Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Advice for the NICU

The woman who was my prenatal yoga teacher has another student who is about to have a baby, and they know that their baby will be going to the NICU for a heart condition. Jessica gave her my contact information in case I could offer her any words of advice. I don't think there is really any advice anyone can give in a situation like that, but I listed a few things. I think if I had been in her situation, I would not have appreciated any advice so I tried to keep it pretty general and not too preachy. I decided to put it on the blog in case I have to go through this again (please God, no, no, no!), or in case anyone stumbles across it from a google search. If anyone wants to add anything, please let me know.

1. Don't let the downs completely take you out. They are to be expected. The nurses and doctors were WONDERFUL, but I would get a little frustrated with them when they did not take the "downs" seriously. I thought when Molly was having a bad day, it was a huge deal, but sometimes they didn't make a big deal out of it. I slowly began to realize that was not because they didn't care; it was because it was all part of the recovery period, and they knew Molly was on the path to being a healthy baby. I have said numerous times that if there really are angels on earth, the NICU nurses are certainly true angels.

2. I'm not sure how it works at UCSF, but at Alta Bates and at Children's Hospital Oakland, parents are encouraged to pick primary nurses who will care for their baby whenever they are working. Take advantage of this. All the nurses are absolutely competent and take good care of the baby, but pick a nurse who will take care of YOU and your partner. It was a huge help for us to have primary nurses who were very communicative with us and who also talked to us like regular people (i.e., talked about their own kids and what they were doing over the weekend, etc.). You will be spending a lot of time with them so you want to have someone you are comfortable with.

3. Ask any questions you can of the nurses. They were a wonderful help with breastfeeding, bathing, changing diapers, teaching us how to take Molly's temperature, baby massage, anything! I would feel like I was bothering them at first (especially with the breastfeeding because that took some time, and we had a lot of trouble getting that going because Molly was so early), but they are happy to help and they are full of useful advice. It was sort of like we had our own private parenting class and were able to ease into baby care.

4. Go home at night and sleep. I felt horrible guilt about leaving Molly at the hospital, not to mention utter sadness at being away from her when we would go home at night. I admit I didn't do well on taking my own advice here, but sleeping and eating well are absolutely imperative for keeping up your spirits, energy, and milk supply.

5. And, yes, get caught up on all the novels you have been wanting to read. There will be (hopefully) a lot of down time where your baby will be sleeping peacefully so you can just relax close by your baby's bed and read and rest.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What a Week

We had a WONDERFUL visit with Mom, Fred, and Aunt Cathy. It was very, very sad saying good bye last night. Molly took to all three of them very quickly, giving them lots of smiles and even a giggle or two (at least it sort of sounded like giggles). They got here on Wednesday afternoon, and Molly Z and I met them at the airport. We went to dinner at our favorite German restaurant that evening. On Thursday, Bill worked, but the rest of us rode the ferry over to the Ferry Building in San Francisco. It was a great way to spend the day, pretty low key and relaxing. The weather was absolutely perfect. After we rode the ferry back, we went back to the house where they were staying, and Mom fixed us a delicious meal. Bill met us over there after he was finished working. On Friday, Bill had to work again, and the rest of us drove up to Muir Woods. We came home over the Golden Gate Bridge and took a detour/driving tour through San Francisco. We picked up pizzas to take back to their house so we could watch the presidential debate. Bill made it over just before the debate started.

On Saturday, we all went to the farmers market and decided to spend the rest of the day playing poker, which was a really great idea. Bill and Aunt Cathy were the big winners, with winning totaling around $9 between the two of them. Sunday we celebrated Aunt Cathy's birthday. We started the day with brunch, and then we went to Berkeley for the How Berkeley Can You Be festival. It started with a parade of art cars (which we missed), but the cars were all parked at the festival so we got to check them all out. We took lots of pictures so Bill will get ours posted soon, and I'm sure Mom and Fred will share theirs. After looking at the cars and watching many, many Berkeley hippies dancing (again, it was a beautiful day and great barefoot dancing weather), we went back to their house for more poker. Aunt Cathy won so much money she couldn't hold it all. My two-day losses totaled about $3, but as Grandpa Joe D. would say, I had $30 worth of fun.

It was a wonderful visit, and I'm so happy Molly got to spend so much time with her extended family. She was so happy all weekend, held by everyone!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Today was the usual Tuesday where poppa Bill stayed with Molly all day while I went to my seminar and did other work. I worked for a long time today on my dissertation. It is so close to being finished! I just have some fairly minor (but still requiring a bit of time) edits to do. Before and after my seminar, I was home working, and I just fed Molly when she got hungry.

Tomorrow Lola, Lopa, and Great Aunt Cathy will be here. We are really looking forward to the visit! I am not sure what all we will do, but I'm sure we will spend a lot of time playing with Molly Z. We might go to the How Berkeley Can You Be parade (you can google it). Bill and I have never been, but it always seems like it would be fun. I'm sure we will eat German food, too.

Molly is starting to get some muscles! You can hold her up, and she will keep her legs rigid on your lap, like she's standing. She also likes to look around at things. You can just tell her little brain is trying to absorb everything.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

posting comments

I think some people have had trouble posting comments, but I have changed the setting so that now anyone should be able post if you want to.

Day at the Beach

Today was the last day Jason and Abby were here. We had a breakfast consisting of the rest of the smoked salmon, bagels, and eggs. After that, we went to Alameda to go to the beach. It was beautiful!! Bill had run there when he was training for the marathon, but I had never been. What a wonderful idea. Next summer we will definitely be spending some time there, when Molly is a little bigger and more likely to like the water. We walked along the beach for a while, and then we stopped at a very good Italian deli for sandwiches. Molly stayed, can you believe it, in the Moby for the whole time, and she was was very content. Her first trip to the beach and she couldn't care less.

Molly's hair is getting very red. It really is cute. She has also been sucking on her hands a lot. Her smiles are getting more frequent every day. She is such a joy! Bill and I are so lucky and happy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Meeting Lots of People

Yesterday our friends Jason and Abby came up to see us and to meet Molly. They brought their dog, Chester, who promptly gave Molly Z a nice, big lick on her head upon meeting her. Last night we did not do a whole lot. Abby was nice enough to bring a wonderful dinner of homemade black bean soup, and she made quesadillas with smoked salmon (that they smoked themselves), cream cheese, and capers. It was delicious! Today we all went to the farmers market. Bill and Jason went shopping in SF, and Abby and I went to the Ferry Building in San Francisco, had lunch, and tried lots of samples. Friends of Bill's parents were in SF on vacation, and we met them this afternoon also so that they could see us and meet Molly Z. She has been asleep in the Moby pretty much all day, but when she came out to meet Rhonda and Steve she had lots of smiles to share. I have had to change Molly's clothes already three times today (spit up, spit up, pee), and I am about to do it again (more stinky spit up).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another Good Night of Sleep

Here is a picture of Molly after a good night's sleep. She is smiling more, but they are still infrequent and pretty fleeting.

Molly had another wonderful night of sleep last night! We put her to bed around 10, but we stayed up until almost 11. Her last feeding had been around 9, and she woke up when we went to bed so I fed her at 11. She slept until 5:30 so we got 6 and a half hours of sleep! Yay!

Today we are going to a little get together for a woman I know who is having a baby in a few weeks. Later today, Jason and Abby will be here. We are looking forward to introducing Molly Z to more friends.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Okay, It Was a Fluke

As the title of this post suggests, Molly's sleeping through the night was, sigh, a fluke. Last night we kept her up until we went to bed again, but she woke up at 3:45, and then again at 6. It's okay, though! She is making progress, and we don't mind getting up with her. (She is, after all, a little baby.) She ate at 3:45 for a little while and then went back to sleep. She got up at 6 to eat again. I was so tired, though, that I convinced her to sleep a little more on my chest while Bill went for a run. (He is running five days a week now, and I am really proud of him!) We got to sleep until about 8 or so. Now it's only 9:30, and she is asleep again, lying on me while I am typing. She was fussing a lot while I was making my breakfast so I figured she was just hungry. When I tried to feed her, she ate a little, but kept crying. I cuddled her a little more, and she settled right down. I think she might have been cold. Regardless, she seems to be happy now.

The weather is certainly getting cooler, as fall-like as it gets in the Bay Area. Molly has been wearing pants with her onesies.

Well, my chubby little baby is waking up now so I suppose it is time to eat again!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Through the Night!

Our alarm went off at 6AM, and Molly had not woken up all night! Amazing! We put her to bed a little after 10, when we went to bed, and she was not ready to get up until about 6:30. I feel good today because I got such a long stretch of sleep!

Yesterday we took Molly to a bookstore. Today, Molly and I are having lunch with my friend, Kristen. She is also going to get a bath today. In two days, Jason and Abby will be here visiting us, and they will get to meet Molly Z. They are friends from Lexington who now live near Santa Barbara. Jason used to be Bill's office mate at Lexmark.

In one week from today, Lola, Lopa, and Great-Aunt Cathy will be here to see us!

Molly is feeling better since Monday, when she got some more vaccines. She was not feeling well at all on Monday, but she was starting to feel better yesterday, though she was still a little fussy. This morning she seems to feel really good. She is lying here next to me right now, just stretching and grinning now and then at me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Some Things I Forgot

I forgot to put some things in my post from earlier today. Molly has started sucking on her hands, which is very cute. She is also getting very good at following faces and voices. Just now she was facing to her right so I shook her rattle on her left. She favors her right side, so the doctor told us to put interesting things on her left side. It was so neat! With a little bit of effort, she turned her head to the other side to look at the rattle.

Molly was definitely not feeling well today since her visit to the doctor. She got some more vaccines so, like last time, she was very fussy. It was quite obvious she did not feel well. She was crying real tears and just being generally unhappy. (Kelly and James picked the right day to go home.) She seems to be feeling a quite a bit better now. I have given her two doses of baby Tylenol and have just spent a lot of time cuddling her today to try to comfort her. When she got her shots this time, she really screamed and cried a lot. It brought a few tears to my eyes, to see her so unhappy. Bill and I think she is just maturing a bit, and now she can feel discomfort more than she could a few weeks ago, at her last visit.

We go back to the doctor in a month!

Visit to the Doctor

We just got home from the doctor, and Molly has certainly grown! She is up to exactly 13 pounds, and she is 22 inches long. Wow! She has almost tripled her weight since she was born. She is now in the 50th percentile for weight. So amazing! She is exactly average weight for a baby born June 9th. We are so happy with her progress, and so is the doctor.

Kelly and James left this morning. It was really sad. We had a wonderful weekend with them. You can read Kelly's post to see her perspective of the weekend. Molly was crazy about both of them. Coincidentally, her smiling frequency has greatly increased over the last few days, just in time for Auntie Kelly and Uncle Jimmy's visit, so they got lots of smiles from their little niece.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Girls Gone Wild

WHAT A WEEKEND...blessed and beautiful!! This is Aunt Kelly...only the proudest aunt in the whole world, or atleast one of the two, to include Aunt Andrea! Yes, Uncle Jimmy and I are visiting beautiful Molly and proud Momma and Poppa here in beautiful Oakland. It's been a wonderful weekend full of walks, blockus, and Molly, Molly, Molly. Krista and Bill have been so great, giving Uncle Jimmy and me all the holding time we can steal for the short visit. I got to carry her everywhere in the Moby. Carried her in the Castro, where Krista, Molly and I got some alone time Fri to shop, at the farmer's market on saturday, and at the bar where we watched the bucs game today for Uncle Jimmy. I held her the whole time and Molly was SOOO GOOD. She never fussed at all! Really!! Unbelievable! She's the best, most beautiful baby ever! I have to say, there is just not enough holding and staring time for the little cutie. Really, I could stare at beautiful Molly poop, sleep, and spit up ALL DAY!! How can she look so adorable doing it?

Krista let me burp Molly Saturday morning (after her first of about 50 feedings that day). Observative Momma noticed while I was burping her that there was something on the new onesie that dad had just put on Molly. Bill was waiting Molly's whole life for a day to dress her in this special, purple robot onesie, when he could be home all day to admire her cuteness. Well, with a little closer look, Krista says, "IT'S POOP!" Yes, Molly blew out another diaper all over her new, clean onesie. And you know what...I didn't even care. It was even a little cute. Who knew I ever thought poop could be cute... AND, I got to help my big sister give her daughter a bath. Molly likes baths. It's fun learning from my big sister! It's incredible how natural it is for her to be the great mom she is. I hope one day I will be even half as good.

This weekend is Uncle Jimmy's first meeting of Molly. SHE LOVES HIM!! Man, I'm going to have to spoil her big time! Molly smiles so big at him. He loves her too! They are very sweet! James and I even got to watch her this morning while Bill ran and Krista tried to catch up on some rest. (It was a good thought, but mom was needed again shortly after.) It was so fun! We just laid with her and made faces. It's fun to see Molly developing her personality and smile. She's the best!

Okay, well Bill and James are staring at me waiting for me to finish this blog so they can try to beat me at Blockus....Bill said yesterday his goal is no longer to win, but to make me lose. I love getting to them so passionately :) ....and for my disclaimer, yes, Bill beat me 2 of 3. And Uncle Jimmy wants to be sure I acknowledge his two 2 silvers and an honorable mention for coming in LAST! :)

I can't wait to come back next month....I love her so much!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Future

I had a meeting yesterday with my adviser. I took Molly with me, and Lorraine held her the entire meeting. She also bought Molly an adorable little dress, onesie, and some tights. So cute! It was a very good meeting. My dissertation is coming along, and I plan to be finished in a couple of months. The big news is that I will probably be staying home with Molly after I file my dissertation. Bill and I have been talking about it for a few weeks, and I discussed it with Lorraine. Bill and I think that the best thing for the three of us will be for me to be a stay at home mom for a little while. Lorraine told me she thinks it is a great idea, and it should not hurt my chances of getting a faculty job down the road. She is the dean, and she has been around for a long time so I certainly trust her advice. I am so excited about this! I never thought I would want to do this, but now that I have Molly, I know this is the best thing for our family. And like Grandpa Joe D. said, if it doesn't work out, I can find a job.

Aunt Kelly and Uncle Jimmy are coming in today! We are really looking forward to seeing them. Kelly gets in to Oakland in a little over an hour, and James gets in around 6:30 our time. Bill is working, so the three girls will get to spend the whole day together. I'm not sure what we are going to do. I was thinking we might go to the Castro in San Francisco and do a little shopping.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Three Months Old

Yesterday Molly Zelda turned three months old! It's so hard to believe! She is so big and healthy, such a change from three months ago. It's really amazing. We are so fortunate. I have started the process of changing her clothes in her dresser from 0-3 months to the 3-6 months clothes we have. It is actually a little sad, but very sweet. I'm happy to say that she is starting to grow out of the little clothes, even though she is on the smaller end of her true age (three months, as opposed to her adjusted age, which is just over a month).

Yesterday I had my second seminar so Bill was home alone with Molly. They had a great time again, though the weather was much cooler than it was last week so they did not spend as much time outside.

My milk is absolutely crazy! (You can skip this paragraph if you don't want to hear more about breastfeeding). Last week, I pumped right before I left so that Bill could feed Molly fresh milk. My supply was out of control for two days! It was like it was a few weeks ago, when I had way too much milk. I was leaking, and Molly was getting all foremilk (and hence bad gas and diarrhea). Yesterday, I decided not to pump, but just to have Bill use frozen breastmilk. It was better, but it still kind of messed me up not to have that feeding. She never completely emptied one breast yesterday, which means she was getting primarily foremilk. I usually just continue multiple feedings on one breast until it is emptied, but yesterday and overnight I had to switch because she just never emptied it, and the other one was getting really, really full and hurting. I manually expressed some milk because when that happens, Molly has a really difficult time swallowing it all. Last week, right after she started eating, she pulled herself off to catch her breath, and I literally sprayed her all over her face. It was like a hose! It was kind of funny, but I felt bad for MZ. With my maually expressing some, I tried to avoid more of the firehose. Hopefully, today it will balance out to normal again, and it will not take as long as it did last week.

Yesterday I pulled an ultra supermom move. I was cooking dinner and simultaneously nursing Molly. How's that? I doubt that will be able to happen much more--she's getting pretty heavy to hold with one arm while standing up. I was pretty proud of myself, though. :)

Tomorrow I am taking Molly with me for a meeting with my dissertation advisor, Lorraine (many of you met her when you came to my graduation). We will discuss my dissertation, which I think is very nearly complete, and what my life will be like after I file that thing. I will keep you posted. Lorraine came to visit us in the hospital right after Molly was born, before I was discharged from the hospital. I am looking forward to her seeing how big Molly has gotten since then!

Bill and I have decided to keep Molly up a little later at night so that we can get a little bit of a longer stretch of sleep. When we put her down at night, she usually sleeps for 5 or 6 hours. But because we were going to bed an hour or two after that, we were getting a much shorter stretch of sleep. A couple of nights ago, we put her down at 10 when we went to bed, and she slept until 3:30 (or was it 4?). I can't remember. One night she slept until 3:30, and one night she slept until 4. It has worked out well, but the down side is that we don't have any time with just the two of us. That's fine with us, though. Bill has been working away from home so he gets a little extra time with her at night, which is really nice. When she starts sleeping for longer stretches, we can start putting her down earlier again. This whole parenting thing is all experimentation, isn't it?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Earthquake and So Much Love

Two nights ago there was a 4.0-magnitude earthquake that we felt here. It was pretty big, and it lasted a number of seconds; I think the newspaper said 7 seconds. It happened at 9PM, a little while after we had put Molly to sleep for the night. I ran in to check on her right away, but the little girl had not even stirred. We kind of knew that because we did not hear her on the monitor, but I wanted to check on her nonetheless.

Yesterday we took her to watch the UK game at the UK sports bar in San Francisco. Today was a great day for us! It was a beautiful day, and we spent a lot of time outside. I am so happy right now in my life. Bill and I are just crazy about that little girl, and we are having a great time as a family.

Molly's hair is starting to turn red! She has been grinning quite a lot--she is so cute and sweet!

Aunt Kelly and Uncle Jimmy will be here in five days! We are so excited to see them.

I have mentioned our neighbors whose little boy is in the NICU after having some heart problems. He has taken a turn for the worse so please send your prayers and good thoughts out to the family, that they will be able to handle whatever happens and that little Simon will be comfortable, whether he gets better or he gets worse. It really makes me so appreciate how precious life is, and just how important the people around me are.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

another day of motherhood

Yesterday was a great day. Molly and I went with Trudi and Audrey to lunch and to do a little shopping for work clothes for Trudi, who starts back to work full time next week. We had a wonderful time, and Molly did really well. She hung out in the Moby the whole time, and hardly fussed at all. I fed her right before we left, at a little bakery where we got dessert. Oh, and I got a parking ticket in a parking lot! I was really excited to have a parking lot to park in. It seems like everywhere I go (with the notable exception of the grocery store) I have to find street parking, which can be a total pain. But...this parking lot had a 2-hour limit, which I didn't take seriously. Well, I saw the guy putting the ticket on my window, and he said don't worry about it. It's just letting you know that this is a 2-hour lot so I just thought it was a flyer or something. When I got back, though, I saw that it was indeed a ticket. However, the twist is that there was no actual fine, just a warning that I might get towed. Interesting, huh? So I don't really know who employs that guy if he isn't really bringing in money. I digress.

The weather here has been really hot. It's the only time of year when an air conditioner would be even remotely useful. We have a fan, though, so it's not bad when we are sleeping. During the day it actually isn't too bad either, just much warmer than any other time of year. Molly has been just in her diaper most of the time, with the addition of a swaddling blanket when she is sleeping, which she is doing very nicely right now. She was being pretty fussy when I tried to put her down so I took her to visit Amelia across the hall. Amelia held her for a little while, and Molly eventually fell asleep. I brought her back a few minutes ago to take a nap in her pack n play.

I am really enjoying spending all this time with Molly. I am so lucky! I was a little worried I would feel a little lonely without much adult interaction, but that has not happened yet. For one thing, Molly does keep me pretty busy. I also have a lot of stuff that I can just walk to in the neighborhood if I get bored. Finally, I know a lot of people who I can visit with, including both new moms and non-mom friends. I also talk to Bill a lot during the day. I do not really feel too overwhelmed either. I am trying not to stress out about getting everything done around the house. I try to keep on top of laundry, but I am letting other things go if I can.

We are having a number of visitors this month. Aunt Kelly and Uncle Jimmy are coming a week from tomorrow; our friends from Lexington (who now live in Santa Barbara) will be coming the following weekend; and Lola, Fred, and Great-Aunt Cathy will be coming a few days after that! We are looking forward to it all. Of that group, just Lola and Aunt Kelly have met Molly, and she has changed a lot since they saw her. Lola has not seen MZ since the beginning of July when we were still in the NICU, and Kelly came right after we got home from the hospital. Especially for Lola, MZ is much less fragile (not to mention that she does not have any wires or tubes connected to her).

I started playing with Molly today with some toys. She seemed to follow the sound of a rattle, which was pretty neat. Later, I was just playing with her after I changed her diaper, and I got her smiling a lot. I took a picture of her with my computer, holding her up to the camera. It is pretty cute--she is smiling a little bit, and you can see how big she is getting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to School

I had to leave Molly Zelda today for the first time (well, for longer than 20 minutes or so) to go to the weekly seminar for my fellowship. It was kind of sad when I left her, and I only teared up a tiny bit, but it was not too bad. It was only for a little more than four hours, and I left her with Bill. I know I can't complain--most people are back to work full time by the time their babies are 12 weeks old and have to leave them all day. I only have to leave her for a few hours a week, and it's with her poppa. So I won't complain anymore. I'm very, very lucky to have this fellowship that allows me to work from home when I want to, rather than having set hours, so I can be with Molly most of the time.

Yesterday we took a family walk (Bill, Molly, Daisy, and me) around the lake. It was a beautiful Labor Day! I strapped Molly in the Moby, and she slept the whole three mile walk. I was a little tired, and a lot sweaty, from having a baby strapped to me, but it was really a great way to spend a couple of hours. Yes, it took a couple of hours because I was walking pretty slowly. My friend Amy came by to visit Molly in the afternoon. She came to visit Molly in the NICU, and she also made us a chocolate cake and a cheesecake while Molly was in the hospital, just because she is nice, and she knows that baked goods are very comforting in times of stress.

Tomorrow we are going with Trudi and Audrey to lunch and to buy work clothes (for Trudi, not me) because she starts back to work full-time next week. (She just had a daughter--Audrey--in July.) It will be nice to get out of the house for a little while.

Molly is doing really well, although she did not want to take a nap today for anything! She has been doing really well with the napping, but not today. I have a feeling it has to do with eating from a bottle rather than the breast today while I was gone. I pumped this morning right before I left so that Bill could feed her fresh milk (even though we still have a freezer full of frozen breast milk). She ate from the bottle yesterday so Bill and Molly could practice for today while I was gone, but that was the first time since we got home from the hospital so we are not really sure how much she actually eats. She was still hungry when I got home, but she hadn't wanted to eat anymore from the bottle. So I fed her again when I got home. Maybe her schedule got messed up a little bit or something. I'm so glad she likes to breastfeed, but that she will also eat from the bottle!