Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Bed is Her Bed

We have a family bed. It is not something we planned or intended, but we love it. Sammie B slept in her own crib until a month or two after her first birthday. She was generally a great sleeper. In July, after her eye surgery, there were many nights I slept in HER room because our pediatrician encouraged us to comfort her in HER space. Then teething happened. And, she was not a happy girl, and the timing coincided with me being slammed at work. So, I brought her into our bed quite a few nights. I LOVED it. She LOVED it, and we all slept well, but B and I (well, okay, he more than I) were determined not to have a "family bed."

People judge the family bed. They either believe in it or they judge. Its like the great vaccine debate or the CIO vs. no CIO debate. . . people think THEIR philosophy is right, and begrudge those on the "other side" instead of just supporting other parents for making decisions that are best for their unique family. But we are guilty of it too -- I remember when B and I first brought Sammie B home from the hospital, some friends of ours who had also recently had a baby confessed to us, sheepishly, that they'd given in and their babe was sleeping in their bed. Later, B and I judged them . . . thank goodness we wouldn't fall prey to that habit we thought! But after the teething, we travelled to see friends in Texas, and Sam slept with us again. We got accustomed to putting her in her crib, where she'd sleep until about 1 am, then she'd wake up and one of us would groggily walk to get her and put her in bed with us, where we'd all sleep peacefully the rest of the night. And then one day, B looked at me, after he'd had a rough day and hit a spot of worrying about our Sammie B, and he said, "I want her to sleep in our bed." And so that's how "our bed" became "her bed."

We spend so much of our days away from Sammie B as two working parents, and we spend so much of our time with her doing "work" (her PT exercises) and worrying. So, at the end of the day, there's something so perfect and wonderful about crawling into bed with her, putting the worry aside, and just exhaling and falling asleep together. Often, as she drifts off to sleep, B and I look at each other over her head, and just smile. So thankful to have this little creature in our bed. And even when I wake up worrying (as I so often do) . . . that worry melts the second SHE pops her cute little head up and smiles at me. We have no idea how long the "family bed" will last in our house, but for now, it feels right . . . for us.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Someday at the Park

Yesterday, B had to work all day (we are used to my crazy hours, but him having to work on the weekends occasionally too now that he's switched units at work is turning our world UPSIDE down!), so I took Sammie B to the park. It was supposed to be a fun, light-hearted mama/bean day, but for whatever reason, I got all worried and sad, and sort of let that mood get me down all day. And of course, because I get so little QT with Bean, I kick myself the entire time for letting a "mood" get me down and take anything away from our day together.

Anyway, while at the park, I was snapping pictures of Sammie B and sending them to B . . . and while I noticed (over and over) how many things she was able to do and even good at doing that she couldn't do at that same park three months ago, or six months ago (like sitting in the tunnel by herself) and how absolutely engaged she was with EVERYTHING around her (I couldn't get her to look at me for a picture to save my life, and we know this isn't the usual camera-happy girl we all know and love . . . she was just really into checking EVERYTHING out.)

But, I couldn't help but notice so many little tots Sam's age totting around at the park, mamas chasing them. And as much as I want to focus on the "cans" and the progress, and not the "can'ts," I left the park with a heavy heart, thinking, "I want to be chasing her. I want to chase her. With every fiber of my being, I want to make the 'can'ts' into 'cans' for her." I hate when I have these feelings because I feel like I'm doing HER (and me) a huge disservice. But I wouldn't be being honest with myself if I didn't own these feelings. So, there you have it . . . I got caught up in the "cant's" and the "its not fairs" and ended up at home after the park, crying to B, who gently reminded me that he really and truly believes we'll be chasing her someday.

Another Specialist Appointment Behind Us

Last week, we took Sammie B to see a geneticist. . . because the MRI ruled out any structural brain causes for Sam's low tone, our neurologist wanted to move to the next step in the process of (hopefully) ruling things out. So, we went. And the appointment went well. I'm pasting the email update I sent to our families later that night, which I wrote, B read, agreed with my interpretation of things, and I sent. We always re-cap after a doctor's visit. We need it. After we leave, and are in the car together, one of us always says, "so what I heard was x...." It helps. Depending on our moods, I think we can hear things in different ways, and sitting together and talking about our conversations with the doctors allows us to interpret everything, make sure we are being thorough and that we agree with the doctors, etc. Of course, being me, after that, I've had to re-read it 15 or so times because the glass-half empty me starts re-interpreting things and allowing panic and fear and worry to creep in . . . but here's how I felt about the appointment last week right after it:

We saw the geneticist today (really really liked her), and it went well. We heard a lot of what we've already heard (which is comforting) which is that this really seems to be "just low tone." The geneticist (both the doctor herself and a resident) took TONS of measurements of Sam and observed her as we went through the OVER 2-hour appointment, and basically concluded that there's absolutely no signs pointing to any genetic "syndrome," and there's no need to run a battery of genetic tests yet. So, now we move on to testing a few other things (which still could have genetic causes). Basically, the doctor said (which we already knew) that to conclude that Sam just has "benign congenital low tone" we need to rule other things out . . . that diagnosis is a diagnosis of exclusion. So, we've already ruled out any structural abnormality of the brain with the MRI, and now ruled out genetic "syndromes" by this appointment, so that leaves us with two other possibilities -- something with Sam's muscles (a myopathy) or a metabolic thing. We had blood and urine sent off to the lab today to check for metabolic things, and Sam will have an EMG to look at her muscles in the near future. There are some sort of 'nasty' (both my description and the doctors) muscular and metabolic things that cause low-tone, but fortunately, the doctor said she doesn't think ANY of those are what we are dealing with . . . Sam just isn't presenting the OTHER issues that would come along with the more serious conditions . . . she said generally babies with serious muscular myopathies are in and out of the hospital for their first years with various issues and complications (feeding problems, breathing problems, neither of which Sammie B has had), and babies with serious metabolic disorders are generally very very sick in cycles, and have a really tough time bouncing back, which Sam does not. She's only had a few colds and has always bounced back super quick. So, bottom line that we walked away from the appointment with is that we are going to check out these two other avenues (muscles, metabolic) but that even if something turns up, its likely not serious. The word "myopathy" scared me a bit (because I've googled!) but I asked the doctor, "If this turns out to be something with her muscles, are we talking about something that would mean she'd never walk?" And, the doctor said, without hesitiation, "no, I really don't think we are dealing with that situation here." And, from what I've also read, many myopathies (muscle issues) and metabolic disorders can actually be controlled/helped with changes in diet, exercise, and basically . . . people still live full, healthy lives.

Now, I'm not catholic, but I'm giving up Google for Lent. Seriously. No gain.

As we get each of these appointments behind us, we feel better and better. Still some stones to keep turning, but we just keep hoping we find ourselves right back where we started . . . with "low-tone" and a "wait-and-see" approach. As much as WE hate the waiting and seeing, I think we are finally seeing that the "wait and see" is much more comfortable and a lot less scary than some of the alternatives, like having some sort of diagnosis or condition or label that might somehow define for us what waiting will yield. Without a label, the possibilties are limitless, and we hope we can keep remembering that. Suddenly, through all of these appointments, with ruling things out, and hearing such consistent responses from so many specialists, we are slowly becoming more comfortable with the unknown. slowly. and not always willingly ;o) Not an easy road, but one we will keep on traveling with our sweet Bean by our side!

Home Sweet Home

We got back from Florida late last Sunday and then launched into a super super busy week . . . Florida was a whirlwind. We spent Thursday with Brian's grandma, Friday with my family, and split Saturday between the two families. It was a trip that I'd felt so anxious about for many many reasons best not shared here (family reads!), and it feels good to have it behind us. And, we got what we went for . . . some QT with B's grandmother, who kept telling us how special it was to spend some time with just the three of us. We think it was pretty special too!

Sammie B has become kind of shy -- we notice that amongst bigger groups she doesn't giggle, babble or talk nearly as much (or at least not for a couple hours while she warms up to the new people), and we knew that much of our time with B's family in Florida would be with everyone around (lots of people, including three other kids, two of which are Sam's age) so we really wanted to have a day that his grandmother (Bubbie) could just see who our little Bean is . . . and she did!

A few more pictures from the trip:
Kisses from Pawpaw:

Reading books with Gigi:

Showing Gigi and PawPaw how good she's getting at standing with some help from mama:

Celebrating B's dad's (Papa's) 60th with the extended family, including cousins Jessica and Sophia

Stealing some quick Nana time:

And exhausted (as I was) and catching a rest with Uncle Bob after the festivities:

We ended the trip with just the three of us spending a day in South Beach, Miami (before heading to the airport) and while the family time was nice, it was COLD and the novelty of a beach town isn't quite what it used to be before we MOVED to one, so we ended up heading to the airport earlier, which worked out well b/c we got on an earlier flight home, and a little more rest before launching into the week.

My two valentines!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Florida Bound

In two days, we head to Florida to see BOTH of our families. B's grandmother lives in Florida, and after my grandmothers both died last year (before meeting Sam) we vowed that we would make traveling to Florida to spend time with his grandmother a high travel priority. Then, we realized our trip to Florida was also around the same time as B's dad's 60th Birthday, so the rest of the family decided to join us in Florida for the weekend. AND, on top of that, my dad is currently working in Florida (about two hours from B's grandmother) so my mom decided she'd join us too! So, we have only 4 days to split between two families, but we will manage . . . and have fun!

Plus, my aunt and cousin that have never met Sammie B are ALSO coming . . . so we'll have some quick time with them as well! Lots of new people for Sammie B to meet (she's also not met B's aunt/uncle and cousins in Florida). We were planning to go for an entire week, but both got super busy at work, and decided it just wasn't in the cards, so we changed our flights and are coming back three days earlier. It is going to be a whirlwind.

On top of being swamped at work, we haven't had our nanny for much of the last few days because her mom has been in the hospital, so I've been 'working' from home (which means, I spent all of Sunday in the office ACTUALLY working) . . . she came today, but I also worked from home so that if something happened, she could leave right away and not wait for me to drive back from downtown. I surprised myself and had a ridiculously productive day working from home, which feels good.

As for the trip to Florida, however, I've had NO time to "get ready" for the trip in the way I normally would. Pre-Sam, I liked to plan for trips. I'd set a day aside to shop OR at least a few hours to shop online. I TRIED that this time - last week we went to the Gap (only had time for one store, needed Sammie B spring stuff too . . . so Gap it was) but only found one dress I was lukewarm about (but bought). I figured I'd get a few things online, but got busy and then I realized Monday that I had run out of online shopping time, and I have NO NO NO spring/summer clothes. (I did take ten minutes to look online at Nordstrom's "what's in" section, which is pretty much what I base my style decisions on these days since I no longer have time for magazines!) I couldn't figure out WHY I didn't have said clothes, until I realized that last summer, I was still a size bigger than I am now (post-babe) and I only bought a few things, all of which are too big now; the summer before that I was huge and pregnant and wearing maternity clothes, and the summer before THAT, I took the bar exam, and didn't shop for anything except super comfy clothes to study in and a few spagetti strap shirts/dresses for our post-bar trip around Europe. So, I needed clothes and had NO time to find them.

BUT, our nanny left early today (to go be with her mom in the hospital) so I threw my Sammie B in the car, we ran to Target for some Target-stuff we needed for the trip (some extra sippy cups, etc.)

After Target, I decided we had just enough time to ZOOM through DSW before dinner and I got two pairs of sandals. On my way to DSW, I noticed Ann Taylor Loft (which is one of the few stores right by us) had their spring stuff in the window, so we ZOOMED in and I got two pairs of capris, two shirts, and a dress. All that I love. I always feel like that store is SOOOOOOOOOOO "mommish" (stylin' mama, though right?!) which isn't the look I necessarily INTEND to go for, but I do love the clothes. Always. Perhaps I've lost my edginess? Or maybe I never had any and just thought I did! At least I'm trying to keep it together!

ALL of that was accomplished in UNDER two hours - Target, DSW, Loft. And now, the fam is in bed, and I'm going to bill a few hours . . . . Maybe I am super woman? (Yeah, right!)

Anyway, both me and Sammie B like our new shoes:

(Actually, she sat on the bed and played with them while I put laundry away tonight, and I said, "where do your shoes go? on your feet!" and she held them to her feet, just beaming, so very very proud . . . cute girl . . . she comes from a long line of shoe-lovers, so I'm not surprised!)

Our nanny needs to be with her mom tomorrow, so my super super special wonderful friend is going to keep Sammie B for me after her OT appointment so I can cram in some billables, then we'll pack like mad tomorrow night, rush to one last PT appointment Wednesday morning before the airport, and then be gone . . . . (Even when we travel, we try not to miss any PT/OT sessions, which sometimes means cramming them all into half the week, but we get it done nonetheless!).

I'm stressed just thinking about what the next two days hold for us! I don't even have my packing list made yet! Oy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Finding Our Way

Sammie B has never done well in restaurant high chairs. They just don't provide enough support, and she's wiggly, and wobbly, and well, it just doesn't work. Actually, its been awhile since we tried one, but anyway . . .

We eat out. A lot. At least twice a week, sometimes more (and truth be told, in our pre-baby days, it was usually 5 or 6 nights/week) . . . so, we want our Bean to enjoy the dining out experience. She's going to do a lot of it in her day! I just feel like I spend so much of my time away from my family, why spend "together" time in the kitchen? I'd rather go out and just sit and enjoy each other's company! So, we've struggled with what would work best -- we used her infant car seat (it goes up to 30 lbs, so its still our car seat) in restaurants forever, but that kept her from being up and part of things, which didn't seem fair. When we eat at home, she's in her high chair right at our level, participating in our family dinner with her sweet smiles and laughs. I hated having her laying back in a car seat in restaurants, a passive observer (with a terrible view). That's okay for infants, but she's not an infant anymore. We tried just holding her in our laps, but she's recently gotten too wiggly and grabby for that to be pleasant. So, then, a friend said, "maybe she'd do better in a booster seat." GENIUS.

And so I found this fabulous little booster seat that folds up!

And . . . genius. Little Sammie B is up and part of the group now, and loves it. Sometimes, the little adjustments make for the happiest moments!! (And, here, she's super excited about the Sesame Street placemats I bought for her).

Score one for mama and dada on this find -- and may the eating out (often) continue ;o)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What a Day!

Sammie B had her (belated) 15-month appointment with her pediatrician today. Oddly, I wasn't a nervous wreck before this one, probably because we already had the recent neurologist appointment, and I feel like we know where we stand and are doing everything we can with and for Sammie B. So, pretty straightforward appointment - she's 40th percentile for weight, 75th for height (down from 90th, so her growth is sort of evening out I suppose) and 75th for head (also down from 90th). Long and lean.

And, the pediatrician pretty much echoed what the neurologist said (and what we already know) . . . cognitive - great, on target; gross motor - delayed (duh), and we should keep doing what we are doing. One thing that I was happy to hear is that our pediatrician isn't concerned that Sammie B only has three words, she said she looks for 3-4 at a minimum at this age, and that with Sam's low tone, its not surprising that she doesn't have more. So, she said it would be premature (in her opinion) to do speech therapy, which I know B and I are both relieved to hear . . . our lives are so complicated already with THREE appointments each week. Not that we wouldn't add another if we needed to, but happy to not have to for now. When we were leaving, our pediatrician said, "you guys are really doing an incredible job with her." That was so nice, and so wonderful to hear.

Sam did get one shot at the doctor, so she was semi-crabby all day, didn't eat much, and didn't want to take a nap. She finally fell asleep at 3:30 and then slept for two hours.

Only "change" in our routine is that we are supposed to give Sammie B prunes daily, in hopes of combating her constipation problems -- also a low-tone issue. I want to switch to goats milk, and have read great things about it for low-tone/constipated kids, but the doctor doesn't think it would make a difference, and B thinks I'm being hokey. So, maybe we will, maybe we won't. If someone told me I could sprinkle salt in her ears for her tone, I'd do it, right?! So why not give the goats milk a chance?

Our nanny's mom is in the hospital, and we are very worried about her! So, our nanny is taking care of her, and Brian and I are scrambling to make things work on our end. Today we both ended up working from home and "tag teaming" the day. Tomorrow, B is off (thank goodness for furlough days) so we'll be okay, and just hoping for the best for next week, and hoping and wishing for the best for our nanny's mom, who we love!

I'm going to have to work this weekend to make up for the little work that got done today, but I'll survive!

And, to close with a picture . . . it occurred to me tonight that perhaps we could work on standing with ELMO on the TV -- we did this when Sam hated tummy time, and we did it with sitting in the beginning. Why hadn't I thought about it with standing? We (um, I) don't like for Sam to watch much TV, so its a treat when she gets to. . . and tonight we watched an Elmo DVD while standing :o) She got distracted after a bit and wanted to play with her toys, but she did stand for awhile. :o) And stared intently at her favorite red man!

(Our house is a wreck after all of us being home all day).

One thing B and I are both noticing so much lately is how much she's engaged with her toys . . . like ones we didn't think she had any interest in, she's totally into now, and figuring them out, and really just sitting and playing so independently and so intently. It's pretty cute! She's also been so cooperative and great in PT and OT these last few appointments, so we hope we are on a streak!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Yes, I'd like some cheese with my WHINE . . .

So, reduced schedule. Remember that post? About how hopeful I was that the reduced schedule could work for me, even though its failed so many many lawyer-mamas before me? Today, I'm a bit discouraged. Here's why. Last month, mandatory training at work. 40 hours of mandatory training that does NOT count toward my billables. This month, I'm slammed. Slammed. So much so in fact, that I'd resigned myself to working on my Tuesdays that I'm supposed to be off. And we had a team meeting today, so I would have had to go in anyway, so at least I'd resigned myself to that in advance. But when the email went out about the team meeting asking our available times, I replied, "Tuesdays are supposed to be my day out of the office, but I'll come in. The earlier the better." So, of course, the meeting gets scheduled for the afternoon, and we only have childcare until 3:30 on Tuesdays SOOOOOOOOOOOO I had to leave the meeting early. And, I walked out thinking that of course NO ONE GIVES A FLYING F that I came in on my supposed day off. No one is thinking, "wow, she went on a reduced schedule, but look at that commitment, coming in on her day off!" Nope, they all just think, "she really just walked out of the meeting at 3. She must not be committed. Look what happens when star lawyers have babies." Now, I might be exaggerating. Maybe. But I guarantee you at least ONE of the lawyers in that meeting thought that . . . and it just frustrates me to feel like I can't do enough to show my f'in commitment because there's always more that COULD be done. GRRRR.

And to top that off, I've been assigned like a gazillion depositions (great for my career, good experience, etc.) . . . all of which will happen in the next two months, and none of which are in my damn state. Me not likey that.

Now, after all this whining, I should say that last week, when I talked to the partner I work with about all of Sam's appointments, the stuff going on in our lives, etc., I said, "I just feel like I never have 100% to give to work; its not who I am, and I constantly feel like I'm cheating my team and behind the ball." He said, "I've never once thought that about you, so you need to let yourself off the hook."

Maybe. But it still doesn't take the sting out of having to walk out of the meeting early. The meeting I went to on my SUPPOSED day off. Or the sting of feeling like the other associates hate me because I get less work. Sure doesn't feel like less. End of rant. Good night.

Dreaming . . .

Last night, I dreamt that Sammie B just took off crawling. The dream was SO very very clear to me, and I remembered it perfectly when I woke up. In the dream, she was sitting on the floor, and then just literally took off, with a HUGE smile, just like I've always imagined she will when that day comes. I know that she'll LOVE mobility. Love exploring her world, her way, without having to be carried to where she'd like to go . . .

I know we'll get there (maybe not through crawling because I suspect we will skip that and go right to walking whenever that happens; she hates the four-point position so so much but LOVES standing), and I know her smile will be huge. (As will mine). But the dream had me feeling all wistful . . . which was annoying because I thought I'd found that "good place" again. Oh well, it was a sweet dream, and someday, someday it will be a reality.

In other news, Sammie B has had two GREAT OT sessions that I've missed. I'm trying not to get all the working-mama guilt for missing these sessions since the ones prior to this were less than good, and I felt like she just kept looking for me to rescue her from all the hard work . . . so maybe without me there to rescue her (or for her to think I might rescue her) she might do BETTER in OT? A silver lining to the working-mama woes? We'll see . . . this month my Tuesdays off are shot, so I'll likely miss several OT sessions. I still feel like PT is the bigger concern, so if I only get to go to one appointment per week, I'll make it that one, and since its a crazy busy month, it might only be one appointment/week for me! Here's to hoping the sessions continue to go well, even without me there! (And here's to be uber-grateful we have our fabulous nanny to take Sammie B to all of these appointments, to keep me updated via blackberry messenger, and to keep the pictures coming . . . that's what a working mama needs to stay sane!).