Saturday, March 28, 2009

jude smiles

and it's just about the cutest smile I've ever seen. He still smiles as though I am the funniest thing in the entire world - quite the ego boost (even if it IS from a four month old). I think he's still working out the whole laughing thing, though. He smiles really big, and even kind of draws his shoulders up like he's laughing...but no sound! We had one day that he laughed out loud - he laughed at me making faces to him while he was in his jumperoo, and he laughed at Daddy making faces while he was in the tub. It was a great sound, and I look forward to hearing him figure out how to make it again!







According to our home scale, Jude weighed either 13 lbs or 13.2 lbs - I weighed him twice. Either way, that seems to be right on target. Yay Jude! He's mostly grown out of his 0-3 month clothes and is officially fitting into his 3-6 month clothes, which is also exciting. He has several more "going out" clothes in 3-6 months, so we have more fun options in which to dress him.
Let's see, what else is Jude up to lately? Oh, I think he's working on the sleeping through the night thing. He slept from about 9:00pm to about 6:00am three nights in a row (woo-hoo!), but has been waking up around 1:00am and 4:30am the past two nights. I'm not exactly sure why (I think gas might've played a big part the first night), but I'm learning that I don't have to find a reason for everything. Jude's continuing to get cereal at 7:30pm, and is getting better at eating. He's beginning to actually open his mouth for the spoon, and he looks a little bit like a baby bird when he does so. :) It's hard to believe that in just two or three weeks, I'll be feeding him real food. I'm not sure whether I've mentioned it here on the blog or not, but I plan on making Jude's baby food (just in case you weren't entirely sure we were complete weirdos and counter cultural). It's cheaper and less processed, which seems like good enough reason to me! I'm going to start with butternut squash and sweet potatoes. We actually had both of those items on our grocery list anyway this week, so I figured I'd go ahead and make then freeze it for when he's ready to move on from cereal.
Looks like naptime is over - gotta go!

Friday, March 20, 2009

a how to guide for getting jude to nap

As I've mentioned (probably over and over...and over and over), Jude is not exactly easy to get down for a nap. I've heard tales of babies who just fall asleep in the middle of playing when they're tired, of infants who sleep most of the day and night away, of children who can be put into the crib awake and transition themselves to peaceful slumber. In our house, those things are about as likely to happen as a unicorn prancing through the living room with a leprechaun on its back. We spent the first two months of Jude's life doing the walk/bounce/shhh/lullabye/pacifier/pleasejudefortheloveofallthingsgoodfallASLEEP! combo. We'd combine these things in a array of frustration and exhaustion, doing our best to get our sweet boy to fall asleep. I thought he might be overtired...so I'd try getting him to sleep at the first signs of yawning. I thought he might not be tired enough...so I'd try wearing him out thoroughly before putting him to sleep.

Eventually my exhausted self came to the conclusion that Jude was going to cry before falling asleep. He could either cry for twenty minutes in my arms, or he could cry for twenty minutes in his crib. The place where all that crying took place didn't seem to matter to him. Since it was much healthier for my state of mind to let him cry in his crib - that's what we tried. After a day or so, I realized that Jude actually cried less when we let him "cry it out" in his crib. It's almost as if he prefers to be left to himself to settle down to sleep. We had a pretty good routine going when Jude was diagnosed with failure to thrive. Mommy guilt overtook my brain and heart, and I couldn't bare to hear my sweet boy crying as I could almost hear him screaming, "I'm hungry! I'm not tired! Please, please give me food!" So at the slightest whine from my boy, I fed him. After a couple of weeks of him putting weight back and doing well, I realized that he probably wasn't getting enough sleep because I was feeding him when he was upset from sleepiness. So we went back to the walk/bounce/soothe Jude to sleep ourselves method, and he went back to taking 30-45 minutes to wind down for a nap, and sleeping for 20 minutes at best.

After Jude's last appointment, I decided that I could put fears of starving my child out of my mind, and work on helping him figure out how to settle himself to sleep. The first couple of days were brutal, but after about a week, he only cries for six or seven minutes on average. I actually just put him down for a nap, and I think he cried a total of four minutes (and yes, I still agonize every minute that he's crying).

So here's what we do:

1. About an hour and a half after he eats, Jude starts to get super whiny. I check to make sure he's not bored (give him another toy, change the scenery), and if he's still whiny, I assume he's probably tired. Usually when I pick him up, he confirms it by rubbing his eyes or mashing his face into my neck.

2. I take Jude back to his nursery, turn the lights off, and start his lullabye playlist on my iPod. The first song is a lullabye version of the Beatles' "Across The Universe." Sometimes I wonder if he'll always associate that song with sleepy time. I picture him as an adult, hanging out with his wife, listening to the Beatles. Across the Universe plays, and bam! he drops fast asleep. Excuse my twisted sense of humor, but that scenario really amuses me.

3. With Jude on my hip, I put a pacifier in his mouth and let him cuddle against my neck for a minute. This usually involves him smearing his drool all over my shirt, rubbing his eyes, pulling out the pacifier, etc. I only do this for a minute or so. My theory is that Jude is such an active and alert baby. I think he has a difficult time "turning off" his brain and settling to sleep. By having a very specific routine and giving him a minute or so to realize, "oh, it's time to fall asleep," I hope to help him figure out how to turn that active brain of his off.

4. I swaddle Jude in a specialized velcro swaddling blanket. To be honest, it resembles a straight jacket. I wish Jude didn't have to be swaddled...he hates it. I've tried several times to put him down without swaddling, but his fists automatically go up to his eyes and keep him awake. As he's napping, the jerking of his arms and legs usually wakes him up if he's not swaddled. Jude's too feisty for a normal blanket swaddle...he's out of those things in 60 seconds flat. Hence the straightjacket.

5. I hold a swaddled Jude in the crook of my arm (with his pacifier in his mouth) and stand next to his crib, swaying with him for a minute or two. Sometimes his eyes close at this point, sometimes he gets super fired up and fussy.

6. Regardless of what he does, after a minute of swaying with him, I lay him in his crib, in the middle of this sleep positioner (another protection against his feistyness...he ends up on the opposite end of the crib with his head up against the crib rail if we don't keep him in it). I tell Jude goodnight, and that I love him, turn on his monitor, and leave.

7. I let him cry for ten or fifteen minutes. For most babies, I think it would be sufficient to let them cry for ten minutes. With Jude, I learned that going in too early would often rile him right up to cry even louder, harder, and longer. If I stayed away for fifteen minutes, he would usually settle himself by that point. I try to keep myself busy - folding laundry, answering emails, writing a blog...anything to keep myself from listening to his crying. When we first started doing this, I'd sit outside his door and cry right along with him. Yeah, I wouldn't recommend that. Do something productive.

8. If he's still crying after ten to fifteen minutes, I walk in and put the pacifier in his mouth. It usually involves having to jiggle it in there a little bit to get him sucking on it, and lots of, "shhhh shhhh shhhhh" -ing. Whether or not that settles him down, I leave again.

9. I wait another ten or fifteen minutes and repeat.

Since we've gone back to doing this after his FTT diagnoses, I rarely have to go in more than twice. He did cry on and off one afternoon for almost an hour, and I eventually picked him up and rocked him to sleep. For the past four or five days, though, he rarely cries longer than ten minutes. He's progressively crying less and less. Actually, he went down for a nap yesterday for Shawn without crying at all! That would mark the second time he's ever slept without crying first.

Once he regularly falls asleep with minimal crying, I'll work on phasing out and shortening parts of his naptime routine so he doesn't need all of those things to fall asleep.

So my friends, that - in a very long winded nutshell - is a how-to manual for getting Jude to nap.



Jude skyping Mama Maurer while eating cereal for the second time. He's multitasking already!











A ride with Daddy (who does not enjoy having his picture taken).











Naked baby on the changing table.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

a simple update

It's been a couple of days, so I wanted to update family on the goings on of our sweet Judeabug. Goings ons? Going on?



On what he's up to lately.



I'm proud to say that Jude is getting quite roly poly! I only weigh him once a week right now (for the sake of my own sanity), but I would guess he's probably getting close to 12.5 pounds. He won't be a heavyweight anytime soon, but it's nice to see him getting new fat rolls and outgrowing clothes. We still have quite a bit of sample forumla in our cabinet, just in case he should need it - but it looks as though we've made it through this whole "failure to thrive" stuff completely with breastmilk. It was certainly very stressful for awhile, but I'm so grateful that we stuck with it. I plan on breastfeeding him for a year, and I can't believe that we're already over a third of the way there!

I also wanted to make a correction about my last post. Jude looking like an old man and looking more like Shawn are not related. Shawn's quite the dapper young man..in this girl's opinion...and I really do love that Jude is starting to look like him. Once all of Jude's hair grows in, I do believe he'll begin to lose the old man look. :)


Back to the goings on...

Jude's been sleeping a little better lately. Two out of the past three nights, he's slept until 4:00am-ish. That's about seven hours for him, which is about average for his age. That's about five hours for me, which is pretty exciting! I can't say for sure, but I think this might be attributed to the rice cereal we've begun giving him in the evenings. We've also gone back to doing a modified version of letting Jude "cry it out," for naptimes, which seems to be working. He's crying less and less each day and gets more sleep as each day passes. I'll have to elaborate more on what we do and why I feel like it's the best thing for Jude at some point. Several people have asked me about it, and I feel like crying it out gets some bad press. Not today, though, because today...I have some pictures to share!









Go Duke!








Saturday, March 14, 2009

so 45mm is apparently a gun

...my bad. Shawn's informed me that the clicking of the camera reminds me of an 8mm not a 45mm. Rest assured that I do not have fond nostalgic memories of guns, I'm just a doof.

Jude seemed to be slightly less fussy last night, and I'm wondering if it might be related to being over tired. I'm working at trying to figure out the best napping schedule for him and the best time to start his bedtime routine at night. I guess I'll keep tweaking it to see how he does. Someone please tell me that he'll eventually sleep through the night.

I forgot to mention that his hair is starting to fall out. He's looking quite old man-ish with a bald ring around the back of his head and sideburns that tend to stick straight out. We actually think it's coming back in even more blonde, but we'll see. I had three glorious months of Jude looking like his Mama, and now those Maurer genes are starting to show! I happen to think Shawn's pretty dang handsome, though, so I'd be thrilled if Jude looked like him.

Well, laundry/dishes/dog duty calls!

Friday, March 13, 2009

videos!

After the smashing success of my last posting of a Jude video (ummm...my Mom really liked it), I thought I'd go ahead and post a couple more. They're not the highest quality because they're taken with our digital camera, but I happen to think the constant clicking sound adds a 45mm nostalgic touch (or...I'm too cheap to buy an actual video camera right now).

Judeabug eating cereal from a spoon for the first time. Excuse the poor angle, I was sitting the camera on the edge of the high chair. As to be expected, most of the food ended up in the fat rolls under his chin. Good thing it was bath night!

video

Jude playing in what we affectionately call "The Command Center." He's doing a high pitched squealy noise that's adorable. We actually just figured out last night that he seems to particularly enjoy making this sound at our dog, Coletrane. He kind of sounds like a lion cub trying to find its roar, and we're not sure if he's just saying "hi," to the dog, trying to get his attention, or trying to intimidate him. It's more fun to assume he's trying with all of his 12 pounds of might to scare our 100 pound Labrador retriever. Of course he stopped squealing as soon as I pulled out the camera and did a wide eyed staring thing instead. I'll admit it's not the most interesting of videos, but it's here solely for Grammy/Grampy and Mama/Papa Maurer -I think grandparents would be amused at ANYthing their grandchildren do.

video

Thursday, March 12, 2009

i don't want to brag, but....

I totally made my blog background myself! I've been working on my website design/coding skillz (because I think it sounds less nerdy if I say it with a "z"), and figured designing and coding a blog background would be a breeze in comparison. It was a bit more difficult than I thought, but I'm pretty excited to have done it, nonetheless. Lest you think my skillz are anything to write home about, let me admit to you that I've been trying to upload two videos of Jude for the past hour without luck.


Jude's appointment Tuesday was an extremely encouraging one. The doctor said he looked like a completely different baby. He weighed 12lbs 2oz, and I think that keeps him in the 14th percentile. He switched Jude's reflux medication, and within 12 hours of taking it, Jude's spitting up has been cut in half! The doctor also told us to give Jude rice cereal in his bottles about twice per day, and gave us the go ahead to try giving him solid food. I want to wait until he's five months to give him actual food, but I did try rice cereal mixed with breast milk last night. He did really well for his age, but I think he ate a total of two teaspoons out of the four tablespoons I'd made. Oh well, at this point, it's more about practice than nutrition.

We do seem to suddenly find ourselves dealing with an extremely fussy boy. It feels like he's reverted back to infanthood as soothing him to sleep is quite the chore. I'm doing my best to try and figure out why this may be...perhaps the new reflux medicine is making him fussy? could it be the new cereal hurting his stomach? maybe he's reaching new developmental milestones? is he not sleeping enough during the day? is he sleeping too much during the day? is he hungry? do his legs hurt from shots? ...


and the list goes on. Go ahead. Say it. "Jen. Chill out. He'll be fine. Ride it out."


I know, you're right. I'm working on it. Hopefully it's just a phase that he'll soon be through. Until then, please excuse the sleep deprived, patience lacking zombie you may see before you.


We received an incredibly generous offer from a girl who was in Pinedale's youth group when Shawn interned there. She's grown up to be a friend of ours and she sang in our wedding. Katie graduated from college early, and like most current graduates, is struggling to find even a part-time job. While she's searching, she wanted to know if she could help me out with Jude. Umm...yes please!


I'm a little stubborn. Okay...a lot stubborn. I have a hard time asking for help. If we lived near family, I don't think I'd have a problem asking Jude's grandma's to help me with him occasionally. There are many people from church who have offered, but I have a hard time distinguishing between the polite "someday" offers, and the "i really mean it" offers. Shawn's always telling me to ask someone for help, but I just always felt like asking anyone would be an imposition. Katie offered to come to the house on the days I work from home and watch Jude for a spell so that I can have some time to get things done. I am really looking forward to have a steady relief - you have no idea! I can't decide if I want to use that time to run, nap, shower, eat, work, or clean, and the truth is that it'll probably vary. The prospect of having a little bit of help is an answered prayer.


Please continue to pray for Jonah - he's progressing, but is still very deep in the woods. http://patriceandmattwilliams.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

dear jude

Dear Jude,

Tomorrow you will be four months old, which seems both so young and entirely too old at the same time. You are one amazing kid, sweet Jude. You had a check up today, and as the doctor listed the developmental milestones you should have been hitting at this age, your Daddy and I couldn't help but smile at each other. Most of them you've been doing for a couple of months now! You've gotten much more smiley in the past month, and it's sweet to see you charm complete strangers with that dimple. You've also started to really recognize me and Daddy, and I'm proud to say that we can make you smile more than anyone. I have so many favorite memories of you from the past month, but I wanted to share a few specific ones.

- Daddy and I read to you every night as you're winding down for bed. You had fallen asleep while Daddy was reading a bit of "Winnie The Pooh" to you. In the book, Winnie the Pooh was singing a song, so Daddy sung the song in his "Pooh" voice (which is spot on, by the way). Though you were fast asleep, you woke up a little when Daddy started singing, looked at him, and smiled your sweet smile. You melt my heart, bug.

-You've started reaching out for Coletrane as he passes by, which I love. Sometimes Cole walks on by, and sometimes he graces you with a kiss on the hand (or on the face if we're not watching!). Your joy at those disgusting puppy kisses makes me smile every time.

-One time I was changing your diaper on the changing table and you were beyond fussy. I was doing everything I could to calm you down, but nothing seemed to be working. I was buttoning up your onesie when you grabbed ahold of my forearm and just stopped crying. I looked down at you and you just stared at me...as if you knew you were safe with me.

We've loved watching you grow and change in the past four months, sweetheart, and are excited to see how much more you do so. Though we suspected it even when I was pregnant with you, we're seeing that you have a fiesty, determined personality. I expect this will make some of our time as your parents a challenge, but I also expect that God gave you that personality for a very specific purpose. We love you so much more than you know, and God loves you more fully and completely than we ever could.

Love,

Mommy

Saturday, March 7, 2009

on a posting roll

Yes, friends - I'm actually posting two posts in two days! Are you wondering to what you can attribute this amazing feat of organization on my part? To put it shortly, Shawn's a great husband and father. He's always offering to take Jude for a couple of hours so that I can get away. For awhile, I was using that time to run. Since I'm up with Jude so much in the night now, though, I'm finding that running just zaps my energy for the rest of the day. So for awhile, my answer was, "no, that's okay, i'll just hang out at home." As I watched my patience level dwindle and my stress level rise, I started thinking that maybe I should again take him up on those offers. So I'm writing this in relative quiet at my local coffee shop. I love spending time with my sweet boy, but I have to admit that I do thoroughly enjoy the occasional break. In true motherhood fashion, I spend most of my time away from him thinking about him.

I do have some pictures for you! Like most babies, Jude likes to look at himself in the mirror, so I wanted to snap some pictures of him doing just that. I'm not sure how well you can see our bed in the background, but you can be sure it's unmade...so just ignore that.



Our big boy! He loves to sit up on the couch/recliner, etc. like this. Check out that belly! Can you see why I might've been a little slow to realize that he wasn't gaining weight?

I was reading a mother's blog recently that was composed entirely of letters to her infant daughter. I thought that was a great idea and I think I might do that occasionally here. This blog is the closest thing to a baby book that I keep, and I really do use it as a way to keep record of Jude's young life. I'd love to have some notes and thoughts specifically for him that he can read here when he's older.
We have an appointment on Tuesday for Jude's 4 month well check up and weight check. I'm really not sure that he's gained weight in the two weeks since he was weighed last, so I'm eager to see. We're feeding him as much as he seems to want, so if he hasn't gained weight, I think I might ask the doctor about more aggressive approaches - hopefully something that will still allow me to breastfeed as much as possible. On the advice of pretty much everyone who loves me, I've decided to stop weighing Jude daily. Our scale isn't consistent, and it just seems to feed my anxiety about him. I'll probably weigh him every three days as I still want a way to track his progress and keep an eye on him. I have to be honest - looking at Jude, you'd have no idea anything was wrong. He has plenty of fat rolls and even more energy. Perhaps he's just a small baby? I don't know...I'm tired of pretending like I know what I'm doing or what's going on. I have no idea. I'm downright clueless about this whole motherhood thing.
Jonah's story was written up in the Winston-Salem Journal today. HERE'S the link. I'm so amazed and inspired by both of them. My heart literally aches when I see pictures of Jonah, and I genuinely love that boy. My prayer continues to be that he is healed and lives a long, long life. I pray that he and Jude will be good friends for many, many years. Please continue praying that 1)God would protect his fragile body from infection 2)He would eat great and get the nutrients he needs to fight the battle he faces 3)That God would heal his body, allowing Jonah to live a normal, healthy life.

Friday, March 6, 2009

jude smiles

Here is the promised video of Jude's sweet smiling. I was trying to get him laughing, but of course as soon as I got the camera out he stopped. Oh- and ignore the weird lady making silly sounds.

video

Thursday, March 5, 2009

mommy guilt

In our attempts to fatten Jude up, we've tried everything...and I do mean everything.

Just kidding! I was making cookies and Jude held onto the butter for me until I was ready for it.

I've been thinking a lot lately about Jude's lack of weight gain and honestly, feeling pretty guilty. I'm not sure how I didn't notice that he was "failing to thrive," and I'm not quite sure how to tell if he's struggling in the future. Jude's a really active infant, and his activity level stayed constant throughout this whole thing. He wasn't particularly lethargic or sleepy acting. He also rarely roots, so that's never been a good indication either. Even weighing him every morning seems to only further confuse me. For instance, Jude weighed 12 lbs even yesterday. This morning - weighed at the same time, in the same kind of diaper - he weighed 11.4 lbs. Did he really lose over half a pound in a day?!

I didn't know that my baby was hungry - starving. I made choices based on my best guesses of why he was fussing, and I was apparently often wrong. I'm struggling with second guessing all my choices now and am wondering when I'll ever know Jude as it seems a mother should. I was reading the other day that I should be able to distinguish Jude's cries by now. I have to be honest - I have NO idea what he needs by the sound of his cry. I can only guess based on the timing: if it's about time to fall asleep, to eat, to play with another toy, etc. Obviously that's not the most effective way to figure out his needs, since that was my method when he stopped gaining weight.

Anyway, I'm blessed that he's basically a healthy kid, just a little frustrated at the moment with trying to figure out how exactly to tell when he's hungry or when he's just tired or gassy. Advice or insight would be thoroughly appreciated!

Please continue praying for Matt and Patrice. I just checked their blog this morning, and Jonah apparently took 4cc of milk! That was one of the primary things for which Patrice was asking prayers, and I don't think that's a coincidence. So please pray that he'd continue to eat well and that God would protect his little body from infection.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

a year ago

Crazy things were happening in the Maurer home one year ago. About a year and a month ago, I found myself once again tearfully realizing that another month had gone by and I was not pregnant. I was starting to research adoption and fertility options, wondering if perhaps we wouldn't be able to get pregnant. God was continually reminding me of his words, "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all of your ways, and He will make your paths straight." I can imagine that God was trying to tell me, "Relax, sweet daughter. It'll happen in My perfect timing."

A year and two weeks ago, I started to wonder if the funny things going on with my body might mean pregnancy. A year and four days ago, I took a pregnancy test and just about peed myself when I saw that it was positive. A year and three days ago was Shawn's birthday and was when I told him about what God was knitting together inside of me. It's fun to look back on where we were at the time...and at how much has changed. Even though I struggled with fears of not being able to have children, I do look back on that period of my with fondness. I learned about patience and trusting God. I learned about taking my fears to Shawn and better understood his role as my head. I learned that submission to Shawn is actually a joy because his deepest desire is to take better care of me than I ever would take of myself.

Back to present day...I think Jude's weight is alright. I'm only going by my home scale, which says that he weighs the same as he weighed last week. I'd love to have seen him put on weight, but I'm keeping a very close eye on it and am keeping in mind that my home scale isn't the most accurate. I'm continuing to feed him as much as I possibly can, though, and I'm pretty sure my milk supply is better than it's ever been. Unfortunately, I'm sick again (ugh!). I'm obviously concerned about that affecting my supply, but now that I know what could happen, I'm doing everything I can to not let that happen. Jude's still not really sleeping much at night. I'm fine with that as it means he's getting calories that he needs, but I'm beyond tired.

Several of you have let me know that you're praying for Matt and Patrice, so thank you! Please continue checking their blog for updates. I actually just read that they only had to wrap the gauze around his limbs today! Apparently his torso was in good enough shape to not need it. I cried when I saw the pictures of his belly - what a beautiful sight that must've been to Matt and Patrice. They are never far from my mind, especially when I'm holding Jude. Everything in me wants for Matt and Patrice to be able to hold Jonah. My heart literally aches for them.

I tried to get a video of Jude laughing the other day. Of course, as soon as I pulled out the camera he stopped, but I did get him smiling a lot. If I'm feeling frisky, I'll try to get that up in my next post!