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Friday, October 30, 2009

Ouchie

Breast infection:

Red.
Hot.
Swollen.
PAINFUL.

My right breast looks like it has a sunburn and it is very sore, especially when anything touches it (like a bra or a cute baby boy's mouth...too bad those are things that touch it all the time!). Even the bouncing when I walk makes it hurt.

It is crazy how quickly a bacterial infection like this can happen. Yesterday morning I was fine, just SUPER tired since Eddie decided not to go to sleep until 2am and even then only slept for a few hours. Around 10am I noticed a sore, "full" feeling in that breast but figured it was from Eddie suckling on me for way too long the night before. The more babies suck, the more milk you produce the next time around--it is the ultimate supply/demand system. But by 3pm when my mom and I were eating out at a Mexican restaurant I began to feel feverish and generally icky. And my right breast was super sore.

When we finally got home the UCD health center was closed and that also means the advice nurse is off duty. My temperature was at 100.2F. So I phoned Eddie's doctor to get his opinion on the severity of a breast infection--could it wait until morning when I could get an appointment on campus? Or should I go to urgent care at the local hospital? Could I still nurse him on that side?

I also asked my friend Kristin, who is a doctor, via text message. I heard back from her first and she said I'd need to get antibiotics, do hot compresses, and definitely keep nursing him if I can stand it. Apparently "static milk" just worsens the condition.

By 9pm my temperature was up to 101.7F and I was alternating between being too cold and being too hot. Blah. Taking Motrin helped break the fever.

So I just got back from the campus doctor, who put me on medication. Since it will get into the breast milk she just warned me to keep an eye out for any adverse reaction Eddie might have. I'm just glad I can continue breastfeeding.

If it weren't inappropriate, I'd post a picture of my red boob so you could see just how red a boob can be. It is creepy. Don't worry...I won't. (I may have the guts to post a picture of my placenta on Facebook but not my boob on my blog!)

=)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Feel Like a Teenager

Reasons I feel like a teenager today:

-I hate all my clothes and wish I had money to buy a whole new wardrobe
-My car is still broken so I've been borrowing my mom's
-I'm staying in my old bedroom at my parents' house for a few days
-My mom gets upset with me when I don't make my bed or she doesn't like my "tone" when I talk to her (God, some things never change!)
-The sulphur smell of the well water here brings back memories of being in high school

And then I look over at the bed and see my baby boy asleep on it. And that makes me feel older...but not like an adult. More like a teenager who got knocked up. You'd think that having my own child would make me feel like a mature adult, but it doesn't. I just feel like a kid who has a kid. Is that weird?

Jane Levie Update: Doing Well

This is the most recent mass email update I sent out about my mom (10/12/09)
____________________________________
Hello friends and family,

It has been a while since I've sent out an update about my mom's condition. I intended to send you all an update this summer but my life got a little hectic around August 13. =)

Today marks one year since my mom's loving friends intervened and had her admitted to the hospital. After several rounds of chemotherapy her doctor has now switched her to a daily hormone therapy pill along with a monthly bone-building intravenous medication.

Not having to go in for weekly chemo treatments has been great for her--she has been able to do so many more things. She loves having the freedom to travel whenever and wherever she wants. She's gone on road trips to Oregon to tour the Oregon Caves where she worked during college, to New York to take my brother and his dog back to school, and from New York down to Georgia with my brother for a cousin's wedding last week. In fact, she's back in New York visiting with my brother right now.

We celebrated her "second 33rd and a half" birthday (as she says!) last weekend while we were in Georgia with some delicious chocolate cake and an off-key rendition of the happy birthday song.

Lucky for me, her chemo treatments ended just before she became a grandma in mid August. It was great for her to be able to come stay with me in the weeks before my son was born while my husband was out of town, just in case I needed a ride to the hospital. She and my dad were able to hop into the car at a moment's notice once the baby was born and stay with us for the first several days. You've never seen a lady more in love with her grandbaby than my mom! About a month ago she decided that enough of her hair had grown back that she didn't need to wear those little caps anymore. Thank goodness, because with those late season heat waves we had you could tell she was getting too hot wearing them! So she went to the salon and got her hair done! It is fun to see her with short hair, a style she's not had since long before she married my dad.Knowing that her health could decline any time, my mom is taking full advantage of her high energy and good spirits while she can. She jumps at every little opportunity for social gatherings, travel, and cuddling her grandson. Our whole family is looking forward to attending my brother's masters graduation this coming May with a yet another trip to New York and to attending a family friend's wedding in France in April.

As always, our family feels blessed to know that so many folks are always praying for my mom's continued good health and keeping her in their thoughts. Without such wonderful people in her life she never would have gone to the hospital for treatment in the first place. And I know I wouldn't have been able to handle her illness without all of you. I will continue to keep you posted on her progress. As always, if you would like to know more please feel free to contact me.

Love,
Julie

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two Months!

Wow, where has the time gone?? Eddie had his two month appointment yesterday afternoon. Dave worked last Friday so he could have Monday off to go with us to the doctor.Eddie now weighs 12lbs 7.5oz and is thriving. He had 3 shots and an oral rotovirus vaccine yesterday. And he did NOT LIKE IT ONE BIT. I have never seen him get so red or scream so violently as when the nurse stuck those needles in his chubby little thighs. Dave and I huddled right over him, then scooped him up when she was done and popped him onto my breast to calm him down (lucky for my nerves it totally worked).
The doctor was a little concerned about his lingering yellow hue but didn't necessarily want to have a blood test done since it is so uncomfortable for the baby. He pointed out that while it is possible that Eddie could have some rare condition that interferes with normal protein functions (causing the jaundice), it just isn't likely because babies who are thriving just don't have issues like that.

And thriving he is! He has so much more neck muscle strength now, follows us around a room with his eyes, turns to voices (or barking) that he recognizes, coos and talks to us constantly, and is getting so big.

The doctor decided to check with a senior MD in the office about doing a blood test. The consensus was that it wouldn't do any harm to know for sure that the billirubin levels were tapering off so we went over to the lab after the appointment for the test. Poor sweet boy screamed his head off during the blood draw, I think because he had two nurses holding his arm and he was so hot and bothered from having his immunizations only a few minutes before at the doctor's office.

I got a call from the doctor this afternoon saying that his billirubin is now only half of what it was a month ago--at 4.4 units (I'm not sure what the units are...). I said I was surprised it was so low since he still looks so yellow to me. He said that you can only still see the yellow from the jaundice when the level is down around 4-6 units. He suggested that Eddie is just more olive skinned than we are. My and Dave's skin is quite pink so that seems weird. Oh well, yellow or not Eddie is healthy and that's all that matters!

Dave and I went to Pete's Coffee after the blood work so we could meet Susan, one of my pregnant friends, for a drink. She was due with her first little boy this coming Thursday and we'd been trying to find a good time to meet for a while. I met her through the UCD pregnancy support group and she's the only one who hadn't yet had her baby. She wanted to hang out so we could chat about labor, birth, and dealing with a newborn. I called her cell to tell her we were running late and then sent her a text and asked her to confirm that she got it so I wouldn't feel guilty making her wait around for me. But I never heard from her so Dave and I just shared a mocha and hung out (it was nice because Eddie was asleep in his seat so it was like pre-baby times!). I told Dave, "I bet she's not responding because she's in the hospital having her baby!"

Late last night I got a text from Susan saying she'd delivered her baby boy, Jackson, early that day. Yay for babies!

After calling around to several pharmacies, we found that Target in Woodland still had seasonal flu vaccines available. So Dave and I each got a shot. My left arms still hurts and I've been so dang tired today. Eddie and I took two naps this afternoon, after he slept for 6 straight hours during the night. Whew. We just took a long walk with Emmy and I'm feeling a little more awake. He's asleep in the stroller still so I should get my dinner made before he wakes up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dreaming of the Boob

This makes me laugh so much! He does this all the time.

video

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Poor Volvo

A few weeks ago on my way from Davis to Livermore, my car started having issues on the Altamont Pass. After some investigating, my dad, Dave, and I determined that one of the cylinder's exhaust valves was busted. A compression test showed absolutely no compression whatsoever in one cylinder (the others were about 180 psi).

So the guys spent about 17 hours this past weekend pulling the engine compartment apart (using the step-by-step instructions from a Volvo repair guide borrowed from the library).The good news is that they succeeded in pulling the head off the engine block and found the busted exhaust valve. It actually has a giant hole in it! No wonder there was no compression!

See the hole in the bottom left black circle? The bottom black circles are exhaust valves (upper ones are intake valves) and the hole is the root of the problem. Well, the original problem...read on for the new problem.The bad news is that one of the 12 head bolts snapped off while Dave was removing it. The worse news is that it broke off down inside the engine block and at an angle, so the top of the remaining bolt shaft isn't flat (which will make any removal attempt that much harder). The even worse news is that any removal attempt might or might not work. And it will be a LOT OF WORK to attempt to remove it. Bleh.

Since my mom is still in New York with my brother, I've had her new car to drive in the meantime. But she has to man the visitor's table at church on Sunday so she'll be back by the weekend but unfortunately my car certainly won't be fixed by then. I'm coming to terms with the idea that my car won't be fixed for several weeks or a few months, if ever.

Having one car between me and Dave will be tough since he has to use it to go up to Gualala for work. But at least we have a new baby seat whose base fits nicely on the side rear passenger seats so getting Eddie in and out is a breeze. Our old baby seat base only fit in the rear center seat and I about pulled my back out putting him in and out of the car!

Normally I'd be pretty upset about my car situation...but since working on it ourselves saves money and Dave has fun doing the work with my dad it doesn't bother me all that much. That bolt will either come out and we'll get a new head installed or the bolt won't come out and we'll see about buying a salvaged engine to install. Or we'll succumb to normal American tendancies and buy a new car. Only time will tell...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Master To Do List

I'm all about making lists--grocery lists, packing lists for trips, and "to do" lists. During my last semester of college I remember making a long term to do list. I wrote it on a full sheet of paper and posted it on our home office cork board so I would see it all the time. It stayed on that board as we moved to three different apartments. When I made it, I can still remember thinking, "I'll never get all that done!" But I eventually did, even though it took me 5 years.

That 2004 list included:
  • Get a real job that has benefits (not more babysitting)
  • Apply to graduate school
  • Get into graduate school
  • Take child/infant CPR
There was probably other stuff on it, but I can't remember right now. If I can find the list at home (yes, I kept it) I'll scan it and post it.

I have been thinking for a while about all the "big" things I need to get done at this point in my life. So here's my new long term to do list for all to see:

  • Get a mortgage modification or refinance to a lower rate
  • Get a second opinion about my cardiac episode
  • Reapply for life insurance
  • Get Dave to go to the dentist
  • Get Dave to go to the eye doctor
  • Formalize a hypothesis for my graduate research and come up with a formal plan for finishing said research
  • Take my qualifying exam
  • Finish graduate school by the end of winter quarter 2012
  • Find a nanny or day care for Eddie before the end of December
  • Get Eddie a passport (we're going to France in April!)
The scariest thing on this list is taking my qualifying exam. But if I can get a hypothesis for my research (and some good preliminary data) then that shouldn't be so scary...right???

Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just Peachy...A Great Trip to Georgia

This past weekend Dave and I flew with Eddie down to Georgia for my cousin Jennie's wedding. My mom flew to NY earlier in the week so she could drive down with Edward and Emmy. It was a little crowded in his Mazda with four adults, one baby, one doggie, and all our stuff. But it really wasn't bad, once Emmy decided to sit on the floor instead of on my lap.

We weren't sure we could (should?) afford to go down for the celebration but wanted so badly to see everyone. After all, this was the first time in a LONG time that we got to go down south for something other than a funeral. Plus it was a great opportunity for Eddie to meet everyone on my dad's side.

All our cousins down south are "double cousins;" my grandma and her sister married my grandpa and his brother. So all their children and doubly related. Cool, huh? My cousin Jennie is really my dad's cousin's daughter...which makes her my second cousin...I think. Anyway, over the last few years Edward and I have (finally) become close with this side of our family.

I didn't get to know my dad's side of the family (other than my grandparents and one first cousin) until I was a teenager, which was a bummer because by then most of the cousins who are my age were pretty standoffish towards me. That's just the way teenagers are I guess.

Well, I don't want that to happen to my sweet Eddie. It is important to me that he know his whole family from a very early age, unlike the situation that Edward and I experienced. Over the years my mom convinced herself that if my dad didn't want to travel to see his or her family then she simply shouldn't go either, to the detriment of Edward and I. My dad is one of those men who would prefer to never step foot out of his town and really dislikes flying. My mom loves traveling but wouldn't go anywhere without my dad. (Lordy, the games married couples play...) So we grew up feeling like we didn't know anyone in our family very well--not even our aunt and uncle who live right here in northern California!

Like all new mothers, I am determined to give my child everything that I didn't have. So I don't want Eddie growing up with the impression that he isn't worth my effort to get him involved with his family. (Despite the controversy with my sister-in-law, that's why I let Dave take Eddie to see her even though she won't interact with me right now. Her issues are with me, not with Eddie, and I'm not about to use my child as a toy in her silly game. They are family, pure and simple, and should have a relationship. If she were an evil, mean, or bad person I wouldn't allow it. But she's not. She's just Bernie.)

Anyway...so this was Eddie's first time on a plane and he did so well. He slept the whole flight on the way there--the only time he woke up was to suckle for a few minutes when my ears were hurting (I assume his were, too) and then for a feeding. On the flight back he was a little fussy but didn't cry for more than a few seconds when I didn't get my boob in his face as fast as he wanted.

Have you ever seen such a cute carry-on?
The wedding was beautiful--Jennie and her new husband Mike make a great couple. The ceremony was outdoors and I chose to stand at the back of the courtyard in case Eddie got fussy and noisy. Just at the beginning he started fussing so I put on my hooter hider and sat on the steps to nurse him...but I didn't want to miss the wedding so I ended up standing and nursing at the same time for the whole ceremony (and it was a long ceremony!). Eddie is a very noisy breather when he nurses (I think it is called laryngomalacia) and I was worried that everyone would hear him squawking but no one did, thank goodness.

We stayed at the reception until it was over. Eddie did pretty well during the reception, but did want to nurse a lot. My guess is that the cool night air and the loud dancing music irritated him. During the last dance (a slow song), Dave and I danced with Eddie between us. =)The next morning the WHOLE gang of 20 Levies had breakfast at Cracker Barrel before everyone headed off to their destinations. Since we weren't flying back until Monday we spent a night in Atlanta at an airport hotel. Edward's friend Cara (who went to Yosemite with us this summer) happened to be in town for job training so we go to meet up with her for dinner. It was fun to hang out with her and hear about her new job and all the hoops she's jumping through to renovate/upgrade the house she's living in. Sunday was also my mom's birthday so we all sang a very off-key rendition of happy birthday to her after the waitress surprised her with a slice of delicious chocolate cake.The day after the wedding it rained and Dave and I were overly happy about it. Certainly not because the Atlanta area needed anymore rain after the recent floods, but because WE needed the rain. Being from California, we get very excited about non-winter rains. Ahhhhhhhh.Overall it was a great trip. It was surprisingly low stress, in part because we made sure our flight out of SMF was late morning instead of at dawn. We're all hoping for a Levie family reunion next summer at Lake Tahoe. It is crazy to think that Eddie will be a year old by then.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Over Crowded

Tonight Ruby was feeling a little unloved and needed some extra attention. So she crawled up into my lap while I was feeding Eddie. That chair got real crowded, real quick.Poor baby girl was wearing her anti-bark shock collar for the first time tonight...let's just say it totally works. (The first time she barked she was so confused that she turned around and nipped at the air in an attempt to bite whatever was shocking her throat!)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baby Fat

My current goal is to convert my postpartum fat reserves into baby growth via milk fat production.

In true graduate student fashion, I have plotted my weight gain and weight loss for this pregnancy. I haven't started exercising with the express purpose of losing my baby weight yet so the loss has slowed down quite a bit since the birth and the retained water loss. The gain and loss slopes are VERY different so far...but that's good because weight loss that is too rapid--especially while breastfeeding--is never good. The slope for the green part of the plot is so steep probably because of losing all the water weight in my very swollen hands and feet. Together they were apparently harboring almost 2 gallons of water --13 pounds!! No wonder I couldn't bend my fingers in the morning or wear any of my shoes.
As they say, "nine months up, nine months down." I still have a ways to go, but Eddie's not even 2 months old yet.