Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Missing pregnancy...

I've been seeing cute bellies everywhere lately, so it got me thinking...

Top 10 things I miss about being pregnant:

1. Sleep, sleep, sleep!!!! - although I missed sleeping on my back when I was pregnant, now I just miss sleeping!

2. An excuse for a new wardrobe. - I LOVED my maternity clothes, especially towards the end. Now I'm back to the same ol' stuff. Yuck! And what's with the "muffin top" I have in all my pants now? Does that ever go away?

3. Help from strangers. - Why is it that when I had a huge belly, people rushed to help me lift, push, and pull anything... but when I'm lugging around an 11-pounder in a car seat, 2 grocery bags, and trying to get through a door, people just walk on by??

4. Not having to shave my legs! - apparently I was blessed with slow-growing leg hair during pregnancy, which I didn't really notice until it came back... with abundance. And now I have no excuse... I CAN reach.

5. A place to rest my hands. - now I'm back to fidgeting, shoving them in pockets, playing with my jewelry... I miss that big bump!

6. That "glow." - I swear my face didn't look any different when I was pregnant, but at least people claimed I had the glow. Now they just say, "You look tired." Gee, thanks.

7. An excuse to wear my flip-flops. - although it's summertime and I don't have to worry, when I go back to work, it'll be closed-toes again. : ( I really couldn't fit my swollen pods into anything else!!

8. [selfish one here]... The attention. - Yes, I'm glad to have my little podster here, but it sure was nice to walk into a room and have someone actually look at ME!! Now it's just baby, baby, baby!! Geez. Well, come to think of it, it was about the baby before... they were only concerned about my growing belly. Ugh! And I loved the attention from Chad too. He would rub my belly all day and night if he could!

9. The ignorant bliss. - remember that time, when diapers and crying and all things baby were far off in the distance? And all you had to worry about was decorating the cutest room ever??? And now you hardly see that room because you're stuck downstairs, on the couch, and change his diaper on the ottoman? Maybe that's just me. : ) And how did I get stuck mowing the lawn and cleaning the litter box again?

10. Little precious kicks, rolls, and hiccups. - Need I say more? : )

And just so you don't think I loved it all, here's a quick rundown of the things I can live without:

*back pain, rib cage pokes, swollen feet, gestational diabetes and the hardcore diet/finger pokes/insulin shots that went with it, NSTs, doctor's appts. in general, the in-between stage of maternity clothes, morning sickness (although I was pretty lucky), uncomfortable sleeping, getting up in the night to pee (that should be my number one!!), LABOR & DELIVERY!!!!!

Do I really want to do this again soon?

Of course!! : )

I need my baby girl Claire. Yes, she's already named. And no, I don't know what I'll do if I have another boy. Remember? I'm having a girl! No, I'm not in denial.

Whew, it's past 1am!! Chad's downstairs sleeping on the couch with the pod and I've been getting SO MUCH done upstairs... filing stuff in the office, organizing clothes. I know I won't have any other time to do it. Aidan's been high maitenance lately, so I gotta get it done while I can. Speaking of high maitenance, I hear him waking up...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A weekend at Nana's

My mom had her annual summer party this weekend and Chad and I got in TONS of picture-taking!! The weather was just a little overcast - the perfect lighting. Aidan was the hit of the party, as my mom's co-workers have been hearing about him since day one. Chad was a trooper and had a great time entertaining 2 grandkids my mom's friend brought. The little boy was following Chad around like a puppy - so cute! And the girl was very well-behaved, a little bit of a tomboy. Chad took them to the elementary school behind my mom's house and played foursquare... and get this... Chad said, "Let's see who wins this round," (or something like that), and they both said, "Let's not have winners or losers." Great kids!! : )

My nephews, Payton and Corbin, came over after to spend the night. They're getting more and more comfortable holding Aidan and they both got a kick out of trying to make him smile. We were on a "smile mission" this weekend. Failed miserably (except on videotape). I got a GREAT smile on my cameraphone, but the quality is horrible. I also got some first pictures of his palate, accidentally - I was aiming for a yawning shot. : )

Let the picture gallery begin!

At home, before we left... guess what he's looking at??
the ceiling fan!
At the party, before people arrived...


the kids that loved Chad... Ava & Thomas (can you believe she's going into 2nd grade this year??? She looks like my 4th graders! And he's going into Kindergarten. Big kids!)
"I'm gonna get you, Daddy!!"
"FEED ME!! Or I'll eat you up!"Aidan's incomplete cleft palate... best picture I could come up with
Anything to get a smile!!! : )
My mom, happy to get her Aidan-time!
After a long day of partying - Phew, I'm pooped!
My nephew Payton (going into 7th grade) and his mom, Lindsay.
My nephew, Corbin (going into 5th grade) - munching on something : )

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bumbo pics!

Here he is in his Bumbo! Technically, he's not supposed to be in it for a few more weeks, but I had to try. He only stayed for a minute.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Eye doctor

I took Aidan to the opthamologist today, for his "wandering" left eye. It was my first early morning appt. by myself, and it was HARD to get out of the house on time!! But I made it with time to spare. Unfortunately, it was Aidan's morning naptime (I'm going to miss that when he gets older!) and he wouldn't wake up for the doctor! The doctor was rattling toys and shining lights at him and he wouldn't even blink! The nurse put some drops in his eyes and told me to wait in the lobby for 15 minutes. So I decided to do what I knew would wake him up... change his diaper. : )

About 20 minutes later, we were back in the room, and Aidan was wide awake. : ) Thankfully, the doc didn't see anything wrong with his left eye - I knew they wouldn't. He seems to track just fine. I fed him afterwards and then hit Babies R' Us for a little shopping. I bought a Bumbo!! I'm excited to try it. And no, I won't put it on the counter and let him fall off.

By the way, I deleted yesterday's post (thanks to those of you who responded). It was me venting about a situation that happened yesterday and Chad preferred that I not post it, just in case. It's easy to want to write about everything here!

Oops, the pod is peeping! Maybe later I'll take pictures in his new chair!! These pics are from yesterday - aren't I looking lovely???

You can see by the color of his feet that he's hot in this sleeper... but I knew it wouldn't fit much longer and he had never worn it. It was our first cold morning, so I threw him in it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The first two months...

The greatest thing that happened at the hospital was a connection I made with one of the nurses. The nurse taking care of me said her co-worker had a daughter with a cleft lip and she'd see if she could come in and talk to me. So Tami came up on her day off, with her daughter, just to visit us! I was so touched. Her daughter's lip looked great and she told me all about Children's Hospital and about feeding with different bottles, etc. She checked out Aidan and ended up being Aidan's nurse the next day. She said when she had her daughter, there was no one for her to talk to, so she wanted to make sure I had someone. How nice!!

We brought Aidan home after 2 days at the hospital. They wanted to keep him an extra night, just to make sure he was eating, but we would've had to leave our room. I couldn't bear leaving my newborn in the nursery and having to "visit" him. So Chad and I made the decision to take him home. And I'm SO glad we did!

Those first weeks were a killer. I've never been so tired in my life! But more than lack of sleep, I was really frustrated with pumping. They said I needed to pump at least 8 times a day, which meant getting up in the night to pump (besides feeding him!). And I just wasn't getting ANYTHING out. My milk finally came in around day 6, but the next day, it seemed like it was gone. The most I could ever pump out was an ounce (total from both), so Aidan was pretty much on formula from day one. I tried herbal teas, drops, and then even Reglan. After two days of feeling queezy, hormonal, and even depressed, I quit the Reglan (even though it really did help). On June 11th, his one month birthday, I made the decision to stop pumping. The first day without pumping was rough, especially since Aidan always drank the breastmilk much more eagerly. But after a week, it was such a relief. At least he got a month of it!


A week after Aidan was born (May 19th), we went for our first appt. at Children's Hospital in Seattle. What a eye-opener! All of a sudden, we were in a clinic surrounded with other cleft babies, about the same age as Aidan. And you could see all the parents kind of looking around, comparing their baby to the rest. We finally started talking to the families around us and had a little support group going! What fascinated me was that no one else knew prior to delivery either. Who knew that a week after our babies were born, we'd end up at Children's Hospital? Some parents had done a lot of research, but this one family didn't even know that their son had a "bilateral" cleft lip - I was the one who told them. I guess I'm an internet junkie, as are my friends. Once I sent the text message that Aidan was born and had a cleft lip/palate, my friends all jumped on their computers, which actually was great because they seemed very informed when they first visited.

Children's Hospital was great, but NOT punctual - our first appt. was supposed to be at 11:30am and we got in at 1:10pm. Aidan weighed 6 pounds, which was great. I got a kick out of watching him wiggle and squirm on the scale! And pee!! Aidan seemed to pee through everything those days (and still does!).

We met the cleft team and they were great. But I ended up breaking down when the orthodontist brought out the "lip tape." Seeing his little cheeks squished by the tape just broke my heart. I cried for the rest of the day (looking back on it, I feel so silly - the tape doesn't bother me at all!). I was hardly listening when they explained his surgeries, so I had a ton of questions for Chad when we got home. I was glad they decided against a NAM, because I knew that would mean traveling to Children's frequently, and we're about an hour and a half south (without traffic!).

Aidan ended up having a little jaundice, but it went away thankfully without having to do any light therapy. He never really got cradle cap or much baby acne. He has really beautiful skin, I'd say! : )

Over the next couple weeks, we had a TON of visitors (no wonder I couldn't find time to pump!). We had told everyone beforehand about his cleft, and they were great about it. I was tempted in the beginning to leave his lip tape off, but now I'm better about his wearing it 24/7. I wrote to the teachers at my school about Aidan's cleft and asked them to prepare their students. When I brought Aidan to school a few weeks after he was born, they were SO excited to see him!! I only had a few kids ask, "What's wrong with his lip?" And of course those were kids in classes where the teacher hadn't prepared them. But I felt like a celebrity!! It was great to be back at school and show off the baby they had seen grow for 9 months. And the best part? A few 5th grade boys said, "Wow, Mrs. Stoker - you look great!" and "You're right back to being skinny again! 10 points for you!!" heehee : ) I did feel good. I sympathize with anyone who tore or had a C-section, because I was up and around a week after delivery.



We had a few more appts. with the pediatrician - she was blown away by his weight gain! I think the other cleft babies she's seen had complete clefts and had a harder time gaining weight. And we went to Children's again and met a few more families. We met one 9-year-old boy who had just found out his bone graft didn't take and he'd have to wait to get his braces. He looked at Aidan, leaned in the carseat, and said, "It's a rough life, kid. The surgeries HURT." I almost cried! But he was smiling the whole time about it. : ) I also met a woman and her 1-year-old son who both had clefts. Hers wasn't repaired as nicely, having had it done years ago. She had 2 older children who didn't have clefts, but her youngest did.

I took Aidan to school again for the last 2 days and was brave enough to put his lip tape on him. My favorite comment was, "Looks like he has a mustache!" heehee

Aidan seemed to have a LOT of gas in the first few weeks, so we switched to the Gentlease formula by Enfamil. That seemed to help. Since then, we've also been giving him Probiotics, suggested by our pediatrician. At 6 weeks old, we switched to the pigeon nipples and he's really gotten the hang of them. I love them so much more, since I don't have to squeeze! Sometimes I just couldn't do it, especially at the 2am feeding!

At 2 months, we moved him into his crib. We have a pack n' play in our room, but he would grunt and make noises all night and we just couldn't sleep. For the first month, we did a lot of couch sleeping with him, which is a SIDS no-no. Actually, we broke a lot of SIDS rules. But we were nervous to leave him on his back, for fear of him spitting up through his nose! Thankfully we got one of those cool monitors with the sensory pad that goes under the mattress and detects his movement, so I don't have to worry (as much).

He doesn't spit up often, but the few times he has, it freaks me out. I've gotten more comfortable with the aspirator. But he does this weird thing where he swallows and gurgles, and it seems like it's for no reason. I can't tell if he needs to swallow fluid or if he's hungry - but he does it a lot! We had a dramatic choking incident at his 2-month appt. You can read about it on his website (www.babysites.com/sites/awstoker). I think it's been fun educating everyone, including our pediatrician's office, about cleft babies!!

Aidan ended up with an umbilical hernia and it's just getting bigger and bigger. It's so weird!! But it doesn't seem to bug him. And I'm taking him to an eye doctor on Thursday because our pediatrician thinks he has a "wandering" left eye. That was the eye that had a blocked tear duct for awhile... wonder if that's a coincidence? Maybe he'll end up with lip tape AND an eye patch!! : )

We're nervous about his upcoming lip surgery. I don't want to see his wide smile go away!! And I'm not looking forward to his recovery with the arm splints, and seeing ANY sort of blood on him. Ugh. Also, I've noticed a lot of cleft kids end up with pretty thin top lips, or uneven lips, and he has such a nice, full bottom lip. I want them to look even! But of course that's not what really matters. What matters is he'll be able to talk and suck, and blow little bubbles (after palate surgery too).

I'm beyond excited that I've found this "family." Please leave a comment if you visit so I can add you to my blog list!

Because I'm a picture addict, I have to post a FEW of my favorite pictures from each week/month. We bought a new camera right before he was born, so we use it often. : )

Newborn



First two weeks





4 weeks











6 weeks




8 weeks
No, he's not breastfeeding!! This is how I keep his binky in... press him against me so I'm hands free! : )








10 weeks







Ok, I'm officially caught up!! Good thing my little boy is sleeping more these days so I can get my computer fix. I should be sleeping of course too... but I'd rather be blogging!! And I'd like to be eating ice cream, but unfortunately I don't have any. : (