Monday, October 17, 2011

Empty

Our house is too quiet, too still.  Our family is too small.  With just the three of us, it's too lonely.

Even though I know how much he loved her, it amazes me and touches me and hurts me to see Brad grieve so hard for Raina.  It hasn't even been 3 days but it feels like 3 seconds and 3 lifetimes all at once.

Where is the clicking of the paws on the hardwood?  Where is my shadow who follows me out to the garage when I do the laundry?  Where is the little black blur who rushes to the kitchen every time I drop a crumb of food?

We miss her is such an understatement.  There is an empty hole in our hearts, our home, our lives where she once was.  She's been with me/us since before Brad and I were married.  She's moved with us 3 times,  she's seen us fight, she's seen our happy times, all of our milestones.  She was waiting to greet Katie the day she came home from the hospital.  She was part of our engagement pictures.  In every family photo, in every Christmas card.  She was a huge part of our every day.

I know a lot of people would think we are ridiculous for mourning the loss of a dog so bitterly.  To be so heartbroken at the loss of an animal.  But can you really call a creature "just" an animal when she's THAT much a part of your family, your life, your history?

We love you so much Raina.  We hope you know what a wonderful, sweet dog you were and how much better you made our lives.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

The day the clatter died

Just a few short hours ago we lost a big piece of our family. In fact, she was a huge piece of our family and yet she was the smallest member.

Tonight, Raina got out of our yard while she was outside going potty. It was dark and we didn't realize she was gone for a few minutes. Once we realized, I handed Katie over to some friends that were visiting and Brad and I grabbed flashlights and treats and went out looking for her.

She loved to bolt. No matter how careful we were or how close an eye we'd keep on her, she'd manage a way. We'd been through this routine before SEVERAL times. Yet, she seemed to always find a way out of the house/yard/garage/etc. I was no less terrified when it happened but she was always found, she always came back.

But not this time.

We have a field on the other side of our back fence that is behind a church that sits on a very busy road. After we had been looking for Raina for a few minutes I saw Brad running toward me across the church parking lot. I was screaming, "Did you find her? Raina? Where is she?"

He wouldn't answer me. I kept screaming, assuming that he couldn't' hear me. I just wanted answers. Why was he running? He didn't say anything he just kept running toward me. When he finally got to me he said she was gone, she'd been hit by a car and was gone. I dropped the lantern and treats and went running toward her, not believing. From that point, it's a blur that I'd rather not recount.
I got Raina in December of 2003. She was my first dog that was all my own. I had pets at home growing up but after I went away to school I always felt like, no matter where I lived, it wasn't a home because I didn't have a dog. Once she came into our lives, she was part of our family and "home" was where Brad and Raina and I were.

I can't explain to you what it felt like saying goodbye. It doesn't seem real. We had just gotten back from dinner. It was late, 9 or 10 o'clock when it happened. We brought her body back home and got her settled so that we could take her to the vet in the morning. By the time we said goodbye to our friends, put Katie to bed, cleaned ourselves up and composed ourselves, it was midnight. I lay in the bed, not able to sleep.

I missed the snoring from Raina's crate. I missed her scratching her bed into a comfortable position. The room was too quiet. I tried to think of something else but nothing came. Just thoughts of Raina. All of them revolved around her. I thought of food and I wondered who would beg for scraps. I thought of Halloween and remembered her costume that she would never were. I thought of work and realized that since Katie is in daycare when I work the weekdays, I would have to come home to an empty house after work. So I'm blogging. I have so many thoughts and memories and what-ifs swirling around my head but I just needed to get some of them out. I looked on the computer and these are some of the last pics we took of Raina. Lazing about the house in her favorite spot, keeping guard and napping (above). And one of Raina's recent (and patient) attempts to befriend Katie.

I think this will do for tonight. I'm paralyzed. Numb. And yet, at the same time, in too much pain for words. I hope it's a bad dream. What will we do tomorrow without Raina? Who will bug us during our meals for scraps of food? Who will wake us up with impatient scratching on her crate in the morning? Who will greet us with crazed excitement at the door when we come home? Mostly the house is just too quiet. Who's little claws will clatter and making click-clack noises on the wood floors while Katie is sleeping and the rest of the house is quiet? Where will the lazy clattering of her claws be as she meanders through the house decided which bed she will lounge in? I'll miss the clattering. The silence is a deafening reminder of what our home and our family has lost.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Five: Confessions


This week I'm following a blogger fave of mine and linking up to her Friday Five. This week is "Confessions" and my first should be that I got most of my inspiration for my confessions from Kat. Oh well, here are my real confessions:

1. I feel like a slacker for still not having a handle on the post-pregnancy diabetes game. When I was pregnant I was sure that by now, I'd have a new routine established and my sugars would have stabilized. To be fair, post-pregnancy hormones, starting my to have my period again and continuing to breastfeed are all big factors in why my sugars are still so unpredictable. But it's still frustrating to never know what to expect from my blood sugars, especially since they are definitely not behaving the way they did pre-pregnancy. My A1C is still good (5.8!) but I think that's mostly due to all the lows I've been having. Oh well, just gotta keep on keepin' on.

2. The pregnancy pounds (which I actually didn't gain a lot of) are being stubborn. In April, I decided I was finally sick of all the extra weight I was carrying around and changed two big things. I started counting calories and working out twice a week. I've lost about 10 pounds and then STALLED. The last couple of weeks I only worked out 2 times total and we've been eating out so much my calorie counts are slipping. But this week I'm doing my best to get back on the wagon!

3. I know what Pinterest is but I'm doing my best to avoid it. I'm trying not to investigate too thoroughly because I've heard it's addictive. Proceed at your own risk.

4. I am totally chicken about breastfeeding in public. I think the more women breastfeed in public, talk about breastfeeding and advocate in general, the better it will be for everyone else. The more people are exposed (hopefully) the less weird/easier it will be to actually go out in public and breastfeed without feeling like all eyes are on you or like you might be getting judged. Because, seriously, why can't people just get over themselves? When did everyone in America turn into a teenage boy about breasts and breastfeeding? To the extent that they can't be used in public (or for some people at all) for their biologically intended purposes without inducing flushed cheeks, muffled giggles, uncomfortable looks or disgusted expressions. Grow up people. So the more women who are brave and do it in public the better, as far as I'm concerned.

The problem with my soapbox is that I can stand on it but when the bandwagon comes along I'm too chicken to hop on board. I have a nursing cover that I love. It provides tons of cover and privacy while still allowing me to keep an eye on Katie. And I use it when people come over to my house. But when it comes to breastfeeding in public, I'm nervous about getting judged. I'm embarrassed that people might be staring at me or giving me disgusted looks. Yes, it's their problem. It's the best thing for my daughter so why can't I be one of those brave souls who is an advocate by not hiding in public? Like I said, I'm a chicken. And it makes things super inconvenient. I have no desire to use a bottle when otherwise it's perfectly convenient to feed her myself. Who wants to pump more than necessary? Not me! Occasionally I'll feed her in a restaurant if we are in a quiet obscure booth. Otherwise, I end up nursing her in my car in between errands. And it's July in Florida, so that's not much fun. I really need to get over myself. Grrr.

5. Not all my home-cooked meals are low-calorie. The best thing about the calorie counting and not eating out had been some of the AWESOME new recipes I've tried. I've been better about grocery shopping and meal planning so not only do we have have great home-cooked dinners during the week but we also don't feel deprived by not going out to eat. The problem with that is that just because these meals are home-cooked doesn't mean they are "healthy." They aren't unhealthy, just not particularly low calorie. I justify this two ways: First, my husband is a very picky eater and I really ought to make something he will eat. And second, I watch my breakfast and lunch calories like a hawk and figure I'm allowed to splurge for dinner. But I am on the hunt for tasty, low-cal meals so if you can suggest any, please do! In the meantime, here are a few of the yummy meals I've been making:

Homemade Pizza (I've also been mixing it up with Chicken Pesto Pizza, usually with store-bought dough)
Beef and Two Bean Chili (Brad had a chili craving)
PW's BBQ Chicken (seriously tasty!)
Tacos, Homemade Salsa (PW's recipe, of course) and Kat's Spanish Rice

I'm working tomorrow (YUCK!), but I hope everyone else has a great weekend!
~Layne

Saturday, May 14, 2011

D-Blog Week: Saturday Snapshots

Oh what a difference a year makes.
Last year for D-Blog Week I posted pics of my diabetes drawer:

. .which was housed in a chest of drawers
in a room that once looked like this . .

. . . and now looks like this . . .

Since then, the extra supplies got shoved here
(in that same room):

And my go-to stash has found a place in my nightstand drawer:

Oh what a difference a year makes.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Major Malfunction!

Blogger went down yesterday afternoon for maintenance but was still available as read-only. As many of you know, this little maintenance issue did not go smoothly. Posts were taken down and comments were deleted. Major bummer! Bad Blogger! BAD!

So I've re-posted the posts from yesterday and today, in case anyone missed them. This post will have to be short and sweet because I'm at work and it's raining babies. TGIF!!

D-Blog Week: 10 Things I Hate About You

1. That diabetes comes with so many (false) stereotypes.

Aren't diabetics fat? Doesn't diabetes mean you'll die? Can you have a baby without going into kidney failure? ::cough:: Steel Magnolias ::cough:: All diabetes is the same and it means you can't eat sugar, right? If you are on an insulin pump, that must mean you have really bad diabetes. You're an adult, so that means you can't have juvenile diabetes! Guess what! If you lose wait/eat a special diet/ take a pill full of lizard spit you'll be cured!

Huh? WTF?!?

Some days I'm so fed up with all the media hype and falsehoods and stereotypes that run rampant about diabetes. It seems like everyone is stuck in the 80s when it comes to diabetes management and complications. Can someone please explain to the media and the public at large about insulin pumps? And the differences between Type 1 and Type 2? And that I didn't do this to myself? I try to be patient and I really do want to educate people but some times I feel like I just can't it explain it one more time! And even worse are the days when I try to educate people and they just smile and nod and I can tell they are thinking I'm the one who doesn't know anything about my own condition! Arggh!

2. Meters that make you wait before you put the blood on the strip.

Because inevitably, I'm going to screw up and put the blood on before its ready and I'm going to get a big fat ERROR and I will have wasted my $1.20 strip. Grrr!! I loved my Freestyle that was ready for blood the second you put the strip in, it was so nice. Unfortunately, my Ping meter is a One Touch and it is constantly out to get me!

3. The fear that creeps up unexpectedly.

Most days I don't think about my mortality. But there are days (usually during one of my annual appointments) when I worry that the other shoe is going to drop and my first complication will crop up. And I get this image in my head that one tiny complication will blow up into my entire body falling apart. And with Katie here, the idea of diabetes getting the better of me or slowing me down in any way just scares me that much more.

4. It's ALL THE TIME.

Ok, most diseases are all the time as in, they never technically go away. But asthmatics don't wheeze every couple of hours. People with sickle cell don't hurt every day. Epileptics don't have a seizure every time they want to eat something. I'm not saying that ANY of these folks have it easy or that I would want to trade. But for me one of the worst parts of diabetes is that there is no remission. It's not like if you get your blood sugar under control you can sail for a few days or even a few hours. Diabetes is an every-hour-of-the-day kinda disease. Blood sugar seems to be one one thing in your body that is affected by every single, tiny, little thing you do. With every bite. With every physical activity. With almost every decision, you have to be aware of diabetes and plan for it. It's mentally exhausting! And some days I just want a frickin' break!

5. The math SUCKS.

The are some days I'm just sick of all the equations. There are the "easy" ones that I can almost do in my sleep: Insulin sensitivity + carb ratios -blood sugar correction=bolus. And for those I feel very lucky that God invented the bolus wizard on my pump. Amen! But then there is all the extraneous stuff that doesn't have a hard and fast value assigned to it like exercise + hormones + sickness + how old is the insulin in my cartridge? + could my site be going bad? + breastfeeding = who knows how much insulin and who knows what blood sugars! Good luck and have fun with that. GAH!

If you don't know what I'm talking, about here's a great video from George and Scott about the suckage that is diabetes math and a post from Karen about how complicated and unpredictable that math can be! What? You didn't know that sometimes 1+1 doesn't equal 2? Well, with diabetes, sometimes it doesn't!

6. That it can take me out of my life when I least expect it to!

It doesn't matter if I'm at work or (more importantly) at home with my little one, I have no desire to be forced to put my life on hold because I'm groggy and low and need OJ. It's not fair. Sometimes I can squeeze out a few extra minutes of coherence but eventually the foggy mind and tingly lips will overtake me and, whether I like or not, I need a time out. And for a Type A like me who doesn't like to be told what to do (even by my body!) that's rough. :-(

7. The horribly misplaced guilt.

Every blood sugar seems to have the potential to serve up a big plate of guilt. I can't believe I guessed the wrong carbs? (But how could I have known that a side salad would have 80 carbs?!?) Maybe I shouldn't have had that dessert. (But it was my birthday!?!) Maybe I should have replaced that site instead of keeping it another day longer. (But it looked and felt great and it was a really inconvenient time to put another one in!?!)

How is it that a disease that is so unfair and unpredictable can still make us feel so guilty for every decision and/or indiscretion? Guess what?!? Most people don't have to Google every carb they eat just to double check it for accuracy. And most people don't have to feel guilty about a piece of cake on their birthday. And most people don't have to worry about slinking away to the bathroom so that they can hoist up their shirt, rip out one site and jab another one in themselves just in case it goes bad.

This is WAY out of the realm of what most people call normal. But "normal" for a diabetic is what most people would call over-the-line, hyper-awareness combined with incredible patience and willpower. But we don't see it that way because it's just what we have to do to be healthy and feel good. Yet I still berate myself every time I "am bad" like I am such a horrible person for not having the willpower to power through all the crap. Well, I call BULLSH!T.

8. It always crops up at the worst time.

How does a cartridge that last 3 days always need to be changed during an hour-long errand when you didn't bring extra supplies? Why do the low symptoms crop up the second before I'm about to breastfeed my frantically hungry baby girl? Why does my site go bad during the 5 hours I actually sleep at night and not during the day when it's SO much more convenient to fix? It's like Murphy's Law of Diabetes!

9. It totally messes with my fashion and gets in the way.

I'm so super sick of the little rectangular, pager-shaped protrusion that juts out of my right pocket every day of my life. (Yes, I always wear my pump on the right side no matter where my site happens to be. Yes, I've tried to change it up but it just doesn't feel right anywhere else. No, I don't know why.)

I hate that I can't seem to hide it in my cleavage on my favorite dresses and if I clip it to my underwear it pokes out and gives me freakishly pokey/angular/uneven hips. It's so obvious and it drives me insane. I hate that I have to think about where I'm going to put my little pink external pancreas with every fashion decision. And that sometimes wearing a skirt or a pretty sundress (and as a result trying to find a place to secure my pump) is sometimes a hassle that I'm not willing to deal with. Oh! And I hate that my tubing seems to jump out of my pocket and lasso every knob/door handle/baby's foot that is within reach. Gah! Cut it out!

10. That with all the bads of diabetes, it's not just me in this boat.

That's right. I really don't like that diabetes has to drag my loved ones down with it. It's bad enough that it can make me a crazy person some days but it sucks that it has a way of affecting everyone around me as well. Whether it's because I'm super grouchy because my blood sugar is high and taking it out on the nearest loved one. Or because super needy and loopy because my blood sugar is low and need the closest friend/relative/husband to drop what they are doing and help me procure some fast-acting carbs ASAP.

But mostly I hate seeing the look of worry flicker over my mom's face. I hate that when I'm upset about a day of unrelentingly high blood sugars and worrying aloud to my husband about what havoc they might have wreaked on my eyes/kidneys/heart, that he has to worry along with me. I hate that maybe he (and later, Katie) may worry about how they will take care of me if anything goes wrong. Or, God forbid, what they would do without me. That's not something that husbands, mother's and children should have to worry about with any regularity. The people around me shouldn't feel responsible for taking care of their adult wife/daughter/mother and it breaks my heart that for my loved ones it's a thought that is sometimes forced to cross their minds.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

One Year Ago Today

I am taking a break from D-Blog week today because I can't help but want to acknowledge something mind-boggling, life changing and completely amazing today. So I'm pushing back today's topic by one day so that I can comment on something more important.

A year ago today, I wrote this letter. I didn't post it that day but I did write it last year on May 12th. I can't believe it has been one year. So much has happened. Our lives have changed in wonderful ways. It has been a challenging, awe-inspiring, wonderful, exhausting journey and a year later we have amazing things to show for it. Well, mostly just this little amazing girl. (Though my several A1C's in the 5's ain't nuthin' to sneeze at neither but mostly I'm just happy about the little girl. The A1C's just remind me that I gave her a nice, safe oven to bake in! ;-)

May 12th is branded into my mind as the day that Brad and I knew our life would change. As the anniversary of that day has approached it's made me so happy to remember back to what we were feeling that morning and think of everything we've gone through since then. It's amazing how quickly it's flown by and yet how far we've come!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

D-Blog Week: D-Bloopers

Today's topic is about our diabetes blooper moments. And, alright, this one is another cop-out for me, kinda like yesterday's D-blog Post . . . but I seriously couldn't think of any other diabetes-related blooper! (Cut me some slack, will you? I have a tiny-needy-yet-completely-adorable human that I'm dealing with at the moment!)

The only d-related "Oop's" that were popping into my noggin' were the ones that are usually followed by four-letter words. And I'm thinking this topic is geared more toward the smack-yourself-in-the-forehead-Homer-Simpson-style blunders rather than the R-rated, furry-inducing kind.

And since I had already written a post about the only d-blooper I could think of I'm just going to reference it here. Ironically, this post was written during last year's D-Blog Week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

D-Blog Week: Letter Writing Day

Today we are supposed to write a letter. The letter could be directed to your pancreas to tell it off for being so lazy for the last fill-in-the-blank years (that's 20, for me). Or to your endocrinologist as a thank you for the support. (Or to your endocrinologist as a tell-off for all the crap you've been given over the years.) Or a letter to the company that makes your meter or pump describing the diabetes gizmo of your dreams and how the company could tweak their machines/customer service/software/etc to make your diabetes life easier. . . .

Wait. Stop there. I just did that.

Recently I got fired up when I heard that Medtronic had hosted a forum for a group DOC bloggers to get their input on how they could improve their services and products and, in turn, to give a few of their consumers the inside scoop on how their company/product development/customer service operates and why things happen the way they do. The reason that I was fired up was because I so desperately wanted my pump company (Animas) to do something like this for it's customers. Even if I'm not a part of it, it would be great if they would invite a group of Ping users to a forum that would allow them to offer opinions on the pump and meter, ask why certain changes or upgrades can't be made and get to know how the company works and what can be expected for the future. Not only would they get great feedback that I'm sure would help all of their customers, but the bloggers who were invited could spread the word on what was shared at this meeting.

Since it seems pointless to rehash the entire letter again, please go here to see what I wrote to Animas.

Monday, May 9, 2011

D-Blog Week: Admiration and Inspiration

For me one of the best things about the DOC is the encouragement and inspiration it offers. Even when you don't realize you're doing it, some of you bloggers offer so much to buffer my hope and my spirit. As a community I learn a lot from all the Type 2's, parents of PWD and adults with LADA. It's been so nice to hear other perspectives and hear other's stories.

I know that today we are supposed to pick a group of bloggers with a totally different perspective and tell why we admire them and how they inspire us. But as much as I've learned from bloggers with T2 or LADA or spouses/parents of PWD, it wouldn't come close to how much I've learned from or been inspired by other bloggers with Type 1 diabetes. These T1's have shown me how much we can really accomplish. When I've thought I was the only person struggling with something, they've shown me I wasn't alone. When I thought I'd found a diabetes-related hurdle that I couldn't overcome, they've proved me wrong.

And even though we share the same form of diabetes, the T1 bloggers who inspire me the most are the ones who've done things that I aspire to do. Not just done them but done them well. Truly excelled. It's so inspiring to be able to look a few steps ahead and see how other T1's have prepared for or dealt with life's challenges. Pregnancy, for example, is something that I was really looking forward to in life but was very scared to endure because of my diabetes. But it was amazing to follow other bloggers' journeys and see the ups and downs and witness them come out on the other side as healthy moms of healthy babies. Even though I knew it could be done, following these bloggers showed me it could be done. Proved that it could be done well, not with results that were okay for a diabetic but with results that were great even for a non-diabetic! It also showed me that there could be bumps along the way, a bad blood sugar here or there, and that there could still be a happy, healthy ending.

And now that I'm a mom, it's so wonderful to follow the journey's of other new-mom T1's. How are they handling their blood sugars and their babies at the same time? Are they packing their meters in with the diapers? Is breastfeeding making their blood sugars go crazy too? It's so nice to have such a wealth of inspiration and information from other T1's who are going through the same things I am, just to know that it can be done!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I would like to thank my Mom . . .
and my Grandmother for being the awesome, strong, wonderful women who raised me.
But I would also like to take a minute on my first Mother's Day to thank the amazing, beautiful baby girl who made me a Mama . . .
I love you Katie! Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Second Annual Diabetes Blog Week

For the second year in a row, Karen over at Bittersweet has organized Diabetes Blog Week. I loved being involved last year and I'm going to do my best to be involved this year . . . in between feeding, changing and wrangling my little one!




For those of you who don't know, Diabetes Blog Week is basically NaBloPoMo but shorter (thank-the-Lord!) and Karen has assigned each day a topic. In addition, (obviously) each topic is related in some way to diabetes. So while it's nice not to have to think of a topic to blog about it will still be a bit of a task finding the time. But because I really love being part of the DOC and had such fun doing it last year. . . here goes nuthin'. See you Monday!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kate’s First Month: The Unexpected

After this I have just one more post about our first month home with Kate. This post in particular was the hardest to write and I feel a lot of guilt writing it. I follow a lot of blogs and several of them are new moms or I'm reading posts from back when the bloggers I follow have had their babies. And I'm not hearing a drop of bad. But I know out there somewhere, there has to be someone who's having a rough time. Not postpartum depression bad. But not all unicorns and gumdrops all the time either. And that was me. So, even though I'm a little ashamed and embarrassed to be putting this out there when it seems like no one else is, I'm doing it because I have to believe that I'm not the only one who feels like this. And it makes it worse thinking that I am. So here it goes.

I love Kate, more than I can express in words. In fact, the first couple of weeks I was blissfully happy, though tired. I mostly stared at her. I couldn't believe she was mine! But as the weeks passed and she grew more active and the lack of sleep piled up, things started getting harder. I was trying to get over some serious bad mojo from my delivery and felt a lot of guilt and shame about the way it went. In addition, Kate had some rough nights and the occasional rough day that would leave me exhausted and praying for something to help her because obviously I wasn't enough.

Once we got home with Katie it was so strange to have her there. Bringing her home was an amazing, wonderful change. But it was definitely a change. Also, I think I was especially worn out leading up to her arrival for several reasons. First, I had been so sore and uncomfortable the week leading up to the delivery and had been unable to sleep more than a couple of hours at a time for weeks. Not to mention that the week before her birth had been Christmas and was packed with a lot of activity. Add to that an exhausting delivery and stressful hospital stay and I was so overwhelmed and discouraged. I was sure all I needed was to get home and everything would be ok.

Instead, I was surprised how I continued to feel overwhelmed by everything. For the longest time it had just been Brad and I and now there was this beautiful little creature living with us who needed us for everything. And (surprise, surprise!) being there for another little human 24 hours a day is kind of a lot of work! And it didn't leave a whole lot of room for anything else to get done. The first couple of weeks I was lost in baby bliss and totally fine with that. (What dishes? Laundry who? What clutter?) But as I slowly crawled out of my new mama haze and looked around at my wreck of a house I started to twitch.

You see, I'm a little bit of a neat freak. Even my messes and my piles have to be organized. When I go out to dinner, I'm one of those people who stacks the used dishes in a pile for the waiter and puts them near the edge of the table in a not so subtle, please-take-them-away-now gesture. Being Type A and a neat freak and not being able to get anything done or cross anything off my growing to-do list was so stressful for me.

People offered to do stuff for me but who wants people doing their laundry if it means digging through their unmentionables?? Plus I'm kind of particular about housework and I had a feeling I'd end up re-folding or re-doing whatever anyone else did. (I'm becoming more and more annoying as I drone on, aren't I?) And as much as I LONGED for people to bring over food so I didn't have to cook every night, I hated asking for it. And while there were a few people who asked if we needed anything, very few actually offered specific help. No one said "I'm coming over and doing your laundry" or "I'm coming over and bringing you dinner." They just asked if there was anything they could do. And the thought of saying "Why yes, would you be so kind as to spend your money and drive your butt all over town to grab us take out?" Or even better: "How about spending your money and slaving over a hot stove to make my family dinner while I'm sitting on my butt, not working, ogling my own baby?" I hated to outright ask for help! It seemed so selfish of me, not to mention embarrassing! So instead I told them how sweet it was for them to offer and politely declined.

Even though the housework was piling up, you might think the baby was the easy part. I know I thought it would be! I expected that since I've worked with infants for years that having one of my own would be a breeze. Shoot, I was used to having 3-5 babies at a time as a nurse and 8-12 patients as a nurse practitioner! Surely one baby was nothing! I definitely expected to have just as much free time during the day as I would between patients at work, if not more since I would only have ONE baby and wouldn't be taking her vitals or charting her assessment! But when people say it's different with your own child, I never realized how right they were. Somehow my entire day was eaten up by diaper changes and breastfeeding (not to mention feeding myself). It seemed like my entire day revolved around a continuous cycle of changing and feeding. And it seemed like I barely finished when it would be time to start all over again! And it just made it all the worse when people would come up to me and say "Wow this must be so easy for you since you work with babies all the time!" Um, no, and now I feel like even more of a loser. Ugh.

Not to mention the constant worry and wonder. Is there something wrong? Is there a way to do this better? There has GOT to be an explanation for this that I'm not thinking of? Why is this so stinking difficult? And in an effort to answer these questions, I found myself Googling things I already knew the answer to. Wondering if I could find some golden nugget of information that would make our lives easier. And I had to laugh out loud every time I would stumble upon an article that would answer a question using the same words I would use to answer the same question asked to me by parents of my patients.

It knocked me back and made me realize that I needed to relax and trust in what I knew. And what I knew was how to care for newborns. I'd been doing it for several years and rethinking everything just because this particular newborn was mine was just stupid. I found myself falling into the trap of so many new parents that I counsel at work; thinking there HAD to be an answer to every question, a way to make everything better and a reason for every little thing. After a while, I realized that I had to have more faith in myself and (again) trust in my own knowledge. And when there wasn't a clear answer, I had to tell myself what I tell my patient's parents: trust your instinct and don't overreact. Sometimes babies just cry. And sometimes they sleep. And sometimes they spit up. There isn't always an answer to every tiny thing. There's no magic bullet that will make life with a baby easier. But you'll know when something's wrong.

In general, I'm a pretty on-top-of-it kinda girl. I'm used to crossing things off my "To Do" list and never getting too far behind. My house is neat, my life is organized and everything is in order. And when things do get a little behind and life starts getting messy, I can only take it for so long before I go on a cleaning/organizing/catching up binge and all is right with the world again. (Yes, I have been accused of being psychotic by my husband, why do you ask?) I don't necessarily need to be the best at everything but I'm used to at least being good at things and doing well. One of the reasons that I think that first month was so hard on me was that it felt like the standard that I held myself up to was now completely unreachable. I prided myself at being on top of things and now that I (really, really) wasn't, my confidence and self-worth crumbled.

As much as I wanted to go on a cleaning binge and try to catch up with everything that needed to be done, I just couldn't. There wasn't enough time. And I certainly wasn't going to make Katie sacrifice because Mama didn't have her sh!t together. And sitting in the middle of that mess and knowing everything that I had to do (for work, at home, for Kate, etc) just made me more and more miserable. As for me, I averaged a shower every other day to every third day or so. Not only was it hard to get away from Katie (even more so when Brad went back to work) but recovering from a C-section made showering more difficult and uncomfortable. My house was a mess, I was a mess and it's not like I as doing one thing well to the exclusion of everything else! Nope, I felt like I was letting everyone down and not doing anything well. Crappy wife, lousy mother, shoddy homemaker. Why couldn't I handle this?

That first month we had to learn how to do every thing differently. Things took longer to get done, we were slower. The house was a mess for a while and it was mid-January before our Christmas tree came down (which is a big no-no for this Type-A-by-the-rules girl who always has her tree down the day after New Year's) and even longer before all the Christmas presents were put away. Brad was amazing the first time I told him how I felt. He said that he'd love to help but he didn't know what needed to be done. He told me to write a list of everything that needed doing and he would work on it. Even after he went back to work, he wanted me to be with Katie so he would come home and do some chores at night. Bless that wonderful man.

It felt like our house was a disaster but we slowly got through it. Laundry always needed doing but it got done eventually, and we even switched to paper plates so that we didn't have to do dishes as often. Also, I started ASKING FOR HELP! I still couldn't bring myself to ask friends but I did ask family to help with meals when they offered (aka I asked if Brad would ask when they offered). And I also asked my family if someone could come over and sit with Kate while I got some stuff done. That way I could be crossing stuff off my "To Do" list and Katie could still be getting the attention she needed. That, in and of itself, was a huge help and made me feel productive and worthwhile again. It was so nice to be on my feet bustling around the house, cleaning up, folding laundry, etc. I can't explain the high I feel when I'm being productive and getting things done. Whether it's at home or at work, I really enjoy being busy and accomplishing things. Brad calls it a sickness but I love it!

By the end of the first 4 to 6 weeks, we had gotten our rhythm down. And gradually I needed less and less help staying on top of things. And by the time I headed back to work Katie and I had worked out our own rhythm and we were able to get all our tasks done without any help. I was even back to getting home-cooked meals on the table most nights of the week. And since I love cooking, I was so happy to be doing it again.

My biggest piece of advice for new moms is not to be afraid (or in my case, embarrassed) to ask for help. And I will remember in the future that instead of asking new parents if they need anything I'm going to TELL THEM what I want to do for them and ask if they need anything else, that way they don't have to feel bad about asking. Also, as hard as this lesson has been for ME to learn, it is so important not to judge your worth based on the length of your "To Do" list.

I read somewhere that as a new mom, you have to think of your baby as your "job." Priority #1 is the baby, priority #2 if the baby is fine and you have free time is doing chores related to the baby (laundry, preparing feeds, cleaning bottles, etc) and priority #3 is taking care of yourself so that you can continue to take care of priorities #1 and #2 (eat, shower, sleep, etc). Very far down the list falls housework and the like. Looking at things like this made it a lot easier for me because it helped me realize that by taking care of Kate I was getting things done, the most important things.

Of course, this far out we are doing fine. Even better than that, we are amazing. Kate is such a joy to take care of and she is so full of smiles and personality. She loves going out. It's no big deal to run to the grocery store or to Target or out to meet her Daddy for lunch during the day. And I can do almost all my household chores while she's napping or if she's awake I just put her in her bouncer in the room with me and she'll happily play and keep me company. She sleeps better at night but somehow I'm still tired ALL THE TIME . . . but the best part is I've never been happier.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kate’s First Month: The Love

The first month with Kate seems like such a whirlwind. I remember when it was happening it seemed like time was passing so slowly. Long days and even longer nights. Those first few weeks I remember just staring at Kate. All. The. Time. I would sit down to eat and take a glance at her and before I knew it I had been gazing at her for several minutes. Or I would be holding her in front of the TV, catching up on a few shows and when my eyes would drift down to her face, I found myself completely unable to look away. I studied her features. Looked over her little hands, her knees, her face. I looked for similarities between Kate and I and Kate and Brad. I wondered who she looked like. I found myself getting choked up as I looked at her.
In fact, that whole first month, Brad caught me teary-eyed more times than I'd like to admit. My mom even asked if I had the "baby blues" because normally I'm not a crier. Even throughout the pregnancy I remained pretty level-headed. I would have to say that during my pregnancy I was even happier than normal. Now I'm sure that post-partum hormones played their role in my teariness, but mostly I just felt so overwhelmed with love for this little creature. When I looked at her I saw so many gorgeous things about her. This may sound odd, but over the years I've seen LOTS of babies and, absent-mindedly, I found myself categorizing them. The fair ones, the round-faced ones, the ones with pretty almond-shaped eyes, the not-so-cute ones, the ones with pretty hair, and the ones with cute little noses, etc. I always wondered what Brad and my baby would look like one day and I found myself drawn to the babies that had features similar to the ones I imagined our baby would have. Dark hair, round face, small nose, almond-shaped eyes. I always thought those babies were the cutest, probably because it was so easy to imagine that is how my baby would look. Of course, I had no idea what my baby would one day look like and I always said that no matter what he/she looked like I'd love her more than anything.
But now that she was here and as I looked at her for hours upon hours those first weeks, I realized that everything I'd ever asked for in a child was right here in this little girl. Since I was a little girl, I'd always wanted a daughter and here she was. A dark-haired, brown-eyed girl and here she was. The pretty, bright, almond-shaped eyes. The mass of straight, dark hair. The gorgeous, pouty lips. The tiny, petite nose. All the features I'd found so pretty in this baby or that baby, they were all here in this one little package that was my daughter. All the attributes I'd ever wished for in a baby . . . in my baby . . . had all come together in a beautiful, healthy, little girl. How did I get so lucky? And I was not just lucky because my daughter was a beauty but also because she was the picture of health. I see so many babies with bad hearts, bad lungs, even bad blood sugars. But I had been blessed with a perfect baby. Ten fingers, ten toes, and everything about her functioned just like it should. How in the world could I not get teary thinking of what a blessing I had been given? These were not sad tears. Not baby blues tears. Not tears of depression. These tears that flowed freely down my cheeks were tears of wonder and awe. Tears of the joy that I couldn't contain.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kate’s First Month

Even though I am so FAR behind, I have been keeping notes on Katie's developments and our life these first few months. So I'm finally going to start sharing monthly updates on her. There will actually be several posts regarding Katie's first month with us. Because as I sat down to write about it, I found that I had a lot to say. Not only was Kate here and we were becoming a new family but there were so many other adjustments. Finding out who we were as parents, how we coped, new habits, new activities, a new diabetes routine . . . a whole new normal. I had so many thoughts buzzing in my head as we tried to regain our footing and find sure ground that first month. So I broke it up into several posts based on the different things I was thinking those first few weeks. Of course, the first post will be devoted entirely to Miss Kate:




It's amazing how much we could learn about Kate in just a few weeks. It's hard to imagine back when we first found out that we were pregnant and she was just a tiny cluster of cells. Now she's this big, beautiful baby with likes and dislikes and habits and characteristics all her own. It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when we didn't know about her, when she didn't exist, when we weren't expecting her and preparing for her. These are just a few of the things we've picked up on about Kate so far:

* She picked up on breastfeeding pretty quickly (especially compared to some horror stories I've heard). She needed a little help with her latch and we used a nipple shield at first but were able to wean off that by about 2 weeks and she's been doing great ever since! And she doesn't spit up at all . . . we got really lucky!

* As far as feedings go, the only hiccup we had was when Kate was about a week old. She was getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk (the creamy, fattier milk that is released toward the end of the feeding). As a result, she was fussier, passing some loose green stools and not remaining satisfied as long between feeds. All we did to clear this up was to change from offering both breasts at each feeding to only offering one per feed, that way she would drain it completely and get plenty of hindmilk with each feeding. It also helped that the engorgement that I experienced around this time (OUCH!) cleared up in a few days. (FYI: When a mom is engorged it takes baby longer to get to the hindmilk which is fattier and keeps babies full longer.)

* She experimented with a couple of bottles of breastmilk during this first month. First, because I was pumping and bottle feeding just in case she wasn't getting enough, especially in the hospital. And second, because I wanted to make sure Brad had a chance to practice bottle feeding her for when I would go back to work. She was a CHAMP! A little bit of a messy eater (like most breastfed babies) but she took to the bottle great. She never had any trouble with nipple confusion and has even been on a paci since the beginning without issues!



* She doesn't have too much of a schedule for the first few weeks. She likes to eat every 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours and may go as long as 4 hours overnight. Mostly we are just on a rotating schedule of sleep-change-eat-awake-wash-rinse-repeat.




* She had some battles with erythema toxicum (aka newborn rash) that came and went from about 5 days old until she was about 2 weeks old and then cropped up again at about 4-6 weeks old. Very transient. I kept telling him not to sweat it but her dad worried about it a lot. I decided to try some Aveeno sensitive skin bath soap and it helped a little but really we just had to wait it out and it went away.

* We had LOADS of visitors the first few weeks. It seemed like everyone flocked to see our Katie girl. Which was fine by us because we LOVED showing her off . . .uh, I mean introducing her to everyone. Her grandmas, in particular, became crazy for her right away.


* It took us a while to venture out in the world. We did go to Target when Kate was 5 days old but that was because we needed a few necessities. But after that it was a couple weeks before we ventured out again. Brad was nervous to go anywhere with a newborn, afraid she'd cry and everyone would stare. Or that she would hate the car. But what we found instead was that she LOVED her car seat. It seemed to be a drug for her. She was always calm in it and usually drifted off to sleep shortly after being buckled in. Restaurants and stores didn't faze her. We were still hesitant to do too much but were relieved to find that if we needed to go out, Katie was amenable!!

* She started being vocal around 3 weeks with soft coos and short vowel sounds.

* She has a habit of grinning and smiling in her sleep and toward the end of the first month she even starts to show us her open-mouth, gummy, on-purpose smiles.

* She hated baths and diaper changes, but we quickly learned that her binky can help her (and Brad and I) get through unscarred. ;-)

* She loves laying on Mama's chest and it almost always put her to sleep.

* She also likes when Daddy walks around the house with her. "Doing laps" around the house almost always calms her down.

* She is generally a very happy baby and during the day spends her time laying in her Mama and Daddy's arms, looking around and only getting fussy when she needs changing or is hungry. Until, at about 1 1/2 weeks old, she started on her "sun-downing" trick where she got fussy every night once it got dark but still nothing a feeding or some cuddles couldn't soothe. Around 3 weeks, she decided that night-time (between around 9 to around midnight) was not her friend and just wailed every night during this time. Her dad discovered that making laps around the house was about the only thing that helped.

* Fortunately, I was able to get out of witnessing these awful spells because Brad took the "first shift" of the night, which allowed me to go to bed early and get some uninterrupted sleep. He usually stayed up with her until about midnight or so. Then he would bring her in and set her in the pack and play next to the bed (where she slept for the first 8 weeks) and go to bed. From that point on I would feed her and get her back to sleep so that he could rest up for work the next day. (More details on our night time routine here.)
* She wore Newborn sized clothes and diapers for her whole first month (and well into her second!) I was so surprised because I've heard so many parents say that their babies only wore NB size for a very short time or skipped that size all together! So we only had a handful of NB size outfits and actually had to run out and buy more!!

* Brad went back to work on January 17th. I think we were both a little worried about it! Brad had been such a huge help around the house while I was focused on Katie and it had been so nice to have him around that I couldn't imagine him being out of the house all day. And, of course, he didn't want to leave his girls behind. But it all worked out in the end and as hard as it was saying goodbye in the morning, it was always great to see him walk through that door every night! And he's so excited to be home. This is how he greeted Katie one night:


* As much as everyone says their baby loves the swing, sadly, Kate does not. She doesn't hate it but it isn't the cure-all for us that it seems to be for other parents. We also tried to put her on her playmat at about 2 or 3 weeks old to see if she was interested in the mobile and lights and music. Uh . . . not so much.

* She does what we call the "Ole!" It's where she has one fist up by her face and the fist curled up at the opposite elbow, kind of like a flamenco dancer. And you can just see "Ole!" in a thought bubble above her head. ;-)


* She got dressed up in her first official outfit and attended her first official outing, a bridal shower, on January 30th.

* At an appointment she had shortly after turning 1 month old she weighed 9 lbs 8 oz. Yay for good weight gain!

That's about it for my girl in her first month. It really was an amazing time for our little family. Next up: How this tiny girl stole a little more of our hearts every day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My little tax break

Happy Tax Day everyone!! We filed back in February but this year there was one BIG change in our return. Since our girly was born on December 31st people like to remind us that she is our little tax deduction. Well, then she is definitely the CUTEST tax deduction I've ever seen. ;-)~

Chillaxin' w/ her Dad

Giving her Grandma BIG smiles!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

OMG!

So, I'm seriously ashamed. No joke, call the mommy police! Recently, my friend Annie (also Type 1 and also recently had an adorable baby of her own) pointed out that there is something missing on my blog!

Notice that I have a picture of myself, my husband and our dog along the left-hand navigation side of the blog. In the past this was just to show off my family, the people (and dog) that I write about. Well, we recently had a very important addition to that family and she was nowhere to be seen! That's right folks, I forgot to add my daughter to my blog. Sure I talk about her all the time to everyone I meet and show an inordinate amount of pictures to anyone that even kind of asks about her. But how could I forget to add her to our little cast of characters along the side of my blog?!?

Well, I felt downright ashamed, so here she is in all her naked glory. (I know, let the therapy begin, right?) Hopefully I'll remember to update the picture relatively regularly as she grows. But, for now, I just feel better that she's up there. :-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Looking ROUGH

No! I am not referring to my body after baby. Why? You mean I can't wear my maternity jeans until Katie goes to kindergarten? It's not currently in style to be squishy? Ugh. Bummer. That is still a sore subject and I'm working on it, dammit!

Seriously, though. Kerri recently posted about the trials and tribulations her poor pump has seen. And, honestly, after reading it I breathed a sigh of relief. Thank the Lord above I'm not the only adult diabetic who beats their pump up like Mike Tyson on a bad day! Every so often when I look down I my pump, I really see it and I realize that it is looking more and more hit up every day. And I am forced to wonder, how do these giant scratches and deep gouges get there? It's finding a giant bruise on your body and having NO CLUE how it got there? What could I be doing that would inflict this level of carnage and destruction on my poor little pump??

I wasn't a terribly active person until recently (I told you, I'm working on it!!) and even still, how dangerous is the treadmill for a device that's tucked into your bra?!? During the day, I tend to store my pump in the pocket of my pants/jeans and clipped in a cami under my scrubs for work. Now, I am the rather clumsy and I tend to take sharp corners that result in me clipping my hips/toes/etc on walls and door frames. (DOH!) But my pump usually remains safely in my pocket/cami. The only time it's clipped to my waistband and is exposed is when I'm at home in my PJ's since they have no pocket. So sure, every now and then my pump gets a beating when I walk into a wall, but how often is that really?


When I was pregnant and on my feet for 24 hours straight at work, I tended to get pretty hot and sweaty. Gross, I know, but stay with me here. One day at work when I pulled my pump out of my cami, I noticed that the rubber cover over the up/down arrows stayed stuck to my skin as I pulled my pump away. It wasn't completely torn but it looked like the glue had melted and the rubber was coming up. I could only assume that this was because I had been hot and the pump was restingd against my skin. Luckily since Animas' warranty and customer support was awesome, they overnighted me another pump for free and I shipped the sweaty one back. Eww for them! Yay for me!

So I've technically only had my current pump for 6 months or so. I've gone through 3 pumps in 15 months?!? WHY?!? I will say that the screen on the Animas Ping is pretty soft and any kind of rough rubbing (like getting scuffed on the rivets of my jeans as I shove it into my pocket, say?) will create a white-ish scar over the screen. And it's pretty hard to see through if it's in the wrong spot. They offer a replacement screen film but I have no desire to pay $10 for it (plus shipping) when I can just as easily squint or use my meter remote. Call me cheap, I don't care, not doin' it !


Anyway, other than the hot-and-sweaty-business (which is gone now that I'm not dragging Katie around with me at work) and the screen, I can't for the life of me figure out why the rest of my pump looks like it's been through the garbage disposal. And I think I'll just have to live with the fact that I just may never know.

Anybody out there in that boat with me? Any other battered and bruised pumps?

PS: For those curious, I took these pics at work. And when I dug my pump out of my cami I had to dig everything else out of my shirt pocket/neckline to reach it. So it's dumped next my other work-time essentials that I carry on my person: my patient census with all my patients and their details (otherwise known as my "brain"), my ID badge and key to the call room/office, the delivery phone (that I would love to throw out the nearest window at 4am), a Diet Coke and cash for the vending machines. You know, the must-haves! ;-)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dear Animas

Sent today via their website:

"Dear Animas,

I wanted to contact Animas about an unfulfilled opportunity on their part. I am part of the diabetes blogging community and a user of the Animas Ping. I had my daughter 3 months ago and started using the Animas Ping prior to and during my pregnancy to get better control for my health and my baby's health during the pregnancy.

I like the Animas Ping and am much more satisfied with it compared to the pumps I was using several years ago. They were so bad that I went back to daily injections and was much happier for a time WITHOUT an insulin pump. Currently, I am so satisfied with the Ping that, for now, I have decided to continue using it despite my pregnancy having ended. That being said, I still believe that there is A LOT of room for improvement. Perhaps there are technical reasons for certain flaws that I've found with the Ping. But there are so many (what I see as) simple changes that could be made that would HUGELY improve my experience with this product.

This is where I see an opportunity on your part. I have recently read about many of the members of the diabetes blogging community who attended the Medtronic Diabetes Advocate Forum. And, longer ago, the Roche Summit. Medtronic and Roche invited them to attend a conference not only to educate them on their products, development and upcoming technologies but also to get their feedback on what could be done on their part to improve their service in areas like marketing, product features, improvements and customer service. They are showing that they understood the importance of gaining feedback from their users and that they find value in our perspective. The diabetes community has a big voice. We are strong-minded and outspoken about how we care for ourselves and what we expect in our treatment modalities. And we can easily see through attempts to manufacture products for our treatment by individuals who don't know our disease. (In fact, I feel like the Ping is largely focused toward the child pump-user and as an adult pumper I'm wondering why there aren't more features for me!)

If efforts are already being made by Animas to organize a seminar for their users then I am not aware of it and I want to say "Kudos!" to you. If not, I would like to strongly suggest that you consider inviting a sampling of your pump users to a conference that would provide an opportunity for an open back-and-forth between company and client. I know that for me there are so many times throughout the day when I think to myself, "Ugh! Why does this pump do THIS when it would be so much better if it did THAT?" Or something along those lines. These thoughts extend not just to Ping but also to the management software (ezManager Max) and the infusion sets, packaging and accessories that go with it.

I'm sure that I'm not alone in my desires for certain tweaks and adjustments in the current products offered by Animas. I also have a feeling that most Animas pumpers tend to run into the same issues and annoyances with the Ping. So I think that providing a forum for discussion with a sampling of Ping users would be invaluable for both the diabetes community of pump users as a whole and for Animas. And, for my part, I would be very interested to hear the process behind development and why perhaps things aren't as easy to change as I might think. And even get answers to my questions about certain Ping features, ie "why in the world would they design it like THAT?"

For example, during my pregnancy I had 3 basal programs. One for work, one for at home and one for my pre-pregnancy rates so that I could store them for after I delivered. However, since the Ping doesn't allow you to label your basal rates I had to store these rates under the pre-programmed names of "weekday," "other," and "weekend." It seems to me that being able to label my own basal programs would be an obvious and simple fix but, who knows? Maybe not. There are several small issues like this and other larger issues that I have concerns about. And I would like to know that Animas knows about these concerns and is making an effort to address them.

So many of your competing companies that manufacture technologies and supplies for the diabetes community (including Medtronic and Roche) are finding the value in a face to face exchange between them and their users. I do hope that you would consider hosting a handful (or more) of your Ping users at forum for discussion between you and us. In the meantime, if I can provide any additional information or be of any further assistance to facilitate this, please do not hesitate to contact me. I really look forward to the opportunity to sit down with representatives from Animas and share my story and I'm sure that there are many others who would relish this chance as well.

Sincerely,
Layne Petrino
Type 1 Diabetic and insulin pumper, diagnosed in 1991"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Girls' Day Out

I promise that this is my last cop out post! :-) My computer just got fixed so I FINALLY have access to all my stuff again. Turned out my memory was fried but since it was under warranty Dell replaced it for free and even had the technician come out to my house to fix it! Whew . . close call!

But for now I thought I'd post a pic from Katie's first girls day out. One of my girlfriends just got married last weekend (YAY!) and had her bridal shower at the end of January. Since Katie wasn't even a month old and is a breastfeeder, I wasn't excited about leaving her at home all afternoon for the first time. So I got up the nerve to ask my girlfriend if she would mind if I brought her to the shower and she was super sweet and said of course not.

So, being the slacker that I am, up to that point I had not dressed her in a "real outfit." We would just put her in a cute onesie and maybe add some socks. I couldn't figure out why we should go to all that trouble when we were just chilling out at home. So instead I chose easy access (snap at the crotch onesies are the best, btw), comfortable no-muss, no-fuss outfits.

BUT this was her first party! And that was a different story. So of course I had to dress her up! And I was so excited. I knew exactly what I wanted her to wear. It was an adorable outfit I saw pretty early on in my pregnancy. Right away it stood out to me and I loved it. The thing I loved so much was that it was a cute, girly dress without being overrun with pink. I don't have a problem with pink but it seems like there is a rule somewhere that baby girl clothing must contain pink somewhere!?!? WTF? So I mentioned it to my mom and, of course, she ran out and bought it. I'm SO GLAD that we had it and got a chance to show Katie off in it. And being the obsessive picture-taking fool that I am, I made sure to document this adorable outfit for posterity!

Adorable! And one of the best parts? Her matching blue "Mary Jane" socks!! I have a set of these in six (!?!) colors. They are also a gift from Nana (my mom) and I love them. They are always a hit with everyone who sees them.

FYI: Yes, this is a picture from January and no, we are not crazy-cruel parents allowing our daughter out in the cold with bare legs. We live in Florida and it was in the high 70s that day so she got to wear her dress sans leggings.

Please, excuse my husband, her modeling "coach." She had just been bathed, fed and dressed and, as a result, was a little bit of a limp noodle. ;-)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hallelujah!

I seriously hope this doesn't put a hex on the whole damn thing but here goes. . .

I just couldn't help it. I had to brag that my girl Katie has discovered how to go 6 hours in between feedings overnight! And this habit has stuck THREE nights in a row! And this morning, which would have been the fourth night, she went over 8 1/2 hours!

So, here's the story: Last night when she woke up, Brad went to grab her from her crib and change her while I tested my blood sugar (our normal routine, see below). I looked at the clock and I just about fell outta bed! It was 6:33am?!?! I grabbed her timer and, sure enough, it had been 8 hours and 49 minutes since her last feeding.

Naturally, the first thing I did was panic. Why is it that just when you get what you are wishing for as a parent (the baby to mellow out, the baby to sleep more, etc) the first thing you do is worry?? I even considered testing her bloodsugar to make sure she hadn't gone low. (Which I did, by the way, within the first week or so after bringing her home when she slept 6 1/2 hours in between feedings out of the blue! Of course her sugar was fine (94) and I felt stupid. Although it made me feel slightly better that she didn't even blink when I pricked her little heel.) Anyway I quickly reminded myself that if she was hungry she would have let us know and one look at her big grin confirmed that she was fine. The only down side was that she wasn't really interested in going back to sleep this morning after she was fed. But after getting 7 hours of sleep in a row, who am I to complain??

So proud of my girl . . lets just hope it sticks!!

Taking a nap on daddy is so comfy!

My sleeping beauty!

FYI: You may notice that I'm going out of my say how long she went "in between feeds" rather than how long she slept. I'm doing that because technically, she doesn't sleep this whole time. I start the timer at the beginning of her last feeding of the night but she usually doesn't go down for the night for another hour or two after that. For example, I usually feed her for the last time of the night around 9 or 10pm. At this point, I hand her over to Brad who takes over for the rest of the night until she goes to sleep.

I'm usually up for a little bit winding down before I go to bed. Katie is also up for a little bit before she's goes to bed and then Brad joins me. (This routine usually allows me to get a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep during the night, since I'm SUCH a light sleeper otherwise and Katie takes a while stirring and sleeping off and on until she's down for the night.) Overnight, I take over so that Brad can sleep since he has to work. When Katie wakes up his only job is to grab her from her crib and change her while I test my blood sugar and grab a drink. (When you're breastfeeding you gotta stay hydrated!) Then he hands her over and goes back to bed, while I feed her and get her back to sleep. This process can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour.

Anyway, my point is just because she goes 6-8 hours between feedings doesn't mean I sleep that whole time. Usually if you shave an hour or two off that you'll be close to how long I got to sleep! ;-)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Derailed

So even with all my good intentions unfortunately there won't be a real post for a while. Why? Because just recently my laptop decided to die. I'm going to contact Dell since we just got it last summer and it's still under warranty. Hopefully it's fixable because all of Katie's pics are on there! Worst case scenario, we'll have to ghost the hard drive to get all our info off it. But what a PAIN!!!

In the mean time, without my laptop it feels like I'm missing a limb. All my documents are on there . . . my budget spreadsheet (don't laugh, I know I'm a nerd), our pictures, my documents for work, my mock-ups for her birth announcements (again, don't laugh), etc. I feel like all my "to do's" are on hold. Including blogging . . . since what self-respecting new-mom blogger with a 10-week-old could stand to write a real post without pictures (especially her monthly milestones posts)?!?

So it may be longer than expected before the next post. Sorry! So to hold you over, here are a couple of pics of Katie that are stored on Brad's computer.

Enjoy!

Katie, about 5 days old, after her first bath at home . . a little dazed. ;-D

Skip to 3 weeks old and a pic of our girl sleeping. ::sigh::
I had just gotten my new camera and we spent some time playing with it!
It took a couple more weeks to get the hang of it but the pics were still great from day one.

And finally two of the professional pics we had taken of Katie as a "newborn."
She was actually 3 weeks old.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A whole new life

I know, I know . . . long time, no blog. In case you haven't heard, I've kinda had some stuff going on. :-) I hate that I've spent the last 2 months not blogging. Not because I'm one of those folks who just-has-to-post!! (I'm not but you know there are folks like that out there.) I hate it partly because I feel like I've grown close to the blogging community as they journeyed through my pregnancy (and as I've journeyed with them). So I hate that that connection has been temporarily severed. When I got home from the hospital I had 200+ unread posts in my Google Reader and they continued to pile up. It took me forever to get back to reading and it was slow going through them all but eventually I did catch up. And it's made me feel better to be up-to-date on how my peeps in the blogosphere are doing. I missed you folks! And I really want to get back in the game! I want to share all the new, wonderful, crazy, funny, scary things that have happened in my life.

But really, there's more to it than that. As much as I blog to be part of a community, I also blog to document my life for me. I love how my whole pregnancy is documented. How I looked and felt is all written down. All my thoughts and fears and hopes and daydreams. The pregnancy is quickly fading from my memory which is crazy because at the time I felt like it was going so slowly! So now I'm loving having my experience written down somewhere.

But now that Katie is here, and I have precious little time to blog, I feel like her little life is flying by and I so desperately want to document it. Now, mind you, I've taken NO SHORTAGE of pictures with my beloved new camera that I got with Christmas money. (Sidenote: Best. Idea. Ever. If you are about to become a parent, invest in a nice camera. Mine is really nice but idiot-proof. I'm setting it to "Auto" and every pic I take of her is beautiful and frame-worthy. But it's also the kind of camera that as I learn more about it I can actually do more with it to get even better pics. I'm so glad I invested in this. The memories it has documented are priceless and I would recommend it to every new parent I see!) But most of the pictures have remained on the camera's memory card. Much like all of our life experiences and Katie's milestones over the last 9 weeks have remained in my memory banks.

I want to cherish this time. But it's going so fast despite me trying to savor it. Today is my first day back at work and I left most of my heart (and my brain) at home with my little girl and her dad. But as I think about them I realize, I actually have time to blog at work! Because at work I actually have both hands free! And as I sit here and think of Katie and catch up on some posts in my Reader, I've decided to dive back it to blogging. I'm sure it won't happen as much as I want it to (and probably mostly on days that I'm at work) but I'm going to do my best. My first posts will be Katie's monthly milestones. The first month is long past (::sniff::sniff::) and the second month just ended a few days ago. But I'm going to go ahead and blog about them (and other things that have past) because not only do I want to catch you up, but also because I want some things written down for myself and my family.

So, hello again! I missed you all!
~Layne

PS: Since I just have to share a picture I'll share one of the few that I have with me at work. I took this with my phone yesterday so the quality is crap. But she was so happy and smiley that I had to document it. Plus I knew that I wanted to have pics of her to gaze at while I was at work. Enjoy!