6 Months and Big Changes

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Almost as big as his fox!

6 Months – August 2, 2017

Weight: 16lbs

Height: About 27 inches (pediatrician appointment is Monday)

Hair: Super blonde

Eyes: Blue with some honey color in the middle

Clothes: 6 month

Diapers: We do a mix of cloth and disposables

Sleeping:  We hit a bit of a rough patch last week, but seem to have gotten over it.  Bradley usually wakes up half an hour to an hour after going to sleep, falls right back to sleep as soon as I nurse him, then sleeps a nice long chunk of time.  The other night he slept for 9 straight hours, but last night he woke up once in the middle of 11 hours.  He likes to sleep on his side and has started rolling to his belly to sleep.

Likes:  Watching cars go by, butterflies, bath time, silly noises, banging on things, trying food, sitting up, being carried, playing peek-a-boo, looking in the mirror

Dislikes: being left to play on his own for more than a couple minutes

Eating: Nursing roughly every 2 hours (sometimes more often if a nap falls in the middle). He started trying solids this weekend! We started with avocado (he wasn’t a fan) and had peas today.  He liked the peas!  I’ve decided to make his food and it is so easy with the baby bullet.  I like knowing exactly what he is eating and saving money!

Milestones: Sitting up on his own! He still falls over so we sit behind him, but he’s doing really well with it. Eating solids, tracking moving objects really well, jumping in his jumper

I absolutely cannot believe that Bradley is 6 months old already.  Halfway to a year. The past 6 months have absolutely flown by and have continued to just get better and better.  Bradley is such a happy little guy.  He’s easy going, smiles a ton, and definitely has a sense of humor; he laughs when we’re being silly and he does things that he knows are silly.  I love spending my days with him.  Which brings us to a big change:  I got a job.  I’ll be working as a part time office assistant in the Little Silver Boro office.  It’s only 4 hours a day, 5 days a week and my mom will be watching Bradley Monday-Thursday (Conrad is off on Fridays).  I’m a nervous wreck over this.  I was planning on looking for a job in the fall, but this job came about, so I applied, interviewed, and got it.  I don’t want to leave Bradley yet.  I know I can trust my mom to take care of him, but I’m worried about how he’s going to adjust.  I currently nurse him to sleep for his naps and he sleeps in my arms.  He hasn’t had a bottle since he was about 2 months old and it was a struggle.  I’m torn between having him learn a bottle or just moving to a sippy cup at this point, but either way is not going to be relaxing for him to fall asleep with (when he was brand new and we had to supplement with a bottle of breastmilk, it always made him wake up more).  I really really love being a stay at home mom, but I know that getting a job right now is important.  It isn’t a ton of income, but Conrad and I would like to start looking for a house next summer and know that my income will at least help us get a decent mortgage (WHY is NJ, especially Monmouth County, so expensive?!).  I keep telling myself that I’m doing this for Bradley, so we can buy a nice house for him to grow up in.  Once we have a second child, I will probably stay home again if we can swing it, since childcare for 2 children will be too expensive.

The other big change around here is that Bradley started solids! We started a few days before 6 months, on Sunday, since Conrad wanted to be home for it.  We started with avocado mashed up and thinned out with breastmilk.  Bradley’s face made it clear that he did not like it! He gladly took the spoon, but spit out the avocado.  I only gave him a few tastes since I didn’t want to torture the poor boy.  He had the same reaction the next day.  On Tuesday (day 3), I put a small chunk of frozen avocado in a silicone feeder and he seemed to like it a little more.  I think this was a result of the cold feeling good on his gums (no sign of teeth yet but LOTS of teething) and the fact that super cold things have a duller flavor.

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What is this stuff?
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Eww, do I have to eat this?!
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It’s nice and cold, but it tastes weird!

Today Bradley tried pureed peas mixed with breastmilk.  He loved them and kept looking for more! His face definitely has a confused look, but that’s due to the consistency of something thicker than milk.  He ate most of the little bowl I made for him and then I stopped because I didn’t want to overload his little belly.  Tomorrow I’ll probably feed it all to him if he wants it.

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Ooo more food to try?
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Hmm, not bad
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I want to help
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This feels weird

Making and feeding Bradley solid food is already so fun.  I love seeing his reactions and feeling proud of how well he’s doing with it.  This also means that he’s no longer exclusively breastfed.  He will continue to get all of his nutrition from nursing until he’s a year old, but from here on out, he’ll start eating something new every few days and learning all different tastes and textures.  It’s bittersweet for me.  I love the fact that my body has been able to provide our baby with all of the nutrition he’s needed from the minute he was born.  In fact, I’m in awe.  My body didn’t work the right way to conceive him, but once I got pregnant, it started to work.  I had a great pregnancy but still worried I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed.  It was so important to me to be able to nurse my baby to give him the best nutrition possible and to feel that bond between mother and child. The beginning was rough with his tongue and lip ties, silent reflux, my Raynaud’s, and mastitis.  But we made it through and I’m so proud of us both.  Because of everything we went through to have Bradley, being able to nurse him has meant so much more to me. The bond we have while nursing is amazing and I just love watching how sweet he is. So why is this bittersweet? I’m thrilled that he’s growing so well, learning so much, and thriving, but I’m sad that he’s growing up so fast!  I didn’t think 6 months could go by so quickly.

I look forward to watching our sweet boy grow up, but for now I’m going to savor every single minute of him being a snuggly baby.

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Snuggles with my boy
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Feeling foxy today
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Sitting up on his own!
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Watching golf on TV
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Sporting his new monogrammed hat from Nonna, that just happened to match his outfit perfectly!

5 Months with our Bradley Bear

5 Months – July 2, 2017

Weight: 15lbs 3oz (just under 50%)

Height: 26.5 inches (75%)

Hair: He’s a blondie!

Eyes: Blue with some honey color in the middle

Clothes: 6 month

Diapers: We’re in cloth! Bradley easily goes for 2 hours in a cloth diaper without feeling wet, as opposed to instantly feeling it and wanting to be changed while wearing a disposable.  Nighttime is still disposables because they’re easier to change in the dark.  He’s size 2 in those.

Sleeping:  I don’t want to jinx anything, but we’ve been having some great sleep!  Sunday night he slept for almost 10 hours without waking up!  Last night he slept for 12 hours with just 1 wake up.  Woohoo! About an hour and 15 minutes after waking, he takes a nap and then I try for a nap every 1.5-2 hours.  He gets 3-4 naps a day that vary in length depending on where he’s sleeping (car, stroller, my arms, or crib). They range from 30 minutes to 2 hours (in my arms).  Bed is between 8 and 8:30.

Likes:  Kisses on his cheeks, marching/dancing while being held, when I “throw” him in the air (don’t worry, he doesn’t even leave my hands!), banging things on his highchair, chewing his (and other people’s) fingers, his new ball, watching and petting Pepper, looking at the world around him, grabbing hair, playing peek-a-boo

Dislikes: My parents’ pool (hopefully he’ll like it by the end of summer!), not being able to reach Pepper

Eating: Every 2 hours during the day for 5-10 minutes total

Milestones: Looking when his name is called, focusing on things, lots of talking with consonants and vowels, eating his toes, lasting longer with whatever activity he’s doing, pulling his bottom lip in like an old man, sleeping better, rolling to his side for sleep, getting things to his mouth easily, scooting to a laying down position from sitting against something

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Mama and Bradley matching
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Cutie pie
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After nap sleepy snuggles with Daddy
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Old man lips sucked in
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Hanging with Uncle Devin
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5 Months already?!
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Love how they’re looking at each other
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“Let me pet you!”
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Bradley’s first 4th of July; Our shorts together make a flag!

 

4 Months of Bradley

4 Months – June 2, 2017

Weight: 14lbs 8oz (just over 25% judging by my own reading of the chart; pediatrician appointment is on Monday)

Height: 25.5 inches (almost 75%)

Hair: Strawberry blonde and definitely growing in more

Eyes: Blue/grey with some honey color in the middle

Clothes: 3-6 and 6 month

Diapers: Size 2. We tried on his first 2 cloth diapers the other day. Time to hook up the sprayer before I need to clean a dirty diaper. We’ll start using them more frequently once that’s hooked up.

Sleeping:  He goes to bed between 7:30-8:30 most nights. For a couple weeks he was having a very rough time with falling asleep (or rather staying asleep when we’d put him in his crib) and was waking up every 2 hours. I believe it was a growth spurt combined with sleep regression. Once he hit 16 weeks, he started sleeping better again. The other night he slept for an 8 hour stretch!  That was a fluke though and he’s since been getting, on average, 5, 3, and 2-3 hour stretches, equaling about 11 hours every night.  He still eats whenever he wakes up.  About an hour and a half after waking, he takes a 45-60 minute nap and then I try for a nap every 2 hours.  He’s still not good at napping in the afternoons.   We’re going to start lightly sleep training him with methods we found that do not include letting him cry it out.

Likes:  Kisses on his cheeks, when we smile at and talk to him, talking/yelling to us, taking a bath and trying to grab the water coming out of the faucet, standing/bouncing with our help, looking at the world around him, when we sing to him, swatting at/grabbing the toys on his playmat

Dislikes: Getting out of the bath, naps

Eating: Every 2-3 hours during the day for 5-10 minutes total

Milestones: Lots of talking to us and smiling all the time, raspberries, holding his head up really well, reaching for and touching/grabbing everything in sight, starting to laugh, touching his toes, petting Pepper. He rolled over from back to belly a couple times last week but hasn’t attempted to since.

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Such a happy baby!
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Look how long I am!
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Oh, Hey Pepper
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I cannot get enough of this face
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Such a cutie
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Matching Daddy!
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Checking out his first cloth diaper
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Hanging with Pop
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My little couch potato trying to watch the news

Bradley’s 3 Month Update

3 Months – May 2, 2017

Weight: 13lbs 5oz (50th %)

Height: 24.5 inches (75th %)

Hair: Strawberry blonde, especially his eyelashes.  It’s coming in more on top and a little thicker in back

Eyes: Dark blue/gray

Clothes: 0-3 months, 3 months, but no feet!  3-6 month footy outfits fit perfectly (only reason I’m ok with cooler weather the next few days; I have a bunch of cute outfits I thought he wouldn’t get to wear!)

Diapers: Size 1 still, but starting to get smaller.  We’ll move on to 2s when we run out

Sleeping:  We got on an earlier schedule, thank goodness!  He goes to bed between 8:30-9, sleeps until 3ish, gets a new diaper and eats, then back to sleep for another 5-6 hours.  Depending on how much sleep he got, he might go back for another hour or 2, but if not, he takes a roughly 45 minute nap an hour and a half after waking up.  Still working on longer naps though; this boy doesn’t want to miss anything! He’s the king the kitten naps (too short to be cat naps)

Likes:  When we smile at and talk to him, talking/yelling to us, eating, taking a bath, standing/bouncing with our help, bouncing on the yoga ball, walks in his stroller with the actual stroller seat and not his car seat

Dislikes: Getting out of the bath, being hot, staying in one spot for too long, naps

Eating: Every 2-3 hours during the day, but the major part is that he only eats for about 10 minutes total now!  I’ve gained HOURS back to my days.  So happy we got his tongue and lip ties fixed…he eats like a champ now

Milestones: Lots of talking to us and smiling all the time! Holding his head up really well, reaching for some objects, looking at everything around him

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My happy boys
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Check out those eyes and lashes  ::swoon::
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Hugging his froggy (he did this himself)

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National Infertility Awareness Week

Two years ago, Conrad and I were “trying” on our own with temperature charting, as advised by my first fertility specialist.  That didn’t work.  One year ago, I was taking Estradiol in preparation for an embryo transfer that would happen mid-May.  Today, my 12 week old baby is happily cooing in his swing behind me.  What a difference a year or two can make.  National Infertility Awareness Week: a week where many women decide to come out with their story of suffering through infertility.  But many women remain silent, as they are embarrassed or ashamed by their issue.  A year ago in February, I decided to go public with our infertility struggle on my blog, which I had been writing in Microsoft Word for a couple of months, just for my own benefit of remembering everything.  Writing became cathartic as I put my feelings into written words.  Going public was so relieving and brought so much support that I never expected.  It informed my readers how much is really involved in fertility treatments.  It also brought forth more people than I hoped that were going through the same journey and hadn’t told anyone; for some I gave them courage to tell others, and for some I gave them hope.  For all, I sent up some prayers that we would all be successful in creating and growing our families, for this is not a club anyone wants to be a part of.

Infertility never leaves you.  Just because I had a baby does not erase the fact that we couldn’t get pregnant on our own.  Conrad and I are in a “funny” place right now.  When we first got married, we weren’t ready to start a family so we prevented pregnancy (although I guess we didn’t need to).  The next two years were spent trying to get pregnant.  Now we’re back to preventing it.  They say you’re super fertile after giving birth, even a lot of times for women with PCOS.  I don’t know, and will never know, if this holds true for me.  For one, I’m not ready to be pregnant again just yet or have two babies so close in age, and two, we have our 2 snowflake babies (frozen embryos) waiting to join our family over the next few years.  We would like to have 3 kids and will definitely be transferring those embryos.  If I were to get pregnant naturally, we could potentially have 4 children, which is not our plan.  If God blesses us with a surprise after our other 2 snowflakes, then of course we would be happy.  But kids are expensive!  Four kids is just too expensive for us to afford and still be able to live the life we would like with traveling, a nice house, and being able to do fun activities without having to question whether or not we’ll be able to afford it.

As happy and blessed as we are that we have our 2 snowflakes waiting for us, it’s still nerve-wracking to think that they might not take.  What if they don’t implant? Am I missing my chance right now at being fertile and getting pregnant naturally? These questions go through my head ALL.THE.TIME.  A part of me is also sad that I’ll never be able to surprise Conrad one day with a pregnancy announcement.  On the same note, we get to experience the joy of seeing each 5-day-old embryo as it’s transferred to me; who gets to see that?!  We also know that our 2 snowflakes are genetically normal and healthy and we know their genders (no, I won’t be sharing what they are until each pregnancy, and no, we didn’t, nor will we in the future, choose which gender to transfer.  Still leaving a little bit of this up to God).

Earlier today, I was Facebook messaging with a friend…well, a distant (by marriage a few times) family member in another country.  She told me that she and her husband have been trying to get pregnant for 10 years.  10 YEARS.  They’ve seen multiple doctors, who can’t find anything wrong with them, and in turn, will not proceed with any treatments.  I guess they’ve never heard of “unexplained infertility”?  It absolutely breaks my heart knowing that they’ve been trying for so long, have sought help, and have been denied.  I wish she lived here so I could send her to my amazing doctors.

This also made me think about how it took us just about 2 years of travelling down this awful, bumpy, pothole-filled, hellish, but totally worth it road to get to our beautiful baby boy.  It doesn’t matter if it takes 6 months or 10+ years; the pain is the same month after month, failed cycle after failed cycle.  The tears are the same.  The anger is the same.  The questions are the same. The hope is the same.  That is, if you’re able to hold on to that one little shred of hope.  The hope that grows a bit at the start of each treatment and the hope that is torn away when it doesn’t work.

Infertility is a road no one should have to travel.  It is a road that too many people these days are on.  Why?  Is it something in the food we eat or the air we breathe?  Why are there so many people, both men and women, suffering from it now?  Was it the same percentage of people in the past but now seems like more because our population has grown?  I’m not sure anyone knows the answer to that yet.

As I wrap up this post, I want to remind you to think before asking someone questions like: Why don’t you have kids yet?  When are you going to have a baby?  Aren’t you going to give your child a sibling?  They may answer politely with a smile, but inside, they could be crying, with their hope dying a little more each time a similar question is asked.  If you know someone struggling to get pregnant, just listen.  Don’t offer advice.  Just listen and be a shoulder to cry on.  My thoughts and prayers are with everyone suffering through infertility, this week, and always.

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5 day old Bradley
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11 weeks old and as cute as ever
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The love I have for this boy is immeasurable

2 Months Old

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Pepper always has to get in the picture too!

2 Months – April 2, 2017

Weight: 11lbs 12oz (50th %)

Height: 23 inches (75th %)

Hair: still strawberry blonde and super soft and fuzzy in the back.  The top front is slowly starting to come in more

Eyes: Dark blue/gray

Clothes: 0-3 months

Diapers: Size 1  We go through so many diapers every day, as Bradley is very sensitive to being wet and goes at least twice after eating, usually 10-15 minutes apart.  Eventually we’ll get him in his cute cloth dipes!

Sleeping:  Still going to bed around midnight every night and taking almost 2 hours to get to sleep.  Either he wakes up or I wake him after 4-5 hours to eat, then he goes back down for another 3-4 hours.  He eats again and sometimes goes back to sleep for another hour or so.  Bradley still isn’t a great napper, but we’re trying to get him to sleep more during the day.  Getting wrapped up in the Boba wrap on me is a sure-fire way to ensure he’ll sleep 2-3 hours.

Likes:  Smiling when we talk to him, eating, taking a bath, playing on his playmat, sitting in his little seat, trying to stand, bouncing on the yoga ball, naps while wrapped in the Boba (he smiles when he sees me putting the wrap on)

Dislikes: Clothes going over his head, waiting 2 minutes while I get ready to nurse him, staying in one spot for too long, pacifiers, doing his lip and tongue stretches (only a few more days of these to ensure his tie revisions don’t grow back)

Eating: Every 2 hours during the day, unless he’s sleeping.  At night he lasts 4-5 hours

Milestones: Smiling all the time! Looking at us while we’re talking to him, holding his head up really well, more control of his arms, lots of grunting and sounds/trying to talk to us

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How I get ready in the bathroom/take a shower
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Watching me put on the Boba… he knows that means a nice nap on Mama!
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Looking pregnant again… 48.5 weeks along Hahaha
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Just chillin’ with my main lady

My New Life

Seven weeks ago, my life was changed forever.  It was a change I had been looking forward to for years.  My whole life, I knew I wanted to be a mom and my dream finally came true.  Having Bradley has been the best thing that has ever happened in my life and it’s also been the most challenging.  I’m not going to lie, the first couple of weeks were really hard.  Bradley was either eating, screaming, or sleeping from exhaustion.  We tried everything we could to help him settle down, but nothing worked.  He was never awake and just content; we figured he was colicky (Conrad was as a baby).  We were so tired and so frustrated that we couldn’t help our baby and didn’t know what he needed.  By 2 weeks and 3 days, my mom convinced me to call the pediatrician to see if she had any suggestions.  I called and she made time to see him that evening.  She suggested that he probably had silent reflux and that we should start Zantac.  Silent reflux is when a baby shows no outward signs of reflux (spitting up a lot), but seems gassy and uncomfortable, stiffening up a lot, and hard to settle down.  A lot of babies have reflux because the sphincter between the esophagus and stomach isn’t strong enough yet to stay closed, so the acid comes back up and gives the baby heartburn.

We picked up his prescription that night and he was like a different baby after the first dose!  He was calm, he fell asleep more easily.  It was a miracle.  At this point I felt horrible knowing that our sweet boy was in pain the first 2 weeks of his life and we didn’t know it.  I’m glad we caught it fairly early though and that Zantac is a very safe medication for babies with hardly any side effects (he hasn’t had any).

Once we had Bradley on Zantac, life got a little bit easier.  When he was awake, he was happy, and that made a world of difference.  Conrad went back to work after being off for 2.5 weeks and my mom and/or dad would come over for a little while so I could eat or shower.  They still stop by almost every day to see if I need anything and to see their grandson.  I’ve managed to get showered and out of the house by myself a few times, but some days are harder (it’s 4pm as I write this and I still haven’t been able to get showered or dressed and I’m just now eating lunch, but dinner is in the crockpot!  The only way I’m able to sit and write this is Bradley is wrapped up on me and sleeping.  He’ll be up fairly soon though.)

We had a good somewhat routine going with our little night owl until 5.5 weeks.  Bradley slept for 7.5 hours on a Monday night, which he’s never done, so I didn’t wake up either.  On Tuesdsay morning, I was certainly more than ready to feed him!  He only ate from one side so I pumped the other for relief.  He went back to sleep and I decided to make myself some eggs for breakfast.  Just before I finished cooking, I started to feel lightheaded and sat down.  I had Conrad finish cooking (he was home because of the snowstorm we were supposed to have) but then I couldn’t eat.  I felt really off so I decided to go lay down thinking I was just extra tired.  I got back in bed and got the chills…for over an hour.  It was time for Bradley to eat again so Conrad brought him over to me in the bed.  I didn’t feel well at all; Conrad thought I needed to eat but I knew it wasn’t that.  I started to feed Bradley while Conrad got ready to go shovel some snow.  It was only about 3 minutes before I called Conrad back into the room- I was going to be sick.  I handed him Bradley and quickly made my way into the bathroom.  I threw up a few times and started wondering a bunch of things: did I eat something bad?  Did I pick up a bug from the hospital when I went to the breastfeeding support group yesterday?  How am I going to feed him if I’m so sick?  Will my supply dry up if I get dehydrated?  Is this from going so long without a feeding last night?

All this while, Bradley is crying with hunger so I told Conrad to give him a bottle of frozen milk (luckily I had some!)

I then had Conrad call my OB and explain my situation to her.  She said that I was severely engorged and to pump until I was completely empty; if my fever went above 100.4*, call them back.  Well my fever was 100.4 but went down as soon as I pumped.  I started to feel a little better, showered, but then felt awful again.  At night my fever came back and I ended up sending Conrad to 7-11 at midnight, on icy roads, to get me some Advil (everything we had here had aspirin in it, which you can’t take while breastfeeding).  I suffered through the night, alternating between sweating and shivering, and pumping every few hours.

First thing in the morning, I called my OB back and told them my fever was higher at 101.  My Dr confirmed that I had mastitis and called in a prescription for me; I was so thankful I didn’t have to get dressed and go in for an office visit.  That day I felt awful.  I don’t remember the last time I had a fever.  It’s one thing to be sick, but a whole other ball game to be sick while having to take care of a 6 week old infant.  Thankfully my mom came over and spent most of the day here, helping with Bradley.

I was feeling a bit better after 24 hours on the medication and a whole lot better by 48 hours; I hope I don’t ever get that again!

Back to our little night owl: Bradley has been going to sleep anywhere between 11pm and 1am.  I can’t figure out how to get him on an earlier schedule; he doesn’t like to nap during the day, get super tired early in the evening, takes a nap wrapped on me, then is wide awake for a couple hours.  He IS, however, sleeping wonderfully at night now.  We moved him from his swing seat into his crib, with the mattress propped up for his reflux.  Once he eats and falls asleep on me, he sleeps for 6-8 hours, wakes up to eat, and goes back to sleep for 2-3 hours.  During his long stretch, I wake up to pump in order to avoid mastitis again.  If I had to choose, of course I’d much prefer this long night sleep to shorter intervals with an earlier sleep time or more naps during the day.  I’ve been getting 7-9 broken hours of sleep, but I am still exhausted at the end of each day, even if we don’t go anywhere or really do anything.

This past week, Bradley had a lip and tongue tie revision.  He had a tongue tie clipped in the hospital when he was just a day old, but we still had some feeding/latching issues, not to mention my Raynaud’s affecting my milk-makers…ouch.  We saw a couple different lactation consultants since being discharged from the hospital, and both agreed that Bradley had a posterior tongue tie (father back under his tongue).  I was referred to a pediatric dentist and he confirmed that getting rid of it plus the lip tie would help with latching and feeding.  He had them lasered away on Monday and is doing well so far.

During the past 7 weeks, we have had some difficult times.  We’re all getting used to this new life.  We’ve also had some amazing times, which trump all else: the coos, smiles, and snuggles are the best thing in the world.  I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

Over the past 7 weeks (and 9 months), I have also gained a whole lot of respect for my body.  Before, I was frustrated with my body not working correctly and preventing me from getting pregnant.  Once pregnant, my body knew exactly what it needed to do; I gained enough weight, baby grew perfectly, and I went into labor on my own.  After that, I was able to give birth to an 8lb 8oz baby!  I still can’t believe that I was able to do that.  Go me!  Once Bradley was here, I was able to begin breastfeeding right away.  My supply is great and he is growing nicely.  I was worried about all of these things not being able to happen; I guess I was used to my body failing me.  I find it truly fascinating that my body alone has been able to grow and completely nourish our baby from the time he was a 5-day old embryo.  Being a mother is by far the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done.  I look forward to this new journey of life with my little family.

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