Monday, December 31, 2012

The Joy and Grief Of 2012

I brought in 2012 passed out on the couch with a glass full of Martinelli on the end table. My husband woke me to inform me of the new year which I took as permission to go to bed for the night. I brought the new year in with a baby curled in my tummy, blissfully unaware that the upcoming year would bring some of my highest highs and lowest lows.  (Not in chronological order)

The year brought me to my knees when my 24 year old sister had a brain aneurysm and required brain surgery. Those long and dark few days I spent paralyzed with fear that I was going to lose my sister and best friend before she would ever get a chance to meet my daughter. Time stood painfully still and I felt a deep grief I hope never to feel again. Oh, but the flood of relief that came when the surgeon told us she was going to be okay. The overwhelming joy to see my sister's face once again, despite her head being stapled and bandaged back together.

The year brought the sadness that has come from watching my mother battle depression that developed after losing her brother in 2011. Watching the joy continually slip from her once joyous soul, leaving a sad and frail shell of who my mother used to be has been tough to say the least. The small glimmer of hope when she seemed to be her old self, only to see the hollow grief return to her eyes and watch the mother I once knew slip away once again.

The year brought the news that my sister, the very same sister I believed would leave me earlier in the year, was expecting a baby a exactly a year after the birth of Kaylee. Images of cousins growing up side by side, play dates, birthday parties, trips to the parks all dance in my mind. To experience the joys and hardships of motherhood with my best friend is such a dream come true.

The year brought me the single most amazing moment in my life, the moment I became a mother with a slimy, soft, snuggly newborn brought to my chest. When my ears filled with her healthy cries and my fingers stroked her soft downy hair. The first time I peered into her big blue eyes, that moment, the one I had dreamed about forever will make 2012 my absolute favorite year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Artificial Fragrances and CF

When I was a senior in college I lived with three other girls in a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment. Two of these particular girls liked the house to smell good at all times. I don't mean they wanted the house void of all offensive smells, but they wanted our apartment to smell of flowers. They showered our carpets with this chemically floral scented powder so that the when vacuumed it would let off a very strong "floral" scent. Every closet had a fake air freshener to make the closet smell "sweet" and scented candles were almost always burning somewhere in the house. As someone who didn't even know carpet fragrance existed I was perplexed. If the house was clean there should not be any offensive smells and therefore fake fragrances weren't necessary, right? Why do so many people equate clean or nice smells with artificial chemicals that smell nothing like "clean" or "flowers"?

As I have gotten older and no longer live with roommates I have turned away from chemically induced fragrances. I never liked the way they made my lungs feel and my lungs have enough problems as it is! I can't even remember the last time I burned a scented candle. I found as someone with CF I don't  like the idea of filling my lungs and the air my family breathes with man made chemicals that are meant to smell "nice". Whether this is in an air freshener or a cleaning product, I wanted them out of my home.

One of the biggest offenders for me is bleach. A few years ago I cleaned a bathroom and spent the rest of the day feeling as if my lungs were on fire, literally on fire!! My poor husband (boyfriend at the time, that should have told me right there that he was a keeper!) became in charge of cleaning the bathroom shower as the ventilation wasn't very good in the first apartment we lived in and we both worried about my lungs being exposed to harsh bathroom cleaners. But then I worried about HIS lungs. I didn't want him spending an hour in a chemical haze cleaning the bathroom either. I turned to natural store bought cleaners and some homemade natural cleaners (think vinegar/water or baking soda) that were safe for all of us!

Although I liked my natural store bough cleaners I still wasn't sure how natural they really were or if it was all a marketing scheme  My homemade cleaners worked well enough, but not as well as the harsh chemicals and they took a lot more elbow grease which I wasn't thrilled about. It wasn't until recently that I became serious about making a complete change. After having my daughter I realized that everything I put into our home she has to breath with her tiny clean lungs. I also didn't want to worry about having strong chemicals on my hands while cleaning in case I needed to touch Kaylee or her little toys that go in her mouth on a regular basis . So thanks to Pinterest and natural bloggers I have now converted our home to a natural cleaning product home. This is my new favorite shower/bathroom cleaner that I found on several sites online (no way is this my original recipe...I seriously struggled through all 3 chemistry classes I had to take in college!)

It has two ingredients: Equal parts Blue Dawn and White Vinegar! Super easy and super effective. I sprayed the whole shower and left overnight. In the morning before Kaylee's bath I took a rag and wiped (WIPED, didn't scrub at all) and I was left with a beautiful shower and even the grout came out clean and free of any shower yuckiness! I wasn't worried about bathing her in the bath after cleaning because there were no strong and dangerous chemicals used. (Side note: Blue Dawn also works well on stripping cloth diapers so it is my new favorite dish soap!)

I am still on the hunt for a few more recipes. I have heard you can make your own dishwasher liquid, but haven't tried it yet and for some reason I am a little nervous to even try. I have also been wanting to make my own cloth diaper laundry soap, but I am a little nervous as cloth diapers are very finicky when it comes to laundry soap and I don't want to ruin my beautiful stash. Anyone else have natural cleaners they recommend?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Baby's First Christmas

We had an amazing first Christmas with Kaylee! Luckily, despite the fact that my hubby and I both got sick before Christmas we were back to our normal selves by the time Christmas actually rolled around. I usually get colds 10x worse than hubby, but for once I only showed symptoms for about 48 hours and didn't have my typical non.stop.cough that goes on and on and prevents me from sleeping and eventually causes me to lose my voice. I guess you can call it a Christmas miracle. But poor hubby had fevers and the shakes for a few days and cold symptoms much longer. I think this is the first time in our entire relationship that he got hit much harder by a cold/illness.

As for Christmas we were showered with love and family and I couldn't have asked for anything more. Kaylee sat through a long and busy extended family Christmas without so much as a fuss. Despite missing her third nap she was in good spirits. She did nurse about 4 times while we were at my parents house which is crazy excessive, but I think the commotion and activity made her need to have a little snuggle/nurse time. I never turn down a snuggle nursing session so I didn't mind one bit!

Some of my favorite memories were watching my daughter sit on my dad's lap banging on a tin box, listening to Kaylee chit chat to my sister, and seeing her all curled up fast asleep on my parents couch at the end of the night. I can't wait for what future Christmases have in store for us.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Teaching Sharing

I want my daughter to be kind and share with others. Unfortunately, she shared her cold with her mom and dad. She is back to her happy playful self and my husband and I are wandering around like zombies. Sigh! I will be signing off of blogger till after the Holidays to work on feeling better and to spend precious time with my family.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Not So Fun First

We are in the middle of baby's first cold. Lots of tears (both mom and baby), minimal sleep, lots of steam, minimal house cleaning, and tons of snuggles (and mommy's shirt constantly covered in snot from said snuggles).

Hopefully we will be back to blogging in a couple days...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

6 Months

My Dearest Kaylee,
You are six whole months today. Half way to a year. A few days ago the fact that you were about to be 6 months old started to sink in and it made me cry. I scooped you up in my arms and you laid your sweet little head on my shoulder while fat tears rolled down my cheeks. I cried for so many reasons and feelings. I cried because I still even after so long can hardly believe you are mine. I cried because time is going so quickly and I can do nothing to slow it down. I cried because I am so proud to call you my daughter.

You have changed so dramatically this month that it leaves me dizzy when I think about it. On your fifth month of life you were hitting milestones so quickly I ran out of room on month 5 in your baby book! You now can scoot backwards all over the room which makes mommy's chores much more interesting. You also now reach for us when you want us to hold you which is one of the sweetest things you have learned and your Papi and I melt when you reach for us. You love looking at the world upside down which makes us all laugh. You really are growing into such a fun little girl!

Things You Like: You LOVE your dad and he makes you laugh or smile constantly. I get a laugh every once in a while, but just looking at your dad makes you giddy. You love when I sing Baby Beluga or The Itsy Bitsy Spider. You love when I kiss your hands which always makes you smile. Watching someone jump makes you so excited every.single.time!

Things You Dislike: When we are driving and it is dark out. I think you get bored sitting in the dark. When I take too long to change your clothes. You are a free spirit and hate being confined, but you have been like that since the very beginning.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How CF Effects Motherhood Part 2

Before becoming a CF mom I was always nervous about how CF would play a role in motherhood. Would it be manageable, would it make me less of a mother, would it be no big deal? Well, motherhood is always changing because babies change dramatically in a very short period of time. Last time I wrote about CF effecting motherhood (Click here for Part 1 and here for part 3) Kaylee was only a month old. Things like the startle reflex no longer apply to an *almost* six month old. So I decided to update you on how CF effects motherhood with a slightly older baby.

When Kaylee was little I would wake an hour before her to get her treatments in. Now Kaylee wakes around 5:30-6:30 in the morning and waking up at 4:30 to do treatments just isn't happening! I now try to fit my treatments in our morning routine which goes something like this:

  • Kaylee wakes which instantly wakes me. I sometimes let her crawl around me in bed (we have guard rails) to buy me a few minutes. I bath her and then shower. I then go to the living room where I sit her on her blanket with some toys and sit across the room (I don't want her breathing in my albuterol, but I can still see/get to her easily). She plays while I do my first nebs. She then sits in her high chair while I eat breakfast. After breakfast she is ready for a nap. Once she is in bed I do the rest of my treatments., put on makeup, etc. 
Evenings my husband used to watch Kaylee, but he now works until really late 5 nights a week so my evening routine is as follows:
  • Again I have her sit and play until I finish my entire treatment! Usually, when I get to Hypertonic Saline I put her in my lap and she plays with toys in my lap instead of her blanket cause she gets lonely and a little salt water never hurt anyone. After my treatments we start her nighttime routine and she goes to bed.
This leads me to my next obstacle...

I feel guilty that the whole time between wake up and Kaylee's first nap I am doing treatments, bathing, eating. I feel like I am not able to enjoy her cause I have other stuff I need to do. It makes me feel bad for Kaylee and angry at CF. The upside is she spent a lot of time on her tummy during my treatments and so she got strong pretty quickly. Now she spends lots of time sitting and can transition from sitting to an *almost* crawl position. I guess while I am doing treatments she is busy building muscles to hit developmental milestones. Even as I say this, I still feel guilty!!

This is a tough one, but it doesn't have to be. The weather has been pretty crummy so I am no longer jogging or even walking much despite having a nice jogging stroller. I need to go to the gym and just haven't. I don't have much of an excuse except I never want to leave my baby. I need a kick in the butt (feel free to post some "get your stuff together" comments, I need it!) because I know exercising means I will be away from her for an hour a day, but will be alive and well for significantly longer. 

Weight Gain
I lost a lot of weight in the last three months. I think nursing is playing into this. When I was at work I was really good about snacking because I had designated breaks and so I would remember to eat. Now that I am home all the time I completely forget to snack which greatly effects my caloric intake.

I am sure in a few months everything will change again. I have no idea how I will do treatments when Kaylee learns to crawl! I will be sure to give you an update.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sleeping Through The Night

"Is your baby sleeping through the night yet?"

When I took a newborn care class when I was 38 weeks pregnant the woman teaching the class warned us that this would be one of the most common questions we would get after, "How old is your baby?" and "What is his/her name?" She told us that if someone asks, feel free to lie. I didn't understand the need to lie about such a thing, but at the time I didn't understand the judgement that comes with the question.

I went to a post partum mom and me class where mothers talked before class about how the journey of motherhood was going so far. The most vocal mothers were sure to talk about how well their baby slept. I overheard one mother whisper to another, "I am starting to think my baby is the only one that wakes up every few hours to eat." The babies ranged in age from 4-8 weeks old. A time when babies are supposed to be waking for feedings especially if they are breastfeeding.

When I brought Kaylee to a baby singalong at the local library a mother asked the typical questions about Kaylee and then said, "My daughter was sleeping through the night at 2 months, is your daughter sleeping through the night yet?" The question was set up as if sleeping through the night was some huge accomplishment and there was obvious pride in her voice that her 2 month old could sleep so well.

I went to Kaylee's four month appointment where my pediatrician asked if she was sleeping thought the night. I told her that she still got up to nurse in which my pediatrician seemed less than thrilled. She gave me a paper about how to get your baby to sleep all night (cry it out) and informed me that a four month old has no need to eat at night.

Sometimes at night when my husband has rolled to the other side of the bed I find myself cold and awake. I roll over until our bodies touch so I can drift back to sleep feeling warm and safe. You don't need to be awake to feel lonely, it happens in your sleep too. During pregnancy and especially while nursing those first few months I would awake to a grumbling in my stomach. I would wander down the hall and open the fridge, letting the light fill the dark room until I found a suitable snack. Sometimes I wake up between dreams and play through the dream in my head before allowing myself to fall sleep again. Do I sleep through the night? Sometimes. Most nights, but not every night.

Does my daughter wake up lonely and cold and in need of a snuggle? Yes, and I pull her close to me and hold her tight. Does she wake up with a grumbling her in her stomach sometimes? Yes, and I feed her without a second thought. Does she wake up between dreams just because? Yes, and I stroke her hair or nuzzle her neck until she falls asleep again. Does she sleep through the night? Sometimes. Most nights, but not every night.

I now understand why the teacher of our newborn class told us to feel free to lie, but I feel no need to pretend my daughter is capable of something she is not. I don't want other moms to feel like their 6 week old is the only baby not sleeping well when in reality most babies still have lots of needs in the night for a long time. And I don't want the mom of a 10 month old to feel like she is a failure because her baby still doesn't sleep through the night. So when asked I shrug and answer, "Sometimes" as if it is no big deal because in the long run it really isn't.

I have a lot of things in life that I want for my daughter and the ability to sleep through the night isn't really high on my priority list. I would rather my daughter know that regardless of the time, how tired I am, or how silly the need may be, that I will always be there for her. I want her to feel safe and secure 24 hours a day. And for the nights she feels comfortable enough to sleep the whole night through then I am happy for her, but I will not feel disappointed when there are nights (and there are many nights) that she finds herself needing her mama in the early morning hours or all through the night. I would rather boast that my daughter feels loved and cherished regardless of the hour than boast that my daughter sleeps for 7 hours straight. But you can't quantify love and fulfillment so people will continue to ask, "Is she sleeping through the night?" as if that is more important than, "Does she feel safe and tended to?"

Sunday, December 2, 2012

2nd Clinic Since Baby and "Dada"

I meant to post this Tuesday, but you know...

I left the clinic yesterday feeling a little beat up. I hate getting bad news. My lung function was down which wasn't surprising as I haven't been feeling that great. My doctor wants me to start Cayston again and call him in 2 weeks to give him an update. He is so hesitant to put me on any orals because of breastfeeding. I appreciate his concern for my daughter, but it seems a lot of CFers get orals while breastfeeding and do fine. I am hoping Cayston and a few extra treatments throughout the day does the trick, but I am not too confidant that it will work.

I expected my lung function would be lower, but had no idea my weight would be down too. I lost 6lbs in the last 3 months since my post pregnancy weight was a little higher. That is a LOT of weight to lose! I guess I got overly confident. I got through the pregnancy and the first few months eating when I was hungry and not worrying about calories. I think the combination of feeding a 17+ pound 5.5 month old and feeling under the weather didn't help in the weight arena. Apparently, I still have a healthy BMI, but I need to make sure that this weight loss isn't part of a continuous decline. I am actually more stressed out about my weight than my lung function because I am so emotionally attached to breastfeeding. I am not sure who needs it more, me or Kaylee. That night as I was nursing her to sleep (it puts us both to sleep) I was thinking that I would have no idea where to begin to wean her. We both find so much comfort, routine, and love with nursing. I have become as dependent on nursing as she has. As long as I don't lose any more weight my doctor is completely fine with me nursing as long as I want and so I am extremely determined to keep the weight on.

In other news, my husband joined me when I went to clinic to keep Kaylee entertained. The appointments are usually very long and boring. My husband spent the majority of the appointment letting Kaylee admire herself in the mirror and trying quietly trying to teach her to say dada. By the end of the appointment Kaylee eas whispering, "Dada" right back at hubby. That evening whenever she was playing she would whisper, Dada Dada Dada". It has been almost a week since she learned it and it only comes out as a whisper. It is amazing how they mimic every single detail.