Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vaccines are Evil

Don't get your panties in a wad. In spite of all the media attention and the growing trend of skipping or delaying childhood vaccines, I am having my child vaccinated per the recommended CDC schedule.

It's the aftermath of those shots that sucks. Between 9 a.m. yesterday and 7 a.m today, I've done the following.
~ administered 4 doses of infant Tylenol
~ bathed and massaged the stiff, sore little thighs
~ stripped her naked and wiped her with a cold wet towel
~ put a wet towel on her head many times
~ changed bed clothes and pajamas
~ calmed the panic and snorted out her nose after she threw up violently
~ cleaned up two puddles of puke
~ prayed fervently for a reprieve from the fever and a good night's sleep for all
~ stripped her naked and plunked her in the tub
~ washed bedclothes and pajamas
~ scrubbed poo out of the harness
~ sanitized the mattress and changing table
~ nursed, nursed, and nursed some more

The fever keeps spiking suddenly, and that's when the throw up happens. The poo mess met me when I got out of the shower this morning. She, her clothes, her sheets and blankets, the harness were all covered in it. Poor baby. Even with all of this, she's trying hard to be happy and play. Seeing my otherwise healthy baby sick makes me question those vaccines.

Top all that with the fact taht Dave hurt his foot yesterday and was stuck on the couch with an ice pack last night. He couldn't put any weight on it. At one point, I had a screaming baby, a barking dog, two puddles of puke, dirty sheets, and a ringing phone. I said bad words when the phone rang.

My prayer was answered. Ella slept all night and Dave's foot feels better today.

Aside from the shots, we had a good check up. She weighs 12 lbs. 11.5 ounces and she's 23.5 inches long. That's a weight gain of about 2 lbs. and growth of about an inch and a half since the 2 month appointment. She's healthy and right on track.

Oh, I almost forgot. One year ago today, we found out I was pregnant with Ella. I peed on a stick and, in disbelief, left it on the bathroom counter. Dave came in, saw it, and said, "Oh no." Then we had dinner at Olive Garden and I left town for three weeks the next morning.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

While I'm Working

Ella is also busy working with her Grandpapa.

Monday, October 27, 2008

More Pictures

Here are a couple more pictures.

Here she is figuring out the sippy cup. I try to give her the cup at least once a week to get her used to it because I want her to be able to drink from a cup when she starts eating solid foods. She's pretty much figured out how to get the milk out, but we are still working on holding it and getting it to her mouth. She was actually pretty accurate over the weekend. She emptied the cup, but since it's very different than the bottle, at least half of the milk went down her chin and onto her shirt.
And here you see her studying her new bunny slippers. Sadly, the bunny slippers aren't going to fit for much longer - but that's okay because she has some reindeer for Christmas time.

Weekend Update

We had a fun-filled weekend with lots of pet activities. Dave and Jewel started with some leisurely reading of the paper.
Then we got ready to walk to the park for the 2nd annual Critters by the Creek. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so shades were in order.
There were lots of dogs and people in the park, so Georgia needed a minute to herself after we'd made a round to all of the booths.
We stayed to watch the Bama Air Dogs perform their frisbee routines. It's a cool program because the people rescue animals from shelters and teach them the routines. Dogs need jobs if they are going to be good dogs, and these people get that. Although, I'll have to agree with Dave that watching them catch frisbees isnt' as amazing as it once was, since Georgia is pretty good at it herself.
On the way home, we stopped to play on the playground. This is one of Georgia's favorite things about a walk to the park. She loves to slide.
As you can imagine, we were all pretty tired once we got home. It was time for a little rest and football watching.
We spent Sunday afternoon at the high school football field so Dave and Georgia could kick field goals. He kicks and she retrieves the balls. : ) Ella Grace and I strolled a couple of laps, but she decided that made her too sleepy, so we mostly played in the grass and watched. I entertained her with my ability to burp on command. I never knew how handy that childhood skill would be, but it makes her laugh out loud.
We went back to the orthopedist today for another ultrasound on her hips. He told us the same percentages as last time (55% and 65%), but he also says there is a 5% margin of error in the ultrasound so she could be completely in the normal range (could have been last time, too). For good measure, and because she is sleeping fine in the harness, she has to keep wearing it at night for two more months. We'll go back the week after Christmas for an x-ray, because at that point the femoral head will be solid and the x-ray will be more accurate than an ultrasound.
She has her four month check up this week. I cannot wait to see how much she has gained and grown. The child is getting long!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Piglet Update

We haven't seen the piglet roll over again, but I think that's because her newest trick is more fun. She is "crawling" on her back. She looks a lot like an inch worm, scooting all around. She's pretty quick, but gets frustrated that she can't change directions very easily. Everything about the child's body language says she is ready to move! If she's lying down, she bends in the middle, trying to sit up. If she's sitting up, on the floor or in your arms, she's rocking back in forth in the direction she wants to go. She gets MAD when she can't get there. She does the same scooting routine when she's on her belly, but she's not as fast and it makes her mad. It's so cute because she pushes up on her hands and bends her knees like she's going to crawl, then plants her feet and pushes herself forward. Have mercy on all of us because when she gets it figured out there will be no stopping her. She has also perfected her squeal, and loves to practice it with others, by herself, at her toys, etc.

These new tricks were coupled with a huge physical growth spurt. She spent last week eating constantly and ravenously (which was disconcerting for the grandmothers, who questioned if I might be starving her), but her milk intake has leveled off this week. And she has grown, seemingly overnight. A shirt that had too-long sleeves two weeks ago had too-short sleeves (by an inch and a half!) on Sunday. Her knees are bent in her harness so much that diapering around it has become trickier, and that just happened over the weekend. There are new rolls on her thighs, and she has developed wrist creases now that her arms are filling out. Good grief. It's almost like you can see her growing before your very eyes.

With all this physical and developmental growth, she has entered the "wakeful fourth month" phase. She will be 16 weeks old tomorrow! Over the weekend, she has become a very distractible nurser. She likes to drink a little, look a little, drink a little, look a little. It makes nursing interesting, and explains some of the new night waking we are experiencing. She had been sleeping through the night since right before I went back to work (this is not normal behavior for a three month old, so don't stress about it when you have one) but now she wakes up once or twice a night to catch up on eating (because she's too busy during the day) and to practice her new tricks (pushing up and squealing with a giant smile on her face - at 3 a.m.). Because I knew this phase was coming, she is still sleeping in the co-sleeper beside the bed. When she wakes up, I just plop her into bed with me and nurse her back to sleep. I don't even have to sit up.

She is out of the harness for 10 hours a day this week. It takes less and less time for her to adjust to being out of it when we take it off every day. She is almost always in motion, and now that her legs are free for most of her waking hours, I feel like I'm nursing an octopus. Arms, legs, and head move in every direction, constantly. It's an adventure, and it makes me laugh.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"To the best of my ability."

Dave won his second jury trial this week on a felony burglary/theft of property case involving a generator. That gives him a personal record of 2 -0. While the victory was sweet, I think the highlight of the trial happened just before the defense (Dave) rested and they moved on to closing arguments.

Let me set it up for you.

Dave's client, we'll call him Judd (to protect the innocent?), and the co-defendant (a.k.a. partner in crime, whom I'll call Bob), are no strangers to the criminal justice system. Both men had to be shipped to the county jail from prison for this trial. They are most likely guilty of some crime in this case, even if it isn't what they were charged with. That's just the way it works when you are providing indigent counsel.

The co-defendant, Bob, happened to be one of the state's primary witnesses. Obviously, if anyone could implicate Judd, it would be the man that was with him at the time that the crime allegedly took place. Dave and the district attorney both interviewed Bob on several different occasions to get an idea of what he would say on the stand. The first story he told Dave was that Judd was present, but he did not steal the generator in question. He, Bob, stole it and they pawned it together (pawning a stolen generator carries a receiving stolen property charge, which is not a felony). Early last week when Dave met with him, he told him that he had found the Lord while in prison (Amen.) and he was conflicted because he needed to tell the truth but it would implicate Judd. According to that version of the tale, he and Judd did the stealing and the pawning together (stealing a generator is a felony - which Judd was charged with). He told this same story to the district attorney the next day. This was on Monday and Tuesday of last week. Well, it seems that while the two men waited in jail together, they may have consulted a bit on the actual events of that day.

When Dave spoke with Bob again on Monday morning, Bob mentioned that he thought he should plead the 5th (refuse to testify because his testimony might incriminate himself). According to Dave, when people start talking about pleading the 5th, things start getting interesting. When Bob took the stand for questioning by the district attorney, he told a different tale. While sitting on the cell block in the county jail, he had invested some time in remembering the events of that day. It seems that neither of them stole the generator, they found it and then pawned it. As you can imagine, the district attorney was incensed at this unexpected change in the story. He questioned Bob again and again, asked him why his story was different this time (apparently, Bob was on a lot of drugs at the time the crime allegedly took place and, thus, his memories are foggy), etc. When Dave cross-examined Bob, the following conversation took place.

Dave: Bob, did you take an oath to tell the truth when you talked to the district attorney last week?
Bob: No.
Dave: Did you take an oath to tell the truth today?
Bob: Yes.
Dave: Are you telling the truth today?
(One would expect the witness to answer "yes" or possibly "no;" after all, lying under oath is a criminal offense.)
Bob: "To the best of my ability."

The judgle let that answer stay on the record. Maybe that isn't very funny to some, but Dave and I found it hilarious. Are we all exempt from perjury charges if we are unable to tell the truth?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Around the House

One of the gifts we received before Ella Grace was born was a matching towel, bathrobe, and washcloth set. It is really cute, but I'll be honest, I thought a bathrobe for a baby was ridiculous. I tried to return it, but I didn't have a receipt to know where to return it. It hung in the closet for 3.5 months while I pondered when exactly she would wear it. She doesn't care terribly for clothing - LOVES to be naked, and HATES getting dressed most times. We use the cute hooded towels to transport her from the tub to the changing table to get her pjs on, and there is no way I am going to dress her in the robe after her bath just to undress her again 2 minutes later. Sunday morning, it finally occurred to me that the cute little robe would be quite handy when I got my naked baby (her father hates wrestling her into pajamas) out of bed and didn't want to dress her for church yet. I usually let her go naked, but it was too cool in the house and keeping a blanket around her is nearly impossible. Together, we wore our robes and lounged around the house until it was time to get dressed for church.

Two weeks into this working mom business, I got the first phone call to tell me I missed a major milestone. She rolled over by herself - from tummy to back - for the very first time on Friday. Sad as it made me that I missed it, I was so excited. Apparently, she was very non-chalant about the whole thing. We got her to do it again Saturday morning, and the look on her face said, "What? This isn't a big deal." She acts like she'll be rolling from back to tummy in no time.

She's becoming such a big girl. I gave her a sippy cup Saturday for the first time and she loved it. She loved it so much that I had to remove it from her sight while I was working in the kitchen because she was getting mad that she couldn't get it to her mouth by herself yet. It won't be long before she masters that. She also stayed in the nursery during Sunday school and church for the first time. She did great for the most part, and she really enjoyed being around the other kids.

I visited my college roommate over the weekend to see her new baby, and realized I already have a hard time remembering Ella being that small. She looks so big and grown up compared to the newborn!

A few pictures from the weekend..

We practiced a new hold in the wrap. I think she likes this one because she can see everything.

Watching football with her daddy. Incidentally, she is mesmerized by football on TV.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Baby Blues

I had my last postpartum check-up yesterday, and everything is great. The even better news? I am 7 pounds UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight! (So, a big, fat "HA!" to everyone who told me how huge I was.) I love nursing. It is literally melting the pounds off of me, and for the first time in my life I can eat what I want and not feel guilty. I think my behind is smaller now that it has been in 15 years. If these stretch marks keep fading, I might wear a bikini next summer.

I feel good about myself again, and it's a really good feeling. People warned me about a lot of things about having a baby, but the one thing I was completely unprepared for was how bad I felt about myself right after she was born. They use the term "baby blues" to describe the normal but wacky feelings you have right after the birth of a child. I'm sure it depends on the individual, but that term does not adequately describe my crying, grieving, and intense need for affirmation. I remember crying and thinking, "Why am I crying? I'm not a crier." Most of the time, it wasn't sad crying; it was like I was overflowing with love for her and for Dave. Even TV made me cry, and that NEVER happens. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and grieving because my midsection was completely distorted. I knew I would still look 5 months pregnant, but I was caught off guard by the jiggly mass that used to be my belly. Not only was it jiggly, it was covered in angry, red stretch marks that looked SOOOO much worse once the baby was born. I was swollen from the surgery, and it was hard for me to imagine that I would ever look normal again. I never had an issue with my huge pregnant belly, but the aftermath of it was devastating. I had a great need to be told that I was still beautiful, to be cuddled and loved on. I was devoting so much energy to cuddling and loving and caring for Ella, that sometimes I would break down because I felt like no one was loving me. That wasn't true, but it sure felt like it at 2 a.m. when I was by myself with a crying, week-old baby. Top that all off with the fact that I couldn't leave the house of my on volition for two weeks because I had just had a major abdominal surgery, and you've got a hormonal train wreck. All of that mixed with overwhelming joy and a love that I've never felt before made me pretty nutso for about three weeks. I've always been pretty secure about myself overall, so it was a little disconcerting. If it had continued for longer than that, I definitely would have sought medical help because there's no way I would be able to live that way long-term. And, this was normal; this is what they were describing when they used words like "baby blues" and "emotional." The craziest part is that I didn't realize how crazy I was until several weeks later when I was thinking back on it.

Don't get me wrong, having a newborn at home was a wonderful, exciting, joyous occasion. I looked forward to and loved every minute of caring for her (still do). I love being a mother even more than I imagined I would. But, I didn't know that "baby blues" meant "crazy." I decided to write about it because I know that I am not the only woman who was caught off guard by this experience, and there are several young women who read this blog that might benefit from knowing that you just might be crazier and more hormonal right after you have the baby than you'll ever feel while you are pregnant.

The good new is, it's not permanent and you will feel normal again someday. Just don't expect the same kind of normal. Becoming a mother changes you forever, but that's another story for another day.