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Monday, April 30, 2012

Marching For Babies At 34 Weeks Old!!

First time we did
a "faux hawk"!
Today, at 34 weeks old, Cael, my sister and I, along with some Sweet Peas, walked in the March for Babies/March of Dimes walk. We walked in memory of Baby Dylan, who passed away in October 2011 (a baby Sweet Pea). But we also walked in memory of Baby Z, Baby E, and for all babies everywhere. Both my youngest brother and sister were 6 weeks early, and as you may know, I went into premature labor with Cael at 30&5 weeks pregnant. I was fortunate in that the medication and bed rest worked for me, and Cael made it all the way to one day past his due date. But there are several others who aren't as fortunate, and they may be born extremely premature with complications, or be born sleeping. It really was such a moving and incredible experience, to see all the walkers there for the same common interest - raising money to help save the lives of babies. They did a moment of silence for us to reflect on those babies who were no longer with us, and I became extremely emotional and teared up. I held Cael close to me and snuggled him as I thought about Dylan, E and Z, and every other baby who is no longer with us. I'm resisting the urge to cry right now as I think back on it.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, with not one cloud in the sky. I think the news called for rain earlier in the week, so we were lucky it was so beautiful. The perfect day for a 3.5 mile walk. It was nice that our group was able to stay together, too. The last walk I did, which was for breast cancer, was very crowded, and I felt like we were all sardines. Plus, it was easy to get separated from who you were walking with, and difficult to stay next to them. This walk was much different. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to walking again next month back in PA.

Cael hasn't really been doing anything new, but I'm not really surprised. If he started walking only weeks after starting to pull himself up, I think I would shit myself. He's still crawling all over the place, and pulling himself up on anything and everything he can. But my favorite is when he crawls over to where I'm standing, and starts pulling himself up on my pants. He looks up at me with this gummy grin, like "I got you, mommy. Now pick me up!" He hasn't figured out how to clap his hands together yet, but he is banging things a lot more. I think he likes the noise he makes, even though he flinches his eyes with each bang.

And speaking of gummy grin, Cael now has "two toofs", as I say it! It's his second bottom middle tooth, on his right. I saw the white spot under his gums on Sunday, the day before we left for Long Island. I figured it would be a few days before it would break through. However, on Monday evening, while sitting on my moms couch, I felt his gums, and there it was. It had broke through! I can't believe my baby has 2 teeth. And yes, he was screaming in this picture, because he hates when you look in his mouth. The picture to the left was taken on Wednesday, and it has since come up even more.

Nomming on some watermelon
We've introduced a few new foods to Cael recently. Yesterday I gave him some watermelon in his mesh teether, and he loved it. He's also had oatmeal, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and stole an all-natural pomegranate fruit bar right out of my hands! I was watching my mom knead dough to make bread, and I had him on my left hip holding him. I had the fruit bar in my other hand. Well, I guess I was so encompassed in what my mom was doing, because all of a sudden we realized Cael was sucking on something. He had the fruit bar in both hands, and was sucking on the bar and wrapper! It took me a second, but when we finally realized what he was eating, and that I didn't know he took it out of my hands, we busted out laughing. But not only was he making slurping noises, he was going "mmmmm" as well. So he was thoroughly enjoying it. Because it was all natural, I decided to let him have it. I was letting him take little bites of it (it's a mushy-esque bar), and also taking small pieces and giving it to him off my finger. I'm really happy I was doing this, though, because my finger came out of his mouth with a huge glop of fruit bar! It had all collected and stuck together on the roof of his mouth! I got so nervous after that, because I thought it was a huge choking risk. It was one big mush ball on the roof of his mouth. I thought he was swallowing it, and doing a good job with it, but instead it was sticking to the roof of his mouth. He was probably wondering where it all went! Haha. You live and you learn, I guess.

Cael has become quite the picky eater! He gags on almost everything now (meal-wise), and I feel he's been eating less at meals than he used to. He hated the zucchini, and gagged on that almost to the point of making himself throw up. He hated regular potatoes, prunes, and he even gagged on plums I made a few days ago. I don't know what has changed. I figured it was a texture issue, but he'll eat puffs and sweet foods without a problem. I will admit that the zucchini had a bitter after taste because I steamed and pureed it with the skin on. I've read that the skin of squash has a lot of vitamins in it, so I decided to leave it on. But it did cause the puree to taste bitter. I have to figure out a way to mask that flavor, because I'm thinking that is why he was gagging.

Cael has been having some major constipation issues for the past week. Minutes before we got in the car on Monday morning to leave for LI, Cael had a blow-out. That was the first time in a while that his poop wasn't hard enough to plop in the toilet. It was a mess! I had to clean the diaper off in the bath tub, and then clean the tub out - that's how bad it was. But then after that, he didn't go again until Saturday morning (yesterday)! That's 5 days! He was straining to poop, though, every day, and nothing would come out. I feel like I tried EVERYTHING! Prunes and prune juice (both of which he hated), strait pear juice, sugar water, rectal thermometer and rectal stimulation with a Q-Tip, and finally a Fleet infant suppository. I feel like I pulled out all the stops, and I was waiting for an epic poop to happen. But it didn't. Especially after the suppository, which usually always works within an hour. He didn't have any type of bowel movement until Saturday morning, and even then, it wasn't 5 days worth, and was still firm. I never thought I would ask for a blow-out, but I was hoping it would be - for Cael's sake. He was growing increasingly uncomfortable, and straining more and more to go. He'd even turn red in the face while pushing. I feel so bad for my little man, but I guess he takes after his Mommy. According to my mom, Cael is me all over again with this issue. When I was his age and up to about 4 years old, I had the same problems, and would need more assistance than a suppository to go to the bathroom. Embarrassing for me to share that? Eh, not really - it happens to the best of us. Since yesterday morning, he's gone a few more times, but it's still firm, and not very much. I just have to keep doing what I'm doing to help him as much as I can.

I did feel bad after inserting the suppository though. He screamed for about a half hour afterwards, and would want me to only hold him. He kept arching his back, sticking his butt out and straining. I thought it was just working. But then I read the label. It says "may cause rectal discomfort or a burning sensation." WHAT?! My poor little man! That's probably why he was screaming. It was probably really hurting him, and knowing that just kills me. Maybe if it had worked with the hour like it was supposed to, I wouldn't feel as bad. But it didn't. I haven't used them since, and I'll only use them as a last resort. I'm also going to try and give him more water, but out of a cup so he drinks it. I did this last night, out of a little cup, and he actually enjoyed drinking it. I was surprised.

Ah, the joys of parenthood! :) But I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Boo-Boo's, Bumps & Bruises

We're getting to the stage in Cael's development where he's going to start falling over a lot more, and getting hurt. It breaks my heart to think this. But with all the crawling, pulling up, reaching for things and taking steps, I guess it's inevitable. So far, he's had only 3 incidents that really stand out in my mind. The first was when he was standing in his crib, and must have let go, and he fell straight back, smacking his head directly on the back crib rail. He immediately screamed. It probably scared him more than anything, but I'm sure it couldn't have felt good. He needs to learn to fall butt-first, so that he braces himself better. The second is when he was standing at his new toy table, lost his balance, and toppled sideways. It wouldn't have been so bad, but instead of just landing on the ground, the side of his head landed on, and scraped along the plastic leg of the toy, leaving an abrasion. It didn't bleed, but immediately left a welt. It eventually turned into a bruise a couple of days later. His first of many, I'm sure.

The third incident happened today, which prompted me to write this post, because the sound is still in my head. He was standing at the couch (at my moms), and he lost his balance, and fell directly down. He smashed his head on the hardwood (I actually believe it's Pergo) floors with full force. The sound it made was horrible, like a solid hitting a solid, but at the same time, with the sound of his brain in there. It's hard to describe, but it was bad. My mom said that the floor isn't that hard, because it's not cement under the floor, but a type of wood sub-floor, so it does give, but still. He instantly started crying, and it took him a few minutes to calm down. I screamed for my mom when it happened because I got scared. She ran in, and immediately swooped him from my arms and held him. I grabbed his ice pack, but it kind of upset me, because I should have been the one comforting him, and checking his head. I told my mom, kind of joking, "I can't believe you just came and took him from me!" She apologized, and said it was just instinct to grab him. I guess I understand that, because she has 4 kids, and I guess instinct would just take over. But she also admitted that she wanted the cuddles from him. He's still warming up to her, but he just wanted to be comforted, so he nestled into her. I'm not mad about it, and I'm sure if/when it happens again here, she won't do that. I was really upset over his fall though, and I really wanted to cry. I can't imagine when something happens to him when he starts bleeding. I'll probably be a mess. I think I'll construct a bubble to put him in.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

33 Weeks Old!

Tomorrow we are going to Grandma's house for 2 weeks! Yup, 2 weeks! I'm so excited. It's been about a month and half since we've been there, and so much has changed with Cael since then. He's now eating more solids, rolling all over the place, crawling all over the place, pulling himself up, and taking steps with help. Not to mention blowing raspberries, reaching his arms up to be picked up and giving kisses when you say "Can I have a kiss-kiss?" (well, most times). It's incredible how much he's changed in the last month and a half.

His sleep has become MUCH BETTER! He will now sleep through the night, from around 8pm to anywhere between 4-5am. I'll bring him into bed with me, feed him, and he'll fall back to sleep. I put him back in his crib, although I would enjoy the snuggles, and he'll sleep until around 6:30-7. Sometimes if I keep him in bed with me, he'll sleep until 8 or 8:30! But Matt says that he belongs in the crib, so I put him there. Plus, the extra 2-3 hours of comfortable sleep is greatly appreciated. When he stays in the bed with me, I'm all contorted around him to make sure he's safe. But it's not very comfortable for my arms or shoulder.

Yesterday, I attempted another snack with Cael - Organic brown rice cakes. I was so happy to find that they made an organic kind (then again, why wouldn't they? You just have to look in the right place). I broke off a piece, and gave it to him. I have to admit, that I was a bit nervous, because pieces of the rice were breaking off. I was afraid he'd choke on it, even though it wasn't big enough to block his airway. So I watched him closely as he brought the piece to his mouth and sucked on it. It eventually became mushy enough where I wasn't too concerned anymore. He also doesn't really know how to self-feed yet or how to chew, so he usually ends up putting the whole thing in his mouth or towards the back of his throat, because he doesn't know any better.

I've been all giving Cael organic food to eat, when Matt and I don't eat organic ourselves. If anything, I should probably eat organic myself, because I still breastfeed. So whatever I eat, Cael essentially eats. Even if the veggie/fruit isn't on the "Dirty Dozen" list, if I can find it organic, I'll buy it. But I won't go out of my way crazy looking for it. I guess I just feel it's important for Cael to eat organic, because his brain is still developing and growing. And I feel that any contaminants or pesticides that he ingests could have the potential to cause issues down the line with his brain development. I'm really looking forward to when the farmer's markets start to show up around town. I plan on buying the majority of Cael's produce from them, since they're all locally grown. I haven't paid much attention in the past, because I didn't feel a need to, but I'm pretty sure it's pesticide-free as well. But it's something I will definitely look into while at the farmer's markets.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yogurt & Pasta!

We were given the ok by the pediatrician on Thursday to give Cael whatever we wanted; of course with the obvious exceptions - nuts, cows milk, fish, egg white. So I went food shopping yesterday, and picked up some things for Cael. They included baby yogurt, organic rice cakes, cheerios and Orzo shaped pasta. I was so excited to start trying these things. So yesterday, after his afternoon nap, we tried peach Gerber yogurt. He.Loved.It! He really seemed to savor the taste, by moving his tongue around a lot, probably to get all the flavor. He seems to be having issues with texture lately, as he hated potatoes the other night, and gagged on them. So I was happy he seemed to enjoy it.

Then for dinner last night, I cooked up some pasta for him. I couldn't find the star pasta, so I settled on another small-cut pasta. It was rice-shaped, so I figured it would be small enough for him. After it was cooked, it looked like maggots, but that's besides the point. I was really afraid of him choking, even though it was small enough, that it wouldn't obstruct his airway. Matt said he'd be ok. So I started out giving him a few pieces off a spoon. He did really well with that amount, so I steadily gave him more. He love that, as well! I was shocked! I would imagine pasta is the king of all texture, but he really enjoyed it, expressing "Mmmmm" with each bite. I'm so pleased that he did so well with pasta.

 I am very disappointed with my Baby Brezza. It crapped out, and it's probably the drive shaft. Luckily, I bought a protection plan from Babies R' Us to cover it should it break. I only had it for about a month, and I was making potatoes when it died. The motor kept trying to turn the blade, but it wouldn't turn. So I called the phone number for the protection plan, they e-mailed me a return label, and I shipped it via UPS yesterday. They said it would take 7-10 days after they receive the defective product to ship me reimbursement. This couldn't have come at a worse time, because I leave for Long Island in 2 days to go to my moms. I was going to bring the Brezza so that I can make food for Cael at my mom's. But now I have to figure out other ways to make it. And I'll have to bring all the frozen food I made, which I didn't originally want to do. Oh well - hopefully the next one will last a while.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Weight Check Appointment

Today Cael had a follow-up appointment to check his weight. It was a 6 week follow-up to his 6 month appointment. Well, Cael weighed ::: drum roll::: 17 pounds 1 ounce! That puts him around the 25th percentile (between the 10-25th percentile). The pediatrician was happy with his weight gain, because it's been consistent over the last few months. Yes, he's dropped down on the charts, but at least he's consistently gaining. PLUS, he's much more active and mobile now, so the pedi was especially happy with the consistent weight gain considering this. I was happy to hear this, and my mind is at ease over it now. His next appointment is scheduled for June, when he'll be 9 months old.

We did bring up a concern at this appointment. Warning - TMI. For the past few days, we've been able to pinpoint the exact moment Cael poops. It's obvious, because he'll grunt/bear down, a look of terror will come over his face, and then he'll start screaming in pain. It's absolutely horrible. Yesterday, he did this about 3-4 times, and it broke my heart each time. You can tell he's obviously in pain when he goes to the bathroom. His poop (do you care if I say poop? I don't know what else to call it) has definitely changed to solid, which has been much easier regarding cloth diapering. You just plop it in the toilet - no spraying or anything. Just ::plop::. But it's obviously bothering Cael. It's pliable though, and not rock hard, so I thought it was just changing because he's getting solids now. But according to the pediatrician, he's constipated, because it shouldn't be that solid.

He suggested giving Cael 2-4 ounces of juice a day, not diluted, which I was surprised about. But it turns out the sugars in the juice is what helps the constipation. He said it could be pear or apple, but apple tends to be binding. But it just so happens that I had a bottle of pear juice at home, because I was going to make him biscuits (which I never got around to). So when we got home, we gave him roughly 2 ounces of pear juice in his Nuby sippy cup. (Sidebar: The pediatrician said that there haven't been any major studies come out regarding sippy cups causing speech problems. So if we wanted to use a sippy cup, that would be fine.) He said getting him on a cup is the goal, and the sooner we can do that, the better. But he said that the sippy cup could work for Cael, if he takes to it. He took a few sips of water when we offered it to him in the past, but he wasn't excited about it.

Well, let me tell you, he was excited about pear juice in his sippy cup!! He chugged it down, and got really excited when he tasted it. I guess he likes (or rather, loves) pear juice. He would get upset if you took the cup away, and anxiously searched for it. He drank every last drop! He did eventually figure out that he had to tip back to get anything out, but he still needs to work on it. Hopefully it helps his little belly.

After his appointment, we stopped by Toys R' Us to get Cael some toys. Other than his toy table and teething toys, he doesn't really have any other toys to play with. Matt was surprised when he asked if he has any more toys, and I responded with a "no". He thought I had them stashed away somewhere. So we decided we'd get him some more toys. We walked around the aisles, because Matt was looking for the perfect toy for Cael. That sounds funny, doesn't it? Then we came across the construction trucks. Matt fell in love. Haha. So we got him 2 construction vehicles - a dump truck and another one that I'm not sure what it's called - and a Little Tykes hammer that makes noise. He enjoys them. Now we have to get him a toy box!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Something More

I've been having this feeling deep down inside me for about 2 weeks now. Possibly longer. I feel like I'm lacking something in my life. Which is a silly thought, because I have more than I could ever dream of. Cael has filled a void that I didn't even know I had, until he arrived. I try to think back to what it was like before we were even pregnant; how we were, what we did. But it's hard to imagine that life anymore, now that we know what life is like with Cael around. But now that we've established more of a somewhat "predictable" routine, I feel like..I don't know, like I'm getting bored. I feel like I'm starting to need something more, something else, to do.

I'm afraid of forgetting everything I learned about ultrasound, and I'm afraid that I won't remember how to scan patients, for if/when I do get a job. I love ultrasound, and I love my profession. And I don't want to feel like all those years of school, and all the student loans turned out to be for nothing in the long run. Maybe that's what's driving these feelings. Because I still love being home with Cael, and being there for him. I can't imagine having someone else raise him, and I give working moms a boatload of credit. They're stronger than I think I am. And when I think of returning to work full-time, I get really upset. I would love to be home with Cael forever, but 1) that's not financially possible; and 2) I know it just wouldn't happen.

I've been out of work for 10 months now - the longest I've ever not worked, not including when I was going to school full-time for ultrasound. But even then, I was working for some of that. Matt thinks that I may be getting "cabin fever", from being home all day with Cael, and doing the same thing over and over again. My usual day consists of 2 naps for Cael, diaper changes, feedings, dishes, playing with Cael, comforting Cael, cooking, etc. Wash, rinse, repeat. Some days Cael and I will go food shopping, or go out to other stores. But for the most part, it's the same thing everyday.

Matt thinks that being home is the perfect time to go back to school. Initially, I threw the idea away. I did my time with school, and earned 2 degrees and a certification. It prepped me for my boards, and then I became registered. I felt done with school. But he kept bringing up the idea, and I think it's starting to grow on me. He said, if I can't find a job, or don't want to work, I should think about going back to school. But what exactly for?? A while back, I toyed around with the idea of going back to school to by a P.A. But now, it's pretty much impossible, with the amount of school work and residency required. However, I've been thinking about going back for photography. I feel like it's a complete 180 from what the norm is for me. Photography is a type of "Art", and I've always been a math and science person. There's a local community college (by local, it's probably 45 minutes away) that has a certificate photography program, which, under normal circumstances, could be done in 1 year. But I don't have normal circumstances. I'd have to take 15 credits a semester, and take classes during the day, during the week. There's no way that's possible. I don't have daycare for Cael. So for now, I don't think it's a possibility.

Another suggestion from Matt, was to just try to get out during the day - whether it's to the park (especially since the weather is getting warmer now), to Walmart just to walk around, or to the mall to walk around. Something to just get out of the house.

So anyway, my feelings. I feel like I should be more than a "stay at home mom". Maybe because I'm not used to being home, and doing "nothing". And by "nothing", I don't mean sitting home, twiddling my thumbs. I mean, not doing anything for myself mentally. Maybe that's it. Now that I wrote it, I think I figured it out. I'm not being mentally challenged. Something I've always needed and had - mental stimulation - is lacking now that I'm home with a baby all the time. Instead of learning or challenging myself, I watch Nick Jr. and Yo Gabba Gabba all day. Educational for a baby, but not for an adult.

Last night, I became really emotional over all these feelings before going to bed. I almost cried myself to sleep. I feel like I should be working, but then the idea of leaving Cael made me feel really sad. But then I felt like I needed something more during the day, for myself. But then I felt selfish for thinking about myself and what I want and need. I don't know, maybe tomorrow I'll feel different. That seems to be the pattern with me. One day I'll feel like this, the next I'll feel fine. I just have to tell myself to take one day at a time.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

32 Weeks Old!

Cael has finally learned how to blow raspberries. It's the cutest thing ever! I'm sure when he actually starts spitting, I'll become frustrated, but for now it's cute. :)

Cael has his weight check appointment on Thursday. I'm kind of anxious about his weight. I haven't been thinking about it much lately, but now that I know it's this coming week, I'm getting anxious. And with Cael moving around A LOT more, I'm afraid he's not gaining at this moment, or losing weight, from being so active. My fingers are crossed that he's gaining well. When I picked him up today, he felt lighter than usual. I hope it's just in my mind. I think I'll weigh him on the Wii tomorrow, just to get an idea.

Not only is Cael crawling and easily pulling himself to a standing position, but now he's what you consider "cruising"! I always thought cruising was crawling really fast, but it actually means moving around/walking while holding onto furniture/toys/etc. He just started doing this today, and I was surprised when he transferred from his new toy table, to the couch. I got it on video too (of course).

In this past week, we've given bananas and avocado to Cael. He had mixed feelings about the bananas. The first 2 days, he loved it. The last 2 days, he hated it, and even gagged on it. I tried giving him bigger pieces, even though I mushed it up. He started coughing on it, and after 3 pieces, which I thought he was swallowing, he coughed, gagged, and then threw up. I don't know if he was choking on it, or just gagging because he didn't like it, but it scared the hell out of me. After that, I really mushed it up good, and fed it to him off a spoon.

Yesterday was the first day of avocado. I gave him 2 slices, because after the first slice, he still seemed like he was hungry. He took the first slice without batting an eyelash. He even cried for me. But when I started giving him the second slice (from the same avocado, mind you), he started gagging, coughing and spitting it out. I guess he was so hungry the first time, that he was just swallowing it. But by the second slice, he was actually tasting it, and I guess he didn't like it. I tasted it before I even gave it to him, and after dwelling on it, I figured out what I thought it tasted like - pistachio. Tonight, though, he didn't have any problems taking it. He wanted more, and didn't gag/choke this time. So who knows!

On the topic of sleep, the last 2 nights have been incredible! He slept from 8 pm to 6am, through the night, without waking up! This is HUGE. It felt so good to get 7-8 consecutive hours of sleep myself. But the best part?? He'd wake up at 5:45-6am to eat, I'd bring him in bed to feed him, and we'd fall back to sleep. Until 9 am! Of course, it messed up his naps for the rest of the day, but it felt good to finally get some sleep! My guess is that it's a fluke, and I don't expect it to continue (although, it would be nice!). I guess we will see!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I've been toying with the idea of writing this post for a while now. After a lingering feeling of hatred, resentment and anxiety, I decided that I would write it down, and share it to anyone who cares.

I'm not usually the person who carries resentment around with them. But, over the past 7 months, I have found a reason to have resentment. I'm currently still unemployed. Don't get me wrong - I adore being home with Cael, watching him grow, being able to breastfeed on demand, and be there for my son. It's a blessing in disguise. But I still can't shake this horrible feeling that I got severely dicked over by my employer (or rather, ex-employer). It's been eating me alive since Cael was 3 weeks old. I also want to make very clear that I do not like to talk bad about anyone, especially an employer. And especially on a public site. However, I just feel like they don't have their shit together, and I got the short end of the stick. I'm pretty sure this will get quite long.

Here's a shortened summary of what happened:

When Cael was 3 weeks old, I was told I didn't have a job to return to. After months of going back and forth with my HR department, we currently don't have health insurance. I knew our insurance would be ending, but they dragged it out longer than it should have been. I'm over and done with them.

Here's everything that happened:

I reserved a daycare spot for Cael when I was 9 weeks pregnant, with EVERY intention of returning to work after Cael was born. I NEVER imagined the end of my pregnancy would turn out the way it did, and I never thought I'd have such a hard time recovering. I was never told, when I went out on bed rest at 30 weeks pregnant, that it would be a problem with me being out so long. After my initial week visit after being on bed rest, it was determined I'd be out of work for the rest of the pregnancy. Since my employer knew this, I feel that I should have been informed that my extended absence from work would become an issue, and that my position could be in jeopardy. This is where the human resources department is severely lacking. They are NOT on top of things, and really didn't/don't seem to know what is going on. They also didn't inform me about FMLA, which I feel it's their responsibility to do - inform their employees of their rights, and what could/could not happen.

So when Cael was 3 weeks old (more like 2.5 weeks), I was informed that my position was being posted. I was told by my supervisor that if/when I decided to return, they would definitely find me a position, and that they still consider me part of the team. She also told me she would talk to the Diagnostic Imaging supervisor to see if they would have me work there. However, I was told that I would have a job somewhere. Well, we now know that was a lie. In fact, I never heard back from my supervisor when she said she'd call me after talking to him. I had to call, and I found out she never did talk to him. Real nice, right? OH yea, and I forgot to mention, that
I called my supervisor the day she told me my job was going to be posted, for a different reason. She didn't call me. No one called me to let me know. Even nicer, right?

At this point, I was out of work for 13 weeks (FMLA covers 12 weeks; BUT I didn't know being out for pregnancy complications counted towards the 12 weeks). To be quite honest, the way my supervisor was talking to me, sounded like she was trying to persuade me to stay home with Cael. And that they were doing me a favor so that I could. The problem, is that they knew (because I've told them several times while working) that we wouldn't be able to live on Matt's salary alone. Why in the world would I want to stay home if we couldn't do it financially?? Yes, I would love to stay home, but it wasn't our plan.

I come to find out that within 3 weeks of my position being posted, they had already hired someone, and they had STARTED working already! That means, in 3 weeks, my position was:

1) posted
2) candidates applied
3) candidates called for an interview
4) an interview conducted
5) the position offered to said candidate
6) said candidate accepted offer
7) said candidate started working

All in 3 weeks. I think not. The whole thing seemed suspicious to me. Well, I come to find out, again, that the person who got my position was 1) asked to work per diem back in July (so she already knew that there could be the potential for a permanent position. But she declined it then) and 2) worked with a co-worker several years back in the same department. I'm sorry, but to me, it's all too much of a coincidence. I can't help but think that they had all this planned out ahead of time. Maybe I'm just paranoid and making this all up in my head, but I feel like I'm really seeing it as it is.

(I'm on day 2 of writing this, so my flow has been interrupted.) Continuing... . . .

So onto the topic of our health insurance. This is another example of lack of communication (on their part). I spoke to one person initially, and she isn't in the same position anymore. I knew that I needed to pay to keep our benefits while on disability from July 1-September, but again, I didn't hear much from anyone about payments, due dates, etc. So come November 1, when I was off disability, I needed to find out how much we needed to keep paying for our health insurance. The person I spoke to told me specifically, and gave me a print out, that I could continue to pay what I would be paying had I been still working. And that I could continue paying said amount - $286 and change - while I was on a 6 month leave of absence. After the leave of absence, we could continue my insurance, but pay for COBRA - which would be around $1500 a month. We've had COBRA before, and it was nearly a mortgage payment. No thank you!

Back track a second to explain. Once my short-term disibility ended October 31st, and I didn't have a job to return to, they put me on a 6 month leave of absence. It was explained to me, by the same lady who told me I'd be paying $286 a month to keep our insurance, that an employee gets placed on a 6 month leave of absence when they're disability ends, and they can't return to work for whatever reason. Basically, it's a general term to cover everything that isn't covered by disability. During that 6 month leave of absence, you are supposed to search for jobs at the employer, and apply for them. HOWEVER, to me, this made no sense. There is no job for me, or I'd be there. But whatever, I'll do what they say. I kept checking the intranet and the website for positions, but (not without surprise), there wasn't anything for me. I explained to HR that, due to childcare costs and my distance to travel, that I couldn't work in a position that paid me less than what I was making as a sonographer. They seemed understanding.

Ok, so back to the insurance - which, at this point, is causing me the most angst. As I said, I was told that I would only have to pay $286 a month WHILE on this leave. They told me that my absence would end roughly around March. Which, thinking back on it, it should have been 6 months from November 1, when my disability ended, not 6 months from September. But whatever. So I finally called HR again (this is at least the 10th time I called them - not including leaving messages) in the very beginning of March, to see if I could finally get a total for what we owed. I had already paid $1100 towards it, so I wasn't sure how much I owed. I was on Long Island at the time, but they said they were going to mail me a statement that week.

After a week and half on Long Island, I came home to a letter from HR. FINALLY, I thought, something - some kind of communication from them. I opened it up, and it said that for the months of January, February and March, I owed $4419!! Wha-wha-WHAT!?! That's $1473 a month. Nowhere NEAR what I was told I would be paying. There's no way we could pay that. It's just not possible. If I knew that it would be $1400 a month, we would have canceled my insurance at the end of the year, and went on Matt's. It's more expensive for Matt's insurance, and we need all the money we can get, so we figured if it was going to be <$300 a month for mine, we might as well keep it as long as we can. It had to be a mistake. I would call HR and figure this all out. Hell, we took out a loan for $5000 for the construction, and we have 5 years to pay it off!

Well, I called HR, and it wasn't a mistake. Apparently, I was completely misinformed by the original person I was speaking to. You pay the $286 a month to keep the insurance while you're on disability. Once you get put on the leave of absence, you pay full price, which is $1400+. Um, yea, well, that's not what I was told. And I told this lady that she better have a talk with the other lady, because she has no clue what she is doing or talking about. I told her there was no way we could afford those payments, that my husband doesn't even make one payment in a month. I also told her that if I was properly informed in the first place, and told I'd be paying so much, I would have canceled and went on my husbands insurance. It's asinine to have to pay that much for insurance! And sadly, I know a lot of people have to. After being stern and standing my ground for almost the whole conversation, I just couldn't take the stress and anxiety anymore, and nearly broke down. I felt my eyes welling up with tears, and a lump in my throat. I tried so hard to not break down on the phone with this person, but I'm sure she heard it in my voice when I told her we just didn't have the money for it.

Then she said/did something that I never thought would happen. She said that if I could pay for March, then they would take care of January and February. So we would only have to pay the $1473, and that would be it. I told her that we could do that, and I felt a ton of pressure come off my shoulders. I told her that I wanted my insurance terminated as of March 31st, and she said she would mail out the paperwork I needed, and the letter that Matt's HR needed in order to get on his insurance. I thanked her so much, and we hung up the phone. If we could pay it all by the end of March, that would be best. Luckily for us, at the same time, we were given repayment for money we lent someone a couple of years ago. We honestly forgot about it, so it was perfect timing. It would be enough to make this payment, so that we can finally move on from my employer. I am just so done with them.

That conversation took place on March 15th. Well, by Easter, I still hadn't received anything. I was really hoping to have the paperwork by the end of March, so that we can get the ball rolling to get onto Matt's insurance by the beginning of April. Cael has an appointment to recheck his weight on April 19th.

I did call again at the end of March, and she said it was mailed out, and to call if I didn't get it. I called and left her a message on Friday April 6th. By Tuesday the 10th (when I started writing this post), I called back, and finally got to talk to her. I told her that I didn't get anything yet - almost a month later. She said that she could fax it, so I gave her Matt's work fax number. I honestly didn't expect anything, especially after their history with things like this, but luckily, it was there on Wednesday. I'm almost positive that she never mailed it to begin with, because I would have received. I get statements and newsletters from them, so there's no reason I wouldn't get something from HR.

So here we are, Thursday April 12th, and we don't have health insurance. And I'm pissed over it. Matt submitted the paperwork to his HR today to get on his insurance, so the process has started. The good news is that they will backdate the insurance to April 1st, but we may not have any of the insurance information by the time Cael has his appointment. I guess that's ok, as long as we can get them the information after the appointment. Cael's doctor will be out of network anyway, so they'll be an expensive copay (my guess is $50-75). But it'll be better than paying full price for the visit. It's only a weight check, so I can't imagine it would be very expensive, but still. Matt and I decided that we want to keep his pediatrician until he's at least a year old, even though it will be out of network. We really love his pediatrician, so it's worth it to me.

So resentment. I'm very resentful towards them for everything that they've put me through over the last 7 months. The stress, the lack of communication, the misinformation, and the unprofessionalism of an HR department. I'm over it, and I'm over them. I still don't know what my current work status is. I haven't talked to anyone from there in over a month (there is still one person I'm friendly with). I don't know if they still have me on an unpaid leave of absence, or if I'm considered terminated. I.Have.No.Clue. Do I care? Not really. It'd be nice to know if I'm done with them, but at this point in time, I really don't feel like contacting anyone from the HR department again. I do need to find out what to do with my 403b account, but that's another day.

We Have A Crawler!

Yesterday, Cael started crawling on all fours. I can't believe it, because we thought he'd never crawl. He can easily push himself up onto all fours, and has for weeks, but all he ever did was rock back and forth. We honestly thought he'd be walking/cruising before crawling. But he surprised us. There's no going back from here. He's only going to get better and faster at crawling. We definitely need to baby-proof now (I know I've been saying it for a while now).

Sunday, April 8, 2012

31 Weeks Old & Happy First Easter!!

Today was Cael's first Easter, hence the adorable outfit he's sporting in his weekly photo. He also has a cabby/old man hat that matches his outfit that he was wearing today too. Makes him look like a little old man, and I absolutely adore it!

In the beginning of the day, I had him in his Carter's "Somebunny Loves Me" onesie outfit. But then when his cousin came in the afternoon, I changed him into his dressy Easter outfit.

The Easter Bunny treated Cael really well this first Easter. He got 2 cardboard Easter-themed books, a bunny container of bubbles, 2 teethers, and a Taggies plush football. It was so much fun watching him take everything out! We sat him down on the floor, but the basket (which was digital camo, by the way) in front of him, and he started taking things out. It was so cute and awesome to see how into it he was. We opened the bottle of bubbles and started blowing bubbles at him. He was very intrigued by them, and made cute little flinches whenever one popped on his face. Definitely can't wait for summer to come for him to experience so much more outside.

For dinner, we gave him some peas that I mashed on my plate, and a taste of baked sweet potato. He really liked to enjoy the sweet potato. But that has to take a number, because we already have a list of what we're trying next. Today was day 2 of pears, which he loves. Then we're going to try bananas (which I currently have ripening on my counter) and then avocado. Then maybe we'll do the sweet potato. To be honest, we're really not being too strict with the "try the same food for 5 days" ideology. I think we'll do 2 or 3 days.

We did find out that Cael can't have string beans though. I think in Cael's 7 month post I mentioned how that night was a horrible night. Well, the next night was worse. He was up from 10:15pm to midnight just screaming that horrible scream of his. It was a pain scream, but he just wouldn't stop. I tried EVERYTHING:
Advil, Orajel, giving him a bottle, giving him the boob, letting him cry in the crib, holding him/rocking him- nothing. When he didn't want to nurse, that put up the red flag. Finally after 45 minutes of screaming in my face, I called my mom and broke down. I was at my wits end, and told her I didn't know what else to do. She had me check for a hernia (she said the last time she heard a baby scream like Cael was, was when I was 9 months old and had a bilateral inguinal hernia), which there wasn't one. I tried putting him on his belly on my lap, and rocking my legs back and forth. Then she asked if I gave him gas drops. I totally forgot about gas drops. I told her that it was day 2 of string beans, and that is was also the second night of hellish screaming. Well, the gas drops worked within minutes, and he began to calm down. He was asleep by 11:45, and my mom told me to wait on giving him string beans again. Then we hung up, and I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. It had to be the string beans, because the next day we started pears, and he was much better that night.

Today, Matt's brother brought a walker-type toy for Briley. Basically, you can play with the front of it (lights, sounds, moving parts, etc), but then if you go behind it, the baby can hold onto it and push it forward, to help them walk. Cael loved it! He did so well holding onto it and walking forward. Oh yea, did I forget to mention that?? If you let Cael hold onto your fingers/hands, he'll walk. He's still a bit wobbly, but he definitely moves forward and can hold his weight on his legs very well. He may very well walk before even crawling. He's been rocking back and forth on all fours for several weeks now, but he's still not crawling yet. Oh well, I guess we shall wait and see what happens.

Some of Cael's Likes:
  • Plums and pears
  • Yo Gabba Gabba and Fresh Beat Band
  • Being on the floor
  • Sitting, as opposed to being on his belly
  • His mommy! He's a definite mama's boy
  • Gerber Peach Puffs
  • His puppies
  • Standing!! Yes, I said standing
Some of Cael's Dislikes:
  • After-bath time - putting a diaper on, lotioning up and getting dressed. He screams the whole time
  • Being away from me
  • When his food runs out
And now for the fun part. TONS of Easter Pictures!

Friday, April 6, 2012

My Hands Are Going To Be FULL!

Cael is getting into EVERYTHING! And this is only the beginning of his mobility. He's figured out how to move around the kitchen in his walker without a problem. Not on the carpet yet, because of the friction, but on the kitchen floor, he's all over the place. He's also figured out how to open the kitchen cabinets and drawers. He even got his finger stuck while pushing a drawer closed. He cried for a couple seconds, but then got over it. I guess I should expect a ton more boo-boos the more mobile he gets.

He also took some bites out of his crib rail today. He took the wood finish right off with that little tooth of his. I took him out of the crib and laid him on the changing table, and noticed he had brown flecks all over his mouth. It took me only a few seconds to realize what it was. It was the wood finish off his crib. I looked, and saw the damage he caused. I'm upset over it, but happy it's on the inside of the crib, and you can't see it from the outside. I showed my mom the picture, and she said, "Ohhh, you have a biter! I've never had a biter with all 4 of my kids." Wonderful. At least he hasn't bitten me yet! :::knocks on wood::: After I saw this, I bought a teething crib rail protector off Amazon. It's brown, and covers 3 of the 4 rails in the crib. The back of his crib is high, so I don't have to worry about him biting that.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

7 Months Old!!

Another month has come and gone. :::Sigh::: He's growing right before my very eyes. Yesterday, my Little Man turned 7 months old. Currently, he's not crawling yet. He's trying so hard, but he hasn't been able to figure out how to move forward rhythmically. He may move his hand forward once, and then lose balance and flop forward, but I don't consider that crawling. His cousin, who is 6 weeks older than Cael, can now crawl laps around him. It's the cutest thing!

One thing that Cael has mastered, is pulling himself to a standing position. Since we don't have much living room furniture for him to do this, he does it easily in his crib. I watch him do it all the time on the video monitor. First, he was able to only pull himself onto his knees. But within less than 4 days, he mastered pulling up to his feet. Within 2 days, we had to lower the crib mattress down 2 notches. First we lowered it down one, because he was starting to grab onto the crib rail, but was stayed on his knees. Then a day later is when he figured out how to pull up to his feet. At that point, if he were to lean forward, he'd flip right over the rail. So I was very sad when I had to lower the mattress yet another notch. Now all he does is pull himself to the standing position, and bounce his legs and butt around. It's so cute. He may very well start standing/walking before he figures out how to crawl.

We also started string beans yesterday. He seemed to like them, as he didn't make any faces, and gladly ate them. So far, we haven't found anything that he doesn't like. He made some faces with the carrots the first few days, but it was his first solid food (besides cereal), so that could have been why.

He's also babbling a ton more! It's so adorable. However, he mostly babbles when he has the pacifier in his mouth. You can tell by the sounds that he's starting to figure out he can move his tongue around to make different noises and sounds.

Another thing that Cael is doing more of is lifting his arms up to be picked up or held. He's been doing it for about 2 weeks now, but it wasn't as frequently as it is now. Especially when he's in the walker, and starting to fuss and cry, he'll lift his arms up to me. Although I don't want him to grow up (I'm starting to think that I have a mental issue by constantly saying that), I love that he recognizes me, and wants me to pick him up.

As I previously posted, Cael's sleep continues to regress. Last night was one of the worst nights we had in about 3 weeks (since changing his sleep schedule). He was up every 2.5-3 hours, screaming. And not just screaming. SCREAMING bloody murder. He was first up for the night at 10:45 pm, right when we were just falling asleep for bed (well, I was anyway). After screaming for about 30 minutes, Matt suggested bringing him into bed, and feeding him. Well, I ended up feeding him every time he woke up, which I haven't done in about 3 weeks. I hope he doesn't get used to it. I just wish that his sleep would go back to when we first changed his naps. He was sleeping in 8 hour stretches then. If only.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sleep? What's Sleep?!

Well, maybe not that dramatic, but Cael's nighttime sleep stretches are slowly whittling away. He's up at least twice a night, crying. Sometimes it only takes me minutes to put him back to sleep, other times, it may be an hour and a half before he goes back to sleep. I don't know what happened. But it sucks, that's for sure! For instance, last night he was up at 12:30 and 3 am. He went to sleep within 10 minutes of being awake at 12:30. However, 3am was a different story! He was screaming and crying and fussing. I'd calm him down for a few minutes, then he'll start crying again. This cycle continued for about an hour. I gave him Tylenol, which didn't really help. He did fall back to sleep for about 10 minutes, in which I crawled into bed, thinking all was good. Nope, 10 minutes later he was awake crying again, and I was up out of bed. Again. I tried comforting and consoling him. I left him to cry for a few minutes. It was actually horrible. Four o'clock came around, and by this time, he was trying to latch onto my shoulder again. He was making the rooting motion with his mouth/head, and would keep screaming when I tried to give him the pacifier. Finally and reluctantly, I gave in and fed him. I just stayed in the nursery holding him, and fed him that way.

After 5 minutes, I stopped, gave him the pacifier, and held him until he burped. He seemed very calm and went limp after a minute. I figured he was asleep, or well on his way, so I laid him down in the crib, and went back to bed myself. It was 10 after 4. Well, 5 minutes later, just as I was starting to doze off, he woke up and started crying again. I went back to trying to comfort him, but he wasn't having it. He seemed to still be hungry, so I gave him the other breast for another 5 minutes. He was much more limp and relaxed after this feeding, and fortunately, he fell right to sleep. And stayed asleep. He was then up at 6:40 to eat again, and up for the day at 7. It was a long night.

The 2-3-4 nap schedule has been working out great during the day. And when we first started the new schedule, his stretches at night got longer. But now they're getting shorter again. I don't know what's going on. It seemed so perfect at first, but now it's getting worse. I guess we'll just have to keep trying, and stick to our guns about not feeding him during the night. Hopefully he'll get the idea that he's not getting food, and he'll either stay asleep, or put himself to sleep as soon as he wakes during the night.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

30 Weeks Old!

Cael turned 30 weeks old today. That is right around the time in my pregnancy that I was put on bed rest, and taken out of work. That was exactly 9 months ago. Completely unreal to me.

He is getting closer and closer to crawling each day. Just today, he started lifting his hands/arms, and moving them slightly forward. He definitely had a forward motion on the floor today, and was able to move towards a toy I had in front of him.

We even had to lower the crib mattress down a notch on Friday, because he pulled himself up onto his knees right in front of me. It made me incredibly nervous (I get these visions of him pulling himself up to a standing position, and hoisting himself over the railing of the crib, and landing on the floor head first), so I took him right out of the crib, and lowered it within 10 minutes of him doing that. I did get the whole thing on video, too.

And then yesterday, he had woken up from a nap, and I was watching him on the video monitor. He, again, managed to pull himself up onto his knees using the crib railing. Shortly after he pulled himself up, he lost his balance and slammed his head into the rail. It made a loud :bonk: noise on the crib He immediately started crying, and I ran in to pick him up. He had a red mark on his forehead for a few hours. I guess you can consider it his first boo-boo.

We also introduce butternut squash on Friday. It took a little longer to prepare than I thought it would (I've never prepared it before, so I didn't know what to expect), but it came out really, really good. I try everything first, before I give it to Cael. He LOVED the butternut squash just as much as he did the plums. He kept opening his mouth for more, and very little came out of his mouth. He immediately started crying when there was no more left. That's how much he loved it.

Today, Cael had more to eat (solids) than he normally does during the day. Bowling is over for Matt, so we was home for dinner. We ate upstairs with his family. They were having chicken, and had steamed carrots as a side. I mashed up a carrot for Cael this time, and gave him some of that. We also tried a little bit of grilled chicken, with some mild spices on it. We held it for him, and he mostly gummed and sucked on it. He LOVED that, too. He was using his one little bottom tooth to try and scrape some chicken off, and he got very little of it. It was so exciting to see him try it. Our Baby Brezza says you can introduce chicken, turkey and tofu at 6-8 months, and wholesomebabyfood.com says 7 months+. Cael is almost 7 months, and he wasn't getting that much, so we figured it was ok to try. He then also had his butternut squash a little after that, and then a homemade teething biscuit. He had it made today, food-wise!