May 29, 2006

Has it really been almost a month?

I'm sitting in my living room now watching/listening to Mom, Justin and Keith play Donkey Conga 2, and enjoying my first wine cooler in over a year. Mmm... Strawberry Daiquiri... Sam had a bath tonight and is now sleeping contentedly and being held by Keith.

We hung out at home for most of the week except for a trip for me to make some exchanges at Lane Bryant, and a trip to the grocery store. We have had a tiring last few days. On Thursday night Sam was awake from 9:30 pm until 4:00 am and then slept for only 1/2 an hour and was up for another hour or so. Last night he was better, but we still only got a couple of hours of sleep at a time, and Sam was fussy and woke up every time wanting to eat. He's been sleeping most of the day, so we'll probably be in for it in a couple of hours. Luckily Mom & Keith are staying here tonight, so hopefully Justin and I will at least be able to get 3 or 4 hours of sleep in a row at some point during the night.

On Friday morning Sam and I got up at 8:30 am and actually left the house before 9:30 (a first for us!) to go to the Mommy Movie at Kirkland Parkplace. Every other Friday you can go and see a 9:45 showing of any of the movies they're showing with your baby/child. Brooke and Dave were taking the kids to see 'Over the Hedge', and it looked cute so I decided to tag along. It was pretty funny, and popcorn makes a delicious breakfast. Sam slept through the entire movie, but there were babies crying and kids making noise the whole time, and I'm sure I'll be going back! It's so great that you can go see a movie with your kid and not worry about it if they're making noise, although at this point Sam doesn't yet make any peeps so we can still take him to any movie showing we want to. Afterwards we went out to brunch at the Brown Bag Cafe (mmm), and gave Justin some much needed rest while we were out of the house.

Saturday we went and saw X-Men 3 - Brooke and I went to the 2:20 showing, then Justin and Dave went to the 5:10 showing and then we all had dinner and watched 'Hoodwinked'. X-Men was quite good, and there were lots of good previews. I can't wait for the new Pirates of the Carribean movie that comes out next month!

Well, everything else is going fairly well! I am going to sign off for now and go catch some zzzs while everyone is still up, we have to go to Bellingham tomorrow for a barbeque at Justin's dad's and will be a lot more sociable if I get some sleep tonight! More to come soon!
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May 23, 2006

Busy Baby Out on the Town

Here I am again! I haven't been able to post since last week because we have been busy around here! Last Wednesday after I posted, Mom & Keith came over and stayed the night since they were in Seattle for a show that night. The next day , I went out for a Sam-free dinner with Tara, Brooke and Kelly. We went to PF Changs, it was nice to spend some girl time, and I had my first drink for... well, about 10 months! Mmm... Asian Pear Mojito... It was good to see them, and get caught up with Brooke since we hadn't talked in a few days! I didn't have too hard a time being away from Sam, but I did particularly enjoy snuggling him when I got home that night!

Saturday Sam went to his first movie! We went and saw The DaVinci Code with Tara, Brooke, Kelly & Kelly's baby Macaela. Sam was great, he slept through the whole thing and didn't make a peep the whole time. After the movie we went and hung out at Brooke and Dave's house and tested out another of the pizza places near there. It was definitely not our favorite. The sauce was sweet, and I think that my pizza had more than a pound of cheese on it. Seriously. I only ate one slice.

Sunday Sam had another visitor, Justin's friend Tiffany from down in the Tacoma area came to meet Sam for the first time. He even stayed awake for most of the time she was here! Today I took Sam to the doctor with me, then went and picked up Brooke for trips to Babies R Us, Nordstrom Rack, and Alderwood Mall. I got some new clothes at Lane Bryant, and picked up some more summery clothes for Sam. It's funny with all of the clothes we were given, I didn't expect to buy more! But we went light on the 'newborn' sized stuff, and it turns out we'll be using it at least for a while. I just picked up some more onesies and a couple of outfits with short sleeves and no feet so he won't get as warm as he does in the pajamas with feet on them. Our condo has virtually no circulation, so it gets pretty warm during the summer months.

Sam is doing pretty well. He is eating a ton, and yesterday he had a bath and didn't cry for the whole thing, which was cool. He's been a little bit fussy the last couple of nights between 2 am and 8 am, which is not the ideal time for me and Justin, but you know, what are we gonna do? One good thing is that he's getting a little bit better at keeping a pacifier in his mouth and not spitting it out all the time, so we don't necessarily have to wake up to put one of our fingers in for him to suck on. Also good at preventing us from having very pruned fingers.

I am very excited because we just put Sam's first cloth diaper on! We have had the diapers for almost a month, but we've been using disposables since we got home from the hospital because all of the diaper covers we have have been too big! We finished a pack of Pampers today and decided to try the cloth, and 2 of the covers (Bummis brand) are a little smaller and seem to fit well! Yay! So, I think we will probably start using the cloth now, which is great. Now I just need to call the diaper service to start up our weekly delivery/pickup. I can see that pretty soon the other ones will fit. I have a good supply, and want to get more, but I thought I'd wait and see which ones we liked best before ordering any more. We have lots of variety to test out thanks to Brooke's very toughtful shower present of a variety of covers and supplies to try out.

On another note, I have decided to stop trying to breastfeed. It was not an easy decision, but 's it is the right choice for me and for Sam. I had a conversation about it with my Mom on Mother's Day and the next day I started to feel a lot better about everything, which I wrote about the last time I posted here. I think at that point I started the healing process from losing this aspect of motherhood. Once I'd made my decision, I realized that I don't feel like I'm missing bonding with my son because I can't breastfeed him. Because of the size (small) and shape of my breasts, when I feed him he ends up staring into my armpit or my chest, we can't make eye contact if he's nursing. I feel like I'm bonding with him a lot more when I bottle feed him and I can hold him comfortably in my arms and he looks into my eyes while he's eating; or when he's alert and awake and I can hold him and talk to him and watch him learning how to smile and make little noises because he's gotten enough to eat & is totally satisfied and relaxed, and I'm not stressed out because I can't feed him the "normal" way. I love him so much, and I know I'm a good Mom no matter what anybody else thinks.

If anyone reading this has had or is having the same kind of problems, I highly recommend the group 'Mothers Overcoming Breastfeeding Issues (MOBI)'. You can find their website at www.mobimotherhood.org, and they have a group on Yahoo that you can join through the website. I was shocked at the lack of information and support for women who are not ABLE to breastfeed. Everywhere I looked, there was information about how to feed if you CHOOSE not to breastfeed, but that's not the case for a ton of women. MOBI is a new nonprofit, an invaluable resource for thousands of women, their website is brand new, and hopefully it will just grow from here!

All right, well, I am exhausted from today - funny how things like going shopping exhaust me so much more now. Partly because of the added aspect of taking care of Sam, partly because of having less sleep, but I think my body is also still recovering from the whole pregnancy and birth, and it doesn't show much until I decide to do something like go walk around somewhere for a few hours pushing a stroller and toting shopping bags. We're planning on a trip to Bellingham sometime, hopefully in the next week, so we'll get to visit with people. I will post again soon!
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May 19, 2006

Stupid Jokes

Little Tony was staying with his grandmother for a few days. He'd been playing outside with the other kids for a while when he came into the house and asked her, "Grandma, what is that called when two people are sleeping in the same room and one is on top of the other?"

She was a little taken aback, but decided to tell him the truth. "It's called sexual intercourse, darling."

Little Tony just said, "Oh, OK," and went back outside to talk and play with the other kids.

A few minutes later he came back in and said angrily, "Grandma, it is not called sexual intercourse! It's called Bunk Beds! And Jimmy's Mom wants to talk to you!!"

__________

Why can't a bike stand on it's own?

Because it is two tired.

__________

Why couldn't the pony talk?

Because he was a little horse.

__________

Did you hear about the guy whose left side was cut off?

He's all right now.

__________

What did the grape say when it got stepped on?

Nothing, but it let out a little wine.

__________

And, one of my favorites:

A piece of rope walks into a bar.

The bartender says, "We don't serve your kind in here! Get out!".

The piece of rope, dejected, walks outside. He looks around and gets an idea. He ties himself in a knot and toussles his hair.

He walks back into the bar, and the bartender says "Hey, aren't you the same piece of rope I just kicked out of here?"

The rope looks at him, and says "Nope, I'm a frayed knot!"
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May 18, 2006

My First Mother's Day

Hello again! I'm back for another update. Today Justin and I took Sam over to Raising More Money to show him off to the people I used to work with. Everyone crowded into Laurie's office to coo over him, I should have some pictures soon from today with Sam and my ex co-workers, and from Laurie's visit to our house on Saturday. Afterwards we went over and hung out at Laurie's for a while, and picked up a disk from her with pictures from the day Sam was born, and met her adorable dogs.

So, what's been going on since I last posted? Thursday the 11th was Justin's birthday! We took Sam to his first doctor appointment, which went well. He barely even cried during the PKU test when they poked his foot to get blood, and everything is looking good. He was still underweight, but he's eating like a champ now so I'm confident he's gaining the weight he's supposed to. That night we went out to Thai food for Justin's birthday. Sam slept through the entire meal, and through a short trip to Borders for a little shopping.

Mom came down again last weekend to hang out with Keith & his friends and to spend Mother's day with Kira, Sam, Justin & I. On Saturday we hung out with her, then in the evening we went over to Tara & Phil's house to celebrate Justin's birthday with Tara, Phil, Jen, Brooke, Dave & the kids. We had some delicious cake and had a good time.

Sunday was my first Mother's Day! We went on a picnic at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens. It was very nice, and not too crowded even though there were a lot of people there. We had a good time. Kira got Mom & me tickets to see Shawn Colvin with her at the Zootunes in July, which I am looking forward to.

Sam is doing great. He's starting to use his arms more, and be more aware of what he's doing when he's moving them. In the last 2 days he's started making noises, not just when he's hungry or crying, but when he's awake and just hanging out. I think soon he'll be "talking" up a storm! He is also starting to learn to smile on purpose, which is very exciting. I am just loving spending so much time with him. He's still a great baby, and for the most part very calm. Plus he sleeps enough in large stretches that we are able to get plenty of sleep, though it may happen at odd hours (mostly during the day for Justin).

We're looking forward to lots of visitors this summer! Sam's Great Aunt Becky will be flying to Washington on June 20, his Great Great Aunt Anna & Uncle Dick will be flying in in the beginning of July, and his Grandpa Bill, Grandma Helene & Aunt Lianna will be visiting mid-June. We're also looking forward to having Jason & Stormy around, they're moving to Washington sometime at the beginning of June.

Update on Breastfeeding Stuff:

Just wanted to post an update to the entry I wrote the other day about breastfeeding and Sam. I am feeling much better in the last 2 days about making some kind of decision and not being so stressed out about the whole thing. I've stopped using the pump, and unless I change my mind, I'll be returning it to the hospital this weekend when the rental runs out. I don't think it was doing too much for me, and I was not getting nearly enough that I could bottle it and feed it to Sam. Now that I'm more relaxed, I've been able to get Sam to nurse a couple of times a day for the last couple of days. I don't know how much nutrition he's getting, but that's okay because he gets plenty of that from his bottles. Mostly I just want him to get at least a little of the benefits of breastmilk. I'm taking Fenugreek to help my supply what little I can, and I'm just going to let things run their course. When the milk is not there for him any more, I'll stop. I know that I am doing the best I can, and having a relationship with my baby depends on so much more than nursing. I know that either way I'm a good Mom and it doesn't matter if strangers think so or not. On a side note, I'd like to point out that formula companies seem to be almost as bad as pharmaceutical companies! I went to CostCo to buy formula for Sam. The lactation consultant told me it was fine to buy the Kirkland brand stuff (store brand) and that it's made by one of the major companies, but people get nervous about feeding their kids generic stuff. I compared the ingredients & nutrition facts - almost identical. Only the CostCo brand is HALF AS MUCH. Literally. Holy cow. I think my CostCo membership paid for itself already!
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Meet Samuel Denn Heiner, born 5/2/06! I haven't been updating this blog much lately, most of my updates have been on the baby blog (there' s a link in the right margin of this page). See the photo album on the baby blog for more pictures!
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May 15, 2006

After Birth Pregnancy Reflections

You were born on:
May 2, 2006

You weighed:
7 lbs 6 oz

And your length was:
21 inches

After much thought, you were named:
Samuel Denn Heiner aka Sam or Sammy

The first thing I thought when I saw you was:
How beautiful you are and how happy I was to finally meet you. The whole world melted away and nothing else mattered when you opened your eyes and looked at me.

The hardest part of the delivery experience was:
The very end - trying not to push when you wanted to come out so bad!

The easiest part of the delivery experience was:
Probably the 3 hours after I got the epidural! :-)

What surprised me most about the delivery experience was:
It went pretty quickly, 12 hours from start to finish. I was most surprised by how the epidural worked and that I wasn't completely numb in my legs at all like I thought I would be.

What I can't wait to do with you:
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No One Ever Said It Was Easy

This entry is going to be about breasts and breastfeeding, and what has been going on with me and Sam. If you don't want to read about things like my boobs, breast pumps, and latching on, you should probably skip this entry.

First off, I want to preface this by saying that Sam is the best baby in the whole world. He sleeps enough that I've been getting 6-8 hours at least every night, which is freaking awesome. When he's awake, he's alert and loves to sit in your lap and listen to you talk. He doesn't fuss unless he's in the bath or very hungry. Everything is actually easier than I expected except for this whole breastfeeding thing. Moms all around me are breastfeeding. You assume that it just comes naturally, that it's easy, that the baby comes out, you put him to the breast and he just eats and automatically gets all of the nutrition he needs. But no one ever SAID it was easy... and it's not for a lot of women, myself included. This is the story of what's been going on with our struggle with breastfeeding, and how I'm feeling about it right now.

I have not been able to sucessfully breastfeed up until now. My milk supply is quite low, and we've had a few other challenges. When Sam was born, he was put to the breast within 2 hours of birth. That's when the challenges started, since Sam could not properly latch on to my breast. I have pretty small breasts, and there was not a lot of change during the pregnancy. My breast tissue is soft and my nipples are not all that prominent. So, we tried breastfeeding. Then we got a nipple shield, and Sam was able to latch on with that some of the time, but it was already becoming a little frustrating when he couldn't. The first day he did not want to feed at all, and started spitting up because he'd swallowed amniotic fluid and was still trying to get it out of his system.

On Wednesday and Thursday after we were home from the hospital, I had trouble getting Sam to latch on, but he would do it. However, once he was latched on, he would suck for a couple of minutes then start to fall asleep. He would only eat for 5-10 minutes at most, and then drift off. When he woke again, he would be fussy and hungry and we'd start again.

On Friday after he was born, we went back to the hospital for our appointment at the postpartum & breastfeeding center and met with a lactation consultant nurse. Sam was weighed and we tried breastfeeding there and learned that he was not getting enough food from me. In short, he was really getting almost nothing. Sam was down to 6 lbs 8 oz, which means he lost more than 10% of his birth weight, and that's supposed to be the limit/normal amount. I was so sad to learn that my baby had not really been able to eat for those first couple of days. The nurse recommended supplementing with an ounce of formula each time Sam ate, and gave us a tube and syringe and taught us how to supplement Sam at the breast. Basically, this works by the baby latching on, then you put a tiny tube in his mouth so he gets formula & nutrition WHILE he is sucking at the breast as if he's breastfeeding. Once Sam was actually getting the food he needed, he was much less fussy and started sleeping more and being more alert when he was awake.

Saturday we were back at the hospital for a followup appointment. Sam gained 3 ounces from the food he was eating. They had me breastfeed Sam again and weighed him after each breast. From my right breast, he only got about 5 grams, and nothing measurable from the left. It had only been 4 days since Sam was born, so I felt that it was "normal" that my milk hadn't come in yet, although most women get their milk in by 4-5 days after birth. That day, the nurse recommended that we rent an electric pump from the hospital and pump for 10-15 minutes after each feeding to try and get my milk supply to come in. We went to the store at the hospital and rented the pump. That day I started pumping after every time that I fed Sam. The pumping is a very weird experience, and honestly it does feel a lot like you are hooked up to some farm milking machine. Very strange. When I pumped, I would get maybe 1/8 of an ounce from the right side, and drops from the left.

We continued the supplementing and pumping for the next few days. We did some finger feeding, which is basically feeding Sam with the syringe but by letting him suck on a finger instead of a nipple. This allowed Justin to feed him when I was sleeping. Sam seemed okay, but also got hungrier and wanted to eat more.

Wednesday, 8 days after Sam was born, we had our final appointment at the hospital with another of their lactation consultants. We did not breastfeed Sam at the appointment. We talked to the nurse about many things. She told me that they expect most women's milk supply to come in fully by about 10 days after birth. She recommended Fenugreek, which is an herbal supplement that can sometimes help to increase milk supply. We looked at my breasts and discussed the idea that I may have insufficient breast tissue. This make sense especially on the left side, which had almost zero increase in size during my pregnancy and the period after Sam was born. At one of my appoinments, I spoke to the nurse about my medication, and found out that Wellbutrin, which I was on throughout my pregnancy, could possibly affect milk supply. I called my doctor and had him switch me to Zoloft, which has better indications for nursing mothers. The nurse recommended that we stop finger feeding and supplement at the breast or start using bottles so that the baby would not get used to the finger and have trouble with bottles latler if we needed to use them. At this point I asked the nurse if there was a point at which if it didn't happen, it just was not going to happen. She said usually by 3-4 weeks. Also, she said that most women can't handle keeping up with all of the pumping and the stress of trying to get things to work for much longer than that.

We also found out at this appointment that Sam should be eating twice as much, which explains why, again, he had been acting hungry. I was unhappy because no one had explained how and how much to increase his food amount, and again hated the idea that he'd been hungry because I had not been feeding him enough. Sam now needed 2 oz every 3 hours or so.

After this appointment, I continued pumping. I bought the Fenugreek and started taking it. I kept trying to put Sam to the breast, and have him suck for a bit before supplementing, but he would get upset when he sucked and there was not a good flow of milk right away. We started using bottles when supplementing him. If I supplemented at the breast, it now required two full syringes full of formula, and switching the feeding tube from one syringe to the other in mid feeding.

The last 2 days Sam has been almost completely bottle fed. I haven't been making him latch on. He doesn't usually want to latch on. If he's hungry, he will get frustrated when there isn't a rush of milk. If he's sleepy, he'll fall asleep. Half the time he pulls his head away and pushes at my breast with his hands. It has now been 13 days since he was born and I feel that since I started the Fenugreek my milk will flow better when I'm pumping, and my supply has increased some, but not to the level of having any changes in my breast size. Inside, I do not feel that my milk supply is going to increase much more than this, and it's nothing like the stories I've heard from other moms about their milk coming in and suddenly having gigantic breasts that are flowing with milk and soaking all of their shirts.

Throughout the process I've had the nurses telling me that it's my choice, telling me how many women have trouble, at the last appointment telling me that whatever I decide to do it okay. If I want to keep trying, I can. If I want to go to bottle feeding and stop, that's okay too. That it doesn't matter what anyone thinks and that my baby will be fine either way.

It has now been 13 days since Sam was born. I don't feel like the breastfeeding is going much better than it was in the beginning, and I am struggling with a decision that I need to make. Should I keep trying to get Sam to breastfeed? Is it worth it for him to get a half ounce or an ounce of mothers milk every once in a while? Is it worth trying to figure out the exact right time to get him to nurse when he's not too hungry, but not too sleepy either? Will anything change? After the last appointment at the hospital, I thought about my history. We conceived this baby with fertility treatment. I was on Clomid for almost the entire 20 months we were trying to conceive, which is a drug that works with your pituitary gland to help it communicate with the reproductive system. We conceived the baby with IUI. I haven't had my hormone levels tested, but I suspect they may not quite be normal. Before I got the positive pregnancy test, I was starting to think that we would never be able to conceive and we were starting to think about adoption. I don't seem to ovulate regularly without medication, at least not before I had this baby. My family has had some hormonal problems as well. My mother had breastfeeding challenges too. Maybe it makes sense that I'm having trouble with this, but for some reason I never expected it.

I read stories about women who used supplemental nursing (like the tube & syringe at the breast) for 8 months. I read about women who kept pumping for months, who took prescription drugs, who put the baby to the breast every chance they got to try and increase their milk supply. I read about women who have almost zero milk when pumping, but they say that pumping is not the same as breastfeeding and that some women's breasts just don't respond to the pump. I read about women who got their babies to latch on after months of refusing the breast. I have friends who were not able to breastfeed as successfully as they wanted. One stopped after four months. My Mom was not able to breastfeed very well either, she supplemented us with formula and her milk dried up after 4 months with both me and my sister. But four months seems like such a long time compared to the 2 weeks I've been at this and been thinking about it.

If I decide to stop now, am I giving up too soon? Should I keep trying? I don't think there is a "right" answer here. I'm afraid of what people will think of me if I stop. I may seem well put together writing about this now, but I cry about it at least once every day. On Mother's Day I finally talked to my Mom about what's been going on, and how I'm feeling. I tear up almost immediately when I start talking about it. I cry thinking about this at least once every day. I feel like I'm failing my baby because I can't feed him the "normal" way. I'm afraid he's going to get sick because he didn't get enough breastmilk. I'm afraid that people are going to think I'm a bad mom, and that I didn't try hard enough, and that I don't want the best thing for my little baby. I'm trying to make a decision based on how I feel and what is best for me and Sam physically and emotionally. It's easy to say "who cares what other people think", but harder to put that into practice and actually stop caring. Mom pointed out that this is just the beginning - as a parent, people are going to judge me all the time, and that it's my child and I'll do what is best for him and it really doesn't matter how other people want to raise their children.

Sam is happy when he gets his bottle. He looks up at me with his big blue eyes and sucks away and gets all the nutrition he needs. The funniest thing about all of this is that he doesn't care where his food comes from. He only cares that he's getting food. He cares that he's well taken care of. He's surrounded by love. He's relaxed and trusting, and gets a ton of attention from me and Justin. He gets frustrated too when I try to put him to the breast and he doesn't want it. He surely doesn't understand why I'm trying to make him do it. But then there is a moment like this afternoon when he's awake, not too hungry, and I put him to the breast and he actually gets something from me and cuddles up to me, content. It's soothing and calming, and it feels so wonderful.

I still haven't made any decisions. The bottle of Fenugreek still sits on the coffee table. The breast pump is rented through the 22nd. I have my nipple shields ready to use, and extra syringes if I want to supplement at the breast instead of using the bottle every time. The not knowing and not deciding may be the hardest part. If I make a decision to stop, maybe I can grieve the loss of that relationship with baby and move on so I can concentrate on how wonderful he is. But maybe I don't have to lose it, at least not all the way. It may not work out the way I planned, but I do feel better today about just letting things go how they're going to go. Maybe he can still nurse, but I know it's not going to be how he gets his nutrition. We'll see how it goes.

All I know right now is that I will NEVER judge another mom for her decision to breastfeed, or not breastfeed. Looking at someone, you don't know what they've been through, and I could not ever have imagined how hard this would be.
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May 11, 2006

Sam Out and About: One Week Down, Several Thousand to Go

It's been a few days since I updated - I've been spending the computer time I've gotten trying to respond to some of the hundred e-mails I've gotten since Sam was born! I'm pretty close to being caught up too! We've had lots of visitors and some outings! Here's what we've been up to the last few days:

Sunday: Hung around the house at home for the morning. Mom left around 1:00 to go home and re-acclimate to the real world since she had to go back to work on Monday. A while after she left, Grandpa Harold, Becky & Crystal stopped by to meet Sam and visit for a little while. That evening Justin got seperation anxiety when I took Sam to book club to meet some of the ladies for about an hour and a half. It was Sam's first outing that was NOT to the hospital. He did great - just slept while Brooke held him. He got fussy in the car on the way home, but only because he was hungry and I stayed longer than I meant to. I also got to meet Mikaela, Kelly's new little girl (born 4/14), and she is a cutie!

Monday: Monday we just hung out at home and got acclimated to not having the extra help of Mom being here! Sam was introduced to his Aquarium Cradle Swing - he loves it and he sat in it for about a half hour and then slept in there for another hour or so, so I was able to get some chores done and some e-mails written.

Tuesday: Sam went out again on Tuesday, we took him to Fred Meyer and did some grocery shopping. He slept in my arms and in Justin's the entire time that we were there. I was so tired when we were done, I felt like I'd run up a large hill or something! My body is definitely still tired. Sam slept for 4+ hours in a row Tuesday night, which was great for Mommy & Daddy!

Today: We took Sam back to the hospital for our third appointment at the postpartum center with the lactation consultant. We are still struggling with my milk supply and supplementing with formula. We found out today that Sam is still hungry as we should have been letting him eat almost twice as much as he has been! He's eaten three times since, and we introduced him to the bottle so that when Justin feeds him he doesn't get used to finger feeding with the suplementation system since if he gets used to it he might not like the bottle. He ate from the bottle like a champ and is sleeping VERY contentedly after actually getting full! We are going to keep trying with the breastfeeding for at least another week and keep giving him formula to keep him happy in the meantime. When we got home we thought we had locked ourselves out of the house, giving me a minor panic attack, but on the way over to our friend's house for dinner we realized the keys had been in Justin's pocket all along!

We went to Brooke and Dave's new house, which is looking great, and hung out and had dinner with them. Sam was very calm and not fussy at all, and didn't even mind when Seamus and Lorelai were noisy. We're trying to let him be around other people and noise so that he doesn't get used to it being really quiet or to just being with us. Seamus loves to pet Sam's head and also kissed him on the head a few times. How cute. Lorelai does not seem to care much either way, although she knew who he was and everything! I was having a rough day today - feeling tired and a little bit sad about the breastfeeding, and hanging out with Brooke and talking really did me some good. They are going to the zoo on Friday and we may join them for a little fresh air time.

That's what we've been up to. Things are going pretty well. Sam is such a good baby, hopefully he will stay pretty mellow. We've already learned the following:

You do not realize that you can be so happy to see poop until you have a baby and he has his first one in a few days. Nor did you ever think you would be standing there saying 'good job!' sto someone who just pooped.
It does not matter how rational you are, when your baby smiles, you will convince yourself he is really smiling even if you know in your head that it's probably just gas.

Even if you try to cover him up the entire time you're changing him, a baby will wait until you lift the cloth to put on the new diaper, then pee on you.
The faces babies make can entertain you for hours.

I also found out the day after I got home that my good friend Brie is pregnant! She and her husband had been trying for a bit, and I know that she's very excited. She'll be due in December or January, and I'm looking forward to watching from the other side this time. Oh, Sam is awake & hungry so I must go! I'll be back with more soon!
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May 7, 2006

Sam is Home & Doing Well

I can't believe it's only been four days since Sam was born! It seems like now the time passes in hours instead of days. I could write a novel with every detail, but that would be boring, and also totally insane. So I'll try to just give an update on a few details, then post some more new pictures to the photo album.

Mom is still staying with us, but she's going home tomorrow evening since she has to go back to work on Monday. It has been so great having her here just to take Sam once in a while so we could nap, or to do little things like make us food or clean up the dishes. She has also been happy to spend a lot of time with Sam. I think she'll be in Sam withdrawl as much as we'll be in withdrawl on Monday from not having the extra help!

Sam is really a good baby. He was very fussy on Thursday night, and cried for a good part of the night, so we were pretty tired. We figured out that he was not getting enough to eat, and now that we're doing some supplementing, he is more content, sleeping well, and was only up for a couple of hours last night. I think I like it most when he's awake and just hanging out and looking around. I wonder what he sees. Sometimes when he's fussy he likes to go out on the deck and feel the fresh air and listen to the cars going by.

We went back to the hospital yesterday and again today to talk to the lactation consultant in the postpartum center. Sam had not been getting enough to eat and we're still waiting for my milk to come in for him, so we are supplementing with formula for now. The people at the hospital are so helpful in doing whatever they can to keep us informed and help us in any way possible to get Sam well nourished and happy. We'll be going back for another appointment Wednesday, and Sam's going to see Dr. Wu - our pediatrician - on Thursday.

Today Sam had his first bath since we were in the hospital. He was not too happy about it and cried, but it wasn't too bad and he didn't make things hard for us. He turned a magnificent shade of beet red before we got him out of there! He's all clean now though and after he had a meal was content to sleep for a couple of hours.

That's all for now, I'll post again soon!
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May 2, 2006

Greetings from Babycrowd Pregnancy Journal

Collection of greetings posted on our BabyCrowd Pregnancy Journal while I was pregnant with Sam and after he was born. No dates, since they don't record them! Oldest at the bottom, most recent at the top.

Brieshon
OMG, the pic of Sam in Justin's lap at the computer and the one of Sam playing with his toes are SOOOOOO ADORABLE!!! I can't wait until my babies can do stuff like that! Any time they do anything cute right now it's purely by accident (though Giovanna seems to purposefully pull stuff off her face already!). Keep posting updates and pics - I'll read 'em!!
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Jasmin

Hello,

Happy to see somebody with the same problems:) I was just thinking about how frustrating it is when your baby doesn't want to go to sleep. It makes me so mad sometimes. But I can't let him cry out, because we live in a small one room flat, I don't think my neighbours would appreciate it:)

Good luck,
Jasmin
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Brieshon
I love the pics of Sam in the pool! We need to visit again, soon. I miss you!!
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Grandma Helene
We are all very excited to meet you this week, Sam:0)

Grandpa Bill, Grandma Helene and Aunt Lianna

PS

Rachael,

We hope everything goes well for Rob, Susan, and the baby tomorrow. Please be sure to tell us if you know of anything we can do to help them when we're out there.
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lacyboo
your baby's hair is too cute! i have never seen a new born baby with FULL head of blonde hair...he is so handsome...congrats..
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tara_evans1
I just wanted to let you know that your story about breastfeeding and all the hardships you've had is almost IDENTICAL to mine and my son Tommy's experience! The only real difference is that when the nurse gave me the shield and Tommy latched on, he refused to latch onto my breast without the shield from then on...so I had to use the shield at every feeding (after of course always trying just me first and fighting with him and working him up into a frustrated frenzy). So he couldn't stimulate me well enough and I wasn't making enough milk....it took my milk almost 2 weeks to come in and even when it came in completely (going from a yellow color to white) there wasn't very much of it...the result was he was hungry and thus VERY fussy for 2 weeks straight...we couldn't lay him down without him screaming and at the last even holding him wouldn't console him.....when he went back to the doctor for his two week visit, he had lost from 8lbs 3 oz to 6lb 15 oz, which was devastating to me...he was placed in the hospital for failure to thrive and dehydration. The nurses tried to help me teach him how to nurse without the shield but in the end I went to the bottle because I couldn't stay letting him go hungry for one more minute. I felt like such a failure on so many levels....I wanted to breastfeed so badly, that's why I stuck with it for as long as I did despite all the obstacles, and so I felt I had failed on this level. When I realized that Tommy had been so upset for the first 2 weeks of his life because he was hungry, it tore my heart apart. I would say that only you and other women who've been through this can truly understand how that feels.

But anyway, to make a long story short....in the end, what matters most is the health (both physical and emotional) of your baby, and his health depends greatly on your physical and emotional health. He needs you to be emotionally sound and happier in order to be happier and healthier himself. Bottlefeeding is not the devil, I promise, it can be a mother's best friend if she's struggling with breastfeeding. I was afraid that I would appear lazy if I quit breastfeeding, but I know in my heart that I tried my hardest. I made the decision to bottlefeed in the best interest of my child, not because it was inconvenient for me. I know this in my heart and that's all that matters! So, if you have to make the switch, you are DEFINITELY NOT A BAD MOMMY! In my opinion, deciding to switch to the bottle is a very hard decision, especially if you really wanted to breastfeed like I did.

Tommy's doing great on the bottle...he's now 10 weeks old and on his 2 month visit he weighed 11 lbs 13oz and is already in 3-6 months clothes!

Hang in there Mom!

Tara and Tommy
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Great Aunt Ann
Hello Sam,

You are absolutely gorgeous! I can't believe how wonderful, happy and content you look after your ardurous joirney into this new world. You are a very lucky boy to have such wonderful parents. I look forward to meeting you.

Love,

Great Aunt Ann
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Kat Morgan
Congratulations on Sam and he is on time to boot....

Way to go kool kids.

Hopefully in a few weeks you will allow me a brief peek at him. Get some rest for now and enjoy Sam.

Loved the pictures and all of the updates...

KAT
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Tiffany Poulin
Rachael, Sam, and Justin:

You are all in my thoughts...hope things are moving along smoothly and that we all get to meet Sam soon!!

Tiffany
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Molly Wolniewicz
Best to you sweet Mommy! We are excited to get to know your little son!
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Ceci
Rachael - I'm so excited for baby Sam to come and wish you both good health, Justin too, through the delivery!

Take care,

Ceci
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Aunt Becky
Wow! It seems like it was just last week that I was waiting for the phone call telling me you'd arrived. Now you're about to be a mom. I think about you all the time. I can hardly wait to get the news that Sam has arrived (I'm still holding out for April 29). Love You!!
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MOM
Don't worry, sweetie. You have a true and loyal heart. You will be a wonderful mother.
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Mom
I think it's obvious why Sam is moving around so much on Fridays. He wants to get the hell out of the meeting and go home. Sounds like he has good sense to me.
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Ann Doley
Hello Rachael and Justin,

Just checking in to see how things are going. I looked at the pics and read the most recent page in your journal (the Q & A). Glad everything is good. I can't believe you are already seven months pregnant! Truly amazing. Will try to keep in touch more often.

Love and Peace,

Ann
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Momma
Sam's FIRST pirate outfit??? What does this mean? Are you planning on turning my grandson into a seafaring outlaw? Should I be shopping for a tiny eye patch?
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Mom
HA! Mark my words. You ain't seen(or felt) NOTHIN' yet! Oh, and by the way, you're son is now the proud owner of orange and blue plaid sneakers.
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Michael and Marcy
sorry, I can't believe that I spelled my own daughters name wrong! Let me try again

God bless

Michael, Marcy, Zoe & baby :-)
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Michael and Marcy
Congratulations guys!

We ran into Justin's Dad at the Nuthouse Grill about a week ago and found out that you were expecting!! This is exciting!! Maybe next time you guys are back near the old Homestead you can drop us a line and say Hi. (And if somehow it's after June, our infants can meet ;-) ) We are excited for you guys and pray that your pregnancy continues to go smoothly.

God Bless,

Michael, Marcy, Zoey & baby
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Scott & Kristin
Congratulations and well-done... well, at twenty-two weeks, perhaps 'medium well' would be a better exclamation, but there you go. English is a wierd language and i cannot be held responsible... I wasn't there when they created it. Where was I? Oh yeah! Congratulations and very very very good all the best of luck to you both... er all three of you.

bye now!
Scott (& Kris who disavows any knowledge of how Scott's mind works!)
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Mom
Sam Sam bo bam banana fana fo fam me my mo mam SAAAAAAAAAM!!
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Grandma Edie
Your photo is very cute. Do you feel an unusually strong urge to wear blue lately??? Do you think the baby is sending subliminal messages? Hmmmmmmm.....
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Kat Morgan
Hey girl---

CONGRATULATIONS

I wanted to let you know that I am very happy for you and Justin. I know you both have wanted to experience this for quite awhile and I pray that the rest of your pregnancy goes off with no more morning sickness.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers so you have great memories and great health through April/May.

Enjoy yourselves Mommy and Daddy.

KAT
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Monica
Rachael,

Congratulations!!! I am so happy for you and your husband. You guys must be soooo happy and I know you will be a wonderful mother! I am sorry I could not write sooner but we (in South Florida) got hit by Hurricane Wilma a few weeks ago and lost power for over ten days. Our house is fine but a lot of people were not so fortunate. The city just started clearing the debris from the residential areas last week and slowly but surely everything is normalizing. I am glad you are keeping a blog like this, I didn't know they had baby blogs but it is pretty cool! I may do one when it is my time!!

Take care,

Monica
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Helene
Rachael and Justin,

We're so happy for you out here on the Doley-Anthony side of the country, sending you lots of positive thoughts. Lianna is really excited about becoming an aunt! Like your mom, I have also found myself unable to resist purchasing a few select baby items over these past few weeks (even ones that are very gender-specific, just in case:0) Perhaps because you have waited longer than you had hoped for this (and I know what that is like), your experience will be even sweeter. Can't wait to see you both at Christmas.
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Aunt Ann
Oops! If I am correct, my message was sent before I had finished it. Here's my second try.

Hello Rachael and Justin,

I am so happy for both of you! This little baby -- Abby or Sam -- will surely be treasured and loved by two very special people. I suspect that he or she will also tinker with phones and computers, have a passion for books, keep a journal, ride a motorcycle, be fond of cats and maybe even knit. Precocious to the superlative!

As the mother of your cousins, Aine and Emaleigh, I can vouch for the reality that some pregnancies are blissful, others okay and the rest just awful. Unfortunately, mine were both awful (24 hour morning sickness for months, swollen feet, sore back, big babies, long labor and two caesarians). The result, in both cases, erased all of that in seconds, well maybe minutes -- okay, possibly a few days. There is no joy like being a mom, being a dad, being a parent. I can tell that you are experiencing that already. Amazing, isn't it?

Good luck. Stay healthy. Worry less and keep your feet propped up!

Love and best wishes,

Aunt Ann
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Jennifer Short
CONGRATULATIONS!! I am sooooo excited for both of you. I also had the worst morning sickness throughout my entire first trimester. But it seemed like the day I hit my second trimester it went away - hopefully you'll feel better soon! And I'll be checking back often to see your updates :)

-Jennifer
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Suman
Oops Sorry! It posted before I wanted it to. Anywho, Congratulations!!! Jason and I are wayyyy happy for you guys. And thanks for the green arrows on the ultrasound, it still took me awhile to figure out how that was a baby... :)
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Irene
Wow, Rachael, what wonderful news! Congratulations to you and Justin. In your photos you and Justin look so happy, and you are positively beaming! Not to get maudlin, but... oh what the heck, let's get maudlin! I remember when you were very, very young (before Kira arrived) and we were having a family party at my house in Havertown, and you just followed me around the house that day as I was going from the kitchen to the living room and back, curious about what I was doing. You must have been 3 or so, and you were so beautiful that if you had lost interest after the first few minutes I would have started following you around instead. And now you are starting your own family.

When you are staggering around all sleep deprived for the first few weeks you will sometimes wish that baby was still inside, so enjoy your pregnancy!
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Scott & Michelle
Hi Guys!

This is so wonderful!!! We did know before this but this makes us feel like such a part of things since we don't see you often. We are so happy for you both! Your first child is such a wonderful thrill (well they all are, but not knowing what to expect with the first is soooo cool!!) We will keep reading, so keep typing!! Good luck with that sickness - that is the worst!! I had it both times - maybe you will get lucky and only have it the first!!!

Love you both!!

Congratulations!

Uncle Scott and Auntie Michelle!!!
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Mom
I'm so proud of you for the decisions you are making. I know you won't regret it, ever. You are one smart cookie and so is your man!
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Rachele
Ok, sorry to bother you again but I thought of a bit of advice that Im sure you will be overloaded with by everyone you know and meet (complete strangers, too). I was sick a lot and I figured out this trick while I was in the shower... Drinking warm or hot water settled my stomach when I thought I was going to toss my cookies! Hope it works, Promise this part will all be over soon! C-Ya!
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Rachele DA
Hey, Rachael! This is your old best buddy from a long time ago wishing you all the luck in the world and mountains of congratulations! I still have to say that I hope it is a girl so we Rachel's (with varied spelling) can both have two Abigail's... (everyone now say it together...) AWWWWW!!!!! Love you Lots! YTFA. Rachele DA
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Mom
I was about as pregnant as you when I decided I was NEVER getting pregnant again! I was lying across my bed wishing for God to let me die now (sounds like a bad drinking experience, huh?) before I threw up again. Just remember, every day of feeling sick means you're one day closer to feeling better. How's that for comfort?
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Aunt Becky
I am so excited for you guys. I have the number of weeks pregnant you are marked each Tuesday on my calendar. Though the due date is May 2, I'm hoping for April 29 (my bday). I will be on the first plane west after school gets out. I can't wait to be Great Aunt Becky !!!!!
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Jen
I love having pregnant friends!! It is so exciting to watch you all go through so exciting life changes!! Congratulations! I can't wait to witness this over the next 8 months(I am sooo bad at math that I can't even figure out how much is left...).
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MOM
I did it. I bought a pair of baby socks. I couldn't help it. They were so cute with little bears on them. They're really tiny and have orange stripes. This is only the beginning.....
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Brieshon )
This is way cool! I am so happy for you. Congratulations! I will be checking in on your blog regularly! YAY!!!!!!!!
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Sam is Here!

According to my dad, only 2% of babies actually arrive on their due dates. But are you really surprised that mine did? I guess he takes after his Mama and likes things to happen on time!

Samuel Denn Heiner came into the world at 3:11 pm on Tuesday, May 2, 2006. He weighed 7 lbs 6 oz and was about 20 inches long, and has a VERY full head of very blond hair.

I did not have any contractions whatsoever until Monday, and they were hours apart and not strong at all. Justin and I went to bed at 1:30 am, thinking about our doctor appointment today and whether we would start thinking about implementing labor if he didn't come in the next few days. 2 hours later at 3:30, I woke up in bed to my water breaking. I waited about 1/2 an hour and had a couple of contractions, so we called the hospital and headed over to labor & delivery. We got to the hospital a little before 5 am and I stayed on the monitor for a while. When we got to the hospital they didn't do an internal exam, and my contractions were about 6 minutes apart. Since my water broke before we came to the hospital, they told us that depending on progress, they would probably start pitocin to augment labor around 9:30 (6 hours after the labor started). I walked around and Kira and Mom got here a little while later.

The contractions got harder and longer, and it was not too long before I was considering re-thinking my idea of not wanting an epidural. Around 7:30 am, the doctor came and checked me, and I was 6 centimeters already. Then, the contractions got further apart, but longer and more difficult. At 10:00 am, we decided we did want to use pitocin to speed things up, and I also decided that I wanted an epidural. It was great! I could even have pleasant conversations with the people around me during the once excruciating contractions.

Around 12:00 pm, Laurie and Rob had arrived. Around 12:20, I was still 6 to 7 centimeters, and the nurses suggested I kick everyone out so I could get some rest. So just evacuated the room, and we rested while listening to Sarah McLachlan. Since I only got a couple hours of sleep last night, it was good to be able to rest for an hour or so.

At 1:15 pm, the doctor stopped by because the baby heart rate was sporadic. I was given some oxygen and was checked out and found out that I was already 10 centimeters, and it was time to push. Since we had been told that it would be at least an hour and a half before we would even be getting close, everyone was still far from the room. We rounded up Mom and Kira, put everybody else on alert, and around 1:30 pm, the pushing began. It sure was hard work. I still was not feeling any pain because of the epidural, but I could feel tremendous pressure and (especially near the end) a very strong urge to push during the contractions. When I saw the contractions spiking on the monitor, I was glad that I could not feel them as well.

About 2:00 pm, Justin's mom got to the hospital. She had just come from Puyallup, where Justin's cousin had given birth about an hour earlier. She was so happy that she was getting to witness two births in one
day.

During the pushing, Kira, Edie, and Deanna were in the room encouraging me. For the most part, it was quiet and calm in the room, which helped me relax. The occasional joke about silent births was made as well.

When we were able to see the head, the doctor, Rob, and Laurie came into the room to cheer me on. The last 10 minutes was definitely the worst part, especially when Sam had half of his head popped out for upwards of two minutes. But then, after 1 hour and 40 minutes of pushing, it was over. A beautiful baby boy was placed on my chest and everyone in the room was driven to tears.

I know that Laurie got some beautiful pictures, and we will send some out as soon as we get them.

Although not a champion eater yet, he is definitely a world class pooper. Before being in the world for more than 2 minutes, he had already dropped his first load. And within a half hour, he had already gone twice more. It was then that they decided Justin should give him his first bath and they should put a diaper on him.

It is now 7:15 pm. Everyone is gone and Sam is sleeping peacefully in my arms. We will be going home tomorrow afternoon, and Edie will be staying with us for a few days to help out.

If you would like to come and visit, please let us know. You can call Justin at xxx-xxx-xxxx, or e-mail us. After a couple of days at home, we will see what we are up for.

We look forward to seeing you very soon!

Love,

Rachael, Justin, and Sam Heiner
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