Sunday, August 31, 2008

C-A-T-S Cats! Cats! Cats

Well, the wildcats pulled through. We took Molly Z to our San Francisco UK alumni sports bar to watch the game. She was great, in spite of all the yelling and cheering. She hung out in the Moby until halftime (after an initial passing around among a few people; one of our friends, "Uncle Tommy" said he wanted to hold her before he drank too much beer), and then she started to get a little fussy. We took her out to the car to change her diaper in the back of the station wagon (interesting that there is no changing table in a sports bar), and then brought her back in to eat under the hooter hider. Then she was set until the end of the game. Bill put the Moby on for the second half. It's great that she is still little enough that we can cart her around just about anywhere. I know these days are numbered, though.

I am pooped out today! Usually Bill will take Molly in the mornings so I can sleep an extra hour or two. She is still getting up twice during the night to eat, and I am generally up with her for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, usually right around an hour. Bill will get up to change her diaper and then bring her in to me to eat. Today he wanted to make sure to squeeze his run in before we left for the game so I didn't get that extra sleep this morning. I did come home after the game and get a short nap, but I think I'll be going to bed pretty early tonight. We are finishing up Season 1 of The Wire. That is a really good show, but it is intense!

What am I thankful for today?
1. I have a healthy, sweet baby girl who is safe at home with us. (We know the two families with babies in the NICU, and it just makes me all the more thankful.)
2. I have a wonderful husband who loves me and our daughter and takes good care of us.
3. All my loved ones are safely out of Gustav's path.

Friday, August 29, 2008


This is today's second post. Molly has learned to smile when she means it (i.e., not just involuntarily or when she is doing something like pooping). This morning, Bill and I were looking over her while she was lying on the bed, and she was grinning at us! It was so amazing! So she was super-happy baby, and then a little while later she was super-upset baby because she had a lot of spit up and clearly did not feel well. She is now happily sound asleep in her pack n play, all swaddled up. I guess it's pretty tiring spitting up so much (it was A LOT--I had to change my shirt twice and throw the Moby in the wash).

Big football game this weekend--go Cats! We'll be taking Molly to the UK bar in SF, Zeke's, to introduce her to the gang from the UK alumni association.

Health Care

Bill and I listened to most of Bill Clinton's speech two days ago at the Democratic convention, and there is one thing that really jumped out at me. In one little line he mentioned that people have told him that in order to pay for medical costs they had to either quit a job or get a divorce in order to qualify for Medicaid. What kind of country do we live in where there is actually a disincentive for work? How does it make sense that a family has to actually quit work or get a divorce (two very un-American things) in order to get health coverage? Many of you know that Bill and I had to drastically reduce our income in order to get coverage for Molly. I had to leave my fellowship (temporarily, but it was a very significant chunk of our monthly income) because I was still getting a couple of paychecks from the university where I was teaching last semester, and Bill had to reduce his workload from 40 hours/week down to 10. We had insurance for Molly through my student coverage, but it was only for 30 days, and it had a $25,000 cap. That was approximately 3 days in the NICU, and our share would have been more than $450,000 (yes, that is 45 with four zeros). We also talked about the possibility of getting a divorce. Our situation is far from unique, and we are in a very temporary place because Molly (hopefully) only had acute medical problems, so after she left the hospital, she was a healthy girl with no long-term health concerns. We will eventually be able to buy insurance for her or include her in group coverage through employers. Of course, when she was born, she was absolutely uninsurable so we had to get Medicaid.

There are 45 million people in the U.S. without health coverage. 45 MILLION! That is crazy to me. I have done a lot of reading about this (it was the topic of one of the papers I wrote for my qualifying exam to advance to candidacy for my phd), and I am not hopeful that we will get this situation corrected any time soon. There are so many competing interests, and our system is an absolute mess!

There is the fairly common misperception that universal health care is the equivalent of socialized medicine. Socialized medicine would mean that the government employs doctors and other health care providers. Universal health care is a much more broad term that just implies a plan where everyone in the country has insurance or some other form of regular access to medical care. Ideally, employers in the U.S. provide insurance, and there are Medicaid and Medicare for the indigent and elderly, respectively, who are out of the work force. However, the number of part-time workers is increasing (they usually do not get insurance), and the number of employers who are providing any coverage or adequate coverage is decreasing so more and more American workers and their families are without adequate insurance. Thus, the incentive to NOT work becomes even more strong, and essentially becomes a mandate. Otherwise, how could they get health coverage? I really hope that our next president makes this a priority and at least gets the process moving forward.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Not much to report today, really. We are trying to establish a napping schedule. Any helpful hints from anyone would be appreciated. Molly sleeps a lot in the Moby, but we try to put her down for at least one nap a day in her pack and play. She doesn't really seem to like to nap, though. I don't know if she is still so little that she likes to be cuddled (i.e., in the moby) to fall asleep or if she just doesn't really need that much sleep. I was reading in my handy dandy Dr. Spock book that some babies just don't need as much sleep as other babies. I know I certainly need a lot of sleep, so it seems strange that my daughter would not need that much. Bill can get by with less than I can, and I know Aunt Kelly can get by on (what seems to me) next to no sleep. So maybe Molly Zelda just doesn't need as much. Regardless, I am still trying every day to get her to take a nap outside of the Moby. She will sleep only a little while, usually less than an hour, before she wakes up and starts crying. If she is not crying, we usually just leave her alone to see if she will go back to sleep. We figure she is at least getting some rest even if she is not actually falling asleep. Today I tried to put her on the couch next to me, resting on the nursing pillow. She is there right now, and I am looking at her dosing. That seems to work so maybe I will try that again tomorrow. She is really cute. It has been pretty hot so she is just in her diaper. I took a couple of pictures so those will be in the next group Bill posts. You can see how chubby she is getting, with the rolls on her fat belly.

I have been trying to get out of the house with her a little while every day. It can sometimes be difficult, though, because she eats a lot. I try to leave after a feeding and spend an hour or so out. Luckily, there are tons of things to wander around through in our neighborhood, little shops, coffee shops, a bookstore, etc. so I don't have to drive anywhere. I just strap her on and we take aimless walks. It's pretty nice, actually.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another Day of Staying Home

Yesterday Bill started back to "work" full-time. He was gone all day, from 8:30 until 5:30, so Molly and I were on our own. Today is the same thing. She has been sleeping now in the Moby for about 45 minutes, but she was pretty fussy before that. She has been kind of fussy for the last two days or so. On Saturday night she slept until 3:30!!! But, alas, Sunday night and last night were not nearly as good, and she woke up quite frequently. Her trend, though, seems to be to sleep for longer stretches. Yesterday she didn't want to take a nap, but she finally fell asleep for two hours when I put her on my chest. I was exhausted, too, and I was planning on taking a nap when she was, but I just had to modify my plans a wee bit so that I had an infant sleeping on me. Which makes it impossible to sleep in any alternative positions, but oh so sweet! Hopefully today she will sleep a little longer by herself so I can finish doing the dishes in the kitchen that I started doing yesterday before we took our together-nap.

It's so strange to think how different my life is now than it was a few months ago and certainly than it was a year ago! It is difficult to remember the time before Molly. The time in the NICU is also slowly losing its sting from my consciousness (though I doubt the memories and emotional ups and downs of that time will ever fully disappear). That was so recent so the time before that seems like a REALLY long time ago.

We know two other families with babies in the NICU. One we met while Molly was there, and they are still there with their twins born at 25 weeks. The other family are our neighbors whose little boy (four months old) had to be admitted to the NICU at a different hospital in Oakland for heart problems. So I am so grateful that that time is behind us (hopefully, oh, please God let it be behind us forever!), and we have our healthy, chubby baby girl home with us. I don't care if she keeps me up all night because she wants to be cuddled!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Reunion Today

Today we went to a reunion for my prenatal yoga class. Most of the women had had their babies so it was fun to see all the mommas and babies (and some of the women who were getting really big bellies). I had not seen any of them since May because after I went into preterm labor in May I was on bedrest so I couldn't go to yoga anymore. It was pretty neat because we all met in a park, and there were a bunch of new mommas sitting around talking about our babies, nursing, and just having a great time! There were also lots of dads there, too, so Bill got to chat with some men who are also new dads. He doesn't meet a lot of parents really because his program does not have a lot of parents or even students who are married or partnered. Molly mostly just slept in the Moby, oblivious to her surroundings. She got hungry after a couple hours so she ate and then went right back to sleep.

She has been a little fussy, probably because of her vaccines from Thursday. She has also had diarrhea, which was almost certainly caused by the vaccines. Hopefully she will be feeling all better in a couple of days. Bill gave her a dose of baby Tylenol today before we left for the park, and that seemed to really work to make her feel better. She calmed down pretty quickly after that.

I learned that Molly is developing good taste in music. Yesterday I gave her a bath (the second time by myself, and the first time when Bill was not home), and I cranked up some Waylon Jennings and sang to Molly Z. She enjoyed it!

Also, last night Molly slept for five straight hours. I put her to bed around 9:20, and she slept until about 2:20! I hope she is back to sleeping until around 2AM again.

Friday, August 22, 2008

More Eating

First, Bill finally posted more pictures on Flickr so check out how big Molly Z is getting!

So, the breast milk situation had pretty much corrected itself, and my milk supply went down, which in turn was much easier on Molly's digestion. I was also a bit more comfortable because I wasn't so engorged (sorry to anyone who is uncomfortable with the discussion of bodily functions). I went back to feeding her one time per breast. This worked well for a while, but now we are back to where we started. My milk supply seems to have really increased again, and Molly is having digestion troubles again--she is having some diarrhea. She doesn't seem to be spitting up as much as she was, though. That might be because she is just getting a little older. I'm not sure why she would not have a corresponding increase in spit up with the other problems, but I am not going to wait to see if that eventually happens before I switch back to going two feedings per breast for a little while to decrease the supply again.

Today Bill left us for campus so I am on my own today with MZ. We will decide what to make for dinner and go to the grocery. How domestic of me!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My New Blog

Wow! I now have my own blog, and I created all by myself, without the help of my IT guy (many of you know him as Bill or Billstron). As the name suggests, this blog is meant to keep all of Molly's admirers informed of her development and my feelings and experiences with being a mom.

Today we took Molly Z to the doctor, and she is up to 10 pounds, 14 ounces! She is up to almost 2 and a half times her birth weight. The pediatrician is so happy with her weight gain! She is now in the 25th percentile for her real age, not her adjusted age. (That is, for a 10 week old baby, not a 2 week old baby). It is very exciting. She is really getting chunky. Her little thighs are just so fat! She is also getting quite the double chin.

We got some more of her immunizations at this visit. She got one orally and two shots (with BIG needles). The nurse had me breastfeed her while she was given the two shots. It was pretty incredible. She wailed for about one second and went right back to eating. What a distraction! While she was in the NICU, we got the first in the series for Hepatitis B vaccination, but that was all she had. We will get more when we go back on September 15th. The pediatrician said we should not be alarmed if she develops a low fever and generally does not feel so well for a couple of days because of the vaccines. Poor baby! We can give her baby Tylenol if she starts feeling bad. I think she may not be feeling well now because she was a little fussy in the car (and she usually sleeps the whole time she is in the car). I hate the thought of her not feeling well. I think she has put in all the time for the whole year for not being well while she was in the NICU so I am keeping my fingers crossed that she stays feeling okay.

I am still really tired. Like I said in my last post on bill's blog (which some of you may not have read because Bill posted something on the same day so you might have just read his post and not scrolled down to read mine), I knew I would be tired, but jeez! It's okay, though. I don't mind missing some sleep. It's going to start getting a little more difficult, though. The semester has officially started, and now I have to finish my dissertation. I think it is nearly finished, but it is just going to take some time to do the final edits. I will also start back on Tuesdays to the seminar I am required for my fellowship to attend. That is really not bad, though. It is usually pretty interesting and mostly requires just reading a couple of research articles a week. I am hoping that soon Molly will be sleeping for longer periods. We had about four nights where she slept for about five straight hours, but, alas, she is back to two or three hour stretches at a time. I'm sure that will improve soon, though.