Friday, September 29, 2006


Claire will be Chrismated on Sunday. We are excited that my family and Mark's dad will be in town for the event.

It is about 5:20 as I write this and I've been up for over an hour. I went to bed later than I should've.

The housecleaner I called Monday wasn't able to come this week. I am obsessed with this wacky idea that I should clear away clutter and get organized and put things away before they come to clean. There is a lot of this sort of thing that needs to be done and at the rate I'm going, it could take a month or so. Maybe I'll be able to make progress while my mom is here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Check out Flickr Photos

I posted photos from the weekend on Flicker. I think y'all will enjoy them.


It is so exciting to see how much Claire has grown. She has grown out of most of her preemie clothes. She has just about grown out of the cute pink pants suit from Uncle Jerry which was solong on her a few weeks ago when she wore it. Today she is wearing a different panstuit for the first time. It covers her feet, but that is good since it is still cool this morning. I was just looking at a photo of Nanu holding Claire in the hospital and it amazes me that she was so tiny. I am eager to have her weighed. I keep forgetting to measure her length. maybe today.

Borders Express

Claire and I went to the Borders Express near us. It was my first time going there and I was impressed with the selection considering the small size of the store. Unfortunately, Claire was not impressed and I forgot her after selecting a few books for her cousin Andrew's birthday present, I set them down and went back to the car to get the pacifier. On the way Claire fell asleep in the sling so the passifier became unnecessary. I thought about changing her diaper while at the car but opted not to. Ten minutes later when I patted Claire's bum, I wished I had. Moisture from the diaper has soaked through to the sling. UGH! Oh well. I forgot I was trying something experimental. I had used a small cloth diaper inside the gdiapers cover. The cloth diaper was not absorbant enough for the length of time I had it on her. Oops.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Weekend Away

We took Claire on her first weekend adventure away from home. Mark had his 20 year High School reunion in Oxnard so we met Claire's Nanna and Papa at the hotel. They babysat while we went to the party. The highlight of the trip was spending Sunday with Mom and Martin toodling around the historic district.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

she's not always happy

But she's always cute (to me). Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 21, 2006

More Photos

I just uploaded more photos to Flickr. This includes two from today. Claire seemed to enjoy tummy time a lot more today and stayed there for about 10 minutes. The other photo from today is the after bath photo. I'm getting better at this bath thing. I was quicker today. Her skin seemed ultra dry afterwards so I slathered her with Eucerin.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


We have recieved a number of lovely handmade gifts for Claire. As someone who enjoys making gifts for my loved ones, I really appreciate the time and effort and creativity that has gone into each one. I was thinking about this after snuggling with Claire under an Afghan that one of Nanna Pennie's customers made for Claire. The first handmade gift she recieved was a flannel patchwork quilt from Nanu. She enjoyed looking up at this in the NICU where it covered her isolette to block the glare of florescent lights. Now we use it for tummy time.
We also recieved a beautiful baby/lap quilt from her great-grandmother which matches the quilt we have on our queen sized bed. This is currently at the foot of the twin bed in the nursery. We received another beautiful afghan from a dear friend of the family in New Mexico. You may have noticed some hand knit hats in recent pictures on Flickr which a friend in Washington made. Claire wears these all the time now. Claire also recieved a hand knit sweater from one of Nanna's friend's in Lompoc. It shouldn't be long before she has grown into it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

About Claire

Claire is growing blond fuzz on the top of her head. Her eyelashes are growing longer. She enjoys swinging and looking at her mirror. She has been batting at her toys which hang above her bouncy seat. She will only tolerate tummy time for a few minutes at a time. She hasn't had any painful gas episodes for a few days but still sleeps fitfully for the second half of the night regularly. (I think this is gas related.)


Claire nursed for an hour at the breast this evening (with nipple shield and without the supplementer). While I am very happy about it, I am mystified as to how she could then take 3 oz (a full feed) by bottle immediately following. I know she was drawing milk because occasionally I would feel a trickle on my side. Why is she letting some milk escape? How much is she getting? Why is she not getting enough to satisfy her during an hour of sucking? Itseemed like she really was sucking most of the time and not resting or playing. I hope the opccupational therapist can shed some light on things.

Monday, September 18, 2006

4 hours

Claire actually slept for 4 hours in a row! I slept for 3.75 hours in a row! Please let this be a trend.
I was remarking to Mark that it seemed like Claire didn't do as much daytime napping as I guess she was exta tired.

When I started feeding her at 3:00 am she passed a lot of gas but it didn't seem to bother her. She took 80cc from Dr. Brown's bottle and burped twice. I held her upright for 20 mins and put her to bed. So far I haven't heard a peep.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Oh yeah

My mom reminded me that I never blogged about getting the CAT Scan. It was interesting. We drove out to UCLA early one morning and went to the basement where a technician lead us into a small room with a machine that looked like a big metal doughnut. I fed Claire a bottle while the technician did the scan so Claire would lie still. It was done in about 5 minutes or so.

I'm very excited that my parents and grandma are coming out from Arizona at the end of the month. My mom will stay for about two weeks to help us. Hurray! I'm hoping that with help from the OT and assistance from my mom we can get this breastfeeding thing underway. Claire still can't get all her necessary nutrition from the breast even with the suplemental nurser. I'm feeling very bored with pumping.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Claire finally got her bath today after many days of postponement. After I wrapped her up and put her down for a nap, I realized I forgot to clean her ears.

The last couple days she has had a fluctuating appetite. Some meals she'll take 3oz and other meals only one oz.

She is more interested in looking at and batting at her toys now. She seems to like the mirrors. I tried to buy a rattle for her at Rite Aid but they didn't have a traditioanl rattle. I wanted something small that she can easily hold onto. She continues to practice grabbing things including my glasses.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I forgot to mention there are new photos on Flickr...

This has been a tiring week. I can't wait for weekend. Today the service coordinator from Lanternman Regional Center came and we made a plan for Claire including assessments by occupational and physical therapists (OT & PT) and weekly visits from someone who will provide developmental stimulation and show us activities to do with Claire. I also found out that they will fund 16 hours a month of "respite" aka babysitting. Hurray! This can either be someone we know or someone reffered through an agency. We doon't have a regular babysitter yet...we really need one though. Markos and I need to have some time to ourselves once a week.

Gas is one reason that I am particularly tired. Claire wakes up with it in the night most nights. This afternoon she had a particularly painful episode which began just before the Lanternman woman came. I pumped her legs rubbed her tummy and she expelled gas several times...fell asleep and awoke 40 mins later with more gas. Dr.Brown bottles were recommended to me on two occasions for gas so I bought 2 this evening. ( I stalled Mark's Trooper more than a dozen times... forgot the e-brake.)

Claire will only let me nap for about a half an hour at a time these days. If she's in the sling or being held she'll sleep for hours.

I forgot to mention also Claire is now 21 inches long and weighs 7 lbs 10 oz. She acquired a new habbit...she cries when we pause a feeding to burp her. One way to console her through the burpings is to let her suck on my thumb. She has been very reluctant to burp lately even though we persist patting and rubbing for 20 minutes sometimes. The Dr suggested Mylicon drops. We got some yesterday. Not sure how effective they are.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dr Visits

We went to the cardiologist on Tues and the Pediatrician today. Both said she is doing great. Heart surgery will probably be at 18 months or 2 yrs old.

Our good friend Beth just returned from Greece and stayed with us last night. It was great to catch up in the wee hours of the night. She also was kind enough to do two early AM feedings for us since her schedule is off from returning from Europe. She also did a big load of dishes after breakfast!

I bought anti-gas drops for Claire to see if that helps her to sleep better without having hour long gas episodes during the night. We also bought the "Miracle Blanket". We used it last night for the first time and Claire stayed swaddled! Hurray.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


In spite of a rough night we had a good day. We practiced nursing 4 or 5 times with and without the SNS. Each time is seemed to get easier. We took a field trip to Echo Park and I walked around the lake with Claire in the Kangaroo Pouch. I took photos of the Lotus. (This is something I like to do each year when they are in bloom.) An artist who was there painting took our picture. After the park I switched to Mark's sling (In order to work diffrent back muscles) and walked to the Downbeat cafe and got a decaf mocha over ice. Yum!

Tonight has been a much better night. I went to bed at 9:30. Pumped when Claire woke up at 11, then slept till 2:30. I only remember hearing her and Mark stir once in that time. Simce I put Claire down to pump I haven't hear her stir. With any luck, I'll be asleep again by 4am.

Monday, September 11, 2006

more of the same

Clsire slept until I was done pumping. I got in bed at 3:53 and Claire started making noise and moving around sometime before 4. At 4:24 I asked Mark to take over. at around 4:30 I went to sleep. Whew!
Now it is naptime for both of us:)

Worse than typical night feeding

2:05 I finally rouse myself after several minutes of Claire's chirrupings and pick her up and go into the nursery...the night light isn't on, the mobile is blocking the bouncy seat where I would normally put her down, she is already fussing. I carry her into the kitchen and grab a bottle of breastmilk from the fridge and stick it in the milkwarmer. One-handed, I push the button and knock the whole thing over and water goes everywhere. I fumble to get a paper towel (still one-handed) while Claire is crying more loudly in my ear. There is no pacifier in sight. I grab a cup and refill the warmer and get the milk started. I go sit in the rocker and reach for the nipple shield which I also had just looked for on the drying rack in the kitchen. With no night light on I can't find it. I get Claire to latch onto the breast and she quiets down for 5 mins or so while the milk heats. I get up and change her diaper...the crying starts again. This time there is a pacifier within reach...she won't keep it in her mouth and keeps crying and moving making it difficult to do the diaper change. I turn on the night light and give up on getting the second snap fastened (good news is she has practically grown out of this onsie.) I take Claire and grab the bottle out of the warmer and exchange the lid for a nipple (one-handed). Finally we sit down and I put the bottle in her mouth and the crying ceases. I tuck a bib under her chin and she chugs milk loudly. I'm thirsty, but can't find the water bottle I set out last night. I tip the bottle down so she won't chug so fast. (They call this a slow flow nipple??) She eats and poops. I burp her. She finishes the bottle. I try for 10-15 minutes to get another burp. I'm still thirsty. I put her on an incline on the bed to change her. I re-swaddle her. Whew no spit up. I sit back down and she spits up. I rock her to sleep. Just as I'm about to get up to put her in bed she wakes up and I do it again. Finally at 3:10 I put her in bed. I hold her for a couple of minutes. When I let go she makes a clearing-the-throat type noise (This is her typical night noise.) I watch her and she settles down and stops kicking. I go get a snack and my pump parts; I hear her making a few noises, I start pumping and hear nothing more from her. 3:48 I'm done and can get back to bed.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

mid-weekend stroll

The three of us walked to the Post Office after lunch, then to Ragazzi Room which is the nearest coffee shop. By coffee shop, I mean a place with old wood floors and a brick wall and makes lattes and mochas and chai and frappachinos. It is about a mile away from our house, and we've walked there the previous 2 Saturday's no problem. After we got home, I realized how much longer it was to go to the Post Office and Ragazzi on the same trip. Jen & I are both out of shape, so the extra exercize is good. Claire was well-behaved the entire time. She mostly slept, then we fed her a bottle at Ragazzi. Then Jen needed to go home to pump, so I carried Claire. Our practice has been to keep Claire upright for 20 minutes after every feeding to prevent gastro-reflux. It works pretty well, and the few times we forget, she usually spits up. But carrying her while walking is more work, so I am all the more tired from the long walk and carrying her. In a few weeks she will be big enough to sit upright in the stroller, but for now, she lays in the car seat strapped to the stroller. Since the two parts are not the same brand, they don't fit in such a way that the car seat can sit upright.

After feeding and changing Claire's diapers, Jen & I pondered our evening. Neither of us had the strength to go to the grocery store, so Jen made dinner while I held the baby. The fridge gets emptier every day, and the shopping list gets longer. Maybe I'll submit an order to next time Claire is sleeping on my lap. Glad my lap is big enough for both her and the computer at the same time, otherwise I might be a bit bored sometimes while rocking her to sleep.

Less computing at home might encourage me to get more reading done. As it is, I finished a William Gibson novel yesterday. Another one is arriving in the mail via next week. Today I started another novel, but it is off to a slow start. I'll give it a little more time before panning it, so I won't name it yet. It might be better for my career if I would read technical work-related books at home, but I've never been that career-minded, so usually end up just using those kind of books as look-up references at work.

When I rode the bus to work, I read more. I miss the bus; partly for the reading time, and partly for the walks to and from the bus stop.

49 ounces gained

In 47 days (As of Wed.) Claire gained 49 ounces. She came home at 74 ounces and is now 123 ounces. That beats the one ounce a day recommendation for growth (just slightly).

I gave her a bath on the kitchen table on Thursday. This was easier on my back than kneeling over the tub. Mark wants to help with a bath tommorrow.

Claire's eyelashes have become visible in the last week or so although you still can't see any eyebrows.

On Thursday night Claire slept a record 4.5 hours in a row. I guess she was extra tired from the new SNS feedings.

She did a lot of napping on our laps Friday. (Mark took the day off to go with me to the cardiologist but the appointment had to be changed to Tuesday.) It was nice to have an extra day at home together.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Claire Trivia

Claire has two birthmarks, one on the back of her neck called a "stork bite" and the other is on her cheek just under her right eye and looks like a little red scratch. The doc says they will both fade away in the next two years.

Claire weighed in at 7 lbs 4oz Yesterday!! We did some calculations, and that works out to gaining exactly 1 ounce per day since she came home on July 21st.

Her favorite food is fresh breastmilk...not previously frozen. We have so much frozen milk on hand from when she was in the hospital that we are donating a big box to the nearest Mothers' Milk Bank.

She likes books with big bold pictures with high contrast. (We read The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle yesterday.)

She has a little bit of eczema/dry skin the problem is mosly cleared up but her arms are still a bit rough and flaky.

She enjoys baths and head massages.

She falls asleep on car rides.

She likes long afternoon naps in the sling.

Supplemental nursing system is a container filled with milk hung around my neck with a tiny tube attached. This tube I insert in the nipple shield and it delivers more milk so that when Claire sucks she gets milk with every suck so that she gets used to breastfeeding. It went well two times yesterday. This morning it was a little rocky and I forgot to burp her halfway so she spit up at the end. Oops. I gotta run to the La Leche meeting. I'm going to be late but I had to feed Claire and pump.


Claire fed at three hour intervals all night. 11:30. 2:30 and 5:30. Hurray.

I met with the lactation consultant yesterday and decided to buy a supplemental nursing system, more on this later. I'm going back to bed.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Today I found out there is another LaLeche meeting this Thursday morning. I bought yet another sling which will hopefully be better for Kangaroo care and nursing.

I took a three hour nap on the couch this evening and am pumping right now. I'm looking forward to more sleep.

Claire had a few 3 hour stints between meals again. This usually happens in the afternoon when she takes more milk per feed. I try to give her two and a half ounces earlier in the day, but she refuses to take more than 2 ounces. In the late afternoon she'll take 3-4 ounces! We also had a three hour stint last; thankfully this is becoming more common.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Saturday night I got a record breaking 8.5 hours of sleep. I went to bed around 8pm to do it. It was so nice going to church well rested.

We had someone come and clean our house Saturday. She thouroughly cleaned the bathroom, baby's room and our bedroom dusting everything including all the books on our bookshelf. I wanted this done because both Claire and I have been sneezing. these three rooms took 4 hours and 85 dollars and the kitchen is still a disaster.

The past few days I've spent a little bit of time thinking about the first two months of Claire's life. I am so grateful to my mom for her time with us. She gave us so much support and encouragement during both of her stints with us. It would've been impossible without her. I'm so glad she was with us the day we found out about Claire's brain bleed I am also glad for Luke amd Tiffany's support that day...they happened to take us out to lunch that day right after we had met with the doctor.
Sometimes when I think back to my time spent in the NICU I am sad that I didn't communicate better with the nurses. It was so hard dealing with so many different caregivers and I was depressed...I just didn't have the energy to explain my desires and ask for what I wanted. I felt like everything was out of my control. On a few occasions I was denied the opportunity to do Kangaroo care. This was extremely painful for me. I also felt bound by their schedule. The 4 hour touch time...then three hour feeding schedule made our lives more difficult in some ways. If I could only hold her during and right after a feed and she had to learn to take all her feeds by bottle where was there room to teach her how to breastfeed? I would always hold her skin to skin when she was already well satisfied after a feed so she wasn't inclined to go to the breast, she was inclined to sleep, plus I felt like I would have to ask permission from the nurse if I wanted to try to put her to the breast and this was difficult for me. Also I was under the misaprehension that Claire would learn to breastfeed in a couple of weeks at the most when she got home and had more opportunities. Neither the lactation consultant, Ocupational therapist nor nurses educaterd me about transitioning Claire to the breast. They showed me how to get her latched on and stimulate her jaw to encourage swallowing. I had read in teh kangaroo care book that most babies who receive kangaroo care go home breastfeeding so I guess I was just waiting for this to magically happen.

Can DO: lick. She starts some feeds by licking several times. She likes to try things in her mouth especially the edge of her shirt while we are dressing her, the esge of her bib while we burp her. She is also salivating much more than she ever did and sometimes blows tiny bubbles. She also makes a cute sighing/singing sound after sneezing which I adore.

Can Do 2

Mark and I were brainstorming yesterday about things to add to Claire's Can do list.

She can:
Sometimes suck on her thumb, finger, fist or forearm when they manage to find her mouth.

Grab things. Her new favorite is grabbing onto dad's shirt. Yesterday she grabbed a toy rattle that was dangling near her.

Look at things that are further away and sustain her glance. She is interested in looking at things behind us while we burp her.

Drink a bottle using rhythmic sucking which makes the process go much faster.

Sleep for 2.5-3 hours at a stretch between some feedings. (Hurray.)

Eat 3 ounces at a time more than once in an evening. (Saturday evening she had 100mls for three feeds in a row then slept for 3 hours!)

Friday, September 01, 2006


I had a lovely visit yesterday with Adriana and Janice from church. It was so nice to have good company, help folding laundry, food for dinner (and extras for today and tomorrow), and a little break from holding the baby.
visit 3visit 1
I have an appointment next Wednesday with a lactation consultant. (She knows Claire and I from the hospital.) Today I did some strategizing and figured out that I can detect when Claire is starting to get hungry, pump one breast briefly to get the milk flowing and then put on the nipple shield and try to nurse. I did this three times today with success during one feeding. She lost some milk out of the side of her mouth though and her sleave was all wet. Hmmm.