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Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category


Ignore me while I do my ‘Friday happy dance’ around the living room.

What a flippin’ week.

Maddie has been on a rip and tear, which has resulted in calls from daycare 3 of the 4 days this week (so far!).  Teething?  Tummy virus?  General bitchiness?  Who knows?

So, that’s led to some stressful days.  Fortunately, HRH FAL (Her Royal Highness Princess Fusses A Lot), has been sleeping pretty well at night.  A little fussy to get to sleep, but she manages to stay asleep for a good period of time at night.

I don’t feel like I’ve got my ‘rhythm’ back at work, and this week sure didn’t help with lots on my plate, plus calls from daycare and a fussy baby in the evenings.


I thought I might be able to sneak in Maddie’s 4 month pictures last night.  Boy, was I wrong.  I didn’t even try.  She had a meltdown over a diaper change- can you even imagine the meltdown over an outfit change?

I can’t believe it’s been 4 months.  And, this week also marks a year since I peed on six sticks (because my husband didn’t believe the first 5) and our whole world changed!  What a ride it’s been…

So, with that, I’m off to take the last few minutes before 6am and waste it blissfully with some coffee and some Pinterest

Hope you have a lovely weekend and I’ll be back next week with Maddie’s 4 month update and mine!  Woohoo!

XO, Mer

These were the only pictures that I managed to get last night, on the way upstairs to change the diaper, where the meltdown happened… :-)  Also, ignore the fact that I need a cut/color.  How do you Moms with great hair find the time for basic maintenance?

photo copy


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Mommy and Maddie Update: 3 Months

Wow.  3 months.

I can’t freaking believe it.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, with a baby screaming her head off, 3 months seemed so very far away.

Now, looking back, it’s flown.

I’ve been back to work for a few days now and it’s crazy how some things are exactly the same, yet some things are so different from 3 months ago!


This is a tough one.  I’ve always been a pretty level-headed, reasonable, responsible person, yet these last few months have taken me on an emotional, hormonal roller coaster that seems to never end.  And, just when I say to myself “OK, I’m starting to feel like my old self again”, something changes and we start all over.

I’m more emotional about going back to work then I expected.  I’m terrified that I’m going to miss her milestones and have to learn about her development through daycare reports. I feel frustrated with my post-baby body and the slow trek back to ‘normal’.

So, I guess the report is SNAFU.

Looking back, I think I’m feeling A LOT better then those early days.  Traveling with her definitely built my confidence and that helped substantially to make me feel more ‘in control’ about motherhood.  But, we are at a time of rapid growth and change, so I’m working on adjusting as quickly as she is changing!


Argh. Body.

Here’s the thing.

My abs are rock hard.

And, not in a 6 pack sort of way.

More in a “my uterus is a swollen bitch” sort of way.

I think the best description is that my body is stalled at about the 3-4 months pregnant point.  Everything that fit me into the early weeks of my second trimester, fits me now.  Anything that fit perfectly pre-pregnancy is not appropriate for public consumption.  Spanx are a staple for my work clothes.  Body parts that felt flabby and lumpy pre-pregnancy, feel flabbier and lumpier now.

So, we’ve got a ways to go.

But, let’s be honest.  I had a ways to go before I got pregnant!

My goal for the month is just to survive.  I’m returning to work and starting a new routine entirely.  I’ll do my best to fit in exercise whenever I can, and I’ll make healthy choices whenever I can… but, I’m probably going to need a glass of wine or two to help me through.

I’m ~2lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight (this varies by day!), so it’s more a toning/redistribution/uterus issue.

Here are some photos for comparison sake:






This is a really tough part of the whole ‘healthy’ puzzle.

I will admit that this has been the last thing on my mind lately.  And, I’ve got the highs/lows to prove it.

I think getting into a regular routine with work/daycare will help greatly.  It’s been more a ‘grab and go’ lately for meals, which makes it hard to count and manage carbs/insulin appropriately.

I also have to admit, that after the INTENSE management of the pregnancy, that I’ve swung in the exact opposite direction.  As much for mental health then anything.  It was very difficult to maintain the control that I had to maintain over 9 months (and the year before to get ‘permission’!) and I’ve gone a little wild, crazy and carefree.

Time to rein it in.  And, I will.  I’m getting to the point of frustrated with myself, so that’s usually the point where I get control and get things back in order.



Moving on to a much more exciting topic!

Maddie is doing fabulously.  She had a 3 month check-up and here were her stats:

Weight: 11lbs 6oz  (Birth: 7lbs. 15oz)

Height: 23.75″ (Birth: 19.75″)

Head: 39.4cm  (Birth: 34.5cm)

She’s cooing, giggling, smiling.  She’s not afraid to let us know when we don’t do things up to her standards.

She’s eating 5-6oz per feeding and sleeping from 7:30pm-5am (with a brief feeding at 10:30ish!  Dream feeding, if you will).

She’s wearing 3-6 month clothing and 60cm in Hanna Andersson.

And, she’s just plain amazing, fun and keeps on our toes every. single. day.


That’s all I’ve got for now!

We’ll see what the next month brings!

Favorite Toys: 3 Months


We are finally getting to a more interactive stage! And, it’s fun!

I feel like some of my posts on motherhood have been negative lately, or if not completely negative, at least a little more exhausted and frustrated then my normal positive, sunny attitude.

But, I guess that’s the downside of writing a blog and exposing a part of your life- you get the good, the bad AND the ugly.

And, I’m pretty sure most of you would agree that there are some pretty ugly moments in those first few months of motherhood. The good news is that those ‘ugly’ moments are now evened out with some smiles, giggles, reaching for toys and ‘talking’ up a storm!

I thought I would include some posts in the next few months about what Maddie is actually playing with and enjoying. I don’t know about you, but I’m always at a loss as to what to buy for friends with kids (not anymore, man, my list is now a mile long!), so I thought it might be helpful to see what toys are used and when…

Did that sentence/paragraph make any sense? Man, I’m on my 3rd cup of coffee, but still my fingers are going faster then my brain!

So here is our rundown at 3 months…

Side Note: where did the last 3 months go? I still remember sitting on the couch, crying, eating chicken broth and lime jello on April 7th, the night before Maddie was born… anyway. Toys.


1| OBall 2| Wubanub 3| Sassy Rings 4| Taggies Plushie Mirror 5| Mobile 6| Playmat

1| Rhino Toys OBall Rattle

This is going to be one of my ‘go to’ gifts for friends with babies! It’s light, pretty colors and it makes noise. It’s the first thing that Maddie ‘grabbed’ onto and it was so exciting and rewarding to see her waving it around!

2| Wubanub

This is a pretty simple, yet amazing invention. A pacifier with a stuffed animal! Maddie loves it, and she can hold the stuffed animal and ‘self soothe’. Initially, we used it early on to keep the pacifier in (weight of stuffed animal helps keep it in place!), now she holds and ‘pets’ it herself. Plus, it’s super cute, makes her happy and keeps her quiet when she’s upset. A win/win in my book!

3| Sassy Ring O’Links Rattle

We have a bunch of different styles of these, plus some large ‘keys’. They are brightly colored, on a ring that she can grasp and make lots of noise rattling around- what more could you ask for? I like that they are easy to clean (I just clean them with her bottles at the end of the day!), since they inevitably make their way into her mouth at some point during the day. I also use them as incentive during tummy time, placing them just in front of her and helping her to stay focused on them while trying to build her neck strength (this usually works for about 5 seconds before a meltdown!).

4| Taggies Plushie Mirror

This is another item going on my ‘friend gift list’, for when they have kids! It’s wonderful! It’s great for tummy time or for sitting in your lap. Maddie loves to look at herself, and she’s started to reach out towards it and feel the different textures of the animals, the frame and the tags. It folds up pretty flat, and will probably travel with us on more then one occasion. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s wicked cute.

5| My Baby Sam Pixie Baby Mobile

Yet another item that I did zero homework on and worked out beautifully! I picked the mobile based entirely on cuteness and colors. Maddie LOVES it! It’s well made, hangs at the perfect height and she always has a lot to tell the birdies at the end of the day! When we turn it on, her eyes get really big and she just babbles away to the birds.

6| Lamb Plush Play Mat

This is similar to one that Maddie got as a gift. It’s great. She loves to play on it- on her back or tummy. It’s super soft, which means she usually also has a dog or two that joins for play time. It’s been washed several times and still looks great- and is even softer then before! Since our house is all hardwood floors, it makes a wonderful, soft surface for her to play on!

Have you found any other great toys for the ~3 month period? What are your ‘go to’ shower gifts? New moms, what is saving your sanity right now?

2 months!

Dear Madison,

I can’t believe it’s been two months.  You have grown and changed so much!

You’ve discovered your hands (and fit them into your mouth every chance you get!).

You ‘talk’ all the time- to me, to Daddy, to the animals, to the mobile, to anyone that will listen.


And, do you have a lot to say!  You are very good about letting us know what you need- and when we’ve got it totally wrong and are not doing things to your standards or expectations.  I’m pretty sure the neighbors 3 blocks over can also hear your protests (note: we’re doing the best we can!).

You had your 2 month check-up and you were quiet and patient until it was time for your vaccines.  Then both you and I burst into tears!  But, you were a champ and were smily and cooing just an hour later.

You met lots of new people this month- Daddy’s family had a big picnic to welcome you to the family and you were so well behaved (minus a bit of fussing and sleeping…).  You also met lots of our ‘Boston family’ this month- we went on lots of adventures around town and hit many of my favorite shopping spots!  I think you got the shopping gene from my side of the family- your eyes get really big when we walk into a store and you turn your head left and right so fast to take everything in!

You’ve started smiling, laughing and cooing at us!  It amazes me how you can go from a happy, smiling baby to HANGRY monster in no time!  While you are patient in the Nordstrom shoe department, you ARE NOT the slightest bit patient when waiting for us to prepare a bottle.  You know what you want and when you want it!  We are a little afraid of what that will mean for the teenage years, but we’ll discuss that at a later date.


Today I packed away a lot of your newborn and 0-3 month clothes (and shed a few tears!).  You are growing like crazy and we are shopping like crazy doing our best to keep up.  You fall asleep any time we try and do tummy time, but if we hold you ‘standing up’ then you can’t get enough of looking around and taking it all in!

You love your Bumbo seat, and I’m having a great time trading funny photos with my friend Tara, and your (soon-to-be) best friend, Parker.  Tara made this for you:


Your Grandma’s are best friends (and will teach you how to get into lots of trouble at the needlepoint shop and Nordstrom)You are a little young to get the whole ‘friends’ thing, but I’m thinking you’ll be bestest friends.

I can’t wait to see what the next month brings- you’ve already grown and changed so much in these last few weeks, that I can’t even wrap my head around what’s next!

All my love,

And the outtakes:







The Breastfeeding Saga

Warning: this post may not be suitable for male family members  (Hi, Dad!), male friends (Hi Dave, Hi Jim!), or friends who just don’t want to hear about it…  Don’t worry, I’m not offended!

I’m writing this not to make anyone feel uncomfortable, so if the topic doesn’t interest you, come back another day!  There is a lot of information out there about breast-feeding versus formula-feeding, so I wanted to add my firsthand experience to the information floating out there.  It’s a very personal choice and I would urge you to research your options and figure out what is best for you.  And, be prepared to change directions, if needed.  As I’m quickly learning, life with a baby doesn’t always go as planned!

Ahhh… breastfeeding.  The natural way to feed your baby.  It gives your baby lots of nutrients and immunities to protect them in the earlier stages of life and development.  Promotes bonding between mom and baby, which will eliminate any problems when they are teenagers… I’ve been hearing all of this since I got knocked up and I was committed to giving it a try.  Sounds great, right?

How hard could it be?

My first attempt at breastfeeding wasn’t all quiet music, dim lights, comfy chair with a deep emotional connection with my baby.  Rather, my baby was put on my chest in the OR, as I was transferred to a different bed and wheeled down the hallway to the recovery room.  We got there, the nurse put the brakes on the bed and basically yanked my top down and shoved Maddie onto my exposed boob.  Nothing happened- except a look of terror from some random man in the opposite recovery area, frantically trying to find some cold water for his recovering wife.

Since nothing happened, the nurse started to tug on areas that are usually covered by my bathing suit, all while I tried to wrap my head around this squiggly baby that I was holding for the first time and answer the questions from the steady stream of medical staff that marched through the recovery area (anesthesia, OB, nurses, etc).  Brian stood by looking shell-shocked (he should have gone with the guy across the room and gotten a beer…).

Did I mention that the nurse is still tugging on me at this point?  Torture.  I’m a pretty private person, and nothing about this process was private.  If I could do it again, I would have had Brian tug the curtain closed tightly and stand outside guarding the ‘door’, while the nurse and I took a quiet moment to try and get the baby to latch.  There was too much going on.  I was too embarrassed and self-conscious for it to go well.  Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that I was more then a little drugged from the procedure.  Plus, as I’ve learned, I’ve got flat/inverted nipples, so there’s not too much to latch onto anyway…

Anyway, she didn’t latch and enough time had passed that now they had to take a blood glucose test.  For infants, our hospital looks for test results over 40.  Maddie tested at 20.  The nurse insisted that we offer a bottle, which I had barely cracked open before a neonatal specialist walked in and said that Maddie needed to be taken to the NICU for immediate treatment and monitoring due to the blood sugar reading.  She grabbed (ok, that’s what it felt like, but it was probably more like gently removed?!) her and before I could even really speak (past the lump in my throat) she was wheeled out of the room (and the guy across the room was left looking at both my naked boobs…).

And, that’s how Maddie (and Brian!) ended up in the NICU, one floor below, while I sat alone in recovery waiting for text message updates from Brian and doing everything I could to get released from the OR floor and into our postpartum room.

Once I got settled into my room, I was given permission to go via wheelchair to the NICU floor to visit Maddie.  It was hell getting out of the bed, but I am so glad that I was given incentive to move so quickly after the surgery.  I think it really helped my personal recovery.

Anyway, we made it up to the NICU, where a kind nurse took one look at my boobs, deemed them unworthy and slapped a nipple shield on me before basically plowing Maddie’s head into my chest.  And, I looked out the wide-open picture window at the cityscape of downtown Boston.  It was a very frustrating process.  I wasn’t really knowledgable about nipple shields, how to use them properly or what impacts they might have on future milk production (a lot!).  We ended up doing a lot of snuggling and not much nursing while in the NICU, and instead she was fed formula by bottle to ensure her blood glucose levels remained stable.  She was also offered a pacifier at some point in the process (couldn’t tell you when!)…

We made it through the first day, managed a little sleep downstairs in our postpartum room and were back up in the NICU early the next morning.  (Side note of humor: Did I tell you that the second morning, Brian called the NICU and ordered coffee, since he got the numbers confused when dialing in his tired state…)


Again we tried to nurse with the nipple shield and Maddie gave a minimal effort, but really preferred the bottle!  And, she had a low blood glucose in the evening and was held even longer in the NICU, so we were supportive of them providing her formula at regular intervals to ensure that her levels stayed even.  At some point on Tuesday a breast pump was wheeled into my room, and I was told to pump regularly (what does that mean?!) and given a crash course in how to operate it.  Now, here is the really hairy part.  At this point, my long-lasting pain meds are fading and I’ve got a headache building that beats all headaches I’ve ever had.  I start taking the pain meds offered, pretty much solely for the headache and minimally for discomfort related to the c-section.

Information provided over Tuesday and Wednesday is a complete blur.  Nothing clicked.  I kept going through the motions, doing what I was told and feeling completely miserable and disconnected from the entire process.  I was just getting ready to cry to Brian on Thursday morning that something else was wrong with me, when the most amazing nurse on the floor, stopped by and started asking me a million questions (I think she got that the fact I was lying in bed, unshowered and crying was not normal!).  Before long she had a team of doctors in the room to evaluate me and was wheeling me up to the labor and delivery OR for a secondary spinal blood patch procedure.

A freaking miracle.  They take your own blood and inject it into your spine to heal the leak (caused by the spinal block).  It was the only time in the hospital that I said really bad words directed to the medical staff.  The rest of the time I was on my best behavior, but at that particular moment, the pain in my back from the procedure and the pain in my head from the pressure got the best of me. Again, my apologies, Dr. Mike from Madison, WI.

So, now it’s Thursday afternoon, by the time they release me from recovery and I’m just starting to clue into the information that’s been floating around me.  Oh, and I start pumping and trying to learn how to nurse with Maddie.  We gave it an honest try.  I met with a lactation consultant at the hospital and took home a plan that involved nursing 8-12 times a day, supplementing with formula when she screamed her head off and pumping for 5-10 minutes after each feeding to boost my supply.

2013-04-10 18.42.00

Man, that sounds great on paper, but it is a helluva lot of work in real life.  We gave it a good girl scout try.  For 3 weeks.  I fed (with the shield each time), supplemented (after each feeding!) and then pumped.  It took about 1.5-2 hours per feeding and then we started over again.  I was told to look for cues after nursing that she might still be hungry and then offer a bottle.  I’m no expert, but I took screaming her head off at an extreme volume as ‘still hungry’.  So, we fed bottles, pretty soon it got to be after almost every feeding and a little more each time.  And, then I got sick.

Mastitis.  You know anything with *tit* in the middle is going to give you problems!!  ;-)  A 102 degree fever, a flaming red boob and pain like needles every time we nursed.  And, the cure, more nursing.  Ouch.  It took 2 days for it to clear up the first time.  And, then it came back with a vengeance.  The day after my mother flew home.  Our first day on our own.  I spent it sleeping on the couch while poor Brian brought Maddie to me to nurse several times a day and he set up the pump next to me on the couch so I didn’t even have to move.  Pain. Ful.

All that nursing and pumping should have increased my milk supply.  After all, milk is a matter of supply and demand.  It didn’t.

My tits are like the Sahara Desert of milk production.  I’ve worked with my local La Leche League group leader, I’ve met with a private lactation consultant.  I’ve followed their plans to a T (2200 calorie diet, 150 oz of water, nursing/pumping every 2-3 hours, etc).

It didn’t work.

For whatever reason, and there are many that we could name: Maddie’s time in the NICU, her poor latch, our delayed ‘rooming in’, my flat/inverted nipples, the nipple shield hindered the supply, the spinal leak, stress, delayed milk due to diabetes/c-section, crappy milk ducts, nursing just didn’t work for us.

So, after doing everything I could (and I feel strongly that I’ve given this my all!), we have gone to formula.

And, get this, it’s not the end of the world.

Maddie is happy, she’s gaining weight, she sleeps, she smiles, she gurgles and hopefully she’ll still get into Harvard (if that’s where she wants to go!).  While I do believe in supporting breastfeeding Moms, I believe even more in doing what’s best for you, your baby and knowing when to throw in the towel and say ‘I gave it my best shot’.

So, this is a really long post, that will hopefully help some new mom or mom-to-be feel confident in whatever decision they have to make, in whatever circumstances are thrown their way.  You go girl.  You do whatever is best for you, your baby and stand strong.

I would suggest that you do a few things differently then I did though.

First, YouTube has great information and wonderful videos on breastfeeding and proper latching, but honestly, splurge on the appointment and meet with a local lactation consultant before you deliver.  Know your body and your challenges ahead of time and navigate a game plan with their guidance- if you decide to go that direction.

Second, don’t be afraid to speak up at the hospital if things aren’t going the way you want them too.  It wasn’t until Thursday afternoon when I told Brian that I needed an hour without any interruptions and to ‘catch my breath’, that I started to feel more confident about the situation and the best way to handle some of my concerns.

Third, if you feel strongly about breastfeeding versus formula, stick to your guns.  As long as it makes sense for you.  Then, adjust as needed.  I was dedicated to breastfeeding, until I realized that poor Maddie was burning more calories trying to nurse and she was actually losing weight after a month of breastfeeding… shit happens.  Don’t be afraid to go full speed in one direction and then realize that it isn’t the right choice for you and your baby.  Do what is best for both of you.  And, ask for help and support along the way!

And, with that, I’m tucking my mommy guilt away (I figure there is plenty more time for that!), grabbing a bottle for Maddie and snuggling up on the couch for some quality mommy/daughter time.

XO, Mer


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