Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolutions

I don't normally make New Years resolutions because I try to keep at improving all year long. This year, however, I have decided to make two. The first one is to buy my girls less. Q and I give ourselves a small weekly allowance that we can spend on anything we like. Q tends to spend his on taking us out to eat and the occasional electronic item or piece of software. I spend mine mostly on the girls (clothing, toys, craft items, etc.) Also, if anyone gives me a gift card, it pretty much goes to something for them also. I have a friend whose grown siblings (in their 30s) still live at home with no jobs. I worry that we give our children so much that they will expect life to just be handed to them. I resolve to do my best help my girls in some way earn the things they want.

The second resolution is to play more World of Warcraft with Q. Our relationship is strongly based on the quality time we spend together particularly as playmates. This includes games, watching movies and shows together, and dancing. I would love to return to going dancing once a week as we used to do what seems ages ago now, but as it is unrealistic for us to be able to do this with three babies (the nerdlet seeming so not a baby sometimes and still so much so), I resolve to play more with my husband.

I was looking at my last post of the 2010's main points and it seems like it was a bad year, but even though the number of high points doesn't seem to come close to the number of lows, it really seemed like a great year. The nerdlet has made so much progress and is turning out to be such a beautiful person. The bear cub is amazing and brings us so much joy. She has made so much progress, too, and seems to have completely blossomed since her heart surgery last December. We have Darth Baby now and she feels like such a perfect piece of our family that it is weird to think of us without her. Q and I are doing great and he still makes me feel so loved and desired. Our lives are incredible and although I could live without any medical worries, difficulties like a burst pipe seem like nothing compared to the blessings we have.

I wish everyone a happy new year and wish you tons of your own blessings.

2010 Review

January – The bear cub learned to sit by herself. She also started clapping and waving regularly and scribbling. The nerdlet’s speech really started to pick up.

February – The bear cub started crawling and holding her own bottle. She also gave her first kiss to her daddy. The nerdlet demonstrated that she knows how to make a cheese sandwich in the sandwich maker all by herself. The girls start really playing together interactively.

March – The nerdlet starts talking about the past. The bear cub turns 1. The bear cub adds the sign milk to her repertoire. We had our back porch completely redone. I begin a weird creative spurt making dresses for the girls, tops for them and my nieces, and painting a weird picture of Goofy. One of my dear uncles passed away.

April – The bear cub learns to self feed when the nerdlet hands her a cookie. The creative streak continues with more clothing for the girls, some embroidery, and a dragon onesie for the bear cub and started some clothing for myself and I may have gone a little overboard buying supplies.

May – Found out I was pregnant at 8 weeks. The nerdlet has progressed so much with her speech that she graduates from speech therapy. The bear cub starts to swallow more food than just milk and pediasure and makes it onto the Ds weight chart.

June – Little Miss becomes an official member of the family. The bear cub gets her front two bottom teeth and starts cruising and starts doing the bear crawl. We acquired a swagger wagon. My gestational Carpal’s Tunnel gets bad enough that I can no longer sew or drive much.

July – My sister is harassed by the AZ border patrol about trafficking humans (my born and bred USA cousin that has darker skin). Q goes in for his routine MRI for his pituitary adenoma and the doctor discovers that he has maxillary sinusitis and that Q will need surgery to clean the sinuses out. The bear cub starts climbing up stairs and consistently crawling with her belly off the floor.

August – My MIL and the nerdlet are in a car accident. The nerdlet was in a brand new car seat that was less than a week old and has some pain for about two weeks but seems to recover fine after that. The bear cub learns to throw a ball and shows she has good aim and power. The level two ultrasound shows that Darth Baby’s kidneys are dilated.

September – We lost the bear cub’s therapy coordinator, speech therapist, and physical therapist all at once. The nerdlet has major issues because of this and develops a lot of new fears. The bear cub finally starts showing real interest in food and starts climbing down stairs. Q and I decide on a name for Darth Baby.

October – The bear cub got her first haircut. Q has surgery for his sinusitis. I’m put on insulin for gestational diabetes. The girls go trick-or-treating for the first time.

November - The nerdlet turns 3. My sister and Little Miss move back to Georgia.

December – Darth Baby arrives! My BIL gets back from Iraq. I start taking pictures daily of each of the girls. The nerdlet got her first haircut. Two more of my uncles passed away. A pipe bursts in our upstairs bathroom and leaks into the wall and through the ceiling in the kitchen. The pipe and ceiling repairs are completed within a week and a half. Darth Baby’s kidneys are still dilated and she is scheduled for further tests and referred to a nephrologist.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Girls' Christmas Gift

Q and I got one gift for all three girls.

Does the bear cub like it?

We weren't sure at first, but she made it clear how she felt when we tried to take her off. She cried and struggled and crawled as fast as she could to try to usurp the nerdlet's turn. She isn't near as good at sharing and taking turns as her sister. Hopefully, this will help her learn. Right now we follow her all the way down. I told Q I wasn't going to let her go on her own until she showed me that she wouldn't let go or try to jump off in 50 rides. At ride 14 she tried to get off too soon, so it may be a while.

There's no question how the nerdlet felt though.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Pictures

Show us how you really feel, Nerdlet.

The best of the lot

You can see the blue on her teeth from the M&M we used to bribe the nerdlet.

Merry Christmas to All!

Merry Christmas

I went to get a nice picture of my girls to post for Christmas, but to say the nerdlet was being uncooperative is a bit of an understatement. I'd post one of the pictures with her snarling in it, but apparently asking for unedited pictures of a photographer is a big faux pas. I'll post a belated one at some point.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It IS Easy

I had Darth Baby's two week appointment and heard for the third time, this time from the pediatrician, that I make having a baby and two toddlers look easy. Of course, I feel like I'm cheating a bit to hear this. I have a great support system.

My mom stayed with us for a week and she is extremely energetic. It is where the nerdlet gets it, I'm sure. My older sister visited her after her week here and told me that she had never before seen my mom exhausted like that. The nerdlet pretty much decided that she didn't need naps while Grandma was here and it took a a small toll on my mom, but having my mom here meant that I got some rest and neither of my older girls had any reason to resent the attention a new baby gets.

I am also married to the best father, who has been taking turns with me staying up with Darth Baby as she doesn't sleep more than 90 minutes at a time, so for a new mother, I am incredibly rested. There are a lot of disadvantages to pumping, but one of the few great advantages is that I can sleep for 3-4 hours at a time, when he is available to help.

Another thing that helps is that I have really behaved toddlers. The nerdlet came out throwing fits and with no patience, but we've had three years to work on her skills and on most days she is really good. The bear cub has her daddy's personality and goes with the flow on pretty much anything. These two can really make parenting in general look easy and fun when they want to.

I'm sure I won't look like I have it as together after Christmas as Q returns to work on Monday. Also, I'm sure the same way I make it look easy when the three are all cooperating, I will look for the poster child for not getting serially pregnant if you catch me when the nerdlet is having a meltdown at the library (or any other public place, but she seems to really like to have meltdowns there), the bear cub is wet, and Darth Baby is hungry. I'm also fairly sure that the bear cub is just waiting for a moment like this to take off walking or running for the first time.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Chunk

Breastfeeding is a great weight loss tool. I read that 1 ounce of milk has 70 calories for the first 21 days before it tapers off. I'm producing between 40-60 ounces a day so I'm running through a fair bit of Calories. I gained around 21 pounds during this pregnancy and I lost it by 10 days post birth. If I wasn't having to pump, I'd likely continue to breastfeed until all my extra weight was gone.

Darth Baby eats a lot - almost as much as the nerdlet did. At just under two weeks, she is eating around 24 ounces/day. Because the nerdlet has always been such a good eater and was always extremely underweight and the bear cub also had issues with weight gain until recently, I half suspected that there was something wrong with my milk. I know that Mother's Milk Bank, the service I donated my milk to the last two pregnancies, tested the milk for fat content in addition to other things, and they actually sent me a letter from one of the mothers that received milk commenting on how wonderful the milk was for weight gain in her child, I still always wondered about it. This baby has proved that there is nothing wrong with the milk. Darth Baby was 7 pounds 4 ounces at birth, 7 pounds upon leaving the hospital, and today at 12 days she is 8 pounds even. This is my first baby that actually has extra fat on her. She actually has creases on her legs from it, and they are beautiful to me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pic for my Mom

This entry is solely to allow my mom to have access to a picture she wants.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Awed by milestones

When you have a child with Down syndrome, one of the things you start doing is celebrating every little milestone. There is a line in the movie The Incredibles (great movie btw) about how having a graduation at each grade is celebrating mediocrity. While I agree that celebrating a graduation for each grade is ridiculous, I don't agree that it is celebrating mediocrity or that celebrating each goal achieved is a bad thing when every one is going to have a different amount of effort to achieve those goals. I like it when things come easy to my girls, but I love it when I see them working hard at something to do it. I think one of the reasons that parents of children with Ds celebrate every little thing is because our kids work so hard to accomplish each little thing that other children most often come to without a second thought.

Darth Baby is five days old now and I'm discovering that I am going to find joy at all her little milestones, too. For my previous pregnancies, my milk was there already when I gave birth. With the nerdlet, the first time I pumped I got 5 ounces. With this pregnancy, it took longer. I could express colostrum, but I would get practically nothing when I pumped. I was using the same technique of feeding Darth Baby and then pumping, but she was still always hungry and for the first two days we were giving some formula to supplement (because of the GD and the worry that her blood sugar would drop as it was borderline in the low 50s). When we took her in to her first doctor's appointment Saturday morning, she had her first non-meconium diaper and it was seedy and looked just like a breast milk diaper is supposed to. If you had ever told me that I would be so happy over a diaper, I would not have believed it.

Now at day five, I'm watching Darth Baby work so hard to lift her head and turn it back and forth and I can't tell you how it moves me. The bear cub is really warming up to her younger sister and was making happy noises and clapping while her sister was doing it. I took a bunch of pictures and only managed to get a few with her head actually off the ground.

The nerdlet is really enamored of her new sister and keeps telling anyone near her, including Daddy, Grandma, and me to be careful and gentle with her. She brings her blankets and tries to sneak her toys and food. The bear cub is getting much better. For months, I've been signing baby at her and telling her we were going to get one and trying to prepare her only to get blank eyes back. Today, she signed baby for the first time and started patting Darth Baby while saying, "Bah, bah, bah." It was so stinking cute.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Birth Story

Even though it was my longest labor, it was probably my easiest labor. I arrived at the hospital promptly at 6 am as instructed, but the orders from the doctor hadn't arrived. This didn't really surprise me as I have seen my OB's nurse enter blood work orders walked down to the lab and had them disappear somewhere into the void and Q has commented on every birth about the poor design of the hospital's computer system. They put me in a room anyway, did the calibrated finger test, and got me hooked up to the machine. I was 70% effaced and still only around 2 cm dilated, but the machine showed that I was having regular contractions. The nurse asked me didn't I feel the tightening and I had, but I had dismissed them as contractions as there was really no pain to them. My doctor arrived at 8:30 am and got the orders in the system. It took a little while from then to put in the IV and get the pitocin started, but I was finally started on pitocin at 9:45. The OB said he was going to let me progress a little before breaking my water and left. I asked for an epidural around noon. I have been through one labor with and one without and already knew that I had no pride regarding having the pain reduced for an induction, which I feel is at least 10 times more painful than natural labor. The anesthesiologist was great, but he ended up cutting off all feeling and I had to ask him to back off because I was worried about pushing. With the nerdlet, I had had an epidural, but it hadn't cut off the feeling or the pain, just the edge. The OB finally returned to break my water at 12:30 pm. The nurse proclaimed me close to fully dilated just before 3 pm and started to set up the room. By the time the room was set up, she said I was ready and called the OB and asked me to start pushing with the next contraction. After two contractions, she told me not to push so hard until the OB got there or I would deliver, and after the next push, she told me to stop pushing altogether. It seemed pretty funny to me that I was expected not to push and I started laughing. She then told me that I was going to laugh the baby out if I didn't stop and the OB walked in glanced at me and practically sprung into the chair, told me to push again, and caught Darth Baby as she came out at 3:39 pm. So four contractions was much nicer than the hours of pushing it took for the nerdlet's giant head, but not as nice as the single contraction for the bear cub.

They immediately handed her to me, which was really nice. They hadn't done that with my first two. Even though she was the largest of the three at 7 pounds 4 ounces and 19 1/2 inches, she looks much smaller to me. She curls herself up more and her head is smaller than her sisters. She isn't anywhere near as alert as I am used to and she sleeps all the time as long as someone is holding her. It is so different for me to experience a baby that fits the descriptions you read in books.

I really dislike lactation consultants, but the one that I saw immediately after the birth took the cake. She started handling me and the baby right off without giving me time at all to get comfortable. Then she kept commenting on how heavy my breasts were and actually said that she didn't understand how I could even stand up. What??? Darth Baby had a great latch and took to feeding right off, but in the few days since the birth my breasts have gotten bigger and heavier and don't squish enough to feed after all. I was really looking forward to being able to breast feed directly with this one, but it looks like I'm going to have to exclusively pump again. She eats like a champ though and it likely going to be like the nerdlet when it comes to food. She is already eating close to 20 ounces/day and my milk is still mostly colostrum. I'm great with this though as I had a really hard time with the fact that the bear cub never seemed interested in eating. I also think that Darth Baby has already regained her birth weight as she is heavier weighed with diaper and onesie, but I haven't weighed her naked yet.

They released us both Friday evening and Q and I were so glad to be leaving. They call it cabin fever and I really felt like I had been trapped in a small cruise cabin for the time I was there. The hospital is really luxurious and the rooms are so nice and clean, but I definitely felt more trapped than I had in the past. I also missed my girls terribly. The nerdlet has taken really well to Darth Baby and she is constantly telling us to be careful and gentle with her, and whenever the baby is in her reach, she brings a blanket to put over her and gives her kisses and hugs. The bear cub has moments of excitement over her and moments of disdain, but for the most part, she seems indifferent. I think she mostly just wishes the baby would stay out of daddy's arms.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Not even close to Wordless Wednesday

By this time tomorrow, I should be holding Darth Baby in my arms. I'm a little scared because although I know that at this point it is safer to have her than to let her continue on, I am not sure that my body is ready to give birth. I'm scared of a C-section. I haven't had surgery before and I am a little worried about the possibility. I'm also feeling a bit burdened because there is a lot of bad news with family and friends with death and sickness. I am hoping that I can keep my mind clear and focus on the task at hand tomorrow and my new baby.

I have my first piece by the bear cub that I plan to frame. It is almost completely her own work and I'm really pleased with how it came out.

Here is a picture of the girls working.

And a picture of the final masterpiece.

And a picture of the artist after a bath playing dress up.

The nerdlet named her picture dinosaur eggs. I found this interesting because I'm not really in the habit of asking her what she is painting or to tell me about it, but she volunteered the information.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Darth Baby Name Rejects

Q and I are still undecided on a middle name for Darth Baby. I thought I would share some of the rejected names.

Maleficent is the name of the coolest Disney Villain ever. She is the witch that cursed Sleeping Beauty. We have a number of overlaps of names in our family with characters in the movie, and it would be apt as we called the nerdlet Attila and the bear cub Genghis prior to choosing names for them.

I love this name. I've liked it since I first heard it as the name of the first woman to climb Mount Everest. I wanted to name both the nerdlet and the bear cub Araceli, but Q feels that giving an ethic name to our very fair children wouldn't be right. Also, Q's family is not good with unfamiliar names in either remembering them or spelling them. If Q doesn't answer his phone when I go to deliver the baby I may use this one anyway.

3.Drop Table
This is a nerd joke. It is a command that would mess up any data tables that her name was entered into. Q thinks it's really funny.

4.Novela names
My mom loves and has suggested on multiple occasions that we name Darth Baby or the bear cub Mari-Chuy (short for Maria Jesus - pronounces Heh-Suess) after a favorite character of hers in one of the telenovelas. I think it's cute enough, but not really right for us even without the fact that my children are all pan crudo (doughy - a nickname my mom and grandma used to use for me).

5.Grandmother's names
I'm jealous of people that have grandmothers to name their daughters of. Between Q and I, we have the following choices from our grandmothers:
I actually like Estefana, especially the white version Stephanie, but it isn't an option because we have a close relative with that name and as Q's brother, father, and grandfather all share the same name, we are so not going down that path.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Little Miss helped the nerdlet and Grandma with the houses, but she of little attention span was gone by the time I got the camera out.

"It was totally worth sitting through the combing out of my awful tangles for the colors in my hair. Next time I want pink and yellow." The last sentence is an exact quote.

"Mom, I had to do something while you were busy and the nerdlet's paint box looked like so much fun."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Ours being a relatively young family, we don't have any Christmas traditions as of yet. Also, although I grew up in a Catholic household, we didn't really have any traditions outside of the advent cycle in church. I just read this and I think it is a great tradition to start. For the link phobic, you take 25 children's books and wrap them to put under the tree and open one to read each night. I'm going to start looking for Christmas and winter books to use.

I would love it if anyone has any Christmas traditions that they would like to share with me.