Wednesday, June 26, 2013

updates: breastfeeding, STTN, solids

What's going well: breastfeeding

I was incredibly worried that it wouldn't work out. I stressed over breastfeeding more than I did L&D in my late months of pregnancy. Thankfully, we haven't had any real issues (other than a bout of mastitis... ugh). I pump at work twice a day, and nurse on demand at home. 5 1/2 months in, all is well.

What's not going so well: sleeping

Yes, that pesky "STTN" thing. It happened for five days in a row. Then, Henry got sick. He's been well for almost two weeks now, but he has not gone back to sleeping through. He's waking twice a night to nurse. I'm hoping it drops back down to once a night soon. Once is soooo much better than twice.

What I'm most annoyed by: "Is he eating solids yet? NO??"

People are so surprised when I say he's not yet eating solids. I have always planned to start him on solids at around 6 months, or when he shows me that he's definitely ready. So far, not really getting the cues to make me think he's ready.

Also, we have decided to try Baby Led Weaning (BLW). You should see people's faces when I tell them this.

"So you are going to start off by feeding your baby CHUNKS of food?"

"We fed our kids cereal starting at X months old!" (insert any number you wish, I've heard them all).

"Won't they choke??!"


Random, but I started a Twitter account. Ok, I actually started the account months and months ago, just never used it. But I think I might start using it now. You can find me here:

or @BoundBySymmetry

Friday, June 14, 2013

Henry: 5 months

I'm a horrible blogger.

Ever since going back to work, I just find myself completely unmotivated to blog. I think it has to do with me being so busy in every aspect of my life, I just can't get my brain to cooperate when it comes to penning a post.

I've said this several times since Henry was born, but my brain is pretty much the consistency of mashed potatoes now.

Those are mashed potatoes, in brain form.

Henry is now 5 months old.

Henry, 5 months old (June 2013)
Henry and his cousin, going swimming for the first time! (June 2013)
Time is really flying. He's rolling all over the place, so that's fun. And two weeks ago, out of the blue, he decided to start sleeping through the night. He had been waking once or twice a night to nurse, but all of the sudden he was a sleeper. Not sure how that happened, but I have a feeling that it has something to do with him rolling on his stomach to sleep.

He wants to crawl. Bad. He sometimes whines and fusses when he's on his belly, and I know he wants to move. I'll put my hand behind him, and he'll push off and scoot across the floor. I figure it won't be long until he's crawling. Not sure I'm ready for that, but I am excited for it!

Hi mom, please help me crawl. (June 2013)

Last week he caught his very first cold. It was HORRIBLE. Worst 5 days I've had since his birth... even rougher than that rough newborn phase. A sick baby is heartbreaking.

Day before he really got sick... his temp was starting to run high.

My poor, sick baby.

He had a fever of 102/103 for a couple days, and he was so listless and sad. He also stopped sleeping through the night at that point, and only wanted mommy cuddles. So, we slept in the recliner together. Whatever I could do to help him get through it, I did! The cold turned in to an ear infection. So, he's on antibiotics. He's finally feeling better though. He has a lingering cough, and I'm so ready for that to be gone. It woke him up several times last night. 

Other than that, things are great! He's so much fun, and loves to laugh. Henry is such a happy baby. He loves his daddy so much, and smiles any time Buster walks in the room. This morning, they snoozed a bit in the big bed together:

Today, Buster and I celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. We are so incredibly fortunate and very thankful for all that we have together. I am one lucky lady!

June 2013

And on an aside, it was three years ago to the day when I wrote my first blog post, thus beginning my blogging adventure. So much has changed since then, but so much is still the same:

"We knew when we met that we would be married. He is my best friend, and I could not imagine my life without this man. He knows what I'm thinking and feeling. He knows why I laugh and how to make me smile. We sing silly songs and laugh together. Laughing is my favorite hobby."

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

one year ago.

One year ago, we transferred a beautiful day-6 expanded blastocyst. Today, Henry is 3 1/2 months old. And he is the light of my life.

Henry, then and now.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Henry's nursery

This post is incredibly overdue. All the way back in October, I posted the plan for Henry's nursery. And although I loved that storyboard, only one thing pictured in there is actually in Henry's nursery.

The one item that made it is the Henry shelf. And the nursery is not actually completely finished. I still need some wall art, and I'd like a lamp. But for the most part, it's in working order.

I was borderline obsessed with getting a gray crib. And when you Google it, the most popular gray crib is the Oeuf Sparrow crib. It's $760. Instead, I had found a gray crib from Walmart that I was set on purchasing.

But then... plans go awry. My aunt and uncle offered to give us my cousin's old nursery furniture. It was white, which wasn't my first choice for crib. But, it was free. And in AMAZING condition. This was some quality furniture! So, instead of purchasing furniture, we were given a crib, changing table/dresser, and an armoire.

The crib and changing table/dresser.

As for the glider.... that was a huge decision. I waffled back and forth if I would even need one, since we have a rocker recliner in the living room. In the end, I (finally) found an affordable gray one that I liked on Amazon. Without ever having sat in it, I ordered it. And I couldn't be happier!

Instead of the cute chevron crib sheet and crib skirt, my grandparents bought us a crib skirt and several sheets from Pottery Barn. I wouldn't have spent the money on them myself, but sure, I'll accept the gift! They also got us a crib blanket and rug (bye bye chevron rug idea)... and all of the sudden, our nursery theme went from only colors/patterns to elephants!

Curtains... ugh. Curtains were the most difficult thing to find. Back when I was planning the nursery, gray and yellow decor items were more difficult to find. So, I found a fabric I liked online, and we had curtains made. Of course now, Target has some lovely gray, yellow, white, and tan chevron curtains that would have been perfect (and much more affordable), but oh well. We had curtains, a pillow, and a changing pad cover made out of the elephant fabric.

And finally, we purchased a white cube shelf that was fairly inexpensive. I tracked down some yellow fabric bins for the cubes, and our bookshelf was complete!

Oh, and something not pictured... the mobile. I loved the elephant one from Etsy that is in the storyboard above, but we didn't want to spend quite that much. Instead, I got a paper circle mobile from Etsy for about half the cost. Here's a photo from the Etsy listing:

So imagine that hanging over the crib.

I am very pleased with how it turned out! Someday I really need to get some wall art up, though. You know, before Henry grows up and moves out!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dogged by infertility

Our health insurance premiums increased this year. No surprise there, right?

Well, they went up 12%. And in January, after Henry's arrival, I switched to the family plan. So thanks to the increase and my need for the family plan, I am now spending over $20,000 a year on health insurance.

Yes, you read that correctly. TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.

I also live in one of the poorest states in the country.

Something isn't adding up here.

I blogged a while back about how I was excited that my insurance covers IVF. Well, that's great and all, but I'm spending an arm and a leg for this fucking coverage. They better cover IVF!

So, I started looking in to individual insurance (versus group plans). I got an incredibly reasonable quote online from BCBS that would save us over $1,100 a month. And I applied.

Time was of the essence, as my open enrollment period is, well, this week. Ends on Friday.

I heard back today from BCBS. Buster and Henry were approved, but I was denied.



This plan I applied for doesn't even have fertility coverage! Why in the fuck would they deny me for infertility if they don't even cover the treatments I would need to help me get pregnant?

All of this is a crock of shit.

However, I think we are going to go ahead and move Buster and Henry on to their own plan, and keep me on my plan through work. We will save about $800 a month, which is awesome. But I'm still annoyed.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

the sleep conundrum

Let's talk sleep. Or lack thereof.

Henry doesn't sleep through the night. Never has even come close. Yes, I know technically they say sleeping through the night is six hours, right? The longest we get is four. And that's few and far between.

And this isn't even my chief concern.

Would I like for him to sleep longer stretches? Of course. But more importantly, I'd be happy if he would sleep somewhere other than in our arms. Ok, who am I kidding. I want them both.

Don't get me wrong, I really do enjoy cuddling with my boy. I love it so much that when he falls asleep in my arms, I just let him stay there. Trying to move a sleeping baby is terrifying. Plus, he's like a little space heater, and we stay warm and cozy when we snuggle.

Last night, because I missed him all day long so much, I didn't mind him sleeping in my arms. But then I get this nagging feeling like I'm doing something wrong by doing this. I don't know why, and I don't know where it comes from.

Perhaps because everyone else's babies sleep through the night, in their own cribs, and have been from the minute they came home from the hospital.

Doesn't it seem like that, when you have a baby who doesn't do these things?

Henry has slept in his swing, his Rock 'n Play (RNP) and in our arms since he's come home from the hospital. In the first 9 weeks of his life, it was easy to transfer him from arms to swing or RNP without him waking. But as of late, that is impossible. And I don't know how to fix it.

If I didn't have to do laundry, wash pump parts and bottles, pick out my work clothes for the next day, and sleep, I wouldn't mind holding him constantly. But sometimes a girl has to get things done.

We've also tried to get him to sleep in the Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinet, but that didn't work. He wasn't having it, so I gave up. I should probably try that again, but I feel so uncertain about any of this.

I don't know what to do, and I don't know how to do it. The woes of a first-time mom.

And now that I'm back at work, I find myself not wanting to do anything other than just letting him sleep where he will, since I desperately need sleep as well.

I purchased a sound machine that has a white noise setting. I purchased a mobile with great reviews. We have set up the baby monitor. And I'm such a chickenshit that I have yet to figure out what to do with all these tools. Or use them effectively.

About two weeks ago, I decided I was going to get Henry to sleep in the co-sleeper. So I got the sound machine, set up the co-sleeper to be efficient (before we had it by the bed, but below the nightstand. This proved problematic when wanting to get in and out of bed.), had Buster move the glider into our bedroom, plugged in a nightlight, and set up a make-shift changing area.

We tried for two days. And I gave up.

It's so much easier to do our shifts. That way, I am guaranteed about four hours of good, quality sleep (this four hours is not concurrent). When Buster comes to bed, I get up and head out to the living room with Henry, the swing, RNP, recliner, and TV.

But now that I'm back to work, and Buster is taking Henry to daycare, he can't stay up quite as late as before. Last night he came to bed at 12:30 a.m. This is a far cry from the nights where he'd stay out there with Henry until 4:00 a.m.

So I went out with Henry at 12:30 a.m. He was sleeping in his swing at that point (YAY!), and slept there until 1:30 a.m. He woke up, I nursed him, and he fell asleep in my arms in the recliner. We both slept there until Henry woke up hungry at 4:15 a.m. We both fell asleep again until about 6:45 a.m.

I get sleep this way. So does Henry. But for me, it's not very good sleep. It's sitting up in a recliner, with my head tilted and leaning on my shoulder, contortionist-style. But it's guaranteed sleep, where any other arrangement is not.

Maybe Henry will grow out of the sleeping-in-my-arms thing? Or maybe he won't, and I'm making everything more difficult on myself by just letting him. I know he's too young for sleep training, and I'm not sure that appeals to me in general. I just wish there was a magic button I could press, or a magic age where he would just sleep peacefully, all night long, wherever I put him.

Keep dreaming, right? But I don't even sleep long enough to dream.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

my return

Today, the first day of spring, marks my return to work.

Spring is lovely, work is not.

I cried on my way here. Buster took Henry to daycare, so I said my goodbyes at home. He was sound asleep in his car seat, ready to be loaded in Buster's truck (it has a full backseat, don't worry!).

I miss Henry terribly. I haven't decided if I will pick him up after work or if Buster will. Typically, Buster will be doing it, since it would add an extra hour or so onto my evening commute. I could technically see and cuddle Henry sooner if Buster had him home already by the time I get home, so that's the plan  for most days.

But today I may pick him up, just to hear first-hand from M (the lady who will be watching Henry at her in-home daycare) how he did. You know how getting information from a man is... difficult, to say the least.

So not only have I returned to work, but this also marks a return to blogging for me. It was extremely difficult for me to find the time to pen a post while being at home with Henry these past ten weeks (yes, it's been TEN weeks already!). But now that I'm back at work, and forced to sit in front of a computer, I will be blogging!

I've missed this space, and I'm looking forward to filling any remaining readers in on how the past ten weeks have been for us!

Here are some Henry photos from the last month:
6 weeks old

7 weeks old

2 months old!

I love this picture. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Where did the last month go?

It's really been a month since Henry made his debut. It feels both like no time at all has passed, and years have passed.

Henry - one month old.
This past month has been quite the learning experience. Every day I'm learning many new things, not only about being a mom, but also about my baby boy's personality. It's been a difficult but wonderful time.


Prior to Henry's birth, I practically had myself convinced that for whatever reason, I wouldn't be able to breastfeed. I think because I wanted to be able to do it so badly, my subconscious would not let me believe that it would work out for me.

Luckily, my subconscious was wrong. Breastfeeding has been going really well! Sure, it was incredibly tough in the beginning. My milk didn't come in until day 4 or 5. Henry was not having the sufficient amount of wet and poopy diapers, and he was looking quite jaundiced. A call to my pediatrician resulted in us supplementing with formula for a day and a half.

I won't lie, hormonal me cried like a baby when I hung up with the pediatrician. I felt like I was failing. Buster couldn't understand why I reacted the way I did, and it was hard to explain without sounding like a nutcase. So we supplemented. About half of the formula ran down his chin, as he was still so new at the sucking thing. But after his first poop since the hospital, I decided to stop with the formula. I made a mom-call. His diapers were now on par, and the formula seemed to give him really bad gas. Plus, my milk came in.

And since then, it's been relatively smooth sailing. Well, I did have one 24-hour period of severe engorgement that left me in tears and shaking with an elevated temperature. After crying my way through a phone call to the hospital's lactation consultant, I started a regimen of rest, nursing my tits off, ibuprofen, and cabbage leaves. The next day, things were much better. Thankfully. That is some horrible, unexpected pain!

Henry was 8lbs 5oz at birth (Wednesday). When we left the hospital (Friday), he was 7lbs 14oz. At his first checkup on Tuesday, he was 7lbs 15oz. One week later at his two-week checkup, he was 8lbs 7oz. And I believe he has been steadily climbing since. His one-month checkup is this coming Tuesday, and I'm so excited to see how much he weighs!

I've also started pumping a bit. I was so intimidated of my pump at first, but it's much easier than I thought it would be. The most annoying thing about it is washing the parts, but that's unavoidable. I've started a freezer stash, and so far have 12 whole ounces in there! I have about ten ounces in the fridge as well, which will allow me to run to Target in a bit.


Well, sleep has been a bit elusive. I was hardly sleeping in the first week or so that Henry was home. Buster had to yell at me (literally) and force me to sleep. It's so hard to remember to take care of yourself in those early days.

One thing that makes sleep difficult for me is that I'm not a napper. I never have been. It is so hard for me to sleep when it's daylight. I'm some kind of reverse vampire, apparently.

Because Buster was so intent on me getting sleep, we have gotten ourselves into some weird kind of schedule: we take shifts. Buster loves naps, so he usually takes one in the late evening (anywhere between 5-9pm). Then, he gets up. And I go to sleep in the bed, while he stays in the living room with Henry (where the swing and the Rock N Play are, Henry's favorite sleep spots). So I'll sleep until Henry is ready to eat, and then come out to the living room and nurse. I then pass Henry back off to Buster for burping/diapering, and I return to the bedroom. This goes on until about 4am, when Buster and I switch. I come out to the living room, and Buster goes to sleep until about 10:30 am.

It's not ideal. Buster and I haven't slept in the same bed at the same time for over a month. And that's pretty brutal. But when we did try (in the beginning), it was too soon for me. I found myself staring at Henry, making sure he was breathing, while he slept in the co-sleeper beside the bed. No rest could be had for me. So that's why we went with shift work.

I think I am finally comfortable enough with Henry sleeping to try the bedroom routine again. We just haven't gotten around to it. Hopefully soon, because I'd love to cuddle a little with my husband!

As far as Henry's sleep... well for the first time ever, he slept for four straight hours last night. Before that, his longest stretches were 3ish hours. Honestly, it would be nice if he slept longer, but I'm not that worried about it. Maybe I should be, and maybe I will be, but right now I just feed on demand and go with the flow. I think when I return to work (in 4-6 weeks...not sure exactly when yet) I'll be more concerned with him sleeping longer stretches at night, but for now I don't mind getting up to nurse. Plus, my boobs refuse to let me go longer than 3 1/2 hours anyway.

Post-partum Issues

If you recall from my birth story, I tore a little and was cut a little, and required three stitches. I (obviously) have not had my 6-month checkup yet, but I think that things are going well down there. I'm not having any pain, so I like to think things are right on track as far as healing.

I'm still spotting a little, but it's really few and far between.

Emotionally, I've been feeling pretty great. There are fleeting moments when I'm super tired that I feel overly emotional and cranky, but that can be easily remedied with sleep. Buster has been such a huge help around here, and I think that's really played a part in keeping me sane.

Weight Loss

As a reminder, I gained 60lbs during my pregnancy. And when I got pregnant, I was 20lbs heavier than my ideal weight. So far, I have lost 32 of the 60lbs gained during pregnancy. I'm not eating incredibly well (pretty much just eating whatever, whenever I have time), and no exercise yet. After my 6-week appointment, I hope to start exercising. I'd like to start back up with my 30-Day Shred since it's only a 30-minute workout. But we'll see.

My goal is to be back down to my pre-pregnancy weight by July, as we will be heading to the beach then. And if I just so happened to be down to my pre-IVF weight, well that would just be icing on the (low-fat) cake.

Here is a comparison pic of pregnancy vs 3 weeks post-partum:

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Here are some photos of Henry from his first month of life:

4 days old!
5 days old

milk coma! 8 days old.

8 days old - cheeky monkey!

9 days old - Kelsey checking on her little brother.

9 days old - from his newborn photos 

9 days old - sleepy after his photo shoot!
11 days old

19 days old

4 weeks old - sweet dreams!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Henry's birth story, part four: the arrival

(Please note: there are birth photos in this post, including some of Henry with some gunk on him. You have been warned! And check out parts one, two and three, if you haven't already.)

Getting to my own room was quite a relief. However, by this time, I barely knew where I was. The contractions were close together and so, so painful. It was all I could do to get through them!

After getting set up in my bed, hooked up the blood pressure cuff and the stupid NST monitors (I say stupid because, well, they became ridiculously annoying as my contractions increased in intensity and became closer together. My stomach would tighten up to an inconceivable point, and the straps for the monitors seemed to make each contraction worse.), my nurse decided to check me again. It was about 12:10 p.m. And I was dilated to 8cm.

I looked at my nurse and said, "It's too late for an epidural, isn't it?"

For the life of me, I cannot recall how she responded.

Soon after I got in my room, my mom came in to check on me. She stayed for a few minutes, but during my next contraction she headed back out to the waiting room (which was fine by me!! She stresses me out a bit...). My friend and photographer had also arrived by this time, and she was posted up by the entrance to the room.

I continued laboring in bed, hooked up to the NST monitors, for the next twenty minutes.

So that's why the rails are there... for gripping the shit out of.
During that time, my nurse hooked another bag of something up to me. I didn't know until after she had it going that it was Fentanyl. My doctor came in at that point as well, and told me that it would help to relax me during contractions, but wouldn't help with the pain of contractions. That seems useless, right? But apparently my doc thought I was tensing up too much during contractions, and wanted to try to get me to relax somehow.

The Fentanyl made me sleepy in between contractions. I would shut my eyes, and then open them to Buster saying, "Keep your eyes open! Focus on me." I did not understand for the life of me why I couldn't shut my eyes in between contractions! I got a little mad at him, but there wasn't much time to be upset. I think it freaked him out when I shut my eyes. I guess he wanted me to focus on the task at hand.

At 12:30 p.m., I told my nurse that I needed to push. She decided to check me again, and all that remained of my cervix was a little lip. She wanted me to do a practice push on my next contraction to see how much of baby she could feel. My very first push was probably pretty weak, honestly. I had no idea what I was doing. My nurse just kept repeating, "Push like you are having a bowel movement," and I did my best. But, the push did the trick, and she could feel Henry's head. It was go time, and she went to get the doctor.

See the stupid NST monitor strap?? The bane of my existence.

My doctor came in, and on the next contraction we did another practice push (and being such a noob, I didn't realize this was how it worked. I thought when you got to the pushing portion of labor, you just pushed like hell until baby came out. I didn't realize you only pushed on contractions. Like I said, I was a noob!). My doctor was amazing, by the way. He was so nonchalant and laid back, but also comforting. I don't think he was expecting me to really be ready to push at this point. But after my first practice push with him, I think he realized that baby Henry wasn't messing around, and was ready to make his arrival. It was now 12:40 p.m.

After one more push, I motioned to my photographer friend to head back behind my bed (she had mentioned to me earlier that she wanted to be back there before Henry was born, as she liked that angle). I thought if she waited much longer, she might miss her opportunity!

I continued pushing during contractions, while my doctor became incredibly focused on me pushing for a longer length of time that what I was currently doing. He wanted me to push until he counted to ten...I had only been getting to about count three or four. So he started counting to ten on each push, and that was so incredibly helpful. Without that, I probably would have been pushing for days! But he was able to get me pushing for longer than I thought I could.

And let me just say right here how amazing my husband was through all of this. By the time I was pushing, I was no longer grabbing and squeezing his hand (I had moved on to white-knuckling the rails on the bed). So during each push, Buster would lean down and tell me how great I was doing, and how proud of me he was. And he would encourage me to keep pushing to ten. It was really just what I needed. Pushing is really hard work, and having him tell me how proud of me he was gave me extra strength.

At one point during one contraction and pushing session, my doctor noticed how tight my belly was getting and how the stupid NST monitor was cutting into me, and told the nurse to remove it. I could have kissed him.

A couple times, I had to stop pushing before I got to ten. I just ran out of breath and energy. During one hellacious push, my doctor had Buster walk around and look to see his son's head. My doctor's motivation was that Buster would then be able to get me to push a bit harder.

My doctor showing me how much of Henry's head he can see. I responded with, "That's all??"
As you can see from the above photo, the doctor showed me how much of Henry's head he saw on that last push. And you can also see the one nurse holding my foot. My other foot was on my doctor's side, like so:

My doc had me grab the inside of my thighs during pushes, so that I could really bear down. Once I started doing that, things moved more quickly. After Buster saw Henry's head (and all that hair!!), a new, reinvigorated look was on his face... he was so excited to meet his son!

Two minutes and one brutally intense push later, I felt my son being expelled from my body. The time was 1:15 p.m.

Henry's first seconds on this earth.

Henry giving a good cry... it's cold out here!

What an amazing moment. I think I was in shock. Buster cried almost instantly (you can see in the above photo that his jaw is locked... that's a tell-tale sign he's about to shed a tear!), but all I could do was to smile and look at my baby boy in awe.

My doctor used the aspirator to get the gunk out of his nose and mouth, and set him on my chest with the umbilical cord still attached (per my request... delayed cord clamping, remember?!).

After about three minutes, Buster cut the cord. And not long after, my mom popped her head in (which she also did during one of my pushing sessions... I frantically waved her out of the room), and came in to meet her first grandchild.

Grandma meeting her first grandchild!
Proud daddy saying hi to his son.

Henry actually latched on and breastfed for a few minutes! I had about 25 minutes of skin-to-skin with Henry before they even weighed him.

Henry weighed in at 8lbs 5oz, and was 20" long.
Buster holding his baby boy for the first time.


I pushed for 35 minutes. The nurses and my doctor were pretty astounded that everything went so quickly, especially considering I was a first-time mom. My nurse told me I was "the talk of the floor". That pretty much made me feel like a rockstar. And not to mention there were other ladies on the floor who had been laboring for two days!

From start to finish, my labor lasted about twelve hours (from first real contractions to Henry's arrival). I feel pretty lucky that my labor and delivery went so well, especially considering my mild pre-eclampsia and blood pressure issues at the end of my pregnancy.

I did tear a little, and my doctor ended up cutting me a little. He said that Henry's heart rate was dropping on some of those last pushes, and he just wanted to help him along. But I only required two or three stitches, and he classified it as a second-degree tear.

Overall, my birth experience was very different than I envisioned. And even though it didn't start out so great,  the most intense part of labor was actually a really great experience. My doctor was amazing, as were my nurses. And I'm proud of myself for doing it without an epidural (even though I was begging for one...).

Experiencing such an amazing life-event with Buster right by my side was incredible. There were moments (days, months, years) over the past five years that I didn't think I'd ever be a mom, and to finally experience it... well there aren't any words. I've used them all up.

I'm just so in love.

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