Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Baby's 1st Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody!

     I can't believe it is the day after Christmas already. It seems like time just flew by. I remember last year how much I was fatasizing and thinking about how this Christmas I would have our little boy running around and having fun opening presents. It seemed so far away then, and now it's already over in what seems like the blink of an eye.

Family Christmas Picture 2012

     Roxas decided to keep the tradition of children making their parents wake up early on Christmas morning. At about 2am he decided he wanted to wake up and be extremely unhappy until we finally got him to go to sleep about 4am. We have both been fighting this stupid sinus thing that has been going around town and I think that might have to do with some of his cranky behavior. 
     He wasn't over excited about all the presents under the tree, but I wouldn't really expect a 9 month old to be all that excited really. We had to help him open most of his presents but once they were opened (and put together after much frustration on my part) then he loved them. Our living room looks like a toy store exploded. He was SO spoiled it's not even funny. 
     We opened presents at my parents house on Christmas Eve, and he had a fun time stuffing his face with Christmas dinner. Everybody was amazed at how much he can eat! He also made a humongous mess. On Christmas day we went to my in-laws house and opened presents there. For some reason Roxas decided his gift to us was not to all...not even a little bit. He did really quite well for being so tired and overstimulated though. We didn't get him to go to sleep until about 9:00 that night, so it was a very tiring kind of day but a fun day. I can't wait until next year when he will be a little more into the presents and more aware of what is actually going on. 
 Opening his present from Daddy
 Christmas Morning
 Opening one of his presents
 Checking out the box from one of his toys
 Playing with his new Dino Ball Popper toy
 Having a blast on his new ride and learn puppy
Playing his piano from Daddy, one of his favorite gifts

     We hope you all had an equally fun Christmas and we wish you a wonderful new year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Sudden, and Disappointing End to Our Breastfeeing Relationship

     Go back to the first moment I was pregnant and one of my immediate thoughts, right after "NO WAY!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!", was I am definitely committed to breastfeeding. Screw those crazy formula companies, their product is getting nowhere near my baby.

     Now fast forward a little bit to the few weeks after Roxas was born. I was often yelping, screaming, and gnashing my teeth as I fed him. Out of sheer stubbornness I refused, flat out refused, to give up. I was married to the best cheerleader I could ask for and I credit him with helping me stick it out. I was strong, and after all...those moms on the internet said if I quit now I just didn't try hard enough. They wanted me to try hard? You got it. Bring on the bleeding, cracking and excruciating pain. I could make it through anything.

     Moving on, it got better. The first few weeks where I didn't have to bite a towel to feed Roxas were the best. I felt like climbing on the roof and shouting to the world "We did it! I tried harder and I won!" Then my supply began getting a little shaky and I was having a hard time keeping up my little freezer stash to send with the booger while the grandparents watched him. I was not going to be defeated. I began taking upwards of 20 fenugreek capsules a day, which worked but not as well as I would have hoped. I even tried a very expensive supplement that was guaranteed to work...and it didn't so at least I got my money back. I baked lactation cookies and stuffed my face. I pumped as often as humanly possible and nursed even more. I managed to keep a steady enough supply going although it was never at the level I really hoped for.

     Fast forward again to the end of November. Roxas is just about to turn 9 months old. One day he didn't really want to nurse much, shaking his head and pushing me away. No biggie, I thought it is probably just a nursing strike. Nothing to fear, keep calm and it will pass. The next day it happened again, and again, and again. After three days Roxas had refused to nurse at all and my supply had gone from small but just enough to practically non-existent. Now I wasn't even able to get an ounce after pumping all day, every two hours religiously. Over the next few days it got worse and worse to where now I can't even hand express two drops.

     This was the end. My breastfeeding relationship with Roxas was over. It was sudden, and it was unexpected. I spoke with the doctor and he agreed starting Roxas on formula was the best option. So I bought the special formula for 9-24month olds because somehow seeing "made for older babies" made me feel better. I don't know why.

    I never knew the last time I nursed Roxas would be the last. Typing this brings tears to my eyes because a part of me knows that part of our relationship is gone. That chapter in his life is ended. It hurts. It's devastating. I had set my goal of exclusively breastfeeding until a year (and hopefully beyond) and I fell short. I failed to reach my goal. I've struggled with this idea for almost a month now. It still feels like a fresh wound and it's painful to talk about. I was so dedicated and so attached to this idea that I would be that awesome mom who breastfeeds until a year. My son would never have a drop of formula! I said that so many times I began to believe any other option was failure as a mother. Yes, I failed to reach the goal of one year...but now I'm trying to look at it as I reached my goals of making it to 1 month, and 6 months, and 8 months of exclusively breastfeeding. For the first 8 months of my son's life I gave him the best nutrition I could.

     Part of the reason I think I am having such a hard time with this is the internet. I spent a great deal of time on extreme pro-breastfeeding websites having it hammered into me that breast was not only best but it was the ONLY way. Having statistics like only 1-2% of mothers truly can't breastfeed displayed everywhere I looked. Having people say things like "most mothers who quite just didn't try hard enough" or "they just didn't want it bad enough". Those things. They are what made this transition so difficult. Here I am saying to I must not have tried hard enough...I just didn't want it bad enough I guess. Do the women who say those things even have any idea what they do to the psyche of the women who have genuine issues? It makes them feel horrendous. Like we might as well just put Drano in our baby's bottle if we are going to formula feed. Yes, I know I should believe everything on the internet and part of it is my own fault for letting myself believe those things.

     Now I am working hard on turning around to the positive. I made it to 8, almost 9 months. That's a hell of a feat considering the trouble I encountered and I am VERY proud of it. Truthfully, Roxas is doing just fine with not nursing. I still try to offer it to him but he happily shakes his head no and pushes me away to go play with his toys. He is absolutely fine with this change, and it's somewhat comforting to know that. It's just me that is having the problems with accepting it. I am making progress though. I don't think I will ever be over it completely, and my goal remains the same next time around but now I am looking at it as just raising my "high score", so to speak. I just have more room for improvement now. I know Roxas is happy and healthy and he had the best start in life I could give. I gave what I could and no matter what it was an accomplishment.

     So, it's been a tough change but we are proud of how far we managed to come and what we've accomplished. I will continue to work hard on changing how I see myself as a formula feeding mother, that I am not a failure but rather a victor. I have achieved victory in keeping my baby alive and healthy these past nine months, no matter what my goals or plans were. The plan has to change sometimes and I have to accept it no matter how hard to swallow it may be.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A sad day for humanity

      Many of you have heard about the horrifying, and terrible events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conneticut. 20 small children and 6 adults were killed by a gunman who first shot and killed his mother, a kindergarten teacher, and began open fire on the students and faculty. The picture above I feel captures the feelings of this tragic day all too well. The pain and horror on this poor woman's face wrenches my heart.

     Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher.

"That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he told the Associated Press. "He was very brave."-NBC News

     This quote brings tears to my eyes as I think of how close this man came to losing his son, and how brave this little six year old boy was. I can't even imagine being six and seeing this unfold in front of me.
     I can even begin to fathom what this man was thinking when he committed this horrible act. To take the life of an innocent child is beyond any reach of my imagination. We have not been told if the man killed himself or if police killed him but I have a feeling he most likely turned the gun on himself. I will not venture into my opinions of this man, however I will say this: I truly hope he pays for what he has done.

     I have to say, I am incredibly proud of all the teachers who risked their lives, and some gave them, to protect their students. God bless you all, you are all heroes to me. In the panic and terror of the day they kept the children as safe as they could and did everything possible to ensure their safety. 

     They say you'll never quite understand something until you've been in that situation. It is true I will never be able to fathom or even come close to feeling what the mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and families of the victims will fell. However, now that I have Roxas my thoughts immediately turned to him and my imagination instantly brought up what it might be like to lose him.

     My imagination brought me to the future, sending him off to kindergarten and waiting for him to come home with a new Christmas craft and stories from the playground. Maybe I would be wrapping up a few last Christmas presents for him while he was in school. Then my world crumbles as I learn he will never come home.

     This. This is what I fear. This is a fraction of how those parents feel. Just this brief and dark flitter of a thought makes my heart feel as if it will rip in two. That is why I have said more prayers today than I can count and shed many tears for my heart feels this sadness. Almost as if I feel connected to every other parent out there. I hugged and kissed Roxas all day today and thanked God over and over for all I have.

    So, hug your loved ones and put aside your differences and be thankful for just having each other. It truly is a gift.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

9 Months!

     Roxas is a whole nine months old. It really seems like time has gone so much faster with him "on the outside" than when I was pregnant with him. He is developing and growing like crazy. He loves to pull himself up on anything he can find. The coffee table, the dog food bin, the dog. He crawls at super speed now and I'm glad I started babyproofing the house. He has already tried to get into a few places he isn't allowed. I also have to get really good about closing doors because he wants to explore everywhere he can fit.
     He is 19.4lbs, and 29 3/4 in long! His head is also 19in around in case you wanted to know. He had his 9 month check up yesterday and did great. The doctor had to poke his finger for a quick hematocrit test and he didn't even acknowledge she did it! Although afterwards he did try to eat the band-aid on his finger. He is a happy and healthy baby boy according to the doctor.

He was facsinated by the paper on the table

He was playing the "drop the toy" game

     The doctor also did agree with supplementing Roxas with some formula since I am not able to provide enough milk for him. I am working to be OK with this sudden change in our relationship and it's not without difficulty. My only positive bit that I'm clinging to is at least he got breastmilk for the majority of his first year. I'll take whatever goal I can get. It's a lot to deal with, emotionally, for me but Roxas seems as if he is just fine with this new arrangement. He loves his solid foods too. He eats almost non-stop, much like his mother. Fruits and veggies are his favorites and he also loves any food I will give him off my plate. Yes, I've even given him french least they were unsalted. 

It's getting close to Christmas time, and that of course means I have to do cheezy and horrendously cliche holiday pictures with Roxas, right?

This outfit is one that has been worn by his daddy and all his uncle!

I just HAD to add this one, how cute is this sad little elf!?

     That's all for now, Roxas is doing so good and I'm enjoying spending more time with him now that I am on winter break from school. He's an amazing little boy and I am really blessed to have such a sweet baby.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Our First Nursing Strike

I'm very (extremely) proud that we have been able to make it to 8.5 months with breastfeeding. It's been an uphill battle and I feel like I've overcome so much. Thinking back to the toe curling, scream inducing first few months I am amazed how far we have come. We are encountering another bump though. It's called a nursing strike. Or at least that's what I'm choosing to call it since the idea of weaning is entirely too painful to think about right now.

Over the past few weeks Roxas has steadily decreased his nursing sessions from 5-8 times a day down to 3-4 then 1-2 and now as of yesterday 0. He is 100% refusing to nurse. Up until now I have felt rather important to him, you know...being his supplier of life sustaining milk and all. Now when I attempt to nurse him he screams, shakes his head "no" and pushes away from me. This just kills me. I feel so rejected and useless now.

I've long fought to keep my supply going at a level that both satisfied Roxas's needs and kept the freezer stash supplied. Long ago that freezer stash disappeared. My little milk bag container looks so sad and lonely in the freezer now. I've seen a pretty steady decrease in not only what I could pump but how often and how long Roxas would nurse for. Now I am lucky to get an ounce a day and to accomplish that I need to pump every two hours minimum for the entire day. He easily drinks 8oz in one bottle. So it would take 8 days for me to make enough milk to feed him once. See my problem here?

Anyways I am now having to deal with this nursing strike and it's taking a huge toll on my identity as a mom. I've been somewhat conditioned by pro-breastfeeders to view formula as the absolute last resort. I've been told that every woman can breastfeed, as long as they just try hard. I'm trying as hard as I can but I'm still failing. I've been conditioned to see formula as something just short of poison. The idea of giving Roxas even one drop of it makes me burst into tears. Why? because that is the ultimate symbol of failure for me. I don't wan to knock formula feeding mothers, that is your choice and what you believe and what I believe are completely different. Personally I don't care how you feed your baby, and no I don't think you are harming your child by not breastfeeding. My own, very personal, values however tell me I am failing. A bottle of formula to me is like waving the white flag and giving up. Giving up is not something I do.

I believe the strike may be related to Roxas getting two new teeth at the same time since he isn't even all that hip on his juice bottle or his absolute favorite: puffs. I think nursing might hurt his mouth so he doesn't want to do it. I am really hoping this is only temporary and we can get back to our great relationship in a few days, and him nursing can get my supply back up. Until then I am desperately trying to keep my supply going by pumping every 2 hours and eating as may lactation cookies as I can stomach (this is really hard).

If this isn't a temporary thing I'm not sure what I will do. He is growing great and gaining the right amount of weight and height right now but I am worried this extended nursing vacation might end up with him losing weight and we really don't want that. I'm hoping to talk to his doctor and find out what her opinion is and I'm hoping she won't recommend formula. I am also planning on calling our local LLLC to get her opinion as well. I never knew breastfeeding was so hard, but I am not going down without a fight. So help me I will make it to a year even if Roxas is only getting an ounce a day, we will make it. I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to avoid the formula, and if that means being tethered to my pump and eating more brewers yeast, flax and oatmeal than any normal person should then so be it!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Baby's First Thanksgiving

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Little Munchkin enjoying his Thanksgiving dinner

     We celebrated Roxas's first Turkey day and had a great time with our family. We visited both grandparents and stuffed ourselves with great food. I even successfully made a cherry pie from scratch! I had never made pie crust...or a pie...but it came out pretty darn good if I do say so myself. Roxas loved getting to eat "real food". I give him bites of my food all the time but this is the first time he has gotten his very own plate full of yummies! He was super stoked about getting a big boy plate and as you can see proceeded to stuff his cute little face with food. Overall it was a great day, and we are thankful for such a loving and great family. 

Yummy Green Beans!

     Now that Thanksgiving is over one of my favorite parts of the year can officially start: Christmas! I'd have to say Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love decorating the house inside and out. Almost every single thing is Disney themed, our tree topper is Cinderella castle and even the candy canes on the tree are Disney. I draw the line at a Mickey Mouse nativity though. I love being surrounded by cheery and happy things. I also put my Christmas tree scented candle on the warmer and now the whole house smells like a pine tree. Heaven. If only the weather outside would cooperate and get a little colder. We were sweating trying to put up decorations outside! Last night, as we were finishing up the outside, a grandmother was walking with her grandkids and they were just thrilled with the house. I love that our hard work and decorating made those kids so happy. 

Our Disney inspired Christmas

     Roxas is getting so big and independent now. He is crawling like a champ now and he loves, loves, loves to stand and walk around things or stand up at his little activity table. If we hold his hands he will walk all over the place. He's so interested in his surroundings and wants to investigate everything possible. I love seeing him learn and do new things. 

He was really enjoying playing around in the laundry basket

Playing with his activity table- one of his favorite toys

     I'm about to get super busy prepping for finals and studying until my brain turns to pudding. I only have one more day of clinical time left and I'm excited to be done and have a little break before the next semester starts. Until next time...

Monday, November 19, 2012



     It's November which means one of my more favorite holidays is just around the corner: Thanksgiving. Ironically I'm not a huge fan of turkey but I love all the other fixings that come along with it. I think I could eat my weight in sweet potatoes ..then again if you cover anything in marshmallows and sugar I might eat it. Scratch that, I will eat it.

     Anyways a lot of people are doing this whole post something to facebook everyday stating what you are thankful for. I'm opting to just blog about it instead, so prepare yourself for some thanks. November isn't the only month I'm thankful for things. Just about everyday I find something that I am thankful for, even if it's just my favorite song coming on Pandora and making me smile. The little things in life are what make each day bearable. If we didn't have those little things to be thankful for life would kind of suck. There are so many things to be thankful for but I will try to narrow it down as best I can. Don't worry I'm not going to do 31 of them...just a few.

1) Ok, I'm going a little cliche here but....I am truly thankful for God and my faith. Time and time again I have been picked up, dusted off only to go fall down in the mud again. God has made impossible things happen for us and my faith has gotten me through some very rough times in my life.

2) I am thankful for my health. I have my minor issues but overall I'm healthy. I have all of my faculties intact, I can run, take care of myself, feed myself and otherwise function on my own. Seeing patients who have lost these things really slammed this in my face and I have come to cherish my health even more now.

3) I am thankful for my family. This one has multiple facets. I am thankful for my husband for helping me be a better person, and supporting me in anything I want to matter how insane. He truly loves me for who I am, flaws and all. I am thankful for my son. He is the light of my life and I would do anything for him. I am thankful for my parents. Without them I literally would not exist. They have raised me and good grief the things I did to them. Thank you guys for not selling me to some gypsies. I am thankful for my in-laws. They have welcomed me into the family and made me one of their own. I didn't feel like I was losing one family and gaining another when we got married but rather just expanding. I am thankful for my brothers who have always protected me and taught me all the cool stuff.

4) I am thankful for medicine and healthcare. Without it I wouldn't have a prospective job. Nuff said.

5) I am thankful for my previous employers, Dorita and Scott, who were so much more than just my boss. They are responsible for so many good things in my life. Without them I wouldn't be where I am today and I cherish their presence in my life.

6) I am thankful for my nursing school family. Seriously. If I didn't have these people I would have gone insane, hit some poor soul with a bedpan and ran out of the hospital screaming. The support and camaraderie is invaluable. I am also thankful the semester is almost over...and we've almost made it!

7) I am thankful for all of the bad things that have ever happened to me. Let that sink in. Yes. I am thankful for the bad things in life. Why? because without the bad, you can't see the good. Those bad things helped shape me into the person I am today. If I never made mistakes I never would have learned and I am thankful for that.

8) I am thankful for technology. Sometimes I hate it and want to smash every bit of technology I own with a hammer...but then I'd be lost without it. Literally. I can't get to the end of my street without GPS. Ok I'm not that bad but you get the idea. Thanks to technology I have thousands (yup thousands) of pictures of Roxas, my family, and precious memories all stored in an itty bitty space all at my fingertips. I can stay in touch with friends and family that I would never speak with otherwise. I am able to attend school without having to put on pants! I mean come ON! No pants for school?! Crazy.

9) I am thankful for good books. I love to read, but I only read good books. A good book can make me believe there really is another world out there, or that magic still exists. A good book can transport my mind to an entirely different universe. I love to get lost in a story and just enjoy the time away from reality.

10) Last but not least I am thankful for all of the blessings in my life. I am 22, married to a man I am totally in love with and I am the mom to an amazing little boy. We have a home filled with happy memories and I'm going to school to do something that I truly believe my heart was meant for. My life has been blessed in more ways than I could ever count and I am completely undeserving of any of it. I've received so much and given so little. I am truly, very blessed.

So that's my top ten list of things I am thankful for. I could have gone on, and on, and on and on and on...but I figured 10 is plenty. I'm thankful, you get the gist of it. This Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for and I'm excited for what our future holds. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't terrified too, but that's the fun of life: you never know what is coming next.

I'm super excited to stuff myself with stuffing, mashed taters, green bean, sweet potatoes, ham, pumpkin things, and anything else I can get my chubby little fingers on this week. I'm also excited to celebrate Roxas's first Thanksgiving with the family. Just thinking about where we were one year ago is mind blowing. I'm sure he will be super stoked to eat some turkey and all the fixings I'll let him have. Then we will get to decorate for Christmas! Although decorating for Christmas is a 2 day long adventure in this house, uhg. I love it when it's all done though.

Until next time, So long and Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

8 Months!

     It's been 8 short months since Roxas joined us on the outside world. He is growing up fast and becoming his own special person. We celebrated his first Halloween last week and it was a rather low key kind of night. We got dressed up as Lilo and Stitch and went to see some friends and the grandparents then we went home. Nothing too crazy, I can't wait until he actually knows what is going on and can go trick or treating around the neighborhood. Here is us all dressed up:
I had to re-size his Stitch costume from a 12mo size to more of a 7mo size and I handmade my costume. Nobody had a clue who we were dressed up as, but unless you've seen Lilo & Stitch I guess it would be a bit confusing. 

He is starting to get the hang of moving around, although he still doesn't crawl. He isn't far off from it though. He seems more interested in trying to walk rather than crawl, cruising around the coffee table and walking while holding onto our hands. We put things he really likes just out of reach to try and entice him to crawl, sometimes it works and sometimes he just rolls onto his back and scoots there backwards. He's a silly kid. He rolls or army crawls anywhere he wants to go and it is amazing how fast he can move. I really have to pay attention to him when he is on the floor. The kid can move! He loves getting into anything he isn't supposed to, naturally. I've been baby-proofing quite a bit lately in an effort to keep him safe, and it always seems like he is one step ahead of me.

We went to the park with his cousin and grandparents the other day and he got to go in the swing for the first time. He was not all that thrilled but it doesn't surprise me since he was never a huge fan of the baby swing. 

We also got to go to his first parade. Overall he wasn't too interested, he spent a good majority of the time checking out his stroller more than the parade but he loved the dogs and the tiny cars! He is getting pretty good at waving too, now if you wave at him enough he's pretty likely to wave back.

Well that is pretty much it for now, I leave you with this video of one of Roxas's favorite tricks to do: Spit bubbles! It's pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Finally Fall!

     It's finally my second favorite season of the year: Fall! I love everything about fall, namely the fact that they start making just about everything pumpkin flavored. I just found some pumpkin marshmallows the other day and I have one word to describe them: Yum! From pumpkin shakes to pumpkin beer there is nothing I won't try if you flavor it with pumpkin. There is something I love more than pumpkin ice cream though and that is the cooler weather. I love to be outside...but I hate to sweat more than a polar bear in Ecuador. I love having the doors open and feeling the cool breeze flow through the house spreading the scent of my pumpkin (can you tell I like pumpkin stuff yet?) candle. Yes, I love the fall season and I really wish we lived somewhere that the leaves changed color so we could go oooh and ahhhh at the pretty colors, but we don't. Cactus is always the same color. Anyways, enough of my day dreaming about autumn leaves.
     I can't believe the year has gone by this fast, it will be Thanksgiving before I know it...then Christmas...then it will be 2013 and we will be celebrating Roxas's first birthday! I know the time will just fly by and I'll be asking myself what just happened as I cut the cake. Things have been moving so fast and the holidays are just speeding it right along.
     Roxas is growing SO fast. He is 17lbs now and very tall for his age. He is getting a second tooth (finally!) and nearly crawling. Personality just shines through him, and he's always got a sweet smile for you. Watching the process of him learning to crawl has been so fascinating. He gets so, so, so close to cross crawling I am sure he will be speeding around by Turkey day. He gets up on his hands and feet, like doing a push up, all the time. We have daily baby training sessions where we put him on the floor and place things he really likes just out of reach to try and get him to crawl. He does have an amazingly long reach, but sometimes he will get the idea and make an honest effort to get whatever we put in front of him. He has been eating like a little piglet too. So far there are very few foods he isn't a fan of. Broccoli and green beans are about the only two foods he makes the "yuck" face for. We also have a puff addict on our hands. Gerber makes these awesome little baby snack things called puffs (for those of you without biological sub-unit experience) and Roxas looooooooves them. I swear I should buy stock in them. He also loves other finger foods like cheerios and cut up fruits/veggies. When we go out to eat he gets to eat "big people" food sometimes, which he thinks is about the coolest thing ever. I love watching him grow and learn all these new things. Just watching the neurons make connections is absolutely amazing. I can't wait to see him learn even more.
     School for me is absolutely insane. I'm thrilled to report I now have an "A" in the class thanks to a good grade on my last test, but I'm still unbelievably stressed out about this whole thing. They weren't kidding when they said this program would be one of the hardest things you would do in your academic career. We are held to an exceptionally high standard and it's nerve wrecking trying to live up to it. We began our clinical hours in the hospital this past week and I can honestly say I felt like just giving up and walking out that day. I was so flustered, upset, stressed, confused and just plain done. Our instructors are working hard to make us not just good nurses, but exceptional. That means we are put under an incredible amount of stress and given a monumental amount of responsibility. I understand why they do it, but it doesn't mean I like it. We only have five more weeks of school left and then we get a few weeks break so I know I can do it. I'm very hard on myself when I goof up and that makes for even more stress than truly needed. I spend a great majority of my time reading or studying for tests. There have been points in this past week or so when I've asked myself if this is really, really what I want to do. The answer is yes, but it is going to take a lot of hard work and I just need to hang in there until I can get to that light at the end of the tunnel. No, not death...although sometimes........but my end goal of being a labor and delivery nurse or maybe even a nurse midwife (still undecided on that one).

     So that is the update on me and Roxas. Since it is fall I just had to stick Roxas in a pumpkin and take some pictures. I'm no photographer by any means but I really wanted to do some of the classic, albeit cliche, fall baby pictures. It was a pretty fun afternoon. I hollowed out a pumpkin that I thought Roxas would fit it and when I went to put the lid back on the thing I found it to be missing. Now, pumpkin lids don't just wander off on their own....unless you have sneaky dogs in the house. I found the lid to my pumpkin being gnawed on by the three dogs in the backyard. That was the first of a series of hilariousness. Then I tried to stick Roxas in the pumpkin. Turns out my pumpkin wasn't quite the right size to get Roxas in it so I had to cut little leg holes in order to get him in it. Not exactly what I wanted but it worked. Then even more fun ensued when I tried to get him out of said pumpkin. He was stuck. So. I had to cut him out of the darn thing. It was a pretty fun afternoon for us and I think we got a few decent enough pictures to commemorate his first Fall and Halloween. So until next time...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Maintaining a Nurse You Can Trust Amidst Your Treatment

    As a nursing student in the clinical setting I've gotten to see some interesting and unique patients. I've also gotten to see some interesting and unique nurses caring for their patients. It is absolutely imperative that a nurse be somebody the patient and the patient's family can trust and look to for help, comfort and information. This post comes to you as a guest posting from a woman named Melanie who contacted me about the importance of quality nursing care for chronically ill patients. Please enjoy this well written piece! [Kayla]

      For those with a cancer diagnosis, life can become a whirlwind of different facilities, doctors, surgeons, treatments, and nurses; however, having a nurse you can trust throughout treatment can make a big difference in psychological health, patient hope, and compliance.  

     The nurse-patient relationship is important in medical settings as well as in home care.  The role of a nurse is to not only focus on the medical aspects of cancer, but also the emotional needs of patients.  In fact, the American Society of Registered Nurses, reported that studies show 80% of psychological illness goes untreated during cancer treatment because the focus is on the medical procedures such as chemotherapy and surgery.  They also reported that an optimal nurse-patient relationship would be one where the nurse is in tune with the patient’s emotions and in a position to identify possible psychological symptoms.

     When patients can trust a nurse to give them correct medical information, care about their physical and psychological well-beings, and care for them in a professional, dignified way, it makes the cancer treatment journey much more manageable.  Unfortunately, most cancer specialists and surgeons simply do not have the time to form lasting relationships with their patients.       Having a trusted nurse doesn't just benefit the patient; it can also benefit the patient’s family caregivers.  Especially in home-based care, it probably has become a luxury for family caregivers to leave even for simple errands.  It eases families’ minds to know that the patient trusts the nurse and is content in his or her company.  Families need to feel as if their nurse is a part of the team and know they can count on him or her to keep them informed of developments, complications, and changes in status.  
     Patients and families can also work to build a more trusting relationship with nurses.  One of the obstacles facing nurses is their lack of knowledge about all the aspects of a patient’s treatment.  If a nurse only sees a mesothelioma patient in the respiratory wing of a hospital, he or she might not be aware of the current state of chemotherapy or radiation.  By making an effort to keep nurses informed and engaged, patients are not only taking better control of their health care team, but they are also signaling to the nurse that they would benefit from a more trusting relationship.

     In conclusion, a trusting nursing relationship can help avoid and treat the psychological effects of cancer treatment, fill the need for more time to discuss treatments, and reduce the burden on caregiving families.  Nurses can build relationships by paying attention to patient expression, talking about treatment in a comfortable way, and taking time to discuss things other than cancer.  Patients and families can build this relationship by engaging and informing nurses.     Having a trusted nurse doesn't just benefit the patient; it can also benefit the patient’s family caregivers.  Especially in home-based care, it probably has become a luxury for family caregivers to leave even for simple errands.  It eases families’ minds to know that the patient trusts the nurse and is content in his or her company.  Families need to feel as if their nurse is a part of the team and know they can count on him or her to keep them informed of developments, complications, and changes in status.       Patients and families can also work to build a more trusting relationship with nurses.  One of the obstacles facing nurses is their lack of knowledge about all the aspects of a patient’s treatment.  If a nurse only sees a mesothelioma patient in the respiratory wing of a hospital, he or she might not be aware of the current state of chemotherapy or radiation.  By making an effort to keep nurses informed and engaged, patients are not only taking better control of their health care team, but they are also signaling to the nurse that they would benefit from a more trusting relationship.

     In conclusion, a trusting nursing relationship can help avoid and treat the psychological effects of cancer treatment, fill the need for more time to discuss treatments, and reduce the burden on caregiving families.  Nurses can build relationships by paying attention to patient expression, talking about treatment in a comfortable way, and taking time to discuss things other than cancer.  Patients and families can build this relationship by engaging and informing nurses.     Patients and families can also work to build a more trusting relationship with nurses.  One of the obstacles facing nurses is their lack of knowledge about all the aspects of a patient’s treatment.  If a nurse only sees a mesothelioma patient in the respiratory wing of a hospital, he or she might not be aware of the current state of chemotherapy or radiation.  By making an effort to keep nurses informed and engaged, patients are not only taking better control of their health care team, but they are also signaling to the nurse that they would benefit from a more trusting relationship.
     In conclusion, a trusting nursing relationship can help avoid and treat the psychological effects of cancer treatment, fill the need for more time to discuss treatments, and reduce the burden on caregiving families.  Nurses can build relationships by paying attention to patient expression, talking about treatment in a comfortable way, and taking time to discuss things other than cancer.  Patients and families can build this relationship by engaging and informing nurses.     In conclusion, a trusting nursing relationship can help avoid and treat the psychological effects of cancer treatment, fill the need for more time to discuss treatments, and reduce the burden on caregiving families.  Nurses can build relationships by paying attention to patient expression, talking about treatment in a comfortable way, and taking time to discuss things other than cancer.  Patients and families can build this relationship by engaging and informing nurses.

     Nurses should step in to speak to the patient about their fears and anxieties.  Sometimes a patient just needs some time to talk about something other than their cancer, and the best nurses will be able to notice this without the patient explicitly stating it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

7 Months Old!

     Our little boy is 7 months old today. I am shocked at how quickly he has grown and how much he has grown in such a short time. He is fast becoming his own little person with his special personality quarks and all. He is understanding an amazing amount of information. He knows two signs, one for food and one for milk. He isn't all that reliable on using them, but he gets them and sometimes signs for me. It's amazing how quickly he caught on to it. I can't wait to teach him more as he gets older. He is just full of new things every day it seems. He is starting to make attempts at crawling but can't quite figure out how to get his legs going with his arms. It's pretty cute to watch. He laughs up a storm and loves to be tickled all the time. I love blowing bubbles on his tummy and neck to make him squeal with laughter. He still only has the one tooth, but I suspect the top two teeth are trying to make their way out. He is loving being able to eat "real" food. So far the only food that hasn't been an instant hit is green beans. It's a blast trying new flavors with him and seeing his reactions.
     Things have been so busy around here it's no wonder I lose track of time so easily. I need to hire some magical elves to help keep me on track. I can't even begin to think about Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas coming up so soon. I haven't even thought about what Roxas is going to be dressed up as for his first Halloween. I had grand ideas of making him a little Organization XII cloak and a tiny foam keyblade but you would have to know Kingdom Hearts in order to even get the costume. Plus, I don't exactly have the time to be sewing little baby cloaks and making tiny keyblades. I'm still not sure what we are going to pick yet.
     School has been merciless, and intense as ever. We are getting ready to head out to our first day of clinicals on Tuesday which is pretty exciting. I've got a huge pile of homework that is staring at me right now so I should probably go finish that while Roxas is still asleep.
Roxas eating dinner with Daddy

This is me when I was a baby, I think we look a lot alike here. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Making Time

     Time, it's like gold to me. There is never enough of it and I value it very highly. It seems like time just slips away and the day is gone before I even realize what has happened. Making time isn't easy, but it's important. Making time to spend with my family is something I think is incredibly important. Yes, I have a mountain of other things to do but my priority should be my family. I've been reflecting on time lately and this is what is floating around in my brain...

      Wives, make time to spend with your children. The dishes can wait, the laundry won't disappear (although I wish it would), and the dust bunnies probably won't attack tonight. What won't wait are the memories to be made with each other. Even if it's just making your baby giggle and laugh as you kiss their tummy.What won't wait are the moments spent together. Enjoy the time you get together, because with each minute that passes your little one grows up and those minutes will pass with frightening speed. Cherish every moment and commit it to memory, because it's those things you will look back on and remember. Not the dishes piled up or the layer of dust on the mantle. Time is a precious gift that is best not wasted on arbitrary tasks when a more valuable use can be found.
     Wives, make time to spend with your husbands. You are the foundation to your family, the relationship between you is what everything else is built on. If your foundation isn't strong nothing can be built on top of it. Remember to make time not only for your children but also for the man whom they call daddy. Your children will look to your relationship as a guide for their own lives. Show them a strong bond that is untouched by time. Take that time out to sit and talk about your day. Take the time to go out on a date every week, or every other week. Make that time for you to spend as just husband and wife again. Just because you became parents doesn't mean you stopped being lovers. Remember that giddy feeling of love? Don't lose that feeling, capture it and nurture it. Never let the love between you wan. It's important, this love. Without it you can't teach your children what love should be. Without it you can't build your family on top of a strong, unbreakable foundation. So, make the time. Even if it's just catching a movie, or having lunch, make the time and you won't regret it.

So there's some of my "words of wisdom" and feelings. Sometimes I get really wrapped up in all the things I "have" to do and forget about the things that I love to do. Time is a gift and I try not to waste it on foolish things. Speaking of wasting time, I should be studying for my exam on Monday. So with that I leave you to ponder.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

That Sinking Feeling

     Right now I have a rare moment, a moment all to myself. Roxas is in bed, the hubby is out having drinks with friends, my homework is finally done and Grey's Anatomy is on Hulu. These moments are few and far between. During most days I am consumed with either entertaining Roxas, doing homework or making a pathetic attempt at keeping my house clean and laundry done. It seems like a lifetime ago that I spent my days off cleaning the house, scrapbooking, crafting, baking and playing video games.  

     I've recently really gotten into watching Grey's Anatomy and I think I know why I like it so much; I can relate to the intern experience in so many ways, my head is constantly spinning with all of the information swirling in my head. Sometimes I feel like an intern myself. Sometimes I don't know which way is up and the days just fly by. If it doesn't relate to being a mom or a nurse I probably don't think about it. I rarely eat more than one meal a day just because I get to wrapped up in school and taking care of Roxas. I go to bed at night going over medications, procedures, test questions, and I wake up every morning to my smiling (or crying depending on the day) little boy. I read my textbook surrounded by baby toys and with Roxas in my lap...usually chewing or drooling on my book. Most of the time I have no idea what day it is, and I never thought I would say this but I miss high school. I miss the simplicity of life. I miss being lazy on my days off with nobody to entertain but myself. I loved going to work and then coming home and relaxing with my husband. I love being a mom of course and I love my son more than anything and I love being a nursing student...or rather I love what the end result will be but I'd have to be crazy not to miss the life we once had.

     Like I said, I feel like an intern some days. My homework pile is utterly insane and the amount of information I am trying to cram into my brain is far more than any human is meant to absorb. Somehow I'm keeping my head above water and we are almost halfway through our first semester. The one thing I really, truly, love about nursing school is the sense of family in our class. It's amazing and unique feeling how close we have all become as first semester students. When I am in class I feel as if I am home, and that is how I know I am in the right place and as much as it is driving me insane with work and will be worth it. I just need to hang in there and make it through. The workload of the program alone is insane but add in taking care of a 6 month old baby too and you have a recipe for insanity. It's a crazy life but it's our life and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

     Roxas and I have an appointment with the nutritionist at WIC since he is only in the 8th percentile for his height and weight. I'm really hoping she can help guide me on good nutrition for myself and Roxas too. I'm still a little worried about his weight and how much he dropped so quickly. I'm really stuffing him full of milk and food so hopefully that's all he needs to plump up and get to growing big and strong.

     Well, I am going to enjoy my nice relaxation time. The next time I will have this kind of moment might be a very long time from now. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Time for a Check Up! {6 Months}

     We had our 6 month well baby check up today!

     Roxas had to get four pokes today, and it never gets easier for mom but he does great and takes it like a champ. The doctor said he is doing good with sitting up and he is very interested in the world around him. He has lost weight since his last visit though, which really gutted me. As his main source of food I feel completely responsible for his weight gain and feel a bit like a failure since he lost almost a full pound since his 4 month check up. His head is still off the chart for size and his height (27.5") is in the 95th percentile but his weight combined with his height put him below "below average" on the growth chart. We are going to really up the nursing sessions and feedings and try to plump up my lanky little man. I'm trying not to take it too hard but it's difficult not to feel like I did something wrong. 
      The doctor also recommended we start phasing out the binky, I almost fell on the floor. I think I might be more dependent on it than he is. We are going to start trying to let it just "die a natural death" like the doctor said but I'm not sure how this will play out. We are also going to start letting him drink out of a cup, which he loves trying to do anyways but it's nice to know now I can let him. 
     I got handed a ton of information and instructions today and it was all a little overwhelming to tell the truth. I feel so lost as a parent sometimes. I have no idea what I'm doing and it can feel very confusing sometimes. There are books galore and what one book tells you another one contradicts. Then you have the lovely internet which is a vast ocean of information but sorting through all of the crap to find the truth can be nearly impossible. It's all a learning process and it can be scary when you are responsible for this little human being. Every choice I make for him impacts his life in one way or another and it's a heady thing to think about really. I can only do the best I know how and raise our son together with my amazing husband and pray we do a good job. 
     Roxas got to try two new foods since the last post- carrots and squash. He wasn't convinced carrots were all that great at first but he likes them now and the squash was a huge hit. We are going to move on to peas or green beans next, I haven't quite decided yet. It's a ton of fun feeding him and seeing his reactions to all the different new flavors. Things are really beginning to change and although I'm scared and want to run and hide because change terrifies me, I'm excited to embrace the new future and watch Roxas grow up even more. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

6 Months Old! Oh My!

     Six months has come and gone and I am amazed at how quickly it happened. It's amazing to see how much a baby grows and learns in just 6 months. He has learned to roll over, hold his head up on his own, make vowel sounds, and sit up on his own. It's really quite fascinating.
     Roxas is about 17lbs now and he is a tall lanky baby just like daddy. He has so much personality and is a complete ham for the ladies. I love that he is more like a little person with his own wants and needs now rather than a lump of baby cuteness that, albeit cute, doesn't interact much. He is working on crawling, but he just can't figure out how to coordinate his legs and arms in order to move forward. He has figured out that he can roll to his back and scoot himself around that way though! He can move rather fast this way. One rather nice thing that has come with this new age milestone is sleep. For the past few nights putting Roxas to bed has been the most painless and enjoyable things. He gets pretty sleepy around 7:30-8:00 so I feed him and then just lay him down in his crib. Within minutes he rolls to his side and is fast asleep. I'm not sure what prompted such a drastic change but I'm not going to question it! He has also begun sleeping through the night consistently. I never intended to "night wean" him but he pretty much did it himself and I'm not going to argue. I like getting 8 hours of sleep!
     One of the best things about turning 6 months old is getting to eat "real food"! Roxas has been super interested in us eating for quite a while now and I really had to be careful that his little hands wouldn't snag some food. He has some serious ninja speed when he wants to try and get a french fry or chicken strip in his mouth. I will admit I've given him small tastes of things (just dipping my finger in and letting him taste) like yogurt, smushed banana, cottage cheese and yes we even let him taste ice cream. But they were just small tastes, he never really got to eat any real food...until now!
 He really wanted to feed himself
 He was pretty excited about food
 Daddy feeding Roxas

     Roxas got rice baby cereal as his first real food and he loved it! He was grabbing at the spoon and trying to feed himself the whole time. It was a lot of fun seeing him so excited. If I could guess what was going on in his head it was something like, "Finally! I've been wanting to try this! It looks so fun when mom and dad do it!" We are going to be introducing veggies in the weeks to come and I'm super excited to see how he likes those. I have to say I am so proud of myself for exclusively breastfeeding for 6 whole months. Sometimes it felt like I would never make it to this milestone. Next milestone: 1 year! 
     Things have been just short of insane around here. My house is a mess, laundry is piled up and the poor dogs have been cut down to one meal a day because I simply can't seem to remember to feed them twice! As he gets older Roxas demands a little bit more of me and it's time consuming but it's wonderful watching him laugh, play and grow. If I'm not taking care of Roxas I am usually doing school work but so far it has been a blast. I've already noticed our class becoming very close and I have a feeling we will all be like a little family for the next two years. I'm making new friends and learning all kinds of new things. Roxas is an excellent guinea pig for me too. I love listening to his heart and lung sounds, reminds me of the days spent listening to that galloping beat on the doppler. 
     In other news we recently decided to trade in our beloved Honda Element which we affectionately referred to as "Pinchy". If you're confused by that nickname go look up old Element commercials with Gil the Crab. Anyways pinchy just wasn't practical for us anymore since it was getting up there in miles, and in the long term it could only seat our possible offspring was kind of limited there. Then there was the gas mileage, it wasn't terrible but it wasn't the best either. We got a Toyota Corolla S and I am loving it. It's smaller than what I'm used to but it's an awesome car and gets great gas mileage. With me driving to Kingman all the time that's a huge thing. It was sad to see our first car go, but I'm totally in love with the shiny new one too.
     Well that's all for now, but I will try to keep up postings as often as I can. No promises though!