Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Moms, You Are Doing A Great Job

As I sit here realizing there are 2 more days left of 2015 I'm thinking back to this past year. Where was I one year ago? 

Autumn was a little over a month. Her months as she grew is basically how I decipher time. A year ago I was having a panic attack nervous breakdown going back to work. She wasn't even 8 weeks yet. Autumn was always crying when she fed (which I was nursing). I felt something was wrong with me, and then I realized something wasn't right with her. I was doing everything by the book with nursing, I was watching what I ate. Her latch was great. Asking everyone and anyone I knew who was nursing if they were going through the same thing. I even took videos of her nursing and how she reacted to send to other moms. I can't tell you how heartbreaking it is when others say "My baby doesn't do that..".. Then there were Moms I found struggling with the same thing. When we finally found out she had Reflux, even though I didn't want her in pain, there was a weight lifted. Just knowing what the "what" was and then the "how" we're going to treat this was already leading us in a better place than we were. 

Those days that turned into months of the struggle with her Reflux left me extremely weak as a Mother. That incredible strength and empowerment I had delivering her was gone. It left me with insecurities, no confidence and I kept myself shut away in our home. I timed any outings so no one could see her nurse. I didn't want anyone seeing her cry. Why? Because of the reactions I received. 
"Why is she crying".. 
"She's always crying.." ... 
"She must have colic".. 
"Your baby has colic"...
"She's hungry" ... 
"Is she getting enough"
"Babies don't cry like that"
"Maybe you should stop nursing.."... 
"If it's this hard then maybe nursing isn't the best option.."
... I could go on.. but I think you get the idea..

For anyone reading this that may realize they have said any of those to someone at some point. Or perhaps, it's thoughts that go through your mind but you never say. There's something I would love to share which will honestly help any mother, whatever their struggle is at anytime. Instead of negative feedback even though it's coming from a good place, or anything that may knock a mother down deeper than they are... just hug them and say ...
.."You are doing a great job. You are strong. I am here for you".

I can't begin to start writing about all of the times I did hear that, how much better it made that obstacle I was facing. I had an incredible support system. Reflux is not the end of the world, I know. I also know there are many other ailments that babies deal with that require extensive treatments. But when you're a new Mom and this is all you know, it's very difficult. You know what... we got through it. I'm fortunate enough now to be able to help others going through this as well.  

I wanted to share this because that's where I was 1 year ago and now as 2015 ends I feel like I could handle just about anything that comes our way. I want to help other new Moms because there are not enough books that could begin to tell you how this all play out. I still have doubts don't get me wrong, and question my parenting or second guess too often, but I know I'm right up there with all you Super Moms. You are ALL Super Moms and inspire me every day! Kudos to you all and I hope you know that! 

                You are doing a great job. You are strong and will forever be. I am here for you


Thursday, December 3, 2015


I lay here writing after what has been a bit of an emotional day. Thinking back to all of the moments that unfolded today there's one special moment that sticks in my mind from this evening. 

Let me set the scene so you can picture it all in your mind...

I'm standing in the kitchen after returning from the store with supplies to make a magnetic board that can stay on our fridge that is stainless steel. I cut it just right and as I asked Charlie to keep Autumn occupied in the living room while I mastered this DIY Project, I said out loud "this fridge is soo dirty!". I opened up the cabinet after wrestling with our new childproof locks to grab the cleaner for our appliances. I then tore 2 pieces of a the paper towel rolls, because let's be serious.. one is never enough?

I was leaning down, seconds away from spraying.. when I caught the reflection just perfectly on the lower part of the fridge. This is the portion of the fridge where Autumn can reach. This is where it's "dirty". But you know what? It's not dirty. It's her toddler baby fingerprints. I'm staring at the highest level she can reach in her world, where she all day pushes the fridge door closed for us when we open it. I'm staring at her little fingerprints when she puts both of her hands against it and roars like a lion at the door in the blurred reflection that maybe she sees of herself. I'm staring down at Autumn looking right back up at me as I make dinner, with one little hand on the fridge, leaning like she's waiting for my delicious cooking (hold the laughter). I'm staring at her teenie, tiny, little prints that she left behind of her baby days..

What did I do? I put the the cleaner away.. and the two paper towels for another day. I know if I wiped them away tonight they'll be back tomorrow. I know that..  But tonight, I just need one more day. One more day to see those little fingerprints from today. Don't we all?

Next time you're about to wash those little surfaces that your babies just can't keep their hands away from, take a moment to enjoy the true moments that created those little fingerprints.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Our Biggest Worry Before the Baby Arrived

When a new baby arrives I think that I can speak for most of us with pets when I say... it's nerve racking to know just how the animals will take to the new being in their home. I remember how stressed we were with our two cats. We researched and contemplated how we would keep her room "cat free". We thought of putting a screen door in replace of her wooden door to the nursery which would still allow air flow. Then we realized the cats would probably tear the screen apart. With our dog, Peanut who is our baby, that made us nervous. Would he be jealous of her? Would his awesome personality change in which he wouldn't be our baby anymore? Would he hate us? 

5 months after Autumn Lily was born and we find ourselves laughing at all of those worries. Peanut was extremely protective of Autumn in the beginning. He wouldn't let the cats go near her never mind even get to smell her. Now they're all friends, with the exception of Nevan (our first cat). He has no interest in anyone or anything but food. Now that Autumn can sit and reach she likes to grab Peanut and the cats. Peanut keeps his distance these days but still watches over her. 

Here is a little taste of the silliness between Autumn and her babies. I believe she's trying to tell Peanut how stressful teething is. 


Monday, March 23, 2015

A Cute, Snuggly, Sick Piglet

Baby feet buried in Peanut's fur. Peanut has been such a great big brother keeping Autumn and Mommy company.

Last week I was sick with what was or close to be a flu. I thought after first delivering Autumn and being home recovering from the birth was tough, but being sick and taking care of a baby was a challenge for sure. Now, our little piglet is sick with congestion and a cold. It's so heartbreaking. I'm getting better but now The Dad is sick!

She's been sleeping through the night for a few months now but with being sick it feels like she's a newborn again. We sure were spoiled this whole time. We've done all the homeopathic steps to help her get better but nothing seems to be helping. We are now putting some vapor rub on her chest and feet which has helped to soothe her at night. We also have a diffuser running with essential oils along with a humidifier. It's just a matter of making her comfortable until this passes.

In the meantime she's extremely playful during the day and has been keeping herself occupied. Then there is the snuggling. Oh I love the sick piglet snuggles. She's also been talking up a storm! I wish I could continue to be sick and take it all from her. 

I long for warm weather and to sit outside in Peanut's area on a blanket with Autumn and watch her reaction to the birds chirping and the squirrels passing through. Soon.. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Our Funny Valentine

This past Valentine's Day was Charlie and I 14th Valentine's together. I remember early on in our relationship something always came up on that day where we couldn't spend it together. After a few years it wasn't so much a big deal anymore. We never went out but we would give each other cards and maybe the occasional gift.

A year ago was our first Valentine's as a married couple, woohoo! Since it felt like a special enough reason to celebrate we had reservations and went to dinner. I remember feeling so happy being out with Charlie at a fancy shmancy restaurant enjoying a glass of wine and chicken parmigiana. I felt pretty and not so broken. Mainly, because a few weeks prior I had gotten positives on a bunch of pregnancy tests. Sadly, for whatever reason those "positives" just were not meant to be that month, they weren't meant to be for us at that time. 

Being out with Charlie that night on Valentine's Day cheered me up, lifted my spirits. I wasn't sitting around questioning "why me? why us?". What I hadn't known then, which I know now.. is that night when we were at dinner celebrating the Holiday of Love as a married couple, we had already conceived Autumn. 

This past Valentine's Day we spent the evening in, snuggling with Autumn, enjoying take-out of Chicken Parmigiana and a bottle of wine. We celebrated the love that Autumn has brought to our lives and forever this Holiday will represent her. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Telling Stories Without Books

We show her love every day.
Every second.
We give her kisses.
We tell her how much she's loved.
Every day she wakes up
I tell her what a miracle she is.
Every day she wakes up
I tell her she completes us.
Even though she won't remember now
I tell her stories.
Stories about Charlie and I 
How we met.
When we found our first apartment.
Moving in on New Year's Eve.
Searching for our own home.
Moving in on Halloween.
How we found Nevan, Minnie and Peanut.
I tell her about Larry the Frog who will never die.
When we found out we were pregnant.
The reactions of announcing to everyone.
I tell her so many stories.
About visits to NYC.
Vacations in Old Orchard.
The time we went to Disney.
Travelling to California.
The time we lost power for a week during a blizzard.
How Charlie would win at Survivor.
Day trips that Charlie and I have taken.
Amazing places we stumbled upon while driving
with no direction.
I tell her about her family.
Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins.
I show her pictures and name the faces.
I've told her about the time I chased a thief in my car 
with her Auntie Michelle. 
Her eyes widen, because I animate my voice every time.
I told her the first time I went fishing with my Memere.
I told her stories of my Memere, Papa and my Grandma.
I told her how much Charlie loved his Grandma.
Stories of people she won't have the chance to meet.
Like the best Birthday gift I ever got.
A cucumber wrapped in newspaper 
from a garden that my Papa and I grew together.
I tell her the things I loved to do as a child.
Biking, rollerblading, catching frogs, snakes and turtles.
Playing kick the can with the my cousins.
I want to teach her that.
Art contests I had won and how it all began
with a coloring book.
I sing the stories to her.
Even though my voice is off key.
I tell her to always be herself, sing and dance her heart out.
You know.. like no one is watching.
I tell her how beautiful she is
and describe her face to her.
I'll continue to tell her stories every day 
someday maybe she'll tell me stories.
Someday maybe she'll tell her children stories
that I once spoke of.


Monday, January 26, 2015

If We Knew Then What We Know Now

In life it seems we are always telling ourselves if we knew then what we knew now, we would have done things differently. Wow, that's a tongue twister of a sentence! In all seriousness... with Autumn close to 10 weeks I think back to when we brought her home. Even more so, when she was born. If I could go back 10 weeks I would like to tell myself ...

...Labor is tough but eventually it ends and won't be forgotten. Labor makes you strong, incredible and like a super hero. You'll feel amazing, like you've moved the world and your husband will see you completely different after. He will love you more than he thought possible.  

...That back that hurt throughout the majority of the 2nd and 3rd trimester, you know. The back that didn't allow you to sleep or sit comfortably anywhere. The back that you thought would break during pushing the baby out. That back was actually just preparing you, strengthening you and once that baby is born you'll have a Back Bone! You won't be afraid to speak your mind anymore as your baby is number one. Your Back Bone will make you truly see that super hero that was created the first moment you heard Autumn cry.

...Breastfeeding will be hard, it's a journey. You will experience mastitis, an infection, Autumn will have tongue tie and you'll cringe anytime she wants to nurse. You will want to give up and you'll come to a point you do give up. That will only last a short time. The tongue tie will be fixed, the infection and mastitis will go away with great antibiotics. The down time when you are pumping and barely breastfeeding while you heal, you are going to miss breastfeeding. You will feel like you've lost your bond with Autumn, but you haven't. Even if you don't continue to nurse you'll never lose that bond. I just want you to know not to give up and to know you'll get through it, because after all.. you are a super hero.

...The nights will be tough. Even though you hadn't slept through the night during the last 8 weeks of your pregnancy, nights will be tough. They won't last long at all. When Autumn starts to smile, you'll wake up every morning and see a smiling baby. Once you see that smile it will make all those weeks prior with lack of sleep worth while. If you knew then what I know now, you'll appreciate every sleepless night that much more.

...The struggle of getting the baby to sleep. The first week will seem like a piece of cake, really. Autumn will sleep what feels like the entire day and when she nurses she will be half asleep during it.  When you put her in the crib, she'll just close her eyes and bam.. asleep! You'll think "this is so easy". Then week two will sneak up on you and it will take longer for Autumn to sleep. It will seem like forever standing in front of her crib with the lights low, swaddled and rocking her from side to side. Your arms will feel sore and legs will be tired. You'll put her down and she'll fuss each time she touches the mattress. I want to tell you to turn all the lights off in her room. She likes the dark. I want to tell you she likes music at night and feels safe. She will fight being swaddled but will feel very secure in it. I want to tell you not to rock her until she's fully asleep, just with her eyes barely opened. As the weeks pass by she will begin to soother herself to sleep and you'll be patting yourself on the back saying "this is so easy".

...Your life has changed forever. You will experience a new relationship. There was a piece missing in your life that you never knew before. When you hold Autumn for the first time, you'll realize that you are complete.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Found A Snow Bunny Outside

The moment we woke up today I brought Autumn to the front bay window where I always go to myself whenever it snows. There's something so dreamlike of pulling back the curtains and brightness overpowers our living room. White. Just white. The streets aren't plowed yet, the trees are literally glistening with solid snow where you can't see the bark, the cars are barely visible and little animal tracks are everywhere. I love that. I love that Autumn was with me in that moment this morning. I'm not sure what she can really see but I know she saw White. I know it made her relaxed and at ease because she was not fussing for food. She just stared out the window with me and it was so beautiful.  

Even though it was only for a few moments today we brought Autumn outside in the snow so she could feel a few snowflakes touch her face. She was bundled up in a beautiful, soft, pink, fuzzy snowsuit bought by one of her Grandmas. 

We haven't really been outside since Autumn was born except of course the transporting from the house to the car and back again. I suppose that's the tough part with having a Fall/Winter baby. For some people they bring their babies out for walks but my anxiety wouldn't let me. Instead we stay cooped up in the house snuggling day after day until our perfect day arises and we'll give that stroller of hers a whirl! 

Aside from the weather my anxiety of her reflux has also caused me to stay a bit secluded in our home in all honesty. I feel she's had quite a few good days in a row now; however, her reflux and knowing some of the "epsisodes" (what I call a bad a feeding) where she screams in pain I am just not comfortable being around others. She's in pain and I don't want anyone seeing her like that, it's not fair for her either. I rather be home working on methods to make her feel better when she has everything she needs here.

That's something that I'm looking forward to. Everyday that her reflux improves I feel more excited to go for visits and not have to time her feedings so we are back just in time for her to eat. 

Today was special. I absolutely love snow as it's so beautiful and the only excuse where I let Mother Nature cause it to be incredibly cold outside. I'm glad Autumn was able to experience her first snowfall. Next year we can play in the snow, make a snowman, fall over in a snow pile, ride on her father's back, play with Peanut and throw snowballs.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Embrace Moments and Stop Time

I still can't believe Autumn is 2 months old. I know in years from now I'll be saying the same thing. I get emotional by the end of each day knowing that when we wake up she's 1 day older than the last. I wish that we could be given a bunch of moments in which we could stop time. It of course is hard to choose moments... but if I had some chances to go back, I'd hold tight to the moment I was handed Autumn. I would have smelled her little newborn head longer and rubbed my face longer against her fuzzy little newborn hair before it all fell out. Because of this feeling of days rapidly passing by, I embrace all the time I get with Autumn. I tell her what's happening in those moments and why they're so special. Why life is so beautiful. I'm happy to have moments like that captured but I want them back already.
9 Days Old

1 Month Old

2 Months Old


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Infant Reflux.. Not What The Mommy Ordered

This is our smiling baby girl. The happy baby and she really is a happy baby more than 90% of the time. Then there is that small % of time where she is a little sad face. Once I see those pouty lips, scrunchy nose and chin wrinkles appear I know that there is going to be a drop in the fun Autumn roller coaster ride. That happy smile can go to a sad face within seconds, minutes, hours or from a random noise that awakes her while she was peacefully sleeping.

Babies are just as emotional as their new mommies (in my opinion). That's what I have learned in these 8 weeks of Autumn's life. You can do everything you can possible to make them happy which most of the time works but sometimes they just are little fussy faces. 

Aside from those moments our little jelly bean is going through a rough time with Infant Reflux which we just discovered within the last few weeks. Certain symptoms we just took as "she's a newborn and that's how babies are". It wasn't until last week that I just felt something was not right. I didn't realize how common it was and it's been comforting talking to other mommies that went or are going through reflux with their little munchkins. (Shout-out to the most amazing support system!)

I wanted to write a post on this so that I can track Autumn's progress and when we get past this I hope it can help other moms to know they're not alone. That is how I felt, alone... until I found others that are battling this. I am no expert by any means but am sharing our experience. 

To an adult, reflux is not fun, and it may not seem like the worst thing in the world, but when a baby has it and you see the pain they're going through.. it's honestly like someone ripping your heart out and you're told to give it time.

What are her symptoms? She was beginning to arch her back during feedings and scream. She pulls away from the bottle several times as well my breasts during nursing and latches back on. These actions she would repeat. For a breastfeeding mom that looks forward to that comfort of nursing, experiencing this takes quite a toll on you emotionally. Not being able to nurse your baby to sleep or comfort her leaves you feeling extremely depressed, unfulfilled and insecure. She would do this all while crying and seeming as though she's incredibly uncomfortable and frustrated. She spits up quite frequently which of course causes more acid. Mind you, there are good feedings normally earlier in the day. It always progresses as the day does. She would cry at times being placed on her back and wake up at moments screaming (not fussing or baby cries) as if she was in complete pain. Sadly, for a few weeks we thought maybe she's just gassy in which we followed instructions on helping the baby push through that..... but no dice.

Supposedly, reflux can just "go away" between 3-6 months old, vamoosh, outta here! Some have mentioned it took a year before their babies reflux vanished. If you're going through this you know it's not something you can wait out and let it pass. You're missing out on valuable time with your babies during those feedings and at other times during the day. 

What are our Treatment Methods? There's so many things we have read online that work for some and not for others but we are working on trying everything possible! I'm constantly researching to work on getting rid of this reflux or at least controlling it.

*We have bought a sleep wedge for her crib to raise her up. This way when she sleeps, she's on an angle (just as adults need to do when they have reflux). 
*After each feeding we have to keep her upright for 20-30 minutes. For moms that know if a baby is sleepy this definitely is a burden as you know your baby is completely exhausted, but that's what we need to do. 
*Burping, burping, burping.. man does she hate burping. This hasn't changed as it's something we've always done and has to be done reflux or no reflux.
*We have now began adding a very small amount of rice cereal to her bottles she gets in the evening of breast milk. This weighs down the milk which then makes is less likely of her spitting up after the bottle. 
*Medicine - We are parents that do not like giving our baby medicine and prefer other options but in this case we have started her per the pediatrician on Zantac. She's been on this for a week now and we had to increase the dosage to the maximum that is still safe for her weight and age. 
*Mommy Diet - I have began a diet to rule out any allergies that are causing Autumn's reflux. I have taken milk, eggs, nuts, soy and fish out of my diet. Try finding stuff to eat... it's a toughie but it's what this mommy has to do for her baby!

We're hoping that among all of this there were will be some relief for our little Autumn Lily. Already, she is doing well with the rice cereal in her evening bottles. Shes' successfully finished them with no spit up which is wonderful. We haven't noticed a difference yet with the sleep wedge as she's still sleeping the same stretches as before. The medicine as I mentioned we had to increase. If there is no change by next week we'll be seeing other options. The diet, I just began so we wouldn't see a drastic change quite yet.

I am at this moment sending positive thoughts to all of those mommies out there in which their little babes are suffering from reflux. It's definitely a tough time but enjoy all the smiles your baby gives you and embrace all those happy moments you get during the day. That's what keeps you going and provides the light at the end of the tunnel that once there is control over the reflux we'll get that small % of time we're missing out on, back.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mommy Life!

I carry Autumn from room to room as she's focusing more and discovering new things we always stop at any mirror so I can have her admire her cuteness. She smiles and mainly looks up at me. I can't wait until she's giggling and her reflection giggles back. I look at myself sometimes and see this pale, freckled woman with bags under her eyes, chapped lips, frizzy hair pulled back with random pieces hanging down as if I got a bad haircut and pieces got missed. My clothes don't match and nor do my socks if I have any on. I have to say though, I'm OK with it all and I can laugh at myself for it. Because when I turn my head and look at the beautiful girl I'm carrying that's what is most important. So here are some fun facts I've learned about myself that I'm sure one day will change once we have a nice daily routine together, but for now I find it all hilarious.

Mommy's Attire:
I was very happy when I put on a pair of my pre-baby jeans and they fit. I danced in the mirror, spinning around with so much excitement. Amazing, right? Well, I can count on one hand how many times I've worn my jeans since we had Autumn. 

Sweat pants, pajamas, my robe, leggings, sweatshirts and easy access tops to "the ladies" for breastfeeding is my daily wardrobe.

There are days you will change your shirt as often as you change diapers...
There are days you won't bother changing your shirt. 
There are days you don't know how many days in a row you've worn the same thing.
There are days you won't know what is even on your shirt (Did I have chocolate today?)

Mommy's Hair: 
I always loved my hair and curling it. For the longest time in my teens, I wanted to be a hairdresser (in another life possibly). 

I have a tub of bobby pins to pull my bangs up that I'm desperately trying to grow out, hair elastics up the ying-yang as Autumn's new favorite thing is pulling my hair, which I'm not going to lie.. it's the cutest thing ever and makes me thankful it's long enough for her to snug on. 

I am constantly pulling strings of my hair off her clothes and taking back what she rips off my head from her teenie little hands. When taking a shower I find hair elastics and bobby pins on the bottom of the shower as I am in such a rush I forget to take my hair down.

My hairbrush? Where is my brush? I can't even remember the last time I brushed my hair. Perhaps Christmas? Yes, I am pretty sure I brushed my hair on December 25th. 

Mommy's Skin:
I used to never be able to leave the house without making up. Never ever. I would literally have a panic attack if my face wasn't made up as I never wanted anyone to see me without makeup. A true insecurity and something I battled so long. Near the end of my pregnancy I began wearing less and less of my makeup to the point I did not care anymore that I was leaving the house with a blank canvas aka my face. Mainly because I was so uncomfortable!

There's no time for makeup and if there is, its a light brush of foundation where half of the powder falls in the sink or on my bedroom floor. I don't have time to take the clumps of mascara out of the brush so they either end up in my eyeball or I smear my eyelashes and then have to wipe it off my face, removing any or all foundation I was able to apply. Eye Shadow? I'm pretty sure at times I put a different color on each eye instead of blending in two colors on both eyes. 

I have a skin cream that is said to moisten the skin and make it smooth. Well, we will just see about that! It does however make me feel good putting that on twice a day.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

The New Me.... Katie.... Mommy for now and I love it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Don't Forget To Smile

In love. 
That is the first two words that come to mind.
When I think about our beautiful little girl, Autumn Lily. 
I love being a mom.
I love being her mom.
Every morning when we walk up to her crib, she looks up and her eyes open so wide.
She stretches her arms and legs out. 
She touches her face and gives us this big smile. Huge smile.
For any worries we have or as exhausted as we are. 
Believe me.. we are tired.
Her smile starts our day off the right way.
It's like getting a second wind. 
A refreshing new appreciation for life.
I love sharing her smile with everyone else each day
because I know what impact she makes on our life.

*I promise to share my story of her delivery soon.

Autumn Lily: 
November 20th 2014
7lbs & 19 3/4 inches