Wednesday, February 28

a few more pics of miss chunky cheeks

the life of riley

eating, sleeping, getting cuddled and occasionally having to lay on her stomach. what a life. i love the expressions she has on her face in the first 4 photos... so cute!

Monday, February 26

the photos from today!

over the hill and through the woods.... grandmothers house we went! today was zoe's first big trip. we went to ellen and greg's house for dinner and watching a movie. well, sort of. i planned on watching jane eyre with lori and ellen, and spencer planned on sitting around. i'm not sure what zoe planned on doing, most likely, eating and sleeping. right now, lori is holding zoe in ellen's comfy green rocker, and we're waiting to watch jane eyre. so, in the meantime, here is a bit of zoe's day.

first things first, she had a bath... a real bath! her umbilical cord stump finally came off, just in time for her big day. so, she got in her blue bathtub, got all soaped up, made sure to pee in the bathwater, and thoroughly enjoyed herself.
we tried on a new outfit, some overalls with a newborn shirt. and, while the newborn shirts used to fit, today, we graduated to 3-6mo. size. her torso is very long, but her little legs are so short. and oh so cute and chunky.
after i got showered and dressed, spencer and i loaded up the car with the moses basket, her diaper bag, my pump and bottles of milk. oh. and zoe. the ride to dahlonega was not too eventful, zoe slept the whole time, and i knitted in the back seat next to her. she slept for 2 hours after we arrived, and woke up to eat, get a diaper change, and a few photo ops.
so, that's zoe's day. i'll post photos separately, since i have so many of them.

Saturday, February 24

the day in pictures

*yawn* why does mom make me do this stuff first thing in the morning? i would so much rather get pampered and snuggled instead of this "toy" nonsense.
well..... i am looking pretty cute, so i guess i can do this play thing for a few minutes, to keep mom quiet. (there's a mirror on the other side of the orange circle)
oh yeah, flexing the cuteness!
hmmmm.... a fish. and now i'm on my stomach. what ever can this mean?
fish? so last year. i'm all about turning to the other side now.
good grief. i need to work out more. this is killing me!
oh yeah, feel the burn... one more rep, and then i'm done.
alright mom. enough is enough. i turned my head over, now pick me up and feed me!
i don't see a bottle anywhere near my mouth. what seems to be the hold up?
promises, promises. until i get breakfast, i'm not smiling, no matter how many times you're promising to feed me.
oh yeah. that's more like it. this is the face of a happy girl.

commentary by catherine. cuteness by zoë
and the bib in the last pic says "give peas a chance".... spencer's mom got it for zoe, since spencer is severely allergic to peas.... gotta love a mother's sense of humor.

Wednesday, February 21

the internet is a wondrous thing

last night zoë discovered the wonders of spencer was checking the site for updates, and zoë decided she wanted to watch strongbad check his email. she was entranced, and ended up getting so sleepy that she and spencer climbed into bed to go to sleep.

so, she fell asleep on poppa last night, and as soon as i picked her up, she woke up... sigh. she's already turning into a daddy's girl. we walked the hallway for a while, and then she fell asleep like someone had turned on a switch. last night was good, she went to bed at 10, got up at 1:30, woke up again at 3:30 for a small feeding, and then slept until 8:30. yay! i love the 5 hour stretches.

around 12:30 we decided to try out one of her toys... she's in love with her little chicken.
she was sort of reaching for it, but i think she was just flexing her arms. she was certainly intrigued by the small mirror which hung on the other side of the chicken, but i wasn't able to get any pictures of her looking into it.

the bib was a pre-emptive effort for when we went for round two on her bottle, but she got so tired from all the playing she fell asleep before round two started. she's asleep now, and i'm sure she'll be up around dinner time to beg for food. she has perfect hearing, i'm convinced, since she wakes up everyime spencer and i begin eating. fortunately, she still eats like she's never tasted food before, and her feedings are very quick. i should run, it's 3:20, and i desperately need a shower. lucky for me, this schedule feels a little like i'm back in college, so it's not stressing me out to be in my jammies until the afternoon. heck, when i was in college, there were some days i stayed in my pajamas all day, just because i could, and when you're an art major, no one cares.

Monday, February 19

zoë in her real clothes

and check out the flickr link - i've been adding some more pics, ones that didn't end up in a blog post.

what is this thing you call a bath?

and after.

she enjoyed her bath yesterday, but complained that she got too cold. i did keep her wrapped up in her towel, while i washed her various limbs, but when i was washing her stomach and back, she was not pleased. her hair looks even more strawberry blonde, and it's soooo cute and fuzzy.

today, i noticed she's starting to sleep longer in stretches, getting up every 3 1/2 hours or so. yay! before long, she'll be sleeping through the night. and as soon as i truly believe that, i'm sure she'll decide that sleep is for the weak. oh well. there's nothing truly new to report on the zoë front, although every day it seems like she grows a little more. i'm glad for the photographic evidence of the changes in her face, or i would not believe how quickly she's growing.

oh! and just for mom, i'm going to post few pics of what she was wearing today. since she's going to grow out of it within a month anyway.

Saturday, February 17

ready for my closeup

and just so the family won't worry, her face is a little flushed today, but there are no other symptoms. the best guess i've got is that it was some spicy soup i had the day before yesterday. nothing to be alarmed about, just so you guys know.

and isn't she cute?

Friday, February 16

and the award for parents of the year goes to...

um, yes, that would be us. after spencer sat on the couch for 4 hours with zoë sleeping on his chest, we figured out why she might be cranky. she's cold. yes, folks, you read it here, babies get cold. after he laid her down at 1:30 am, she woke up at 2 and was hungry. so, i changed her, fed her, and *bingo* swaddled her in one of her receiving blankets before laying her down again. and what time did she get up folks? 6 am. this was after her staying awake yesterday from 1:30pm to 1:30am, with fitful 30 minutes naps in between.

let me just say, we felt brilliant this morning. when spencer was getting ready for work, i was feeding zoë again, and we discussed what zoë was really thinking when she was crying all those times yesterday. there is a verse in James that speaks of not telling a hungry, cold person to go on their way and be warm and well fed without helping them. and that was basically us last night. laying down a cold baby, and wondering why she wouldn't go to sleep. sigh. another notch on the parenting belt.
i'll get pictures later today, but right now, the warm snuggled baby is sleeping, and i'm going to go catch up on a little sleep myself.

Thursday, February 15

for the fans

this is the "hurry up with the food, mom!" face. the face i see 8 times a day in various positions. just thought i'd share it with you guys. since mom said i needed to post more pictures.


these last two days have been fairly revelatory as to some of my perfection issues. she's sleeping better, but i'm having a hard time right now. seeing her cry because of gas pain, or just being uncomfortable makes me feel like a bad mother. i know that there's no way i can take all her aches and pains away, and it's silly for me to get so upset about it. last night, i was holding her, and she looked so sad i wanted to cry. actually i did cry a little, because i felt like i was failing at this motherhood thing. i know this is common for the firstborns too, parents wanting everything to be perfect, and for their child to never feel pain or discomfort. not that i won't do everything in my power to help her with her gas issues... but i think this need to be a perfect mother has got to be dealt with. spencer reminded me that one day, she'll be five, she might have a headcold, and that the only thing i can do is make sure she gets some rest, gets snuggled and cared for, and that we make sure she doesn't get sicker. i can't make the cold go away, just like i can't physically make her gas go away.

somehow in my mind, i linked being a successful and good mother with having children that never hurt, or get grouchy, or anything negative. and it's a dim view of parenting that i have, if that's all i have to shoot for. i think my mom probably dealt with this too, just based on some of our interactions while i was growing up. and i guess i want to nip this in the bud, before i end up having a 20 year old who can't get out of bed on time, because i made life so comfortable and easy. like how i was at 20. i don't want this to come across like i'm badmouthing mom, but i'm beginning to understand the motivation behind making things easy all the time.

i know that zoë turning 20 is a long way off, but i'm wondering how my decisions in the future will be affected by this need to be a perfect mom with perfect kids, if i don't address it now. not that i don't want to give zoë all the love and attention and nurturing she needs. far from it! i want to give her all those things, but i want it to be done out of genuine love for her, love that sets boundaries and says "no" and still is motivated out of love. not the need to have a perfect child, or feel like a good mother because my child gets straight a's or is on the soccer team, etc etc.

i know this is a rambling post... i'm only just beginning to learn about motherhood, and i don't want an incorrect perception of success to enter my heart so early in the game. what a journey ahead for all of us. and i know we'll all be changed.

Tuesday, February 13

uneventful day

today was a gloriously uneventful day with the girl. her gas is getting better, and i'm trying to keep up with her thrush medicine. i will tell you this, applying 1 ml. of medicine by q-tip to each cheek is a little more difficult than it sounds, especially when it has to be applied 4 times a day to a squirmy gassy newborn. enough of my complaining - i suppose it could be worse. she could be a squirmy toddler.

lori came over for a while today, and it was really nice having adult company in the middle of the day. especially since i still am not allowed to drive. sigh. i know i'll miss these quiet days soon, but right now, it's hard to learn to slow down.

and she's loving her swing... i've been trying to introduce zoë to her toys, but she's much more interested in studying me and spencer. not that it's a bad thing, but i'm so new to this mom thing, that i'm not sure when she should be interested in them. and she's getting her tummy time. today, it was maybe for 5 minutes or so before she got tired of it, but she is lifting her head, and turning it from side to side. she started facing her right, and lifted her head and faced left. is that a milestone? i don't know. but i do know she's a great kid, and any little thing she does is okay by me right now.

sounds like squirt is waking up. i should run.

Monday, February 12

sleeping like a....

gas pains, and a whole lot of self appraisal

last night was an exercise in patient parenting. zoë is pretty gassy, and spent most of the night waking up and crying. spencer and i got very little sleep, and almost as soon as he left for work, she woke up. she stayed awake until ellen and greg arrived to take me to the pediatrician with her. i had just enough time to throw on a jacket and try to fix my bedhead. she does have a mild case of thrush from the antibiotics, and needs a multivitamin with iron. we're now giving her mylicon after feedings, in the hopes that we'll get some sleep. and in the hope that she gets some relief as well.

today, we decided to try her out in the swing that mom got for her. after feeding her, i put her in, and she fell asleep immediately and has been asleep for a good hour or so. she's sleeping really peacefully, and it concerns me a little, since it might mean she'll be up all night again. i hope not.

my aunt debbie and cousin kristie sent me a double electric pump in the mail today. i am floored by their generosity, since my little manual hand pump is not cutting it, as far as time goes. they sent me a pumping care package along with the pump, and all the things they sent will be a lifesaver. as much as i wanted to breastfeed, it seems like pumping is going to be a good option for me, and for
zoë. and spencer as well, since he can feed her too, without having to resort to formula.

grandma and grandpa squier sent us money for
zoë, which, considering all the co-pays we're about to start racking up with prescriptions and doctor visits, is a welcome blessing. i guess i didn't know my family cared about us so much. not that i ever doubted they cared about us. but i've always been fairly disconnected from my extended family, and the love they're showing us is humbling. and makes me feel a little ashamed for never sending christmas cards, and being so sporadic with thank you notes. there is always tomorrow, and i'm hoping to get better at this family thing.

on the weird side, i'm allergic to something in the house, and it looks like i'm getting bitten by something all over. spencer is downstairs washing and bleaching the bedding, and i'm slathering on cortizone lotion like there's no tomorrow. i thought it might be an allergic reaction to the dishsoap i've been using to handwash all of
zoë's bottles, and pump parts... but it's spread from my hands to all over my body. if anyone has any ideas, please email me, since it's also making my hands swell.

Sunday, February 11

yes, she is smiling

i got lucky last night, and while taking a picture of the ham, she smiled right in the middle of the exposure. i know it's not much, but she is smiling. i promise. and if you're wondering why i'm calling her the ham... well, she lays on spencer's chest, and when she's wrapped up, she's the size of a honeybaked ham. yes, we are strange parents, but she really does look like a ham laying there on him.

Saturday, February 10

set phaser to stun...

so. day two at home. last night went well, but i'm sure that spencer and will both need a nap before today is over. and it's not even noon yet. spencer took the late night shift with zoë, something i am very grateful for, since i slept through her crying and waking up. i'll try to do that for him tonight, or at the least, sunday night, since he has to get up and go to work on monday.

she slept on a semi-three hour schedule, although she does wake up and squeak from time to time to let us know she's still in there. i laid in bed wondering "is her room too hot?" "should i go make sure her hands and sleeves aren't smothering her?" and all sorts of ridiculous new mom things.

we slept with our window open and the fan running, since we used to keep the house around 63-65 in the winter. now, the heat is set for 72, since zoë's room stays a little cool. we had originally planned to let her sleep in our room in a bassinet, thinking foolishly that we wouldn't hear her if she started crying. when she wants something, she definitely lets us know. i think it's probably better that she's in her room, that way we can keep our room way too cold for her.

pumping is going well i guess, it's hard with the way supply and demand works. my supply doesn't meet her demand yet. soon enough though. when she's not eating, sleeping or crying, she's an amazing kid, and spencer and i are in awe of her. how did something that cute come from us? and the big question i wonder is "how did something that huge fit inside me?"

while she's over 9 pounds, pushing 10, she's fitting newborn clothes, since her legs are so short. i put her in a newborn size sleeper today, one that is clearly labeled for 5-8 pounds. miss thang fit in it perfectly, and the legs might be a tad long. who knew? babies vary... i'm learning something new every day.

today i learned how to check my email, reply to one, eat a biscuit for breakfast and talk on my cell phone (not simultaneously) while holding zoë. now i need to figure out how to multi task like that with more important things like housework. in due time i suppose. and if you're wondering why i was doing all those things while holding her... well, she was exhausted, had a nice clean diaper, had been fed, and even got a new outfit that didn't have spit up on it, but would not go to sleep in her bed. so, i got to hold her, while she passed out in my arms, but awoke furious as soon as i laid her down. she's down now, and it's noon. hopefully she'll sleep an hour before she wakes up hungry again.

speaking of the little nosher, i need to go pump. like the boy scouts say, be prepared. or something like that.

Friday, February 9

the snuggler

the hearing test she passed with flying colors
trying to chew her fist since mom wasn't quick enough with the feeding
"you mean i have to leave this place? i was having so much fun!"
"well.... i might as well chew my hand a little for good measure, since i have to leave"

the eagle has landed... as you can tell by the last 2 pics, we got the snuggler released from the pen, and she's at home now. i know that anyone with kids will tell me to get used to it, but spending the first night with her was exhausting. i had no idea that she would squeak all night long, sending me to her bedside in fear of a crying jag. i got maybe 2 hours of sleep or so, since everytime she wanted to eat, (every 2 and 1/2 hours or so) it took nearly an hour and a half to get her satisfied. zoë and i are exploring our feeding options at this point, since breastfeeding is really painful right now, but i want to avoid as much formula as i can.

right now, she's been asleep for an hour, snuggled up in her squirelly blanket, snoozing in her comfy crib. i know she's not missing the lights, the noises and all the tests of being in the NICU and intermediate nursery. oh, and i guess i should post all about how she got there in the first place.

when i went in to the hospital last friday for the amniotomy (artificially breaking my water), i had no idea what the week would hold for all of us. labor began progressing, but because zoë had passed meconium already, the doctors were a little concerned. meconium is the really sticky first poop that babies have, and i can't say that i blame her for passing it before she got born. try holding it for two weeks, and i would say you'd understand. so, we got all dilated, effaced, and zoë refused to drop into my pelvis. after 8 hours of hanging out in that position, dr. little said that a c-section was probably our best option, since pushing her out was not going to happen. i had had an epidural put in around 8cm. because my contractions were piggy backing about 15-30 seconds apart, and i just couldn't do it. preparing for the c-section was fairly relaxed, since all they had to do was prep the operating room. the section went really well, and i had a great group of doctors working with me.

when zoë was finally born, they suctioned her mouth and throat immediately to try to clear any meconium from them before it went to her lungs. she still breathed a little in, and while it certainly could have been worse, any meconium is still no good. because of the suctioning, and other reasons i don't know, zoë basically went into shock. it might have been the shock of the cold room, mixed with the suctioning, but her blood pressure dropped, and her heart rate and breathing became fairly abnormal.

the first night, she was in the NICU, with tubes in her nose and mouth, trying to keep her blood pressure stable, giving her antibiotics and also keeping her stomach suctioned out because she was not going to be fed by mouth. when her blood pressure evened out, with the help of dopamine, she then was allowed to feed by mouth, and the tube came out of her stomach. she actually removed it herself on saturday during the day, and when i was off of the 12 hours of imposed bedrest for c-sections, i got to see her with it out. they put it back in, with no fussing, and it was out by sunday.

she remained on oxygen for another day, and still had an antibiotic iv. we found out saturday night, that even though she was stable and improving, the neonatalogist felt she needed a full 7 day course of antibiotics. i cried when i found out, i was so crushed. we never expected to not have zoë come home with us when i was discharged, and i had thought we would room together while i was in the hospital. it was not what we wanted, but we did want zoë healthy and ready to really enjoy her new life, so adjusting was definitely necessary. spencer was wonderful in reminding me what our priorities really were, and he also reminded me that i had the opportunity to get a few more uninterrupted nights sleep. something i will treasure, i'm sure.

i was discharged tuesday night, and the next few days went very quickly. zoë and i were working on breastfeeding, and i was up at the hospital as much as i could be, and could find a ride for... (i'm not allowed to drive for a few weeks) spencer's mom and sister were wonderful in picking me up, and making sure i was able to see zoë as much as possible.

and then there was last night. my first night at being a mom, as in, i get to change all the diapers, feed her, rock her and help her sleep. wow. it was everything i expected and a whole lot more. you know going into it that you're not going to sleep, but you don't realize how little you'll actually sleep. and how much it affects you. spencer stayed until about 11 or so, and its a good thing he went home to sleep. i don't know how well he would have done, since he worked today. i, at least had the option of not going to work, and driving heavy equipment all day.

so, that's the story. zoë is in her room squeaking right now, and i'm going to go pump, in preparation for 9, when she wakes up. at least she's fairly predicatable, and is on a semi-regular 3 hour schedule for feeding and changing. what i love the most are the alert moments before she falls asleep. she stares at spencer and i, and every once in a while, gives us a gassy smile. no, i know it's not a real smile yet, but i'm learning. you take what you can get.