Friday, August 28, 2009

Growing pains, or at least boredoms

Tonight, we meant to go to the bimonthly gaming night we often attend (Eric more than me). It's held at a local coffee shop from seven to eleven. It was going to be Chloë's first big non-family outing. However, we didn't make it because Miss Overlord currently wishes to be fed every hour and twenty minutes, on average. Since she nurses for forty-five minutes, on average, I know the nursery very well right now. And since she decided to take a nice long nap and then a nice long dinner, we decided it wasn't worth the trouble to pack up a couple of bottles (since I'm nowhere near coordinated enough to nurse in public yet) and dash out as soon as she finished in the hopes of arriving before she was hungry again.

Luckily we had our last lactation consultant appointment yesterday, or I'd have been extremely concerned about this behavior. But the consultant not only pointed out that this was due to growth-spurty goodness, but weighed Chloë (ten pounds two ounces in a onesie and a diaper, up eight or nine ounces from seven days ago) and gave me some advice and information that make me reasonably confident that we're going to get through this okay. As long as it ends before I have to completely redecorate.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Status report: Month 1

Executive summary: At 1 month and 1 day, the project remains on track. Initial input errors have been identified and several fixes have been implemented, so far with success but without optimization. Output has normalized. All current systems operational. Regular upgrades scheduled.

Chloë is a month and a day old today. She spent her one-month birthday at her grandpa's, wearing a nice dress and being very well-behaved, and celebrated by giving us a five-hour stretch of sleep. One month. All day yesterday Eric and I said to each other, "Exactly one month ago, we were ____." We were heading to the hospital, we were walking the halls, we were meeting our daughter, we were trying to sleep. It's been a month and two days since we got a full night's sleep.

It's been an eventful month. During Chloë's first week, she came home and was fussy during feedings and slept most of the time. As the week went on, she got quieter and slept more, and we congratulated ourselves. She also turned bright orange. We called the pediatrician about the fussiness and they asked us to come in before our two-week appointment. When we did, they ordered us to St. Luke's for a bilirubin level. And when that came back, they ordered us to Toledo Hospital for phototherapy. Chloë spent four days there, and came home much pinker.

After that, our main focus was on flushing out the bilirubin and getting her weight up, and consequently we began the still-ongoing quest to get her nursing full-time without starving her.

Around day five she started being more alert, even under the effects of the jaundice, and now she spends quite a bit of her time looking around. She's actually looking at things, now, and will track a face if it moves slowly enough. She doesn't go to sleep on her own much, preferring to sleep on her mommy or daddy's chest, but is starting to be independent enough to sit in the swing or lie looking at things for a few minutes. She's also kind enough to mostly go right back to sleep after nighttime feedings. She smiles, and occasionally grins, and sometimes she gets a thoughtful expression in her eyes that makes me think I know what the kid she will become will look like.

She's still got the newborn reflexes, though I haven't gotten her to "walk" in a few days now, and is starting to uncurl herself. Her hair is still all there,but it hasn't gotten any longer. Her nails definitely have--in fact, she has two tiny cuts on her face from her nails because I'm a forgetful manicurist. She has a father who adores her and a mother who likes to hold her and watch those big blue eyes take in the world as if it's her own--which it is, or will be.

Happy one-month birthday, Chloë. Thank you for making us a family.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ninja baby

Ninja baby blends into the background while practicing her moves:

Ninja baby is working on yet another nursing regimen, thanks to yet another lactation consultant's recommendation. (The recommendation: no shield, clutch/football hold, control her chin to stop the tongue thrust, skin-to-skin contact to "organize the baby.") She doesn't quite get the hang of it yet, but when she does it seems to be working well. It's starting to seem absurd to expend all this effort on something she's only going to need for the first year of her life, something that can easily be replaced by an easy-to-purchase, easy-to-use product. I think this is going to be the last professional recommendation we try, especially since everyone we've spoken with has suggested something different. On the upside, this kid now probably knows more than any three average babies about different types of bottles, formula, and various nursing techniques. She's been pretty good about all the switching back and forth. I doubt knowing how to suck on an Avent nipple #2 versus an Enfamil premade formula nipple versus a Medela shield will help her in later life, but I suppose the flexibility will.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Noticing you noticing me

We've started to notice Chloë starting to notice things. Up until now she's focused on the face of the person who's holding her a little, but not much else. But yesterday and the day before she started to look around, to stare at the red couch (apparently babies like red) and the black pattern on my shirt and, for whatever reason, the plain and featureless wall of her room. I think she likes the bumper, too.

This sudden interest in her surroundings makes her a lot more interactive, since we can now at least show her toys and things and she'll respond, after a fashion. I'm glad, because in all honesty, newborns are not very interesting. Her new interest in the world also means an increase in the amount of time she's willing to be put down and lie somewhere by herself. This is fortunate, because today is Eric's first day of new teacher orientation and therefore the first day that Chloë and I have been alone for more than an hour or so, and I'd been worrying about how I was supposed to do things like use the bathroom with a baby who didn't like to be put down.

Friday, August 14, 2009


"Later, you will pay for this. You will all pay."

"It's going to be how long before I can operate my own laser?"

"No more pictures!"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

R.I.N.D.S. v2.0

The implementation of the R.I.N.D.S. has been, shall we say, problematic.

In the first week, Chloë and I were having feeding difficulties. She wouldn't stay latched on and fussed a lot and was therefore crying and unhappy; I was hurting and worried she was underfed and therefore crying and unhappy. Then came the jaundice issue, which was caused partly by her being underfed--without enough to eat she wasn't able to wash the excess bilirubin out of her system fast enough, plus breastmilk apparently contains enzymes that inhibit the liver's ability to break it down.

The doctor advised us to start supplementing, which we did--first with ready-to-serve Enfamil formula from the hospital (which smelled terrible), then with the copious formula samples we've received and pumped milk as it was available, which it wasn't, very much. The lactation consultants we consulted advised us that Chloë has "tongue thrust," which explained why she wasn't able to stay latched on and therefore didn't get enough to eat. Many people advised us it wasn't our fault Chloë had ended up in the NICU, but we knew the truth--that it will go on her future list of reasons to order our execution whether it was our fault or not.

To deal with the tongue thrust and shallow latch issue, I got a nipple shield, which basically makes the R.I.N.D.S. more like a bottle. Evidently the Borg implants are contagious. Tuesday, because Chloë's weight gain has been excellent, bordering on excessive (ten ounces in the five days after she got out of the hospital, then seven and a half ounces in the next five days after that), the pediatrician prescribed a feeding schedule to get her off the supplements and to increase the R.I.N.D.S.'s supply (presumably diminished by the small amounts Chloë was able to extract at first). It involves not letting her get as full as she's now used to, which was a touch grueling as she didn't think this was a good idea at all, and let us know. Emphatically. "Is it really so bad for her to get a bottle at every feeding?" I asked Eric yesterday, over the squalling. "What will the pediatrician say if we go back Friday and say we've given up and we're just going to use formula?" Only we won't do that if we don't have to. Did I mention that stuff smells terrible? And it's looking like we won't have to; the R.I.N.D.S. are producing better and Chloë is happier today than she was yesterday. I'm cautiously thinking the new improved version of the R.I.N.D.S. will be a success.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chloë of Borg...

I am Chloë of Borg...

Resisting my cuteness is futile.

(If it were just the pads on the head, she'd be more like a Geordi LaForge than a Borg.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The silence isn't just lost free time...

So as some people already know, we found ourselves in the hospital all weekend. Chloë was badly jaundiced, and the docs decided she needed some serious and rapid treatment. They have these wonderful blue lights used to break down bilirubin, the pigment that causes jaundiced children to look yellow-orange, and they worked like a charm, though we were worried pretty constantly all weekend.

We're still worried, for that matter. But we're taking steps to be less worried. Essentially, she's getting force-fed extra pumped milk or formula as needed.

On the upside, we're out of the woods for the most part, Chloë's gaining weight again, and we're all feeling better. Also we have pictures that make it look like she has Borg implants.