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Baby Signing

(this post was at the request of [info]forvrkate!)

I started signing to Savannah when she was about 7mos. I started with just "milk" and "all done", since I thought those were the most crucial things for me to know at the time - whether she wanted milk or if she was finished.

Anytime I gave her a bottle, I'd say "milk" and do the coordinating sign (which is like your right fist squeezing a cow teat). And anytime she seemed hungry, I would ask "do you want some milk?" and do the sign. Same with "all done". Just associating the verbal word with the sign with the action it portrays. After a few months, I decided to add "more" to the repertoire. 

It was very tedious to begin with. You go months and months wondering if any of this is getting through and you have no reward. Some days I'd forget to do the sign, but for the most part I tried to be consistent.

Savy signed for the first time at around 13.5mos and she did BOTH "milk" and "all done" back at me! For the month after that first time, I think it was mostly mimicking me. But, then she starting to use them pretty consistently to ask for milk and to tell me she was all done.

I think it was just less than a month later - around 14mos - when she signed "more".

Since then she's learned to sign "food", "please" and "thank you". I find it interesting that even though she can speak the words she's signing, sometimes she still does the sign. This is often helpful since her speech isn't spot on at times, or I'm having an off day and can't understand what she's saying!

Savy is extremely vocal, so I don't feel signing is crucial anymore. But, I might experiment with a few more helpful signs now that she's really into mimicking. Things like "hurt" and "help" or other emotions might be nice to know since it's difficult for her to express those things in words.

ETA: This website was very helpful to me in seeing the signs I was trying to do: http://aslbrowser.commtechlab.msu.edu/browser.htm

(BTW, I really credit Kaela's success with Khloe in helping me stay motivated to keep signing! So thanks girls!)

Uniquely Savannah

Pulling her shirt off and running around topless.

Coming up and adorably saying "pweeeease" while signing "please" without any context and melting your heart so much you want to give her whatever she wants.

Taking one bite of food at mealtime then declaring "all done".

Trying to put on a second pair of shoes when she already has one on.

When you go to get her from her crib after naptime, having her first words be an eager question: "Siddy?" for our yorkie Sydney.

Refusing to use a spoon herself and insisting "help" for every bite.

Obsessively clipping any lapbelt-type buckle and signing/saying "more" or "again" when she's done so you can undo it. Repeat.

Running to the bathroom saying "pahbah", pulling out her potty chair, sitting on it fully clothed, then 3 seconds later saying "all done".

Dropping something on the floor purposely, then saying "uh oh".

When she's frustrated, whining/screeching "aaaaaannh!" in such a way that it makes you want to stick a fork in your eye.

Taking inventory several times a day: "dada? mama?"

Bringing the cell phone or pointing to the computer and saying "babies" to denote that she'd like you to pull up YouTube videos of babies.

Saying "up?" at the most inopportune times, usually when your hands are full cooking in the kitchen.

Pulling off her shoes/socks/bows and plainly saying "aw man" (like mama says when she sees that they've been removed).

When we're home and she's bored, coming up and saying "hand? go?" and grabbing your hand, dragging you toward the door.

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Potty Awareness?

About a month ago, I bought a soft potty seat. I know, Savy was only 14mos old. I didn't expect anything. But, I'd been reading about elimination communication and I really just wanted to keep it around and get her used to the idea. Maybe show her a few times how to sit on it. Talk it up, etc. so that when she was ready, she'd have it.

The first few weeks, I'd put her on it when we were in the bathroom together, asking if she needed to go pee pee. She wasn't very comfortable sitting up there diaperless and I could tell she felt vulnerable and unstable, even with me holding her steady in place. So as soon as I saw her reach for my neck, I'd swoop her off the seat.

Inevitably, this exercise would make me have to pee though. So, Savy would sit/stand by the tub and watch me, and I'd explain to her what mommy was doing. Unfortunately, this is when Savannah would go pee pee. Right on my bathroom rug.

Next time this happened, I got smart and put her in the tub while mama went pee pee. Then last week, she actually peed in the tub! So, I praised her and clapped and told her how awesome she was for going pee pee. And today, she did it again!

She spends more time sitting on the potty seat than she used to but still no pee in the toilet. Only in the tub while mama pees in the toilet. Nevertheless, I feel like this is some kind of progress. Or maybe just obvious cause & effect that I'm making a big deal out of? Either way, I'd like to think this is a great step toward potty training at whatever point in the future. For now, I'll continue to keep making the connection for her and we'll just see what happens.

Letter to Savannah

Dear darling girl,
I've been watching you grow for 14 months now. I thought I'd take a few minutes to tell you what I see so far.

Around 5 months old, a little personality began to emerge. It surprised me then and even 9 months later, all the new things you take on as character traits continue to amaze me. It just doesn't seem like someone so small should be able to emote the way you do.

From the beginning it was clear that you'd be a pretty happy baby. You were rarely fussy and you liked to sleep like your mama (how did we get so lucky). You were incredibly observant and were content studying the world around you just taking in all the detail. When your daddy or I would be animated for you, you were easily entertained and gave us a grin, coo or a little chuckle.

As you learned from your mama and daddy, you became more animated and quick to flaunt your fun newly discovered arms and legs, wiggling all over the place. Some of the things that particularly excited you were your fur siblings (our cats and dog), funny faces from your parents, interesting sounds (like a higher pitched airplane noise) and a breeze in your face, especially if it moved your hair, you thought that was too silly.

Starting solid and table food was exciting for you. You eagerly try everything we give you. It's almost as if you trust mama and daddy implicitly to feed you something good. You don't usually eat a lot of food at a sitting, but you do try just about everything and like your mama, you haven't found much that you don't like to eat.

You started to sit up on your own around 8 months old and it was then that you really started talking about your world. You'd babble in your own language of sentences (jargon as they call it) and sometimes were very loud and excited about the points you were trying to get across. Since things are more easily within your grasp, you are very curious about everything around. You especially love toys that have a void of space that you can yell "ahhh!" into and enjoy sharing turns with mama and daddy making noises into the toy. Buckets, the hollow end of legos, empty cups or bottles, those are your favorites.

Once you could inch along in a swimming/crawling hybrid just before 11 months old, things were that much more intriguing. And of course, you started chasing the pets and getting into everything! With this newfound ability, so came mom's ability to try out "no" as a disciplinary tool. The first few times you smiled at me, like I was saying something funny. But after I got my commanding tone under control, you got the picture. To this day you're pretty great at listening to mama when she says "no."

You've also been watching the Your Baby Can Read DVDs since 11 months old. As skeptical as I was at first about them, the DVDs have been very helpful. They've prompted you to start clapping, waving more, pointing out body parts and most recently you've been actually reading the words on the screen before the narrator says them (you start reacting to the words when they pop up on the screen)!

With the development of waving, you were amazed to find that strangers would wave back! This has become your new favorite activity in the past few months and you excitedly wave to anyone and everyone when we're out in public and eagerly wait for them to wave or talk back. You become the official greeter everywhere we go. :o) Interacting with other people is one of your favorite things to do. You love to give someone a toy, nod in approval, watch them for a second, then hold your hand out for the toy back. And repeat. A lot.

Just before your 1st birthday, you started pulling up to stand and cruising along on furniture. You giggle when you do this cause it must be so exciting. You've been getting braver and doing the "Indiana Jones" between furniture - what your dad and I call it when you reach between two pieces of furniture in a kind of rock climbing motion.

It's also been really fun taking you on playdates. That's when I see the differences in your personality the most. When you're around other babies & toddlers that keen observation sense comes out in full force. You stare at the other kids and take it all in. Then when you're ready to interact or play with toys, you're very slow and deliberate in your actions. You approach things with a careful intensity. If kids whiz past you or bump into you, you usually just blink, although sometimes you whine/cry at mama as if to say, "what just happened?" I've noticed other children are sometimes very fast and bumbling with their newfound movements, but not you. You don't bang your head into things or fall very often. And when you do, it seems calculated as if you were testing out your environment. You usually make a little "unh" noise, as if to take note, then go on your way.

You're very interested in any computer technology, just like your parents. You beeline toward any unguarded cell phone, remote control, video game controller, laptop... even your baby monitor receiver. You even learned to unlock mama's iPhone all by yourself (push home button & slide touch screen bar). I purposely didn't show you how to do that! I absolutely love when you activate one of your lights/music toys because once you do, you turn and grin at your dad & I to say "look what I did!"

It seems like you are so in awe of the new discoveries you make in the world and I want you to know that your dad and I are just as in awe of you making those discoveries. You have a sparkle in your eye that captures the attention of everyone around you. We're constantly being praised for how adorable/smart/outgoing you are. From you learning to push & walk behind your toys to you associating words you hear in conversation with gestures and actions, you simply amaze us. We love you very much and are truly blessed to have you in our lives.

Savy's 1st Year!

Incredibly I find myself updating you on Savannah's 1st birthday milestones! It hardly seems like that much time has past... and at the same time we feel like she's been a natural part of our lives for so much longer.

These past few months have been SO much fun! Savy is a small *human* now! She's doing all kinds of interesting things.

Just around 8 months old she started sitting up without any help. And recently she's just all kinds of mobile - scooting around and "swimming" forward at 10.5 months old, pulling up to kneeling a few days after that, standing up when holding onto something a few days later, then came pulling up to standing, cruising on furniture, getting up and down by herself, and just in the past few days she started actual crawling. This is all within a month and a half - insane!

As of her 1st birthday, she weighs 18lbs 4oz, is in 6-9mo clothing and loves to eat all kinds of food. In fact, there's very little she won't try. Especially if mama or daddy are eating it and give her a bite! Just today I let her try to spoon feed herself and she did 5 successful bites of oatmeal. :o)

Savy is VERY social and smiles and waves at anyone she encounters. She's such a flirt, especially with men! (uh oh, look out daddy) She can "say" hi, dada, cat, dog, and bye.

She's become super interactive with her toys and is incredibly curious and very grabby. Her favorite things to do these days include opening cabinets, methodically pulling down stacks of laundry piece-by-piece, pulling toys out of their boxes and emptying all the tupperware out of my cabinet. :o)

I put together a video montage of her first year milestones that I'd like to share with you. I hope you enjoy it!



Thank you for sharing in all the special moments we've had this past year. Cheers to many more as we continue to be blessed by this adorable little light in our life!

~Ashleigh & Matt

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DON'T FALL FOR THIS SCAM! First of all a huge thanks to my friend Barb!! Without her telling me that something was up with this situation, I think I would have fallen hook, line & sinker. It just seemed like a perfect situation & the least obtrusive for me, so I was eager to jump at the seemingly no hassle/sympathetic transaction.

BACKGROUND
I posted an ad on Craigslist with detailed photos for our couch I wanted to sell for $300. I got about a dozen responses, but the first one wouldn't get back to me in a timely manner. The second responder asked if I could take the ad off craigslist and promise the sofa to her & that she would give me an extra $50 for my trouble. Sounds good right?

Her story is that she is helping a disabled brother furnish a new apartment and was making the arrangements, including having a mover come around to pick up the couch. She didn't need to see the item (and her being out of town made it difficult to as well) as the photos were enough. Her personal assistant would send a cashier's check for $350 and once the check had cleared my bank, she would send the movers.

THE SCAM
The next day I get an e-mail that basically says, "Oops. My P.A. lost her head due to a family emergency & accidentally sent you 1 check for $2,250 when it was supposed to be several separate checks for the movers and some other furniture I'm purchasing." When I got the check, I was supposed to cash it and Western Union her the balance, minus another $50 for my trouble.

At this point, it sounded suspicious of course. But, even Matt understood that Cashier's Checks came from the bank and that must have been legit. Plus, we wouldn't wire any money until the check had "cleared" our bank, so there was no worry. Right?

Wrong. This is when my friend Barb told me this was check fraud and linked me to an article about this exact kind of scam going around on Craigslist. After reading the article I was shocked by the details being identical to my trustworthy correspondent who was wealthy enough to have a P.A. and who was just trying to help her poor brother. OMG I'M SO GULLIBLE!

THE OUTCOME

Bottom line, we got the check overnighted via FedEx and after calling the issuing bank and the payor listed on the check, they both confirmed it's fraudulent. There were some checks stolen from this company 2 years ago and they keep popping up in this type of scam. I called the National Check Fraud Center and am sending them copies of the check, FedEx mailing label & the e-mails. But basically there isn't much they can do besides file an "alert". They think this is an out of country operation and apparently the FBI & police won't handle cases like that.

Unfortunately, unlike credit card fraud, you are responsible for the damages in these cases. So it's a good thing I never cashed the check!

Here's a link to article on this exact kind of scam.
 Don't fall for it! If you deal in transactions on Craiglist make sure to do them in person and IN CASH!

Savannah Update

At 11 months, this is a really exciting time in Savy's development! It's incredibly interesting to see her put things together and really start to understand how to get around, communicate and effect her environment.

FOOD
We started having her try table food at the beginning of April - grandma's spaghetti. She pretty much loves anything we give her from our plate! I try to give her mostly homemade stuff versus restaurant/processed food, but I'm relaxing on that somewhat.

Now that she's eating finger food & table food, Savy isn't as eager for baby purees. This is a little frustrating because sometimes she just won't eat if I try to spoon-feed her. She really wants to do it herself and she can't use a spoon yet! So I have to get more creative with the less messy things I can give her as finger food. Because of this, I've slowed down a lot on making my own baby food and giving her more Gerber purees (so I'm not wasting money AND time if she doesn't eat it).

All this food (usually 3x/day) obviously adds up to less formula. She still takes maybe 3-4 bottles/day of 4-5oz each. As for breastfeeding, she's been completely weaned as of the end of March. Mid-March I visited my mom in Louisiana for 3 days so that pretty much got the weaning ball rolling. Just a few weeks later we stopped our 1x/day nursing session in the mornings and haven't looked back!

COMMUNICATION
Savannah is babbling a lot more and adding all kinds of syllables together to try to form words. She even tries to mimic the things I say, usually just getting the number of syllables right, but sometimes gets really close to the actual words. A lot of times she gets the right first letter/sound and there are a few words that she says (inconsistently) now: baby, dada, cat, dog, hi. If I ask her questions about some things, she'll look at them, letting me know she knows what we're talking about. :o)

She knows how to wave - which used to just be waving her whole arm up and down, but has now progressed into holding her fist in the air and waving her wrist (imagine the motion you use to let a waiter know you want the check - garcon!). And if you say "yay" or clap, she waves both arms around and says "ay-ay-ay-ay-ay!"

She'll also dance a little bit, by nodding her head up and down and wiggling her butt! :o)

EXPLORING
Just 2 weeks ago, Savannah started to scoot along the floor by pulling herself forward with her arms (army crawl). A few days later she was using one leg, then a few days after that started to use both legs to propel herself then rake forward with her arms. She still hasn't quite gotten the knee/arm crawling movement exactly, but definitely gets where she wants to go!

Only 1 day after figuring out how to scoot around, Savy started pulling herself up onto her knees, using furniture/toys or us as support! That developed so quickly and I didn't expect that at all.

Now she pulls up on her crib railing so she's peeking out at us in the mornings or after naps (we had to lower it of course). She's already trying to get her feet under her and push up into standing position, but doesn't seem to have the leg strength to get from kneeling to standing yet. That being said, if we stand her in front of a gate or furniture, she holds on and stands all by herself!

She's also really focusing on small things in her environment. If there's a tiny piece of fuzz on the ground, she goes straight for it. If there's a small detail on one of her toys, she hones in and studies it very carefully. Savy is really getting cause & effect also. She knows how to activate her toys and goes for them purposefully. If I accidentally turn one off and she tries to make it go off and it doesn't, she frowns and gets really annoyed. Sooo interesting to watch!

I can't wait for all the stuff that's to come. Especially speech, I'm really excited to be able to communicate more with her! And I can't believe next month she'll be 1 year old. Just wow.

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Damn me and my April Fool's jokes.

me: damnit
ok if you get a call from the vet let me know ASAP ok?

Matt: what
k

me: for some reason they had your number on file and i couldn't think straight enough to tell them mine
i'm going out again to look for her

Matt: wait, what's wrong?
what?

me: i'll be back in a few

Matt: wait, what
what?

me: sydney

Matt: she got out?
what?

me: didn't you get any of my other messages???
yes!

Matt: no!!!!!!!
WTF HAPPENED?

me: her collar shocked her in the front yard...
someone was passing by and she barked then she fucking took off down the sidewalk and i couldn't catch up with her

Matt: oh shit, she has that on?

me: savannah was back in the house and i didn't want to leave her

Matt: :(

me: by the time i got back outside i couldn't see her at all

Matt: :(
oh no

me: but she has her tag
and her microchip

Matt: why did she have her shock collar on?
i thought we weren't doing that when she was using the bathroom

me: i forgot :(

Matt: shit shit
i'll try to come home
you txt me asap

me: no don't

Matt: if you find her
yes do

me: that would just be stupid
for you to come home

Matt: no i am coming home

me: especially based on an APRIL FOOL'S!

Matt: FUCK YOU

me: LOLOLOL

Then he signed off! Aw man, I knew he was really pissed. So, I texted him saying I was sorry and to forgive me. He said "I was really upset! Stupid dog, making me care." Then he forgave me. Poor baby. I felt bad.

Another AFD, another victim. <3 u baby!

My (SAHM) Job Review

A few weeks ago, we took Savannah to her neuro appointment/NICU follow-up. I was pretty nervous going into it. I was worried I would hear that we hadn't done enough to help her develop on target and that I'd be viewed as a slacker mom. Of course, that absolutely didn't happen. 

The physician sat us in a small room with a short table separating us from her. She had an arsenal of small toys and tools to help her measure Savy's progress. Over the next 45 minutes or so, she brought each toy out one at a time and watched the way Savannah interacted with it. After each timed interaction, she noted a '1' or a '0' on a score sheet she kept in front of her. The lady was very nice and made sure to tell us what she was looking for and what was/wasn't expected of Savy at this stage in her development. She even did tests that she said they didn't expect Savy to pass, but were trying to gauge her abilities.

It was all very interesting. I mean, I watch Savannah interact with her world every single day and I'm amazed to see the wheels in her head turning. It was riveting to watch her interact with these toys/tools, know what the physician expected her to do, and sit anxiously with bated breath for her to perform. Each time she got a '1', I wanted to do a little cheer! But, I didn't. :o)

At the end of the evaluation, the lady told us that it was clear we'd been working with her on lots of different things, including her social interaction, reading, name awareness, etc. She said that Savy was either at or above target in all areas for her adjusted age (based on her due date, not her 10-week early birth date).

I was so relieved to hear that! I really did want to jump up and down right there. But I didn't. :o)

Even though Matt and I have both worked very hard to be encouraging and motivate the development in our daughter, it was as if this woman turned to me, and me alone, and said: You are a fantastic mom and you've done such a great job at raising a happy, healthy, developmentally sound child. *sigh of relief*

It was an incredible weight off my shoulders. I feel like Savy is my job now. There isn't much that I can use to quantify the hours I put in. Sure, there's that adorable grin and sweet giggle... but, this just felt like my scorecard. It was so incredible to be told that she was on or above target in all areas and I go about my day with my gorgeous child even more happily knowing we're doing right by her.

We have another follow-up in 6 months and I hope to show her how awesome Savy is once again!

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Developmental Check-Up

When Savannah was discharged from the NICU in July, they said a neurodevelopment follow-up would be scheduled for sometime in February. This is standard every 6 months to check the developmental progress for preemies, since they sometimes have trouble meeting milestones.

While looking for the contact info in the discharge folder, I came across a handout of developmental exercises. Things you can do to help your preemie stay on track, starting... when you get home from the NICU. *gulp*

Of course, I immediately read the detailed exercises and started putting them into practice. Some of the things we had already been doing on intuition. But there were much more specific things for preemies, based on their underdeveloped muscle tone. Now, just a few days after working these into our daily routine, I can already tell a difference in Savy's posturing. She's bringing her knees up and pushing her butt in the air to inchworm, sitting up unassisted for more than a few seconds at a time...

I guess we really should have read that folder. It makes me sick to think that there are things I could have - and should have - been doing to help her develop more on target. :o( At least when we go to her neuro follow-up, she'll have been doing these exercises for several weeks as opposed to not at all.

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Starting the New Year as a Mommy

So funny how life has changed now. I define myself as a "stay at home mom" to people. My child is my job and I report directly to her, with a dotted line to my dear husband. The corporate world I have known so well for almost 10 years is now a fading memory. I kind of miss it. In that I crave social interaction on a daily basis with people who come to be your second family. So, not really the work aspect of it. Cause who wouldn't love to be at home with your infant 24/7? :o)

My original intent was to try to work my Mary Kay business while being a SAHM. Although I have a nice reorder business going from original customers, I haven't done much to drum up new business. I'm beginning to realize that making any real money out of it would require more time than I'm willing to spend right now. Not to say it won't ever happen, but I'm finding the challenge of structure & time management quite daunting.

My weekdays consist of taking care of Savannah: feed, diaper, play, nap, repeat. During naptime (which can be anywhere from 30mins to 2hrs, twice a day) I usually hop online, watch TV or attempt to do chores. Most of the time I find it hard to remember to do things for myself, even the most basic of functions. Occasionally I forget to eat until Matt gets home from work and snaps me back to adult reality. I'm not exactly proud of the fact, but I've definitely gone a day or two without showering or brushing my teeth. And I basically live in pajamas or sweats unless we go run errands, which are few and far between since flu season started (Oct-Nov).

It's so hard to believe that Savy just turned 7 months old. I know everyone tells you that time will fly by and to enjoy the moments now, but DAMN. My little girl really is growing up. She's less of a baby and more of a little kid more and more each day. Funny cause it doesn't seem like she's doing that much different stuff than when she first came home 5 months ago. But she's so much more active, alert and generally aware of her surroundings. She explores everything around with her eyes, hands and most recently, her mouth.

I love watching her discover new things and examining her world so carefully. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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Thank you Ceci!

I had THE best shopping experience today.

In typical me fashion, I put off buying a bridal shower gift til the day of the shower. With a kid to pack up and tote around. Yea, not super smart. I arrive at Crate & Barrel in Fashion Valley, after taking 20 mins to find parking. I was so exhausted and just knew my shopping trip was going to be challenging, since I wasn't sure what to get.

Savy and I stroll in and go straight to the registry kiosk to print out the gifts not yet purchased. As my list is printing, a store clerk walks up to me.

Her: Hello! Buying a registry gift today?
Me: Oh! Yes. I'm not sure what I want to get yet though. *I peruse down the list, find a digital kitchen scale and point to it* Actually, this sounds perfect.
Her: *grabs the registry list from me* Great! I'll go get that for you.
Me: Really? Awesome!
Her: *back to me in 1min* Ok, here you go. If you follow me, I'll check you out.
Me: !!!

She then boxed the gift and tied a ribbon around it (that I'd purchased there also) and sent me on my way. In and out in 10mins, no lie! While she was boxing up the gift, I filled out a positive comment card about her and thanked her so much.

CECI AT FASHION VALLEY CRATE & BARREL... YOU ROCK!!

Sickies

Last week I was waking in the morning with a scratchy dry throat, but just chalked it up to the weather changes lately. Then Saturday it graduated to include runny nose, congestion and sneezing. Since then I've been trying everything to not infect Savy - wash/sanitize my hands umpteen times a day, not get in her face too much (which means no kissy monster attacks, boo), be really aware of my germiness especially around feeding time, and hand her off to Matt when he gets home to care for so she can get a germ break from me. This is all really tough since I'm a stay at home mom! Luckily, I'm feeling a lot better than I was Saturday, but there's still some congestion.

Now occasionally, Savy wakes up with a little congestion herself and gunk in her nostrils (probably from weather changes and really small nostrils/airways). But, this morning it was really bad. She was super congested and had it in throat and nose, gagging on it. :o( I'm pretty sure she got my cold. We squeegee'd her nostrils and did a nasal mist thingy. Hopefully that helps. I also called the pedi to see if there was anything else I should be doing or if she needs to be seen in the office. Poor baby.

Now I feel like our semi-quarantine for flu season has turned into complete lockdown so we can both get back to 100% and not be exposed (or expose others) to more sickies. This sucks.

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Ah LJ.

Feeling more guilty about not posting here anymore. But, I don't think anyone even reads LJ much these days. If I stopped posting forever, would you miss me?

Absolutely NO smoking

Mom quit smoking in April. She's smoked for 50+ years. She claims she just decided not to anymore and gave up cold turkey. I told her that was great, because she couldn't be around the baby if she was still smoking. I explained that she couldn't bring any cigarettes out with her and that smoking in/around our house was a no no.

Saturday we went to the Adams Ave Street Fair. Mom and I had been fighting all week long. Matt and I left her in the patio of Lestat's to drink coffee and hang out, while we walked around the booths. When we came back to check on her, I noticed she was smoking with a few ladies on the patio. As I got closer, she hid the cigarette from me.

Later at the house, I asked her to change her clothes and scrub her hands and nails very well because I didn't want the baby to get exposed to the cigarette smoke. She fessed up that she had a cigarette because she "needed" one to calm her nerves. I told her I knew, and that I'd seen her smoking before she hid the cigarette.

This afternoon she tells me that she brought some cigar with her. One that she's been taking puffs of long term just to get a quick fix or whatever. She asked if it was ok to go out and grab a puff. I said that was fine, but that she absolutely couldn't smoke on our property (go out front on the sidewalk or in the alley), she needed to change her clothes (or put on her "smoking clothes") and then scrub up and sanitize afterwards.

*sigh* I understand her plight as a long-time smoker trying to cope, but I'm just really disappointed.

Where my update at, yo?!

It makes me sad that I haven't posted to my LiveJournal since Savannah came home.

Sure, I'm using Twitter and Facebook for quick and dirty updates. But, I really need to be better about chronicling my life here, especially since it's changed so incredibly over the past few months. I'm working on back-dating some important milestone entries (i.e. when Savy came home, etc.) and I'll post some links here to hit them up when I'm done.

For now, I'll just say that things are going well and we're adjusting to life with our newborn baby girl! More details and pics to come. :o)

(oh, and if you aren't following me on Twitter & Facebook yet, you should look me up!)
File Monday night under "Things I'd Like to Never Do Again in My Life." It was the most terrifying moment of my life I think. Didn't even compare to the night I found out I needed the emergency C-section.

I had taken a shower and was still in my towel. Savannah had just breastfed, then we gave her multivitamin & iron supplement drops while we were watching TV. I had her lying next to me on the couch. About 5 or so minutes after giving her the vitamins, I looked down and her eyes were bugged out in kind of in a fixed stare and I noticed that her mouth was turning blue. I said her name, but she didn't blink. I grabbed her up off the couch to see if she was ok and her whole body was rigid, back arched, and her mouth was clamped shut. I quickly sat her up on my knee, yelling her name into her face and patting her hard on the back. Her face was starting to turn purple and the rest of her body was starting to lose color also.

I flew off the couch...Collapse )

While I snapped to action and remained pretty calm under pressure, the emotions are catching up to me. I feel so... traumatized. Having to perform a lifesaving procedure on my daughter while she looked like... that. Omigod. I can't get the image of that horrible look on her purple face out of my head. I have just been in shock since Monday night. I can't stop crying.

It's so frustrating. I thought we were over this. I thought she'd be home and we'd be normal. I never expected to end up BACK in the hospital. I feel like we're starting back at Day 1 out of the NICU. We can't stop staring at her 24/7 again, and we'd just started being able to sleep when she sleeps... *sigh*

I really hope I'm able to get over the shock and just go back to normal. Whatever normal is.

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First Week Home

We got to celebrate Savannah's first weekly birthday at home - yay!

Happy 7 week birthday Savannah! I&apos;m super glad you get to spe... on Twitpic

This has been a week filled with slowly letting go... we're just trying to find a rhythm and easing into this whole parenthood thing. So strange that we had our baby almost two months ago, yet we're just now really trying our hands at "parenting". But, it's been really good experiences so far. I think we're becoming a little more relaxed.

It's definitely tough not to have Savy hooked up to monitors every moment. They provided a sense of security. That we'd know if something was wrong. It's just instinct now.

So far, so good. She's just adjusting to life at home. Mostly doing baby stuff like eating, peeing, pooing and sleeping (a lot!). The pets are adjusting too. Sydney is VERY curious and seemingly protective of Savy. The cats are funny. Zelda took a sniff and seemed almost freaked out. Loki took a sniff and seemed not to care.

So we're creating these memories now and not 6 weeks ago. Oh well. It sucks, but I guess if you think about it, we're kinda getting "extra" time w/ Savannah. She's technically -3 weeks old. ;o)

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Savy's Home!!

This was an incredible week... mostly because I have big news. Savannah is home!!! Let me do a quick little summary of her progress this week. I can hardly believe it.

  • Sun, July 5th - 3lbs 12oz
  • Mon, July 6th - 3lbs 13oz. Matt texts me during his morning visit to say that they moved Savy into an OPEN BED! No more isolette! I was so freaking excited, I was tempted to drive over there right that second to witness it with my very own eyes. But, I waited til my afternoon visit. :o)
  • Tue, July 7th - 3lbs 13oz. Got her feeding tube out and taking all feeds by mouth!
  • Wed, July 8th - 3lbs 14oz. Heard from Savy's docs that she might be home within the week! Carseat specialist checked our carseat and recommended we get a different model better for smaller babies under 5lbs.
  • Thu, July 9th - 3lbs 15oz
  • Fri, July 10th - 4lbs even on her 6wk birthday!!! Got tons done today, including buying a new carseat and getting Savy's room painted (thx to EVERYONE who rocked the last minute painting party). Lots of discharge appointments and home prep going on.
  • Sat, July 11th - Still 4lbs, but lost 12 grams (down from 1832g yesterday to 1820g today). This is worrisome for her discharge, because they want her gaining steadily and won't let her come home if she isn't. :o( Tonight she passed her carseat test though! This means that in the morning she should be able to be discharged as long as she gains weight overnight.
  • Sun, July 12th - 4lbs still, gained 16 grams overnight! They are discharging her this morning!!!
And so it went. :o) Just a little before 11am today, we packed our 6 week old beautiful Savannah into our car and drove her home.

Oh. my. god. Our little girl is home for the first time in 6 whole weeks! This has been an incredibly emotional month and a half. I'm so happy to have great friends and family in our lives to have gotten us through it all. We really couldn't have done it without the incredible support from everyone.

I'm so happy to have her home. This is the feeling we were robbed of on May 29th. Our Savy is finally where she's supposed to be. Home. :o)
My afternoon snack! on Twitpic

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Savannah Update!

Yesterday was our little Savannah's 5 week birthday! Not a whole lot has changed since I last updated on her progress. Mostly we've been just waiting for her to get bigger. But, here are a few noteworthy accomplishments she's made.

TEMPERATURE
Savy is still in her isolette bed. We are taking her out of the bed and holding her a lot more now and she's been doing just "ok" at holding her own temp. She definitely needs blankets to keep her warm when she's out of the bed. But, her doctors have increasingly been talking about trying her in an open bed. They might do a trial as soon as in the next few days. When they do, they'll probably keep her isolette close by, just in case she doesn't do well and needs to go back in for a while.

FEEDING
This has probably been the biggest milestone... as of today, she is up to 35mls every 3 hour feeding and has been taking 2/3 of her feeds from bottle and breast! That means every day she's getting 4-5 feeds from the bottle (or what they call "nippling") and doing 1 breastfeeding session with me. Savy has no problem nippling and takes the bottle like a champ, sucking down every last drop in her bottle pretty quickly (especially for daddy when he goes in every morning to feed her).

The breastfeeding has been a little more challenging. This is harder for Savannah, because it takes a lot more work on her part than nippling does. Also, my boob is about 4x the size of her head! I have to use a nipple shield because she's to small to take it all in and keep the suction up in between breaks. The nipple shield is a clean silicon teat simulator that has small holes in the tip for the milk to flow through, but during her breaks in suckling the milk pools in the tip so she's ready to go when she resumes. Even with the shield, our breastfeeding sessions have been hit or miss so far. Out of 4 days trying, she's only really successfully breastfed 2 times. 50/50 ain't bad I suppose! We'll continue to work on it... I know it takes time and preemie moms say that this is the hardest and longest hurdle to overcome.

WEIGHT
Our baby girl is at 3lbs 10oz as of this morning!! She is steadily gaining at a very nice pace. Because she's using a lot more calories to breast and bottle feed, some days she doesn't gain much, if anything. But, that's normal. As you can see though, she's doing fantastic on that front. Up 1lb 8oz since birth 5 weeks ago. :o)

PERSONALITY/FEATURES
Probably the biggest changes here have to do with her baby fat, which she actually is gaining now! So much so that one day I came in and she was sleeping on her side with her face mushed up and there was fat pockets on her cheeks that didn't make her look the same... I asked the nurse where my child was! And I was dead serious! Kinda freaked me out. I totally didn't recognize her.

She's also a bit more vocal these days. When we hold her, my favorite thing is to hear her cooing. They're like little sighs of contentment or baby panda *nyaps*. :o) With the cute stuff, also comes the not so cute... yes, Savy's crying more. Mostly though, it's not full on crying. More like, she crunkles up and makes a made face and whines loudly for a few seconds and then she's good. Occasionally she gets in a good cry though. Yesterday, Matt said she was PISSED and was full on yelling... but I haven't witnessed that yet. :o)

Savannah's much more aware of her surroundings now too. She spends a lot more time with her eyes open, just trying to make out the fuzzy moving shapes and contrasts. When Matt and I are talking to her, she definitely recognizes our voice. The other day the nurse was weighing her, and I went to get a picture (I was standing at her head). I said, "Hi Savannah!" and she totally craned her neck backward to where I was and stared!

Her hair is still blonde with a tinge of red in it. However, there seems to be less these days! Maybe it's just because her head is growing, so the ratio of hair to scalp is changing. Her eyes are still dark blue. And although it will be hard to tell until she's older, with more fat on her, she looks like an interesting mix of mommy/daddy. So far, we think she might have my face, eyes, hair and mouth and Matt's nose (maybe), ears, hands and feet. Too cute!

WHAT THE DOCTORS SAY
We met with her doctors on Thursday for a counseling session. They basically went over her entire 5 week history, from birth until now. They explained everything about her preemie status: Savy was IUGR (intrauterine growth restricted). This means that in addition to being born 10 weeks early, she wasn't developed for her gestational age. Despite all that, she has hurdled over most of her breathing issues. She still has little moments where she takes too big a pause between breaths and alarms will sound, but mostly that's during her feedings and is supposedly normal. Her weight and feedings are coming along very well for a 35-weeker and any issues that she's having, they pretty much expect from a preemie of her age.

The biggest question that we get from people (and that we constantly ask ourselves) is: WHEN CAN SHE COME HOME!? :o) The answer to that one is difficult to pinpoint, but here are the 3 things they're looking for: 1) Continued weight gain... so far, doesn't seem to be a problem! 2) Getting "off the plastic", as one of her docs says... this means getting her up to full bottle/breast feeds so the gavage feeding tube can come out of her nose and getting her out of the isolette and into an open bed. 3) Stable vital signs with no major "events"... this means have little to no "As & Bs", which stands for apneas (a pause in breathing) and bradycardias (a slow in the heart rate). These are two of the most common problems of preemie babies and just means that Savannah's control of her breathing is immature. Which isn't that surprising when you consider that she wasn't supposed to be breathing air yet at all!

The most uplifting news we got at our counseling session was hearing her doctor say that he estimates - as long as she continues on the same trend - we can bring her home within 2-3 weeks! That would be between July 16th and July 23rd... 3-4 weeks earlier than the original estimate of her due date. :o)

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Horrible time BFing today

I thought I was doing good... But I just couldn't get my arm comfortable... And she wouldn't open her mouth for me... And the room started spinning and I got really hot and anxious. The nurse was helping another baby get discharged and I didn't feel comfortable asking for her help... I got really frustrated and overwhelmed. I tried taking a breath and starting over again... Several times. But each time was the same. Bad positioning, no interest.

Almost 30mins later, I called for the nurse to hand me her bottle because I knew she had to eat. About 1/3 of the way through, I tried to burp her (cause the nurse came over and told me to) and she had a Brady - which are quite common in preemies, but essentially means that her heart rate dropped, she forgot to breathe and her monitors started to alarm something terrible. The nurse ran over excitedly and started hitting her on the back to wake her, but Savy seemed to be asleep. After what seemed like a lifetime, her heart rate came back up (probably just 5 seconds tho).

I asked the nurse if I should finish feeding her and she said no. I felt like a complete and total failure.

Still do. Even though I'm sitting here holding my peacefully sleeping angel. Can't stop sobbing. NOT a good day. :'o(

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Self Service Car Wash w/ SHAMPOO?

Does anyone know of a self service car wash in central San Diego that has a vacuum AND a shampoo/upholstery attachment?

I know I could just take my car to a full serve car wash, but I was hoping to do it cheaper myself. My car has lots of old stains and has never been shampooed out.

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Our Zodiac Compatibility w/ Savy

Funny, I did this thing when I was pregnant, expecting her to be a little Leo. It dawned on me that I didn't know what sign my child was now that she came early! Apparently she's Gemini and here's what the compatibility thingy had to say about that.

Virgo (Me)
 Gemini
CHEERFUL CHAOS
Your Gemini child's carefree, spontaneous energy continually surprises you. While you're caught up in the details of everyday life, including how best to take care of your child, little Gemini is far more interested in anything fresh and interesting: a new book, a fascinating friend, or that colorful, complicated puzzle you gave her to stimulate her active mind.

Don't be surprised if your little one has several different projects running at once, each in a state of partial completion -- and try not to be bothered by the clutter she creates! While you're naturally quite orderly, your child seems destined to leave a trail of happy messes in her wake. But that's just her curious mind at work -- it's hard for her to focus on one project for long. Good thing you're so down-to-earth. You can be a grounding influence in your little one's cheerfully chaotic existence.

Capricorn (Matt)

Gemini
VERY DIFFERENT FROM YOU
You take your role as a parent seriously, but your Gemini child is very different from you. Some of your surest childrearing instincts, such as imposing a schedule for homework, family time, bedtime, and more, just won't work with this spontaneous little one. In fact, if you try to subject this clever trickster to a rigid routine, she'll wriggle right out of your grasp, laughing all the way! Don't let this frustrate you. Instead, stretch yourself to accommodate your little Gemini's playful nature.

This child wasn't built to follow strict timetables, and she didn't inherit your ambition, either. Little Gemini's curious mind and mischievous nature are meant to shake things up for you and everyone else around. Just remember, the more you try to restrict this kid, the more she'll find ways to duck your control. Don't struggle against her changeable energy -- work with it instead!


And then there's mine and Matt's compatibility as parents...

Capricorn (Matt)
 Virgo (Me)
A GROUNDED TEAM
It would be a real challenge to find a parenting team as sensible, practical, and serious as you two. You readily agree on the goals you share for your family and are a united front in making and enforcing rules. You and your children can thrive in such a structure as long as you're not too rigid, which can produce more rebellion in your children than you'd otherwise see.

The Virgo mom will handle most of the details of housekeeping, making appointments, and overseeing homework and school projects. You're at your best when attending to these areas of life, striving for perfection.

The Capricorn dad focuses on working and providing financial support. You will teach your children about responsibility and commitment. Don't forget to express your love and support frequently, so they are equally acquainted with your softer side.

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Savannah Update!

HAPPY 2 WEEK BIRTHDAY TO SAVY! Our little angel baby, Savannah is doing better and better every time we see her - which is 3-4 times in a typical day. Matt is back at work full-time and I'm apparently off work until the end of July. Besides visiting Savy in the NICU, my day is filled with pumping my breasts 8 times a day like I work in a dairy barn. Occasionally, I have time I do general chores & run errands. We still have to finish the baby's room. We've cleaned it out, which is awesome. Now we have to paint the walls and buy the furniture we need to get organized.

As far as Savy's progress in the NICU, she's doing very well. Here's a little rundown on her stats.

BREATHING
Although she was born breathing on her own, she labored with breathing that first night and they intubated her. Four days later, she graduated from the breathing tubes to a less assisted nasal mask that opened up her airways (CPAP). Two days after that, she came off the CPAP and has been breathing on her own for a week now.

TEMPERATURE
She moved from her open heated bed to an incubator bed that they call an isolette. It helps keep her temp regulated until she's big and fatty enough to hold her own temp. Basically she needs to put on more weight and fat, cause right now she's a skinny minnie!

FEEDING
Last weekend they started her on my breastmilk. They only do a little at a time - first 1 milliliter every 3 hours, then she had a little hiccup where that backed up in her system. They tried again pushing 1ml of breastmilk and this time she held it down. From there she moved up steadily on a graduated program and as of last night, she was up to 8.5mls every 3 hours! I've got so much milk stored up for her in the NICU freezer, they actually told us to start freezing it at home instead of bringing each pumping session in to them. Hopefully she'll start shooting up so fast on her feedings that I'll be working to keep up with her! (well, probably not but one can dream) :o) They're talking about a big milestone being her getting to 15mls per feeding and holding that because it's at that point they can take out her IVs. *crossing fingers*

WEIGHT
Her birthweight was 980 grams (which is ~2lbs 2oz) and although she lost a little at first, she's slowly starting to creep back up. Last night she was at 1065 grams (~2lbs 5oz) and really they don't focus on any one weighing, but on the week as a whole. She's still such a small girl and she doesn't have much fat on her body at all. Hopefully the breastmilk will help with that!

PERSONALITY/FEATURES
She is so super fiesty! When she had a bunch of tubes and stuff in her mouth/nose, she would constantly pull them out. Matter of fact, I think part of the reason she got the CPAP off so quickly was because the nurses were tired of putting it back in!

When she isn't swaddled up tight, she flails around and stretches her super long monkey arms and legs. Unless she's being held by momma or daddy. :o) Then she's as peaceful as I've ever seen her. Occasionally, she'll lift her head to move it to the other side and get into a more comfy position. But, she sure does love to be held (skin-to-skin they call it) by us.

When we're around, we talk to her and touch her firmly with our hands cupped around her head or back. Sometimes she opens her dark blue eyes to stare at us. She seems so alert sometimes! She smiles at us (which could just be gas, but I choose to believe she knows how hilarious her parents are!) and when they're really deep smiles you can see that she definitely has momma's dimples.

She still has peach fuzz all over her body, although it's getting less and less. And her head has a little bit of blonde hair on it, that we're pretty sure has a hint of strawberry to it... at least for now. Apparently babies are known to lose all their baby hair and grow new stuff in, sometimes in a totally different color.

Overall, the updates are very good. We've had little to no bad news so far. And although preemie babies are known to change their status in the blink of an eye, we remain very optimistic.

Keep our little Savannah in your thoughts!

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Filling our cup

Matt and I were talking on the way to the hospital this morning. We marveled at how well Savannah is doing and at how positive we've been looking at everything. He wondered aloud whether we were being naive in not keeping some realism and how horrible it would be if, god forbid, she didn't pull through.

All I could think was absolutely not. I think right now, there's no room for anything else but love and positivity. Our poor baby is consumed with enough hurdles in that NICU. So many milestones she'll have to reach before she can come home. But, because she's surrounded by all those numbers and stats and odds, I just feel like we can't have any room for that stuff.

If we fill our cups with optimism and an incredible love and hope for the outcome that we want, it will spill over to her. We have to be her foundation right now. And a foundation that has any negative cracks in it, might not hold. It might waiver. And she needs strength right now more than ever.

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1st Comical Motherhood Experience

So, I wake up nice and early to do my motherly pumping duties and the nurse, Crystal (who is so awesome btw), has just taken my vitals and left the room. Usually, I'd ask her help with collection because it's quite difficult when you have dual pumps, holding one in either boob, and no third hand. Only difficult when you aren't collecting quite enough milk yet to hold the bottles they're attached to in an upright position (we're trying to catch a few drops before it gets stuck between the filter and the bottle and syringe it into a vial... requiring extra hands you see).

I thought I was all smart, with my unpacked syringe on the bed in front of me and both pumps going (but the bottle parts sticking up in the air, horn rotated)... Picture me holding two of these, one on each breast... DO IT! :o)

And now my 15 mins is up, so I maneuever my right knee up to the right breast pump and hold it suctioned in place, while I free my right hand to grab the syringe. Then I delicately remove the left breast pump and try to tilt it away from the boob a bit and not spill (a vain effort of course) and I try to syringe up the milk, getting about 75% of it (that would be 75% of the tiniest droplets, maybe a quarter's worth). Success!

The I decide I need to squeeze some if the air out of the syringe and get ready to collect from pump #2 (which is still gracefully balanced between right boob and right knee). So, I use both hands and push the plunger AND HALF THE 75% OF MILK I JUST SO VALIANTLY COLLECTED GOES SHOOTING INTO THE AIR AND ONTO THE FLOOR! :(

Uff. I got so flustered I dropped about half of right boob's collection onto my bedsheets (again half of a quarter's worth), and just about this time Crystal knocks on the door.

I start laughing nervously and tell her I'm such a mess, and she says she wondered why I didn't call her, and I explain that I'm going to have to do it myself at SOME point! We both laugh and she helps me collect what we can and says that next time we'll try just letting it collect into the bottle normally and hope I'm producing enough to not get it all stuck in the filter. :oP

Oh I forgot to mention the fact that my room had gotten chilly, so I ever so slightly turned the temp dial toward "warmer" and the entire time I'm going through Breast Milk Stand-Up Routine 2009 TM, the temperature in the room is getting unbearably HOT! So, after we collect our vials, syringes, etc, she turns to me (probably with sweat on my brow) and goes, did you want me to turn the temp cooler?

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

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Savannah makes an early appearance!

Boy, did yesterday not go at all like I expected. What started out as a seemingly normal day turned into a whirlwind of emotions, quick acting doctors, and two safe and seemingly healthy girls 24hrs after the dust settles.

Here's the journey of our little Savannah and the day she entered the world in quite a flurry!

 

Read more...Collapse )

Tonight I got my IVs and catheter removed. Blood pressure is back to normal and my liver enzymes are starting to correct themselves (although not completely normal yet). Because I could freely move around, I was able to hop in a wheelchair and get my 2nd look at our adorable angel baby. :o)

Savy has quite a grip and likes to open her eyes for momma. She has lil blond dreadlocks right now because they have washed her head yet - one of her docs, Boris, said she might fuss about it, so I said it wasn't urgent if she was happy. Poor baby has been through enough for one day!

This morning her breathing was laboring a bit, so they intebated her to give her a rest. They are slowly weaning her off and might take it out tomorrow, depending on her condition.

We had such a fantastic fanfare in the waiting room last night, then again to visit (and call) today! It really helped Matt and I through the day and I k ow how much our angel baby will be loved. :o)

Tonight I pumped 3 times and got a few good drops of liquid gold for my little girl. Hopefully when they exterbate and she's able to feed, it will help her get bigger and stronger faster.

Speaking of which, I'm exhausted. Time to sleep a bit before I need to wake up and pump again.

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What if we could VOTE to deny you housing because of your RACE?

Check out the new "Fidelity" TV ad and join me in signing the pledge to repeal Prop 8 by building a marriage equality army 1 million strong: http://www.couragecampaign.org/equality

**RePOST and ReTWEET to your friends & family!**

Being a mom...

(Shared with me by a co-worker)

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." "We're taking a survey," she says half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."

But that is not what I meant at all.

I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her.

I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.

That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom. However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.

That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.

I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time.

I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

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Braxton Hicks?

UGH. My belly feels so tight and like there's an incredible weight pressing on it from all sides. I'm not getting any relief, regardless of what position, place in the house, or tub I'm in.

Reading some posts on TheBump.com, I wonder if this could be Braxton-Hicks contractions... but, it feels less like contractions and more like perma-pressure. Like, I've been up for the last half hour and seemingly no relief at all.

I tried sleeping on both sides, including on my back (which actually helps sometimes, as long as I have a pillow under my knees). Then I grabbed my big C-shaped body pillow to see if that would help, by resting my belly on something. Nope. Now I'm sitting in the bathtub, after having tried lying in the tub already with no relief. UGH. Oh and to top it all off, Savannah has decided to have a kickfest. So, in addition to the achy tightness, I'm getting KICKED IN THE VAJAYJAY FROM THE INSIDE.

*whine* WHAT THE HELL CAN I DO? Seriously, if I found something that worked, I'd do it. Poor Matt keeps asking me that. "What can I do?" Baby, if I knew, I'd be strolling down the yellow brick road in Dreamland by now.

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