or rearrange or whatever...I think it's because this is the longest we've gone since we were married without change! We moved twice in the first 6 months we were married; after 6 months we found out we were pregnant; (the 9 months of pregnancy don't count as no changes...every day's a change!); then we had Nathan in November, and now he's 7 1/2 months old! We love our apartment, our friends, our church congregation, our classes, etc. so no changes that way...

Oh, well...maybe we'll buy a plant.

Next on the agenda: how to bring some of that Midwest warmth my family and friends at home are enjoying to Rexburg!! We can't seem to get above 60! I want to splash Nathan and his friend Burton around in a kiddie pool!!

And now, as a reward for getting to the bottom of this post, here are photos of what we've been up to:
Learning how to pull up his rug
(must...get it mouth!!)

Anything's a toy...i'm waiting for the day when he learns how to pull off the caps of all the pens and markers I let him play with! For now they're just drumsticks.

(wait, is that a tooth!?...haha yeah right. In this kid?)
Nope, no teeth here! He's sure using anything to work them up, though!

Can you tell that we love playing in our room, though?
This look is the closest I ever get to a smile...shock that I have my camera out.
He should know by now that I always have it out!
Love these baby sunglasses! I only wish we could go outside more to use them! He actually keeps them on!

Thanks for reading :o)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Nine Days

It's been nine days since I've updated our blog...and not much has changed since then! We have been super busy, though, so not much except for school and work and other non-interesting craziness has had time to happen.

Last week we found out we both had NO on campus classes this week!! How often does that happen? Even for this to happen to one of us is rare, but both!? Awesome. We REALLY wish we would've taken advantage of this free week and made a trip to Gillette, WY to see Mitch's family and take a break from life altogether, but we had too much going on outside of school!

So, the one week this miracle happens, we're too busy with other things to do anything about it!

I've been working hard on our complex's yard sale, making fliers, posting them in every floor of every stairwell, making posters/signs and posting about it on Craigslist. It finally happened today, and we're happy to report that we sold pretty much everything we wanted to, and our stuff sold really well! We were very happy and felt like our hours and work (and my sunburn) were worth it!

I have also been taking pictures of little man. However, I have also learned just enough about my camera to see the flaws in every picture. It's either a wrong color profile setting or f-stop level or composition. It's kind of annoying, because before I used to just see "cute," like any mother would!

Here are a few from the last week or two since i've posted:

Our trip to the nature park (Nathan loved it for about ten minutes, then fell asleep)
Gorgeous eyes...I won't tell you what I see wrong with this!

Flowers on the Temple grounds
(I cheated and sprayed them down...wet flowers are supposedly 10x more appealing than dry flowers)

The Rexburg LDS pretty!
This was the best I could get from outside the gate because the Temple was closed
The Angel Moroni (I've talked about this gold-plated angel statue on top of every Temple before)
I surprisingly didn't edit any of this. I'm taking a break from editing at all so I can focus on taking better pictures to begin with. (This excludes turning things to b&w or sepia...the color profiles on the camera aren't as good as in Photoshop!)
(You can see how quickly I lost light between the last three pictures!)

Eating a favorite toy...

I love this kid...

"Guess How Much I Love You"
He has no patience for this (semi-long) book but I hope he gets the message!

No teeth here!

Can you believe I took this indoors with an in-camera flash? I love my flash diffuser!
I just wish I'd widened my f-stop so his little ears weren't so blurry!!

All this kid does all day is whine with his mouth closed. It's a high-pitched moan that gets on Mitch's and I nerves faster than anything else...
All. Day. Long.
Unless he's laughing or squealing so hard he starts coughing.

That's funny.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Brighter Side of Things and Reading is FUN!!

The Brighter Side of Things

I feel like i've been sitting in a pile of self-pity. Nathan is somewhat of a challenge, but people everywhere have much bigger challenges with their infants that they have to try and figure out and overcome. Things that involve a lifetime of medications or physical/muscular therapy other invasive procedures. We don't have to deal with that. Nathan is pretty healthy, and we are so grateful for that!

Having said that, Nathan is so much fun! He seems like he will be the kid that loves attention. Our little neighbor boy is 6 months older than him and has been shy for quite awhile...he cried when everyone sang happy birthday and wanted him to eat his cake...that won't be Nathan!

Our boy loves attention. He will do anything to get it, and he will whine like crazy if he isn't getting enough. This makes committing myself to 2-3 hours of online homework a day pretty tricky, especially if Mitch is in class or at the library and can't toss some toys his way!

Nathan is getting very good at sitting on his own, rolling all over, pivoting on his stomach, pulling himself up onto locked arms, etc. He hasn't lifted himself onto his knees yet, but our entertainment center (and rest of the house) isn't anywhere NEAR baby proofed, so I'm not in a rush for him to crawl!

He is getting super cuddly. I don't know why; this especially happens when he's being a "computer baby" and sitting on my lap while I type. Earlier today he had both his arms wrapped around my arm giving me "kisses". I love it! When he gets tired he lays his head right on the table. It is hilarious!

Nathan doesn't like to smile at the camera very much; this big black camera is kind of intrusive, I think, and blocks just about my whole face. I'm getting good at just zooming out and snapping without looking, so I can smile at him and crop or straighten the picture later.

Reading is FUN!

Nathan loves, loves books! We read all the time, and he even knows how to turn pages by himself now! I love that he's sitting up well enough on his own to sit and "enjoy" (taste) a book on his own!

Because he loves books so much, we now have a book basket not only in his room, but in the living room too!

They are both full of flexible or board books, or the occasional photo album/"look book." He loves them all, but especially the ones that taste the best!

His favorite book to read before bed is Dr. Seuss's Put Me in the Zoo or the classic Goodnight Moon. Hungry Caterpillar is too long, and he doesn't like The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too! nearly as much as I like to read it to him (Mo Willems is my favorite!)

I love that he loves books now, just because it's a pile of colorful toys to play with. I hope I can keep the love of reading going.

I'm really picky about what I read and I tend to be overly-critical of books. Hopefully I can read enough in front of my kiddos to make them feel like it's an important thing to do every day!

We love you, Nathan! Sorry if we think you're a pill sometimes, but believe us when we say we love you more and more everyday!

PS--we're SUPER proud of you for sleeping from 10:30-6:00, then from 6:15-10:00! Let's repeat that tonight! (So far, so good!)

Disclaimer: remember how our little doll refused to sleep before about 1:30 am in the beginning? By moving his schedule slowly (and subtly), we've gotten him to a 10:15-10:30 bedtime. When I'm not in school at night we'll put him down earlier, I just hate missing bedtime!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Schedule Update and Progress

Well, it's been over a week since we started our new schedule.

And I don't think Nathan has ever slept less at night, poor kid.

Not to mention MOM has never been this sleep-deprived! Turns out I still hate mornings. And on top of that, a baby that wakes up every 2-3 hours, simply inconsolable, doesn't help!

We are loving the together time we get in the morning before Nathan wakes up. We miss the sleep we get, but this is making us go to bed at a decent time instead of doing who-knows-what until 1:30 am.

I love the time to get homework done for my Old Testament class. The independent study time in the morning really comes in handy (I love going to a church school so I can study religion every semester!)

A couple things have gotten in our way this week, but we're mostly doing just fine.

Also, my calves are feeling the burn! Maybe one day if I'm lucky I'll have Michelle Obama muscles :o)

As for Nathan, he's just not getting how to sleep. He's sleeping less now than when he was a newborn. After almost 7 months of barely ever getting REM sleep, we are SICK of it!

He's also started all this separation anxiety junk, which doesn't help! It's a total power struggle.

And a "closed-mouth whine", which would even make his sweet grandmothers wince with annoyance!
Good thing he's still cute!
(super underexposed, I know, but look at that face!)
We're figuring out creative ways to get things done while staying within about 5-10 feet of him. He gets really mad when he can see you and realizes that you're not right there with him.

This kid has had so many issues. I feel really bad for him, and part of me still insists there's something going on that we don't know about. No nurse or doctor gives us a second look. Are babies sometimes really just unhappy all the time and just inconsolable for no apparent reason? Even when they've had Tylenol and gripe water and have a full belly and clean diaper!?

We were making a list the other day. This poor kid has had:
(until he was about 4 months old)
(underdeveloped trachea in infants that causes lung problems that they eventually grow out of; he just grew out of this a month or two ago)

an ear infection (at just 6 weeks old! Mitch was an ear tube baby, so this put us on red alert)
several colds
(which showed up about 3 months ago)

chronic constipation
(that seems never to go away without Miralax and a suppository)
a random rash with no explanation
(we hadn't changed ANYTHING...they just told us to "let it happen again"...yuck!)
(this was taken during an oatmeal bath, after we got his rash under control. It was so bad that morning that we could barely look at him!)

All of these seem pretty common and unrelated. I'm just sick of all the ailments! My Nathan's miserable, he doesn't sleep, he forgets how to self-soothe when he's sick (because I just try to make him as comfy as possible, like the nurses have said to), and we don't feel like he has much of a life. At least not a fun one. After a couple weeks of feeling great, something else will pop up out of nowhere!

What happened to the great immune system nursing was supposed to give him!? And all my antibodies?

It doesn't help that he's been teething for the last 2 months, with no teeth in sight.

Should I be concerned, or did we just hit the lottery with this one!?
I can't help worrying all the time when something is ALWAYS showing up and going wrong!