Thursday, December 16, 2010


Sigh. To say the last couple of weeks have been a little tough is like saying the Olson twins are a little thin. Or Edgar Allen Poe is a little dark. get the idea. Three weeks ago our sweet little Camille had a major change in terms of sleeping and the result is a very tired and stressed-out quartet of Burels. I think what makes this so difficult is we're almost 6 months into this game, and this is a whole new strategy from Baby Burel. And we did NOT see it coming. Well played, my love, well played.

It started with Camille's naps suddenly dropping down to 30 minutes. For those of you not obsessed with infant sleep, at this age a baby should sleep roughly 10 hours at night and anywhere from 3-5 hours during the day, depending on which expert you are reading at the time. The 3-5 hours of daytime sleep is usually in the form of 3-4 naps. So quite obviously, Camille's 30 minute nap regime was not sufficient daytime sleep. Even if she took 5 naps (which she does) it still isn't hitting the minimum daytime sleep hours. And 5 naps a day is really annoying.

I tried everything to extend her naps. The Baby Whisperer offered the "pick up/put down" strategy, which is (duh) picking up the baby when she cried and immediately putting her down when she stops. Rinse and repeat until baby is asleep. I tried that for awhile and only once succeeded in extending her nap by 15 minutes. And it took 30 minutes to do so. The Baby Whisperer recommends "wake to sleep" as a technique to extend naps. Gently stirring the baby before she wakes up at 30 minutes supposedly resets her meter and allows her to sleep through to the next sleep cycle. That one never worked, instead it just took a couple minutes off her 30 minute nap. The Baby Whisperer suggests "sitting", thoughtfully named for the technique of sitting with the baby without moving or engaging until she is asleep. I still do that but it doesn't extend naps, it is just part of our naptime routine. I tried a bunch of things from the No Cry Nap Solution, but all I can remember is giving Camille a "lovey", creating a consistent routine and buying blackout shades.

After about a week of this, Camille's nighttime sleep also changed. She'd been going down around 7pm after a set routine. Bill and I would put her in our bed to start out the night and then move her. We did this because she was screaming for several hours a little over a month ago and laying on the bed with her put her to sleep quickly. After the change in naps, laying on the bed became problematic because she would wake during transfer. No amount of consoling and soothing would put her back to sleep and after a few nights of that, I was going mad. A baby screaming in your ear for 2 hours is no fun. Again, I think what made it so bad was it was a change from her previous behavior. Who was this child?

Feeling like we had no other choices, we looked into the Ferber method. For those of you not versed in infant sleep strategies, Ferber used to be known as the "cry it out" method and was pretty controversial at the time. It also has had a hard time overcoming that reputation. We decided to go ahead and do it since she was screaming anyway. Ferber suggests progressive waiting, which means putting baby down, soothing a short time after that and gradually extending the wait time.

After buying the book and reading about the method we were convinced this is the right thing to do, just unsure if it is the right time to do it. Ferber suggests not using progressive waiting until the baby is 4-6 months old. Camille is 5 and a half months, but because of her preemie-ness she is four months and 3 days as of today. Another problem is she could still need a feeding during the night. A lot of experts say that the baby doesn't need a feeding in the middle of the night past 6 months.

We trudged ahead because again, we felt we had no choices. What we were doing was not working, was making everyone crazy and sleep deprived. So we started. We decided we would no longer put her in our bed. We also stopped the swaddle. We agreed that if she woke during the night, I would feed her once. The first two nights were pretty hard. She went down easy but woke quickly after 30-45 minutes. She cried for 50 minutes. She woke again later that night, after midnight and I fed her. She then cried 50 minutes. For two nights it was a variation of that pattern. Teddy would whine in his crate. I was curled up in a ball sobbing. Bill was listening to his whole family cry.

It got better after the second night. Still wake ups, but less crying to go back to sleep. She also had two amazing morning naps, 90 minutes for one and 2 and a half hours for another! I thought we'd maybe turned a corner. Then last night.

Down easy, cries that lasted less than a minute. Then she woke up at 12:20. Pretty early for her night feeding and she'd eaten 9 ounces before bed, so I decided we should let her cry rather than me nursing her back to sleep. She cried for over an hour. Bill was confused why I'd changed the plan. When he said that, I got up and fed her and she fell asleep quickly. And woke again at 3:45. And cried until 5 when I got her up. We ate, dressed and played. She was incredibly tired but I got her to stay up until 6:30. Her usual morning nap is at 8. I'm not sure what this is going to do to her routine today. Should be interesting. I feel bad for me, as I've had almost no sleep but I feel worse for Bill who is greeting 8th graders this morning on just as little sleep as me.

We're not sure how to adjust the plan, but I've learned some things the last couple of weeks.

1. You can't make a baby stay awake or go to sleep. You can try, but if they stay awake or go to sleep, don't think you had anything to do with it.

2. People who don't have young children assume that kids are always hungry. They never guess that the baby is tired. Before I had a baby, I probably assumed hunger too. With my baby, she is usually tired. In fact, if Camille is crying it is one of 3 things, in this order:
1) she's tired
2) something else is wrong and by the time you figure it out, it won't be bothering her anymore
3) she's hungry
People often ask me when she is crying if she is hungry. It is usually less than an hour after I've fed her. I wonder why no one ever asks if she is tired.

3. Regardless of what people think, I really appreciate those people who offer support, not criticism. When you are in the thick of it, "Why don't you..." kind of makes the hairs on my neck stand up, especially if it is accompanied by a "Well we never/always...". My parents have been incredible since Camille was born. Though I'm sure they have opinions about how Bill and I are doing things, they have never said one thing about any of our decisions. Instead, they just ask questions, offer encouragement, and tell us we're doing a great job. They probably have a ton to say about it in the car ride on the way home, but they've never once criticized in any way.

4. Sleep training is hard on the whole family. Without sleep, I get very emotional and have a hard time dealing with stressful situations, like a baby screaming in my ear for two hours. Without sleep, Bill has a hard time dealing with 150 8th graders. When forced to listen to a crying baby for hours on end, Teddy gets stressed out. He had a gastro incident this week that prompted a vet visit. $150, two shots, and two prescriptions later, it was determined that it was likely caused by stress. So sleep training gives Teddy diarrhea.

We'll figure out what is best for this family. One thing that is so clear about parenthood is that what is right for one family may be wrong for another and vice versa. That is why there are so many experts and stupid books. This mama likes things a little more clear cut which is why this has been the most challenging thing I've done in my life.

In the meantime, somethings haven't changed. Camille is still the prettiest baby I have ever seen. Her smile is starting to turn into a laugh, which is glorious. Her eyes light up when you walk into a room and her fingers curl around my shirt while she's nursing. She is a delight and when she happens to be having a great stretch of sleep, I find myself missing her. I mean, look at this child:


Monday, November 22, 2010

Ahh, marketing

There is a commercial on television for Nutella, a chocolate hazelnut spread that is quite possibly the most delicious thing you consider a condiment.  What cracks me up about this commercial is how they spin it to make Nutella a healthy food.  Mom is running around, busy, trying to get her kids out the door complaining about how difficult it can be to get them to eat a healthy breakfast.  She goes on to say that she is grateful for Nutella because now she can get her kids the healthy start to the day they need.  By spreading Nutella on whole grain bread.  The kids gobble it up.

Of course they do.  I would eat Nutella spread on a piece of cardboard.  Or shoe leather.  Or a rice cake.  I just wouldn't then turn around and say it is healthy.  Would the same mother allow the kids to put frosting on their bread?  What about melted chocolate?  This commercial drives me so crazy that I looked up the nutrition information for Nutella as well as some other foods.  Allow me to compare.

Nutella has 200 calories and 21 grams of sugar for each serving of 2 tablespoons.

2 tablespoons of chocolate chips has 110 calories and 9 grams of sugar.
2 tablespoons of canned chocolate frosting has 140 calories and 16 grams of sugar.

Now, I fully understand that calories alone don't determine if a food is healthy or not.  Usually I consider fat, protein, fiber and vitamins as well.

Nutella has 11 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, 1gram of fiber, 4% of your daily requirements of calcium and iron.

Chocolate chips have 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of fiber and 4% daily requirement of iron and 2% calcium.

The frosting has 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of fiber and 4% daily requirement of iron.

After comparing the numbers, I would probably go with the chocolate chips for overall health because of the low fat and calorie count.  I wonder if Nestle should consider marketing chocolate chips as health food.  All they have to do is put them on whole grain bread.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Three songs I really hate

"If I Die Young" by The Band Perry.  Favorite line:  A penny for my thoughts, oh no, I'll sell them for a dollar.  They're worth so much more after I'm a goner.

"Don't Take the Girl" by Tim McGraw.  Quite possibly the whiniest song ever performed.

"Stuck Like Glue" by Sugarland.  Why does she rap?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Too much at once!

At Camille's four month appointment the doctor told us that we should be moving her to her crib and we should stop swaddling her.  Since she was tiny, our experience has been that if she is swaddled, she will sleep longer.  Part of this was probably that they told us to do it in the hospital, Camille is a preemie, and we felt that developmentally, she needed the comfort of the tight swaddle to sleep.  Now, at 12.5 pounds and four months, we are supposed to stop the swaddle so she can comfortably and safely move at night.

We knew that changing her routine so drastically on the night she had her shots was a bad idea, so Bill and I put Camille to bed in her normal routine (swaddle and bassinet) and figured we'd start with the crib tomorrow, get her used to that and then remove the swaddle.

Unfortunately Camille was super fussy last night, woke up early (ironically, she was out of her swaddle for the first time ever) and fussed during her late night feeding.  I made a judgement call and put her in a Halo sleepsack but feared that she would be too cold.  We swapped it for a long-sleeved, fleece sleep blanket and I just put her down so I could pump.

The temperature thing is a problem because Bill and I sleep much better when cool.  I'm afraid without the swaddle she is going to be too cold in just a sleep sack (Halo's are sleeveless).  When we move her out of the crib we can close the heat vent in our room and that might help.

Not sure why I started this blog so early in the morning.  Wish us luck on the sleep-front.  Well, mainly me since I'm the one who suffers if she doesn't sleep well.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

'Tis the season!

I've commented before about how stores start putting out Christmas decorations as soon as the month ends in "ber" but once Halloween has passed, nothing is holding stores back from displaying fake trees, ornaments and ads that whip kiddos into a frenzy over the next "it" toy. While I still think it is a little premature to start shopping for holiday decorations, it is not to early to start preparing your holiday cards. Bill and I sent out Christmas cards once with Polly and once with Teddy. Now that we have our little darling, Holiday cards are a must! I love hanging cards on our front door, especially the photo cards, and I want my baby's adorable face to be smiling at all our friends and family this holiday season.

I read about this fabulous offer on one of the blogs I read and am super excited to participate as well. First, because I love free things, and second because I really love Shutterfly. I've ordered photobooks from Shutterfly before and am so happy with them. As a non-scrapbooker, this site is really for me. It is easy to use, produces beautiful results, and takes all the annoying scrapbookiness out of making memory books for Camille. Yay!

Now that we have a baby, we're finding that photo gifts are such a great thing, especially for grandparents. I made photobooks for Camille's baptism for Grandma Micki, Grannie and Grandpa and it was a big hit! There are so many different ways to do it and it is so easy. Be sure to check out some of these cool designs.

While getting this post together, I enjoyed looking through their holiday card collection. (Click that link to see what I'm talking about!)

This was one of my favorites:

I like the classic design and the reference to one of my favorite carols.

For a folded card option, this design caught my eye:
I like how simple it is and non-traditional.

I'm considering using their site for gifts as well and think these calendars will make lovely gifts for family. For the family that reads my blog, try to act surprised! I love that you can print important dates into the calendars, which is helpful for remembering birthdays and other events.

When all your cards and gifts are ready for mailing, print out fun photo labels here. It is so nice to add that personal touch to a card and there are so many creative designs. This was one of my favorites:

For my blogger friends, think about taking advantage of this offer! It is an amazing deal and so easy, promoting a site I love!

So start shopping because those cards need to get in the mail!

Shades of blue

Even though I have 3 months left of maternity leave, I've started thinking about when I go back and what it will mean for everyone - for me, for Bill, for Camille.  I am overwhelmed with the feeling that going back to work is just...wrong.  Camille is so tiny and darn it, she needs me.  Of course she will be well taken care of with Bill, and what a lucky little girl to have her Daddy take care of her for 3 months.  But we're still nursing and the thought of being at work when my little girl needs to eat makes my stomach ache.  I'll be pumping of course, which sets up a whole new pile of anxieties.  Being a working, nursing mom isn't easy for anyone, but being a teacher puts a whole other layer on top of the challenges.  It is recommended that I pump twice while at work.  The only way I can see to do this is to pump during my lunch and during my planning period.  At the moment, these two times are scheduled right next to each other during the day so that won't work.  I'm going to request that my schedule be changed to an early lunch and a late prep and hope for the best.  This morning I pumped for almost 25 minutes.  I have a 30 minute lunch and a 50 minute prep.  I'm taking over Bill's role as team leader while he is on paternity leave because we didn't want to lose the stipend.  That means I have 25 minutes during the day to do all the teacher things I need to do and be team leader.  I really don't see how this is going to work in a way that doesn't leave me a ragged, stressed out mess.  I was never much for staying late at work and that was before I had a beautiful baby waiting for me at home.  Ugh.  I need to push it out of my mind because I have 3 months left with her and I don't want to spend them worried and sick.  

I know millions of moms have done this and it is fine.  I know I will have lots of support from Bill.  I know I'm not the first teacher mom to go back to work while nursing.

But it still sucks.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Camille will be 3 months old on Friday.  Every mom I know says that she can't believe how quickly the time goes by and I won't be the exception to the rule.  Camille has changed so much since we brought her home in July and to look at her now you wouldn't think she is the same baby.  I'm taking her in tomorrow for her echocardiogram, the first she has had since leaving the womb.  I hope that this will be able to tell us right away if Camille has Marfans or not, but I imagine it will be a longer process than that.  I think they have to monitor the changes in her echos over time and we may not have a diagnosis for many years.  What I am planning on teaching Camille early, starting tomorrow, is that going up to OHSU for echos means a treat afterwards.

After the echo we are going to lactation for another appointment.  I am 90% sure that Camille is perfect as usual - gaining weight like the little champion she is - but her eating habits have changed so much in the last couple of weeks that I really want to check to ease my mind.  She seems to finish nursing much faster than ever before (15-20 minutes) and some days nurses every 3 hours (like yesterday) and others ever 4-5 hours.  Mama likes consistency and routines, so this just makes me a little nervous.  Also, she was gaining 10 ounces a week (average is half an ounce to an ounce a day) and I can't believe this rate is going to continue much longer.  My calculations say that she should weigh over 12 pounds.  Gadzooks, that's a big baby!

One thing my sweet baby has learned about her mama is that Mama needs breakfast and coffee in the morning.  Camille has graciously obliged by taking a 20-30 minute nap after she nurses in the morning.  I don't know how long this will last and I never know what the rest of the day will look like, but she is pretty routine with allowing me time to make breakfast and drink one cup of coffee everyday before she wakes up and needs attention.  Sweet girl.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Señorita Crankypants

I really believe that my little girl is a sweetheart through and through.  She is cuddly and perfect and behaves like an angel in all social situations.  I'm completely in love with her.  But like all normal babies, she has her moments of fussiness and they tend to always fall between 7 and 11pm.  I wish I could figure out what the problem is because she is so sad and sad for me, because this is the time I am the most exhausted.  (You would think the exhaustion would occur at the 2am slot but oddly enough, it doesn't.)  It comes on with no warning (other than we know it will happen each night, I mean she just suddenly is pissed off) and then stops just as suddenly.  As soon as she stops, she falls asleep for what I consider "the night", though she is not sleeping through the entire night.  I would say that she consistently falls asleep at 12:30am.  I've been trying to time her feedings so that she can maximize this sleeping time, but I don't think it is working very well.  Camille ate her last meal of the night last night at roughly 10pm.  She fell asleep at 11:30 and is still sleeping.  (So why are you up, Mindy?  Well, I happen to have one of the worst stomachaches ever so I'm sipping 7Up and waiting for the Pepto to kick in, because that is what I should be doing when my infant daughter is having one of the best stretches of sleep she's ever had, thankyouverymuch.  Grrr...)

Anyway, 6 weeks is supposed to be the peak of her fussiness so I'm hoping this is going to start to fade away and we can then work on longer stretches of sleep at night.  That way I can get some real blogging done while my whole family happily snoozes away in the other room.  Grrr...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What the hell does Einstein know?

Einstein said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Obviously Einstein was never up at night with an infant because he quickly would have changed his definition to say that insanity is trying to reason with a baby in the middle of the night. Total effing insanity.

It has to be insanity. Only an insane person would sweetly try to convince an obviously hungry baby that accepting the boob placed in her face would make her happier as she is clawing with her baby nails at the same boob with one hand while repeatedly smacking said boob with the other.

Only an insane person would keep trying because she KNOWS the baby is hungry only to have the baby clamp down on the nipple with her little gums, twist her head back and forth (with nipple securely clamped in her mouth) and then scream a muffled scream (because the nipple is still in her mouth).

Insanity must be the explanation for the person who tries to convince this baby that she will feel better if she would just eat as the baby is glaring at that person and then fills her pants up. Insanity is the only thing that makes sense for the person to then say, "Oh, you must feel better! Now you'll want to eat because I know you're hungry!"

It has to be insanity that would lead the person to take the baby to the changing table and sweetly ask the baby to "hold still" in order to avoid getting poop everywhere as the baby, hungry, writhes back and forth wishing she had the nipple back.

It could only be insanity that would lead someone to reason with the baby that now that she is clean, she surely must want to eat. As they try again, baby, instead of taking the boob gratefully rather closes her eyes and takes a little snooze.

Now the insane person takes the baby to the other room to rock her, only to have her wake up and start squawking in a rhythmic fashion every three seconds. Insanely she tries to reason with the baby by bouncing her and shushing in her ear, only to have her continue to protest. At last, the insane person desperately offers the boob one more time, only to have the baby take it happily, munch away, and then promptly fall asleep.

The insane person says, "Wouldn't that have been easier if Baby listened to me in the first place?" Reasonable, non-insane husband would offer this explanation helpfully, "Well, she's just a baby."

Shut up, you. You and your sane, reasonable comments. When you're on the receiving end of a screaming, red-faced, beautiful baby who is clawing at your boobs and beating you on the chest only to poop all over herself, requiring a diaper and pajama change, THEN I might listen to you. When you are doing this on zero sleep, night after night, only then MIGHT I be convinced that a reasonable, sane explanation for this behavior could be that she is "just a baby."

In the meantime, where's my straightjacket?

Yawn, why am I up?

Considering how sleep deprived I am I think it really sucks that I am awake right now.  Baby and husband and dog are all fast asleep and I am wide awake.  I don't understand it!  It isn't just at night, either.  Sunday afternoon I took a picture of my whole family napping.  Everyone in this household but me seems to be able to fall asleep whenever they want.  I should be able to fall asleep as soon as I stop moving but instead I have the perfect opportunity to sleep we are.

So I might as well give you all an update on Camille!  She is almost 12 weeks old (gasp!) which means 6 weeks past her due date.  Unreal, if you ask me!  The book I am reading on sleep says that the peak of fussiness is around 6 weeks and despite what I said above, I would say that is true.  Camille usually is awake in the evening but the last few days she just seems annoyed about it.  It is really hard to settle her after 8pm and it usually passes around midnight.  I think the only consistent thing about her sleeping is that she tends to fall asleep for the night around 12:30.

I think we could start trying to get Camille to sleep in her crib but I really don't want to.  I like having her in our room because if she makes a noise (or doesn't make a noise, let's face it, I'm paranoid) I can check on her fairly easy.  Several friends have said that it wasn't until they moved baby out of their room that he/she started sleeping through the night, but but but.  I'm reluctant.

Camille probably weighs about 10 1/2 pounds based on her growth rate.  She can stretch some of her feedings to 5 hours but there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why sometimes she eats after 3 and others she goes to 5.  Most of the time it is 4 hours.  Her little legs have rolls and dimples on them and every time I change her diaper I just giggle with delight because it is the cutest thing!

Baby Girl is charming the pants off everyone she sees with smiles and coos.  This new behavior is so delightful and is becoming more frequent.  Today Grannie and Grampa came over to watch Camille while I went to the doctor.  Camille turned on the charm as soon as Grannie picked her up and my mom said to me later that even if she'd cried the whole rest of the time, after that first smile and coo she could pretty much have anything she wanted.  Yup, I think we're all in trouble!

She is also awake a little more and showing interest in what she sees.  She is especially fascinated by lights and often stares at the window or overhead light with amazement.  Sometimes the light even calms her down at a particularly fussy moment.  Odd.

I'm trying to put the books away and just go with the flow as a parent but I'm sure you can figure out how that is going.  I want to everything just perfect and as everyone else seems to understand, that just doesn't work with babies.  I'm sure my daughter will always be my greatest teacher, so I need to quit fighting it and just listen to her.  Old habits are hard to break, I guess!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Nap Watch 2010

Since Camille is officially 4 weeks past her due date, and my maternity leave has officially started, I feel we should start making an attempt at some routine/normalcy with her sleep schedule.  I'm fully aware that she still carves her own path, writes her own book, paves her own way, blah blah blah, but my Type A that I didn't realize was so ridiculously strong is taking over, and we must have order, people!

Ha, ha.  I crack myself up.  My basic desires for Camille's sleep life at this point are twofold.  First, I want to have a consistent bedtime routine that starts at basically the same time each night.  I'm not willing to bathe her every day because she doesn't need it and I don't think it would help her with consistency at this point, but eventually I would like that to be part of the routine.  So I'd like to start between 6 and 8pm and include a bath (every other day or so), a book, nursing, songs, and then bed.  Camille will likely be awake for awhile after our routine, because that seems to be her fussy time right now, but I still want the routine in place.  The problem with this newfangled plan is that Bill and I worked out a system wherein I go to bed between 7 and 9pm and sleep till he goes to bed at 11.  Another problem is that Camille still sleeps in our room and if I'm in there, it defeats the purpose of me going to bed for a few hours.  Tricky, yet I would say all cards point to me not going to bed for those few hours.

Next in my desire to control that which cannot be controlled, is to monitor her daytime sleep.  I think this would make life easier when she starts becoming alert enough to have naps, rather than just sleeping all day.  I'm just writing down when she sleeps and when she wakes up to see if there are any patterns.

I consider this more of a fact finding mission at this point.  As if I needed more reasons to stare at my beautiful baby all day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Funny story

A nurse from Clackamas County Health came by to check on us today.  Whenever a baby spends time in the NICU they give the agency your info and since it is a free service, I figured there was no harm in getting advice from one more place.  She weighed Camille at the end of the visit.  Since they weigh babies nekkid, I took Camille's diaper off and wrapped her in a towel in case she leaked.

Camille weighs 8 pounds, 1.5 ounces!  We were thrilled since that means she's gained 6 ounces in 4 days despite losing one bottle from her schedule.  After we were done cheering, Camille completely emptied herself (number 2, of course) all over the towel and my shirt.

We didn't bother to reweigh.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How old is Camille?

That's hard to say. Camille was born July 1, 2010. Simple math tells you that Camille is 7 weeks, 4 days. Ah! It is not that simple though! Camille was born at 33 weeks, 6 days gestation. A term pregnancy is 40 weeks gestation so Camille's due date was determined to be August 13th. That means that she was born 6 weeks premature. For the next year, Camille will have both her chronological age (based on her birthday) and her adjusted age (based on her due date). Chronological age is used to calculate things like vaccination schedule and her adjusted age is for developmental milestones and weight. She may be 7 weeks old, but she looks like a newborn since she is only 7 1/2 pounds. Camille will have her first set of shots at her 2 month appointment (chronological age) which will be around September 1st. Her chronological age will be 8 1/2 weeks. Her adjusted age will be 2 1/2 weeks. So basically you just subtract 6 weeks (how many weeks early she was) from her actual age and you have her adjusted age. Her adjusted age is important. When term babies reach developmental milestones like holding up their heads, grasping toys, etc., they usually do so at around a certain time. We will use her adjusted age to determine if she is on track rather than her chronological age.

So, Camille is 7 1/2 weeks old (chronologically) and her adjusted age is 1 1/2 weeks. At this point, term babies are considering things like discovering their hands (2-3 months), smiling (1-3 months) and cooing (2-4 months). Camille will not likely reach those milestones for another month or so due to her adjusted age.

HOWEVER, Camille is a rockstar and can develop at any rate she darn well pleases. I've definitely seen some smiles already!

After the first year she will likely be caught up and the adjusted age will no longer be relevant.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Honeymoon is Over

I can't believe I haven't posted in almost 3 weeks.  Feels like a lifetime when I think about how much Camille and her parents have changed.  She is truly an outstanding baby and we're just loving her!  I think things are going to change a bit this week and the bliss we've been experiencing may soon be shifting a bit.  Bill goes back to work tomorrow for one day (leadership training) and then next Monday he is back for good.  We have worked out this fabulous system that allows for both of us to get at least 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep each but there is no way it will work with Bill back at work.  He can't teach 150 middle schoolers on 3 hours of sleep so we have to adjust like most normal parents.

As we prepare to make this switch, Camille seems to sense that things are changing or something, because I'm sensing she is shifting as well.  Up until this point, Camille sleeps between feedings pretty exclusively, resulting in about 8 2-3 hour naps per day.  Camille also sleeps pretty well in her bassinet for 3-4 of these naps.  Now a delightful 7 week old baby, she is staying awake for longer stretches and has decided (just today) that the bassinet is not a lovely place to take her naps.  Uh oh.  Much more enjoyable place to sleep is on Daddy's chest or in Mommy's arms.  Uhhh oh.  Her adjusted age is 1 week and developmentally, kiddos aren't ready to be sleep trained until at least 4 months old.  Uhhhh ohhhh.  Stay tuned.

The positive side of this change in Camille is that she is awake more.  As if she could get any cuter, I do believe that baby got cuter!  Such a doll as she looks around with those enormous eyes!  She is starting to focus a little on things (faces, toys, lights) and it is so fun to watch her work it out in her mind.  I noticed her focusing on the TV this afternoon which freaked me out a bit so we'll have to start leaving the room when she wakes up and the TV is on.

She outgrew her first pair of pants this week and has 2 pairs of jammies that are on their last couple of wearings.  At lactation on Friday, Camille weighed 7 pounds, 11.5 ounces.  Officially 3 pounds heavier since birth!  We cut a bottle out of her schedule (she was eating 4 bottles a day) in the hope that she will nurse more to compensate.  We go back to lactation on Thursday and the answer will be in her weight gain.

I'm working on a post about why I hate the mall and hope to post it sometime this week.  That will be my goal.  Today my goal was to take a shower.  (I didn't get a chance yesterday.)  I accomplished that so we'll see about the post!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sleep deprived line of questioning

Questions to myself at 3:15am:

1.  Why is the Goodnight Moon book out?
2.  Did Bill read Camille Goodnight Moon last night?
3.  When would he have read it to her?
4.  Was it out for the midnight feeding?  (no)
5.  How did the nipple shield (don't ask) get on top of the book?
6.  Did Bill come read her the book and move the nipple shield?
7.  When would he have come in here?
8.  Would I have noticed Bill take Camille out of her bassinet right by our bed and bring her in here?
9.  Did Bill take Camille out of her bassinet, come into her room, grab the book, read the story, pick up the nipple shield from the midnight feeding, put it on top of the book, bring Camille back to bed and return to bed himself all without me noticing?
10.  Am I sleep-reading stories to my child?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wait a minute...Two babies???

The whole family trooped up the hill today for an appointment with the lactation specialist.  I'm sure all the doctors that cared for me and Camille did an excellent job and earned their paychecks (stay tuned for a future post on THAT) but I think the lactation specialists have been the most helpful part of this whole experience.  Of course their job is to help with all things breastfeeding, but they've also given great advice on the health and development of our preemie.  Today, after finding out that Camille weighs 6 lbs 5 oz, up 4 ounces since Tuesday (that's hella awesome for those of you that don't follow weight gain of preemie infants transitioning from bottle to breast), we worked on technique with a sort of hungry baby.  We were an hour early on her schedule so she humored us, but was much happier snuggling with Daddy afterwards.  (Imagine life about 2 hours after Thanksgiving dinner.  Yeah, you'll eat the pie, because it is there, but unbuckling your pants and lying on the couch is a little more appealing.)

We were talking about pumping and how to make it easier.  Since I have to pump every three hours, basically after every feeding, I essentially have 2 babies.  My beautiful, sweet Camille is baby number one and my trusty, hospital rental pump is baby number two.  Both babies require separate techniques.  Her suggestion regarding my pump baby was to make a special bra so that I can pump hands free.  My good friend suggested this to me a couple of weeks ago (thanks Melissa!) but I needed to hear the suggestion again after been knee deep in this to understand how helpful it is.  Basically, I just cut holes into an old bra and now I can pump and blog at the same time!  (Guess what I'm doing now!)  Genius.

I'm entering the part of the day that brings me huge relief.  It isn't the best part of the day, nor my favorite, those moments always include Camille.  Right now I'm pumping for the last time of the day.  When I'm done, I will go to sleep and I get a break until 9am.  This is really the only time I sleep.  Bill will wake up for Camille's 6am feeding and wheel her bassinet out of the room.  That is why I can sleep.  This child grunts, groans and stretches more than any creature I've ever encountered!  It is very hard to sleep to since my new, paranoid mama ears catch everything.  So 4:30 - 9am means actual sleep.  Goodnight!

More bloggin' fun

If you would like to follow Camille's blog and didn't get an invite from me, please send me your email address and I will pass it along!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Diapering 101

New parents may want to take note of this. I wish someone had warned me!

Note: This applies to newborns. It may apply to older children but my experience is only with newborns.

When you are changing an infant you basically follow the following steps:

1. Remove old diaper.
2. Clean baby's bum.
3. Put on clean diaper.

Unfortunately, several steps have been omitted, so I shall add them to the list.

1. Remove baby's adorable outfit. This involves finding all the snaps which are often hidden on ridiculously cute outfits. If you started with a sleeping baby, she will likely be stirring at this point. Moving quickly will help, but is rather pointless because baby will soon be what you call a "Wiggle Monster."
2. Place new diaper underneath old diaper. This is an important step the nurse showed us in the hospital. Reason why will become obvious later.
3. Have wipes at the ready. We use gauze pads from the hospital for wet bums and wipes for messy bums. Saves baby's skin a little. Have both wipes ready because until completing step #4, you don't know which one you will need.
4. Remove old diaper. You should now know which type of wipe to use. It is important to have followed step #2 because as you are removing old diaper, baby will likely wiggle and if messy bum touches changing pad, you have to change it.
5. Clean baby's bum. At this point, baby will be wiggling around which makes this one of the hardest steps. Most people will advise you to put both baby's feet in one hand and lift slightly to provide access to bum. I would concur that this is indeed the easiest way to clean bum, but I would like to add a very strong warning to everyone here. Hopefully you followed step #2 for this part. When you collect baby's feet and lift up you are essentially creating a cannon. Be careful where you point baby's bum because if baby wasn't quite done filling her diaper, the slight lift puts pressure on tummy and may cause baby to fire off a poop missile. If you're lucky, the ammo will land on the clean diaper. If you are unlucky, which come on kids, this is me we're talking about, the weapon will shoot out and land on the wall, changing pad, diaper pail and your arm and completely miss the clean diaper underneath.
5a. If necessary, use clean diaper underneath to defend against poop missile.
5b. Stop laughing.
5c. If necessary, take another clean diaper and place under now soiled diaper.
5d. Remove soiled diaper. Ignore poop on wall and changing pad at this point because what choice do you have?
5e. Repeat step 5 (clean baby's bum) and pray baby is out of ammo.
6. Put on clean diaper. Baby is now wiggling like a worm who just finished a double espresso, so this becomes the most challenging step. Not only do you have to continue hanging on to baby, you also have to adjust diaper and make sure to avoid any stray poop from the poop missile. Baby will not accommodate you by relaxing legs or holding still. Diapers are relatively easy to put on, provided baby is asleep, you have positioned it perfectly, and you don't have poop on hands.
7. Once baby is diapered, use wipe to remove poop from arm and use hand sanitizer.
8. If changing station is too covered in poop, pick up baby, put baby in bassinet for safe keeping, remove soiled linens from changing station and replace with clean. Come back to the wall when baby is asleep.
9. Wash hands.
10. Retrieve baby from bassinet and return to clean changing station.
11. Choose another ridiculously cute outfit. Baby is wiggling and probably squawking by now, so the cuteness of the outfit should be determined by the level of irritation of the baby. The cuter the outfit, the more complicated it will be to put on. The more annoyed the baby, the more wiggly the baby. Not sure the math problem there, but you should take all factors into consideration.
12. Dress baby. You can make fish faces and clicking noises. You can coo at baby. You can nuzzle baby's round and adorable tummy. None of this will calm baby but it will make you feel better.
13. Pick up baby in one arm and attempt to prepare a blanket for swaddling with one hand. Preparing a blanket means laying it flat and folding one corner down.
14. Swaddle baby. Baby might calm down at this point.
15. Pick up swaddled, clean, ridiculously cute baby and snuggle. Laugh when baby fills her pants while cuddling and remember that baby grows up too fast, and soon you will miss these moments.

Oh yeah, don't forget poop on the wall.

Family Accomplishments, by the Numbers

*As of noon today:

Papa Burel:
*jogged with Master Teddy
*picked up dog poop
*washed dishes
*put Round Up on weeds in front

Master Teddy:
*jogged with Daddy
*took a nap
*tried to lick baby
*got told no and had to go outside
*took another nap

Baby Burel:
*nursed like a big girl 
*pooped like a big girl
*napped like a big girl
*did about 37 extremely cute things, but who is counting

Mama Burel:
*ate a waffle
*put contacts in

*Not that anyone is keeping track

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Yeah, what day is it again?

I feel like I ask this question at least 10 times a day. I know exactly what the date is because I have to write it on all of Camille's bottles but I have no idea what day of the week it is - everything is just running together. Bill and I are going up to the hospital for most of the day. Our goal is to be with Camille for as many of her feedings as our bodies can take. Camille eats every 3 hours, so we try to get up to OHSU by 8:30am so we can do her 9am feeding. When we arrive, we change her diaper, check her temperature, switch her blood oxygen probe from one foot to another, unplug her from her monitors and feed her. If I breastfeed, that means we have to weigh her first. After she eats, we reweigh her and determine if she needs more in a bottle or not. Then we get her rewrapped, plugged in and ready for sleep. The whole process takes about an hour. When we finish, I have to go pump, then we try to figure out what to do for an hour and a half when it all starts again.

We've been doing her 9am, 12pm, and 3pm feedings, which means we're at the hospital from 8:30 - 4:30pm. My parents have been coming in daily and giving Camille her 9pm feeding. We're happy she has family for 4 out of 8 feedings, but of course we want to be there more. It sounds like we may need to stay home a little more because we think our little girl may be coming home soon and our house is far from ready. Camille is eating most of her feedings that her family is here for. The nighttime feedings have been a little less.

Today was a really long day because we also attended a parenting class from 3:30-5:30. If you weren't already stressed about being a parent to a preemie, be sure to take the parenting class. It is basically a breakdown of all the things that could go wrong if you do something stupid, like take the advice from the wrong book. I was a little deflated afterwards, because I like to do things exactly right, and instead I feel like we're getting mixed messages about what is right. Example: Don't use talcum powder of any kind. I knew this one, but another mama pointed out that in a going home packaged she received from the Mother Baby Unit (MBU) there is a bottle of baby powder. Another example: Swaddle baby so she has access to her hands. Bill and I have been swaddling Camille with her arms at her sides. Don't swaddle baby at bedtime. The nurses, and so also Bill and I, have been swaddling her to sleep. It is just frustrating and not only does everyone consider themselves an expert, all the actual experts disagree about everything.

In addition to the stress of the class, the stress of the environment where Camille is, and the stress of this whole situation, we had a pretty scary incident this afternoon while feeding Camille. We were smushed into our corner with screens up for privacy when we her this crash and thump and the screens moved. Startled the heck out of us and got immediately scary when we realized there was a woman lying on the floor outside our area. The poor woman had fainted and briefly blacked out. The nurses called a code to get rapid response up to her. She came to relatively quickly and was talking, but she was laying on the floor and we could see her head right below the screens. The adults were pretty stressed out so after the woman was tended to and taken to the ER, we calmed down and switched Camille to a bottle. I believe the woman will be just fine since she was talking on her way out the door. Bill and I agreed that we really need to get our baby home because the environment can't be good for her. (Sound familiar?)

So there you have it! Rest assured Camille is making excellent progress and is well on her way to coming home with us. Bill and I can't wait to be exhausted because of Baby Girl's needs at home and not because of daily trips to the hospital.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Before and After

It is really weird to be online, peruse this blog and Facebook, and reread things that I wrote just 5 days ago.  What a lifetime ago that was!  The last post, the one where I describe the lowpoint in the hospital, is especially funny to me now, knowing what I know.  I'd like to share the story of the last few days because I know many are curious, and I suppose I will want to remember some of the details some day, but I think it is important to point out that this part of the story is merely a blip.  A new life began 5 days ago, and that story, well, that's the page turner.

I checked into the hospital on June 23rd after some bleeding.  Bill and I weren't terribly concerned because the bleeding was very light and we've done this before.  I was 32 weeks 5 days pregnant and the docs really wanted to observe me.  I spent Wednesday night in the hospital and was shocked when they recommended I stay another night.  Friday morning the docs had all but discharged me.  Bill was on his way to the hospital, I was hanging out waiting when they put the fetal monitor on for one last check before discharge.  I started bleeding as she was hooking it up.  The plan changed and we learned I'd now be in the hospital at least a week for observation.  Strict bedrest (bathroom breaks only) was also prescribed, so Bill and I settled in for the wait.

Docs weren't kidding about strict.  I was not allowed to shower, not allowed to leave the room, even in a wheelchair.  Shower restrictions lifted Saturday and docs said Monday that I could take a wheelchair ride as long as I didn't leave the unit I was staying in.  Monday afternoon Bill stepped outside to get the wheelchair and I had another small bleed.  At this point I'd had 3 bleeds and we realized I would be in the hospital until the baby arrived.  They also decided to deliver her via cesarean at 37 weeks, which meant the wait was three weeks.  Wednesday morning they delivered the news and late Wednesday night, early Thursday morning was when I had my small breakdown.

And 20 minutes after I posted that post, I started bleeding again.  2 AM, I went down to Labor and Delivery for monitoring.  It was explained to me that the bleeding was definitely from the placenta previa and after 4 bleeds, the gambling was getting too risky.  Every time I bled I was at a greater risk of bleeding again and a greater risk for the next bleed being a huge blood loss that could jeopardize our health.  Their plan was to deliver the baby that same day.  For some reason I didn't panic.  Didn't get upset.  I just waited for a reasonable hour to call Bill and tell him to get Teddy ready for Summer Camp with our dear friends.  When he arrived, we calmly discussed the plan and chose the baby's name.  We'd been tossing two names around but I needed the name chosen and agreed upon before we went into surgery.  We also met with pediatricians to discuss the plan for the baby's arrival and the likely scenario she would be in after delivery.

At about 3:15 they started prepping me for surgery.  My epidural was placed and as they were moving me into a lying down position on the gurney, I had a pretty significant bleed.  Things moved pretty quick after that.

Camille Faith Burel was born on July 1, at 3:44 PM.  Bill and I heard a cry and he checked over the barrier to see her.  She was taken into the adjoining room to be assessed for what she needed.  My procedure was finished and on my way down to the cardiac ICU for recovery, they swung my bed by Camille so I could see her.

In the 3 minutes I got to see her, I could already tell that this child is a knock out.  Gorgeous black hair, perfect features.  I said goodnight and headed off for my stay in the ICU.  Camille was taken to the NICU.  The assessment of her breathing determined that she would need a C-Pap machine, which is the same machine sleep apnea patients use.  Daddy spent most of his time with her so he could tell me exactly what was going on with her.

Camille was given three enormous jobs before she is allowed to come home with us.  The first is to breathe on her own which Camille checked off her list overnight  When Bill arrived early Friday morning, Camille was off the C-Pap machine and had skipped the oxygen up the nose step entirely.  Her next job is to maintain her body temperature.  Camille needs to get a little fat on her body before she is able to work on this step.  The last step is the one she is working on now.  Camille must be able to eat her full, prescribed meal consistently.  She started eating 5 mLs on Sunday and has worked up to 25 mLs today.  In order to go home, she must consistently finish 35 mLs at every meal without help of the gavage, which is basically a feeding tube.

I stayed in the cardiac ICU for 3 nights -  little longer than we anticipated.  My heart did exactly it's job recovering from surgery and is showing no negative affects of pregnancy nor delivery.  I did lose quite a bit of blood in the surgery which has made recovery a slow process.  On Friday, Camille's second day of life, they were ready to get me out of ICU.  I turned on as much charm as possible when you haven't showered in 3 days and just gave birth and my legitimate tears bought me a visit to Camille...and another night in the ICU when I fainted.  That poor nurse!  A spike in heart rate Saturday morning earned me another night in ICU and I was finally able to leave Sunday morning.

Several times a day, when things are quiet, I stop suddenly and think, "What happened?"  I loved being pregnant and sometimes I look down at my belly and for a moment that lasts only a heartbeat, I wistfully remember and miss being pregnant.  Almost immediately though I get a picture in my mind of Camille and my heart leaps and screams, "She's here!  She's here!"  And she is perfect.  And how she got here is just one page in her story.  Stay tuned for that, because it will be the best story you ever read.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Us versus them

Warning: this post was written on an iTouch. I don't have the patience nor the skill to fix typos.

I am surprised it came this soon but I believe this may be the lowpoint. Writing this post is keeping me from crying which is the only reason I writing it a la hunt and peck on a device the size of a cAlculator. The docs told me yesterday, after they said I am here till the baby comes, that they would pit me on do not disturb at night which means no vitals checks from 10 to 6. I am awake because the nurse just left after checking my vitals. I asked why and she said the docs wanted to. Goody for them. I hVe not slept more than 2-3 hours at a stretch since I arrived and never once have my vitals or the baby's changed even a little. They are taking a healthy woman, in no pain, and put her in a pressure cooker, all under the banner of "we need to be safe" and I fear that my compliance and morale are soon going to be in jeopardy. I plan to tell them this tomorrow.

My healthy environment has all but disappeared and I don't see how increasing my stress, taking away sleep, taking away comfort, depriving me of fresh air and forcing everyone I care about to watch it all helplessly is going to keep me safe for another 3 weeks. I'll see if they can explain that in the morning.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Highs and Lows

Since the last time I posted, Bill and I have been bombarded with highs and lows.  I thought I would outline them for you all here.  Drumroll please.

High #1:  End of school.  The end of the year couldn't come fast enough for me this year and I think we all know why.  The excitement of the arrival of our little girl and knowing that I won't return to school till the end of January because I'll be taking care of her gave me an intense feeling of "senioritis".  So many things to do this summer and the hope that the weather would turn somewhat summery kept the anticipation going.

Low #1:  End of school.  The end of school this year unfortunately meant the governor announcing a need for a 9% budget reduction across the board.  Here we go again.  This time my job wasn't on the line, but we were faced with cutting days and salaries and possibly colleagues.  Our district cut 3 days off the end of this year and 5 days off the calendar next year. This added to the budget stress for us since I'm taking some time unpaid for maternity leave.  Plus kids were really sad to have some of their favorite end-of-the-year activities cut, like a field trip to Oaks Park and the 8th Grade Celebration.

High #2: Sunriver.  Bill and I and some good friends trooped off to Sunriver for 3 days to rest up, kick off summer, and get in one more trip before the baby comes.  We were blessed with some great weather and good times, including a trip to the pool (yea, exercise) and some shopping downtown Bend (yea, yummy lunch!)

Low #2:  The morning of our last day in Sunriver I woke up to discover that had started spotting.  We jumped in the car and raced home, called the doctor, and I checked into OHSU for 2 nights.  I really thought I was leaving Friday morning, but the bleeding started again and they told me to get comfy for the next week. I've been up here with no more incidences and am doing my best to be compliant and follow the rules.  It is not hard to follow the rules when you're in the hospital because, seriously, what are you going to do?  I'm on strict bedrest, only allowed to use the bathroom.

High #3: Our placenta.  Bill was talking to his cousin on the phone and I overheard him refer to "our placenta".  It reminded me that we are in this together.  It isn't my body causing this problem, or Baby Girl's, it is just a little bump on the road to having our family complete.  I was surprised at how much that reference meant to me.  We all have to do our parts right now, including Baby Girl.  Her job is to continue being perfect.  Every time she is on the monitor they comment about how great she is and how easy to track.  She is showing no signs of wanting to come early.  I'm sure her cooperation in the womb is an indicator of how lovely she'll be when she is finally here!

High #4: First shower.  I didn't shower on Wednesday because we left Sunriver so quickly.  By the time they let me shower it was Saturday.  Yuck.  That was the best shower, though.  I've had another since but it wasn't nearly as spectacular as the one after four days.  The CNA came in afterwards to check my vitals and we were talking about how great a shower is after you can't have one.  She pointed out that she remembered not getting to shower when she was in the war and water and electricity was scarce.  They also had to gather enough water in order to shower which made it really challenging.  That was a good reminder that maybe I don't have it so bad.

Low #3:  Missed shower.  My baby shower had to be cancelled because I was in the hospital which was really disappointing.  My sister came into town for it and we had friends and family traveling in for the event.  The host and hostess are two of the most gracious people I know and took care of everything.  And really, what are you going to do?  But I was still bummed to missed another opportunity to welcome Baby Burel.

High #5:  Missing the baby shower meant mini-showers in the hospital.  I may have been here but at least I got to see my sister and I've had visitors and tons of love and more than my share of the cookies that were for the shower.  Cookies make everything better.

Not sure if it is a high or a low so I'm going to call it a "ho".  Bill and I toured the neonatal ICU today.  Staff wanted us to see how it worked in case the baby has to spend some time there.  If she has to be born early, she would need to be there for awhile but there is also a chance that she'll have to be there if I need to be in ICU after her delivery.  Either way, touring that part of the hospital was emotional for me and huge incentive to follow the rules and do exactly what they say.  Baby Girl is 33 1/2 weeks, which is far enough along that she should do fine if she has to arrive early, but I'd really like her to hang out at least a few more weeks.

So there you have it.  The best case scenario right now is extreme boredom.  If there are no more "episodes" I should be able to go home the end of the week.  If there is any more bleeding, I'm likely here for the duration.  We're definitely hoping for boredom!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

28 Weeks!

I think we both look really weary in this picture.  

Maybe because we are anticipating severe sleep deprivation in only 12 weeks!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

23 1/2 weeks

If anyone has any suggestions for how you are supposed to stand when
posing for pregnancy pictures, please let me know.
I wanted to wear the same outfit and stand in the same spot
as my last photo to really see the progress,
but I thought outside would be prettier.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Breakfast Story

Breakfast is tricky business at our place. Bill has an egg intolerance and gets severe stomach aches after he eats them. But he loves eggs so this is sad. I don't care for eggs unless they are hard boiled, though I'll eat them fried with the yolks broken on untoasted bread. Very few breakfast dishes are eggless and if they are, they are either meat-laden (yay for Bill, boo for me) or sweet sweet and covered in syrup and butter. So at our house, we eat a lot of cereal and toast.

But this morning I had a hankering for pancakes. I'd gotten up early and had some tea and kept arguing with myself about whether I should make some. Bill make eggless French toast last weekend, so it seemed fair that I make some pancakes and bacon. Decision made, I started cooking.

Mishap #1: We only had 3 strips of bacon. Everyone knows that is hardly a sharing amount, and Bill told me I could have them. We are a sharing family, though, so I figured Bill could have 2 strips and I'd have one, so I started cooking the bacon.

Mishap #2: Pancake mix must be 2 years old with no visible expiration date on package. Not too comfortable with that, so I found a recipe online and trudged on. Bacon is about a third of the way cooked.

Mishap #3: Recipe called for 8 servings which is a lot of pancakes. Luckily the website I get my recipes from has a feature where you can reset the servings and it recalculates the recipe.

Mishap #4: Halfway through preparing the batter I realized that by recalculating the recipe, it now called for half an egg. Being a college educated individual, I decided to beat the egg and spoon out half (2 tablespoons) into the batter. Problem is, beaten egg doesn't really spoon since it oozes off the spoon after you dip it in, making the measurement highly inaccurate. But I guesstimated and moved on.

Mishap #5: Being a college educated individual, I am able to read. Being a pregnant individual, processing is a little iffy. Recalculated recipe called for 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk. I carefully measured one cup plus 2 tablespoons milk into the batter. Batter is now soup.

Update on the bacon: 2 slices are slightly over crisp, but all are removed from pan and draining on paper towels.

Update on pancake batter: Even a college educated individual could figure out to double the other ingredients to repair the "pancake soup" but the pregnant individual could see no real purpose in going to the trouble so poured soup down the drain and offered Bill bacon and toast.

Update on Bill: Bill was watching TV in the other room and helpfully asked how I was doing throughout the whole process. Upon hearing the batter was now in the drain he offered to take me out to breakfast. Absolutely the right move, Babe. Frugal, college educated, pregnant individual could have been easily pushed to go out to eat but convinced self and totally agreeable Bill that bacon and toast were fine. Two pieces of toast went into the toaster for Bill.

Mishap #6: I'd carefully poured the bacon grease out of the cast iron skillet which was still extremely hot. No sense wasting a perfectly hot skillet, so I decided to fry an egg to accompany my toast and bacon.

Update on bacon: My slice of bacon had now been reduced to half a slice of bacon since I had been nibbling throughout the pancake charade.

I-saw-this-coming-and-went-ahead-anyway-Event #1: The cast iron skillet was VERY hot still and had a nice coating of bacon grease still in it. I never fry my eggs in this pan. I always fry my eggs in a non-stick egg pan. I never fry my eggs in bacon grease. I always fry my eggs with a drop of olive oil. Yet for some reason I did it differently. Even though I thought to myself, "Self. You should pull out the other pan. If you use that pan you're going to ruin the eggs." EVEN then, I put a touch of butter in the skillet and proceeded to crack the eggs.

Mishap #7: Duh. The pan was too hot and too large. The eggs popped and screamed and spread out to super-thin puddles of brown whites with bright yellow balls of yolk hanging on for dear life. I broke the yolks and for some reason, even though I could see this wasn't going to work, sprinkled pepper on top. I was in some sort of hazy denial.

Update on Bill: By this time, I'd removed Bill's toast and buttered it and delivered it with two strips of bacon.

Update on bacon: I think I had about a quarter of a strip of bacon left at this point.

I-saw-this-coming-and-went-ahead-anyway-Event #2: With the eggs in a very precarious position in the pan, I may have still been able to salvage them if I hadn't make the next error. I used the plastic spatula to turn the eggs. It is heat resistant, so that wasn't the problem. But the extreme heat of the pan and the insufficient grease to accommodate the eggs and the surface area the eggs now covered really required my metal spatula. It would have given me the ability to scrape underneath the eggs and still have the rigidity to actually get under them. But, I used the plastic one. And proceeded to smear the eggs all over the pan.

Update on the eggs: Eggs now look like scrambled yolks mixed with brown, crispy whites. Half went into a cup to cool off for Master Teddy, rest when into the garbage.

Update on bacon: Completely gone. Teddy got the last bite.

Update on my breakfast: After cleaning the whole mess up, I fixed myself a bowl of cereal.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Today during class one of my students raised his hand and asked, "Mrs. Burel, was your baby a mistake?"

Oh right. THAT's why people wince when I mention I teach middle school.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ba Bum, in Miniature

Baby Girl Burel and Mom both had echocardiograms today. It was a very long day for all of us up at OHSU with a lovely break in the middle for some lunch with good friends from Texas. Bill and I were prepared for a very long day and OHSU did not disappoint. Baby Girl's echo was the last thing at 3:30pm and the grueling day was so worth it when the doctor finally came in at 5pm and spent the next half hour saying, "Looks nice." "Looks good." "Looks perfect." My three new favorite phrases!

I've had 27 thousand echos and I really have no idea what I'm looking at most of the time. I think I could pick out the aortic root and valve since that has been the main focus of everyone's attention each time. During Baby Girl's echo, the doctor pointed out the aortic valve, the mitral valve, the tricuspid valve and the pulmonary valve. Like most of what they show us, Bill and I just take their word for it! But I could make out her entire aortic because it looks exactly like a candy cane. Towards the end of the echo the doctor listened to the heartbeat while watching the blood flow through each individual valve. I found myself closing my eyes just listening to her heartbeat and started getting emotional with something other than fear for the first time. When Baby Girl sleeps right now, she can hear the sound of my heartbeat, and I wonder if she knows just how much we love her? I know that while listening to her heart's steady rhythm, I was overcome with love and could imagine nothing more wonderful than falling asleep to that sound.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

30 Pictures Later...

I finally settled on these shots. I know I need to photograph my changing self because it will mean a lot to me later, but I've never taken very good pictures. Trying to take a good shot while hiding my robot wires (see previous post), avoiding a double chin, exposing the best view of the belly, and smiling without looking like a chump is challenging to say the least.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sgt. Dorky has a Baby

I went into this pregnancy knowing full well that physically I was going to change. I expected it, no I welcomed it, because those changes are all a part of the little person we get to meet in just 5 months. What I was not expecting is that over the last week I have gone from old me (slightly dorky) to now a completely dorky pregnant person in just a matter of days.

My legs started swelling early in pregnancy so my doctor decided that I should wear compression stockings since my varicose veins are pretty bad. Unfortunately those aren't knee high compression stockings but rather full panty hose compression stockings. I have to wear them all the time unless I'm at home with my feet up, sleeping, or exercising (HA!) I had to get the maternity ones since they are around $30 a pair and I want them to last the whole pregnancy. Maternity compression panty hose take about 5 minutes to put on and pull all the way up to just under my bra strap. Hot.

But they are surprisingly comfortable. My legs don't hurt anymore and since I just wear them under my clothes, no one really knows. I know I'll be singing a different tune in July when it is 95 degrees outside because I can only imagine how adorable these babies will look under shorts, but right now I'm grateful my doctor didn't order the full meal deal, which is basically a female jock strap a la compression style stockings. Yes, very grateful.

So, sporting my super sexy full-belly panty hose, Bill and I had to take an evening trip up to OHSU on Wednesday because there just wasn't anything good on TV. Sarcasm aside, we got a little nervous during an episode of extremely rapid heart rate while we were relaxing that evening. We called and checked in with the doctor who heard, "heart surgery, 20 weeks pregnant, and rapid heart rate" and then immediately invited us up the hill for a visit. My pulse slowed down significantly by the time we arrived but they ordered an EKG and decided they want me to wear a 48-hour monitor to make sure they aren't missing anything. This afternoon, on our third trip up the hill in as many days, we were introduced to the 48-hour monitor. It is nothing like what I've worn in the past and instead has 7 wires that are attached to my chest that I must wear for, you guessed it, 48 hours. No showers for that time period and I get to look like a robot with wires and suction cups sticking out of my shirt. The only way to cover them is to wear a turtleneck. Bill and I got a good case of the giggles on our way out of the hospital this afternoon because it really is as dorky as it sounds.

To top things off, I've started to develop a little pregnancy skin on my face, which looks nothing like "pregnancy-glow" and everything like my sophomore year in high school. Thank heavens for good make up, a husband who I actually believe when he continues to compliment me, and the little sweetheart who will be here soon who is so very, very worth any dorkiness I may have to endure.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The cat has exited the bag

I don't think very many people read this blog who aren't friends on facebook or people I talk to on a weekly basis, but if for some reason you haven't heard, Bill and I are pregnant and due in August. To say that this is a journey that isn't even close to over is so much of an understatement it is ridiculous. I'm excited to be able to blog about this now because I have about 800 posts partially composed in my head about the details of this pregnancy , but I have to say that just getting to the point where I can publicly declare my "condition" is truly one of the most delightful moments so far.

It seems appropriate to share the details of today because it just reiterates my point that middle school kids are largely misunderstood people. Bill and I had no intention of telling the kids today. We decided that we would just let them "figure it out" but that after we told the staff, we would tell the kids the truth if they asked the question. We told staff on Friday and thought that it was only a matter of time, but I really wasn't expecting today.

After the first period of the day, a student I had last year came into my room with a shocked look on this face and said, "I know something." I wasn't worried about it so I just said, "really?" and let him work it out on his own. Bless his heart, he never could say the word "pregnant" but he was obviously surprised by the news and thrilled that he was in on the secret. Bill came in to let me know that a couple of kids had asked and the jig was up.

And the day went by, with kids shyly whispering to each other, too scared to ask me directly (bless them) but too curious to keep it to themselves. After lunch I had a kid in every class who asked, but it was always a kid who had already had Bill's class, as if they didn't quite believe him but felt allowed to say something since he had. Many kids couldn't believe that I could be pregnant because I'm not showing. One actually said, "She's too skinny." I practically hugged him for that comment. But I confirmed their suspicions and promised that I would let them know when we learn the gender, and tried to start the class.

But then the sweetness started. Girls would want hugs. Boys would beam and ask me to name the baby after them. High fives and congratulations. So much love, that the occasional dingbat question didn't really bother me. ("When the baby starts kicking, can I feel your belly?") And I was reminded that these people, who I often get eye rolls and groans about when I mention my job, are some of the nicest around. Mature enough to understand that they probably shouldn't ask but so young and sweet that they couldn't help themselves. But more importantly, excited for their teachers, which just makes me all the more excited.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Three Nasty Dog Stories

1. Teddy doesn't come in from his after-work potty trip. He bounds. Jumping, lurching, anything boisterous. He is overly excited about getting his dinner and can barely (no, he can't) contain himself. Seventy five pounds of hairy enthusiasm. Today, as I was struggling to contain him and also remain upright, he started hacking. Teddy has always had a bit of a hack at times, so I calmly said, "Stop it." in a stern voice and continued to his dinner station. About an hour later, while walking into the kitchen to make my own dinner, I noticed a little bit of puppy urp by the fridge. Gag.

2. Teddy has developed some food allergies. This was only a matter of time given his breed. Some dogs develop hot spots with allergies, others have digestive issues. With Teddy, the biggest problem is his ears. Basically a yeast infection, but in dogs the inside of his ears gets coated with this dark brown scum. The only way to clean it out is the special ear cleaner and a tissue, which is Teddy's least favorite thing in the whole world. Last time, he knew I was after the right ear which is the worst one, so he sat down in front of the screen door and pressed that ear against the glass. Anyway, the gook is really gross and smells...yeasty. Ick.

3. I was leaning over Teddy to put his leash on before our walk. I usually fasten his harness around his middle then give him a hug and some pats on the sides. We left the house and as I was turning my iPod on, I noticed this disgusting booger-y blog on my t-shirt. While hugging Teddy, his eye booger had transferred to my shirt. Ewww.