Friday, September 12, 2014

Thoughts from a formula feeding, c-section having, working mom

Yup, and I chose 2 outta 3 of those!

Now that I'm done with the baby-having days of my youth, I've had some time to reflect (and laugh) on my experiences. I've also had lots of advice and unsolicited thoughts thrown my way, as I'm sure all parents experience. So I decided to take this time to throw out my own unsolicited comments to the world!

WORKING: Coming back to the office after having Xander was never really a question in my mind. I’d always worked…since I was 14 years old, I’d had a job. The one time in college when I tried NOT to have a job, I got so bored, I went out and got a job! So the thought of not working was more challenging to me than the thought of working!

I was ready to head back to the office after my time at home with both boys.  Admittedly with Zach, I’d become such a pro so quickly with him, that I could have handled an extra month or two at home – as long as Xander stayed in daycare – to do all sorts of things around the house!

I’m lucky though. I love our caregivers, and I work for a company that is super supportive of working moms/dads – they even pay for childcare if your usual caregiver can’t provide care for you any day of the year. Like I said, I’m lucky! I also have a flexible schedule, so it’s never an issue for me to come in late, leave early, take a long lunch, etc. if/when the boys need me for something. They also pay me enough to make it economically feasible for Simon and I to afford the ridiculously expensive costs of daycare.
In addition to all that, I secretly hope I'm teaching my sons a valuable lesson - it's ok for women to work, to be intelligent and to be key decision makers inside and outside the home. I know times are getting better, and I know you can teach your children this even if you don't work, but for me, working helps me make sure my boys see their mom as a strong woman who can take care of herself. I remember always thinking that about my own mom - what a strong, independent woman she was...when I grow up I want to be like her. So I want my sons to see their mom in the same light.

I also like that they see their dad doing more than mowing the lawn - though Xander does enjoy watching Simon do that. I like that Simon is an equal helper around the house, so the boys see him doing laundry, putting away the dishes, cooking, etc. And not that a dad can't (or even shouldn't) do these things if his wife doesn't work, but at our house it's not an option. Hopefully my daughters in law will thank me one day!

FORMULA FEEDING: Well, if you read this post after Xander’s arrival you’ll know I’m a fan of formula! But since I’d been diagnosed with my thyroid issue and had been on medication for a year, I was hopeful I might be able to breastfeed Zach. So when my milk actually came in (this did NOT happen with Xander), I was slightly afraid and slightly excited. My initial thought was “holy cow, this is painful!” But then I realized it was what was supposed to happen, and so I was excited that things might work out for me this time around. So I exclusively nursed Zach for the first month. I was slightly worried he wasn’t getting enough, but I told myself to wait it out until his one month check….I figured I couldn’t do too much harm to him in 4 weeks, right! And he wasn’t crying endlessly like Xander did, so I assumed he probably wasn’t starving.

At his one month check, he’d grown and gained appropriate weight, and everyone was pleased.  We did a pre-feeding and post-feeding weigh in and discovered he was only getting/eating about an ounce to an ounce and a half, which was a bit less than ideal. The LC suggested I started nursing then pumping each feeding and taking the herbs again. I wasn’t about to take myself down that road again. So I took month two to do some testing.  I’d nurse and then see if he would eat any more via bottle after finishing. I’d nurse and time how long it was until he was hungry again. And I’d give him as much as he wanted via a bottle and see how long until he was hungry again. My non-scientific tests basically showed me that he was getting a decent amount when nursing, but not quite enough. So I decided to nurse, bottle feed and pump as I felt compelled for the next month since I wasn’t working and then just be ready with the formula when I went back to work.  That seemed to work perfectly for us.

C-SECTIONS:OK, this would BE the main one I did not choose to do….well, technically I did officially choose both of them, but let's not get technically...I mean, hey I'm still alive, and I don't really consider that a choice.
After learning at around 24 weeks pregnant with Xander that I have a platypelloid pelvis – aka narrow pelvis – my doctor told me that I would probably need a c-section if Xander continued to measure larger than average in utero. But when my water broke at 39 weeks, the doctors agreed to let me give it a try even though I had a c-section scheduled for two days later! 19 hours after my water breaking, I agreed to let them take Xander out via c-section, and I have never regretted the decision once in the 21 months he’s been outside of me. As my doctor said….you just can’t change bone structure.

So when Zach was measuring average, I was optimistic about being able to try a VBAC. All my doctors were on board and willing to let me try. But then at my 36 week appointment, the kid started growing, and began matching Xander’s stats to a T. So we put the c-section on the calendar for the Monday after I hit 39 weeks. Of course, I started having serious, regular contractions two days before that! And when we arrived at the hospital at 12:30 a.m. and the team asked me if I wanted to try a VBAC. I just laughed in their faces and said, “thanks, but no thanks!”

Now, if I had average sized babies, my doctors think I could have probably done fine without c-sections, but what can you do? Can’t change bone structure and can’t change the size of your babies’ heads either!

In case you’re curious about the platypelloid pelvis…here’s an illustration (wide and shallow):

Needless to say, I'm thankful for modern technology and the invention of the C-section!


So I know we've all put our foot in our mouths from time to time, but over the past almost two years I’ve started collecting awesome comments people (mostly strangers) make with regard to these issues; here are some winners - the responses I wish I'd given are beneath each one:
Working mom:

·      Some days I want to go back to work because it would just be easier.

o   Yes, because working 9 hours at a desk and then rushing to pick up your kids so you can get home and cook dinner is so much fun. And the cramming all the housework into 48 hours of the weekend makes the weekends a blast at our house.
o   OK, so usually, I just laugh at this one because I believe there are some things that are easier about working and some things that are easier about being at home….point here – keep your trap shut.

·        I just couldn’t stand to have a stranger raise my child.       
o   Yeah, me either. It’s a good thing I see my kids’ teachers more than I see my own mother and spend more time with them than I do my husband. (I mean seriously, do they think I just get in a drive-thru line and pick up the boys from a window?)
o   Oh, and have fun with home schooling.

  • I don't understand the need. I mean the hole is the same size.
    • Lady, it doesn't matter how many cm dilated you are if your bones are oval and flat, but if you want to go ahead, feel free.
  • I just feel like the medical community is pushing C-sections on everyone nowadays.
    • Hmm, not in my actual experience of having children. They encouraged me to forego my planned C-sections both times my body went into labor on its own. Maybe it's just your doctor - oh wait, we actually see the same doctors and deliver at the same hospital. Oh wait, no one has actually tried to get YOU to have a C-section. Oh, OK.
  • I'm afraid of a C-section because everyone I know who's had one has this little pooch in their belly afterward.
    • Huh, that's odd because I actually feel like they put me back together a little tighter than I was before the baby. Or maybe it's because you saw these women THREE DAYS after they gave birth....idiot!
Formula Feeding:
  • You just need to try harder/drink dark beer/eat more fat.
    • Um you need to try harder/drink more dark beer/eat more fat.
  • I mean, why would you feed your baby rat poop?
    • I know. I'd much rather let my baby die.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Time Flies....Back to Work

SO many things to write about since last posting.

 Zach is doing quite well. My last post was just before his one month check up. At that point he was 9 pounds and some change. The only specifics I remember from the visit are that his weight was in the 50th percentile; height in the 75th and head in the 95th. I was initially worried about his weight…since Xander was such a chunker, I was convinced Zach would be too. But the doctor reminded me that at as long as he’s got that nice roll on his thigh, he’s probably juuussst fine. However, we did discover at that visit that even though I was producing significantly more milk than I ever did with Xander, it still wasn’t quite enough to fully feed Zach. So I started supplementing with formula after this.

In April, I had both boys at home with me for a week. Long story, but basically Xander was transitioning between daycares and hung out with me and Zach for a few days. I was shocked at how well I handled it! I think the thought of it was scarier than the actuality of it. I just kept telling myself, “Allison, people choose to do this day after day; get over yourself.” And I did.
we spent a lot of time that week at various parks around town

We had our first big family outing in the minivan – to a family reunion in South Carolina. Both boys slept the majority of the 3-hour trip there, so we had no complaints. Xander slept about half of the way back and only got completely ornery with about 30 minutes left to go.

We kinda skimmed over Easter this year for the boys. We figured giving ourselves one more year of parental freedom from holiday creatures would be good for us. Xander did participate (sorta) in an Easter egg hunt at our friends’ church, which I think he enjoyed.

In May, we had visitors from Detroit who spoiled both boys rotten. Then Mamina arrived to carry on the spoiling of the boys for another week. We took her to the beach to visit my mom and celebrate Mother’s Day. Zach spent his time at the actual beach in his car seat, but I’m sure he had a blast. Xander, of course dove right into the ocean despite the freezing temperature of the water.


I went back to work May 19. It was significantly easier to head back this time around. Because I already knew Zach’s care takers quite well, I had no fears or worries about him throughout the day. Then, my team at work threw me a party and made me go home early on Monday, so I was able to ease in gently.

Don’t get me wrong – I have moments here and there where I start dreaming about what I’d be doing with the boys right now if I weren’t working. But then I realize the fun of the activity I’m thinking I could be doing with the boys right this second would last one hour max and then I’d miss my coworkers and the work I do!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Three months later...

Well, it's been a while since my last post! Between the holidays and, oh yeah, having a baby, I've been a little distracted! I just re-read my last post and laughed out loud as I read "this baby is smaller" than Xander! Haha!

Well, he was smaller. From my 34 week to my 36 week prenatal appointment, I swear he grew 5 pounds! Even my doctor was shocked at how much bigger he'd gotten over two short weeks. She was mid-sentence with "he should be about 5 pounds now" when she actually looked at my belly and started laughing and said, "well, maybe more like 6 pounds!"

So as you probably can guess, Zachary Adil Zora has arrived. Not to be outdone by his big brother, Zachary was also scheduled to arrive via c-section on Monday (2/24) but decided to show up Saturday (2/22)...not that I minded. When Simon and I started watching Downton Abbey Friday evening, I thought, "hmm, these contractions are pretty regular." But I got so into the 2-hour season finale, that I didn't really pay much attention to myself. It wasn't until I tried to go to bed that I realized the contractions were pretty regular and only about 3-4 minutes apart! Oops!

But being the practical person I am, I knew I didn't want to go to the hospital Friday night. I'd eaten dinner at 6:30 and my OB stressed to me that they would not give me c-section anesthesia until 8 hours after I'd eaten my last food. And on top of that, I didn't want to check in at 11:45 p.m. and get 'charged' one of my insurance covered nights for a mere 15 minutes. So I waited until 11 and then called the doctor, who told me to come on in to the hospital.

We arrived around 12:30, and Zach was born at 2:33 a.m.....yup, we wasted no time. As soon as the doctor saw his head, he looked over the curtain and told me I'd made the right decision in having another c-section. I thought to myself, "Oh goodness, how big is this one going to be!?" But he ended up being the same as Xander. The OR staff had just delivered twins, so I think they're perspective on size was a bit off that night. I mean, 8 pounds, 6 oz, is no small potato, but they were making it seem like he was 10+ pounds as they were cleaning him up! :)

Anywho - he was nice and healthy, and we ended up going home a day early anyway, so I would have been fine checking in Friday after all. Oh well, we wouldn't have had the cool 2/22 birthday though!

And yes, I think he looks like Xander....below on the left is Xander and the right is Zachary.


So far Xander seems to enjoy his little brother. He makes a squeaking sound and points to him every now and then.

Simon was home with me for the first two weeks, which was incredibly awesome. I'm in week 2 of flying solo, and man are things simpler the second time around? I'm even dealing with getting Xander up and ready and out the door in the mornings, and I feel like it's going easier this time around! I'm sure it's just all about my perspective now.

That's the latest. Zach has his 1 month visit Monday, and I'm curious to see how big he is getting.

Not sure how much I'll be updating this blog anymore, but I will continue to post any updates via Facebook too so that everyone can keep up if interested when I do post something.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Year Complete

WOW - it's been one whole year since I woke Simon up to say, "it's time!"

And now that a year is complete, I'm really glad I've kept this blog. It helps me remember...especially now with pregnancy brain for the second go-round.

Since my 11-month post Xander has started using walking as his preferred method of transportation! I was/am in total shock that someone with a head as large as his can balance it well enough to get around to wherever he wants to go, but he does a great job. We can tell when he's tired because he topples over!

The 12-month stats:
Height: 31 inches (80%)
Weight: 26.7 lbs (88%)
Head: +97%

The doctor was also impressed that he can walk too...she didn't say it was because of his giant head, she just said, "oh wow, good."

We had to hold two birthday parties for him...he finds it rough being so popular - one for family and one for friends. We even had to limit the friends category to friends who are also 1. We did allow Lucinda (she's 2) to crash because we needed some ladies in the house for all the boys. Only one of them noticed her the instant she walked in the house though (uh, hem, Callum).

Some shots from the "friends" party:

Little cupcakes with little icing for the little ones.

Not sure what they're all watching, but here you can see the two friends sporting just as much hair as Xander. I think they're all going to be Pantene models one day!

More of the hair models.

The balloons were a big hit!
Xander and his pal JJ, who not only gives him a run for his money in the hair department, but I do believe JJ is taller and bigger all the way around...and he's a whopping 2.5 weeks younger!
And while most of you have probably already seen on Facebook, perhaps one of his favorite gifts is shown above.

All in all, it's been a fabulously quick year. I'm more than halfway through pregnancy #2 and can barely remember what week I am at. I suppose that's what you get with #2 and having them so close together. But this baby is a little different than Xander. He's smaller and moves around more...perhaps the first affects the second. I haven't had nearly as many gas issues with this guy like I did with Xander. I mean, it sounded like a college frat house around here some nights when I was preggo with Xander. I have been able to eat pretty much whatever I like. The only part so far that has been worse is the insomnia. But if that's all I have to contend with, I'll take it. It's just prep work for February when he appears and wakes us up every hour or two...or three (a girl can dream).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

11 Months in the Books

Well, little man is no longer little...not that he ever really was. He hit 11 months last week, and it's been crazy. What everyone says is true - it flies by and is all a blur, which makes me glad that I am keeping this blog. I used to be really good at photo albums, but for whatever reason, I am terrible at it now, so this blog has helped me remember when.....
Over the past month, Xander has gotten better at his walking. He's pretty good about lunging between the couch and footrest, maybe taking a step here and there with no help.
He's working on his eighth tooth, which has wreaked havoc on his sleep schedule, but we're hopeful it's almost in and over with!
He still loves boxes and bubble wrap, so please keep all impending birthday gifts limited to such. 
We were able to meet up with an old college buddy Natalie and her little man, Brian, at McDonald's before they flew back home. Yes, I know...introducing them to the junk food early is a terrible idea, but was right off the interstate, and we didn't have much time! I promise, Xander at organic asparagus for dinner!

Luckily, he's still into brushing his teeth!

And - he's still into the bathroom...though he tried to pretend he hadn't just been in there when I busted him with TP on his sock.

On a nice cooler evening one weekend, we hit up the White Water Center for a picnic dinner with the Loomis family. X enjoyed all the people/dog watching available...and only stole a little of J's food.

We bought a new footrest/coffee table/storage thingy, and I've decided it makes a lovely playpin too. However, I'm sure it won't be too long until he's hiking his leg up over the edge and throwing himself out of this.

We had a nice lunch visit from Tanya and JJ later in the month too. These boys could be brothers/twins/cousins. JJ is about 2 weeks younger than Xander and gives him a good run for his money on both hair and overall size. They will make a great offensive line one day.

And finally, we've taught him to Swiffer! He absolutely LOVES watching Simon vacuum...I mean loves it so much he throws himself out of my arms to run toward Simon and the vacuum. Luckily the Swiffer is lighter and easier for him to maneuver.

In little brother news....Baby Z 2.0 is doing well. I had my second 'old lady' ultrasound this morning, and he passed. The doctor finally said, "You are done here." (here being the center where they send old ladies...and diabetics...odd combo in my opinion, but whatever.) For as annoying as these appointments seemed to us in the beginning, we feel very blessed to have another healthy boy growing and on his way. Now to just keep him in until February....which should hopefully be the easy part. Mr. 2.0 is measuring right to his due date, which is good news to me. Xander was already a week ahead at this point, so if #2 wants to be "average" sized I am a-ok with that! As of today, no one has me if I am having twins...I take that as a win!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Double Trouble!

So I guess this whole working from home thing really hasn't done much for my upkeep of this blog! I'm sure my boss would be glad to know that!  BUT I have enjoyed being at home....mostly because I get to 'handle' Xander in the mornings now and let Simon just get ready. It used to be both of us trying to get ready at the same time and make sure Xander wasn't throwing himself off the bed, down the stairs, over the tub, etc.
So YES, he has started pulling up, sorta walking since my last post. It all started with this:

and now we're at the walker stage where he pulls up on the wall and scoots to wherever he wants to go. He absolutely loves standing up and is pretty bound and determined never to sit down again.

Luckily he's started to really enjoy books, so he will sit for that. Here you can see his favorite...and his cousin reading it to him.

We decided to brave holiday traffic again this year and head down to St. Augustine for Labor Day weekend.  It was  super fun to be able to hang out all weekend with my Florida family. Xander's 'Florida cousin' enjoyed pushing him in the stroller too.

And of course the beach was fun as usual.

We ended up leaving a day earlier than planned because we also discovered that Xander HATES his pack-n-play and refused to sleep Friday and Saturday nights, and well, I was done. However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise because we had no traffic coming home. Even though he hates the pack-n-play, he didn't seem to mind his car seat all that much - whew! Our only meltdowns came when I would take something this awesome red spoon.

Oh, and he did enjoy some light reading on the way home, which killed all of about 15 seconds of the 8 hour drive!

Another fun skill X has picked up...drinking out of a cup. He likes this cup, but his absolute favorite is drinking out of mom and dad's cups.

Simon and I celebrated our anniversary by stuffing our faces at dinner. I mean really, this one piece of chicken could feed a small village!

Other activities from the month included:

Consignment sale shopping... Luckily we have a fancy, big stroller that can handle all my '$3 steals' and X is a good sport about the whole situation.

A fun run in Downtown Davidson with his cousins. 
And the month's final activity included lots of trip to the photographer to get pictures like this one:
Yup, Xander will be a big brother in 2014....February. And yup, it's another boy, so luckily I get to keep all those '$3 steals' I've been finding around town!

Friday, August 23, 2013's been a while.

In looking back, it seems my last update was the middle of July! Well clearly a lot has happened since then.

We're back from a one-week stay in Canada. Xander did incredibly well on all our flights....sleeping through most of them. And being a "people person" (aka nosey), he also delighted the passengers around us by continually staring at them and smiling.

Canada was great. Xander's oldest cousin was in love with him, so it was fun to watch them play. Mamina has loads of good toys at her cottage, so I think he enjoyed having new stuff around him.
We've survived a mild case of hand, foot and mouth....not to be confused with hoof and mouth disease! Clearly, it just made Xander tired. Our non-napping child all of a sudden began taking 2-3 hour naps twice a day! However, he was definitely bored with mom and dad after a week of no daycare.....

...and became a little bit of a cranky pants for a couple of days...or maybe he didn't like the haircut mom gave him?

But after being back in school for a mere day, he was back to his normal self again.

He's totally mesmerized by this book. The very last page has a dragon king with a crown that lights up and plays music. I watch him with other books trying to find the singing, light-up page, and he just gets ticked off at them and starts whining. Then I show him this book, and all is well again. So note: don't give Xander any non-noise making, light-producing books in the future!

We also had his nine-month check up recently. All is well. His head made it back on the charts....down to the 94th percentile, and his height and weight were in the upper 80s (down from mid-90s), so it seems he is slowing down a bit. The doc recommended we start brushing his teeth...and given his parental dental gene pool, I figured we better take her advice. He seems to like the toothbrush, so let's hope that keeps up.

I start working from home building at work is FINALLY getting remodeled, and I am super stoked. I'm hopeful that since people won't be able to see me every day, they won't be able to throw extra work at me and I can do cool stuff like keep up with this blog better. But most of all, I'm hopeful I can do things like laundry while I'm working. Yes, I aim high!