Sunday, August 29, 2010

Laundry Life

When I was in graduate school I remember living in my first apartment with a washer and drier. Every Saturday I would do two loads of laundry, put it away, and then I was done with laundry for the week. Holy crap - I don't even believe it myself, and I was there!
I still in my head like the idea of a laundry day...but now I have a laundry life. I do laundry all day every day (or so it seems). I am continually throwing clothes into the wash, towels into the dryer, and then....piling them in my bed room. I don't mind the actual washing that much, but I never, ever seem to get a grip on putting them away. Adding to the problem is that we bought an adorable cottage-style house that was built in 1941. Everyone that knows anything about building remarks on how great the house was built and that "they don't build them like that anymore." However, among the great structure, the plaster sound proof walls (that really rock now that we have a baby because we don't even have to try to be quiet while Fisher is sleeping), the arch doorways that give the house so much character there is something missing.....closets. Our house is a testimony to how much more CRAP we have than families had 70 years ago. Of course when we bought this house it didn't seem like that big of a deal - I mean, come on it has arch doorways! But now, well now, it is annoying and adds to the laundry life. There just isn't enough space for all the clothes, the towels, the sheets, the wash clothes, the unpaper towels (aka old rags),etc. And it is frustrating!! Next time we buy a house I am going to make sure there is a ton of storage and closets.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nana's legacy of love

My Nana passed away today. Nana was a one of a kind person. She melded a sweet,loving personality with just enough spunk to make her a riot. Nana has been sick for a few months and I have spent a lot of time reflecting on her and the impact she has had on my life. And it all comes back to love.

Nana and Granddaddy were high school sweethearts, married, and had three daughters. They moved frequently because Granddaddy was a Methodist minister and his church assignments changed every few years. Through the years, moves, children, grandchildren, and all the things life throws at you they stayed in love. Granddaddy died 20 years ago (I can't believe it has been that long!) but even his death did not change her love for him. When Nana spoke of granddaddy I swear you could see that 14 year old high school freshmen with a gleam in her eye talking about her first love. I used to love to ask her stories about Granddaddy just to see her glow. She always wore her wedding ring and every year in our yearly family picture she made sure that our whole family was situated in a way where Granddaddy's picture was in the shot as well.
Even as a young girl I saw something in their relationship that I knew I wanted in my own one day. They had so much fun together and their love and respect for each other showed in ways that you can't fake.

Nana was everyone's Nana. If you met her, you called her Nana. And she was a hugger. That is just how she was. Because I went to college close to where Nana lived I had the opportunity to take many friends over to Nana's house. I so enjoyed introducing my friends to Nana because many of them had grandmothers they did not get to see often or that had passed away and Nana would be more than happy to share the Nana love. She never forgot ANY of my friends and asks for updates on every single one of them.
She also welcomed her grandson-in-laws into the family with the widest open arms you can imagine. Except she would never refer to them as in-laws - Shawn, Kelly, and James are her grandsons and that is the only way I ever heard her refer to them. This was especially meaningful to Shawn and myself as his own parents and grandparents are deceased. I loved that there were no "in-laws" and we were all just her grandchildren.
And I will never forget the way she welcomed her only great grandson into this world. When I went into labor early in the morning on Sunday, Sept 13th last year her and my aunt Teresa got in their car and drove six hours to where I lived to be there when Fisher was born. Of course, things didn't exactly go as planned and they had to leave without even seeing Fisher or holding him. But Nana and my two aunts Teresa and Jonna turned around and drove BACK the day after Fisher got out of the NICU just to meet him. And that has always meant so much to me. So even though Fisher will not remember the times he spent with Nana, we have pictures and most importantly I will never forget the truly unconditional love she showed to me, my family, and my friends. I am sad that Fisher will not grow up getting Nana hugs but he will benefit from the love that Nana taught me and he will benefit from that his whole life.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Battling Ammonia - Erin 6, Ammonia 4

What a week of battling ammonia. I think I have gone about 10 rounds with Fisher's diapers but I am declaring myself the victor.

For about two weeks I noticed an ammonia smell when I changed Fisher's diapers. Because I have never had any build up or stink problems I didn't think too much about it. I even looked up why a baby would suddenly have an ammonia smell to their pee and found some sites saying that he might need to drink more fluids and that this can just happen sometimes. Then we had two different nights where I put Fisher to bed at his normal time and he was up within an hour screaming. He never wakes up crying so we knew something was wrong. Both times when we checked on him, he had peed and his booty was red and there was an ammonia smell :( Both times I put him in a disposable and then put him back to bed and he went right back to sleep. So I finally (yes I am slow!) realized that I was having some ammonia build up problems with my diapers. I use Rockin Green Classic Rock to wash Fisher's diaps so I rocked two overnight soaks. Still had ammonia smell after Fisher peed. I have since soaked his diapers in blue dawn twice overnight, soaked them in vinegar, and sunned them and I think we are back in business! What a pain! But I guess on a positive note, I have been using cloth diapers on Fisher since he was born (11 months ago) and never had to strip them or had problems until now.
We had Fisher in disposables for about a week while I was soaking, rinsing, and trying to figure out what in the world was going on with his diapers. And now he has a rash from the disposables. Boooo! Fisher has really sensitive skin and whenever we have had him in disposables he always ends up with a rash. So I am so happy to have him back in his cloth diapers and even happier that they are fresh, clean, and no ammonia smell!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Green Mamas Blog Hop!

This is the first blog hop I have participated in - though I have discovered some great blogs by visiting blog hops in the past. Join the Blog Hop or take a moment and peruse some of the blogs listed.
Have a GREAT Friday!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I have been to therapy three times so far to address the trauma surrounding my son's birth. And I really do think it is helping. The therapist explained to me that my brain has not processed the trauma surrounding Fisher's labor and delivery and therefore it keeps trying to process it, which is why I have anxiety about it and reoccurring thoughts, images, and dreams. She is going to do a treatment to help me reprocess it and she really thinks the anxiety and other symptoms will go away. I know it sounds a little kooky, but I figure - what the hell? It sure can't hurt. And even though we haven't started the actual reprocessing part yet - I already know that I am healing. Just understanding why I am dealing with the things the way I am has helped so much. For instance - I have totally been ignoring and putting off dealing with the incorrect medical records and talking to a lawyer. While I had rationalized ignoring these things for many different reasons (mainly being so freaking busy lately!) - my therapists mentioned that some people ignore things as a way to avoid that issue because it causes hurt, anxiety, or pain. And I know that is the real reason I have been putting it off. It scares me to deal with it because it is like pouring salt on a wound. I have been much more aware of why I feel the things I feel and most of all - I know that it is normal. It is all normal. And I am not ashamed or embarrassed...I just am. Those who know me know that I have a very analytical, scientific brain and having someone explain to me the science behind why I am dealing with things the way I am has been priceless. Now that I understand the biology behind my reaction and I know that it is absolutely and totally normal I am so much more peaceful about the whole situation. I realize now that I had a ton of guilt just because of my anxiety and anger surrounding Fisher's birth. I thought that the "right" way for me to be was to be happy he is alive and here with us, and not care about any of the other stuff. I was told many many times by many people that all that mattered was a healthy baby and I didn't understand why I couldn't just be like "everybody else" because though I of course wanted a healthy baby - I also want to know what happened, need to understand why it happened, I feel anger, feel sadness, feel anxiety, etc.
But I am not like "everybody else." I am me and my brain is my brain and like all parts of our body do - my brain is trying to heal itself. It might not be doing it in a way that pleases everyone, but it is doing it the only way my body knows how. And I am happy that I feel like I am moving in the right direction. Towards healing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blessed to be a Working Mom

Yes, I said it. I am officially 11 months into this motherhood thing and though I love it more than I even imagined I still *gasp* love my job. Last year while I was pregnant I spent way too many hours reading forums, baby boards, working mother websites, etc and the general consensus seemed to be working is horrible when you are a mom. I don't know how many times I have read "I am blessed to be a stay at home mom." And I wondered - after I had Fisher would I suddenly do a 180 and not want to work the job that both Shawn and I have sacrificed for? We have moved several times so I could be a wildlife biologist, got married though we were living in two different states, and lived apart for three years. I can honestly say that I was a little concerned about having a baby and then not wanting to work anymore, because financially that is not an option. So I am almost a year into this thing and I can honestly say that I am blessed to be a working mom! I love my job as much as I ever have and I love my son more than I ever realized I could. I know now that there is room in my heart for both. And in my life. I am truly blessed to work for a great agency that was very supportive during my pregnancy and all the complications that followed labor and delivery. Looking back at that time I can not imagine having to deal with all we were dealing with and have to be worried about my job on top of everything.
I know that having an incredibly supportive husband that also happens to be a pretty great dad makes this possible. I love that I can travel for days at a time (and in the very near future I will be gone for 10 - 12 days!) and not worry about Fisher. And I also think that Fisher's mellow attitude helps out a lot as well.
So there it is - it is now on the internets so it must be true - It is possible to be a mom and love your job. Anyone else feel that way?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Daycare....hopefully the third time is a charm!

For the third time Shawn and I are trying to get Fisher in daycare. Fisher could not go to daycare early on because of his nasal stents (they were a bear to deal with) and then because his pediatrician and Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor insisted that we do everything within our power to keep Fisher from getting sick until he was at least six months old. Did you know that babies can not consistently breathe out of their mouths until they are six months old? Yeah, I didn't know that either - until I had a son who has micronares (small nose holes) and was told that if Fisher got a cold or congestion he would have to be admitted to the hospital. Not cool. And then when Fisher was six months old his doctors said that he if we could hold off on daycare any longer that we should. So that is what we have done. And it has been exhausting. We juggle him between the two of us and our schedules. When Shawn is gone during a work day for me I work while Fisher is taking naps and then work again after Shawn gets home or after Fisher goes to bed. I try not to complain because I am very very thankful I have a job that allows me to do that.
Fisher is almost 11 months old and both mine and Shawn's schedules are about to get very insane with work and school so I am hoping the third time is a charm with getting Fisher in daycare! I have called around and there is one that I definitely feel more comfortable with. They are suppossed to let me know next week if they are going to have an opening for him in the near future. I guess if they don't I will have to get him in one of the other ones. But my intituion is telling me that this one in particular is the one to go with - so I am crossing my fingers.
For the record - I am not dreading Fisher going to daycare. I am actually excited about it. I think he is going to love it!! He loves playing with other children and he just doesn't get to do that very often. And thinking about the amount of stuff I can get done in 8-9 hours without Fisher is pretty exciting too.

Monday, August 9, 2010

First steps

Fisher took his first unassisted steps yesterday. I was incredibly impressed; he didn't even realize he did it. He was standing with his cousin Emerson (who is 4) and she walked away and he followed for a second. He did it again later that night when we were at home. Shawn was looking out the window - which is one of Fisher's favorite pastimes. I guess he wanted to join Daddy at the window and he took off towards it. I was so excited I screamed at Shawn "LOOK!!" and Fisher stopped in his tracks and fell. Oops, my bad.
Anyway - Fisher is very tall and lanky and we have been thinking he would be on the later side of walking in order to get his balance under control, so I really wasn't expecting him to take his first few steps at 10.5 months. He still has a long way to go and a lot of balance to figure out but it is a start.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Work, smerk

So far I have been posting a lot about Fisher and baby stuff, because honestly when I sit down in front of the computer that is usually what is on my mind. However, work has been crazy lately as it is getting to the busy part of my year. The time when we do a bait drop (drop vaccines from planes to vaccinate wildlife for rabies) and then follow up with several weeks of trapping to see how effective our bait drop was. This year the person that normally is in charge of the TN side of things took a different job so I am stepping in and covering both TN and KY currently. So add the normal craziness of this time of year to me covering two states at once and WOW. I am running around like a mad woman (ha ha - rabies joke). I wake up in the morning and get right to work (one of the benefits of working from a home office is not wasting time getting ready for work and driving to work!) and the last few days I have been working until about 5 pm and then stopping for a few hours to play with Fisher and then after he goes to bed I work more. I hate the feeling of being behind and overwhelmed and I feel both right now. In the past I probably wouldn't have felt that way, but having a 10 month old added to the work mix is a whole new dimension. While working from home is great in a lot of ways, it is also hard because it is hard to having a definitive stopping point to the day since I never leave my office. Regardless, I am happy to have be a mom and a wildlife biologist! There are far too few women that do both :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week I am going to share the letter I wrote to the two lactation consultants at the hospital Fisher was beat up, oops born at. First, I guess I should explain - my son had the crap beat out of him when he was born and was in the NICU and had lots of facial trauma and swelling. I really wanted to breastfeed and being a first time mom I was pretty naive about it I think. I told the lactation consultants that I wanted to breastfeed and they helped me. They had to really work with both me and Fisher to make it happen because of his injuries. I later found out that the lactation consultants didn't really expect me to be successful because of his injuries (they and the doctors thought he wouldn't be able to eat at all and would have to have a feeding tube) but they didn't tell me this and offered only support and encouragement. And it worked! Here is a picture of Fisher (and his Memaw) the day after he was born. Poor little beat up baby!!

And here is the letter I wrote to the lactation consultants when Fisher was 7 months old (BTW - we now think Fisher will need more surgeries in the future - but didn't when this letter was written)

Hello! I have been meaning to write you two for a long time to express my appreciation for your help with my son, Fisher. Fisher was born Sept 14th and was the brow presentation baby that had lots of nasal scarring and swelling. While Fisher’s birth experience was far from what I had hoped – you two helped me more than you can know by helping him breastfeed and being so supportive. You and the NICU staff were great to offer support, assistance, and the opportunity to breastfeed in the NICU despite Fisher’s birth injuries. I am happy to report that Fisher is still successfully breastfeeding 7 months later! Since leaving the hospital in September, Fisher has had four nasal surgeries because of nasal stenosis. After each surgery the nurses in his recovery room would warn me that he probably wouldn’t want to nurse and I should try a bottle. However, each time Fisher wanted nothing to do with the bottle but was very comforted by nursing. I actually think that he was able to nurse so easily after each surgery because I learned how to nurse him early on while dealing with his injuries.

As I said, while Fisher’s birth wasn’t ideal – I am so thankful and happy that I was able to breastfeed. I have told Fisher’s birth story numerous times to friends, family, and strangers and each time I am reminded about how thankful I am for the help you both provided. I have sung your praises to many people and have sadly learned that most hospitals do not offer as much breastfeeding support as I was lucky to receive. So thank you for what you do - I know breastfeeding would not have been possible without the two of you and I am truly grateful. I am also happy to report that Fisher is 7 months old and we are hopeful that he will have to have no further surgeries on his nose. He is a very happy, healthy, and definitely a growing little boy!