Friday, November 19, 2010

1 Month

I can't believe Gabriel has been with us 1 month already. I know all parents say this, but even in my sleepy stupor these past 4 weeks have flew by! Gabriel has almost reached 10 pounds, 22 inches, which is unbelievable since nothing fits him. He is sill a little peanut wearing newborn sizes. Being a mom to a newborn is a thankless job. All he seems to do is eat, poop, sleep (not necessarily in that order) but then something magical happens... he smiles. And I'm not talking a "I'm letting one loose grin". I real genuine smile with eye contact and all. And then maybe a coo. It just melts my heart every time... yes, even at 3am in the morning!

To be honest, it's been hard, especially with a toddler in the mix. Terrell is old enough where he can fend for himself. But what's been the hardest are all the Dr visits and the unknown illnesses that scare even a seasoned Mom like myself. Our latest issue is "Seborrheic Dermatitis". It's thick, crusty scales on his hairline, eyebrows, and behind his ears. Also known as "Cradle Cap". We are treating it with Baby Aquaphor and Hydrocortisone cream. If it doesn't improve in a week, he will be referred to a pediatric dermatologist. What concerns us most is the Dr says there is also a link between seborrheic dermatitis and allergies that appear later. Will has sensitive skin, severe asthma and is allergic to many things from cats to shellfish.

In addition to the skin issues, Gabriel has had bowel issues. I had to stop breastfeeding on short notice due to "Breast Milk Jaundice". I didn't think twice when I used a free full-size sample of Similac that I received in the mail. I was grateful to have this sample on hand since I didn't have formula available. I never intended to bottle-feed. But when Gabriel became so irritable, gassy and had explosive diarrhea I didn't know what was wrong. I thought it was colic or the transition to formula from breast milk, but it wasn't until weeks later that I realized that very formula I was using was recalled. He is finally doing better on a different, gentler brand of formula. Although, I complained about breastfeeding, I was going to continue once the Dr gave the okay. But after weeks of bottle-feeding Gabriel refused to nurse. I tried bottle-feeding expressed milk, but he didn't care for that either. I am disappointed and even feel a little guilty, but I gave it my best shot. There is no reason for us both to get frustrated. We will just continue to bond in other ways. Here's to a healthy, happy baby!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Thanksgiving is right around the corner and even though it's been 1 year since I lost Willow Rose, I still have a lot to be thankful for. Of course I am thankful for my beautiful children, my health and my job. I'm also thankful that after losing Willow, we had the courage to try again. It was frightening at times, but now we have a handsome little boy, Gabriel.

I am also thankful for my husband, Will. Yesterday morning I woke up to a screaming newborn, a whiny toddler, a yapping dog and an overflowing toilet with no hubby in sight. I called his cell, but there was no answer (if you know Will, you know this is no surprise). Frustrated would have been an understatement. But life can come at you hard sometimes. Later that day we attended a Wake for our good friend, "Pepe" who recently lost his battle with cancer. He was 30 years old. He left behind his wife Gina, and three young children. My heart breaks for Gina, who is also a close friend and sorority sister.

Life is too short to fret about the small stuff. Before you know it, your loved one could be gone. I love my husband for many reasons. He is honest, giving and smart. He kisses me every morning before he leaves. He's never moody. He tells me I look beautiful, even when I think I don't. He knows the words to James Brown, Jon Bon Jovi, Snoop Dogg and The Backyardigans. He always puts his family first, no matter what. But most of all, he's always been my biggest supporter. He's seen me at my worst and he still loves me. When we lost Willow he was scared and he never wanted to see me go through that kind of pain again, but he never gave up hope.

By the way, my missing in action husband went grocery shopping at 7am that Sunday morning. He came home beaming with his booty. He was so proud that he had remembered my favorite cereal, bagels and hot cocoa mix. He's not perfect, but I would be lost without him.


This is my post 3 days after I delivered Willow Rose. It is difficult to read because I can recall the amount of grief I felt as I tried to write this entry on that day... at that moment. I thought I would never be able to get past that pain, which I still feel but with a lot less sting. This was the beginning of my blogging experience, which proved to be an important outlet for the pain I felt.

Willow Rose Wardlow was stillborn on November 12th, 2009 @ 7:03pm. She was 7.87 inches and only a mere 4 ounces. She is in God's arms, but she will always be in our hearts.

The days since Tuesday, November 10th have been a blur. What was supposed to be a happy day turned tragic. Will met me at the Dr's office, CD-R in hand. We were ready to get pictures and video of our baby girl, but instead we heard the words... "Your baby's heart is no longer beating". I couldn't stop crying as Will tried to keep his strength and ask every question he could think of. We were told the baby had stopped growing around 17 weeks. We don't know for sure how long she had been dead. How could this happen?

We delivered her 3 days later at St. Joseph Hospital. I held her tiny fingers in my hand and cradled her miniature body as I tried to memorize every feature. All the dreams I had for my baby vanished. Everything seemed surreal, like a bad dream. Dear God, please let me wake up.

Days later, my milk came in. Another horrible reminder of our baby who was lost. We avoid saying the word "baby" so Olivia doesn't talk about being a big sister or the baby in mommy's tummy. We are just hoping she forgets. But we know we will never forget our baby girl, Willow.

Friday, November 12, 2010

365 Days

Wow! What a journey. I can't believe it's been 1 year since we said goodbye to Willow Rose. The events leading up to that day are still fresh in my mind. Even certain smells can trigger a memory of Willow.

Losing a child is a terrible thing to happen to anyone. It becomes even more complicated if that child never lived outside the womb. I will always consider Willow my third child. I miss Willow so much, but I am thankful for Gabriel. I am also thankful Will and I had enough courage to try to conceive again after such a devastating loss.

It hasn't been easy this week, but I have to admit Gabriel was a good distraction. A good friend from church stopped by on Willow's "Angelversary" and was so sweet to bring pink roses in memory of Willow. I displayed them next to the angel statute and her urn in our living room. It was a day filled with a plethora of emotions. I laughed, I reminisced and of course I cried.

365 days after I lost Willow, I still wonder "Why?" What was the reason for this loss. I still don't know why she died, or how exactly I am supposed to do to honor her, but I will continue to try my best. For now, it's important to me that her memory lives on and I continue to tell Willow's story.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Goodbye Pepe

Today we were forced to say goodbye to a dear friend. You may recall a post regarding Jose "Pepe" Covarrubias. He was diagnosed with cancer in January of this year. Sadly he died today, leaving behind his wife Gina and 3 beautiful children. Please keep Pepe's family and friends in your prayers as they begin their journey without Pepe by their side.

Rest in Peace Pepe. You will always be missed, but never forgotten.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

3 Weeks

Breast vs Bottle

As many of you know, Gabriel has been jaundiced since his birth. I'm happy to announce he is safely at a level 9 and his color is beautiful again. Dr's determined Gabriel had "Breast Milk Jaundice" or BMJ. Gabriel will still have to be tested (his poor heels!) but that may be his last blood draw.

In order to stop his levels from rising I had to stop breast feeding for 2 weeks. Although I knew I would breastfeed prior to Gabriel's arrival I hate it. I complain all the time. Of course "Breast is Best" but it doesn't mean it's easiest. For something that is available whenever you need it, it does require a lot of accessories:

Boppy Pillow $35
Nursing Wrap $30
Breast Pump $300
Nursing Bras $20-50 (depending on brand/ quality)
Nursing Pads $10/60... which don't last very long)
Milk Storage Bags $10-15

However, formula does cost $20-30 can which last about 1 week. But there are other drawbacks to breastfeeding. I'm not so comfortable whipping out my breast in public and feeding my baby. I know I have rights, I choose not to exercise those rights. And after 4 pregnancies, the public should probably thank me. In all honesty, I'm more concerned about showing my belly fat than my nipple! Therefore, trips to the mall require a lot of pre-planning.

Nursing also requires special clothing and bras. Think easy access. You won't see me in a dress for awhile.

Another drawback is my husband doesn't have milk filled utters! Which means I am responsible for all the feedings, unless I have expressed milk saved for him.

There is also a lot of pain involved. Most women give up on breastfeeding within the first few weeks because of sore, cracked or bleeding nipples. Once you get passed the initial, torturous weeks it does get better.

And don't even get me started about yellow, mustard-seedy, explosive poops, less sleep (breast milk is less filling) and leaky nipples... wet t-shirt contest here I come!

But then again, "Breast is best"... right?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ups and Downs

We've been on an emotional roller coaster since Gabriel has come home from the hospital. Gabriel has jaundice, which happens when the baby's liver isn't mature enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream. His skin and eyes have a yellow tint. Initially his bilirubin levels were normal, but in the first few days home from the hospital his levels began to increase. Within a week his levels reached 20 (25 is considered "Danger Zone" and can cause deafness and brain damage). The Drs were perplexed as to why his levels kept going up. Initially I had to cease breastfeeding and introduce him to formula only. I had planned to exclusively breastfeed Gabriel so this was difficult, but I would do whatever it takes to help him. But then he had to be put on a bili-blanket around the clock. This coupled with not being able to breastfeed became difficult. I couldn't hold Gabriel as much as I wanted and I was worried our bond will be affected.

Today, I am happy to report Gabriel's levels are back down to a 14, which means bye-bye bili-blanket! No more humming and glowing! My baby boy still has to go back to the Dr on Wednesday and Friday for, at least, 2 more heel pokes. But I may be able to reintroduce breast milk by Wednesday. I know we still have a struggle ahead of us, since I haven't breastfed in a week. I have been pumping, but not as often as I would have liked.