Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Calvin, 3 Months

To my baby boy,
You've become so much more interactive this month, I love it! You are usually so happy and have the biggest smile ever! You've finally learned how to use your voice, although smiling is more your thing. You've come to love your mat with the toys hanging on it, you'll lay on there for quite a while hitting, grabbing and kicking the toys. Hearing Anna's voice makes you smile and sometimes she'll sing to you in the car to calm you down if you're upset. Gone are the days where you lay on your belly across my chest when being held - you love to sit upright or stand, and look out at what's going on in the world. Anna's had her first t-ball practices this month and you have loved it! Being outside wears you out, but it makes you so happy. You're getting much better at holding your head up when sitting and prefer to do tummy time on a pillow instead of laying flat. You are slowing becoming less of a fan of your swing, too, unless there are some rings or toys to grab at.

You still nurse like a champ and are great at taking a bottle. Speaking of, you've now spent an entire month with the babysitter while I've gone back to work and you've done so well! You are happy while you're there and I think Anna enjoys having you there, too. Only 3 more weeks until summer break!

Nighttimes haven't changed much. You typically wake every two-four hours, just depends. One night you slept from 9:15-4:00...it was wonderful!! The next night you slept from about 9:00-3:00, which was nice as well. That was about it though....you usually go down around 9, wake sometime around midnight-1:00, then again around 3:00ish. The last few nights I've taken you out of your swaddle, because you kept busting your arms out, plus you're getting too long. Instead, you've been using your "Love to Dream Swaddle Up" which fits snuggly and keeps your arms bent up next to your head. It's taken some getting used to because you can now touch your face, but usually once I lay you down (sometimes you need the paci), you go right to sleep. I've started laying you on a special pillow, too, to help prevent your head from getting flat. You spend a good chunk of time in bed (on your back), so I'm hoping this will help a bit.

You've grown so much this month, that I've moved you up to size 2 diapers (still a little big) and you're outgrowing some of your three month clothes. Thankfully it has finally warmed up so you've been able to wear your t-shirt onsies (usually without pants because you get hot so quickly) before you grow out of them. Looks like you'll probably be in six month clothes this summer.

Just this week, you've also started unlatching while nursing just to smile and talk to me -- it's the sweetest thing ever! :)

You are such a sweet, happy boy. I can't wait to spend more time with you and your sister this summer. I love being your mommy!!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Antibiotic Update

My nurse and I finally got into contact at about 5pm last night. She said that her and my doctor had discussed a couple options for me, keeping in mind that I want to continue breastfeeding. The first option was to begin Cipro, but they were completely against me nursing at all while on it for two weeks. This didn't appeal to me, but I understood where they were coming from. The second option was to try a different, not as strong, but breastfeeding-safe antibiotic called Cefdinir.

I went with option two. I'm a little nervous to try a new antibiotic, but hoping for the best. I'm really glad that I'll be able to continue nursing Calvin while on it. I'll be starting my first dose tonight. I'm hoping it'll be strong enough to kick whatever is hanging out in my lungs. Thankfully I haven't had anymore lung pain since yesterday morning (I think my treatments helped that), but I can definitely tell I'm more junky than usual.

Yep, putting in a Great Strides plug because it's true -- this is why we need a CURE for CF! Although I've been relatively stable over the last four years because of Kalydeco, chest infections still happen and antibiotics are necessary to maintain my lung function. If you'd like to help us find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis (so I never have to do treatments again!!), click here. :)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Being a Mom with CF

Warning: Post ahead is not all rainbows and sunshine. It's reality.

Being a mom with CF is hard. Being a mom is hard. Being a mom and having a full time job is hard. Putting CF on top of those things makes it even more difficult. I'll admit, I haven't been 100% with my treatments for the last few months. At the end of my pregnancy I was so tired and uncomfortable. And now, I'm just tired! There have been evenings where I skip my second treatment to get to be a little earlier and at the time, I think that's okay. Sleep is hard to come by with a toddler and a newborn, so I try to take advantage, but it sucks that I have to skip a breathing treatment to do it.

I've been back at work for only two weeks now and I just texted my CF doctor about beginning oral antibiotics. Anyone with CF knows the defeat you feel when you have to "call in the big guns". Luckily for me, those "big guns" are still oral antibiotics and not IVs, but it still sucks. I feel like CF is winning and that I'm losing.

A week ago I didn't feel the greatest. I was having some sinus drainage along with a sore throat. But with snow one day and 60-70 degree temperatures a few days later, I chalked it up to the crazy weather and maybe allergies. Everyone in our house just seemed a little extra snotty, so I didn't think it was a big deal. But when I woke up and it hurt to breathe this morning, that's when I knew it wasn't just crazy weather or allergies. My lungs are not happy with whatever has been hanging around over the last week.

So now's the big debate - what to do? The typical antibiotic I go on when feeling this way is Cipro which is not the best for a nursing mother because it could be transferred to baby through my milk....or at least that's what I think I remember from when Anna was a baby. With her, she slept longer stretches at night, so I could wait until the medication wasn't at it's strongest point and then nurse her. While at work, I pumped and dumped and she was given bottles of extra frozen milk from previous weeks.

This time around, Calvin still wakes up every three hours at night to nurse, so I'm not sure how that's going to work with the Cipro. After doing some of my own research online (LactMed) and talking with other CF mothers, it seems like the Cipro is strongest 3-4 hours after taking a dose. I think I can swing it by continuing to nurse and then giving a bottle of previously pumped milk during the 3-4 hour post-dosage time. I'll also look into giving Calvin some probiotics to help keep his tummy happy while he's exposed to some extra medicine. Continuing to nurse him is really important to me. He's doing so well nursing and I'm not going to let this bump in the road stop that. I feel like nursing my kids is one thing that my body has been able to do right, so it's going to take a lot to get me to stop. If I have to be hooked up to the pump extra over the next 10-14 days, then so be it.

As of right now, I'm still waiting to hear back from my doctor, but I'm planning on starting the Cipro asap-- hopefully tonight or tomorrow morning. I know I need it before this gets any worse. My plan for the weekend is to rest as much as possible while trying to complete my Master's assignments for the semester (since we're busy the next two weekends).

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Calvin, Two Months

To my little man,
Oh how much you've grown and changed over this month. I am so glad that I was able to spend every single day with you over the last two months. Sadly, tomorrow I return to work, but luckily it's only for 7 weeks before we're back together for summer break.

As soon as you hit one month, your hair on top started falling out...but only on top and it happened so quickly. A couple weeks later, it started growing back and now you have brownish-red original hair in the back and darker brown peach fuzz growing in on top. Daddy would joke with me when your hair was falling out on top that I was taking it out and gluing it onto your eyebrows because they grew in as quickly as the top was falling out. Aside from your hair changes this month, you've also had a couple weeks of acne (which is now gone) and have been growing so much! Right after you turned one month old, I switched you into size one diapers and had to pack away most of your newborn clothes. You're now fully in 3 month clothes (and have even outgrown a few of them), although you have lots of t-shirt onsies that you can't wear yet, and probably won't, because it's been too cold.

Your little personality has started to form this month. You have distinct cries for things (hangry, tired, gassy, and just annoyed). You've also started smiling intentionally which is just adorable and you really want to talk. You move your mouth like you're trying to say something, but typically you just grunt. Every now and then a coo will slip out, and sometimes you try so hard to talk that you make yourself spit up!

Tummy time has become more active this month. You sleep less on your belly now because you move too much. You are a very busy little boy, on your back and belly. You've already worn out a line of hair on the back of your head because you move your head back and forth so much from looking around. When on your tummy, you really work your legs! A few times this month you've rolled over (accidentally), rolled off your tummy pillow, and even scooted yourself forward across the bed and your tummy mat by digging in with your toes and pushing yourself. You even almost launched yourself backwards out of your swing by pushing against the bottom with your legs & feet (you will now always be buckled!).

You're not just active when you're awake, but also when you're asleep. You are the noisiest sleeper I know!! You grunt so much and you're pretty restless - you move around a lot. I swaddle you every night otherwise you keep yourself awake by hitting yourself in the face and moving all the time. At six weeks old, I moved you into your bedroom in your rock n play overnight. The first night you went down around 10, woke at 1, 4 and 6:45. It was refreshing for me! After a couple days, I tried putting you in your crib overnight and you did great! We now only use the rock n play when we travel, but you don't sleep in it as well. We were out of town for a few days recently and you didn't sleep the best while we were gone. As soon as we got back home, you slept great in your crib and were back to your 10pm, 1am, 4am overnight schedule. Maybe that means you're a homebody, maybe that means that you just prefer to sleep flat on your back.

Sadly, I'm heading back to work tomorrow. Thankfully, we only have 7 weeks of school left. Daddy got a new job and is starting tomorrow, too. Since he'll be in town now, you'll be going to the babysitter with Anna. She's very excited that you guys are going together and I'm excited that you'll be so close. I'm sad that I'm going to miss out on snuggling you every day, but I know that you'll be well taken care of.

Likes: ceiling fans (especially when they move), when people talk to you, nursing, being held, looking around at everything, bath time & getting rinsed with the shower head, sleeping in the swing when I do my treatments, when Anna talks or sings to you

Dislike: Being in one spot for too long, not having human contact, when my treatments stop - you want out of the swing immediately
  • Random things I forgot to add in your one month blog post: 
    • you had your tongue tie clipped in the hospital before we brought you home 
    • when you were born, your cord was wrapped around your neck (didn't cause any problems)
    • bruised face => jaundice
      • since I only had to push three times and you came out so fast, your entire face was bruised for about a week or so. All of this bruising led to you being slightly jaundice, but because you were an excellent nurser, it went away quickly and on its own  
This month you celebrated your first Easter (you and Adler both had adorable outfits with suspenders), met more friends and family, went to your/my first CF appointment, and grew a ton. I can't wait to see how much you've really grown at your appointment next week. I hope this next month flies by because it'll mean I'm almost done with school for the year!

Update from two month appointment: Calvin is in the 43rd%ile for his weight at 11lbs 14oz. He's 33rd%il for his height at 22.8 inches. :)

We love you, Calvin!! ~Mommy

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

How's Mama?

I can't believe it's been seven weeks since I've had Calvin! It still amazes me how slow time seems to go at the end of a pregnancy - anxiously anticipating the arrival of your child - and how fast time seems to go when they're actually here. It's also amazing how much I forgot about how much labor and delivery takes a toll on my body.

After having Anna, I think I was in this blissful fog, so excited to finally have my baby, that I blocked out any memories of recovery. This time around, it felt all new. Everything about Calvin's labor and delivery was so different from Anna's. The labor was longer and more intense, but the actual delivery was painless and very fast.

I'm not quite sure why, but I expected myself to bounce back so quickly after having Calvin. Maybe it was because I felt great after having him, I wasn't in a lot of pain at all. Just four days after giving birth (pushing a 7+ pound baby out of my body), I thought it would be totally normal to go with Tim to take him to the doctor, take Anna to school, and run a couple errands. The next day, I felt like I got hit by a truck (and my bleeding picked up a bit)! I pushed myself way too much and had to remind myself to slow down and take it easy. Sometimes that was easier said than done, but I tried. It was hard for me to feel like I was accomplishing anything - the dishes were piling up, I had laundry out the wazoo, and the house was a mess. I didn't like that I wasn't really able to do too much without feeling it, but I reminded myself that it was my job to recover and care for my newborn baby. Calvin and I spent a lot of time in our PJs on the couch. Forensic Files during the day, and the Olympics overnight, became the background noise of the first several weeks of my maternity leave. In order to really help take it easy, about 2-3 weeks after he was born, we decided to send Anna back to the babysitter in the morning. This took some stress off of me - I didn't have to worry about fighting her for a nap, I didn't have to bring the baby out in public to take her to school every day, and I didn't have to try to get us out of the house on time - except to pick her up from school where we just stayed in the car anyway.

After about 3-4 weeks, I started feeling back to myself. My bleeding slowed down a lot, Calvin was nursing really well, my milk supply regulated (it came in A LOT and I had to pump several times the first week or two to feel comfortable) and I was enjoying my time at home with him.

Health-wise, I've been feeling pretty good. I slacked on my treatments over the first week or two, but once I got my Cayston round in the mail, that pushed me to get my treatments in daily. The Cayston really helped move a lot of mucus out of my lungs, that I'm guessing, was trapped/compressed from baby taking up my whole body while pregnant. I just had my first CF clinic visit since having Calvin and I had a pretty good visit (aside from the added three hours in the city due to a flat tire). My lung function was around 80% which is a little lower than I would like it to be, I'm typically 85-88%, but I shouldn't be surprised because I haven't been 100% with my treatments over the last few months. I'm hoping that returning to work and getting back into a routine will help with that. I'm also really hoping that I can start some sort of exercise this spring/summer to help boost my lung function even more...and work on my beautiful squishy tummy that's decided to stick around for a while. I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but just a little wider and squishier this time around.

I've also been back to my MFM team and won't go back unless we plan to have more kids. Everything checked out well with them, so there wasn't really much to discuss. It was pretty cool though, on my way to the appointment, in the lobby, we ran into Jim, the embryologist! He was one of the doctors who helped along our IVF journey to get pregnant with Calvin. He took care of our embryos and called me with updates before the transfer. He was the one that 'picked' Calvin to implant back in May. It was really great running into him. He remembered me, gave me a huge hug and was so excited to see both Anna and Calvin. What a perfect way to wrap up this little journey by running into one of the men that helped make it all happen. :-)

Now I plan to soak up the remaining days of maternity leave with my baby boy. I'll be returning to work on April 9th. Calvin will be a day over two months old then. Luckily though, once I return, I'll only have 7-8 weeks of the school year left before summer break, so I'm looking forward to that. I'm hoping it'll fly by quickly.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Great Strides 2018

Our 2017 Bloomington team! :-)
Great Strides season is upon us! This year, the foundation has condensed several of it's walk sites in IL, so it took me a bit to decide which one our team should attend (the two we normally do are now gone). This year we're going to try to help Champaign's walk grow with our large team.

This year is also a special year for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This is the 30th year of Great Strides! It also happens that I'll be turning 30 years old this summer! When I was born, in 1988, I don't think anyone expected me to live this long, let alone be thriving!

Since this year marks 30 years of living, thriving and beating CF, I'd love for this to be our biggest Great Strides year yet!

*Most number of people registered
*Biggest turn out in Champaign
*Largest amount raised for CF -- our team goal is $5,000 (or more)

To reach these goals this year, I need YOUR help. If you'd like to walk with us in Champaign this year, please make sure that your register online for free: http://fightcf.cff.org/goto/colleen30

If you're unable to attend the walk with us, but would still like to make a donation: http://fightcf.cff.org/goto/colleen30

If you're interested in walking at another location around the state or country: http://fightcf.cff.org/site/PageServer?pagename=strides_searchResults

Whether you can join us or not, to help raise awareness of CF and it's need for donations, feel free to share the link on your social media with friends, family, co-workers, etc. The more we make people AWARE of CF, the more likely we are to collect DONATIONS. And as we know, DONATIONS go to RESEARCH for MEDICATIONS and hopefully one day, A CURE!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Calvin, One Month

Dear Calvin (who am I kidding, you still go by Brother about 90% of the time),


This was the fastest month ever! I feel like you've grown so much right before my eyes!

Our first month with you has already been an adventure. You came home from the hospital and were so calm and relaxed, and about 10 days in you realized this is a lot different than the last nine months in the womb. Thankfully, you only gave us a hard time for a few days. :) The last couple of weeks, you're starting to be awake more during the day and just within the last couple of days you've started to become a bit interactive. I've gotten three real smiles out of you this week and you're beginning to track things with your eyes, although you go cross-eyed quite a bit and make the funniest faces!

You are the noisiest baby I know! You grunt like no other, your cry is loud, you fart like a grown man, your burps can be quite powerful and you like to hum when you nurse or when you're relaxed. It cracks me up! One night you were humming so loud while you were nursing, you woke Daddy up. And your farts...ha! Let's just say you fit right in, buddy! :) But sometimes those farts are hard on your little body and you get so angry. You squirm, claw at your face and turn yourself red until it finally comes out. I've started burping you in the middle and at the end of your feedings which seems to have cut back on your gas lately, so that's good. Speaking of clawing at your face though, the first week or so home you scratched yourself several times, even drawing blood a couple times. Thankfully, many of your shirts and PJs have built-in mittens on the sleeves - those have been wonderful. Because you struggle to control those silly hands, swaddling you at bedtime is a must! Luckily you've been good about falling asleep without your paci because you don't hold it in very well. You usually just like it to comfort-suck.

Things you love: cuddling/being held - you love human contact (you're so my child, Daddy's calling you a mama's boy and I'm totally okay with that for now), sleeping on your tummy, being worn in the carrier, nursing

Things you don't love: being gassy, being put down, when my treatments turn off (you fall asleep every time they're going and instantly wake up when I'm done...every time!),  getting your diaper changed, getting clothes on, getting lotion on, your first bath (your second one was a little better - less tears)

This month we've done a lot more than I originally expected when I was pregnant. Although I still worry about germs, we've gone out in public quite a bit. You've been to many stores and you've met lots of people. It hasn't been too bad because you're either in your carseat under a blanket or being worn in the carrier, so your exposure to unknown human contact has been very limited. I appreciate those who have limited their contact because they weren't feeling well or had a family member not feeling well. Technically, it's still flu season, so we are still trying to stay as healthy as possible.

You have been nursing so well! You were born at 7lbs 5.5oz, went home from the hospital at 6lbs 14oz and were back up to 7lbs 1oz at just 4 days old. Now, at a month old, you weigh 9lbs, 7oz and are 21 1/4 inches long! That means you have gained 2lbs and grown almost 2 inches!
Within minutes of you being born, you were rooting around, and you latched on so well the first time that you nursed for an hour! My milk supply came in pretty quickly, Friday night into Saturday. It came in so quickly that I had to pump several times within the first week or two just to not feel so engorged. With all of that pumping, and using my Hakkaa overnight, I have 20+ ounces in the freezer already.
During the day, you typically nurse every two hours. I've been trying to get us to bed between 9:00-10:00 and you've been sleeping til about 1am which has been nice. That's usually your longest stretch, and then they get a bit shorter/closer together as we get closer to the morning.

I've been much more comfortable nursing this time around and it really helped my confidence when you just knew what to do. I've also been more comfortable this time around because while I was pregnant, I came across a clothing line called Latched Mama that makes nursing-friendly clothing. They're super cute, comfortable and make nursing discrete and easy. We've successfully nursed at Menards, Lowes, the library, JC Penny, and Barnes & Nobel thanks to my awesome nursing tops! :) Although I don't look forward to pumping when I head back to work next month, I'm hoping our nursing relationship continues to thrive and lasts a least a year.

Brother, you were a long awaited addition to our family. Everything about you being here is right. I can't wait to watch you and Anna grow up together. <3 p="">
Love,
Mommy

Monday, February 26, 2018

Life With Two Kids

Calvin is just over two weeks old and I feel like he's already growing right before my eyes!

This kid loves to sleep on his belly (don't worry, we never leave him unattended)
The first week home, Calvin was so content and relaxed. He loved tummy time and it would often put him to sleep. He ate about every two hours, sometimes 3-4 hours overnight and was very easy going. Around 10 days or so, we hit a rough patch where he got really gassy and fussy in the evenings, sometimes being awake, uncomfortable and sometimes crying for hours. I was getting a bit worried that we were going to have a colicky baby on our hands, but right around two weeks old, it stopped. Just in case, we stocked up on gripe water and I made sure to burp him extra during and after feeds to help try to ease some gas. Thankfully, the last few evenings have been better....but not the overnights.

In typical newborn fashion, Calvin's been getting his days and nights mixed up. He sleeps a lot during the day, having maybe only an hour or so of awake time, and then he wants to be awake late in the evenings or even in the middle of the night. There have been a couple nights when he's been wide awake in the wee hours of the morning when I am so tired.

I definitely forgot how exhausting it can be to have a newborn at home! But man, those baby snuggles make it well worth it!! This little guy loves to be cuddled! Between feeding and changing his diaper at least every two hours, it's hard to get things done around the house, but we're adjusting.

Calvin's first trip to Menards, 4 days old
Anna has really taken to her role has big sister, especially over the last few days. When we first brought Calvin home, she was kind of indifferent to him being here. But once she realized the habits and demeanor of a newborn, she quickly learned to get excited about the little things like when he lifts his head really high during tummy time, when he smiles (even if it's just in his sleep) and when he's awake with his eyes open (she wants to take a picture every time).

She's great about helping out which has been so nice! She loves to be responsible for putting his pacifier in when he's crying or it falls out, she likes to pick out his outfit for the day or jammies, and has even helped change a couple diapers.


Tim and I are adjusting to our new roles as well. It's still weird to think we have two kids. The other day I was talking about going somewhere "with the kids"....it sounded so different, but so good! Anna's been learning how to be patient when she wants me to do something when I'm feeding Calvin. She's also learning that Daddy is pretty awesome at doing things with her, too. With Tim back at work, I am happy to say that I've been able to successfully get out of the house with both kids more than once - swim class when Calvin was a week old, and, of course, a Target run. :)

The first few days after having Calvin home, I wanted to be up and moving - back to normal. I forgot how much I needed to let my body recover. Monday after he was born, we took Anna to school, ran some errands and took Calvin to the doctor. On Tuesday, I felt like I got hit by a truck. I had to remind myself that my body went through a huge ordeal of childbirth and that it was going to take time to feel "normal" again. Now, about 2.5 weeks later, I'm starting to feel like a normal human being again. Calvin's nights are pretty inconsistent, so I'm learning how to survive off of broken sleep, and I'll admit that we spend a lot of time cuddling on the couch, watching TV (currently watching lots & lots of Forensic Files).

This is how we spend a lot of our time during the day :)
Overall, the last 2.5 weeks have flown by! Life as a family of four just fits. I love the way everything has been going and I'm so excited for this new chapter in our lives.
The whole family, even Archie got in on this one!