Sunday, May 31, 2009

Doing a little better...

... well, a lot better actually. He slept in his helmet last night - and he is sleeping in it now. He napped in it yesterday and today as well. He was in bed with me most of last night and will probably end up there again, which is fine with me. Whatever it takes to help him through this.

Pray for a big cranial growth spurt that gets us out of this thing FAST.

The helmet is my nemesis. Ugh.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Helmet Heartache

It's not going well. We had a really difficult first night in the helmet. Well, scratch that - because he's not in it. Close to an hour of exhausted screaming and crying - the helmet is off - and Jack is asleep. He literally crumpled with relief once it was off. I don't know how we're going to do this. I'm really beside myself.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


My little trooper cut not one, but TWO teeth over Memorial Day weekend. He was fussy Saturday afternoon and I could see one front bottom tooth under his gums but did not realize it was THIS CLOSE to busting through.. Well, by Sunday - it was through! Sharp little sucker too! And by Sunday I could tell the other was not far behind - it came through by Monday (Memorial Day.) He's been teething for a while - but once they hit 4 months, every fussy episode is attributed to "teething" - but you never have clear evidence that indeed - this IS teething - until you can see a tooth beneath (or above!) or notice inflamed gums.

I cried because it is evidence of time passing ... and because someday Jack will grow up and leave me. That is insane, I know, but I'm having a hard time with all of it. Knowing that he is probably my only baby (and wishing I could have more, while at the same time trying to remember to be GRATEFUL for the amazing little boy I am SO BLESSED to have in my life.) He is such a wonderful baby. So, so pleasant, so beautiful - I am so lucky.

Let's see .. what else. I pumped for what appears to the be the LAST TIME yesterday morning - so that's contributed to my emotional state too. I am glad to be done pumping, but as I've said before, SAD that this chapter is over, and that it didn't go how I'd hoped. I would love to still be nursing my little boy. We were robbed of that opportunity. I know I have to let it go. And I do, little by little. I had no trauma over my very medicalized birth as crunchy birth wannabe's sometimes do. But I do suffer from not having been able to breastfeed - especially as it was a situation that with the right information - probably could have been fixed. That's hard. Ugh. I guess this is the place to write about it though - and to get those feelings out - and set them free.

Here is a pic of my beautiful boy - one week before he cut his first tooth! You can tell he was feeling teethy though!!

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He is the love of my life. Hands down. And I sure love his dad too - but this little guy, wow. It's surely nothing I've ever known before. Pure love. Teeth and all!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hanging Up The Horns

Well, my breastfeeding story is coming to an end. And I’m really, really, really, really sad about it. Which is crazy – given that for the last 5 and a half months – my “breastfeeding” story has consisted of feeding exclusively pumped breastmilk to my child. (See “my breastfeeding tale of woe..) And EP'ing, as it is known, is not for the faint of heart. It's really difficult, and very draining. So for me to be sad that it's ending - is somewhat bizarre. But it's not just the end of pumping. It's the end of my breasts producing milk for Jack .. the end of what I had hoped would be a beautiful experience (but wasn't) .. the end of any possibility that Jack will ever nurse again .. the end of something I wanted very badly for him. My inability to nurse Jack will always be a hurt in my heart. I do not dwell or obsess about it. But it's there. It broke my heart.

I decided, a while ago, that 6 months would be it as far as EP'ing. If we were nursing at the breast - I have no doubt we'd go much, much longer. But that is not our story, and EP'ing bears no resemblance to nursing at the breast. It is incredibly time consuming .. means living your life in 3 - 4 hour increments, always tethered to the pump .. basically you breastfeed a machine while your child waits .. it's all the work of breastfeeding AND formula feeding - but none of the beautiful bonding of nursing at the breast -- and none of the ease of simply readying a bottle of formula. Just not a simple endeavor - by any stretch.

Jack turned 6 months old this past Sunday – May 17. Unbelievable. My big boy. He is so amazing. But as I wrote before – he needs a helmet for plagiocephaly – so that means lots of appointments which make pumping on any kind of a schedule even more ridiculous than it already is. And also – with warmer weather upon us – I decided that I want to spend my time with Jack doing other things besides pumping – which has actually taken time AWAY from Jack. I have questioned myself more than once – am I doing the right thing? Do the benefits of feeding him breastmilk outweigh the fact that it is interfering with my ability to spend as much time with my son as possible, especially given that I am a working mom?

Up until 6 months – my answer was “yes”. But now – it’s no. At 6 months – Jack’s digestive system is mature enough to handle solid foods – and – an all formula diet. To make myself feel better – I have switched him to Earth’s Best organic formula (before I was supplementing approximately 2 bottles a day using Similac.) But formula will be his new solo beverage – soon (I’m still pumping a couple of times a day right now – just today dropped from 3 to 2 .. before that had dropped from 4 to 3 for over a week – and before that had been at 5 pumping sessions per day for months and months and MONTHS.)

I am very proud of myself. I wanted to quit a hundred times, I had so many obstacles, and I have big, ugly, purple keloid scars on both nipples from all the damage done the first 2 weeks of Jack’s life while I was still putting him on the breast. But I kept going. I believed he deserved breastmilk and I am a stubborn, stubborn lady. So I found a way to give it to him.

I love you Jack. So much. I hope I did the right thing by you. I think I did. But I’m hanging up the horns – for good (at least this go round…) – very soon. And I think it will be a good thing for both of us. Or at least an OK thing. With some good ... more time for walks together ... no more letting you fuss on your playmat alone while I finish pumping ... and a less exhausted, more relaxed mommy.

It hurts to think I won’t be giving him breastmilk any more though. I have always taken GREAT satisfaction in watching him drink a bottle of breastmilk. It always made me feel so happy – made all the horrid pumping worth it. And now that is coming to an end. And it’s hard. But it’s time. Soon.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


So my poor little bub has plagiocephaly. Here is a note we recently sent to family and friends to explain what's up:

Hi friends .. sorry for the “mass” e-mail - but rather than explain the same situation over and over again we thought we’d send out one “informational” e-mail to those of you who are going to be seeing our darling son Jack this summer, either in person or pictures.

Jack has been diagnosed with a treatable, fixable condition called unilateral positional plagiocephaly. The back right side of his head has become somewhat flattened - from Jack’s propensity to always sleep on that side of his head (despite our efforts to keep him off of it over the past few months.) In the early 90’s - when the put your baby on his/her "back to sleep" campaign began - the incidence of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) dropped by something like 40 percent. Unfortunately, the incidence of plagiocephaly shot way up. When we all slept on our tummies, this wasn’t an issue. Now that babies sleep on their backs - plagiocephaly affects 1 in 70 babies. However, as plagiocephaly is treatable - and SIDS obviously is not - the healthcare community views plagiocephaly as the lesser of 2 evils.

The slight flattening of Jack’s head has also caused slight changes to some of his facial features and the position of his right ear. So - to help Jack’s head and face round out properly as he grows - he will be outfitted with a special orthotic device sometime in May and wear it this summer - it looks like a helmet - you have probably seen babies wearing these as it is an increasingly common condition. Once his treatment is complete - there should be no lasting effects on either his head or his face.

Jack’s brain and development are not affected by the plagiocephaly. So while in essence this is a “cosmetic” condition - it is important that it be corrected while his skull is still soft. We feel bad for our little guy - but have been told that babies adjust to the helmets very well. He will wear it 23 hours a day - for a minimum of 3 months. We were also told that we haven’t done anything “wrong” as parents - some babies have softer skulls than others - it's more common in boys -- and in fact our efforts for the last few months to keep him off of his head while awake and to reposition him while sleeping have kept his condition from getting worse. Still - a specialist at Children's has determined that treatment is necessary - and so our Jack will be in his corrective “helmet” this summer. We know that he will rock that helmet, and look as adorable as ever.

So .. when you see Jack in person or pics in a month or so ... now you will know that he is not playing on some new 6 month old baby lacrosse team. He is doing just fine, just needs a little reshaping.

Best -

A & J (and Jack!)

Ugh. We'll get through it. But it's always something.. you know?