Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Colic...

What can I say about colic.. well in not so many words here it goes..it SUCKS!

Colic is a living, breathing, frustrating, exhausting, maddening thing.  It turns your beautiful, bouncing, pink cheeked, fresh from the womb baby into a primal animal.  It makes you question everything you ever knew as a parent, as a woman, and as a person.

It is a god awful, madness inducing, no explanation for, "there is nothing we can do for you" and "don't worry it will get better" thing. 

I call it a thing because it is not an illness, an illness would indicate that there is a cure, and there is none...well none except for time.  Time that turns days into weeks and weeks into months and before you know it, sleep deprivation, and constant screaming is "Normal".

Colic is something I prayed we would never deal with, Abby slept through the night at 10 weeks, and to this day still sleeps 10 to 12 hours with no issue and takes a "good" nap, by good I mean more than 45 minutes and is not speckled with Screaming. 

Jax on the other hand, has screamed from day 4, he was perfect in the hospital and we got him home and POOF! sweet little boy turned into screaming wildabeast, at first we thought, ok well maybe it is his jaundice, he must be hungry because his levels are high, soI fed him round the clock ...it didn't help.  Then it was "oh he has a milk sensitivity" (which turned out to be true and changing his formula which he was on by then helped some) then his doctor said  "switch him to soy" and that didn't help...none of us wanted to admit that he had colic.

We tried Gripe water, colic tablets, I walked the living room for HOURS with him in the Moby, the colic hold, mylicon, car rides, and bouncing, you name it we tried it and nothing helped. 

It was at this point that I begun to question myself as a mother, "Maybe I am not doing it just right, maybe if I try it this way it will help".  I cannot tell you how many times Donnie got home from work at 5:30 in the morning and found me on the couch sobbing with Jax Screaming in his bassinet in the bathroom with the door locked because all I could do at the point was walk away and put him in a safe spot.  I began to question everything I had ever learned about raising a baby, and my competence to do it with number 2.  I was already having mommy guilt about what bringing baby home was going to do to Abby and couple that with the Colic and it was a recipe for disaster.

I looked at my son and wanted to love him, to have the feelings I had for Abby when she was first in my arms and her subsequent days when she was FINALLY home and they just weren't there, and I hated myself for it, I felt like a failure, a bad mother, because I looked at my baby and all I felt was sadness, sadness that Icouldn't fix him, sadness that I couldn't stop him from writhing in pain 20 hours a day.  I mean come on I am his mother... I SHOULD KNOW WHAT TO DO!?! right...WRONG.

There is nothing to be done, but survive, and that is what we did, it took a toll on my marriage, my other child, My Husband and me, but we survived, and we have been rewarded with a beautiful, bouncing, amazing boy! Who we love more than words can describe, Who we thank god every day for, and who we know has an amazing future!

So while this post may not have any "tips" for surviving colic, or any advice so to speak, know that if it is something you are dealing with, have dealt with, or ever have to go through, you are not alone, and there is a light at the end of the VERY long tunnel, and the reaward is more amazing than you could ever imagine.

You will get that perfect ending, you will get a happy baby, and you will appreciate it so much more because of the trials you went through to get there!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The beginning of the end

of my 20's,...which will lead to a new beginning and new chapter in my life.  I started out my 20's as a fairly seasoned College student as I was a junior, so looking forward to my future and hopeful of all the things life would bring me. I was living in an apartment off campus, as a psuedo adult, and was a member of a service sorority that kept me busy, I filled my days with service projects, studying, sisterhood events, paper writing, planning my future and the boyfriend, and my nights were living for the moments I may not remember with the friends I would never forget.   

My 20's have been a decade of great change and transition for me, I went from being college student, with all these ideals and ideas about the world, to being a fairly seasoned worker, with quite a few jobs under my belt, a wife, a mother,  and most recently a stay at home mom and a member of the large unemployed population, but having the best job in the world. I have changed and grown more in my last 10 years of life than I think I ever did in my first 20.  Some days were fantastic, some sucked a whole lot, some days I wanted to just go to bed so I could wake up and start new the next day, and other days I never wanted to end. 

I have learned what family truly means to me and have begun to appreciate my parents much more now as I am happy to not just call them Mom and Dad, but to call them friends as well.  I have learned to hang on to the lessons of the past that will help me with my future and to forgive myself for things that will not.  I have realized that there really are people that you must have in your life, for example, a best friend who holds so much of your past that no matter the physical distance, your hearts are still in the same place.  That as much as you bicker when you are younger, your sisters will become good friends and confidants when you get older.  I have learned that my past will not define me, but that it did help shape me. 

I found that love crops up in the strangest of places, most notably in front of a fraternity house on a random Thursday night when I was least expecting it, but most definitely hoping for it.  That, that love would test me in ways I never knew existed, but at the same time teach me so many things about myself.  It would also take me to some dark places but light up my world more than I ever knew it could be.

I have found that being a mother is the most challenging yet rewarding experience that I have ever had.  That it is truly possible to fall in love at first sight, and that I am much stronger than I ever thought that I was.  That loud music in a smokey bar, surrounded by my friends, would pale in comparison to quiet nights in, and 3 am feedings when I get smiles cause my babies bellies are full.  That even though I miss those nights some times, I would never give up what I have now. 

My 20's have been such a great learning experience, and have opened my eyes in so many ways.  I am looking forward to my 30's, but am still a little sad to close this chapter of change in my life.  I realize though that as with anything closing the chapter does not mean forgetting it, it means building on it and creating more memories in the book of life.  It means taking all of the lessons learned and moving forward, it means evolving once again and it means a new era.

So heres to the next decade...may it have as many wonderful moments, heartbreaks, challenges, and tests as the last one!

                                            "grow old with me, the best is yet to be"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Promises to my Babies

When Abby was Born I recieved a book from my Mom, it is called "100 Hundred Promises To My Baby"  It is written By Mallika Chopra.  It has been something that I read when it is quiet or when I am getting Abby ready for bed, and soon I will share it with Jackson, I obviously cannot get through all of them because Abby is hardly patient enough for a Curious George book much less 100 promises each with an anecdotal story, so I pick my favorites throughout the book and read them to her every once in awhile.  Now I will share my favorites with you, not only because I enjoy this book and think it is one every Mom should have but because I am vowing them to my babies, and want to share it with the world so here goes...

"I promise to always remember that you are my gift from God"
"I promise to always cherish the moment you came into this world"
"I promise to help you know that we are always together"
"I promise to keep an open heart and mind as our relationship changes and evolves"
"I promise to trust my own instincts when caring for you"
"I promise to hold you, but never hold on to you"
"I promise to help you see that you are perfect just the way you are"
"I promise to always tell you the many reasons I am proud of you"
"I promise to give you gifts that build your character, values, and spirit"
"I promise to help you see that happiness is not dependent on circumstances"
"I promise to teach you that some of the most important lessons in your life can be learned from your darkest and most challenging moments"
"I promise to teach you not to take life too seriously"
"I promise to help you always reach for the stars"
"I promise to remember the importance of humility"
"I promise to show you that sometimes the most special friendships are found in the most unlikely people in the most unlikely places"
"I promise to always remember the first moment that I realized I was a mother"
"I promise to remember how your happiness makes my heart pound with utter joy"
"I promise to love you with no limits, from the depths of my soul, even when it makes me more vulnerable than I have ever felt before"

There are so many other things that I know I will promise to my babies over their lifetime, but I think this is a good start.  Being a mother has profoundly changed my life, it has taken me to places I never knew existed within myself, it has tested my abilities, my patience, my faith, and love, over and over again.  Each day though I come back to the same place, the place where I was when I first became a mother, the place where I was when I first watched my babies fall aleep in my arms, the place where I was when they smiled for the first time, or found their laugh, and that is a place of pure and unending love.

So all of this and more I promise to my babies, I love you Abby and Jackson, and I thank god everyday that he chose me to be your mommy, and to let me raise and care for two of his most precious gifts and blessing.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Charles Dickens once said...

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness"
Well that is the best way I can describe our trek into the terrible two's with two under two.
Some days are wonderful and I thank god for my blessings and cry as I look at my beautiful children, and other days I cry when I look at my beautiful children and wonder what the hell have we gotten ourselves into.

Most days I survive, they are a flurry of diaper changes, bottle feeding, snacks of goldfish which are then mashed into the carpet, snacks of animal crackers fed to the dog, bananas mushed into the sofa, whilst trying to change Jax, and attempting to keep Abby's clothes on because she is lightning fast when it comes time to take them off, which is whenever she deems necessary.  They are days of beauty, wonderment, and amazement that we created these two beautiful people, they are days of trials, and sheer exhaustion, when one is sleeping the other one is getting up, when one is eating the other one is screaming, when one is crying the other one wants to be played with.  I have never felt so divided yet whole in my entire life and still I feel overwhelmed and at times nostalgic of days gone past.  Days when my husband and I could enjoy a quiet meal, days when we could have a conversation that did not happen over a crying baby/child, days when we could come and go as we pleased and stay up till all hours on Friday night because we had nowhere to be on Saturday.  Days when that last $10 could go to a cheap bottle of wine and a movie, instead of Diapers.

But when I think of those days, as happy as we thought we were, they will never compare to waking up at the crack of dawn to a toothy grin, and warm snuggles, to seeing my babies first step, or their first smile.  To seeing when they find their feet for the first time, or realize that they have self made Binky's on their hands and are quite happy with those. 

Motherhood takes me to the brink most days, the brink of happiness, the brink of exhaustion, the brink of tears, the brink of frustration, of pure joy and of never ending love.  While there are times when I feel like I can't put Abby back in her bed for the 37th time, or when I can't rock Jax anymore because my back is aching and my ears are ringing from the screaming, I go on, I go on because when I've sung the baby tree song till my voice is hoarse or I have finished lap 200 around the living room with my poor colicky boy, I look down at their sweet, little faces an realize that I will miss this.  That someday not to far from now I will watch my daughter walk down the aisle, that I will watch my son, hold his first born, and I will remember how small they once were and how long some of these nights were, hell how long some of these days are, and I will miss them.

The terrible two's have started in our house, They are a practice in will, and defiance, and rule breaking and creation of boundaries.  We have gone from having a perfect sleeping through the night child to one who wants to play at 5am, from having a child who understands the meaning of no! to one who understands it but doesn't care and will do what she wants anyway.  Meals are usually a battle of wits, and eaten on the run most days, and diaper changes, well I never quite knew the herculean strength that a toddler could have.

I think the two's test us more than they do the kids, it is a test of control for me, especially after the 30th time of taking Abby off of a chair and from climbing onto the table and then the breakfast bar, when truth be told all I want to do is lock her in the dog's house so I can have some peace for 5 minutes, but instead have to tell her in my most calm mommy voice that tables are for eating and not climbing.  That Dudley is not a horse, and that it is not OK to throw your sippy at mommy when you want more milk.  That Jax is a baby so if we sit on him he gets hurt, and yes baby I know the bouncer used to be yours but big girls don't sit in bouncers, or swings, or bumbos, or infant seats and as fun as it may look you will break them. 

It is a true test of patience as well, of finding new ways to say no, especially when they start yelling it back at you...with a huge smile on their face while running the other way to do just what you told them not to.  Patience to sit in the bathroom when they ask to go potty but really just want to sit there and then flush because it is fun for them, patience to deal with a screaming infant who was just sleeping but because his sister beaned him with her snack cup he is now awake and screaming.

Organized chaos is the best way I can describe most days, and while it is frustrating, and challenging, and some of the hardest work I have ever done, I know that everything I do is shaping these people that Donnie and I created, every hug I give after a time out is helping Abby and one day Jax to understand that while what they did was wrong it doesn't mean that Mommy and Daddy don't love them, and while we are disappointed in the choices they made we will never be disappointed in who they are. 

I truly think the terrible two's lay a foundation for the rest of your parenting, and the approach you will take to it.  So while some days I want to run and hide, or head off to a far away place free from toy land mines, dirty diapers, and baby puke, I stop and remind myself, that we are in the business of teaching and growing human beings.  Growing them into successful, well mannered, and happy adults, and while most days I survive, most days I also feel truly blessed, blessed that I get the opportunity to raise my children and teach them and grow them, and watch them change.  So I think Charles Dickens had it right, it is the best and worst of times all rolled into one.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In which I talk about my

Breasts....Well Breastfeeding anyway, or my body's unwillingness to, or my baby's unwillingness to, or any combination thereof.  It Sucks that is all I can really say to sum up my breastfeeding expereiences with both Abby and Jackson.

Abby's experience was tainted from the start, between being unable to even begin breastfeeding till she was almost a week old, the fast flow bottles in the NICU because she was so sick and they just needed to get nourishment in her after her feeding tube was removed, and my extremely fast let down which nearly choked her, we were all but doomed.  I gave it the old college try though and I spent days and nights crying because she wouldn't latch or crying because my baby was screaming because she was so hungry, and then feeling like a failure because this is all so natural it should just work right?!?...WRONG! so in an effort to continue to do what was best for my baby I pumped for seven LONG Months. 

It was a prison sentence of sorts, 8 times a day 20 minutes at a time, constantly worrying about whether I was producing enough, toting my pump to and from work, making sure I made enough time in my work day to pump, racing home everyday to pump before my boobs felt like they would explode ad not running to kiss my baby the second I walked through the door, but rather stripping down to my nursing bra to relieve the pressure of my rather engorged chest.  7 months of planning our days around when I needed to pump, making sure we were back in time from wherever we were going so I could make sure I pumped enough times so my supply didn't dip.  7 months of Pumpng in the car...yes the CAR! on our way to events, on our way home from events, to the park, to the lakehouse, all in the name of what was best for my child.  At about 7 months my body begin to tell me that it was done so I weaned from the pump and we gave Abby formula once my freezer stock ran out. 

What I failed to realize at the time was that what was best for Abby may not have been what was best for our family, I resented pumping, don't get me wrong I did it because I wanted to give Abby everything I could to give her the best start in life and to me that meant breastmilk, pumped or otherwise, and when otherwise, ie. Nursing didn't work I strapped on my milking machine and became Bessie.  It was so mechanical, so cold, yet I pumped on and knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, my goal was one year or when my body quit.  Sadly, I didn't realize how much it was a hinderance to our life until I was done, I was so much happier without constantly having to plan our lives round that blasted machine.

When I found I was pregnant with Jackson I vowed that I would only pump when I was away from him, I googled, I read books, I did everyhing I thought I needed to do in order to ensure a successful breastfeeding experience for both me and my baby.

He was born and I told the nurses that it was of the utmost importance to me to be able to breastfeed right away, I read that would help, so I did, and he latched right on, perfectly might I add, and the thundercloud over my breastfeeding days lifted...or so I thought, at about 2 days old he got very jaundiced and was unable to latch because he was so tired so I pumped and we gave him bottles,but I made sure they were the slowest flow, most natural bottle we could find.  Then he got thrush, and when a baby gets thrush usually so does mommy, we tried to treat it for weeks but it wouldn't go away, all the while I was nursing though, through cracks and bleeds, crying while he would latch on, even with a nipple shield the pain was right up there with labor.  So I started pumping again, and the prison sentence began again, I pumped to see if I could get my thrush to clear up and was hoping it would help his clear up as well.  Oh was I wrong, I remember pumping one night not really paying attention to what I was doing and looking over and seeing this horrified look on Donnies' face, I looked down and my left side bottle as full of BLOOD.  I can handle a lot and I have seen a lot but when you see blood spurting from your nipple...well nothing can ever prepare you for that!  I got the bleeding to stop and called the doctor, who couldn't see me till Monday.  On Saturday I developed a high fevr and the shakes, I thought I was getting the flu till I got in the shower and noticed a large mass in my breast with red streaking all around it...Mastitis.  I massaged and iced and massged and iced, took tylenol, hot baths, anything I could to get rid of the horrible abcess that was forming.  I finally got into the Doctor and I was diagnosed with a resistant case of thrush that had turned into staph, and entered my breast tissue.  About 3 days later I was feeling better but my supply had dipped so low I was barely getting anything out while pumping, and since I had to dump anyway, I decided that it was time to wean. 

No without guilt though, I had guilt because Jackson was colicky, I had guilt because he had thrush, and the list goes on and on, I blamed myself for everything, and when the time came to wean, I was in hysterics.  I felt horrible, I only was able to give him Breastmilk for 4 months, what kind of mom was I if didn't keep going, what kind of mom was I if I didn't give my second born all the benefits that I had given Abby by pumping for seven months. 

Then I took a step back and looked at what type of mom all of this was causing me to be, I was losing time with my toddler by constantly having to pump, I was crying all the time, because of the pain, the guilt, the frustration, and the list goes on and on.  I finally said to myself what kind of Mom am I now, I am certainly not at my best, I am certainly not enjoying my children and all in the name of "Breast is best"...so I came to my own conclusion, that statement does not apply to all women, and it for damn sure did not apply to me.

Now if and when Donnie and I decide to have a third baby, I will give breast feeding the old college try again, and if it goes well I will continue to do it, because I truly do feel that in the right situations it can be the most amazing gift you can give your child, well other than life that is.  I have not yet had that expereince and I would love to, in fact I crave to have a great breastfeeding experience, but if it isn't in the cards then so be it, and I will stop, and know that I am doing what is best for my family and children by being the best mom I can be for them. A mom that is attentive and playful, a mom that is more worried about when they get to the park then when they need to leave so I can stop the throbbing in my chest.

All in all I think Breastfeeding is a beautiful and amazing experience, and while I have not had one such case yet, I am hopeful that I will someday, but if I don't get that I know my babies will be ok, they are far better off with a happy mommy than one who is all consumed with how I will feed them.  So to the ladies at Target who needed to make it a point to loudly talk over and over again about how their daughters breastfeed ALL of their Children until were 2, all while staring me down as I fed my baby the apparent "poison" that was in his bottle, please kindly step off and judge someone else, especially when you have no clue what I have been through.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Welcome back....

So in Lifes crazy times of new jobs, life changes, moves and babies, I have been unable to update my blog...so I am making a commitment, a commitment to blog at least once a week, and I will do my very best to do more if possible.

So let me see if I can sum up our summer and fall as concisely as possible:

May:
May was an eventful month to say the least, Donnie got a new job, although temporary it was a step in the right direction and a hopeful beginning, I was having success at work and was pretty happy in my position.  Abby was growing into a beautiful toddler and amazing us everyday with a new word or discovery she found, and little man was getting bigger by the day, causing everyone to as if I was sure it wasn't twins.
Shortly before Memorial Day Donnie was burned badly in accident while working on my car, while he was lucky it was a long recovery and he lost his job.  It was a defining moment in our marriage as I had never been through anything like that with him, or anyone for that matter and nothing makes you feel more helpless than watching your spouse writhe in pain after his 5th dose of morphine.  Thankfully he recovered better than expected and is completely healed now.  We also found out we needed to move out of our Condo by the end of July around this time so it became a very hectic time trying to find an apartment in 60 days, and knowing that we would be moving within a few weeks of my due date.

June:
June was relatively uneventful thankfully. Donnie turned 26, Abby was becoming more of a little girl and less of a baby everyday and little man continued to grow big and strong, although I was getting uncomfortable and HOT! We continued to search for an apartment and had to make some big decisions about where we wanted to live and what we could afford as far as area.  Ultimately we decided to move north, near my family as we knew we would have alot of help with the new baby on the way, and the prospect of Donnie having a job and both of us working we knew we would need the support to help defray the cost of Day Care. 

July:
July was a huge month of transition for us.  I lost my job, a month before Little man was due (more on this later as we are pursuing a lawsuit), and became a stay at home mom. We moved, and we also had a few false alarms thinking little man was coming early.  Moving while 9 months pregnant was frustrating to say the least, not being able to do much was very difficult for me while I watched everyone run around and move our things.  Although I am thankful for our gracious and amazing family that helped us so much and made the move smooth.

August:
Donnie got a great Job and began working nights, it was a big transition for me not to have him home at night, but we adjusted and fell into a routine.

Three Becomes four! Jackson Donald Harris Joined our family on August 13th at 8:38pm.  My Labor with him was a complete 180 from my labor with Abby.  I began to have braxton hicks contractions a few weeks prior and the day before I went into labor I had a normal appointment, I was dialated to about 3.5 to 4 cm and the Doc was pretty sure I would go into labor soon, at least that was the hope as he was measuring big.  The next morning at about 6 am I started having irregular contractions.  Donnie had gotten home from work at about 530 so I didn't want to wake him until I thought I needed to, I took a shower and the contractons continued, Abby woke up at about 830 and we went about our routine and while the contractions were stronger they were still pretty inconsistent and irregular, About 11am I had 4 big contractions in a row so I decided to wake Donnie and call the doctor, they said Congrats your going to have a baby today come on in.  We alerted our parents but had them wait to tell the families until we were positive they were keeping me (I guess I was in denial LOL).

 We got to the hospital about an hour later and I got hooked up to the monitors while we waited for the doctor to finish a c-section about 45 minutes later the doctor came in, checked me and said you aren't going anywhere.  They started the Strep B Antibiotic and 2 hours later about 430pm Dr. Akinenni tried to break my bag to get the contractions more regular.  They were unsucessful but at about 5 PM I felt my water break during a huge contraction and then everything started happening pretty quick I went from almost 5 CM to 9 in 2 hours.  At about 730 a huge thunderstorm rolled through and the power went out for about 15 minutes, I was scared I was going to have to give birth in the dark.

At  8 pm the doctor had me push to see if we could bring the baby down since he was still pretty high and I was fully dialated and effaced, One push later and he was crowning.  The room got really busy all of a sudden and 3 pushes later Jackson was born, he weighed in at 8 lbs 1 oz and 20 inches.  I kept asking if he was ok over and over again and He let out the biggest most beautiful cry to let us know he was a-ok.  After Abby's traumatic delivery I was scared going in and that cry was a huge relief.  They put him on my chest almost immediately and Donnie cut the cord and my mom who was there for the birth snapped a ton of pictures.  I got to hold him right away and snuggle with him before they took him to clean him up, We both were in Disbelief that it happened so fast haha.  Once he was cleaned up I got to breastfeed him right away and he stayed with us till we were moved to the family unit around 11pm.  We stayed til Sunday afternoon and headed home.
The last few months since August have been a flurry of Diaper changes, Breast feeding issues, long sleepless colicky nights and huge adjustments for all of us.  It has been an adventure so far and I would not change a second of it, Jax as we affectionately call him has finally started a routine of sorts and calmed down alot, and Abby is finally starting to adjust to her role as a big sister and is a great helper most of the time.

I plan to blog about our trek into the terrible twos, colic survival tips, and adventures in being a stay at home mom in the coming posts but for now I will just post some pictures from our maternity/family/Abbys Big sister shoot and Jax's newborn pictures.  Enjoy and I look forward to sharing our life with you once again!





















Friday, May 7, 2010

been a long time...

It has been a long time since I have posted...but that is because of all the changes going on in our house, and well life got in the way :)

We are doing great, my job is going well, Donnie is working again (YAY!!) and I am finally in a phase of my pregnancy where I don't feel awful all of the time.

Abby is growing by leaps and bounds and amazing us everyday with her walking skills and she is babbling more and more. She finally said Momma and the best part is she realizes it is me, and she of course loves her Dudley, much to his dismay, and she enjoys chasing him around ALL DAY LONG!

I think she finally realizes that something is going on with Mommy's belly, mostly because if we say belly she points to her tummy and if we say baby she points to my belly :).

I know I have not updated since we had our big ultrasound and I have some pictures to put up of that as well...but the big news is that it's a BOY!! and we couldn't be more excited, We are having a hard time with names this time around but I think that is because we always knew that if it was a girl her name would be Abigail. We will figure it out and it may not be till he is born but I am OK with that if that is meant to happen :)
We do have one other big change coming and that is that we have to move 3 weeks before my due date, so we are on the hunt for the perfect place for our growing family, and hopefully we will find somewhere that is comfortable and affordable and has plenty of room!

All in all things are pretty good in the Harris house, busy but good and we will just keep on being positive that every change is a path that God is leading us on for his greater purpose and know that he will not lead us where his love cannot protect us.

Now for some pictures...
Beautiful boy...with a nose just like his sister

Definitely a boy

Sucking his thumb


The best Easter candy...PEEPS!

Going through her Easter basket

Getting into the Easter Egg Hunt at Gammy and Grumpa's

Look at all that loot

Is this an egg Momma??

Such a big Girl
21 weeks and growing!

And the most recent shot...24 weeks, I can't believe how big he is already
And this is simply because I love this picture so much