Thursday, January 24, 2013

5 weeks old

Yesterday, Charlotte turned 5 weeks old. 

This past week has just flown by.  We've been in a routine with the girls.  I get in the shower by 7:30, get Kaitlyn up by 7:45, get the little ones dressed, argue with Kaitlyn every 5 minutes to hurry up, stop playing around, get dressed, put on shoes that match and to brush her hair again.  We're out the door by 8:45 (hopefully) and get Kaitlyn to school.  We come home, clean the house, eat throughout the day, do diaper changes throughout the day and before we know it, we load up into the car to get Kaitlyn from school.  It's hard to keep Samantha awake, but Charlotte stays wide awake.  We come home, have homework time, snacks and then dinner, bedtime routines and bedtime.

Dusty and I have been watching Shameless and Party Down on Demand at night.  Which makes going to bed early even harder.

Charlotte is growing.  I should have weighed her after her bath last night.  But I didn't.  I also haven't measured her length.  I do know she is getting a double chin.  I have also noticed her little feet actually stay in the foot part of her jammies now.

She is so strong! She does pretty good for tummy time.  I lay her down flat on her belly and she adjusts her arms to raise herself up.  She will stay up for a minute or two and then roll from her tummy to her back.

This is right before she rolls.

Of course, our 10-15 minutes of tummy time is interrupted with a lot of spit-up cleaning, lots of Samantha wanting to be involved, lots of me asking Samantha to please keep her feet to herself and out of Charlotte's face.

Charlotte is turning into a great sleeper.  About half the time, I can lay her down awake, but sleepy, and she will go to sleep on her own.  Samantha only recently started doing this and Kaitlyn was about 8-10 months old before she did it as often.  Normally, she wakes up every 2 hours or so to eat during the day.  Sometimes, more frequently.  She stays awake now after most feedings.  She has one nap during the day that is 3-4 hours long and most nights she goes to sleep around 10:30 and wakes up at 3:30.  She nurses, stays up for about an hour and then sleeps until about 7:30 or 8.

Her eyes are still blue.  Her hair is still there, though it is thinning in the front.  It's pretty dark on top but a lot of shimmery gold underneath.  She still has baby acne that gets worse if she's too warm or upset.  Her eyelashes are so light in color but so incredibly long.  The tips touch her eyebrows when her eyes are open.

Things have been busy.  Kaitlyn has been practicing for the chorus for the school's talent show.  Her school's computer lab caught on fire yesterday.  Samantha has been practicing her theater voice, that kid's voice carries, I'm impressed Charlotte sleeps through it.  Kaitlyn received a great progress report from school yesterday.  Things have been busy and we are really looking forward to our upcoming trip to Disney!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Charlotte Grace - 1 month old

This snuggly and cuddly little baby is already a month old.

It amazes me not only that a month has gone by, but that a month ago we only knew her as the baby growing in my belly.  I can't imagine our lives without her, yet a year ago, she didn't exist in any shape way or form.  I find that astonishing.

To say she likes to dig into your chest and snuggle would be an understatement.  I honestly think she would spend all day like that if we let her.  And if it wasn't for needing to shower, eat and care for 2 others, I could easily do it.

She has a lot more time during the day where she is alert, awake and calm.  Our day has been starting at about 7:30.  I nurse her and lay her back down to get in the shower.  I'm out at 8, Kaitlyn gets dressed and I get Samantha dressed and ready.

By 8:45, we have to be in the car to take Kaitlyn to school.  As soon as we get back, Charlotte wants to eat.  During the day, she eats every 2 hours (from start of one feed to start of the next), she poops before each feeding, and naps between a lot of the feeds.  She does take 1 3-4 hour nap a day, starting about 11.  In between, Samantha eats, gets changed, plays and so on.

We haven't picked up Kaitlyn yet from school.  When Charlotte was born, he took 2 weeks off and then 2 weeks of part time.  During the part time (which ended on Thursday), he could take her to school and pick her up.  On Thursdays and Fridays, she has Talent Show Practice at school until 5.  So, on those days, Dusty can still pick her up.  Tuesday will be our first "back to reality" day where I take her and pick her up.

At about 10:30 or 11, I give up for the day.  I get me and Charlotte ready for bed.  She is amazing at night.  Most nights, she sleeps from 11 until 3:30, has a diaper change, nurses and then goes back into the bassinet next to the bed by 4:00 and stays there until 7:30.  I have absolutely no complaints in her night time sleep patterns.  Of course, she is a really shallow breather, so I spend more time than I should obsessing over whether or not she is breathing, but that's my issue.

Today, Miss Charlotte Grace is 1 month old.  I weigh her at 9 lbs and 10 oz.  She's outgrown all of her newborn clothes.  She hates getting into her car seat but does awesome once it moves.  She loves her paci.  She has incredibly long toes and startles easily.  She sleeps through loud noises and "pets" from Samantha.  She likes to be wrapped from the waist down in a blanket.  She hates being swaddled.  She loves baths.  She laughs in her sleep.  She is super gassy.  She is usually pretty calm, but hates having a wet or dirty diaper.  She's a good nurser and acts like she's always hungry.  Her hair is already falling out.  Her eyes are still blue.  11 more months until her first birthday!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mourning the Loss of a Child

I get it, Ricki Lake thinks that because she had a part with the successful Independent film "The Business of Being Born" she is now an expert on all things baby and child related.  Unfortunately, her show proves otherwise.  After recently receiving backlash for a show she did on infertility, she did a show on mourning the loss of a child.  Something she has not experienced.  Not only did she not speak from personal experience, she made absolutely no effort to learn anything about the experience, other than to have a doctor on the show who did nothing to help a grieving family.  A doctor who is best known for his work on Diet Rehab.  Because dieting and child loss are so similar.  Not.

Rikki Lake Mourning the Loss of a Child

The above link will show you the segment they did.  Ricki was concerned because after 5 months, the couple was still saddened by the loss of their child shortly after birth.  She was concerned that they were visibly sad and their 4 year old daughter was able to see them being sad after 5 whole months had already passed.  The doctor explained that they should "fake it til they make it" and put on that big happy face for the world and their daughter to see.  Ricki expressed that she felt it was unacceptable that they relieved their child's death every day.

We have had a 4 year old.  We had a nearly 3 year old who lost her baby brother.  I can assure you, we were still visibly sad at 5 months.  There are times we are still visibly sad, 5 years later.  There are days that she is still saddened by his loss.  It was her brother, it was a baby she loved and cared for.  A 3 year old can comprehend that.  They may not understand death and loss on the same level as an adult, but they do get it on their level.

We cried in front of Kaitlyn, we were honest with her, we never faked any emotion around her, we explained that it was ok for her to be sad, for her to be happy, for her to live her life, for her to miss him and for her to talk to him.  She's 8 now.  A dramatic diva, a well balanced child who aspires to be a pop star or a chef at Taco Bell during the summers she's not teaching.

Just a couple of short generations ago, parents were encouraged to get over it immediately.  They were never shown their stillborn babies.  They never got to see what their sweet faces looked like.  They never got to wrap their little one's fingers around theirs.  They never had the opportunity to feel the weight of that baby in their arms, to keep a lock of their hair, to dress them, to have proper services for them or to grieve in public.  Miscarriages were never spoken of.  No one ever talked to those mothers or fathers about what they were going through.  You just got over it.

We are a society so quick to blame the desensitizing of our youth on violent movies or video games.  We argue that children do not understand the permanence or effect death has on family and friends.  Yet, we are expected to quickly get over the loss of a child that we created, the most innocent of lives gone.  Only 5 months later, we should not be showing that sadness to the world or our surviving children.  We should be strong.  We should move on.  We should look for that silver lining at all times. 

What does that teach our children?  What effect does that have on showing our children that each and every life is important and treasured?  How does that teach our children how very important our family is to us?

Ricki Lake has two children.  Two living sons.  Do you know what the difference between her living sons and our deceased son is?  (Aside from the quantity part)  They are living and ours is not.  That's it.  Just because Matthew died does not mean he is any less our son or any less a part of our family.  He is thought of each and every single day.  He is missed every day.  When we hold our children, we miss out on holding him.  There are times you can see a part of him in them, especially in Charlotte.  Him dying does not make his life any less important than the life of the child of anyone else.  We love him just as much, we care for him just the same.

Ricki Lake, I hope that you realize what a disservice you have done to all those parents who continue to grieve the loss of their child.  I wish you would have put forth the tiniest of effort to do any research prior to your show and actually educated society on the reality of losing a child.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Kaitlyn was born a good sleeper. We co-slept and bed shared until she was 7 months old.  We did "cry it out" for a couple nights and then she was sleeping through the night in her own crib.  From that time she would easily sleep 12 hours a night.  When she was tired through toddlerhood, she would just find a place and go to sleep.  As a preschooler, she would ask to go to bed as soon as she was a little tired.  Even now, she goes to bed at 8:30, is asleep by 9 and gets up at 8.  She's a great sleeper.

Matthew was not a good sleeper.  He liked to be held.  Or sleep on his tummy.  He had bad NICU habits.  At home, the only time he slept on his tummy is if he was on our chest, laying back.  He had to be swaddled, and even so he was still up every couple of hours to eat.  But, he was a preemie, spent the first 4 weeks in the NICU and another few days in the PICU a few weeks before he passed away, at that time his adjusted age was only 3 weeks, so it's hard to know what his sleep habits would have been.

Samantha is a horrible sleeper.  HORRIBLE.  From birth.  She did not want to go to sleep.  She still doesn't want to go to sleep.  She hates the mattresses on bassinets and pack and plays.  She likes to have her special blankets, she likes to have her special pillow.  She needs to be really tired and ignored to go to sleep.  Even at night, she doesn't always fall asleep in the car.  She will stay awake until she can literally not keep her eyes open.  Which means, she has, on multiple occasions, fallen asleep at the table eating.  Samantha's saving grace is that she is a deep sleeper.  If she's asleep you can change her diaper, change her clothes, wash her face, paint her nails and nothing will wake her up.  Her current sleep habits have been to stay up until 4 in the morning, sleep until noon- despite doing everything we can to wake her, crashing at 6:30 or so in the evening, waking up at 11 and then wanting to play until 4.

It's bad.  I can't stand it.  I am a morning person.  I do not like "wasting" the early part of the day away.  We had to "fix" her habits.  So, the past few mornings, I've worked to get her up before 9:30.  This may or may not have meant I bribed her awake with a candy cane or lollipop.  Then, naps are not allowed.  It's too hard to wake her up from them, and even if she manages to take a short one, it acts like a 5 hour energy on her.

Wednesday night, she finally went to sleep at 10 and woke up the next morning at 9:30.  Yesterday, it was so rough to get her to stay awake through the day and early evening hours.  It is probably what encouraged her to take a blue marker and turn half of Kaitlyn's one "free" wall, the carpet, hall way wall, her mini wagon, her toy box, her baby high chair, her mouth, belly, feet and hands into art projects.  But, she was in bed, sound asleep at 9:30!!  AND slept through the entire night.  Waking up at 8:15 this morning.  We're getting there!

My goal is to get her in bed by 8:30 and awake by 7:15, then she can easily be dressed before we take Kaitlyn to school in the mornings!  Hopefully we get to that goal before I start driving Kaitlyn to school at the end of next week!

My main concern right now is that she is a terrible adjuster, anything that changes in her schedule could be disastrous.  So, we'll see what a trip to Disneyland does next month!

Charlotte is a pretty darn good sleeper.  Her routine is usually spending a good chunk of the day nursing every hour and 45 minutes.  In the mid afternoon (lately between 11 and 3) she takes a 4 hour nap!  She has been doing one stretch the last few days where she is up for about an hour and a half after that nap.  Then, she does one long stretch of sleep at night (3-4 hours most nights) followed by one mini long stretch (2-3 hours) before going back to the idea of nursing every hour and 45 minutes.  Last night, she did a nearly 6 hour stretch and a 3 hour stretch.  I am not complaining and only hoping that she's going to adopt Kaitlyn's sleep habits!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

3 weeks old

Today, Charlotte is 3 weeks old.  I'm 3 weeks post-op.  Kaitlyn is back to school.  Samantha is growing like crazy. We're starting to get back to normal.

Isn't it amazing how someone can only be alive for 3 weeks, but you can't quite remember life without them?  Charlotte has fit in with our family just perfectly.  She's pretty darned laid back and incredibly loved and spoiled.

I don't know Charlotte's weight for sure.  Or her length, but it's pretty obvious she's growing.  Her face has fattened up a bit and the newborn clothes are just too short.  Her feet though are still pretty darn tiny, with her toes nice and long, just like a little monkey.

She has found her routine.  It's pretty simple and typical for a newborn.  Diaper change, nurse, sleep, wait an hour and 45 minutes and repeat.  At night, she's much more generous with the time between diaper changes.  The longest she's gone is nearly 5 hours, but it's much more typical for her to do 2- 3 to 4 hour stretches before getting up.  While I am looking forward to those beautiful 8-12 stretches, I can't complain.  She's a far better sleeper than Samantha is.

Samantha has developed an interesting sleep pattern.  Basically, stay up until 4 in the morning for one reason or another, strip naked numerous times in that period, throw diapers over the baby gate keeping her from escaping her room and then sleep until noon despite how much I do to try and wake her.  I could literally put her in the bathtub and she will not wake up.  I've tried.  The past couple of days, I've been able to get her up at 8.  And while I can keep her from napping during the day, no matter what I do, at 6, she's passed out cold.  Only to wake up at 11, stay up until 4 and then be grumpy.

We're working on it.  I think that if I can get her up early one day, keep her awake until like 8-9, then put her in bed, then repeat for a week, we might be able to get a better routine.  That, or we will have to accept that she is just a night owl...

Samantha absolutely adores Charlotte.  She keeps going up to her and saying "awww, cute little baby."  Then, she puts her arms out and says mine.  She gets angry that I don't just hand her over and let her carry her through the house.  It means I'm terrified to leave them alone lol. 

With Charlotte at home, Samantha's head looks even more gigantic than ever before.  She has been the one with the biggest head, that's for sure!

Charlotte finally lost her umbilical cord on Monday, which meant last night she got her first bath.  She was so calm and serene through it.  The part about getting dried off and dressed, not as much.

Time is going by so darn quickly.  Before I know it, she'll be right next to Samantha stealing the top piece of bread off of my sandwich. 

My 2 week post-op appointment was yesterday.  I'm down 22 lbs of the 42 I gained so far.  Not too shabby for doing absolutely nothing but sitting on my butt most of the time and eating whatever I want.  Dusty said it's pretty easy to do though when in a matter of seconds you're nearly 9 lbs down.  But still.  ;)

My incision is healing really nicely.  I thought my last scar was an improvement, but this scar is amazing.  It's so low, there is nothing I could possibly consider wearing in public that would allow the incision site to be seen.  Even so, it's already pretty darn thin and hard to see.  My doctor thinks I will be bikini ready by the summer.  While I'm not so sure about that, it's still nice to hear.  I go back in another month for my big 6 week check up!

Kaitlyn went back to school yesterday.  I think it might take her a little bit to adjust to getting up and getting ready in the morning.  And doing homework instead of playing.  And going to bed at a decent hour.  Tomorrow, she has try outs for the school talent show.  She really wants to sing, so here's hoping she does well and makes it.  Parents are not allowed at auditions, so we won't really know much until the schedule is out.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2 weeks old and Happy New Year!

Yesterday, Charlotte turned 2 weeks old.  Wednesday morning, she had her 2 week check-up to make sure she's gaining weight and growing appropriately.  On Christmas Eve she was up to 8 lbs, down from her 8 lb 10 oz birth weight, and was 21" long, up from her 20" birth length 5 days prior.

Yesterday morning Charlotte was up to 8 lbs 9 oz.  Which is awesome.  She's also gained another 1/2" in her length, bringing her to 21 1/2".  She's a growing for sure!  And her eyes are so blue.  I think they are even bluer than Kaitlyn's were at this age.  They photograph dark still, but in person they are just bright and getting brighter through the day.  With how light her eyebrows and eye lashes are, I think she'll end up a blondy like Kaitlyn.  But, there are times she looks so much like Matthew in the face.

Samantha went in with me for a sick visit.  For the last few days, or nights rather, she's had an awful cough.  Only at night, without any other symptoms, and severe enough to keep her up until 4 AM.  Basically, we're not sure if it's asthma or a cold.  We're going to keep monitoring her and see how the cough goes.  We have her inhaler still that we can give her before bed, and some samples of all natural honey cough "medicine."

Charlotte's announcements (which are different from the photo shown above) are being printed as we speak and should hopefully be sent out by early next week.  If you'd like to receive one (and didn't receive a Christmas card) please be sure to send me an email with your current address:

2012, has most years, was filled with highs and lows.  We have been blessed to have had so many highs.  Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2013.