Today was Curly’s 4 month well-baby visit and vaccines. Apparently he somehow knew this was coming, and after a very fussy morning, we found out at the doctor’s office that he is running a low-grade fever….high enough to put those nasty vaccines on hold until next week. Everything else looked absolutely perfect- no ear infection, no inflamed gums, no runny nose, great skin, etc. Just a random, mystery fever on the day of his doctor’s appointment. Unfortunately, this means it’s just Curly and me at the appointment next week and no comforting boobs to be had after the shots. None for Curly either.
Luckily, we did find out all of the fun statistics at today’s appointment. Curly weighs 14 pounds, 8 ounces. He is 26.25 inches long. His head circumference was approximately 41cm. The doctor told us he was in the 50th percentile for weight and the 90th(!!) percentile for height. I imagine we’ll be eye level with our son by the time he’s ten. We did not choose a particularly tall donor and since Nutella herself is short with a capital ‘S’, we have no idea where the tall gene came from.
We have our follow-up appointment for vaccinations next Wednesday and will do our best not to mention it in front of Curly in case he decides to pull another fast one on us. For now, sleep sweet child, sleep and get well.
“Tummy Time Boot Camp” didn’t produce exactly the result we were hoping for. Curly can roll to his back from his front, but he doesn’t really want to, nor does he do it with regularity. After overcoming the initial “Hey, how’d I get onto my tummy?” he protests loudly “HEY! Someone come help me, I’m just a baby!”. When we ignore him (or laugh at him, sorry can’t help it, he’s just too funny) he moves onto “Oh look! My thumb is here too! Guess I’ll take a nap.”
At 16 weeks Curly has mastered the skill of rolling from his back to his belly. View exhibit A:
Rolling from the belly to the back, which is supposed to come first developmentally, doesn’t come as easily and he gets mightily PISSED OFF. This has made for some interesting times in the crib at night so this weekend has been dubbed “Tummy Time Boot Camp”, wherein we will place him on his tummy all day to try and improve his belly to back rolling skills.
Oh and that title up there? It refers to exhibit B:
We had hung his damp bath towel over the end of the crib to dry and when we checked on him a few minutes later, that’s what we found. When your baby begins to roll around on his own, don’t hang things on the side of the crib. Lesson learned, Curly, lesson learned.
Let me disclaim this entry by saying that the title is not meant to brag, but to bring up an issue we’ve been dealing with. First off, Curly *usually* sleeps 12 hours through the night. This is lovely…a bit insane, but lovely. No complaints on that. Nutella typically has to wake up in the middle of the night to express milk or she’ll wake up completely engorged over that amount of time. That is definitely not an issue though….the issue is how much sleep Curly still requires during the daytime. He is 3 1/2 months old and I thought would be able to stay awake for a decent amount of time during the day. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to stay awake over one hour without getting absolutely, eye-rubbing, yawning, cranky tired again. With the amount of sleep he gets at night, it surprises me that he is averaging at least 4-5 hours of naps during the day. That’s 16-17 hours of sleep!
A little Goog.le research has led us to believe that this is not that strange after all, so again, that’s not necessarily the issue. The issue is trying to go out with him. When we go places, he understandably wants to be awake and see everything that’s going on (and I like that). But since he can only stay awake for an hour (and that hour tends to include a feeding of at least 15 min), it isn’t long before he starts breaking down and getting super fussy because he needs his beauty rest. It wasn’t always like this, and I’m sure this period won’t last either, but these days it is very difficult to plan things or be out places because when the Tired Monster hits, he will cry and whimper upwards of half an hour before sleep finally takes hold. Depending on where we are, this can be very difficult to deal with.
Curly does enjoy going to new places, but my knowledge that not long after we arrive, I’m going to be dealing with an unhappy baby puts a damper on things. When lunching with a friend, I find myself blocking out conversation so I can focus on calming down my son. When shopping, I usually end up going outside and sitting on a bench until he’s able to finally fall asleep. I try not to go to faraway places, because if he gets upset in the car, he may end up crying the whole way there or back.
This isn’t to say we haven’t had good adventures together. And some days I get lucky and it’s not such a trial to go out. But the fact remains that it is challenging, and most of the time I’d rather not make plans with other people so I can fully focus on, and do what I need to do, for Curly. I look forward to the days when he’s able to stay awake longer in the daytime, but sadly by that time, I’m going to be back at work.
As much as I’d like to quit my job and spend more time with Curly, I can’t. Money is the #1 reason. And in this economy, I feel very very grateful to have the job that I do. I’ve so far survived several rounds of layoffs, and I even had a member of my team laid off while I was out on maternity leave. But maybe even more importantly, my employer provides excellent health insurance which typically pays out 90% for allowable procedures and appointments with in-network providers. No fertility coverage unless you are straight, married and using your husband’s sperm, but for pregnancy its covers everything. I even had a choice of 2 birth centers that were in network. I never had to fight them to cover an ultrasound or a medical visit. Yesterday, I went through my records and did some totals and I’d like to share them with you in the hopes that someone will find it useful.
Note that these are the charges for my pre-natal care and delivery only. I saw the OB from 8 weeks until 30 weeks and the midwives after that. It does not include the charges for my chiropractic care, my trip to the ER for morning sickness, or my neurology and physical therapy appointments after the birth.
Take a look at the differnce between the actual cost and the amount I had to pay. It is staggering. I cannot even begin to imagine what a financial burden it would be to face pregnancy with poor insurance or no insurance. Even Strawberry’s insurance (from the same major provider, but a different plan) would have ended up costing us nearly twice as much out of pocket (they pay 80% in network). I don’t really feel informed enough to make an educated opinion about the currently proposed legislation on the reform of the US health care system. I don’t know that nationalized health care is the answer. But I do know that the system we have is incredibly biased and needs to change. It disgusts me to know that there are so many people out there that are one accident or illness away from financial ruin.
Curly was dealing with a growth spurt the past couple days/nights. This means all he wanted to do all day was eat and sleep, and our normally smooth, quiet nights were broken every few hours by him screaming that he was hungry. He was also fussier than normal. Prior to finding out that he was going through this tough time, Nutella and I had planned on seeing Julie & Julia at our local theater while a trusted neighbor watched Curly for a couple hours. We are very choosy about our movies these days. If we’re both 100% set on seeing something, then we’ll try to find a sitter, but it is definitely a luxury.
Anyway, it was touch and go for a while last night prior to our neighbor coming over. Curly was feeding every 1-2 hours, acting overtired, but not giving in to sleep. As time ticked on, I thought for sure we’d have to cancel our date night. I didn’t feel right about leaving him like that, nor did it feel fair to do to our neighbor. But Nutella held him in his quiet, dark room for a good half hour and he finally drifted off. And then we waited to see if he’d scream awake again prior to our leaving, but he didn’t.
The movie was wonderful and we both kept smiling throughout. But in the back of my mind, I was still extremely anxious about what could be going on at home. I nervously held my cell phone in my hand the whole time just in case our neighbor should text us to come back. Thankfully it didn’t happen, and when we got home we found that he had JUST woken up, was already calmed down and about to get a bottle.
Nutella breastfed him and he fell asleep…for the next 9 hours straight. I wonder if this means his growth spurt is over for now. This was a bit of a long story, but I wanted to show how much life changes when there’s a little one in the picture (as if you didn’t know!). There’s a whole new set of trials and tribulations, worry and wonder, re-prioritization, faith and letting go, and gratitude. There’s so much more than I ever could imagine and all you can do is try to go with the flow.
During pregnancy, most women, myself included, stop the normal shedding of hair. And while the pregnancy hormones are still floating around in your body after birth, it stays that way. But then, some time around 10 weeks post-partum, the hormones start to wane and then 10+ months of hair starts to fall. I knew this. I thought I was prepared for it. But OMG, ya’ll! My hair is EVERYWHERE. When I shower I get literally handfuls of it between my fingers which I set aside and thrown away so it doesn’t clog the drain. But guess what? The drain is becoming clogged now and I’m going to have to clean it soon. When I brush it, I get more handfuls. When I wake up each morning my pillow is covered. It’s on all our rugs, in our cars, we find it everywhere. It’s disgusting and fascinating at the same time.
When I look at myself in the mirror I have noticed the thinning. It’s thinner than pre-pregnancy. At my temples and along the front of my hairline it’s especially noticeable (to me). I’ve always had a rather high forehead, so this isn’t helping. It’s a true “fivehead” at this point, and the hair just keeps shedding. My hair is currently just below shoulder length but I’ve had short hair in the past and I know it works on me. I’m very seriously considering getting bangs cut as an intermediate solution. I haven’t had bangs since maybe high school. And If I end up not liking them I’ll just cut it all short. At least the pieces that fall out won’t be as long!
Alternatively, I could start wearing fabulous scarves wrapped around my head a la Little Edie of Grey Gardens fame. Here’s Curly modeling a silk scarf I painted in a fabric class some years ago. What do you think? Is it a good look?
(and oh yeah, Hi Interwebs!!)
One year ago today, Strawberry and I woke up early on a Sunday morning and drove into the city for the IUI that resulted in Curly. It was mostly painless (I hate the speculum) and we stayed in the exam room for a good 20 minutes afterwards. It was our last vial of our first choice donor. Afterwards, we headed to a little French cafe and had cappuccinos and strawberry and nutella crepes. We had lied a little bit to our RE to get the IUI appointment since their policy was to do them a full 24hrs after a + OPK at the earliest, and we were beginning to think that my surges were very fast and our previous attempts had been too late. Still, we were feeling realistic about the process and had even purchased and shipped 3 vials of a new donor to our clinic for the next 3 tries. So when someone in TTC land asks me what we did differently the cycle that worked, I tell them we bought several hundred dollars worth of sperm that we wouldn’t ever use.
Today, I woke up and peeked in on a sleeping boy. He’d managed to get his right arm out of his new, larger swaddle and had it thrown up beside his head. His eyes were closed and his long dark lashes were resting on his soft plump cheeks. His cupid bow lips were slightly parted and puckered, as though he were sucking in his sleep. I caressed his soft fuzzy head and he stirred slightly before I picked him up and nursed him. Afterwards, as I changed him and gave him his medicine, he smiled at me sleepily. I reswaddled him, placed him back in the crib, kissed him on the cheek and quietly stepped out to start my day.
Here I sit at work, thinking of the boy I’ve left behind, thinking of how my life has changed, thinking of the things that I miss, and thinking of the new things that I love. This was supposed to be a post about how we were seated at the “baby table” at a wedding this weekend, but I think I’ll leave it as it is, to mark my feelings on this sunny August morning.
I know that for those of you who do not yet have your babes this will be an especially painful post, and I am sorry for causing you pain. But I also fervently hope that your day comes soon, and that a year or so from now you will be pausing to reflect, just as I am.