Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Time flies...

I can't believe Drew is almost 2 months old! The last 8 weeks have literally been a blur. I always thought that time went fast before the baby came, and now that he's here, I find myself wishing for just a few more hours in each day (mostly because I would like more sleep).

I've been back to work for a little over a week now. For the last week I've been trying to find the time to blog and then the day was over. Once you have a baby, your "me" time is pretty much nonexistent! That's definitely one of the things I took for granted before Drew came into our lives.

Going back to work has been good for me. I only cried once my first day back... right when I walked out the door it hit me that I wasn't going to see my little man for 9 whole hours. I let it out, sucked it up, and put the car in drive. My coworkers are fantastic though... they are so understanding and like a family to me. There are so many new moms that have gone through the same things I'm going through, so it's nice to have friends who have "been there, done that" and that I can lean on if I'm feeling a little down.

I was so excited to see my students too... that's what got me through that first day back on the job. Those of you that have middle school aged children or are familiar with them know that they are not the most "affectionate" age of children. I have never had so many pre-pubescent hugs in my life.... "We missed you SO much, Mrs. Pantuso! We're so glad you're back! That sub was awful!!!"

It's good to be loved and missed! :)

Since I've been back to work, our parents have really stepped up to help out. Bill and I are so blessed that our parents have agreed to come to our house to watch little Drew for us. His parents and my parents switch days and come over in the afternoons when Bill goes to work for a few hours before I get home. Drew has been so good for them... he gets his bottle and naps. All of his grandparents are in love. It's definitely a good situation for all of us. Bill and I couldn't be more appreciative! 
Grandpa Pantuso feeding his grandson

I love that Drew's personality is starting to come out. He's more alert lately. It seems that when he looks at you, he is studying your face and trying to remember it. He's very analytical and focused. He has started smiling a lot more and will sometimes smile in response to my smile (and my silly cooing baby talk to him). He has also started his cooing and little baby babble. It's so cute to hear his "voice" and not just crying. He is also starting to be more content when he is by himself. Before, I would put him in his bassinet, bouncer, or swing and he would be content for a little while, but then he would start crying because he wanted to be held. Now, I can put him in his crib with the mobile on or in his swing and he will be happy for up to 30 minutes. Mommy loves this because I can actually empty the dishwasher or do a load of laundry... or put my feet up and do nothing at all! 

Happy baby smiling at Mommy (7 weeks old)
We took Drew to the hospital today for his VCUG test on his kidneys. He was a little champ. He did so good and didn't cry until they poked him for the catheter. Basically, they wanted to fill him up with fluid so he would urinate and they could see where the fluid was going and why it is backing up in his kidneys. The good thing is that it is not reflux. We have to wait a week until we meet with the pediatric urologist to find out more, but I'm praying for a good report. 

On my way to the hospital!
I've been having problems with my back for the past 4 weeks too, which has really been hindering how much I can do with the baby. Finally, it got to the point where it was agonizing to pick him up and bend over to feed or change him. I had lower back pain on the left side which settled in my hip and shot down my left leg. My calf was all crampy and my left foot was numb. I decided enough was enough and got a referral to a specialist. I found out that it's not a herniated disc, which is good news because that would have meant likely surgery. The doctor told me I have degenerative disc disease, which basically means I've lost some of the padding around my lumbar spinal region, which has caused the nerves to flare up. He said out of the 8 major nerves on my left side, only 3 were functioning correctly and that I had some nerve damage. I'll have to start physical therapy and I'm going in next week for an epidural to help manage the pain. I also have to go get an MRI to make sure there is nothing else the doctor missed.  I just can't wait until I'm back to "normal". I don't want anything to interfere with my being a mother to my baby. 

Other than that, everything is great! Drew is a happy, healthy 8 week old. He's eating great, sleeping longer stretches, and is just our little angel. I never knew I could love someone so much. 

Burping after eating... his favorite position :)
I love my lotion massage after bath time!
Why so serious?
The shirt says it all :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Springing Forward

Whoever created the concept of "Springing forward" for Daylight Savings Time was obviously not a new mother! Talk about the worst time possible to lose an hour of sleep!!!

In all actuality though, sleep has been easier to come by this past week. Andrew's nocturnal sense seems to have righted itself. He is more awake and alert during the day and has been using night time for what it was intended for... sleep! It's too early to put him on a "schedule", but I've been working on a nightly routine that will most likely become his "schedule" in the future. He gets a bath every other night, gets fed, and then it's swaddle time! He is taking to the swaddle so great now... he just lays there while I pin his arms to his sides and tightly wrap him up like a little burrito. Once I put him in his bassinet, he usually fusses for a little while. Sometimes I will pick him up and rock him to sleep and other times he'll put himself to sleep on his own. The important part is that he is sleeping... at a decent time, and not on me! This means I have time to take care of some of the things that have piled up around the house before I turn myself in for the night. The best part is that within the last week, Drew will sleep anywhere from 4-6 hour stretches before he wakes up to be fed. I feed him, burp him, and change his diaper before swaddling him again, and he'll usually go down for another 2-3 hours. Mama has been getting some decent sleep herself lately... and just in time to go back to work! :)

Speaking of work, I was so happy to have some visitors from work this week! Drew got to meet 3 of my friends that work on the special ed team with me at my school. Kim, Reta and Courtney stopped by to give me the scoop on what's been going on for the past 6 weeks and of course to get in some cuddle time with baby. It was so nice to see them, and it put me in the mindset of getting myself ready to be back at school again.

Kim, Reta, and Courtney visiting baby Drew and I
Courtney's first time holding a baby! 

In other news, we had to make a trip to the hospital this week. During my 3rd trimester ultrasound, they noticed that there was fluid on one of Andrew's kidneys. Drew's pediatrician, Dr. Fisher, suggested that we check it out further when Andrew was about a month old. Most of the time this condition presents in utero but clears itself up after birth. We went to Beaumont Hospital and little Drew had an ultrasound of his kidneys. He was so good, just laying on the table looking at the lights. We got the results back yesterday when Dr. Fisher called us.

Andrew has what is called grade 2 hydronephrosis, which basically means there is a backup of fluid on both of his kidneys. Dr. Fisher assured us that there is a good prognosis for this condition. After looking at the ultrasound, he said that all of Drew's organs are in the right place and fully functioning, but there seems to be an issue with the wiring somewhere, since fluid (or urine) is backing up into his kidneys.

So, back to Beaumont we will go in a couple of weeks. Drew will have to have a catheter and a dye will be injected so they can see exactly where the issue is. We'll then see a pediatric urologist to discuss next steps. Dr. Fisher prescribed an antibiotic which I am giving Drew every night so that he doesn't develop a urinary tract infection.

Of course, I cried. As a parent, you just want your children to be healthy. It was really hard hearing that something might be wrong. I'm trusting the doctor though, and having faith that all of this will clear up and my baby won't have to be in any pain.

On the bright side though, after the appointment Bill and I decided to try to go out for breakfast with baby in tow. It was our first time out together with the baby taking him to a public place. I was so nervous that we were going to be "those people" in the restaurant. You know... the ones with the screaming kid. Drew did so well (of course!) and slept the entire time. Mommy and Daddy were sitting on the edge of our seats though... waiting for the crying to come and anticipating asking for carryout boxes for our breakfast!

Sleeping at the restaurant while Mommy and Daddy eat breakfast
Bill and I also got to go out for the first time by ourselves this week. We went to a wedding for Bill's cousin. My mom and dad came over to babysit. My mom was downright giddy to be spending so much time with her grandson. I told her to have her cell phone on standby because I would probably be calling every half hour to check in on the little guy.

It was so weird being out without the baby. I felt like a part of me was missing! Bill and I enjoyed ourselves though, and I only called my mom twice!
At the wedding- our first time away from the babes
This next week brings with it a new adjustment- going back to work. I am looking forward to adult interaction and I know my students have missed me. I'm comforted by the fact that Drew's grandparents will be watching him. Bill's parents and my parents are each picking up a couple days during the week. It gives me such peace of mind knowing that he won't be at a daycare and that his grandparents will have lots of time to bond with him. I just keep focusing on the fact that in 3 short months I will have all summer to spend every day with my little man. I can't wait! :)

Focusing intently on the light in the kitchen
Looking at mommy while she takes the picture
Jamming to the music in my crib
Daddy's little buddy
6 weeks old today (3-10-11)

Monday, March 7, 2011

My "Spidey-sense"

Well, little Drew is almost 6 weeks old, which means my maternity leave is almost over. I'm so sad! Every time I think about going back to work I get all teary eyed. I even told Bill the other day that I would trade in my car and live in a shack if it meant I could stay home with him all day. Obviously, that's not about to happen... so back to work I go. But in the meantime, I'm going to really try to enjoy this last week "off". 

I can't imagine leaving this little guy. He's been a part of me for over 10 months now... leaving him just doesn't seem natural. My "spidey-sense" has really kicked in. I never was a really deep sleeper before Drew was born, but now I'm an even lighter sleeper. It is amazing how even his smallest cry from rooms away can wake me out of a dead sleep. What a bond God created between mother and child. It's like we are wired to each other.

I always wonder if I will have "enough" to post in a blog each week. It turns out there is no shortage of new things happening each day in little Drew's world, which means more for me to write about!

Drew has been smiling a lot in his sleep since he was about 2 weeks old, which I'm sure was due to gas or just involuntary movement. We've been waiting for the first "real" smile. Of course I thought I would be the recipient of this sweet, toothless grin, but nope... he decided to bestow that honor on my dad! Drew and I went over to my parents' house for a visit last week and right before we left he was just watching his grandpa so intently. My dad started moving across the room and Drew would track him wherever he went. Finally, my dad got close to Drew's face and started talking to him and suddenly Drew smiled the biggest smile with eyes wide open. It was so cute!

Visiting Sito & Grandpa Clason

We've also noticed real tears when he cries, which just breaks my heart! I guess it takes about a month for a baby's tear ducts to start producing tears... so now when he cries, these tears just stream from his eyes. Poor little guy!

Previously, I posted that we had given up on swaddling, since Drew didn't like his arms confined. We decided to give it another try this past week and suddenly it is working like a charm! One night, Drew was acting extra fussy, so Bill suggested that we give the swaddle one last try. Bill swaddled him nice and tight and within minutes Drew was sound asleep. We put him in the bassinet and the little guy slept 6 hours straight. We were the happiest parents ever. I haven't gotten 6 straight hours of sleep since I don't know when! Since then, we've been swaddling him every night and he gets in some good stretches of sleep... anywhere between 3-5 hours. It is amazing!

All swaddled up and ready for bed!

Sleeping like a baby!

In anticipation of Bill's new work schedule starting next week, I've been trying to do some things on my own that Bill and I have done together up until this point. So far, bath time has been one of those "team effort" sort of things. It is incredibly difficult to bathe a squirming, crying, slippery newborn all by yourself. I did try it this week and was pretty successful. The trick is just having everything you need within arms reach!

Good job, Mommy! Don't I look like I'm loving this?!? 
I just cannot get over how much Drew has changed in appearance since we brought him home from the hospital. It is pretty incredible how quickly babies morph from little squished up newborns to having their own unique features. I think he's getting cuter every day... but of course, I have to say that! :)

Dad's making me a U of M fan already and I'm not sure I like it! 
His shirt says "Daddy's Team, Property of Mommy" :)
Feed me NOW, Mommy! 
Checking out my new blanket from "Great" Aunt Ellen

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What a difference a year makes!

I cannot believe how fast one year flies by. Last year at this time, Bill and I were planning our wedding and looking for a house to start our lives in together. We had put in an offer on a house that needed a lot of repairs and decided that it wasn't for us. We heard about new construction homes being built in Warren and thought we would check it out, even though it seemed too good to be true. On March 1, 2010 we chose the lot (which was literally a hole in the ground) that would become our home.

The beginnings of our new house- March 1, 2010

I remember standing there looking at that hole in the ground and wondering what life would be like in our brand new home as a married couple. I never would have guessed that exactly a year later, I would be nursing a baby to sleep, comforting cries in the middle of the night, singing nursery rhymes, and kissing the cheeks of my adorable new son in that house. What a difference a year makes!

This Week's Happenings: 

Andrew is a month old already! It literally has been a blur, as I cannot tell which day is which, due mostly to the major lack of sleep. I am averaging about 3-4 hours of sleep each night, with hopes of some short naps during the day (on the rare occasion that Drew decides to nap for any length of time).

Today was Drew's one month checkup with Dr. Fisher, the pediatrician. He weighed in at 9 pounds 5 ounces, which puts him right where we want him, according to the doctor. He is in the 90th percentile for his length, which the doctor proclaimed as "long and lean". Everything was perfect and Drew is healthy in every way. Dr. Fisher assured Bill and I that we are doing great as parents and that we could teach some of the other new parents that he sees a thing or two. It was so nice to have that reassurance that we are doing everything right!

The only concerns we had were that Drew seems to be a little fussy lately, which we think is just gas. Dr. Fisher told us to buy some Mylicon drops and try that to see if it makes a difference.

The other concern we had stems from my 3rd trimester ultrasound, which showed some fluid on one of Drew's kidneys. Typically, this condition usually clears itself up after birth as long as the baby is going to the bathroom regularly, which Drew is. I am going to try to schedule the ultrasound appointment for next week and we should know right away if the fluid is still present. I'm believing that it has disappeared, since Drew seems fine. Dr. Fisher doesn't seem to think it's a big deal either, which makes me feel better.

Fun Times: 

We tried Andrew in his swing this week, which he loves. It lights up and plays music and he is just enthralled with it. Thanks to our friends Kim and Steve for this awesome "hand-me-down"!

Even though he's crying, he really does like it!

On another note, I feel bad for our poor dogs. They have been so neglected since we brought the baby home. Don't get me wrong, they are still very spoiled, but they have just dropped a few notches on the totem pole here at the Pantuso house. They really have taken well to the baby and Maizey loves to come and cuddle up next to Andrew as he is nursing. This however can pose a problem, as we witnessed the other night. I gave Andrew to Bill after I nursed him so Bill could burp him. Maizey got a little too close and Andrew spit up all over her face... poor dog!

Poor Maizey! 
We also had more visitors this week! My Aunt Jeanette, Uncle John and my cousins Leah, Stephen, Samuel, and Miriam came to visit. They brought us a great dinner and it was so nice to see them with the baby.

This Week's Celebrations: 

We are on our last box of newborn diapers! Andrew is growing so much, that we're moving him on to size 1's as soon as this box is gone! He's still wearing newborn clothes though. It's funny because the newborn size says it goes up to 8 pounds, but Andrew still has lots of room in them. I've tried some his cute 0-3 month outfits on him, but he's still swimming in them.
Trying on the size 1 diapers

We've started Bill bottle feeding a few times during the weekends so that Drew can get used to the bottle before I go back to work. We weren't sure how he was going to take to the bottle, but he loves it! He's downing 3-4 ounces in 15 minutes. The boy loves his milk! Hopefully I can pump enough to keep up with him!!!

We're thinking little Drew is starting to understand the meaning of "night time". He's been sleeping better during the night and slept for almost 5 hours straight the other night. I can't tell you how happy I was about that! More sleep is always a bonus!

So much to be thankful for. I just love this little guy! :)

1 month old- February 27, 2011