Friday, August 22, 2008

Weighty Issues

At the five week mark, things are worrisome. Katherine is still having growth issues.

We've been at her pediatricians weekly since she came home from the hospital. Because she was an IUGR baby (Intrauterine Growth Restriction) the doctors look for quick weight gain once the baby is born. Katherine is now five weeks old and only weighs 6pds 5oz. Up only 4oz from the previous week. And not yet up a whole pound since birth. Not good.

So the pediatrician is concerned and basically I need to give her less boob and more bottle to see if that will help. She still screams often during nursing sessions and we have not been able to pinpoint exactly why. I even went to a lactation consultant to get some advice. At said session, Katherine nursed like a champ and never screamed. Such a performer. So this week we are focusing big time on eating and we'll see what happens. She needs to be gaining about an oz a day or else we'll need to do some pretty invasive tests to see if something else is wrong. Needless to say this is stressing me out.

The plan is to give alot more formula this week and see what happens. The idea being more formula will equal greater weight gain. My pediatrician even said that while he hates to recommend against breast milk, that she's just not gaining enough. He actually recommended breastfeeding then offering the bottle at each feeding. But I've decided to alternate giving the bottle first at every other feeding for a couple days to see what happens. She often won't take a bottle after nursing, so I don't feel like that will work for us. I think Dean feels I should just quit breastfeeding and go straight to formula, but I'm not quite ready to do that yet. I really want her to have the benefits of breast milk, even if it's in limited quantities. That said, I'm just really hoping it's nothing more serious and that more formula will do the trick. I'd much rather give up breastfeeding for her health than her have a more serious health issue. Obviously. Sigh. Stay tuned...

So to not be all doom and gloom, here are a few of the latest cute photos of the girls. We've received some really cute outfits for Katherine from friends and family (thank you!) so I will be posting regular fashion week updates as she grows (hopefully soon) into more of the outfits.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Remembering Grandpa

My grandfather passed away last week at the ripe old age of 95. I'm thankful that he lived so long in mostly good health. He lost my grandmother in December last year after over 70 years of marriage. 70 years! Can you imagine? I can't imagine losing my life partner of 70+ years, so while I am very saddened of his passing, it was not a huge surprise.

Today was a rough day. Grandpa's service was held today in the town where I grew up, but now that I live on the other coast and have a 4 week old baby I just wasn't able to attend. He was my last living grandparent and I really wish I could have been there to pay my respects and listen to my family share their memories of him. My dad called me today and shared a bit of the ceremony with me. He put the phone on speaker and I got to talk to everyone for a bit. It was simultaneously comforting to hear all their voices and yet heartbreaking to not be there with them. And now I sit here kicking myself because it just dawned on me that I could have asked my brother to videotape it for me. So I'll never get to hear the shared memories, which makes me tremendously sad. I wasn't able to attend my grandmothers funeral, but did go out in February for a family memorial and it was really wonderful to hear everyone share their memories of my her. Because that is so fresh in my mind, I know I missed something truly special today.

So I'm sitting here thinking about my grandfather. I want to remember so many things about him so I can keep him alive for my girls, something my friend Joan pointed out when I was lamenting the fact that they would never know him. So as a starting point, here are a few memories:

- Man, could that guy tell a story. He loved nothing more than sitting at the head of the table at Thanksgiving and telling us stories from his life. Yes, the same stories we heard year after year. And I loved it. There was the one about visiting San Francisco, all the stories about his brothers, his travels, how he almost moved to CA without my grandmother, but at the last minute, decided he had to marry her and bring her with him.

- He loved to drink pink chablis. "cheer time"

- He was cheap, even though he loved to let you know he was a paper millionaire.

- He liked the dark meat on the turkey

- He had a bar in his library with some aged bottles of expensive wine or champagne. He always spoke of how he was saving them to open when the grandkids graduated from college and got married. Let's see, there are four grandkids. All college graduates? Check. All been married? Check. How many bottles of the good stuff opened? Zip. Yeah, he was a big talker, but not all about the action apparently.

- I had no idea until I came out for my grandmothers memorial, and saw a picture of my grandparents in their 20s, that my grandfather was so hot in his younger years. You go grandma!

- To be true to our relationship, I have to be honest that my grandfather and I completely disagreed on the role of women in the world. He was completely old school: the woman stays home, raises the kids and is very happy that way. No bringing home the bacon for her. The man makes all the money and decisions. I have a great memory of one Thanksgiving while I was newly graduated from college and living in San Francisco (and... GASP, working!) of him going off about how women were very unhappy having to work and should just go back to the way of his generation. He went on for awhile, and I was seething as he was essentially dissing my whole way of life. Apparently my dad noticed this as he finally said, "Dad you're full of shit and don't know what you're talking about". I'll never forget that moment for 2 reasons. One, I'd never seen my grandfather shut up so fast, and two, I was so touched that my dad stood up for me to his dad. Ironically, now that I am currently a SAHM, my grandfather would be so proud. What he never understood is that I am a firm believer in choice and options. I loved working and my career. And I love that I am in a situation now where I can stay home with my daughters while they are young. But sorry grandpa, I fully intend to go back to work when my youngest is in school.

That's all for the moment. I am exhausted from newborn sleep deprivation, so am leaving out much, but at least it's a start for the record books.

For another good take on my grandfather, read this post from my cousin Tanya's blog.

Oh, and can I just say, if you're planning on videotaping any older members of your family telling their life stories or whatever, do it now. We talked about this a lot and now it's too late.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Week Two!

The craziness continues...

The Good:
- Katherine is up to 5pds 12oz, growing well. Still tiny but above her birth weight, hooray!
- The pediatrician said I no longer needed to wake her up at night, which I'd been doing every three hours. This was challenging because it would take me about 10 minutes to get her awake enough to eat, then she'd only eat for a few minutes and fall back asleep. Once I put her in the bassinet, she would wake and start crying. Repeat this pattern several times throughout the night and you have one tired mom.
- Natalie always wants to play with Katherine, which is too cute.
- Katherine is super alert when she's awake like Natalie was. Always looking around, which is rare in an infant. Even the nurses commented on this right after she was born, which was pretty cool.

The Bad:
- Katherine is going through a phase of latching on and off while nursing. Which would be okay if she didn't SCREAM (not cry, SCREAM) as soon as she loses her latch. So attempting to nurse in public is out for the time being. Which means mom is sort of stuck at home. Which I hate.
- Natalie gets jealous and impatient while I'm nursing. See reason above to note that I have to have both hands to feed Katherine to prevent/stop the screaming. Which means Natalie has to be patient. She's three. Yeah, that's going well. We've had a few timeouts this week. Sigh.
- This week was the week between summer preschool and regular preschool, so was particularly challenging. Natalie was home all week and I can't really take the baby out yet. Trying to entertain a three year old all day at home when you're sleep deprived and she mostly doesn't nap is fun. Really, it is. My friend Sarah took Natalie to her house today for a playdate with her son Nolan, which was a godsend.

But overall, things are going well. Here is Katherine taking her very first bath. We let the girls use the big tub in our bathroom and Natalie thought it was great! See for yourself...

First Bath

And here is Natalie showing Katherine her toys
Toy Show

And here she is sleeping, just like Natalie used to with both arms up. I love that.

The other funny thing that Dean and I have both noticed, is that suddenly, Natalie seems so big and so heavy when we carry her. It was like overnight she became this child giant. Really shows how much everything in life is all about your personal perspective.