Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lucy can sign!

Well, she can sign "dog." I've written about it before, but Lucy is crazy about our puppies. About a week ago I was sitting on the couch, she was playing on the floor, and I heard a "slap, slap, slap" sound. I looked over and she was looking intently at the dogs, slapping the right side of her leg with her right hand. I didn't realize it at first, but she was signing "dog" to the puppies! The funny thing is that it's the same thing we do to have the dogs come over, so when she does it, they come over to play. Brett didn't believe me until he saw her do it again yesterday. I'm really hoping this is a sign that signing is 'clicking' with her and that she will start to pick up other signs soon! The main ones we focus on right now are "more," "all-done/finished," "food," "cup/water," "bath," and "book." I believe she also has a good understanding of "all done," as well, just based on how she reacts when we sign it.

Lucy will be 10 months next week. A couple of other developments:

- She finally outgrew her infant seat by height. I've had a convertible in Brett's truck for a while now (My Ride 65- we really like it), so whenever she rode with him she was in it, but I'd held off on buying one for my car. But with another baby on the way, I figured I might as well go ahead, since we will need two convertibles at some point anyway. In fact, I HATE installing car seats so much that we will both probably have two convertibles in each of our cars. The new one I bought is a Graco CombiSport- which is really not a great one. It has much lower weight limits than the My Ride, and doesn't look as comfy. However, I figure that I'll have Lucy in the My Ride, and the new baby in the bucket for quite a while. By the time the new baby is ready for the convertible, Lucy will still be in the My Ride, and when the baby finally grows out of the CombiSport, Lucy will probably be in a booster.

- Lucy is rolling and crawling all over. I mean, she is rolling and "low-crawling" all over. She still doesn't get up off of her stomach. But I wouldn't be surprised if she figures that one very quickly.

- She is getting more independent by the day. We went for sushi last week, and she refused to eat her banana and rice- she wanted our sushi rolls and kept grabbing for them. We finally realized that if we fed her banana and rice on chopsticks she would eat it. Now I'm contemplating making some kind of baby sushi to bring along next time!

- We are planning for Lucy's first birthday. I know it's a few months off, but we'll be in Pennsylvania for it, so it takes a little more forward-thinking. We are going to do a Lilly Pulitzer theme- super excited about it! So far I've found the invitations, a few decorations, and have purchased the limited-edition "Lilly" animal crackers for party favors- remember the boxes with the little carrying string? Still debating the cake issue, and what to serve for food, since I can't afford this gorgeous cake! I was super surprised to get an email from the owner of The Pink Pelican's blog offering Lilly gift wrap for us as well. Don't know who's more excited- me or Lucy!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The ongoing saga....

...of my quest to have a homebirth. Specifically a homebirth paid for by my military insurance. In case you haven't been following my case, here's a brief overview:

- Women who are married to active-duty military (aka civilian spouses) are able to have their homebirths fully-paid for by Tricare, assuming their state allows for homebirths. In most cases, the midwife must be a CNM. If the woman is assigned to a military medical facility for maternity care, she can simply drop from Tricare Prime to Tricare Standard for her insurance, and pay a small deductible. If she is not assigned to a military medical facility, she can simply choose a CNM for her healthcare provider, and everything is paid for.

- If YOU are the active-duty member, you are not allowed to drop from Prime to Standard. If there is a military medical treatment facility located near you, you are not allowed to see an off-base provider without first obtaining a referral.

- In Florida, where I currently live, homebirth is legalized and regulated. There are a number of both CPMs and CNMs that practice. I have located a CNM that frequently attends the births of military spouses and works often with Tricare Standard. Without insurance, out-of-pocket costs are roughly $5,000.

- Tricare has already agreed to fund my homebirth 100%, assuming I can get a referral for my CNM. The problem is that I am assigned to a military medical facility (Eglin), and they don't want to write the referral. Again, the issue here is not with insurance, but with the providers and administration at Eglin.

Okay, caught up.....

- This week, I got a call from my doctor. I had chosen a resident in Family Medicine Residency, because that way I'd only have to see one person. If you choose to be seen in OB, you are seen by a "team," and there's no guarantee as to who will be there when you deliver. I have been extremely lucky in that this particular doctor has been very supportive of me. It was through her that I submitted my request for a homebirth referral, and she was working hard to help me. Things were looking up. Then...

- During the call, I was informed that my doctor had been "removed" from my case. I am now assigned to a midwife in the OB, but they are allowing me to see her on a "private patient" practice- i.e., I only get to see her. Sounds good up front, but.... a) I haven't heard the best things about Eglin midwives....b) I think they are just trying to appease me. Judgment pending my first appointment.

- Also, I had faxed my doctor my birthplan. Apparently the hospital will forego the i.v. if I agree to a heploc, but will not budge on monitoring technique. I can have intermittent monitoring, but they won't define "intermittent," and having the midwife use the doppler is apparently not an option. Interestingly enough, the biggest "issues" the hospital has with my plan is the refusal of Hep B and eye ointment for the baby. Fine by me! I know my legal rights and they cannot force this one.

- There is going to be a meeting sometime soon to rule on my case. I'm praying hard that I will be cleared, because I know for a fact that several women have tried in the past, but given up before they've gotten this far. I have no intention of giving up. If they're sick of me now, they haven't seen anything yet!

- On a side note, I called to make an appointment with my new midwife. Apparently, you are NOT allowed to just call the appointment line at Eglin and simply make an appointment with OB. Instead, you are required to call and leave a message with a nurse. She will then return your call (sometime!) and inquire as to what you need, and THEN make an appointment. Because I can't have my cell phone at work and am rarely at my desk, this equates to days of phone tag. Fabulous.

- BTW- for all of you who support government healthcare, heed my example. Weeks for an appointment. Not even being able to make your own appointment. Having your doctor involuntarily changed without your input. Just a few thoughts...

Almost 17 weeks....

When I was pregnant with Lucy, I didn't "look" pregnant to other people for quite a while. Yesterday, at 17 weeks to the day, a woman in Publix inquired about my baby. Crazy how different the first pregnancy is from the ones that follow!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It finally happened.

Today was a very sad day for me. It marked the first time I ever gave Lucy a bottle.

It all started a while back. Those of you who are kind (or bored?) enough to follow my blog know that one of my biggest worries for this pregnancy was how it would affect my nursing relationship with Lucy. Because I pump while I'm at work, it was really clear to me that my supply was diminishing.

For a while, I could deal with it. I went from pumping 6-8oz a session to 3-4oz pretty quickly. No biggie, though- that still replaced the amount Lucy drank while I was at work. That level stuck around for quite a while, and I optimistically hoped that it would stay that way.

Then last week it all went downhill. I hit week 15 in my pregnancy, and it's like a light switch flipped off. I could only pump 1 oz on the right side, maybe cover the bottom of the bottle on the left. When I nursed Lucy before and after work, I could feel a let down, and hear her swallow, and she was satisfied with what she was getting. However, at her nine-month appointment (also last week), we learned that she had only gained a little over a pound since her 6-month appointment. I was expecting that- I had been carefully monitoring her weight since I became pregnant, because I'd heard horror stories about mamas unknowingly starving their babies. The doctor wasn't concerned- after all, she eats three meals of solids a day, and has become very active as of late. Still, I was worried.

On Wednesday I had Brett break out that old can of Similac I bought a couple of months back. I'd really hoped I wouldn't need it, but when it comes to your daughter's health, you do what you have to do. I only had a few bottles' worth of pumped milk in the freezer after days of supplementing fresh with frozen, and I wanted to start Lucy off with a 50/50 mix of breastmilk and formula. Brett started giving Lucy two of these bottles twice a day, with me still nursing morning and night (and still during the night).

And still, I hoped that we would only be limited to those "work" bottles, and that I'd be able to nurse exclusively while I was at home. Saturday went fine- I felt like she was eating enough, although she seemed fussy at the breast. Then today during her morning nursing session I could tell she was fighting me- she kept biting and pulling and fussing. I could just tell that she wasn't getting very much. So, I shed a few tears while I mixed her up a bottle (I probably would have had Brett do it, but he left really early for a SCUBA trip.)

I was sort of surprised that she took it from me- I had always read that many breastfed babies won't take a bottle from their mamas. I am also surprised that she seems to be drinking the formula bottles okay- I had also read that many breastfed babies refuse it because of the taste. But I am grateful that Lucy seems to be flexible in this regard.

You know what? It's not the end of the world. Yes, I felt awful measuring out formula and feeding Lucy from a bottle. It just felt strange- I mean, I know she's been taking bottles all along, but never from me. I've really only seen her take a bottle a handful of times, usually when I arrived home from work early. We are very big supporters of nursing in public, and I've never felt the need to carry a bottle of pumped milk around. Still, it was nice to have a "Big Girl" looking up at me, rather than an infant. That helps- it reminds me that she benefited from 9 1/2 months of only mama's milk.

On a side note, I have done a lot of research about formula vs. just starting milk (goat's milk, in particular). However, I contacted the ONLY doctor I could find that supports milk before one year, Dr. Jack Newman, and was informed via email that he only supports it as a supplement- like if you pump at work, but come up a few ounces too short. That's because even though goat's milk is better than cow's milk, it still can cause anemia due to very mild internal bleeding (it irritates the intestinal track). Yes, babies can still suffer anemia from formula, but it is less likely. And if you're wondering why I'm justifying this decision, it's because I've taken a lot of flack (believe it or not) from several online friends for choosing formula over goat's milk.

And yes, I'm still planning on nursing her to sleep, and keeping with our morning session as long as she permits. Brett gives her an evening bottle, and she still likes to nurse to sleep afterwards. I think I'm as comforted by it as she is.

ETA: I also meant to add that I am still pumping once a day at work. I managed to get 2oz today, so yay so the little things.

Friday, June 18, 2010


First, a little explanation. I am currently in the middle of a month-long training course for my new job, and it's extremely challenging academically- a very competitive and stressful environment. I have been getting up at 5 am most mornings, and not getting home until 5-6 pm. I have been extremely tired and stressed, so please forgive me for not getting back to your comments sooner! I'm plugging along, can't wait to be done, and will be very happy when I can get back on a more manageable sleep schedule. Until then, your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated. I have lots of important blog posts in my head, but they're all pretty debbie-downer in nature, so for today I'll stick to a fun topic.

Last weekend Brett, Lucy and I traveled to New Orleans. Brett wanted to meet up with a friend to watch the England/USA World Cup match, and I wanted to visit in general- I'd never been there before. Anyway, since it's only a 3-hour trip, we figured, what the heck? So we left Saturday morning and arrived in NOLA in the early afternoon.

I had to drop off Brett at this pub and then continue on my way with Lucy to do some shopping. I had initially planned on exploring downtown, but like I said, I'd never been there before. Let me tell you- it was NOTHING like I expected. I'm sorry if I offend anyone, but I thought it was really, really trashy. I've been to most of the major cities in the US, and I've never felt scared or intimidated before, but New Orleans scared the crap out of me. First, the driving is ridiculous. The streets are narrow and crowded, and many are one-way with super confusing signs about where you can and cannot turn. Then, BAM, a street car comes out of nowhere! So imagine me and the Goose trying to navigate our way through downtown (near the French quarter).

Also, there are so many homeless people! I watched the news as much as anyone during Hurricane Katrina, and I *thought* I understood the magnitude of what had happened. I guess I naively assumed that the cleanup and recovery would be much quicker. I was so shocked to see a multitude of homes still missing roofs, and large groups of people huddled in the equivalent of small tent-cities. It was so, so sad. What's even sadder to think about is that with the recent oil spill, the city's odds of recovery are even lower.

Anyway, since we couldn't check in to our hotel until later, and Brett was busy watching the match, Lucy and I went shopping, and managed to clean out Gymboree, which was having a clearance sale. I love my little shopping buddy! I also managed to successfully navigate my way back to the hotel, all the time wishing I had my concealed weapons license already (I'm dead serious about this). Our hotel, the Whitney- a Wyndham property, used to be a bank, and was beautiful. There are some great rates available right now, and the location is very good. I highly recommend it.

That night, we went exploring. I definitely wouldn't recommend a young women traveling by herself to do this, especially after dark. I felt much better having Brett around! We found a place on the upper end of Bourbon (near Canal) to eat, and had a good dinner. We walked down Bourbon for a block, just to say we did, and the terms Sodom and Gomorrah come to mind. Lucy is so little I figured she didn't know better, and I had her in the sling facing me, but still felt really uncomfortable. I was amazed to see people walking with young kids- 5-6 year olds-walking ahead of their parents- and after dark! Ugh.

We cut across a block after that and enjoyed window-shopping at some of the crazy shops, and hiked about 2 miles to make it to Cafe du Monde- I was determined to have my beignets and Cafe au Lait. Lucy behaved incredibly well and put up with being hauled all over the place- and she even shared our beignets. What a wonderful little traveler I have! After that I was ready for sleep- this pregnant lady was hot and tired, as the heat index was over 100 degrees that day.

The next morning we had a delicious and relaxing breakfast at The Ruby Slipper Cafe. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day (probably equally because of its association with coffee, and because I hardly ever get to eat a proper breakfast at home), so I spent a lot of time researching where to go. Ruby Slipper is one block off the north end of Canal (north of I-10), and is a bit off-the-beaten track. Brett had the crab-cake breakfast, and I had eggs, potatoes, toast, etc. Lucy ate an entire pancake and most of a side of scrambled eggs. All were delicious! The crab cake had very, very little filling, and Lucy's pancake was THE best pancake I have ever tried (I snuck a bite.) All the food is locally-sourced, and the coffee was free-trade organic. Best of all, though, was Brett's Bloody Mary- yes, I had a sip. It was homemade (not mix), spicy, and delicious. We judged that it surpasses our previous favorite from Hyman's in Charleston, SC. Gosh, why do I crave them when I'm pregnant???

After breakfast we headed home, and since it was her naptime anyway, Lucy slept pretty much the whole way- score! Although our trip was short, it was (despite its rough beginning), fun. I don't know that I'd visit again, but I'm glad my eyes were opened to the situation there.

* On a side note, I am so proud of Lucy's beautiful table manners! She eats pretty much all adult food now, and can eat off of a regular (i.e. not paper) plate without flinging either food or the plate. Lucy attracts admirers wherever we go :-) I feel so blessed to have a beautiful little girl that I can enjoy time with outside of our home!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday.

A fourteen-week belly...and enjoying the beach before the oil....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stop it with the formula coupons!

I’ve become somewhat of a Target junkie as of late. It’s near my work, and the store carries such cute (and very affordable!) baby clothes.

However, I’ve become highly annoyed at Target’s practice of printing out coupons with your receipt. Why??

Because I keep getting coupons for baby formula!

Yeah, I know, I buy puffs- they’re like baby crack, and my daughter loves them, especially when she uses them to lure the dogs over to her exersaucer. And yeah, I know I buy baby clothes there. But I don’t buy bottles, or nipples, or diapers, or wipes, or anything else that would suggest that I need baby formula.

Ugh! It drives me crazy! I’ve never requested coupons, so this practice definitely constitutes unsolicited advertising.

Further, according to the WHO’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes:

5.3 In conformity with paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article, there should be no point-of-sale advertising, giving of samples, or any other promotion device to induce sales directly to the consumer at the retail level, such as special displays, discount coupons, premiums, special sales, loss-leaders and tie-in sales, for products within the scope of this Code. This provision should not restrict the establishment of pricing policies and practices intended to provide products at lower prices on a long-term basis.

Target is clearly in violation here. And yes, I know all the major retailers do this, but it still irks me. You know why they do it? BECAUSE IT WORKS- the same way that providing formula to newborns in hospitals works, and giving new moms (even the ones attempting to breastfeed) sample cans of formula works .

So what to do with the coupons? Sorry- I don’t give them away. I don't want them to be used, because I don't want to reinforce formula companies' practices (i.e., we print coupons, people use them, so let's continue advertising!) I think the only really acceptable choice is to trash them, but that’s just my opinion. I know I'm only one person, and will not make a difference on my own, but, morally, I feel like I have to stand my ground here.