Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pretty Girl

One more post for today... I just thought these pictures were cute, and Ashlinn was actually cooperating really well.

Okay Aila - Now when I dig my heels into your sides, run like the wind just like they did in that Sea Biscuit movie!

I may have Daddy's nose and lips, but I definitely don't have this super fun fuzzy stuff to grab hold of on my chest!

Mommy, aren't I just the prettiest thing you've ever seen?!

Bad Idea

So in the midst of changing Ashlinn's diaper this morning, I went to her closet to see if I could find an outfit that would actually fit her (still in size newborn), and then came across a handprint/footprint kit I'd received at her Billings baby shower. I loved the gift with its cute engravable picture frame and pink, baby-safe ink. I decided to hold off on the diaper and wrap her in a towel so I could dip her hand and foot in ink and then give her a bath to wash everything off. I was actually excited at that moment at the thought of recording memories we could physically look back on and compare for years to come, and thought my biggest issue would be, "where can I hang these frames in the nursery?". Wrong.

I decided I would nurse her to keep her content and then do the deed. I got her foot done with no issues. Then came the hand. I was stumped on the proper procedure to do her hand as she always has it curled up in a fist. I decided to be an informed adult and refer to the directions. "Press hand and foot firmly on ink pad, then press firmly on designated paper. Wait for ink to dry and place in picture frames. Hang, and enjoy!" Sounds so easy, if only. I kept trying to pry her fingers apart and as I was successful with one digit, the prior would snap closed. I tried this little song and dance for about 5 minutes when Ashlinn decided she was done playing along and began to fuss. As if to reason with a 6-week old, I cried out, "But I have to record how tiny your hands were at this age. Don't you want to be able to look back and see how precious you were?!". She responded by wailing.

Luckily for me, or so I thought, her arms were now outstretched in anger, fingers included, and I knew I had to seize the opportunity. I quickly pressed her hand in the ink pad, waited for her to spread her fingers again, and went to press it, firmly as the directions suggested, onto the piece of paper. I'd forgotten about a few millennia of reflexes baby have at this age whereby the instant pressure is applied to the palm of their hand, they curl their fingers into a tight fist. I'd read somewhere that this is a useless reflex leftover from our days as apes where, if a baby ape fell from his mother's back or arms up high in a tree, a branch would eventually trigger his reflex and he'd be able to hold on for dear life until Mommy came to the rescue. Creationists, fret not - I have not decided where I stand on the whole humans are decedents of apes theory. Anyway, instead of this looking like baby's first handprint, it looks more like baby's first finger painting lesson. Smears of pink ink cover the paper, and by now, Ashlinn is fuming.

She's ripped the towel away from under her, I now realize as a part of her master plan. She proceeds to relieve herself on my pant leg, and just as she finishes with number 1, she decides to go for number 2 in the same spot. In all of the excitement, Ashlinn reminds me of her age-old philosophy in that, in the absence of burping, what goes down must come up. I'm quickly reminded as I'm trying to clean my pant leg and her off, and Ashlinn projectile vomits all over my shirt.

Still screaming, I rush her to the bath I'd drawn before the whole mess started and start to hose her off under the faucet because I do not want her bathing in a bathtub full of body fluids. I forgot that our water temperature likes to change dramatically downstairs and upset this already screaming baby by holding her under a stream of ice cold water. I finally get her in the tub, try my best to bathe her, and then wrap her up in her towel and blanket and try to soothe her. I nurse her a few minutes later and the entire time she is staring at me, with a horrible looking scowl on her face. Mothers love to record moments of firsts like the baby's first smile, first steps, first words, etc., and I realized then that, had Ashlinn had a cellphone or even a computer to use, she would have texted me baby's first "WTF?!".

Another fun memory in the adventures of babyhood.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quick update

Well, things didn't work out as wonderfully as we thought, but it is still helping cover some things. We had a doctor's appointment on Friday and Ashlinn is now 9 lbs 15 oz and she has grown 1/2 inch. The doctor said that she probably has a "touch of colic." That didn't surprise Jen one bit. I have some pictures I'll post soon from our latest trip to Billings. Ashlinn slept at Grandma's!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Child Abuse

Dad decided to take a few images while styling my hair. He was a little too close. It didn't stop there, mommy decided to flair out my ears in the last few photos.

Happy One Month, Baby Girl!

(I apologize in advance for always being so wordy!)

Ashlinn is one month old today. It is hard to believe in two ways - (1) Wow... she's a month old already?!!! and (2) God, it's only been a month?!!! (when you spend 24 hours a day with someone who is helpless and completely reliant upon you and someone who can cry for hours a day, the days tend to pass slowly). It's been a rocky month as most new parents will tell you. Our days involve consistent trial and error as babies truly do not come with custom manuals and you have to figure out how each one ticks. Ryan and I consistently question ourselves and looking back at the early days, we laugh at some of the solutions we tried that desperately failed. It does get better with time as every single parent has told us, and we greatly look forward real smiles and playful interactions, first haircuts, steps, words, etc. Right now when we'll try and entertain Ashlinn, she simply looks at us with huge eyes of concern and we have no idea what she's thinking. We'll have to post a picture of this look soon. It cracks us up.

Thinking back over the month, there have been a couple of memorable events that stick out above the others... The first happened about a week and a half ago when, dare I say it, we could have lost her. Ryan and I were going through our usual nightly struggle of trying to put Ashlinn down for the night - okay, let be honest, down for about an hour or two if we're lucky. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to the entire night depending on her cooperation. I had been trying that entire week to get her to sleep in her crib with little success. After hearing horror stories of 5 year olds still sleeping in their parents' beds, I was motivated and yes, EXTREMELY sleep deprived from staying up much of the night trying to ease her to sleep in her crib. I had read that giving formula at night as a supplement sometimes helped babies sleep easier and longer during the night, and because this was about the time we were supposed to introduce a bottle for best results, we gave her a bottle of formula. She took it nicely along with a great deal of air, so Ryan and I both tried unsuccessfully to burp her for a good 20 minutes each and finally gave up out of sheer fatigue and frustration and laid her down.

After a bit of consoling, she was out. I quietly looked over her for a while assuming she would stir, but was sound asleep. I was so relieved and somewhat hopefully that "tonight would be the night!" I crept back into our bedroom and turned on the receiving end of the monitor and listened to her for a while before falling asleep. I was awoken by a quiet rustling noise coming from the monitor. It was an odd sound and although I couldn't place it, I had a horribly uneasy feeling. Seconds later Ryan and I ran into her bedroom after hearing a high pitched, quick wail followed by silence. I saw that the area around her head was soaked and realized that she had spit up. At first I assumed she was just startled from spitting up - hence the quick wail. Then my eyes adjusted a bit more, and I realized something was wrong.

She was moving strangely. Ryan noticed it too and turned on the lights. She was starting to turn purple, her eyes were completely bloodshot red and almost appeared to be bulging slightly, and she had lifted up her head at a funny angle and kept it there. I immediately realized she had aspirated on her vomit and was no longer breathing. A funny thing happened then - it was like I stepped out of my body and a complete calm, knowing entity took over. I told Ryan to grab her nasal aspirator bulb and told him exactly which cupboard and shelf it was on. I told him to hurry. I think he ran so fast he actually fell down the last couple of stairs, but returned within seconds with the bulb. I proceeded to suck about 5 tablespoons of spit up from her nostrils and lungs, pausing every few sucks to pound on her back trying to loosen up the material and also to startle her into crying. Occasionally she let out a panicky wail which was extremely reassuring. After about 45 minutes of this, she was finally breathing normally and although quite shaken, seemed okay. After that I relented and brought her back in our bed and watched over her the remainder of the night. The transition to the crib is temporarily on hold. Poor Ryan had to go to work the next morning tired and still recovering the previous night's events. I'm just so relieved she is okay. Since this happened, I have heard that two friends' babies, both seemingly healthy and around Ashlinn's age passed away very recently and it really makes you realize how precious your little bundle is. As frustrated with her as I can be at times, I don't think I could cope if I lost her.

The second event spanning a few days was not scary like the aforementioned and didn't directly involve Ashlinn. As Ryan just posted, I developed mastitis over the weekend and have NEVER been in more pain in my life. I originally thought childbirth was the most painful thing I'd ever experience, then realized it was breastfeeding (not as intense as childbirth but the pain was constant throughout the day and would continually worsen with each feeding, day after day), and now realized it's mastitis. Not only is the breast tissue indescribably inflamed with intense shooting pains and swelling, but the high fever I had for 4 nights caused every single joint in my body as well as my entire head to be inflamed as well as also in indescribable pain. Remedy? Baby-safe antibiotics, rest, fluids, and aw yes - nursing through the pain (the baby's tummy kills any bacteria ingested from the breast milk).

I have to say, Ryan really stepped up to the plate. I was completely disoriented from the mind-bending pain and the high fever and could not care for a newborn for more than a few minutes at a time. Ryan recognized this and Saturday night when the symptoms were at their most unbearable and I was far from being myself, he slept with Ashlinn downstairs to allow me to rest (meaning he didn't actually sleep in hopes that I would). I'm almost back to normal now and grateful for the assistance of my trusty assistant. When you don't have a village to raise your baby, it's at least helpful to have a partner in crime.

Anyway, I'm realizing I'm being my overly wordy self again so I'll end it here. If you're asleep after reading this, count yourself lucky and know that I'm jealous! :o)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Long weekend

I managed to take an extra day off this week to try to help take some pressure off of Jen. I was actually hoping that she'd benefit from some extra rest. It turns out Jen started to get sick Friday night. She has mastitus and a fever that is accompanying it. We managed to hit the doctor this afternoon so hopefully she'll start feeling better. Right now she still has the fever and a very bad headache. The good news is that it isn't anything Ashlinn and I can get, but we did sleep downstairs to give mom a break last night. If Jen is still feeling crummy this evening/tomorrow morning, I'll probably stay home and help out.

Next weekend we'll be going Billings for a visit and I think Grandma may be coming up at the end of the month. Hopefully we'll have some more pictures (and a video) up soon.