leah milestones

Four months is one of my favorites places in the first year of a baby's life. Leah is stealing my heart everyday. I'm feeling more at ease about her weight for two reasons... she started taking bottles again!! After about a month of rejecting the bottle, she's willing to drink from it again. I've been giving her 3 or 4 ounces of formula each evening. After only 4 days of supplementing, she's gained 4 ounces!!! She is now 11 pounds!!! I'm so happy.

We've also begun the adventure of cloth diapers. My friend, Crystal, lent us her newborn stash (thank you, Crys!) and we're trying them out. My initial reason for wanting to try cloth was to save money. As I'm using them, many other reasons are developing. I like putting something so soft on my baby. I didn't realize how harsh and abrasive disposable diapers feel until I began using these wonderfully soft cotten diapers. Another reaon I feel good about it is the environment. I don't tend to be a "green" person, but I am mindful of how much gasoline I use and how much diaper trash we've been making. It's a huge amount with two in diapers!

We're still very new at this cloth diaper thing. I've only done one load of wash so far. (Actually three... to wash them well I'm told to do three cycles of washing. One cold, one hot, another cold.) I plan to hang them on a line in the sun to dry them. We've pretty much stopped using our dryer to save on the electric bill. The days are warm and sunny enough to hang dry clothes. Mel is my helper by handing me clothes pins while I hang the clothes.

One of the things I love about the 4 month stage is smiles. Leah is full of smiles for us. Little shy smiles. Open mouth grins of glee. Giggly, jittery, excited smiles. Slow, sleepy, goofy grins. Each one melts my heart. It is good to be past the three month mark. Some people refer to the first three months as the fourth trimester. It is a hard time for all, but especially for the mama. Nursing every hour and a half is tedious and night time wears one down quickly. I was super lucky to have outtles of help from family, friends, and my stay-at-home husband. Almost everyday I ask myself how single moms do this mothering thing.

I'm happy to be blogging again. I decided to just dive back in. All along I knew I didn't want to stop blogging, but I was not able to give it the time or energy I used to. I love to make my posts into stories. I like writing, reading, and rereading the posts before I am finished. But right now all that is not possible. I will be more free with my thoughts and less picky about my subject matter. It feels good to be back.


photo stress and leah's size

Melody and Leah are scheduled to have professional photos taken this weekend. Ever since I made the appointment a few days ago, I've been stressed out about what they will wear. If they are in a photo together I want their outfits to coordinate... not necessarily match, but work together. Melody has an adorable dress by Mini Boden (UK brand) that I bought on ebay awhile back. It is floral. I usually stick with solids for photos but this dress is the perfect for a spring photo.

Leah does not have many clothes and none of them will work with this floral dress of Melody's. Leah wears comfy one-piece outfits most of the time right now. I don't like putting babies in jeans or overalls until they start moving around. I find pants annoying at this stage because they ride up too high or fall off. Yesterday Leah was wearing a pair of 3-6 month jeans. Chad held her up above his head and the jeans fell off her skinny body!!

Which brings me to another topic of stress... her size. Yesterday I had a terrible day. It was one of the worst days I've never had, in fact! I cried and moped and frowned all day long. I could not pull myself from the pit. I went to Fayetteville but it didn't pull me out of my funk. We had dinner with wonderful friends but that did not pull me out of my funk either. As we drove home in the dark I told Chad I was so thankful for a new day tomorrow.

Today has been better. I was pretty upset about Leah again this morning and then she drank a few ounces of formula from a bottle!!! My mom had the magic touch I guess because Leah has been rejecting bottles from us for over a month. She has gained only 1 ounce in about 3 weeks. She has a wellbaby checkup next week and I am anxious for the doctor to see her and tell me what he thinks. I've been willing/ready to supplement for weeks, but she would spit out anything from an eyedropper, etc. She is four months old and weighs just 10 lbs / 12 oz. (But she is 25-26 inches long!!!)

Having a low milk supply is so frustrating. I feed her every hour and a half and she still sucks on her hands all the time. POOR BABY! I'm so so so so so relieved that she drank from the bottle today. I gave her another 4 ounces of formula this evening and she did fine with that too. I have hope again.


sick winter

I could barely remember what a head cold felt like until this year. Let me start a the beginning. I've had numerous ailments this winter. I will recap them for you...

When Leah was five weeks old I started feeling the symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI). I am prone to these, especially if I drink too much coffee. Being a new mom of two, coffee quickly became my best friend. Some days I accidentally drank more coffee than water. This is a big no-no for me. I tried to kick the infection myself with natural stuff like cranberry extract and lots of water. I told myself that I'd go to the doctor when/if I got a fever. Ten days of mild symptoms passed with no fever. Finally a fever hit me full force. By the time I got in to see the doctor it was at 103. I was miserable and the infection was bad. I started antibiotics that did not work because the infection was too strong. They gave me a shot. It worked and I started feeling better. I was very relieved because I was fearing IV antibiotics (which I've had once before for a UTI).

Days after my UTI saga I got poison ivy. I had planted some tulip bulbs in the jungle of our front yard. My ungloved hands were exposed. Since I'm breastfeeding, the rash spread right to my breasts making me more miserable than I can describe. To top things off, we were in Illnios with the inlaws for Christmas so I had to wear a bra during it all. Awful. Leah and Melody did not get the poison ivy. Whew!

Soon after that I developed thrush (from the antibiotics). OWIE! I nursed through it with much wincing and flinching. I took myself off white flour and sugar (no coke!) and started eating plain Dannon for breakfast and lunch. Being off fast food, sugar, and cokes was not that hard. Whole grains and healthy food tasted good and I felt better than I have in a long time despite the annoying thrush. (Unfortunately I'm craving crap food again.)

We had an all night scream fest with Leah after I put an undiluted drop of grapefruit seed extract in her mouth. Dumb mommy; poor baby. I didn't know it would cause such a reactio. She had gas and mouth-pain all night. The next day she slept for 7 hours!

The thrush healed just in time for the world's worst head cold to begin. It lasted for 12 days. I went through boxes and boxes of tissue. I was in the midst of a huge freelance project during the cold. In the midst of it, I was attempting to breastfeed Leah every hour and a half because she was not gaining enough weight.

The horrible cold was the last of my ailments. Since then, both girls have had the flu. (!) I was spared somehow, despite the fact that I slept in bed with Melody through the worst of her illness. There is nothing more sad than a toddler with fever. She would say "Toe hurts." "Finger hurts." "Nose hurts." "Hair hurts." I'd kiss each painful area and she'd move to the next. Poor baby... everything hurt!

We are finally starting to feel like a healthy family again. I feel hopeful for spring time. I hope we never have such a sick winter again!!


three months

It is March. I can't believe it. 2007 is flying by. The past three months have been a blur. We've experienced a lot of change this year, starting with our brand new baby, Leah. She turned four months a couple of days ago. She's very different from Melody, although they share a few similarities. One of these is their size. Leah is little. I often refer to her as our Little Leah. She's almost 11 lbs now. This puts her in the 5th percentile for weight. She's long though, and at 25 inches is in the 95th percentile. Her middle swims in outfits while her ankles and feet dangle below the hemline. I worry about her weight a lot. We have a wellbaby checkup scheduled for next week. I'm looking forward to hearing what the doctor has to say.

Another huge change for us this year is Chad's job situation. He was laid off in December. (!) The residential housing market is very slow. His company overbuilt last year and they had to shut down the construction side of the company. We were not surprised by the lay-off. We actually welcomed it because we were ready for a change. I made a few calls and quickly acquired some freelance work. January and February were a blur of work and breastfeeding. Chad held down the fort and cared for the girls while I worked my tail off. The jobs were on the fast track and paid well. I missed hanging out with my mom friends and shopping the after Christmas sales, but having our family of four together on a daily basis was worth the sacrifice.

For the past couple of weeks I've been without freelance work. We've enjoyed perpetual days off marked with breaskfasts at 9am, walks on our land, doing chores together, and simply being together. It's like a dream. Both of us have been hesitant to fully embrace it for fear that it is too good to be true. As the three month mark passes we're finally allowing things to sink in. We are so happy.