Monday, October 15, 2012

Remembering...

Today is International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  While I'm so happy and proud to have a happy, healthy little boy, my heart is heavy today.  Sending warm thoughts to parents everywhere who have gone through the agonizing pain of losing a baby.

If you have a story to share, or you're looking for someone who's had a similar experience to yours, check out: http://facesofloss.com/  Despite our unique situation, I was able to find two families who had nearly identical events to ours.  While I wouldn't wish this pain on ANYONE, I have to admit, finding someone who "gets it" is incredibly comforting!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

There's no place like....work?


Clearly I have been delinquent in this space.  I’ve been back to work for exactly 6 months and life, as I know it, is chaos!  But happily chaotic!

I have many hats: wife, mother, sister, daughter, in-law, friend, colleague and co-worker.  Sometimes I have more than one on, and sometimes I wish I could take them all off and go hide in a dark movie theatre and eat buttered popcorn.  All of these hats represent different expectations, both the ones I place on myself and the ones others have of me.  It’s always a balancing act, trying to make sure I don’t put too much attention to one and ignore the others.

Despite how it may sound, I am HAPPY!  I feel like order is restored in my life (I get bored very easily, so busy is where I thrive).

During my maternity leave, I learned a lot about myself and who I want to be.  I am a wife and a mother foremost, but I NEED balance.  I need to spend time with my friends, I need to go to the gym, and I need to work to keep my brain stimulated.  I struggled with balance when I was on maternity leave.  It was much harder than I expected.  Those that know me well, know that I’m a control freak.  So spending endless days and nights with an infant that I couldn’t figure out was extremely challenging.  There were many times we were both in tears because we were both tired and frustrated.

I remember vividly the moment when I knew I lost balance.  I spent hours making homemade baby food for N, and then he refused to eat it.  Flat out refused, and even vomited when I stuffed it in his mouth.  I burst into tears in front of my husband because I was frustrated after all that effort…wasted.  His response: it’s just baby food, relax.  And it was, but in that moment, it was ALL I had to focus on.  After that, I worked very hard to get out of the house, make friends, participate in local mommy groups, and find time for ME.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved maternity leave.  BUT a year is a VERY long time!  Kudos to the parents who decide to stay at home and raise their children.  I couldn't do it, I know I couldn't.  I am a much better parent and person when I have some separation.

So now I am back at work, happily busy and balancing my many hats.  I have a renewed energy for my career, and I am thankful to have a loving family to go home to.  N is flourishing in daycare.  He loves his teachers, and they are very good to him.  I often peek in before I pick him up, just to watch him laughing and playing with his teachers and other kids.  It warms my heart to see him smile.

Not to say all of this is easy.  Some days I stress too much about work and I bring it home with me.  Some days I don’t have enough patience with my husband and child.  But I can’t be perfect all the time, right?  I’ve learned the hard way that I need to lower my expectations of myself.  Because it doesn’t really matter that there’s crumbs all over the floor, or that the bed isn’t made, or that there’s toys EVERYWHERE – right?  In theory, yes!  But there’s some things I just can’t let go of, I can’t handle clutter.  But I know it’s extra work I’m putting on myself and I have nobody but me to blame for it.

What things make you crazy that you just can’t ignore?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

TV Hitting Close To Home

Since I went back to work (over a month ago, and I’m long overdue for a post on that – I will do it soon!), my PVR has been constantly clogged with my favourite TV shows.  Most nights I’m lucky to be awake at 9:30pm because my days are so hectic.  Hubby has been out the last few nights so I’ve been able to catch up on one of my favourites, Private Practice.  I had 5 episodes taped, which is a lot to watch!  Where I left off a few weeks ago was Emilia finding out she was pregnant but resisting having any tests or ultrasounds done.


So needless to say I was blindsided when I started watching last night only to discover that her baby doesn’t have a brain, she’s past the point of termination and needs to carry a baby that’s going to die to term.  It was like someone kicked me in the chest.  I have to say that the writers have done an amazing job of capturing the emotions one goes through when they find out the child they are carrying will not survive.  The sadness, anger, frustration and eventual numbness.  The desire to just hide from everyone who is happy because it’s too painful. 


I got halfway through the next episode where she decided to stay as healthy as possible so her baby would grow strong and she could donate its organs after birth.  It made me stop and wonder.  If I had carried Olivia to term, could I have done the same and saved the life of another baby?  Or would she have even made it to term?  I was induced at 27 weeks after knowing something was wrong for nearly a month.  That was hands down the worst month of my life.  No one understood how I was feeling, it was like everyone around me was exceptionally happy and I was carrying around a sadness that pressed down on me like a vice.  Every kick and movement was a painful reminder that our time was coming to an end.  I can’t imagine carrying her for another 13 weeks knowing she was going to die. 


I’m sure the remaining 4.5 episodes will only get harder to watch.  The upside is that the public gets a tiny glimpse into what it’s like to lose a child.  If anything, I hope people realize that it’s awful, there’s nothing you can say to make the mother feel better, and the only thing you can do to help is to just be there to listen and provide support.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I am a survivor

When Olivia died, I sunk into a very dark place I never thought I'd escape. The last two years have been a roller coaster of emotions and events, and somehow I'm still standing strong. I'm still not sure how.

I reconnected with a work friend last week I hadn't seen in over a year, and learned that she lost he 14 year old son last year to cancer. I offered my condolences and a hug, and before my eyes I saw her very fresh wound tear open. Her pain is so raw that it made my heart ache for her. I know how much it hurts to lose a child you never met, I can't imagine the ache of losing someone who was part of your life for so long.

We shared our stories (she never knew exactly what happened to me), shed some tears, and parted knowing there's one more person out there who "gets it".

I feel like my community of moms who have lost children continues to expand. I wish the opposite would happen, no one deserves to go through this.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy (belated) birthday to my little man!

I can't believe this is almost a month overdue!  I'm in my third week back to work and the past month has been a whirlwind!

We had a great day for Noah's Sesame Street birthday party on March 25.  We had 10 kids under age 1, 2 - 2 year olds and my 6 and 8 year old nephews.  Talk about a full house!  We hired a woman from a local music program to do a short activity with the kids, and they loved it! He was very spoiled (as usual) and had a great day.

A few weeks before his birthday, we did a cake smash with my photographer friend.  If you haven't heard of a cake smash, basically you put a cake in front of your child, and let them go!  He liked messing around with the icing, but it actually made him throw up (I think it was too sweet).  So, since his birthday was Sesame Street themed (hence the cookie monster cake), we gave him cookies.  And boy did he like them!  Here's some of my favourite shots:

Smart dressed boy

All smiles for mommy

Hmm, what's this?

Mmmm cookie

What IS this blue stuff?

I have TWO cookies!

Yum...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Two years ago, we welcomed and lost our baby girl

This seems fitting today, there aren't any new words to explain how I'm feeling.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Approaching two years

Next Monday will mark two years since Olivia was born.  My heart still aches when the memories of the week leading up to my induction come flooding back.  I try to push them down deep and focus on the beautiful baby boy I have in front of me, but the sadness still manages to creep out.

Noah will be one next Sunday, she would've been two.  How will we ever tell him he has a big sister in heaven?

Life is so unfair sometimes....

"Vacationing" with a baby

Last week we were in Indian Shores, Florida (just south of Clearwater) for a family vacation. I use the word vacation loosely because our definition of the term has evolved dramatically over the past year. Gone are the days of laying in the sun for hours, reading books and enjoying a constant flow of frozen drinks. Our new reality is finding ways to occupy our baby in a new environment, and trying desperately to maintain his sleeping and eating routine.

We stayed in the Sandcastle 1 condo with my parents, who rented it for three weeks. We crashed their corner of paradise for week two. I have to say, having an extra set of hands was the only way we were able to enjoy any downtime. An added bonus is that my parents got some much-needed time with their grandson that they only see every few months.

We flew out of Buffalo, NY, which was a fantastic decision on hubby's part. The flight was cheaper ($700 via Southwest vs. $1500 via Air Canada from Toronto) and we dealt with customs from our car at the border (very short lineup and babe slept until we rolled the window down at the guard booth). It also meant we had a shorter flight, which is essential when you're travelling with a baby who hates to sleep in your arms, and is now pulling himself up on everything he can reach.

Southwest Airlines was fantastic. The check in was quick, they permit two 50lb checked bags per person, and the staff are very friendly. We ended up checking two large and one small suitcase. The amount of gear we needed to bring was incredible, and we also rented gear once we got there! I was concerned about overweight baggage fees so I convinced hubby to add the extra case. And thank goodness we did!  If you're familiar with Southwest, you'll know that they don't have assigned seating, rather you're boarded in groups based on the letter/number on your boarding pass.  If you're travelling with young children, they allow you to board after the A group boards, which means it doesn't matter what assignment you have.  This means that you have very good odds of sitting together, and even getting your own row.  After all, who the heck wants to sit with a screaming baby?

Security at US airports is very accommodating for families. Both in Buffalo and Tampa, they offered family lines. This meant faster processing and fewer hassles. I brought a lot of baby food in the diaper bag and not one person hassled me about it. We also had more than the allotted carry on baggage, and again, no hassles!

The plane rides were as expected. Noah fought me as I held him tight upon takeoff, then slept for 1-2 hours in my arms. Once he woke, hubby and I took turns passing him back and forth, trying to keep him happy and occupy his attention. Thankfully the people around us were very nice, and many were smiling and attempting to occupy babe's attention.

My parents were waiting for us when we arrived. We rented a car seat from Visiting Baby, and they installed it in my dad's car before we arrived. This was a lifesaver! It meant that we didn't have to worry about transporting babe from the airport, nor bring his bucket infant seat.  I've found that a lot of cities offer similar services, just search "City baby gear rental" and you can see what local companies have to offer.

I'm so glad we stayed in a condo. Having a full kitchen, laundry and a separate room for Noah meant that we could maintain much of our home routine. My parents drove down and took our Phil & Teds Traveller playpen with them so we didn't have to lug it on the plane. He'd slept in it before so we knew he would be ok in it.

We rented a number of items from Visiting Baby, and boy did it make life easier. We got the toddler car seat (which they kindly installed), a bin of toys (they tailor by age - and Noah was very excited to discover the contents), a feeding booster seat (which we attached to one of the dining room chairs) and a jumperoo (which was great but now that he's pulling himself up and crawling, didn't get much use). For a week we paid around $120. It was WELL worth the investment!

Occupying a baby in a small condo is tricky, so we went for lots of long walks and spent many hours in the pool. Generally the trip was very smooth! There were only two hiccups: the food and sleep.

I make most of Noah's food, but he does get the jarred meat combinations for dinner. Once the food I brought ran out, we switched to food I bought at Target. And he HATED it! I bought stage 2 foods because I didn't see stage 3, and they were extremely bland and runny. Thankfully I brought a can of formula because I was paranoid it would taste different. So he drank well but his meals were challenging for the first few days. That said, he happily ate bits of food from our plates, so we just had to make sure we had baby-appropriate meals. When we went shopping again, I found foods exactly like his, and he devoured them!

Our first night there, Noah slept from 8:30-7, his normal sleep routine, From day 2 onward, he started waking 30 minutes earlier each day. We managed to leave him in his bed until nearly 7, because we didn't want him to adjust to this new wake up time. We knew that a major factor was the brightness of his room. At home, we use room darkening blinds. In Florida, the blinds weren't great and his room was on the sunrise side of the building, which meant he was wide awake when he saw the first glimpse of light. I'm also convinced (but hubby thinks I'm nuts) that he was adjusting early for daylight savings time. It took two days once we got home to get him back to "normal" (8:30-7). Thank goodness for that!

When I was packing for the trip, I looked at a lot of blogs and websites for lists and suggestions of things I might forget. So here's a list I hope you'll find handy for your next trip. Please let me know if I've missed anything!

What to pack for baby:
- diapers (enough for the plane, and if you have room in your case, enough for the week)
- swim diapers (again, only if you have space in your luggage)
- shorts
- socks
- light pjs (consider if your room will have A/C)
- light pants (for cool morning walks)
- light hoodie
- sun hat (with chin strap if your child doesn't like hats)
- long and short sleeved onesies (long sleeved are handy for walks - protects babe's arms from the sun)
- multiple bathing suits
- sunglasses (if babe will wear)
- water shoes (if babe is walking/cruising)
- fast-drying pool hat with chin strap
- shoes/sandals
- formula
- baby food (many companies now offer pouches which are lightweight and easy to pack)
- baby sunblock (i liked Aveeno, it rubbed in quickly)
- after sun/aloe (in case the sunblock washes off and babe gets burnt)
- baby powder (apparently it helps to remove sand, but we weren't at the beach much)
- mini toiletries (baby wash, cotton swabs, creams)
- first aid kid (thermometer, advil, teething meds - just in case!)
- large reusable/waterproof shopping bag (to use as a beach bag - you need to bring a lot to the beach and you'll have wet stuff to bring back up)
- waterproof blanket (for the airport and by the pool - the JJ Cole one is awesome)

What to pack in your diaper bag:
- diapers
- wipes
- mini toiletries (baby wash, cream, hand sanitizer)
- extra outfit
- pajamas
- small toys, book
- baby lunchbag (empty bottle(s), pre-measured formula, pouches of food, bib, spoon, bowls - nothing that needs to be cooled)
- lots of treats (easy way to distract/calm a bored baby)
- light blanket (in case the plane is cold while babe is sleeping)
- travel pillow (for under the elbow of whoever is holding babe while sleeping - you'll get uncomfortable fast otherwise)

Things to buy when you get there:
- beach towels
- swim diapers (if your case was full)
- pool toys/inflatable boat (preferably with a sun shield)

We brought a DVD player with an assortment of discs, and it kept Noah's attention for a while on the plane. Southwest didn't have TVs on our planes, so we had to get creative to occupy Noah. I also brought an assortment of small toys that he could shake and chew on. The DVD player also came in handy in the condo when he got bored, or needed distracting while we ate our dinner.

As you can see, travelling with a baby is quite the process. But in the end, it was worth it! We had a great week with lots of sunshine and happy memories. If you plan ahead and try not to sweat the small stuff, you can have a fun (but not terribly relaxing) family vacation!

When can we go to the beach??

Fun with mommy

Water baby - he couldn't get enough of the pool

Enjoying his boat

Smiles for grandma
Enjoying the Fisher Price play gate at the Buffalo Airport

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

DIY baby name project

I realized about a month ago that I didn't have Noah's name anywhere in his room.  I started looking on Etsy and found some really cute ideas, but they seemed expensive.  Then it hit me.  I can do this!  I have a ton of scrapbooking supplies and can use them!

So off to Michaels I went to look for some ideas of what to put the letters on.  I was initially thinking blocks or boxes but found some cute and super affordable mini canvases.  I liked the idea of a canvas because I've worked with them before in altered album projects.  I also picked up some neutral paint and a paintbrush, which were both on sale!



I have a LOT of patterned paper on hand already, so I didn't need to buy any.  But since Noah's room has an animal/jungle theme, I thought it would be cute to add some animal accents.  I found these, and they matched perfectly with the paper I wanted to use.  They were also on sale!


I didn't have an exact plan in mind, but had a rough idea.  Generally when I scrapbook, I start with the base and photos and move things around over a few days until I'm happy with it.  This project took me a week, but only 30 mins the first day, 5-10 minutes on days 2-5, an hour on day 6 and another hour on day 7.  Here's how I put it together.

I did two coats on paint on the canvases.  I didn't worry about it being perfect because I like the aged/antiqued look.


Once the paint was dry, I selected my background papers from the Basic Grey Offbeat line.  I have a bunch of these 6x6 paper pads that I picked up at CKC Buffalo a few years ago for $2 each.  They're great for greeting cards and projects like this, so you don't have to chop up your 12x12 sheets.


It took me some time to figure out how to do the letters.  Originally I used word art in Microsoft Powerpoint and filled the letters in brown.  But I couldn't get the colour I wanted.  Then the lightbulb went off!  I have a ton of cardstock, why not use word art with no fill and a black outline and print them onto cardstock and cut them out!  It worked perfectly!  I printed the letters onto white printer paper so I knew the placement, and then I taped the cardstock onto the white paper and ran it through my printer.  They turned out beautifully!




Now it was time to start assembling.  I cut apart the animal accents and picked out the ones I wanted.


I laid out everything on the canvases.  Hmm...not bad.  But they're missing some "pizzaz".  I moved things around for a few days and thought about what I could do to make them "pop".


This is where my scrapbooking stash came in handy!  I decided to ink the edges of the patterned paper to give them some dimension.



Since everything seemed a bit flat, I dove into my pop dot stash.  Everything got pop dots, the patterned paper, the letters and the animal accents.  These gave them a 3D look.




My next challenge was how to display these creations.  I looked on etsy for ideas.  Many had holes punched in the top and were hung individually by ribbons.  But I wanted something that could stand on his shelf.  So back to Michaels I went.  I looked at an easel, but the shelf I had is small and it was too bulky.  Then I stumbled across a section with wooden letters and accompanying peg boards and sticks.  AHA!  The peg board/stick sets were on clearance for $0.49.  Wicked!  I bought two because I had a blank canvas in my purse and knew each one would only hold two (based on the width of the canvas).  I laid everything out on my desk and taped the canvases to the sticks.  I stood them up and checked them on the display shelf to make sure the height was right (I wanted them to stand behind some stuffed animals).  Once I was happy with the height, I used my trusty glue gun to stick them together.


And here's the finished project:


And here they are in Noah's room.  I'm SO happy with how they turned out!




My little man is 10.5 months old!

Boy how time flies.  Here's a few snapshots I took with the photo backdrop I got from Santa!







Friday, February 3, 2012

First fever

When we woke up yesterday, Noah felt warm.  But that's not unusual because he often sleeps with one of his comfort blanket animals over his face.  We proceeded with our day and went downstairs for his bottle and breakfast.  Then I put him down for his morning nap before our 11am library program.  When I got him up from his nap, he still felt warm, but he was also wearing a long-sleeved onesie, flannel pj's and was in a fleece sleep sack.  I checked his temp with a forehead thermometer on the warmest spot and it said he was 98.1 degrees, normal.

When we arrived at the library program, he still hadn't cooled down.  My friend felt his forehead and said he felt warm, but he's a hot kid, so it's not unusual.  He LOVES the library program, the singing, the stories and especially the bubbles at the end.  But he wasn't himself.  He was whiny, not engaged and clingy.  Even my friend commented that he wasn't himself.

So off we went to the doctor.  I didn't want to risk an ear infection because he tugs at them a lot (often because of teeth or tiredness).  After a short wait, the doctor checked his ears, chest and throat and said he had a virus, likely a cold.  He suggested Infant Advil/Tylenol, liquids and a steam vaporizer.

On our way home, I could see him in the rear view mirror and he looked awful.  His eyes were like slits and he could barely hold his head up.  When we got home, I left him in the car seat while I sorted out his bed (he tends to throw his animals and soothers around), filled the vaporizer and grabbed the Advil.  At this point his face was bright red and he was burning up.  I checked his temp again and it was 100.9 degrees.  Not good.

Thankfully, the Advil kicked in quickly and his temperature started to come down (I could tell because he insisted on putting his head against my chin, so I could feel his face cooling).  He drank his bottle, devoured his lunch and willingly went down for a two hour nap.

Unlike him, he woke from the nap sobbing, and I was a bit out of sorts myself.  He isn't a "fall asleep in your arms" kind of kid.  In fact, he's not a big cuddler.  Turns out, that's exactly what we wanted.  We found a good position in a comfy chair and he sat on my lap watching The Wiggles for hours.  He would doze for a few minutes here and there, but just wanted to cuddle.

When dinnertime came, he didn't have much of an appetite.  And that's the most uncharacteristic behaviour because he LOVES to eat.  He only drank a small amount of his bottle, refused the heated solids, refused the fruit and only ate a tiny bit of yogurt (which he generally devours).  I decided to give him a bath, since there's nothing he loves more.  It helped to bring his temperature down (his head was flaming red again) and brighten his spirits, even for a short time.

I gave him another dose of Advil and put him down at 8pm.  I was fully prepared for shrieking when it wore off around 230 am.  Instead he woke at midnight, but not terribly upset.  He sounded more irritated that he was awake.  I decided to give him another dose then, rather than wait till he was beside himself.  He didn't feel too hot, but I didn't want to take a chance that the Advil was still masking the fever.  He fell back asleep quickly and slept till 720am, when I finally went in and woke him because I wanted to see how he was.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a smiling, cool boy.  The fever broke overnight, hurray!

He's been in much better spirits today.  He's still not 100% but he's much better than he was yesterday.  He drank his whole bottle, ate most of his breakfast, and played eagerly with me on the floor for nearly an hour.

I'm so glad it was a short bout, especially because hubby is away (of course that's when everything bad happens, right?).  He's on his way home and I'm really looking forward to getting out for a few hours by myself this afternoon.  I need to recharge and get those damn Wiggles songs out of my head!

Thank

Sick boy...mommy cuddles always do the trick

Monday, January 23, 2012

Capturing those precious last moments

I just came across the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation, thanks to Kat.  This is an amazing group of photographers that take pictures of babies who have died, or who are about to die, so their parents have something to remember them by.

I'm scrolling through the gallery with tears pouring down my face.  My heart aches for all the families that have lost a child.  It's heartbreaking to see there's so many people out their who have gone through the agony of holding their child in their arms for the only or final time.

Mount Sinai took pictures of Olivia for us, and they're tucked away in a white lace folder with her ultrasound pictures and cards we received after she died.  I pull them out every so often, because I need to remember what she looks like.  B only looked at them once, and I know it broke his heart.  The only other people who have seen them are my parents, who I showed the day after her death.

I wish I had known about NILMDTS then, because the memories might be a little nicer than the blurry pictures of her tiny purple body, with the giant diaper and hat covering her facial defects.  That said, the image imprinted in my heart is that of her in my arms, with her perfect tiny hands and feet.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

PR and Parenthood...not so different

My one year maternity leave is in its final months, and going back to work and sending DS to daycare is always on my mind. I've been thinking about how it will be to rejoin the working world and interact with adults each day. As I've thought about it, I've come to realize that it won't be THAT different than being at home with DS. Think about your child as the needy client, here's how they're the same:

- expect you to be on call and cheerful, 24/7
- request unrealistic timelines ("I want it now, yesterday, tomorrow")
- unrealistic demands ("carry me till I fall asleep", "feed me in a specific chair at a 45 degree angle", "I want that press release in an hour", "get me front page coverage in the Globe")
- they don't always like being told what to do
- they don't like the word "no" and often ignore it
- they can go from super nice to cranky in less than a minute
- you have to clean up their messes
- they can be easily distracted by shiny, bright objects
- they're always changing and you have to stay on your toes to keep up with them (or be one step ahead of them)
- you're always trying to keep them safe and out of trouble
- the only way to survive is to multitask

Any other ideas?

Friday, January 20, 2012

My love-hate relationship with my Diaper Genie

The Diaper Genie II is a great invention.  Baby pees or poops in diaper.  Parent needs a place to drop it quickly to put new diaper on and avoid airborne baby mess while uncovered.  And so the Diaper Genie becomes an esential part of the diaper changing routine.

Here's what Playtex says about the product:

The Diaper Genie® Disposal System has all the requirements moms need when it comes to diaper pails:
  • Patent pending double-locked pail design and multi-layer refill seals in odour and germs
  • Antimicrobial protection inhibits odour-causing bacteria
  • Diapers only touch refill film, not the pail, so no messy residue is left behind
  • Foot pedal allows for easy, hands-free opening
  • No need to bend down
  • Made in the USA
It seals 270 Newborn diapers, 233 #1 diapers, 192 #2 diapers, 176 #3 diapers, 144 #4 diapers and 105 #5 diapers.
As new parents, we changed Noah about 10 times a day.  Like any new parent, when we noticed he was wet, we changed him.  Probably to the point of excessive, but he didn't mind.  He never got upset about a dirty diaper, but we were determined to avoid the dreaded diaper rash, so we changed him frequently.  As a result, our Diaper Genie was bursting at the seams after a week of use.

I say a week, because the newborn diapers were so tiny that you could really jam a lot in there.  We emptied it about once a week, and when we pulled it out, it looked like a giant, diaper-filled sausage.  Every time we changed him, we always took the diaper upstairs to the Genie.  We had it placed beside the change table for easy access.

Here's how it works:  you remove the dirty diaper, roll it up tightly and use the waist tapes to hold it in a small ball.  You press the foot pedal, the lid pops open, you drop in the diaper (sometimes you have to push it through the "claw" inside, and then let the lid fall.  Inside is a long plastic bag that feeds from a plastic circle container that sits inside the opening.  You only pull out a few feet at a time, and knot the plastic at the end to create a bag.

I love the fact that it has a foot pedal.  I remember my sister had the old, twisty one (you lifted the lid manually, dropped in the diaper and twisted the bag inside) and it wasn't as easy to use.  She even commented that this design was better.  Who has an extra hand when you're trying to dispose of a dirty diaper and hold onto the baby to make sure they don't roll off the change table?

The refills now last us a few weeks.  As his diapers have gotten bigger, we can't fit quite as many in.  To figure out if it's full, I just pick it up.  If it feels heavy, I know it's time to empty it.  And emptying is a breeze.  You just open it up (like a clamshell), use the handy built in cutter to slice the bag and tie it, and then knot the remaining end, pull more bag from the dispenser, and close it up.  Easy peasy and all done in a matter of minutes.

Now here's my complaint.  And it's a big one.

Any parent who has transitioned their infant to solids will know that their bowel movements go through a massive change.  Let's just say that I miss the days of seedy, yellow breastmilk poop.  Now we have rock hard, black, foul smelling, room clearing poops.  Often I can smell it from across the room, and when I change Noah, I discover it's only a tiny amount.  Now that's potent.

The issue is that the Diaper Genie contains the smell (most of the time, depending how full it is) when the lid is closed, but when I open it to drop in a dirty diaper......WHAM! The stench nearly knocks me over.  I've tried shaking baby powder inside, and that helps mask the odour...temporarily.  I've tried spraying Febreeze and Lysol inside to kill the germs, but all I end up with is flower or apple-scented poo.  So now I'm emptying it every couple days, simply because of the smell.

Maybe their old design was better, because by twisting the bag, you created a barrier that contained the odour to that section of the bag.

I would love some ideas for eliminating or minimizing the stench.  Sometimes I walk into Noah's room to check on him at night, and think that he pooped, only to realize the smell is from his Diaper Genie, and not him.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Baby on the move!

Noah has been desperately trying to crawl for about a month now.  He started on all fours, rocking back and forth.  He hasn't yet figured out how to coordinate his arms with his legs, so my clever little guy figured out how to pull himself with his arms.  And boy is he fast!  Check it out:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Keeping busy to stay sane as a new mom

When Noah was born, I spent a lot of time at home initially.  Everyone says that you should keep your baby away from fluctuating temperatures and germs.  What they didn't tell me was that staying at home would make me stir crazy!  My husband leaves the house by 8am and most nights isn't home till after 6 (when Noah was born it was closer to 7pm).  Eleven hours alone with a screaming baby is a looong time!

Staying at home with your baby has its merits.  You get acquainted with each other, you learn to read baby's hunger and tired cues, you can begin to establish a routine for babe, and you can spend the day in your pjs!  The downfall is that you're all alone, tired and frustrated because those first 3 months are extremely difficult.  And being by yourself can push you into a deep funk. 

I struggled a lot in those first three months.  I breastfed for 6 weeks and Noah was very colicky.  He would scream for at least 45 minutes after every feed because he was gassy.  The feed itself was challenging because I had too much milk, which would choke him, so he'd pull off and we'd both be soaking wet.  He wasn't a great napper initially, so I spent a lot of time carrying him around the house, checking the clock to figure out how many hours it would be till B came home from work.

There were a lot of days that I didn't even shower, because it wasn't worth listening to him scream the whole time.  Those were the worst days.  I felt dirty, tired and frustrated that B got to go to work and get a break from the madness.  Of course, that wasn't the case at all.  He was tired too.  He was frustrated that he came home during the "witching hour" and Noah would scream from the moment he walked in the door till he went to bed.  We ate dinner in shifts because someone had to hold him.  Despite my best efforts, he woke several times during the night, sometimes to help me settle Noah because I tried for 90 minutes and couldn't take it anymore.  And then he had to go to work and pretend he was awake and sane.  It was not a good time for either of us.

But then I discovered some mom and baby activities.  We signed up for a local Momstown chapter (which offers all kinds of daily events for moms and babies of all ages), we signed up for Mothergoose classes at the local Ontario Early Years Centre, we enrolled in an outdoor Strollerfit class.  Suddenly things started to pick up and I felt human again.  And here's why doing this helped (in no particular order):

  • It forced me to shower and get dressed.  Showering was the one thing that could ease my exhaustion.  It made me feel like a real person again, like I could conquer anything that Noah threw at me.
  • Exercise made me feel good, and helped me lose my baby weight, which made me feel even better!
  • Meeting other moms was therapeutic.  No one else can understand what you're going through, not even your husband.  Having people who "get it" and can offer suggestions and words of encouragement is a necessity when you're a new mom.  Knowing you're not alone and that whatever you're going through won't last forever, kept me sane.
  • Your baby makes new friends, and you do too!  There's a group of women who all met in different programs, and now we get together every Monday and let the babies play while we chat.  I look forward to it every week, because we have fun, we learn from each other, and we have a chance to vent without anyone taking it personally (ie, our husbands).
  • You're a better mom when you're happy!  When I'm in a good mood, I have the mental capacity to stop, take a breath, and get some perspective when I'm frustrated.  There's many times during the day when Noah is crying because he's tired, trying to fight me because he wants to roll while I'm changing him, or he's just cranky for no apparent reason.  I have to make myself stop, think about why he's doing what he's doing, and look into those adorable eyes to remember he's just a baby and not a mini terrorist trying to drive me nuts!
A friend told me early on to try and have one outing a day, even if it's just to a store or for a walk to get out of the house.  I now find that Noah NEEDS to get out, otherwise he gets cabin fever!  We have one activity a day, and many of them are focused around the activities he likes best (singing, music, dancing, swimming, listening to stories).  That way we both enjoy it, and I feel like I'm making the most of our time together.  PLUS, he's usually exhausted after our outings, so he gets a nice long nap, and I get some much needed ME time!

What activities have you enjoyed as a new mom?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

ABS caused by OTC painkillers?

I just found this in a random internet search.  Who knows if it's actually valid.  As one would expect, several law firms have already jumped on the bandwagon and are urging potentially affected parents to join a class action lawsuit.  I probably took a painkiller when I was pregnant with Olivia, but who knows if that was the cause of her ABS.  Would joining a class action lawsuit to punish the companies that MIGHT be to blame bring her back?  NO.  Would it make me feel better about her death?  NO.  I've stopped asking for a reason and have now accepted the fact that she is gone, I can't bring her back, and it's not my fault that it happened.  I look at my beautiful 9 month old son playing in his exersaucer, and it makes me happy for the child I have.

Rare birth defects tied to mom's painkiller use

URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_119694.html (*this news item will not be available after 03/12/2012)
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Related MedlinePlus Pages

By Linda Thrasybule
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women who take over-the-counter painkillers during early pregnancy have a slightly higher risk of having babies with certain rare birth defects, according to a new study.

For instance, babies were three times as likely to be born with no eyes, or with abnormally small eyeballs that often cause blindness, if their mothers had taken aspirin or naproxen (sold as Aleve).

The babies' risk of amniotic band syndrome, a condition that causes various malformations such as clubfoot, was also three times higher among women who had used painkillers during their pregnancy.

It is not clear that the painkillers caused the deformities, however. And even if they did, the risks are minute.

"These are pretty rare birth defects, so the effect is small," said Dr. Eva Pressman, who studies maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center but was not involved in the new work.

"A two-fold increase is still rare in the big picture," she told Reuters Health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these eye defects, called anophthalmia and microphthalmia, occur in one out of 5,300 births in the U.S. About one out of 10,000 babies are born with amniotic band syndrome.

The new findings, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, are based on data from the National Birth Defects Prevention study.

In that study, women from across the U.S. were interviewed about the drugs they took during the first trimester of their pregnancy. For example, they were asked whether they used common painkillers -- also known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs -- including aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen (sold as Advil).

Researchers then compared the use of painkillers among 15,000 women whose babies had birth defects and 5,500 women whose babies were born without any deformities.

"Of the 29 different defects we examined, we were happy that a vast majority were not tied to NSAIDs," said study co-author Martha Werler, who studies birth defects at Boston University.

However, a few different types of birth defects were slightly increased in babies whose mothers reported taking ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen.

For instance, the risk of cleft palate rose by 30 to 80 percent. And the risk of spina bifida, in which the spinal cord doesn't develop properly, jumped by 60 percent in babies whose mothers had used aspirin or ibuprofen.

While the results don't prove that painkillers are to blame, Werler said, they are a warning sign and warrant further research.

"Until we know more information, women should consult with their doctor to weigh risks and benefits of taking pain medication," Werler told Reuters Health.

Pressman said women who've taken NSAIDs during the first trimester of their pregnancy shouldn't worry. But to play it safe, she recommends avoiding that specific class of drugs while pregnant.

"For pain I recommend taking Tylenol, which works through a different mechanism of action, and is considered safe for pregnancy," she told Reuters Health.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

5x7 Folded Card

Happy Frame New Year's Card
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