Tuesday, October 31, 2006

nap challenge

Yesterday evening I was feeling discouraged about the new schedule because Claire's naps were so short yesterday and she was fussy all afternoon and early evening. (I guess this was silly to think the new tactics were going to work just after one day...it takes time to adjust.) This morning she woke up after a short nap crying and I was able to interact with her a while... diaper change, massage, singing and then put her back to sleep. This time she woke up happy. I was even able to change her diaper before she ate. She also had a good long early afternoon nap and is playing batting at her toys and listening to Mozart while I pump.

Speaking of pumping, it sure is easier to fit pumping in with Claire eating fewer times. It doesn't feel like so much of a chore. It's also easier now because I can usually plan to do it while she naps or plays after a meal.

We just got back from the cardiologist who did an ultrasound of her heart and an EKG and said everything is stable and there is no need to intervene for now.

Last night wasn't as good as the previous one. In addition to Claire being up to eat at 12:30 am she was also awake from 1:45 to 2:45 (fussy) and 5:15 to 6:15 making little noises.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Jen's perspective

Yesterday was one of the longest and most difficult days of parenting yet! Saturday night I only slept about an hour and a half and that wasn't 90 mins in row. In the middle of the night after Claire had already woken up several times, I started reading the Babywise book that Mark mentioned in the last blog entry. I spent the rests of the night tossing and turning thinking about what I read and comparing it to other things I'd read and our experiences and trying not to think about it and go back to sleep...then I would just drift off and Claire would awaken wanting attention. Sunday I was a mess. We decised to skip church. I tried several time to take a nap. I slept about an hour in the morning and 45 mins in the afternoon. The other two times I tried to take naps I was just too upset to fall asleep. (This rivals the day we found out about Claire's brain bleed for the worst day of motherhood.)

Thankfully I had the sense to go to bed early. And with help from Jeeves and Wooster on CD I was able to fall asleep without hashing out sleeping/feeding issues anymore.

The Babywise book helped me to make an important connection. The connection between daytime feeding and nightime sleep. I foolishly let Claire get on a two hour schedule then on an even more frequent snacking schedule because I thought that would facilitate getting her off the bottle completely and onto the breast. (I tried doing cup feeding and syringe feeding and failed at both. I thought giving her smaller amounts this way more frequently might be do-able.) It turns out Claire was so tired and stressed that she couldn't tolerate attempting to feed in this way. She began waking every two hours at night which made her more tired. She was able to take some long naps the past two weeks during skin to skin. Anyway, I think the best advise in the Babywise book is that:

1. Baby isn't always crying because of hunger even if it seems near a usual mealtime (Just about anytime is near a mealtime when meals are only 2 hours from the beginning of one meal to the beginning of the next.)

2. Most babies need an hour and a half of naptime between daytime meals. I've had a hard time figuring out the whole napping thing. Sometimes I have been concerned that Claire wasn't napping enough but I didn't know what to do about it. Many times she would fall asleep on her own and sleep fine. Other times she wouldn't sleep at all between meals. Other tiems she would only sleep for 20-30 mins. The Key is to let her have awake time between the meal and the nap. Many times in the mornings especially, I would be tired, so if she fell asleep at breakfast I would imediately put her down and go back to bed. One thing I don't jive with from the book is putting them down for a nap and letting them cry for as much as 35 mins till they "learn the skill of going to sleep on their own." That seems harsh. I am okay with letting her whimper for 5 mins or so but then I'd rather intervene by rubbing her belly and helping her to relax instead of letting the crying escalate into an absolute fit so that she would only stop from exhaustion. By the way, when we put her down at night after her evening meal and late evening meal she is able to go to sleep on her own without crying so their supposition that babies need to cry themselves to sleep seems bunk.

3. A flexible 3 hour schedule seems to work well. A 3 month old does not need to eat every 2 hours and it only takes a bit of soothing and coaxing to extend the time between meals some...as well as feeding her more at each meal.

Today I feel like a new woman. During the ten hours between when I went to bed and when I gave Claire breakfast I slept 8 hours!! Hurray.

wow, 5 hours between night-time feeds!

We tried a new feed/sleep schedule this weekend, and things are looking quite promising. Claire only woke up 3 times last night instead of the usual 6. Big improvement! Somehow earlier this month, we had drifted into a non-sustainable snack/nap/snack mode with only 1.5 to 2 hours between feedings. After 2 weeks of that, us 2 parents were haggard and desperate for a change. Sometimes we feel silly that we need to be told every little thing to do with the baby, but as they say, "babies don't come with instruction manuals."

We are now trying some of the BabyWise ideas, from a book given to us before Claire was born, but sitting on the shelf until a few days ago. It says that babies need sustained sleep just as much as their parents. We are combining concepts from another book called the No Cry Sleep Solution. Hooray for sleep! Gracias a Dios! (Mark wrote this.)

Friday, October 27, 2006

9 pounds 9 oz

I stopped by the pediatrician the other day to have Claire weighed. She's still gaining nearly an ounce per day.
She loves putting things in her mouth. Thankfully this interest is beginning to apply to the breast as well. She had it in her mouth briefly both yesterday and today without fussing. I was begining to get fainthearted, but it looks like there may be hope. I'm doing skin to skin every morning for a couple hours and using the sling when it works out with our schedule. Unfortunately, it is tough to get sling time in the afternoon and early evening between feeding her and expressing milk.

Monday, October 23, 2006

smiles plus

wide smile Claire has been smiling so much lately. It really melts me when she bestows one on me. I get them mostly in the morning right after she wakes up. Need to capture a picture soon. Her smile is unexpectedly wide and jolly; shaking the "petite and delicate" perception of her for the unwary.

I wore myself out this weekend by running sound for a conference at church during the day, and fixing my Mac laptop by night. Not to mention a few hours wiled away hacking at SecondLife.

My brain is always churning with numerous projects. One idea is to tear down the old termite-ridden backhouse/garage, and replace it with a shipping container for storage.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Whew continued

It was so nice to be sitting back against a wedge pillow in bed with Claire resting against me on the new nursing pillow from my mom, and to see Claire sleeping soundly. I read my most recent Everyday Food magazine that just came in the mail ths week. The same magazine inspired me to cook a lot of squash recently.

I think Claire might be starting teething. This afternoon and evening she had some fits of irritability and she had been drooling and gnawing on everything in sight...by the way, she is able to bring things up to her mouth. She even tries to put my finger in her mouth once she grabs it. This may also explain why she hasn't been napping very long lately. I guess today was catch-up day.

I am determined to focus on skin-to-skin, sling time and general closeness with Claire this week. No getting distracted with chores or other tasks. It is very silly, but I keep getting distracted. I really wanted to focus on nursing while my mom was here, but I was hyperactive because I had the opportunity to do some organizing and some sewing that I couldn't easily do without help around here. Then Claire started refusing the breast... My original intention when we brought Claire home was to continue with Kangaroo care. Unfortunately, I had a hard time selecting a sling and my homemade wrap was difficult to get Claire into and out of. Then the sling I ordered online was too big and I had to return it which meant another week delay. Meanwhile I was not used to carrying her since I was always sitting with her in the hospital. I was uncomfortable carying her around the house at first and had to use both hands. Finally I just expected that she would to continue to cling to me and fall asleep like she did in the hospital which was not the case. She became more active and it became less comfortable to try to hold her against me with her moving around the whole time. All this has meant that I lost sight of my original intention and have only done Kangaroo care sporadically. I hope I don't have unrealistic expectations after such a positive experience today.


A good day today.
Claire has not been nappping as much as we thought she should the past couple of weeks.
A few days ago she had several long naps and today she slept off and on till 2pm with brief intermissions for eats. T what do I attribute this? Holding Claire skin to skin and in the sling. It was my intention to do this as much as possible when I left the hospital. Well I've been actually doing it lately and it is great. This morning I took about 20 minutes to collect everything I would need on the bed...only I forgot the phone and a snack. I held Claire fromabout 9:30 to 12:15 the first 40 minutes or so were challenging because she was quite energetic and it is to super comfortable when she moves around a lot. Eventually she fell asleep and slept for several hours. Every now and then she would stir and I would offer her the breast and/or bottle. She had a couple short snacks from the bottle and went back to sleep. Then we got up and she ate while I pumped. Then I put her in the sling and we went for a long walk which she slept through.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Claire Can...

Last time I wanted to write more about what I've been trying and what the game plan is for coaxing Claire to nurse. Basically it is to give her plenty of opportunities to interact with the breasts by holding her skin to skin and offering the breast any time she seems at all interested. I also have been trying taking her into the bathtub with me. She is usually willing to interact with the breast but not to latch on. She sometimes gets frustrated after just a few minutes of playing other times she seems to enjoy it for a while

Claire is getting more and more interactive. She smiles more and more frequently and in response to us. She like to have her belly rubbed while she is on the changing table. She make lots of different sounds and sometimes she seems to be answering as we are talking to her. She likes to look at books aswe read to her. She looking at a variety of toys and sometimes tries to grab them. Today she grabbed inchy's feet during tummy time. She is able to bring her hands together and to her mouth and spends a good dealof time sucking on her fingers or fist. She is less interested in the pacifier. She is getting more control of her head but still needs support. She can track a toy as you move itaround in front of her.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

She's baffled the experts

Wendy, the new LC came over and tried to work with Claire at the breast. Claire was uncooperative, belligerant and very unhappy. We came to the conclusion that if she goes to breast it will have to be on her terms and in her timing. Please pray that God will give her a desire to breastfeed and me patience to nurture her and continue pumping milk. It is really frustrating because I think the pumping sometimes gets in the way of the nurturing. I was just about to go for a walk but then I realised that it's been nearly 4 hours since I pumped and I've had some painful plugged ducts lately so I have to pump before we can go. Much of the time I spend pumping I'd rather spend holding Claire.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Bad Day

Yesterday was very difficult. I only got 3 hours of sleep the previous night and was feeling all stressed out about nursing. During the night Claire had many small meals, every hour and a half to two hours. This started the previous evening. She seems to be back on her normal schedule now. I'm not sure what the issue was. Maybe it was juat a growth spurt. I read some articles on the La Leche League website and talked to a LLL leader on the phone, as well as made an appt with a new LC, Wendy.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I think I need assertiveness training. Or at least I need to act instead of freeze up.
I've been thinking about the whole nursing issue again. I can't help but wonder (even though I know it does no good) I wonder if I had taken that nurse's advise at the UCLA Westwood hospital and let Claire do non-nutritive sucking everyday if she would be nursing now. I think it got interrupted because Claire had distended intestines (aka bowel loops) shortly after she began to recieve milk. Then it was hard working with a different nurse nearly everyday. In retrospect I wonder why the lactation consultant there didn't work with us. I talked to her a couple of times about milk supply issues. Why is this taking so long? Why is the LC I went to so unhelpful? I'm grieving because I want so badly to be able to nurse Claire and seems like we are further away than ever. I want to be able to nurse without equipment or paraphernalia.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I'm blogging and pumping in the computer room since the DSL connection died again.

Claire has been home for eleven weeks. She is smiling a lot now which is really gratifying. She loves to lay on the changing table and interact with whomever is changing her. But the past few days she has had some fairly lengthy fits of unhappiness. It is sometimes hard to figure out what it wrong.

We had two wonderful weeks with my mom AKA Nanu. Claire really seemed to enjoy interacting with her and it was great to have an extra pair of hands around here. Nanu and Claire had fun reading books together, playing during tummy time, early morning breakfasts, playing after diaper changes etc. I am really grateful for her time with us and am sad that she is gone again. Mom was great at keeping all my pumping equipment and bottles washed and ready to go, she kept up with the laundry and dishes and a hundred other things. We look forward to our next visit.

I'm still struggling to get Claire back to the breast. I want to follow advice from the Dr. Sears premature baby book regarding wearing her in the sling for several hours each day and putting her skin to skin but Claire hasn't been cooperative. I haven't yet met with a new LC. I will call tomorrow.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

back online

The mac laptop is back online if only temporarily.
It is hard for me to spend any time in the den where the desktop computer is...thus the lapse in blogging.

I went to the dentist Tues. afternoon and was pleasantly surprised by a good report. I used to brush multiple times per day before Claire came into my life. I've managed to keep up with daily flossing and using the electric toothbrush sporadically... I think that's what saved me.

Claire is still on a nursing strike. She will act like she is getting ready to nurse and then as soon as the breast goes in her mouth she cries. Sometimes she cries after just a few minutes of licking. And this is at times when she is happy between meals. I've been putting her skin to skin everyday to encourage her to become freindly with the breast again. She will usually lick it and play around for a few minutes then she gets upset. When I remove her from the breast, she calms down. She used to take comfort in the breast and suck for a while and fall asleep. She used to suckle while a bottle was heating during the night. Now she rejects the breast every time it is offered. I'm really bummed out about this turn of events. I went to the lactation consultant on Monday and didn't find her to be very helpful. I think I'm going to have a different LC come to the house. I've been reading articles on the La Leche League website. I tried taking her into the bathtub which started out well but then she got spooked and we had to cut the bathtime short. This was really disappointing because both the La Lehe articles and the LC suggested doing this to help her relax and be interested in nursing.

After several false starts with house cleaners we found someone to come. She will come on Monday for the first time. Hopefully it will work out and she can come regularly.

My mom has been a tremendous support the past two weeks. On Saturday she leaves us. It is amazing that even with help I was unable to squeeze in things like a visit to the YMCA or back exercizes or exercize video.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

new pics, and a movie

ClairePoster6bgetting tired
Pics on Flickr as usual.

You can watch the movie on YouTube here. It is a retrospective of Claire's first 130 days set to music, plus some footage shot this morning.

More Good news

Thanks be to God. All the doctors and therapists that interact with Claire have said that she is developing normally. We are thrilled and relieved. We are thankful for the prayers of friends and family. I sometimes call Claire my miracle baby :).

The ocupational therapist came today to evaluate Claire. She said that Claire doesn't need any occupational therapy since she has good muscle tone and sucking skills. The therapist said she doesn't show any signs of having a brain bleed and seems normal. It was fun watching Claire interact with her as she showed Claire a bright rattle toy and Claire tracked the toy side to side and up and down. She also observed Claire eating (at the breast with the shield and with the bottle) and suggested various things. She felt Claire's suck and said that she has the skills and should be able to breastfeed. (HURRAY!) I need to keep her awake at the breast and entice her to persist in getting started until the milk starts flowing. She suggestred pulling Claire closer and working with the lactation consultant in order to wean Claire off the nipple shield.

Claire has been really impatient for her feeds the past several days. When I tried to put her to the breast without the shield for the therapist she screamed. When I use the SNS she gets mad if the milk flow slows down. Claire usually will take the breast while a bottle is heating up but starting in the wee hours of the morning she wouldn't. She didn't take the breast at all today.

At some point in the last couple weeks she started getting fussy during burping sessions... now she starts screaming and arching and throwing a fit when we take the bottle out of her mouth to burp her. I've been letting her have more than an ounce at a time and burping her when she's a little more satisfied but then she usually has some spit up.

Today I tried several times to put her to the breast with and without the nipple sheild and she did the same screaming fit complete with tears and turning red as soon as I put the breast to her mouth. This was very frustrating and saddening. I don't know why she was acting this way. I made an appointment to see the lactation consultant on Monday afternoon.

I wrote this 9:30 Friday evening and was unable to post it till now due to flaky internet connection.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I spent a bunch of time yesterday and the day before putting things away, sorting through mail and other paperwork, paying bills etc. The house is looking much better.

I had a nice cuddle session with Claire. She was nursing off and on and napping off and on. Her naps today have been pretty brief. She had a fitful night last night. Hopefully tonight she will resume her usual habbit of sleeping well for the first half of the night.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Our wireless internet connection has been flaky the past few days. That is why I haven't blogged. We went to the neurologist today and she said that Claire looks great and that there is no sign of her brain bleed in Claire's behavior/ abilities. What a relief. She said there is no hydrocephalous based on the CAT scan that was done a couple of weeks ago. The blood has started to metabolise. She said that it should be totally cleared away by Claire's first birthday. She wants to see Claire again in 4 months.

I tried to publish photos to Flickr from the laptop but I couldn't get online due to the above mentioned connectivity problems...hopefully soon.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Busy Weekend

We had fun visiting with family at my brother's house on Friday. Claire seemed a little overwhelmed with a house full of people and didn't nap very much. She napped much better on Saturday at home while my mom and grandma visited us. In the evening Mark picked up his Dad at the train station and now I'm doing last minute pumping before we leave for Church.