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
Turn family photos into holiday cards at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards.