Monday, December 28, 2009

A Shot In The Leg

Dear Hazel,
Today was a big day for you. You had your first Healthy Child doctor's visit... where you got your first round of immunizations. I must say that you took the shots much better than I took you getting them. In fact, within 10 minutes of getting the shots, you were fast asleep in your carseat. That's not to say that you didn't scream bloody murder when you got them, but all in all... not too bad.

We gave you a dose of Infant Tylenol before the shots were administered and I think that may have helped with the pain. Because 20 minutes into your afternoon nap... which was just about four hours post-shots... you woke up screaming in pain. I gave you another dose and after about 30 minutes of crying, you went back down and are still swinging away peacefully. Let's hope that lasts.

So, it turns out that even though you have days where it looks like you've made spitting up an Olympic sport, it has not impeded your growth. You are over 25 inches long and are 13 pounds, 7 oz. Which puts you in the 96th percentile in weight (up from the 50th percentile when you were one month old) and in the 100th percentile in height (up from the 95th percentile). You, my dear... you're a happy, healthy baby. In fact, the doctor that examined you said that you looked and acted like a 4-month-old, rather than a 2-month-old.

So, you're tall AND smart? WORD.

You know... we gave you the name Hazel Reese because it sounded to us like a strong name. A name for a woman who could be... well, anything! Perhaps a Supreme Court Justice? Maybe the world's leading orthopedic surgeon? How about a classically trained opera singer? Anything you want, baby girl. And it looks like you've got the brains to make those dreams of ours come true.

With the obvious exception of pole dancing, there's nothing out there that a woman with the name Hazel Reese can't be.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Two Months

Dear Hazel,
Well, your first Christmas has come and gone. You had a wonderful Christmas with my side of the family and cleaned up with gifts from all of your Auntie's and Uncles that you'll get to know in the coming years. Lucky girl.

With all of the extra help around this week - your aunts and grandparents came down to celebrate with us and give your daddy and I a much needed Date Night - it has given me time to reflect on what the last two months have meant to me.

I know that some of my previous posts may have led you and others who ultimately read the blog to believe that you're a "hard baby". This... this is not the case. In fact, I truly believe that you may just be the easiest baby in the world, and it's simply your parent's lack of knowledge about anything baby-related that has caused so much drama in our lives. And your mother's need to vent through the medium of the internet through dramatic humor have possibly made people think that you are not a good baby. When the truth of the matter is that you are. You ARE. And if people out there actually knew how good and easy you were, they'd probably slap me across the face, tell me that I should be so lucky... and then steal you for their own. FOR REAL.

When I think about the first two months, and in particular, the first five weeks of your life, I'm reminded of a line in a movie that was popular when I was growing up: Parenthood. Really, it wasn't that great of a movie and wasn't really that memorable... but for some reason, a line in that movie always stuck with me and it came roaring back at me all these years later when you came into our lives:
"You need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any a$$hole be a parent."

(insert finger pointing at myself here) ME. I'm the a$$hole, Hazel. The first five weeks of your life, your father and I were completely clueless and the only thing we knew FOR SURE, is that even with all of the excitement we had for you coming into our lives, even with all of the reading we did, even with everyone telling us that having a baby will change your life FOREVAH... seriously, we should never have been allowed to a) have a baby and b) if in the event we did have a baby, we shouldn't have been allowed to bring you home because WE. KNEW. NOTHING.

Can you imagine that? Two college educated people in their 30's... brought to their knees by a teeny-tiny baby and realizing that not only was that baby helpless, so were they?

Yea... those first five weeks were no bueno. Not from anything you did... rather from what your parents did and did not do. Based on what they did and did not know. And how they did and did not handle this new stress in their lives. Luckily, you made it out of those first five weeks relatively unscathed and I'm truly grateful that you'll never be able to remember all of those missteps in your handling and the mistakes we made as new parents.

The last few weeks of your life, Hazel, have been pure bliss. We feel like we're finally starting to figure you out (until the next curveball you throw at us, that is... and I suppose then, we'll eventually figure that out, as well), and have been enjoying you as a beautiful, sweet and easy baby. You really don't ask for much, you know? I'm starting to figure out the signs that you are hungry, wet and tired. We've stopped trying to get you on a schedule... we figure that when your brain gets a little more developed we'll try again... and until then we'll just do what you want and let you set your own schedule. Like the other night when you decided to take a nap from 7 p.m.-12:30 a.m., and we just decided that the Christmas party we were supposed to go to was not as important (or for that matter, adorable) as a baby sleeping soundly in a swing by the Christmas tree.

The only thing we know for sure now is that nothing is set in stone. You might wake up at 1:30 to feed, or you might wake up at 4 a.m. The last three days, you've woken up at 6:15 a.m. for a feeding and have gone back to sleep two out of those three days right after eating. The Daddy Special did not work AT ALL last week, but the last two days it's been gold. We just never know with you. But you know what? You don't cry a whole lot anymore. I've never had to put you in the car at 4 a.m. to get you to stop crying and go to sleep. I've never had to do anything more than feed you for that to happen. And when you do wake up for a feeding in the middle of the night, you just might be the happiest baby on the planet when you see me. The only thing you really demand from us is that during the days, your naps take place in your swing in the living room or while you're riding in the car with me when I just HAVE to get out of the house. But that doesn't bother me like it once did because you have no problem going to sleep at night in your crib. You're a GREAT traveler. You have really taken to our lifestyle of being out and about and we can take you just about anywhere without too much complaining on your end. Really, as long as you're not hungry, it only takes 10 minutes or so in the car before you pass out thanks to the vibration of the ride. You sleep when you're tired and we've given up trying to force you to go to sleep... because you usually only have a couple of hours of awake time in you before you exhaust yourself, and you usually go down after only 90 minutes of being awake. Which is good and bad. Good because a well-rested baby is a very. happy. baby. And bad because sometimes you sleep so long that your father and I actually miss you and wish you would wake up so we can see your smiling face and hear your coo's, oo's, ah's and yes... even your adorable hiney burps.

You've been resting comfortably when you nap for days now. Possibly because you know that your parents aren't going crazy anymore and that while it took a little longer than we expected, this is now our new "normal" and we love it. Your father and I love you more than anything and are so glad you came into our lives. And we love each other all the more for you... you are something that we made together and were able to give each other. How many Christmas gifts can you say that about?

You have to go to the doctor on Monday for your first round of immunizations. Thanks to advice from a friend, we postponed the appointment until after Christmas, so as to avoid a fevered and cranky baby. Can I just tell you how much I'm dreading your shots? First off... I hate needles going into MY body, I cannot handle the thought of one going into yours. I also don't want you to have any discomfort as a side-effect of the shots... which I know will likely occur. It scares me to think of you not feeling well and knowing that I was the cause of it. I know, I know... I'm doing this for your own good and for the good of those around you as you go to day care... but that doesn't mean it doesn't break my heart.


Friday, December 25, 2009

In Her Defense, She's Not Into Winter Fashion

Guess who's not a fan of the new hat Aunt Lindsey knitted her for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Early To Bed... Early To Rise????

Dear Hazel,
Today was a banner day for us. Last night, you slept for six hours again, and then after your 4 a.m. feeding, went down for another 4 hours. Amazing! Even more amazing? You didn't have a big feeding at 8:30, so you fed again at 10:30 and actually took an hour-long nap after that! In your crib! YOUR CRIB!!! With no crying when I put you down. No needing me to sing you a folk song while walking circles around the living room and kitchen.

When you woke up, I took you to Costco and the bank... and you promptly fell asleep after only 15 minutes of crying in the car seat. And then you slept for 4.5 hours. UNHEARD OF, Hazel. When you finally woke up, you were ravenous. And I couldn't blame you. I mean, it had been almost 6 hours since your last feeding.

Daddy got home and played with you for a bit and around 6:45, you started to get a little fussy. We couldn't really figure out what was wrong other than your general evening fussiness, so Daddy put you in the swing, covered you with a blanket and stuck the binkie in your mouth, securing it against the blanket.

And. You. Were. OOOOOOT!!!

Here it is, almost three hours later, and we don't know what to do. I mean, we haven't had an evening like this since before you came into our lives. Usually at this time, we're either feeding you, consoling you for the fact that IT'S NIGHTTIME AND YOU MUST. CRY., or giving you a bath.

As it is now, I got all of our Christmas cards addressed and stamped... cleaned the kitchen, visited with a neighbor who brought over a gift for you and made fun of your Daddy for being obsessed with his new cell phone. And don't let him ever tell you he's not. And, keep in mind that being "gadgety" is just a fancy name for DORKY.


So.... we are sitting here wondering what to do with you. It's clear that there's no bathtime in your future tonight. I'm wondering if you're ever going to wake up, or if you're going to spend the night in the swing. Surely you'll wake up soon. It's been four hours since your last feeding and Mommy's breasts are ready for you to wake up. FOR REAL.

I don't feel comfortable leaving you out in the living room overnight, so I may end up sleeping on the couch until you wake up. It's beginning to look like you're going to power through... maybe until midnight?

I guess the good part about this is that you've jumped face-first into an earlier bedtime? Could it have been that easy? Are you seriously just the easiest baby on the face of the planet and your father and I don't realize how good we have it? COULD IT BE THAT SIMPLE???


Sunday, December 20, 2009


Dear Hazel,
You're currently fast, FAST asleep while your Daddy and I watch the Packers game. You (we) had a big day today. We got you up at 7:20 this morning (a time carefully calibrated by your dad and I to make sure we could get you dressed in your Sunday best and into the car with as little wake-time and crying as possible) so that we could drive up to Grammy and Pappy's for a visit. Since you're their only grandchild right now, you are particularly spoiled by them and we thought that it would be nice to show you off to their home ward, as everyone knows that Grammy has been bragging about you for the last two months. Oh, and by the way... your dad and I were rockstars getting you out of the house this morning. ROCK. STARS. You were changed and in the seat without so much as a wimper.... not too bad for breaking the cardinal rule for NEVER WAKING A SLEEPING BABY.

Anyhoo, this weekend our little family did not stay home much. We had dinner at a friends on Friday, a neighborhood party Saturday afternoon, before we went shopping - and did you know that shopping the week before Christmas just may be THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD? I knew that, of course... I just forgot that Christmas is coming up next week! Anyway, we followed that with a trip to go see Gavin, Ryan and Kaylene and then finally back home for dinner with some more friends. And you were an absolute champ, sweetie girl! You slept for most of that... which made us a bit nervous for what the bedtime routine would bring.

You've been going through some interesting changes these last couple of weeks with your sleep patterns... and it has been particularly prevalent these last few days. You're taking your usual morning nap... and that lasts about an hour. Then, you take a loooonnnggg afternoon nap that could last anywhere from 3-4 hours. And then... well, it's getting harder to put you down at night... I won't lie. You get a teeny-tiny bit fussy, but you seem to be sleeping for just a little bit longer each night.

Last night, for example, we started your bath at about 9:30... and by 11 p.m., after you were bathed and fed, you were still fussy and nothing we could do could calm you down enough to get you to close your eyes. Finally, after the Daddy Special didn't work and the Mommy Secret Recipe didn't work either... I put you down and went to the bedroom to scream into a pillow.

And GUESS. WHAT? Once we put you down, your screams and crying seemed to lessen just a bit. And within 4 minutes (because 5 minutes was when I was going to come in and soothe you again by explaining that your cries were completely breaking my heart and please, take pity on your mommy, mkay?) you. were. OUT.

Um... WHAT?

And then? Then you slept until 5 a.m.. For a total of 6 hours. And 6 hours, Hazel? The most hours in a row in WEEKS!

And, and, AND!!!!.... You pretty much fed every 3.5-4 hours the last two days instead of every two hours. Which helps us be more mobile and helps Mommy not feel like a zombie. This is a new phase of your development that I can get on board with, baby girl.

The only problem now is that even if you don't wake up at 3 or 4 a.m., I STILL DO. And then I lay in bed and start wondering if you're okay and if you're still alive. And should I go pump? Because I'm about to burst right now and it's a tiny bit painful.. cuz it's been 7 hours! And I wonder if you're okay, again... should I go check and run the risk of waking you up?

So, that's where we are right now with you. You've been asleep now for three hours, and I'm hoping that you've got another 6 hour shift tonight in you. Maybe I can re-train myself to sleep through the night again.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Amazing Hazel Baby

Yesterday, Hazel, Benny and I went to my office Christmas party. Having been out of the office since mid-October, it was great to see everyone again. And Hazel was absolutely the Belle of the Ball. I couldn't keep her asleep and all of the women at the party had to hold her and play with her.

This, of course... made me a little nervous as I knew that a missed nap could cause a huge bomb to go off in our house later that night when we tried to put an overtired baby down to sleep. I was also worried that she would get all sorts of fussy as she normally does in the evening and ruin a perfectly good Christmas party. But my baby girl.... my sweet, curveball of a baby girl... was absolutely amazing. The only time she acted up was when it was time to eat. And she took four whole ounces of formula from Benny... not even choking on the bottle one time!!!

And then she fell asleep on my shoulder... perfectly content to be in the moment, in the middle of a party with lots of laughing and talking. My little girl... turns out she's a bit of a social butterfly... even at 2 months!

We came home last night at about 9:30, fully expecting a meltdown from Hazel. None came. Even after her bath, when Benny took her out of the tub... which is also the moment that Hazel loses her ever-loving mind. I think she just loves the water so much that she abhors leaving it. But last night? Not one scream. Not even one peep. For a minute, I worried that she might be a little sick. I fed her while Benny (who had been working outside all day and was exhausted) hit the sack.

Here's the thing... Hazel loves her Daddy. And apparently, when it's time to go to bed, the only one who is worthy of putting her down is Daddy. Even if Daddy is dead to the world... Mommy just won't do. So, after 45 minutes of trying and getting NOWHERE, I woke Benny up and ordered the Daddy Special for Hazel.

The result? 5 minutes later, she was out and Benny was back in bed... again, dead to the world.

We've noticed that if we can get Hazel to bed before 11 p.m., she will usually sleep for 4.5-5.5 hours. But if we get her down anytime after 11 p.m., she only sleeps for 2.5-3.5 hours. So... you can see where WE REALLY WANT HER IN BED BEFORE 11. Last night, she went down at 11:05, but took mercy on me and slept for 4.5 hours. I'm looking forward to the first time she sleeps through the night. Also, I'm looking forward to her bedtime being earlier than 9. I know that's a few months from now, but a girl can still dream.

I'm having mixed emotions right now about the future. A month ago, if you had asked me how I felt about taking her to day care, I would have told you that while I love my baby girl... DAY CARE NEEDS TO HAPPEN. Because I have got to have some adult interaction and I just don't do the stay-at-home with the baby thing well. And I'm kinda bored. And I'm getting nothing back from this child!!!

But now? Well... at almost two months, Hazel's starting to be fun! She smiles, she coo's, she loves to look at me and loves to look at the shapes book that we have for her. She's downright enjoyable! And I can't believe that I have to miss that... that I have to miss her growing up right before my eyes. Because now that things are settling down and I'm settling into my new role as Mommy, I can appreciate how much she changes from day-to-day. It's SCARY fast and I have been relishing watching it happen before my eyes. SO. COOL.

Luckily for me, the day care facility we're taking her to is A) Top of the line; and B) Close to my office... so if I need to run out there for some time to love on her, it shouldn't be too hard. But still... it breaks my heart to think about what's coming.

Speaking of what's coming... Hazel's got a doctor's appointment on Dec. 23. I think she'll get some immunization shots at that time, which scares the hell out of me. Seriously. Benny may just have to jump on the grenade again since I know I can't be in the room with her when she gets the shots, as it will KILL ME DEAD to hear her cry in pain.

And now I'm all stressed about THAT. Way to go, Mommy. Freaking out a full week before you need to.

Benny and Hazel at Rooster's... catching some zzzz's.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Dear Hazel,
Well... your mother did it AGAIN. I messed up your schedule today. Well... I and two back-to-back poorly timed poopy's (PTP's) that woke you from your naps.

We had to go pick up Aunt Lindsey from the airport this morning... and after you woke up at 7:15 a.m., instead of putting you back down to sleep as is our norm, I got you dressed and ready for our excursion to SLC. Once we got down to the airport, you woke from your car-driving induced coma, proceeded to wet yourself (yea... it leaked) and demand to be fed. Since it was too damn cold to change you, the only option I had of helping you keep some semblance of sanity was to feed you. In the parking lot. IN FRONT OF GOD, THE TSA AND EVERYBODY. We can only hope and pray that the tint on the windows was tinted enough. I'm just sayin'... I had no time for modesty at that point.

Anyway... long story short: By 6 p.m. tonight, you had only slept 7 hours of the day... and that was from 4 a.m. on. NO BUENO, baby girl. One thing we have noticed in the last couple of weeks is that if you get the rest you need during the day, you aren't nearly as fussy and your night times are down right pleasant. That... THAT DID NOT HAPPEN TODAY. And we are currently rueing the PTP's. RUEING THEM TO HELL.

Once Daddy got home (woo-hoo!) he was was able to get you down for a 3.5 hour nappy-poo on his chest... which was good and bad. Good because you desperately needed the rest. Bad because you woke up at 9:45-ish, ate, had a bath and are now fighting sleep at 11 p.m.. Why? BECAUSE YOU JUST SLEPT FOR 3.5 HOURS AND CANNOT BELIEVE WE EXPECT YOU TO GO TO BED SO SOON ALREADY!!!

So, we expect it to be a looonngggg night. But, I'm convinced this is just a blip on the radar as tomorrow you will be right back on your schedule and I will not make you stay awake after the 7 a.m. feeding. Because I don't plan on being awake. And trust me... that's how you and I are going to roll from now on!


Thursday, December 10, 2009


Dear Hazel,
As I write this, you are sound asleep on Daddy's chest. It seems that you have decided that if an evening nap is to take place, it WILL take place on Daddy's chest. No if, and's or but's about it. It's strange, I know... but at 7-weeks-old, you don't respond so much to logic. Who knew?

This week you've started to change your nap habits a bit. You are taking a 2.5-3 hour nap in the mid-morning. Which is working out pretty well for me since I had to start working part-time from home this week. It's almost like you knew!

That, of course, also means that your nighttime schedule is FUBAR'd. Big time. And the last week that you've been relatively calm at night when your Daddy walks in the door went ooooottttt the windooooowwwwww.

However, we may be on to something with your new routine. Last night, after a skipped evening nap and a LOT of crying that could not be calmed by myself or Daddy, we decided to start your bedtime routine an hour earlier. I gave you a bath, Daddy gave you a massage and I nursed you to sleep. The result? You were asleep by 9:30! A full two hours earlier than normal! Of course, this meant you were up two hours later for a feeding and then three hours after that... but if it means that Mommy and Daddy get to go to bed before midnight-ish? GOLD, Jerry! GOLD!

Last night was stressful for a plethora of reasons, Hazel. Mommy was tired. Daddy got rear-ended just before he got home. And by the time he got home, the pizza's that he'd picked up (that's right... PLURAL) were cold, and you were well on your way to Fussyville... on the Express Train, actually.

What followed were tears from you. Tears from me. And one very frustrated Daddy who didn't get to see you smile once yesterday.

Tonight, we think we may have figured out your issue... in that we're trying to force you to take a nap when you're not ready and you just want to hang out with us. Which is what led to you falling asleep on Daddy's chest, with your nose secured in his armpit, while we watched The Office.

We're looking forward to figuring out what you have in store for us tonight, baby girl. Please take it easy on us.

Your Mama

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Good Things

Dear Hazel,
Today, you turned 6. As in 6 weeks. And your father and I cannot believe that A) You're 6 weeks already and B) YOU'RE ONLY 6 WEEKS?

It's been the longest, and also the shortest 6 weeks of our lives. Really... it must be said that you coming into our life has been like a bomb going off in The House That Daddy Built and Your Mama's Cat Soiled. A Hazel Bomb... heretofore referred to as "The H-Bomb of 2009."

Really... it doesn't matter how many people tell you that having a baby will change your life completely. Until you go through it... until your entire world begins to revolve around dirty diapers and Please, God... Let her sleep!, you have NO IDEA what new world awaits you when you finally get the baby out of your body and into your lives. It's madness, I tell you. MADNESS!

I realize that the majority of my letters to you so far have been complaining about your crying. And, again... keep in mind as you read this that your father and I were total rookies with you when we brought you home and our baby knowledge-base is expanding every day. Every minute of every day, actually. And, again... please forgive us our mistakes in handling you these first few weeks... just know that all of our mistakes were mistakes born out of love and a lack of aptitude for parenting. But we're learning. We're growing. And we're getting by on less and less sleep.

Anyway, to prevent you from thinking you brought nothing to our lives besides screaming, crying and boogies, I thought I would let you know other things about yourself at 6-weeks of life.

  • You LOVE light. Are fascinated by it, actually. We know if we need to distract you, we can just turn on a light or walk you past a room with a light and voila! You're entranced. Your Daddy is even considering leaving the Christmas Tree up year-round just to have that distraction on hand.
  • You adore your Daddy's beard. When he holds you while you sleep on his chest during Movie Night, you like to rub your face against it. And then you get a cute little beard burn.
  • You love your shapes book that our friend/coach Debbie gave us. Your favorite are the black and white polka-dots and the black and white squares.
  • You are fascinated by the Santa statue I have next to the Christmas tree and spend quite a bit of your day in your bouncy chair staring at it.
  • You love walks. You do, however, hate getting in the car seat for the walk... but once you're in, you usually pass out and enjoy the ride. Unfortunately, it finally snowed here today so it looks like our walks in the stroller are going to be few and far between for the rest of winter. However, you do love to sleep in the Bjorn when your Daddy puts it on and takes you for a walk. Actually... we've been cheating on getting you to go to sleep in the last couple of days by using the walk (stroller or Bjorn) to lull you to sleep.
  • You're starting to have more social smiles and make a TON of different faces... all of which your Daddy has captured on camera. Your Daddy... he's a bit obsessed with taking pictures of you.
  • You sleep well when you're sleeping on me or Daddy. And your favorite position appears to be The Frog.
  • When you sleep in your crib, you sleep most peacefully when your arms are waaaayyyy up above your head.
  • The only hat you will let us put on you is a hat that Aunt Lindsey knitted you. If we try to put on the hat that your Daddy bought you, your screams will melt steal.
  • For some reason, you can go 4 hours without feeding if your Daddy is holding you while you sleep. But if I'm holding you, or you're in your crib asleep, you will insist on being fed every hour or 90 minutes. Thus... Daddy does a lot of holding in the evenings. Which he loves... as do you.
  • You are capable of producing the biggest boogers known to man.
  • You're a tad gassy right now... but the good news is that you're finally able to start pushing them and they come out without a whole lot of screaming anymore. The result are huge farts that would embarrass me if we were out in public and you let one of them rip. And I would totally blame it on your Daddy were you to do this in the future. To protect you. And me.
  • You currently fit in 3-month-old baby clothes. We have to roll the legs and sleeves up on a few of the outfits, but trust me... in a few days, we won't have to bother. You're a long one, baby girl.
  • You get the hiccups after almost every single meal.
  • You sleep more soundly when there's a ton of noise (like Daddy listening to a football game, or going to dinner with friends) than if it's silent.
  • You quack like a duck to let us know you're ready to get up. No. Really. Exactly like a duck.
That's really all I've got for now. I just put you down for the night and I fully expect you to be up in 20 minutes or so, so I'm going to go take a quick nappy-poo.

Your Mama

Friday, December 4, 2009

Boogie Monster

Dear Hazel,
You've always been a happy morning baby... as I've alluded to in past letters, it's only when the clock hits 5 p.m. (and Daddy walks through the door) that you lose your mind.

This morning, however, you freaked out at 8:45 a.m.... for no known reason. Well, known to you but since you were unable to communicate it to me... well, let's just say there was a LOT of screaming and crying.

Can I just tell you how much it hurts me when I can tell your cry is a mix of fear and pain? It absolutely breaks my heart... moreso when I have absolutely no clue what is wrong and how to make it better.

After 30 minutes of out-and-out screaming/sobbing/tearing my heart in two, I discovered that you had a booger in your nose that was bothering you. REALLY? That's all it is? A boogie?

So, I took the ball syringe and attempted to dislodge said mucous from your nostril... but nothing doing. And you were screaming louder than ever. The nurses had told us when you were born to be conservative with the syringe as it could irritate the nostril so your father and I have been careful with it in the past, making sure we didn't use it to much or go up to high in the nose.

But, desperate times call for desperate measures... and after three attempts to dislodge the booger, I got it close enough to the opening of your nostril to pull it out by hand. And it was the largest man-sized booger I have ever seen in my life. I don't know that your father pulls those types of boogers, Hazel. It was THAT big. I thought that having that discomfort taken care of would relieve you... but you were sooooo far gone at that point, we had to coax you back down to a peaceful calm that we're used to with you in the mornings. That took a while. And it caused you to miss your morning nap and you haven't been napping well all day since the routine was broken. We could be in for a long night, you and I. And your father. No way is he getting out of this!

I was at the doctor later that morning and explained the situation to them... and was informed that babies breathe exclusively through their noses, and with a booger that big, you probably had the sensation that you were suffocating.

And now... well, now I feel like a perfect arse for not knowing this and getting frustrated when you wouldn't stop crying!! I'm so sorry, baby girl! Had I known, I would have stuck that syringe up your nose the second you started crying.

I never thought I'd say this... much less post it for all to see and judge me for thinking, but I cannot wait for you to be able to pick your own nose. Won't even care if you eat it... just as long as you can breathe, baby girl. Just as long as you can breathe.

Your Mama... The Rookie.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Dear Hazel,
I just put you down for your afternoon nap, and thought I should write this before you wake up again in... oh, 10 minutes. That's pretty much been the way you've rolled these last couple of days. I don't know why... I'm still learning the mothering thing. I can tell you that you LURVE the white noise we've got going in your room, courtesy of Uncle Creig. And as a result, I LURVE it too. And possibly your Uncle Creig just a leetle bit more.

Last night, you slept 6.5 hours. IN A ROW. Which, frankly, is unheard of with you. Especially the last two days. I guess that your dad and I are going to have to succumb to a few facts with you.

1 - You will sleep like the dead during your morning naps and will be harder to wake up than a hibernating bear.
2 - As a result, you will not take longer than 20 minute naps anytime after 3 p.m.
3 - You WILL lose your mind every day at 5 p.m. Or, in the case of yesterday, 4:15. Even if you are looking content and happy, once that clock hits 5 p.m., it's every man for himself. You want to fuss and you WILL fuss. No matter what we say or do to calm you down. It just is.
4 - If we take you out at night and you sleep in your car seat until we get back home, we better gird our loins as the rest of the night WILL be pure hell. And honestly, that should teach us. You are soooo not okay with leaving the house after 5 p.m. Because 5 p.m. is the witching hour and you like to Witch in the privacy of your own home, and do NOT like it put off by us tricking you into sleeping.
5 - Bath time will be worked into your evening routine, or there will be hell to pay. It appears that a warm bath is the only way to calm you down once you get going. I can tell when you've finally relaxed because your fists are not as tightly clenched. Oh, they're still clenched, but your knuckles are no longer white.

Tuesday night, I screwed up with you. BIG TIME. Because I'd been cooped up in the house with you all day, and pretty much told your dad that the dinner he was going to which would welcome the new board members of this foundation that he was selected to... well, you and I would be going with him. Unless he wanted a dirty diaper shoved down his throat in the middle of the night.

So, we bundled you up in the car seat at about 5 p.m., and I drove around town to get you sleeping, and then at 6, we hit the dinner.

You slept the entire time, and at about 7:30, I decided that we should probably get you home lest you wake up and ruin the other board member's dinner with one of your bone melting shrieks.

Once we got home and got you fed... well, that's when the fireworks started. Your Daddy spent an hour asleep with you on the chair in the living room and that seemed to work. But after your 10:30 feeding, there was no talking sense to you about crazy things like it BEING MIDNIGHT AND YOU NEEDING TO GO TO SLEEP! Was. Not. Happening.

So, I ended up sleeping in the nursery with you on my chest all night long. And while you seem to thrive with that kind of situation... it's no bueno for mommy. On Wednesday, I was an absolute wreck and was pretty much on the verge of tears all day. Not from anything you did... but just from fatigue and frustration.

Your dad and I have been looking at your sleep patterns and determined that you were getting too much sleep in the mornings, which is why it was hard for you to sleep more than 20 minutes at a time in the evenings... and why mommy was starting to get black circles under her eyes... from punching herself in the face.

So, the plan was that I would try and keep you awake so that you were only sleeping an hour each cycle.

Boy did THAT plan backfire. I don't know if you've ever been more tired in your short life... but by 9:30, you'd only slept 5 hours during the day. You did NOT catch up on sleep in the afternoon... but instead, did your usual catnaps. And, again... the only thing that soothed you was a nice warm bath at 10 p.m.. After that, daddy rocked you for a few minutes and you were OUT. For SIX-AND-A-HALF HOURS!

NEW RULE: You will ALWAYS have a bath at night. And mommy will stop trying to manipulate your natural sleep cycles. Because she's not God and she needs to remember that although you're only 5 weeks old, you're in charge here. And if you want to fall asleep in the bouncer, WHO CARES? You're asleep!!! And a rested baby is - we dearly hope - a happy baby.

If only you were as happy in the evenings are you are during the rest of the day. I keep hoping that what everyone tells me is true: This, too, shall pass. And I'm not ruining you by letting you fall asleep occasionally in the swing or the bouncer or the car seat. That at 5 weeks old, you're way too young for bad habits to form that can't easily be broken.

All I know is that if we could keep you on this kind of cycle, where you're feeding every three hours... starting to work from home part-time next week will be a walk in the park. Of course, as I say that, I'm also knocking on wood because as I'm quickly learning, the only constant with you is that there IS NO CONSTANT.

Other than you being adorable from 6 a.m.-5 p.m..

Alright... I've got some laundry to fold that I couldn't get to yesterday as you were busy trying to bring down the roof with your screams. Better get to it while I can!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Highly Educated.... Completely Screwed

My college basketball coach was fond of telling the team: "You are highly conditioned athletes!"

This was, of course, on Mondays.... shortly before she ran us into the ground and laughed about it. Heaven help us if we'd lost on Saturday. You weren't walking out of the gym alive... but you were walking out a highly conditioned athlete.

Anyhoo.... that has become one of my favorite sayings whenever I feel winded when I shouldn't. Like, say... the 2009 Santa Run 5K that took me a whopping 37 minutes to complete? Yea... highly conditioned. That's. Me. I guess I should start saying: "At ONE TIME, I was a highly conditioned athlete who didn't have to barf after running one block."

But those original words... or variation of them... come to my mind almost every day now that I'm a mom. Quite frankly, Benny and I are highly educated people. Well... I'm educated. Benny brings the "highly" into the mix. The point is, 16-year-old's with babies can figure this out... I saw a woman the other day with twin boys who were born premature with all sorts of health issues and she seems to be doing just fine. What are we missing? IT CANNOT BE THIS HARD.

As I type this, I'm enjoying my first moment of silence all day long. Hazel has stumbled into a new realm of fussiness these last couple of days, and we have been at our wits end trying to figure her needs/wants out. She only falls asleep during the day if she's taking a walk in the stroller or riding in the car. So, today I decided that we should try to take a nap without that stimulation. Lest it become a habit.

I've never been more wrong.

About anything.


Fussy McFusserson was NOT having it and her 2 p.m. nap did not happen. So, we started in on the evening fussiness a bit early today. Her fussy times usually begin at about 5 p.m. and finish at about 9:30. Which is a lot of fun. Really. Last night, the only thing that calmed a crying jag that lasted from 5-9 was a warm bath. Tonight, before she jumped on the Fussy Train To Infinity and Beyond, Benny was able to calm her down and get her to sleep.

And yes... those are earplugs. And yes... we need them with the Lioness. I had to ask someone to repeat something five times today as I think she's damaged my eardrum with her hollering. Not. Even. Joking.

Unfortunately, it knocked him out, too... and I don't dare wake him up for fear that he'll startle like he usually does when he wakes up, and send Hazel flying into the Christmas tree. So, I'm waiting patiently for the next feeding at 10:30 and can only hope that she'll go to bed again after that because while I should have been napping, I've been too worried about the possibility of the startle and the flying of the baby into the Christmas Tree to actually sleep.

These last few days have been hard... mostly because the fussiness as she has been missing her last two naps of the day. But, the flip side of that is that our little girl will eventually (after hours of crying) fall asleep at about 10 p.m. and won't wake up to be fed until 2 or 3 in the morning. Now that Benny was able to get her to sleep at 9 p.m., I can't help but wonder what little Hazel has in store for me tonight. It could be very, very good.... or very, very BAD.

And, by the way, I know that everyone told us how much our lives were going to change and how hard it was going to be when we started our little family. But really.... would it have killed anyone to be a little more specific? I really would have appreciated a little heads up, you know? If someone could have said: "Your child will lose her mind every day at 5 p.m...." I would have at least been able to gird my loins. It just seems to me that other women who have kids and know what's in store for us newbies have a responsibility to make sure we have all the facts in front of us.

And if that stops people from reproducing... well, I heard that the earth was going to melt in the next 50 years anyway, so really... we're doing the responsible thing.

I kid, of course. Despite my sarcastic rants (which right now are my only way to stay sane), my little girl is an angel and I love her dearly. And I love her Daddy for taking care of her tonight so Mommy could get a little quiet time.

We're going to figure this out. Truly... it cannot possibly be as hard as we're making it out to be. I suspect we're guilty of overthinking. And maybe of not trusting our instincts. We just don't want to break her, you know?

Oh, and as a side note.... any moms out there who would be willing to share their experiences with newborns and maybe even share an idea or two about how to set a schedule? I'M ALL EARS. Following BabyWise, we've set up a eat, wake, sleep schedule.. but I'm wondering what other ideas and/or options are out there.

And as a final kick in the front tooth... I was tired of having Hazel's newborn outfits not fit her (they were all getting a little short in the legs and snug in the belly) so I hit Carter's today for their sale. My little 5 week old is now fitting comfortably in 3. Month. Clothes.

And 6. Month. Shoes.

By the time Santa gets here, she'll be wearing his suit!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Date Night - New Parents Style

Author's Note: This post was started Friday night... and just finished Sunday night. Such is my new life.

Benny and I just got back from our first date night since Hazel's arrival. My mom and dad graciously offered to babysit the Lioness to give us some much needed adult time. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity. And by "jumped", I mean that I only had one minor meltdown as we were pulling out of the driveway and I made Benny holler and carry on like Hazel does so that I wouldn't be too heartsick from being away from her.

We went to lunch at Sonora Grill... which happened to be our last pre-Hazel date and, now, our first post-Hazel date. While there, we discussed just how bad it would be if we went to the Marriott across the street and checked in. To sleep. And not "sleep". Actual SLEEP. If we rented the room for like three hours just to sleep, would they believe us?

Afterwards, we went to The Blind Side... which I highly recommend, btw... and then headed home to see if Hazel's screams had left my parents the quivering piles of protoplasm that it leaves us. I didn't know what I hoped for when we returned home... did I want her awake or asleep? If she was awake, she was probably screaming bloody murder. But if she was asleep, I couldn't love on her. It was quite the quandry.

But, when we walked through the door, my parents were calmly reading... all of their brain matter securely in place. And Hazel was sound asleep in the bouncer. Peacefully. And had been for like an hour or so. WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY BABY?

When we asked how it had been, we fully expected them to say something like: "Wow! You deal with that every night? No wonder Benny needs a beer (or 20) each night. You two deserve an award for living through this every day!"

But... no. Grandma and Grandpa said that it had been enjoyable and could they come down and babysit for us more? Because next to butterfly farts and rainbow colored puppies, little Hazel could not be more precious.


Turns out, Hazel loves her Grammy and Pappy... possibly more than her Mommy and Daddy. Who. Knew? Also, we picked up some hints from my parents... apparently, Hazel loves whistling and Benny's been whistling to her ever since whenever she gets a little fussy. So, we've got that going for us.

And, in all reality, Hazel is a good baby. And she doesn't scream or cry any more than your average baby. But, when you're the baby of two people who have been used to a quiet house with the exception of the clickity-clack of the dogs claws on the hardwood floor and the occasional barking freak-out at the dragonfly outside, any noise you make is likely to make their heads explode. So, it's been a bit of an adjustment. Not Hazel's fault... our fault. We asked for this, remember?

And, we're figuring stuff out as we go along. Like for instance, who's in charge around here. It's amazing how something that weighs a little over 10 pounds can run a household. For real.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Die of Cuteness in 3... 2... 1....

Moments before she spit up all over the blanket my aunt made.
I should have known... this is her Uh-Oh Face.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Scheduling Through The Haze

Benny and I have been attempting to get sweet Hazel on a schedule that helps me not lose my mind. Eh, who am I kidding?... A schedule that helps both Hazel and me not lose both of our collective shit every day.

Upon the recommendation of several people, I decided to read BabyWise, although I had heard a lot of bad things about it. I decided that I could read the book and make a decision as to whether or not I thought it could work and would be healthy for Hazel. And her very tired, frustrated parents.

What I liked most about the BabyWise philosophy is that it emphasized flexibility so that we as parents could make a decision on what Hazel really needs. So, we instituted the plan Friday night. And let our sweet baby cry for 45 minutes. Or, you know... ETERNITY. And then... silence.




For a minute, we thought we'd gone deaf. It was bliss.

Bliss short-lived, but bliss nonetheless.

You'll have to forgive me, as having a baby has affected my temporal awareness and the days and times simply run together... but I believe that it was Friday night that I wasn't feeling well enough at the 10:15 feeding to actually drag myself out of bed and let the Lioness latch on. (Oh, yes... Lioness is what we call our sweet little Tweet because that girl has gone from sweet chirping as her nickname inspired... so a full-grown ROAR. Turns out that our little Tweety-Pie has got some LUNGS.)

So, Benny took matters into his own hands and gave her a bottle of (gasp!) formula and then literally hooked me up to the breast pump and had me pump while he fed her. What followed was 4 oz of breast milk from me, Hazel pounding 4 oz of formula... and then sleeping for 3.5 hours!! And do you people know what 3.5 hours - IN A ROW - can do for a new mommy? It's the equivalent of finding $20 in the back pocket of your jeans that you haven't worn for a few weeks... and then buying $20 of lottery tickets and hitting the JACKPOT.

It was THAT huge.

The next morning, I thought that we'd finally figured it out... and after only a month! Give her a bottle of formula at night and she'll start to get through the night eventually. By God, we've got it!!

And then reality came crashing through the roof of the house and landed directly on my face... because Sunday night, our little girl was gassy, gassy, gassy... and unable to pass it. In the last week or so, we've moved from co-sleeping (because while it was great for me, Benny was STRUGGLING with it and not getting any sleep at night), to having Hazel sleep in the Pak & Play next to our bed. She loved it. I loved it. Heck, even Benny loved it. But the big drawback to THAT was our little Lioness... well, she makes a lot of noises when she sleeps. Especially when she's trying to push a little hiney burp and it's not going well. While technically, she was still asleep, the noises that girl made all through the night kept both Benny and I wide awake. Every snort, grunt, grown, growl, burp (both ends)... we heard it. And worried about it. And we kept checking to see if she had spit up and was rolling in it... which is something the Lioness has been known to do. Much like wild lions that roll in their food. Another sign that our little one relates more to felines than the birdies outside her window.

To combat this problem, we moved the Pak & Play into the nursery on Sunday night. Not that there's really that much room for it in the nursery. I suppose we could have transitioned her to the crib, but I feel right now that it's still too big for her and wouldn't help her sleep. It's gonna be another couple of months, I think, before we put her in the crib.

But, I digress. Best night of sleep for both Benny and I in WEEKS. Hazel is still grunting, but until we hear her cry out in the middle of the night, we sleep soundly. In fact, last night when I put her down after HOURS and HOURS and HOURS of fussiness that neither Benny or I could soothe, she put herself to sleep for a good 10 minutes. And when she started crying, I made an executive decision that she still had 15 minutes before the next feeding and my breasts just weren't up to the task yet, and I let her cry. And what do you know? She either stopped crying or I fell asleep listening to it because I woke up 45 minutes later when I heard her cry.

Anyway, she's doing well with the Pak & Play in the nursery. She doesn't seem to mind at all. I think I'm more bothered by it than she is... but the good news is that I've got my bedroom back and am getting some sleep at night. Which makes me a better Mommy to Hazel in the morning.

We're still figuring things out, though. While Sunday was a good day, Monday night was pure hell for Benny and me. Mostly for Benny because I'd had enough of the crying and handed her over to him almost the minute he walked through the front door. Which is not what I want for him. Or Hazel. Or ME. I don't want to be that woman who dumps the child on the husband right after work. So, today I made a special effort to stick to the schedule as I believe is best for us... and when our Lioness started to get fussy around 4:30 and wanted to feed after only an hour, I jumped on that grenade and when Benny finally got home at 5:45, I had baby girl sleeping next to me with a binkie in her mouth.

It was pure genius on my part... and I was able to keep her down until 6:30!! And Benny got to come home to a non-crying child! Woot!

Hopefully, tonight's schedule will be conducive to a good night's sleep for all of us. Benny's rocking her to sleep as I write this and I think we'll be able to eat in peace and quiet for the first time in a couple of days.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Month Update

Dear Hazel,
This could either be a very quick letter, or a very long letter... it all depends on how long you decide to stay in dreamland and let Mommy have some much needed ME time.

Where to begin? You're almost a month old now and I cannot believe how much you have changed from the time we first brought you home. Actually, I can't believe how much you change day-to-day. It's staggering, really. You used to be this skinny, long bundle of nerves and limbs that coo'd and grunted from time to time. Now? Well, now you're getting to be a chunky, long bundle of nerves and limbs that does more hollering (that is slowly morphing into screaming) than cooing. And can I just say that I prefer the cooing? Really. Bring the cooing back, Hazel. MAMA NEEDS MORE COOING.

These last four weeks have taught me more about myself that I though possible. First and foremost, I've learned that I have more patience than I realized. As much as I hate to admit it, Hazel... you can sometimes get so fussy and holler so much that it would try the patience of a saint. Enter your Mama, stage right. And, yes... there are times that my patience runs out and those are the times that your Papa jumps in on the metaphorical grenade that is YOU and I run to the bathroom for some alone time where I can pop my zits in peace... or rather, just pop my zits. Because let's face it, when Hazel Baby is not happy, NO ONE IN THE HOUSE IS HAPPY. In fact, I do believe that the only being that is happy during these periods is the cat... who is actually grateful at this point that we kicked her out of the house. Even if she did get her butt kicked in a cat fight last night. She keeps looking in the window at me as if to say: HA! Serves. You. Right.

But, let's be honest here... you really are a good baby. It's my own failings and missteps that cause you to wake the neighborhood with your hollering. And usually, once we figure out what needs to be done to calm you (do you need more boob? how's your diaper? need to burp or fart? are you just lonely and need to be held?) you calm right down. And your Papa is probably better at getting you to calm down than I will ever be. I'm going to stick with the theory that it's because you can smell the breast milk on me (either fresh from the well or freshly vomited, you have no preference)

The first couple weeks of your life were really hard on both your Papa and me. I think mostly because we are totally rookies when it comes to babies and because both sets of your grandparents had rave reviews about us when we were babies and how we NEVER cried... we assumed that you would be the same kind of baby. BOY WERE WE WRONG. And boy do I have a bone to pick with your grandparents for prematurely rubbing our non-crying babyhood's in our faces pre-YOU. And post-YOU.

You've got a touch of reflux and do a lot of spitting up and sometimes projectile vomiting.... through your nose. I wasn't too worried about it until I did some reading online and discovered that OMG! IF YOUR BABY VOMITS THROUGH HER NOSE, SHE COULD DIE OF PNEUMONIA OR AN EAR INFECTION. AND IT'S POSSIBLE THAT'S NOT VOMIT BUT BRAIN MATTER COMING OUT OF HER NOSE. GET HER TO THE DOCTOR ASAP.

And here, Hazel, will be the first time I tell you not to freak out over every little thing you read online. Like your mother did.

We got an appointment with your pediatrician who calmed my frazzled nerves and suggested that we limit your feedings to 8-10 minutes per breast (down from 15!) as you are a pretty ferocious feeder and were probably tapping the well anyway and just sucking in air which would make the reflux worse. So... we did that yesterday. And you ended up feeding EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR and I ended up not being able to stay awake past 5:30... which means that I missed Brian Williams signature opening "On our broadcast tonight...". Which is completely unforgivable, baby girl. With time, you'll figure that out on your own.

But, in the good news department... no spit-ups or vomits yesterday! Which means that you stopped smelling like spit-up and vomit and smelled like a baby girl.... after I bathed you. And, you only ended up needing to get up twice last night. You slept for almost 4 hours IN A ROW!

Today, however... was a slightly different story as it appears that you had decided that you DID NOT LIKE ANYTHING. Not the swing, not the bouncy chair, not the bath (well... to be fair, you never have liked that) NOTHING. Well, nothing but the boob. And spitting up. You definitely made up for yesterday's lack of spit-up by soiling two outfits in quick succession. Finally, after a couple of hours of hollering, I decided that Hey, I don't really need to do my hair or put makeup on... let's just get the hell out of the house and see if a car ride would help you. And the answer to that was: DO. NOT. LIKE.

After I finally got you buckled in to the car seat... and after you woke the neighbors as I was getting you into the car..... and after driving down the street about a mile, you finally calmed down and dozed for about an hour. Which gave me time to go see your father at work so I could sob on his shoulder, and then head to WalMart (yes... I know, I'm weak for cheap clothing right now) to return some items. You woke up in WalMart and started hollering for the whole store to hear. I couldn't really blame you... I would cry too if I woke up in a WalMart. OH THE HUMANITY.

And then you cried alllllllllll tttthhhhheeee wwwwaaayyyyyy hoooommmmmeeee. Kind of like the little piggy... that nursery rhyme I haven't told you yet because I have to look it up to remember how it goes and since the only time I have my hands free is when you nap... and since you NEVER nap... you can see my dilema.

We finally got you home and immediately got you fed and TA-DA! A whole. new. baby. One who fell asleep on my lap and let me fall asleep with her for a good 90 minutes. And then after another feeding, TA-DA! Here you are asleep in bed next to me while I blog. Meaning that I'm NOT HOLDING YOU and you're asleep. ON. YOUR. OWN.


And I do believe that's a coo I hear. Which make me wonder if I'm really awake or just in the most delicious dream.

Okay... so the sleeping arrangements. You do not like the crib or the bassinet, and you only like the Pak & Play for taking short naps... occasionally. When you feel like it. So, the first three weeks were looonnggg nights for me. And usually ended up with me holding you all night in the rocking chair... which was no bueno. Oh, you loved it, but I knew that it couldn't be good for you in the long run and I knew that it was NOT good for me period. So, we finally decided to co-sleep with you in between your dad and I in bed. We borrowed a sleeping unit from some friends and crossed our fingers that you wouldn't fuss about it... and it may be the single greatest invention we've ever come across. I can guarantee you it saved not only our sanity, but our marriage. And, yes... there are a lot of anti-co-sleeping parents out there who I'm sure will explain to me in detail how I have ruined your life by co-sleeping with you. But I will be quick to point out that there are so many other ways in the future that I plan to ruin your life that this will seem minute in comparison. And yes... it may also ruin OUR lives. But at this point, I'm making the only decision that makes sense for us, and everyone else will just have to remember that IT'S NOT THEIR BUSINESS, mkay?

You're starting to make more eye contact with us now... and sometimes while you're feeding and I'm watching re-runs of the Daily Show online, I'll glance down and see you staring up at me with your beautiful blue eyes with a look of profound innocence, confusion and awe. And that's when I smack myself on the forehead because WHAT AM I DOING? Ignoring you for a couple of jokes about Sarah Palin's book? By the way, that book will never be allowed in this house... not even as a joke. But then, when I look down at you and start talking to you, you immediately look away as if you weren't really interested in me... and Hey! Look at that bright light coming in the window over there! Cool!

You also grunt. A LOT. And it's not very ladylike... especially when you do it at your dinner table. But it still adorable. As are your smiles. I can't wait until you start interacting with us more. Neither can your Papa... as he feels like he's on the sidelines right now until he has to jump on a grenade for me. But I think that once you start interacting with us, it'll be a whole new story.

I'm calling these first few months with you the fourth trimester because it's all give on our part. But you know what? Totally worth it. Because you're amazing. You're beautiful, you're loving and you're all ours.

What more could we ask for out of life?

And, now you're awake and needing to be fed again. Thank you for giving me this time to document your incredible awesomeness. Hopefully, we have more of these quiet times in the future.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

By Popular Demand

Another slide show of our baby girl.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Two-Week Update

Dear Hazel,
Well, it's been two weeks since you joined our little family (or it will be in an hour!) and I finally have the time and the energy to write you a little something as a first-time mom.

Wow. I'm a MOM! Unbelievable! Can I just tell you that it's a role that I never really considered and yet wholeheartedly love? Even at 2 a.m. when you just won't go back to sleep because you've got a gas bubble that's causing you some serious pain, or because you slept all day and 2 a.m. is party time... I love being a mom. Partly because it's made me value what little rest I can manage to squeeze in between your feedings, but mostly because of the way you look at me when your eyes are actually open. I know you can't really see me yet, but you can sense me and that just sets my heart all aflutter.

Two weeks ago today, your dad and I headed to the hospital and began the process of bringing you into the world. We checked in at 8 a.m., and they broke my water at 9 a.m. By 10 a.m., I had had enough of the pains of labor and got an epidural and some other pain medication that made my hearing all "tinny" and left my eyes working in slow motion.

Your dad kept himself busy by attending to my every whim.... including (pre-epidural) helping me to the bathroom. And quite frankly my dear, if that's not love, I don't know what is. He also made sure that I had all the ice chips I wanted and was also there to hold my hand and look me in the eyes while "coaching" me to breathe during each contraction. All of this while wearing a surgical mask so that he didn't get anyone sick.

And it was during those contractions that the nurses and doctor started to get concerned about your safety, as your heart rate would plummet during each contraction. And by "plummet", we're talking NOSEDIVE... as in going from 150 bpm to 30 bpm. The doctor told us to prepare ourselves mentally for a C-Section as it was likely that the cord was being pinched with each contraction which would cause problems if we continued to try for a regular delivery. Not the type delivery we expected or wanted, but your safety was important so we adjusted our expectations.

The doctor also gave me a shot to stop contractions and about an hour later, we re-started the pitocin drip and apparently, the cord had moved and was no longer being pinched because your heart rate was solid and even during the contractions. Even better, while I'd been stuck at a 5 for HOURS, things started to move along rather quickly and I moved from a 6-10 in just a couple of hours! It went quick and the next thing I knew, the doctor was telling me to push!

Funny thing about an epidural... sometimes it doesn't numb everything it's supposed to numb and the result is NOT OKAY. And maybe someday when you're old enough to understand a bit better, I'll tell you all about it. For now, just know that I have never experienced that kind of pain before and hope to never experience it again. But, we got past the NOT OKAY part, and a mere 35 minutes later, ended up with a beautiful baby girl.

I could not believe it. I could NOT believe that you came out of me. That you... our perfect, beautiful, healthy baby girl that was part me, part your dad... were actually here after all this time! And then my waterworks started as I watched you get your nose and mouth suctioned out and I remember holding out my arms hoping the doctor would get the hint and I wouldn't have to say what I wanted to scream: GIMME!

And then there you were... in my arms after your daddy cut the umbilical cord. And it still didn't seem real. God you were so beautiful!

After you got cleaned up, Daddy and I realized that we probably ought to give you a name. Now, I want you to know that your Aunt Kaycee will probably try to tell you that you were named after a cat that we had on the farm growing up. THIS IS A LIE! Just remember that your Aunt Kaycee is a trouble maker, okay?

The real story of where you got your name is rather simple. You dad and I had been throwing out names for months and had a list of about five that we both somewhat agreed upon, but none of them had really caught my heart. Then, when I was about six months pregnant, I was watching the USA Track and Field Championships on TV and the woman who won the 800-Meter race (and is the five-time champion in the event) was named Hazel Clark. And, no... you weren't named after her and her athletic prowess. I just loved the name. I mean... it's beautiful!!! And even if it is a bit old-fashioned, we think that it's a strong name for a woman who can do or be anything she wants to be. Which is what we hope for you.

So... now your middle name. It's not a family name like a lot of people's are. Your dad loved the name Reese, but not as a first name. Actually, you came awfully close to being a Chloe Reese, as he discovered that name while shopping at a high-end baby store downtown and one of the clothing line manufactures name was Chloe Reese. We decided that we'd use Reese as a middle name long before we knew what your first name would be. So, no... it wasn't a family name, but it is now.

Of course, we had to actually meet you before we knew that Hazel Reese was the right name for you. We had a couple of other names on our list that we were prepared to use if Hazel didn't fit. Luckily, though, Hazel Reese was all we could both think of when we first saw you. And that's where your name came from. It's a strong name that belongs to a girl/woman who can do anything... that's your namesake.

It's been two weeks since you joined our family and made us whole. And in that two weeks, you have completely changed in your looks. You're no longer a newborn with a touch of jaundice.. but are instead a robust and healthy baby girl... 95th percentile in height and 50th percentile in weight. Who knew that your dad and I would produce a skinny tall baby? In two weeks time, you've gained 4.5 oz, and grown over two inches!

October 24, 2009

November 5, 2009

You make the most amazing faces and I could spend hours watching them. You do a GREAT Robert DeNiro and if we ever get that on camera, we will make sure to show it to the first guy you bring home to meet us.

And even though they say that babies your age don't smile yet... and that it's probably just gas... I don't care. Your smile of contentment - or gas - melts my heart. My favorite expression of yours doesn't happen much anymore, but when you were first born and learning how to breastfeed (we were BOTH learning) you used to latch on to the nipple, and then it was as if you couldn't believe that you were actually allowed to do that... like it was something that should be illegal because you would move your eyes from side-to-side rapidly, much like the Pink Panther cartoon with the eyes moving in the dark... I could almost hear the theme song.

We never would have guessed it, but your Tweet nickname while you were still in my belly could not have fit you better! You make the most adorable chirping noises throughout the day. I think that "Tweet" is gonna stick around for a long time.

You are definitely your father's daughter at this point. I mean, really... besides the fact that you have hair and the wingspan of an eagle and clearly have my kind of upper-body strength, I'm not sure what I've really contributed to your genetic code. Although, you do sleep a lot like I do.

You look just like your father, including the amazing facial expressions. I knew the first time I saw your Robert DeNiro that you got that from your dad... who thinks that he can make a face like Tom Cruise. I'll just say that your DeNiro impression is MUCH better. You also have your daddy's feet and toes and he's convinced that you have his calf muscles... but I gotta think it's a bit too early in the game to make that judgement.

Your dad got to give you your first daddy kiss today since he's finally feeling better. Trust me when I tell you that he could not wait for this moment and I'm so glad that we captured it on camera. Hazel, your daddy loves you more than anything and not being able to kiss his baby girl for fear of spreading germs to you was devastating for him. But he has done so many other things to show you how much he loves you that I know that you won't hold these two weeks against him.

Well, it's getting late... and you should be ready for a feeding at any minute, so I guess I'll wrap things up. I just wanted to check in with you while I had some time... weird how time becomes so impossible to take advantage of nowadays. Between feedings and naps, I'm lucky if I brush my teeth once a day.

We're hoping that things calm down in the coming weeks and that you continue to be the wonderful baby that you already have been. Thank you for that. And thank you for coming to be a part of our family. I can promise you that you'll never regret it. Why? Because Aunt Helen sent you this wonderful cookie bouquet last week and we've put the cookies in the freezer and will hopefully hang on to at least one of them to celebrate when you're old enough to enjoy one!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Hazel!

Welcome to the world, Hazel Reese!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

An Update

Holy cow! What a roller coaster of emotions!

Just wanted to jot down a few of our thoughts about Tweet's birthday while we have a little down time. While I write this post we are officially dilated to a nine and everything is going really well. But that hasn't been the case all day long. Things were a little tenuous for a few moments.

Things started off pretty normal. The doctor punctured Jaynee's uterus to drain the amniotic fluid and almost immediately, the contractions began. Things were moving along smoothly, albeit slowly. But we were prepared for a long day. After a while the nurse started to get worried about the babies heart beat. At this point, I have to be honest, I've never been so scared in my life! The thought of losing our little girl was terrifying. Although, I should mention that Tweet was never in serious danger. Nevertheless, it was scart! At that moment I realized just how much I love our little girl, even though I've never met her.

The doctor arrived at our side rather quickly. She made some adjustments, tried a few things, watched us closely and told the nurses to prepare us for a potential c-section. They were concerned that the umbilical cord had become kinked, and every time Jaynee contracted the baby's heart rate would drop drastically. But when the contraction ended the heart rate would resume. That condition is OK in the short term, but they were concerned that sudden and continued drops in her heart rate would be detrimental. We were sitting on pins and needles.

Now, Jaynee and I were fully aware that we many need to deliver via c-section. But when we were actually confronted by the possibility, our hearts changed in a hurry. I can say with utmost certainty, that I have never been so scared. But before we were wheeled into the operating room, our doctor wanted to give us some more time. She waited patiently and watched our vital signs closely. After some time and medical intervention, things started to improve.

The doctor ordered a shot that relaxes Jaynee and slows the contractions. This gave Tweet a long break from the contractions and the drops in heart rate. This would prove to be a blessing, as shortly thereafter Jaynee's uterus began to soften and the contractions didn't pinch the umbliical cord to tightly.

Which brings us to this point. We are dilated to a nine and things are progressing very smoothly once again. The doctor is very optimistic for a vaginal delivery, and Jaynee is doing great. She is wiped out, but I think she has what it takes to get through the delivery.

She is a ten!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Time to start pushing!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Big Day

Well Tweet, your birthday has arrived. It's 6:00 am on October 24, 2009 and your mother and I are nervously pacing around the house. We have an appointment scheduled for 8:00 am so the doctors can induce labor. We have waited so long for this day, but the timing is nearly ideal.

As your mother mentioned, I've been sick with a cold and pneumonia for three weeks. I haven't had much energy lately. Pneumonia wasn't exactly in our plans for your birthday, but perhaps this can be your first lesson; life is not always in your control. Sometimes life is full of surprises, and not all of them are good.

Luckily however, after the doctors figured out what was wrong with me they were able to prescribe pretty aggressive treatments over the last five days. After seven visits to the doctor, three shots, three oral antibiotics, three cough medicines, an inhaler, a nasal spray, steroids, rest and fluids, I'm feeling pretty spry this morning. I haven't felt this good in weeks. My energy is better than it has been in weeks, and I'm pretty sure your arrival will provide enough adrenaline to get me through the day. Your day. YOUR BIRTHDAY!!!!!

I know your mother has been waiting patiently for me to get healthy and for you to arrive. To be honest, your mother deserves all the credit for bringing us to this day, and we owe her our heartfelt gratitude. She has been amazingly strong throughout this pregnancy. She has carried you for months, all while providing you with nourishment, protection and love. Your mother is an amazing woman Tweet. I can't wait for you to meet her. If you are anything like your father, your mother is going to sweep you off your feet with her kindness, love and sense of humor.

Neither of us slept much last night. We both fell asleep around midnight, tossed and turned all night long, then your mother woke up at 3:30 and I woke up at 4:00. We have been pacing around the house nervously ever since.

Our bags are packed, the house is clean and your room is ready. We are ready for you to come to us Tweet.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Waiting Game

Well... here we are. 10:17 p.m. Thursday night.

No contractions.

No labor.

No rush to the hospital.

No Tweet.

But... also, no more contagious Benny! So, I guess we've got that going for us.

So, we've held on to Tweet (or, rather... she stuck to the game plan) for a few days longer than anticipated. Benny took the last of his three days of shots and we'll find out tomorrow morning if he has to go in for some more aggressive treatment if he doesn't feel markedly better.

Also, tomorrow we get to go to the doc and check my dialation to see if I've made any progress. And will likely get a cervical balloon inserted (sounds pleasant, doesn't it?) to stimulate dialation. Man, sometimes being a woman ABSOLUTELY ROCKS.

Today was more sitting around waiting for something to happen. I took my mind off the minutes ticking slowly past by getting some work done, watching a little CSI - NY (not as good as CSI: Miami, btw... but it'll work in a pinch) and updating my Facebook status with little known facts about the dog.

For instance, did YOU know that my dog can clear a room... simply by existing? She doesn't even have to pass gas. It's just this odor that follows her around. I've got a theory that it's her skin and a friend of mine has turned me on to a kind of dog food that will supposedly help with that. Of course, it's more expensive... THAT'S HOW YOU KNOW IT'LL WORK, RIGHT???

Seriously... I grew up on a farm with outdoor dogs that were never bathed. Were never shaved. And routinely got in battles with skunks... not to mention the rolling around in deer, fish and chicken carcass. And none of those dogs ever smelled one-tenth as bad as my dog does two hours after a bath and shave with her only visits to the outside world being to pee and eat. It's really quite the phenomenon.

But, I digress. Benny and I are so over the waiting right now. We're ready to move on to the next phase of our life.

Throughout the last 40 weeks and 4 days (but who's counting) everyone we've talked to has said the exact same thing: Your life is going to change forever. (Or some variance of that statement.)

Um... yea. We kinda knew that going in to it. It was kind of the point, you know?

I know that people only mean well by telling us this but, honestly... it gets a bit old. We know it's going to change. We know it's going to be hard... the hardest thing we'll ever do. We know that we'll never sleep as well as we are currently used to. And that's OK! We didn't decide to have a child on a whim. It's not like we didn't have several deep discussions on what we wanted out of life and when we wanted it and how we were going to go about starting our family. Tweet isn't a surprise. We knew we wanted Tweet before we even knew Tweet was here.

And these last few days have only solidified that, YEA!!! Let's get ON WITH IT ALREADY!!

I've been trying to be zen about the whole thing. I really have. I've spent the last couple of days watching the birds feeding at the bird feeders and sitting on my rocking chair on the front porch and watching the world go by, trying to take as much of it in as I can so that I can remember when I had time to myself without a screaming baby or a rebellious teenager turning my attention elsewhere. And it turns out... even with the thought of not having those moments as often as I do now, I still can't wait to be a Mommy.

Carrie sent me an amazing email the other day... one that I will keep forever. In it she talked about Mommyhood and the pressures that come with it. And I must admit, I've been thinking about what kind of mom I am going to be... and have been concerned that I'll fall way short of what other moms do for their kids. I'm not a crafty person. I'm just not. And I'm not much of a cook. And, I really have a hard time relating to kids. I've never even changed a diaper for the love of Pete! And I doubt I'm one of those women who just fall into motherhood naturally and who seem like they're Wonderwoman... cooking dinner, doing the laundry, keeping the house clean, playing with the kids and teaching them about life.

But Carrie... she must have somehow known because in her email was a paragraph that hit me like a brick to the face:

"I'll never be a mom like my mom who sews and bakes bread and keeps up with laundry and cleans every speck of dust, but those things aren't all that important to me. It took me a while to discover, that's what made my mom, my mom. I'm a mom who takes my kids hiking and on adventures, makes art projects, frosts cookies, and leaves the laundry until it is piled high. You'll show Tweet what is important to you and you can be whatever kind of mom you want to be."

With that one paragraph, Carrie gave me my "Aha!" moment and I'll never be able to thank her for that. I get to decide what kind of mom my children will have... and it's okay if it's not the same definition as other kids moms. I have my strengths that I'll play up and hope people don't notice so much the weaknesses.

And if I can be half the mom to Tweet that Carrie is to her kids? I'll be doing pretty well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Under The Weather!

With all this free time that I had today waiting for Benny to start feeling better and Tweet to NOT come, I decided to take some pics around the yard to show her exactly what she was missing when she didn't come on time. And also to show her what the weather was like around here the week she was born.

The birdfeeder outside our kitchen window. Benny picked up some more seed for me the other day and I was excited to get it ready for my chickadee's and junco's.

Another bird feeder outside the kitchen window. This is the one that Steve the Squirrel prefers to feed from. As well as Steve the Jay that I caught scaring off my little brown birds yesterday. Turns out that both Steves are bullies.

And lookee here! It's Steve the Chickadee!!

I'm still figuring out the settings on our new camera, so some of the foliage pics are out of focus. I can deal... can you?

Pic of some of the mum's out front. I've really let my garden go this year... what with not being able to bend over and weed for the last month or so. And I know I'll pay for it next Spring.

Did you know that sweet peas are perennials at the House That Benny Built? Neither did I. That's just the kind of green thumb I have.

A few of the grapes in the backyard that Bailey hasn't ingested. YET.

Part of the vine in the backyard. Love the red!

If anyone out there has a great recipe for wine, let me know. It's either that or the dog explodes. AGAIN.

The dog run along the side of the house. Fall is seriously my favorite time of year because of the colors and the fact that it can make the dog run look beautiful.

The weeping birch out front.
I honestly can't wait for this tree to change from green to yellow every year!