Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fifi: Another one for the FOWE jar

(First, here is a sneak peak of our professional photo shoot! Thanks to Danielle Bryson and her amazing photography. It's pictures like these that get me through the nights. )

SNEAK PEAK go here

Nestled on top of the landing into our family room is an old Classico pasta sauce jar that is delightfully called our "FOWE" jar. Essentially, it is our version of a swear jar (although, at times it turns into our petty cash receptical, or the babysitter fund account). The money will eventually end up in a college savings account. And we are struggling between wanting it to be filled to the brim (we will need all the help we can get come college time), but who wants to say their child's college savings were based on cussing? (Okay, I KNOW that there is no way we can pay for more than Miles's Sociology 101 book, but you get the gist). I'll lose the respect of many readers if I go into too much detail of jar's name genesis, so I'll just stick to the ground rules. We have delegated certain swear/naughty words as contributors to the FOWE jar; and be warned that house guests are held to the same rules. $1 a word. Slowly we are adding all of the standard swear words to the list, along with a few additional words that are not technically swears, but those foul words that make you throw up a little in your mouth when you hear them.

And now you are thinking, "you two cannot have such rotten tongues!" People, there are times in our house when we do have potty mouth--especially when watching movies or even perhaps in a heated game of Scrabble. This blog is about honesty--and that's just the truth. Yup, I am flawed...hard to believe, I know. And despite my background as an English major, there are times I cannot think of a better word than one of the dirty dozen to express something. (Can I also just take this time to say that just because you are an English major does not mean that a) you are going to be a teacher, or b) you took advanced "vocabulary" in college...thank you). We are good about abstaining in front of Miles, but we are considering jacking up the cost to $2 if anything is said in his presence.

The newest addition to the FOWE is "FiFi." When you have kids, you inherently feel obligated to call them all sorts of crazy names. We had a litany of names for Miles, but are settled on 3 presently:

Monkey/Monkey Butt

(Sorry Mom; I know you hate the word "butt." But(t) it will not be a FOWE word any time soon...)

With Felix, we have a host of names so far, many of which are combinations of Miles & Felix:

Fillo Dough
Mr McFeely


Help us. Both of us HATE "Fifi," but it somehow slips out of our mouths so easily. It sounds like a dog's name, or a 15 year old tennis player whose family spends $100,000 on yearly country club fees.

So, to curb our use of the nickname, Fifi is now the latest additon to the FOWE jar.

Felix is still struggling with his tummy, and if I were a betting woman, I would say we are looking at Prilosec of Zantac in our future. I'll let you know. But he is filling out quite nicely, and I am convinced beyond the days and nights of struggling, there is a happy baby. He looks less and less like Miles and more and more like a combination of my Mother-in-Law and my Father. I'm not sure what to make of this--especially when breastfeeding. It was far easier to see my husband in Miles's face while he latched on than it is to see my MIL or Father (honesty here, remember?).

Perhaps we'll need to add "Sheri" or "Bob" to the nickname list...

Update #1: we took BOTH kids to the pedi because Miles has had a few days of a 102 degree temperature, and got rash today. I have never seen him this sick--glassy eyed, cranky, and not hubgry. Verdict? Viral illness of some sort. No strep, no ear infection (still never had one!) GREAT. So, we are riding it out. (Why does my son, who never gets sick, decide to get the most sick when we have a newborn?) And yes, Felix is on Zantac. And Eric is sick, too. When it rains it pours, no?

Update #2: Don't let size fool you. I think I am producing butter. Felix is almost EIGHT AND A HALF POUNDS. All night nursing seems to be doing something...

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Heintz House of Toots and Poops

From Felix week 3

No joke. 90% of the conversations in my house center on gas or poop. And the other 10% of communication is hearing and dealing with the toots and poop from all of the men in my house. It's like a cacophony of digestive trouble. I bet you Phillip Glass could even make some sort of musical composition with the raw material I have here on Vanet Road. I am almost at the point of getting the Flip video out for a solid 15 minutes at my house just to document my children's (and husband's) contributions to the deterioration of the ozone layer and the insurmountable mounds of diaper laundry that stares me in the face. (No, Eric doesn't contribute to the diaper laundry.) And dear sweet 6lb Felix's toots and poops have kept me up all night for the better portion of 3 weeks.

I am delirious...sleep deprivation can do crazy things, like cause one to watch Bob Ross at 3am, followed by television's most toxic addition, Jersey Shore. I feel the weight of my age when I cannot relate to things like Lady GaGa or Jersey Shore fist pumping. But then--the house of toots and poops takes over, and I am up ALL night, getting my fill of soul decaying television (okay, not the Bob Ross and I actually didn't even make it through a whole Jersey Shore episode because I thought I might vomit). Actually, the TV displays a radar map of our local weather most of the night. It has no sound associated with it, emits far less light than our bed side reading lamp, and doesn't change screens creating that strobe light effect. So, at any point in the night, I can tell you the humidity, dew point, wind speed and general weather pattern for metro Atlanta. I keep the TV on because I am actively working on resolving Felix's tummy troubles and need light to see what I am doing.

I've kicked my lovely husband out of the bedroom to save him the all night pajama party I have with Felix. Listen, he cannot nurse (sorry Meet the Parents, you cannot milk anything with nipples), and why would I subject him to changing diapers "just for the sake of involving my husband in the middle of the night." AND, we have that whole 20 month old who gets up between 4am and 6am every, he is confined to the spare bedroom to cash in a good 5-6 hours of sleep before he is on Miles patrol. Don't get me wrong, Eric is super involved with both kids, but I operate on the principle of the path of least resistance, not the directive"50/50 with all things parenting." And he gets the lion's share of things like laundry, cooking, trash, compost, baths and bedtime. In all honesty, I love that guy more now than I ever thought possible. I don't know what it is about childbirth, but it gets me to places of love with this guy that I didn't even know existed. He's a total stud/superhero. Speaking of, if he did go the superhero route, I think this would be his uniform.

From Felix week 3
I DID get permission to post this believe it or not. It has little relevance to the post, but I had to get it in here for comic relief. I was watching What Not To Wear one night (remember my sudden TV fling?) and I asked Eric if he would ever wear a tie, vest and jeans (a la the male host of the show) thinking that the shirt was an obvious component. Out of nowhere, he walked into the room in the above. Not sure that would fit the Marist dress code for teachers. So he was joking, but boy did that make my day. Delirium can do things like that--make the smallest things funny.

Wait, weren't we talking about toots and poop? I know--delirious...

So, Felix is proving to be my 2nd high needs baby. I thought Miles was a fluke, but no. My kids don't sleep, but they sure as heck poop and have unrelenting gas. Eric and I combine to create the genetic jackpot with these boys' digestive/developmental systems. But boy are they cute...
From Felix week 3
From Felix week 3
The problem with gas is that it can REALLY bother a newborn. And by bother, I mean that I watch my son go through what looks like intense labor pains ALL night. I guess he is making up for my lack of labor with both of my births. It just kills me; the grimacing, the squealing, the hissing, the pain...I've tried it all, folks. Massage, sitting him up while nursing, Mylicon drops, burping for 45 minutes, fewer shorter feedings, pumping before feedings, wearing this child 24 hours a day on my body...the one thing I haven't tried is the elimination diet. Considering I eat ice cream every night, cereal at breakfast, and usually a cheese laden dinner, this has not been something I have seriously entertained. But now I will. I am just worried because this will limit my intake dramatically. Dr Sears has a whole section on how to go about the diet, and it scares me. Especially when I know cutting calories will absolutely cause a plunge in my milk supply. So, if anyone has any other ideas, send them my way.

While on the subject of asking for advice, (here comes my preemptive strike) before anyone comments about their children who slept through the night at 3 weeks after letting them cry it out, or anyone suggests the idea of me spoiling this child, let me allow another mother say exactly what I would say to you. I am too delirious to be this coherent and thoughtful. My BF Mama D sent this to me today and it really resonated with how I am feeling right now. I need to follow my intuition more and remember that holding my baby all night, cuddling with him all day, and feeding him on demand is not spoiling him. And who the heck believes in teaching "independence" to a premature 3 week old? For those who do not have the time to read a long internet passage because they are not nursing a child every 45 minutes or spending countless nights watching the local radar, here is the part that was most poignant for me: (And for those who are super SUPER busy and will mentally check out once you get to the quotation marks below, I sprinkled pictures of Felix throughout the last part of this for a quick glance--looking at a baby, even my gassy old man, can lift the spirits, right?)
From Felix week 3
"I also realized that our society has little understanding of newborns, and does not sanction compassion for their needs or feelings. Demand nursing, as I saw it, was no different from caring for a family member who has been rendered powerless. Would we refuse an incapacitated father a meal because it was "not time"? Or leave a paralyzed spouse alone in a room to "cry it out"--checking in every 10 minutes to say, "It's Ok"--without trying to find out what is wrong and doing something about it? If he or she only wanted to be held, would we refuse, for fear of spoiling someone we love? How can anyone claim that legal or religious tenets require us to deny babies sustenance and comfort "in their best interests"?
From Felix week 3
...Surely someday, our society will recognize that babies are people--with rights, feelings, and most importantly, needs. At that point, communities will advocate for these needs, with the knowledge that nursing-on-demand mothers are not spoiling their little ones, creating bad habits, letting their babies dictate their every move, or getting wrapped around little fingers, but rather doing exactly what nature intended. Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive.
From Felix week 3
...As for me, I continued to listen to my instincts. I let the dishes, work, and social times slide, knowing that they would always be there whereas my baby would not. I let the nights go by with varying amounts of sleep, and the days roll on with little sense of accomplishment. And looking back, I want to shout with joy that I did. My precious infant who nursed every 45 minutes grew and grew--into an independent, happy, intelligent, and confident nine year old with compassion in his heart and affection in his acts."
From Felix week 3

(snuggled in the amazing Ergo Carrier):
From Felix week 3
From Felix week 3

Link to full album of week 3 here.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I just need to interrupt my regularly scheduled programming to dote on Miles. I feel like I have not been a present mother to Miles since November, and it is starting to break my heart. He has been struggling a bit recently with sleep (he is always an early riser, but 4am is pushing it. When you are not sure if you categorize it as an early rise or a middle of the night wake-up, you know you are in trouble). Eric has been super Dad and pretty much focuses on Miles. I realized that was the case when I had not changed Miles's diaper in more than 24 hours, and Eric didn't hold Felix for an entire day. Crazy! And Miles is obsessed with his "Dad-DEE!" Oh, how quickly things changed from when he was Mom-crazed.

I have to admit that I am a little jealous.

We took a funny video the other night of Miles saying "blanana" over and over. It's his new favorite word. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, this kid understands everything, but just doesn't have great expressive language. I think we probably have less than 20 English words (including some the words I quizzed him on: shoe, moo, and Ella--a girl in his class), and all the rest are in his own language. I guess he is taking after his father who didn't talk until he was THREE.

He just wouldn't say anything but "blanana" this one night. And you'll notice from the words I threw at him that I am in dire need of a good Mexican meal with a stiff Margarita. And when does my husband eat at Checkers?

We hope to have more video of him and Felix together. He is obsessed with his hair, giving him kisses and slapping him "five." It is so cute.

And if you are wondering--still not getting a lick of sleep, but I think I counted at least 25 rolls of fat on Felix--I guess the time spent latching on and off is doing something! Scrum-diddly.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Deja #2

From Felix week 2

It's amazing how quickly you forget what it is like to have a (preemie) newborn, but at the same time, how quickly everything comes back. I am constantly in a state of deja vu with #2 (deja #2 I call it). And during the spells of desperation (e.g. not getting more than a 2 hour stretch of sleep in 2 weeks), remind myself "this too shall pass." Unless you are Miles and still cannot stay asleep past 5:30am at 20 months.

We have had our first 24 hours with no guests at our house since the beginning of December. While unloading the dishwasher and doing multiple loads of laundry today (have I mentioned Felix pees through EVERY outfit?) have been slightly welcome chores since I truly haven't done much in months, I know that in a matter of days (minutes) I will long for the extra set of hands. Even more so, I miss having family around. I won't lie--it is difficult sharing your space for such a long time, especially when you are establishing breastfeeding with a sleepy newborn and would prefer to traipse around the house topless...and there is also an element of possessiveness that happens when you give birth. All you want to do is hold your baby all day and stare at him--and it can be hard relinquishing your baby in fear of him changing beyond recognition during the time others cuddle with him. But knowing our families will establish relationships with Milix (what we call the boys...courtesy of Nana...better than Files) over skype is slightly sad; but thank God for skype.

So here we are, the family of 4. Things are remarkably quiet, but I know once Felix really learns to wail, we are doomed to a life of constant noise, poop and silliness.

Things that I forgot about this 4th trimester/newborn stage:

-Breast milk poop smells like hot pretzels and looks like mustard...but there is nothing appetizing about it. People think, oh, it is just because it is your own son's poop that it doesn't bother you. No, Miles's poop makes me gag, but all newborn poop is pretty darn tolerable.

-Newborn cries pierce through the heart despite their minimal volume. And sometimes, the shrill resembles the screams of a cat being de-clawed.

-You don't really need clothing--for the baby or you (unless your house is witnessing a revolving door of guests). That is, if you are one of those obsessive attachment parents that I tend to be, kangaroo care/skin-skin dominates. And when you do put the baby in clothes, he just pees right through them. Following, you'll get pee and poop on you quite often in the early days...and it will "be cute." When it happens at 20 months, you want to call the hazmat team.

-Circumcision care makes diaper changes much more complex--especially at 3am. Yes, I just gave you the 411 on the controversial tiddly bits decision. Don't judge. Added with the umbilical stump, it's like diaper origami for 10+ days.

-Our Heintz babies continue to look like old men throughout the first few weeks with ridiculous amounts of hair--but there is no threat of the dreaded "is it a boy or girl?".

-Your baby will smile a ton--but only when sleeping...and you are convinced they must be dreaming about you (or at least a part, rather, 2 parts of you). Felix had this spell where he must have really been hamming it up in his sleep and I quickly got the camera and barely captured a smile. The rest of his face looks nothing like him, but I did get the smirk!
From Felix week 2

-Newborn skin peels as the transition from amniotic fluid to outside air occurs. And newborn skin (save maybe the highly touted bottom) isn't always so pretty. Baby acne, cradle cap (haven't gotten there...yet), scratches, unidentifiable red marks...

-Breast milk makes everything better--including clogged tear ducts and the multitude of ailments I just described above.

-Newborn nails should be first on the list of WMD--they can tear into your face and cause permanent damage.

-Newborns (perhaps this is more a preemie attribute) sleep...a lot. Except between the hours of 1-4am when they apparently think pooping feels like passing razor blades and grunt/cry every hour, only to be pacified by the boob.
From Felix week 2

-Babies in the beginning really don't "do" anything. I keep wondering who this little 6lber really is? (Oh yes, did I mention he is 6lbs already?)

-Nursing still gives me that feeling in my stomach at times where I kind of feel nauseated. I am not sure what it is, but I had it with Miles, too. It has no bearing on how much I actually love nursing, though.

-That being said, I don't always love nursing. Sometimes in the middle of the night I just wish Felix would give me an hour break. Or that he would latch on to Eric, just to comfort suck (we prefer not to do pacifiers. I know--what kind of brutish parents ARE we?)

-Pumping always sucks. Period.

-Sleep is overrated. Okay, that is a total lie, but I tell myself that.

-Showers are not overrated.

The nice thing about Deja #2 is that I am so much more relaxed. I will say that I may even border on dangerous. Tonight, I placed Felix swaddled on the boppy lounger pillow ON TOP of the table while I played with Miles while Daddy cooked an insane grilled dinner. Felix was always in my sight, but you all should go and consider calling the dept of child and family services right now. Especially when you hear that Felix is already sleeping on his side, sometimes with a blanket slightly wedged to keep him in position--or my arm if he is...get sleeping between me and Eric. I think we are dealing with reflux and am trying to make his sleep at night (what little he has) conducive to better digestion. And most nights, Felix sleeps right on my chest as I am sitting up.

The bottom line is that things are going well. In fact, Felix must have just heard some incredibly witty joke in his sleep as he just cackled for a good 10 seconds while on my chest. If this was my first child, I might have just panicked he had a seizure.

We went on our first outing today as a family of four. I am not really supposed to have Felix out, but we all really had cabin fever. Know where we went? THE GROCERY STORE. I bundled Felix up and wore him in my wicked awesome new (but bought used) organic Ergo carrier. I was tempted to wear it topless so he could just latch on in the frozen foods section if needed, but I guess I am not that sleep deprived (or insane). We had a blast. And I say that with complete sincerity. Miles hasn't shopped with me in months, and just kept saying "Mommy!" over and over when I would appear in the next aisle as he and dad carted to me and Felix.

It feels good to be Mom.

Full album of redundant 2 week Felix pics here.

PS (how I love the use of a good post script): I may decline in my posting as this mommy x 2 thing dramatically affects my time in front of the it should!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

1, 29, 30, 37: Birthday by numbers

From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day

Felix: 1 week old!
From Felix Days 1-3

Eric: 29 years old!
From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day

Ali: 30 years old!
From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day

From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day

Ali: 37 weeks "pregnant"! Listen folks--I totally recognize the self-indulgent nature of the shot below. But you have to understand that even though in my mind the abs are soft, bum is still sagalicious, and arms are padded with weeks of bed rest, I feel great. I am eager to get back to running and shed the last few pounds. I now understand how karma works: pregnancy is a BEAST for me...but delivery and post-preggo body are pretty darn sweet.
From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day

(And Miles...he wishes he was a baby again I guess!)
From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day

This was the most non-eventful 30th birthday of my life. Well, I guess it is my only 30th birthday, huh? I am not a huge birthday fan, but it is amazing how having a baby puts things in perspective. Rumor has it that Eric had been planning a 30th bash, but my uterus really put the kibosh on it. Since my release from the hospital right before Christmas, it has kind of felt like the accumulation of lots of little birthday gifts: the extended stay of my mother, visit from the in-laws and sister/brother-in-law, surprise appearance of my best friend from Cali, winning Scrabble, giving birth in 10 minutes, taking Felix home, feeling successful with breastfeeding, and now getting the chance to bond with not only Felix, but also reconnect with Miles.

We are blessed.

Eric and I agreed on no gifts for Christmas or our birthdays (yes, we share a birthday). Of course, Eric had to show me up (it must be hard to contend with bearing children and giving birth naturally, I don't blame him) and SURPRISED me with a never to be released again, signed by the artist Charley Harper print called Family Owlbum

From Felix Days 1-3

Is that not the most perfect gift? If you don't know, we received THREE amazing CH prints when Miles was born and I have wanted another one since. This one truly touches my heart as I see my little family in the image. When we first articulated our desire to acquire Harper prints when I was pregnant with Miles, I distinctly remember one of our friends questioning our motive--wasn't it a selfish desire? (I cannot remember his words specifically). The truth is, collecting art that truly resonates with our aesthetic and touches our spirits in a unique way is important to us. And unlike much of the nursery decorations and baby shower gifts people accumulate, we figure the pieces will be important to pass down to our children. I recognize our taste and interest may raise an eyebrow or two, but we really feel passionate about the artist. (And the crazy thing is that the #1 distributor is located in Eric's hometown!) Two things we love: good art and good books.

In reality, Eric and I had agreed to give each other an updated bathroom for the Christmas/birthday season. Right before I delivered, we "renovated" our pathetic master toilet hovel. Thanks to Opa Cal, we got a new can light in the shower and a light tube in our kitchen. We got a new sink, new toilet, new mirror, painted the walls...and then were stuck with these darn yellow wall tiles. The issue is that they are glazed with lead and to remove them runs the risk of spraying lead dust into our house. Miles has high lead in his blood, so we decided that removal was not prudent. I researched for HOURS on alternative solutions. No dice...until I had a crazy idea--contact paper. So, we spent $7 on contact paper and hand cut out tiles and spanked them right on the yellow wall tiles. Not bad, huh???

Old hovel:
From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day
From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day

New master suite (ha ha)
From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day
From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day
From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day
(hi Eric!)
From 37 weeks: 29/30 year b-day

Oh, and those cupcakes above were made by Miles's childcare director's daughter for our b-day. You have no idea how good they are. Like I said--truly blessed.

(full galleries: Felix days 1-3 and b-day numbers)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What's in a name...

As we are unable to use our Mac (we have spent days having our hard drive stored), I cannot upload pictures. So I thought I would use this time to address the few questions that have come up over the past few days and give you a Felix status update.

1. Did you really embarrass yourself during delivery like you said you felt you might? I did confirm with Eric and the delivery staff immediately post delivery that despite the urge for the big "P," I didn't, in fact, eliminate my entire lower intestinal system. I had completely gotten over the fear of freshly shaven legs and glimmering painted toenails...but was still worried I would, well, you know...PHEW! Integrity--check!

2. How is your recovery? God bless women who come home with more than a 1st degree tear (rumor has it that it goes all the way to 4th degree). I definitely hurt more this time around...but am so eager to actually ambulate on my own two feet, I really don't mind the stinging. Nursing does cause contractions, and those hurt more this time. I guess with subsequent pregnancies this is common. My milk came in fast and I am so psyched about successful breastfeeding. I have taken a shower EVERY DAY! (seriously, folks, this is huge) and even flat ironed my hair and wore make-up one time, too. Despite a soft tummy and excessively out of shape general body, was surprised to only be about 15lb over pre-pregnancy weight. I don't care about the #s as much as getting myself into shape again. Overall--I FEEL GREAT!

2. How is Felix? Felix is a freakin' champ. He is a total preemie: he sleeps ALL of the time and cries like a small abandoned kitten. When he does perk up, he nurses, poops neon mustard seeds, and then retreats into his dreamland where he giggles, smiles and probably dreams of boobs. Honestly, it doesn't get much better. He has blood in the whites of both of his eyes (will for some time), but his bruised face and swollen eye socket area is looking better. He is a total prize fighter: Felix versus the birth canal. Jury is still out on who won.

Last night I timed how often he stirred to get food--every 1 hour and 45 minutes. Translation: mom is exhausted.

3. Since he isn't in the NICU, can you skip pumping for awhile? The...medela...has...returned...ugh! Seasoned blog followers know my disdain for the pump, but I had to pull it out, dust it off and start the whole ordeal. Reason being, even though Felix GAINED an ounce while at home for 24 hours (went up from 5lb 7oz at discharge to 5lb 8oz at the first appt), he was looking a little too Jersery Shore (i.e. fake tan). This indicates jaundice, so we had to go to Children's hospital 3 days in a row in 0 degree weather (no, seriously that cold) to get multiple heel pricks to see if his levels were too high and we needed to consider intervention. The first line the on call pedi suggested was supplementing with the "f" bomb--formula. NO WAY! So, knowing that the way babies get rid of bilirubin is to excrete it, I just nursed this child every hour, pumped extra milk, and had him get 2 little bottles of expressed breast milk to amp up his system. It worked as his levels aren't increasing too rapidly...but I am still pumping and overfeeding this child until our appointment on Tuesday.

4. How has Miles reacted? Miles loves Felix. I mean, as much as a 19 month old can. He points to him and says "ba" and also signs "baby" when we ask him to say baby. It has helped that like everything in our house, we created a song about baby brother Felix. We actually have created many songs. We usually just hijack the tune to "are you sleeping" or "baby baluga" or the likes and change the words. Works like a charm as Miles will insist on "more, more!" when we finish each time. Miles will also pet his hair and LOVES watching him get his diaper changed. He kindly blew his nose into one of Felix's hats and then proceeded to try to get Felix to blow his nose, too. Great germ control over at the Heintz household.

You know what Miles loves more than Felix? The medela! He has watched me pump in fascination (no interest in nursing though!) and then spent a good 10 minutes turning on my pump and playing with the settings. The best was when he took the actual parts that go to the breast, which at the time had an empty bottle on it, and put it to his own breast. Eric, my mom and I laughed so hard.

5. Is Nana Deysher still there? Speaking of my mom, she left today after "living" in Atlanta on and off for 5 weeks. I cried for a long time in the shower and cannot really talk about her departure quite yet.

6. Any other visitors? The Heintz grandparents have returned! Poor folks traveled all of the holidays only to return to Ohio and get a call in the middle of the night that we finally had the baby. Timing...

7. How did you come up with Felix's name? People keep asking about Felix's name. So far, we have had all sorts of responses to hearing his name:

"Oh! That's different..."
"Do you spell it with a 'ph'?" (are you kidding me?)
"Aw, how cute."

So, where does Felix come from? No, not the Odd Couple and not the cat. It literally came from our looking in the 10,000 baby names book. Right when we found out I was pregnant, my mother came down to Atlanta and stayed with us for weeks over the summer--during the time that only the three of us (actually, four, my best friend C also knew we were preggers) were privy to the pregnancy we spent some nights browsing the name books and looking up German names (we had already had a girl's name from the last pregnancy, so still needed to find a boy's name). Felix was read, and we paused and liked it. It meant "Happy." It was unique, couldn't be shortened into a nickname, and wasn't a family name. I know, strange final criteria, but the pressure to represent family for the first name was too much. My mom didn't love the name and I will say warned us that "anyone over the age of 40 will associate it with the Odd Couple..." but we didn't care and from that point on, were pretty confident we were going with Felix.

So, we had Felix as our #1 name from just about the beginning. Over time we did consider other names, but it was pretty much always Felix.

And Josef? That was all Eric. First, it is pronounced "yo-sef." Second, we both have Josephs in our family lineage, and he has an actual Josef. Eric has spent years fighting for his obscure, oddly pronounced European names, so I felt that it was time to honor one he really liked. Actually, Josef wasn't confirmed until right before Felix was born.

I hope to have more pictures posted, soon. Eric and Miles head back to school tomorrow, and after mid-week when the Heintz g-parental units leave, I will probably be in for it...

I think I forget how to do the dishes.

PS--skype rules. If you ever need your preemie fix and have a web cam, let me know and we can skype!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Winning Scrabble Word: Felix

From Felix Josef Heintz Birth
Felix Josef Heintz

Born at 2:34am (correction - 2:45am, Eric caught this!!!)
5 lb 12 oz
19 inches long

I guess a baby really is the prize after winning Scrabble. And it becomes clear what that whole being a scrooge for 48 hours was about--preparation for giving birth.

Birth Story--all 10 minutes of it. This is complete non-fiction with no exaggeration--I almost cannot believe it all myself as the verbose description will far outlast the reality.

8pm: Alison decides to swallow her pride, hide her sore losing tears and jump into the 3rd night of Scrabble.

10:30pm: Alison wins Scrabble! And the spoils of the win were mint chocolate chip ice cream. But for some strange reason, Alison doesn't want any (warning sign #1)

Alison retreats to the bedroom with some really low period cramps. Eric follows and adds proverbial salt to the wounds by turning on one of the Lord of my A$$ movies--the one with the giant spider and hobbit man love. (Or do they all have that?)

Alison calls the on call OB just to see what she thinks. Said period cramps aren't really regular in the expected sense, but definitely qualified as some zingers 3-7 minutes apart. But the spacing was no different from the contractions that were taking place weeks before.

Spotting? Barely
Mucus? Some
Bloody show? (yes, that is the correct terminology): Nothing
Contractions that take your breath away? Absolutely not

OB says to come in just to at least check the cervix. Hooray! Another reason to leave the house.

11: some odd minute pm: Triage nurse gives a shot of terbutaline and IV fluid to see if that will quiet the contractions. (hello! We've been down this path--nothing stops them).
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth

11: some odd minute past the previous some odd minute pm: Nurse DIGS in the vajayjay to check the cervix: 100% effaced and undetermined dilation (warning sign #2)--5 cm? Triage nurse brings in another triage nurse to check the questionable dilation. 2nd triage nurse looks just as confused, but digs even harder. Ouch.

Midnight: OB calls and says to transfer to L&D because we are going to have the baby.

WHAT??? There is no way. I did this labor dog and pony show for weeks, and tonight is no different. Um, okay. Ali gets wheeled by bed to room F3--totally a scene out of ER. We did ask if I could walk--I was so close to being off of bed rest.

Ali enters F3 and sees that her dream team is led by nurse Sharon who luckily has a lot of experience with natural birth and been in L&D for over 25 years.

Ali's contractions? No different--but last we heard, I was only 5 centimeters. Sharon suggests walking, rocking on the toilet and changing positions to get the cervix moving.

Eric: "Sharon, if you were a betting woman, what time do you think something could happen?"

Sharon: "Oh, this baby will be born on the 4th."

Well, that could be 1 hour or 23 hours...

Things continue this way for a little bit. We watch poker on TV with Sharon, and only about 3 times did the contractions ache to the point that I asked Eric to rub my back. In general, we joke, do laps, hang out on the toliet, smooch, and anticipate a long night (and I feared pitocin).
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth

We hadn't even thought to reach in our bag of labor tricks at this point--just not necessary pain wise.

2:am-ish, Sharon: "do you want me to check you to see if you have progressed?"

Ali: "YES! I just have no sense of if anything is happening. If I am still only 5, can you lie and say 5 3/4?"

Sharon: "You are 9 cm."

Eric: "As in the number before 10?" (i.e. fully dilated???)

Sharon: "Yup."

2:35 pm: On call OB walks in and checks cervix: "Yeah, you are 9 cm. Let's just make a small tear on the right side to see if that encourages anything to help for the next few hours."

Knitting hook comes out (or crochet spear, or whatever hook they seem to buy from Michael's art supply store), and she makes the tear.

Warm gush--oh that warm gush.

Ali immediately rolls on her right side and says, "I NEED TO PUSH!"

Dream team is joined by NICU team, nursing team lead, Big Bird--who the heck knows or cares who was there at that point!

The bed isn't prepped, the Doctor isn't dressed, but Ali is pushing.

At this point, I think the following was uttered from my mouth:

"I need some medicine."
"No one wants to poop when having a baby...I think I need to poop."
"I can't do this."

Additional thoughts I didn't say out loud:

If I don't get this head out, I am going to ask them to use the vacuum, or push it back in and do a c-section.

Where is that ring of fire they talk about? (And readers, if you don't know what that is...just ask any childbirth instructor)

TEN MINUTES LATER (and about 3 pushes and some vocal "GRAHHHHHS")...

From Felix Josef Heintz Birth
He was kicking and screaming and full of life. Eric cut the cord and I just watched my baby come to life. We confirmed with the OB that it really was 2:35 when she broke my water and 2:45 when he was born.

It was amazing. It hurt like hell getting his head out, but it was so wonderful.

I got to hold him immediately, we did skin-to-skin,
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth
he started nursing right away without much instruction,
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth
and they delayed the eye goop for a long time so I could love on him.

Before the goop and transfer to the family centered care ward, he got a bath and Eric and my mom got to hold him. His face is bruised from the journey (and I left the fight with another first degree tear--not too bad!),
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth
but we already decided that we produce babies that look like old men. He reminds us of Miles, but already has his own facial idiosyncracies (and even more hair).

Nana, Aunt C and my doula all missed it. We were going to call in reinforcement after the OB got to the hospital and checked me. We just didn't know tha when she came in to check me, she wouldn't leave but minutes later after delivering Felix. What can you do...plan for the best case scenario, but know and be okay with what craziness may ensue.

My mom came a little later in the night once Miles's childcare director came to our house to sit with him while he slept. And we all passed Felix around, admiring every nook and cranny.
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth

And today? Lots of kangaroo care, nursing...and zero sleep. But who cares when you have the most beautiful second son a woman can have.
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth
From Felix Josef Heintz Birth

I love Felix. I love Eric. I love (and miss) Miles.

Stay tuned. The pictures have just started...(full gallery of birth here)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Glutton for punishment

I am about to play Scrabble again...wish me luck.

Here's the deal. I don't feel good about my reaction during the last 2 games, and think a rematch will help. Even if I lose, I feel like I have the emotional capacity today to be a "good" loser. Perhaps it was the fact that not only did I shower, but I even flat ironed my hair--and put on mascara. Still in pajamas, though.

I feel better today. Perhaps it was because I have been distracted by some really terrible cramping. Not contractions, but like having super period.

And if that wasn't gross enough--here are the other appetizing updates. Again, if you have had children, you'll understand. If you haven't and want to, pony up and deal. If you haven't and don't want to, stop reading.

-I lost my mucus plug, but appear to be regenerating it b/c I keep thinking: Whoah--just lost it again. And trust me--you KNOW when it is a mucus plug or when it is something else.

-I felt Kilo's head. Yup. I won't go into details, but let me just say it wasn't hard. I mean, the head was hard, but it wasn't difficult to find. My new fear is that if my water breaks, this boy will shoot out in one slip and slide.

I may just be that woman who sits on the toliet and delivers. Someone call TLC.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


For the past 48 hours, I have assumed the role of a royal scrooge. This totally isn't like me, and after the best month ever and such great news on the preggo front, I am feeling supremely guilty about my poor attitude.

I just need to...vent. I don't need sympathy, but cannot figure out a better way to get over this 48 hour slump than to write about it. (What I probably need is someone to tell me "snap out of it crazy preggo!"). It's not that I am sad, or scared...I am just kind of pissed at the world. For no good reason. But below, I will surely attempt to make it seem like I have a shred of justification. But the truth is, I don't...and that makes me feel even worse.

Don't get me wrong, I had a moment or two over the past month when I have broken down and cried (when I was sent to the hospital before x-mas, when I was told by the Peri I was going to deliver later that day before I hit 34 weeks) but I wasn't ever really in a sour mood--just momentarily overwhelmed.

For this spell of poor attitude, I originally thought it was an "off" day after my bestie Bec and "hubster" Adam left (still need to blog about that miracle of miracles). But upon more reflection think their departure sort of signaled the end of the holiday season for me as well as the end of family visits--and I realize that as awful as it would have been to deliver over Christmas, I would have had family around...sister and brother-in-law, in-laws and mother. And now, within a week, we will be alone again--and yet again no one in my family will witness the birth. Gosh, I really am tearing up just writing this! I know there is an element of sadness felt by all of the departing family that they didn't get to witness Kilo's birth--and I have fleeting moments of feeling guilty, but they wouldn't be the ones going to the NICU every 3 hours or working tirelessly to initiate breastfeeding with a preemie. And so I have this strange mixture of feeling angry that any of them would want the baby to be born before "term" but also sadness that they won't be there. Can one really maintain that duality of emotion?

What the hell is wrong with me? Is this what happens after you hit 34 weeks of pregnancy? I thought the hormones were raging in the beginning of pregnancy...but this was unexpected!

-I hate Scrabble. I cried last night during my turn in Scrabble with my mom and Eric. (Eric pissed me off with inconsistent rules). Who cries at Scrabble?

-I have consistently awful nights of sleep (read: no sleep). And I cannot take naps as if my body was secretly hard wired by some awful preggo hater to get mentally jazzed up the second I put my head to any soft surface. I am not sure I have had a stretch of sleep for more than 45 minutes.

-I have no appetite anymore because the second I eat, I feel so full. And yet, my belly is so huge now I am clear out of all maternity clothes and am resigned to a wardrobe of about 1 dress and 2 sweatpants. And although I have avoided all lower extremity swelling, and seemed to lose 2lbs this week, my face somehow looks like the swollen remnants of a street fight. (Doesn't help I have no desire to wear make-up).

-I got a $26,000+ hospital bill. Who knew overcooked canned beans, trans fat crackers, colace and IV sugar water cost so damn much? I just added it to the mountain of paperwork and bills I need to start addressing, um, yesterday.

-My company decided to start my FMLA/maternity leave mid-December. If I deliver on time, this means I may only have 5+ weeks with Kilo. (This really sent me over the edge...I had 6 weeks with a preemie last time, and SWORE I would never, ever work someplace that didn't give me the full 12 weeks).

-I cried at Scrabble again tonight. (When will Eric realize you just don't challenge your pregnant wife in Scrabble--even if she claims gloven is a word?) I cried just because I lost. What, am I in fourth grade? Not sure how many fourth graders are waddling preggos...scratch that, I think there is a series on TLC about pregnant fourth graders-right? It follows the "I didn't know I was pregnant but squeezed out a baby while trying to poop on the toilet" show.

-My mouth bleeds excessively when I floss. There is nothing worse than feeling like your dental hygiene is restricted. Oh, and I cannot easily reach my legs to shave them. I am contemplating taping my razor to a yard stick.

-My house does not feel like my own. And I just know the day I go off of bed rest I'll be too huge to really do the thorough cleaning I want to do, or immediately have a baby. I am so thankful that I have had such great help cleaning the house, but I haven't had control over my "stuff" for months now--there is something about clothes folded the way you like, and cabinets cleaned and organized in a way that makes sense to you that can really provide satisfaction.

-Over the past 2 days I have been jealous of every living soul who has been able to fill my dishwasher, pick up my son, and walk out of the house without the bed rest mafia coming at them (i.e. Eric). Cabin fever has never felt so awful. I somehow convinced my husband to take me to get a hot dog across the street just so I could get in the car on New Year's Day. I really didn't want the dog, and felt supremely ill afterward, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

-Miles, with whom we have worked so hard to establish a flawless bedtime routine of him going down at 7-7:15pm, fully awake without a tear, has been going to bed at 7:45pm or later, and requiring at least two five minute spells of him crying and Eric going in to calm him down. And he is waking up earlier and earlier and has had a few nights of waking up in the middle of the night, too.

-Kilo's movements (as well as my contractions thank god) have seemed to slow down. I've never worried about the little guy, and now I am finding myself counting his movements throughout the day. This has been the first time I have really worried about Kilo's health.

-I really hate Srabble.