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Thursday, November 30, 2006

the many names of Isaac

Someone asked a while back if Ike is Isaac's official nickname. It's one of them, certainly. It also works better in song lyrics when you need one syllable instead of two.

Here's a quick list of things we call the baby:

Mr. Boy
Mr. Man
Milky (while feeding, as in, hey, Milky, drink up - also Milky-Moo)
Truffle Pig (he's kind of snuffly, and he roots)
Variation: Señor Truffle Pig

The weird songs continue.

Gin & Juice:
And I'll be rollin down the street, in my stroller, sippin on boobie juice
Laid back [with my mind on my bottle and my bottle on my mind]

Making Plans for Nigel:
We're only pumping milk for Isaac
We only want whats best for him
Isaac just needs this yummy food
And if young Isaac says he's happy
He must be happy
He must be happy in his milk

And of course the endless renditions of:
What do you do with a drunken baby?
What do you do with a drunken baby?
What do you do with a drunken baby?
Who won't take his bottle?

There's also a version of John Lennon's Jealous Guy done as Gassy Guy that's still shaping up. It's really based more on the Elliott Smith cover, if that matters. There's a whistle solo.

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the ride is a bit too snug

Car seat review time. We're ok for the short term, because we have the Graco SnugRide baby bucket that Nathan just outgrew. It isn't a great fit in our Beetle, though, so I think I'd like to switch to a convertible seat in there sooner rather than later.

I haven't been to House Of Baby Crap to test seats, but from my research it looks like the Evenflo Triumph and the Britax Roundabout are top candidates, in that they both allegedly fit in the 2004 Beetle in the rear-facing position. Any opinion on either one?

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

rub a dub dub

Baby washing day!

It was so much fun to soap up the roly-poly boy. He was pretty confused by the whole thing, since he's mostly had sponge baths up until now, but he only complained a little bit.

He's 19" long now, which is 4" more than he was 7 weeks ago. He's only an ounce short of 7 pounds, so he'll be a normal newborn size by his due date next Monday.

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Oh, wait, we DO have progress! Mr. Boy took two full bottles at the late-night feedings, and took almost a full one from me this morning. Go Isaac!

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

got my mind on my bottle and my bottle on my mind

We haven't had any major breakthroughs on the new schedule. He's still taking about an ounce from the bottle at a time. He's seven weeks old now and just a week away from his due date, so maybe something will click in soon. He's pretty much waking up every four hours, so we have an actual schedule to work around after all.

He's so much more alert and interested in things. He likes to see what's going on. I think that's part of the appeal of the swing, that he's sitting up and can watch all the action. He's very social and likes to look at people. Fortunately he's quite popular and gets plenty of attention from the nurses when we can't be there. I'm so ready for him to be home, though. It's harder the bigger he gets.

I'm not doing so great lately. There's a lot about this whole situation that really does suck monkey eggs, and it's hard to be a good sport about it all the time. And, of course, times of extreme stress do tend to throw one back to really shitty old patterns and coping mechanisms and...yeah, I'm not doing so great.

I'm dealing with it, though. It's taken me a bit too long to realize that I'm not exactly the picture of mental health, but I'm getting help, and without too much kicking and screaming. So that's something like growth and progress, anyway. Isaac needs a healthy mama.

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Monday, November 27, 2006


Or, holy shit, Sara actually finished something.

The retro space boy curtains for Isaac's room are finished and hung!

They turned out ok. They're lined in blackout fabric since the room faces east and gets a ton of sunlight in the morning. Isaac doesn't need to know when the sun comes up.

I think I'm going to go back to Ikea for more clip rings for the top, to spread out the weight a bit more. I like the rings because you can open and close the curtains with one hand since they slide so easily.

You can also see some of the stars on his ceiling; they're just little balsa wood stars. I painted them and coated them in glue and shoved them into a pan of glitter. They're on thin wires so there's a little bit of movement.

Next up is making basket liners for the baskets under his changing table. And, eventually, cute-but-not-essential stuff for the crib, like a dust ruffle, but we're not putting the crib up until we have to, when he outgrows the bassinet, so I can slack on that.

Here's the red-painted changing table, sporting two scary occupants:

The awesome giant spider is a gift from Leigh, who brought it here in her checked luggage. I was rather hoping she had carried it on the plane when she came last week, but no. She made the eyes from a hackeysack pattern, and they are on elastic so they bobble a bit. It's surprisingly friendly for a giant spider.

Gracie ain't afraid of no spider. She's a badass.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

milk drunk love

The reflux meds seem to be helping. He's been a much happier boy for the last day or so.

The doctors untethered him from his feeding schedule today. The every-three-hours thing wasn't really working for him, between his feedings taking longer and wanting more social time afterwards. We'd get one good feeding with some fun time in the swing or in our arms afterwards, and then he'd be wrecked for the next one and would end up getting fed via his tube in his bed because he didn't wanna get up. So now we'll feed him when he's up and making his baby bird face, by bottle unless he's not getting two ounces every four hours, and then he'll get the rest in his tube.

But this doesn't mean that he can take his tube out, even if he wants to:

slightly blurry because I was reaching for his hand while taking the photo

So we begin the Time of Hanging Out in the NICU, so that I can be there when he wakes up and wants to eat. I have knitting.

He was 6lbs, 13oz yesterday. They've decided to take him off the Super Baby Growth Powder; he has been getting a preemie fortifier in his milk to add extra calories, but at this point the doctors don't think that growing is going to be a problem for Mr. Isaac. Because of the HUGEness.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006


Happy baby in the swing today:

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Friday, November 24, 2006

baby crack

Today Isaac figured out that we've been holding out on him. We had this amazing, wonderful thing and we'd never shared it with him.

I'm talking about the baby swing. Sweet, sweet baby swing. The nicu has one of the high-tech Fisher Price Aquarium uber-swings, and one of the nurses and I popped him in it today in a fit of desperation because he was So Upset. He fell asleep instantly. Wow.

He stayed asleep until his next feeding, happy in the little cradle. Nathan had that same swing and we'll be able to borrow it once the boy comes home, so I'm very happy to learn that we have one of those Swing Babies. It doesn't work for all of them, but when it works, it works.

He had one rough feeding today that involved him suddenly spitting up all over the nurse. Some milk also came out of his nose, and no one had even said anything funny.

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expandable leg bands! yes sir*

Most of the Get Smart-esque security system in the hospital nursery involves tamper-proof wristbands on the baby and parents. The numbers on them all match up and that's your claim tag to get your baby.

The baby is supposed to have two bands, one on a wrist and one on a foot. Isaac had trouble keeping his bands on at first, because he was so tiny that they would slip right off even at the smallest setting. So most of the time he just had one on his ankle, because the O2 sensor on his foot would keep it from falling off.

Today I noticed that he still had that smallest-setting band on, and that it was stuck in place because of his chubby ankles. Awwww. So we all got new bands today.

His ankles are so chubby because he is six and a half pounds now. For those of you keeping track at home, that's half a pound gained since Monday.

*probably only funny to mst3k fans

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Thursday, November 23, 2006


Isaac's Thanksgiving hat:

Really, Mama? Really?

I just used a basic hat pattern and added the stuffed turkey legs. I made up the leg pattern as I went along. It's very silly.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

what if happiness really is a warm blanket?

It's still too early to tell if the reflux meds will help or not, but today's feedings did go better. The doctors have added another bottle feeding per day, which is encouraging.

The warm blanket continues to be the magic anti-fussing wand. Usually we just pop it under his belly when he's upset, but tonight he got himself all worked up and the nurse wrapped him in one and he looked blissed out within seconds.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

the reflux (fl-fl-fl-flu-flux)

Isaac's doctors suspect that some of his eating problems may be caused by acid reflux. It's really common in premature babies, and would explain why we're getting Mr. Fussyface at every feeding now, even the ones that are just a straight shot of milk down the tube. Poor little munchkin.

He's getting medicine for it, which will take a couple of days to kick in, and we're chunking out his feedings into two or more parts with breaks in between so that he's not getting as full. Once he fusses, we stop and snuggle him up on a shoulder and put a warm blanket under his belly. Hopefully that will lighten the load on his digestive system a bit. Also, more snuggling is never a bad thing.

He's six weeks old today!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

I like big Ikes and I cannot lie

We have twice as much boy as we used to have. Isaac hit six pounds today. To show you the difference between six pounds and three pounds, here is a photo from today and a photo of him at eight days old:

The shirts in both pictures are the same size, and he really is squeezed into it today. Look at the meat on those little bird legs!

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Sunday, November 19, 2006


Today was a much better day for Isaac. He had a couple of good feedings, and was much more enthusiastic about the bottle than he has been for the past few days. He was such a happy, alert boy. Of course I left the camera at home, which was too bad considering how adorable he was.

He does this little squinty thing when he's gassy, and it makes him look like a very old pirate. Dennis was burping Isaac tonight and I was doing running pirate commentary because he kept making that face. Arrrr, I be full o' gas, matey.

Now, I interrupt my endless prattling on about Isaac to point out the existance of something amazing in the universe.


It's an mp3 of commentary from cast members of MST3K that you play while you watch the movie. Which basically gives you Mystery Science Theater 3000 versions of movies that MST3K would never get to do. Sweeet.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006


Isaac had a lousy day. He had one bottle feeding where he took a whole bunch of milk, but it took a long time and pretty much wrecked him for the rest of the day.

It's so hard because everyone in the nicu has an idea or plan for how to get him to eat, so every time a shift changes, we have to listen to a new set of ideas for what we can be doing differently. Of course, no one can get him to eat consistently. So it's not a technique thing. It's a sweet little baby boy who isn't ready to eat yet.

Meanwhile, I'm still working on the nursery. The bassinet is assembled, and Gracie has surprised me by not being interested in sleeping in it. But the storage basket underneath it is another story entirely:

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Friday, November 17, 2006


Such a diaper change this morning. Got the old diaper off and out of the way, new one in place and ready to be secured as soon as he was cleaned up. I was holding the lower half of him up by his feet so that I didn't get the new diaper dirty, when...


Big ol' blowout. Fortunately it was mostly caught in the new diaper, but then I had to hold his feet up higher to keep him from landing in the new muck. Which was pretty much an invitation to pee, since he was out from under the diaper.

If I thought babies could plan, I would think that he had been saving it up in order to get maximum comedic effect from spraying his entire bed. Of course I let his bottom drop a bit in order to try to get the stream under control, at which point he got more poop on him. He just looked kind of pleased with himself and let me clean him up. At home, this would have been an Unscheduled Bath Event for sure.

Honestly, I needed the laugh. He has actually slipped back a bit; he barely took half an ounce at his last two bottle feedings, and pretty much refused any boob action. I'm hoping he's just saving energy for another developmental jump.

Dennis and I are going out for a lunch & movie date instead of the other option, which is to mope and knit. Well, that's my alternate plan, anyway. I've started a lace knitting project because it takes my whole brain to do that and it's nice to check out for a while and still have something to show for it.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

it goes to 11

Isaac made me feel better today by turning on the cute. He's such a great little guy.

I've been pretty down all day, but I'm being all self-indulgent tonight and maybe a new knitting magazine and some bad tv will help.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Sigh. I'm feeling pretty crummy this week. Isaac isn't making any progress on the eating front, which kind of squashes all of my fantasies about getting him home soon. Mr. Boy has to be able to eat before we can spring him from the NICU, and so far the most he has taken from the bottle is about an ounce, and he doesn't do that consistently. We're shooting for more like an ounce and a half to two ounces, and being able to do that at every feeding.

He has a whole team of people trying to help, but it's not really something that can be forced or even helped much; he'll do it when he's ready to do it. It's totally normal to not have this down at his gestational age, so it's not even reasonable for me to feel this way, but it's so hard when it's the only thing keeping him in the NICU. He's so big and healthy.

I'm letting go of hoping that he'll be home by Thanksgiving, and trying not to come up with any "well maybe by (random date)..." scenarios. He'll come home when it's time.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

five point five

Five and a half pounds today! Giant baby!

Isaac was a little fussy while he was (sort of) eating this morning, and was still grousing afterwards so I snuggled him up on my chest to try to calm him.

And provide a really good place to spit up.

Everywhere. Or at least right down my cleavage.

He hasn't been much of a spit-up enthusiast, so I've grown complacent. I didn't have a cloth under him. I was wearing a cardigan over a nursing tank, so most of the liquid went down into the tank. And stayed there.

Lesson learned.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Isaac is, like, totally cute and stuff.

I grabbed a semi-adequate burrito at lunch today, from a taqueria which is near one of the high schools. Apparently it was their lunch hour, because teens started arriving as I was eating. I watched a table of what had to be freshman boys (so that's what Axe body spray smells like) and thought about five-pound Isaac, who will be that big and awkward and oddly sweet someday. It is to boggle.

Future hottie?

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Dennis got me an awesome present at Bargain Clown. Behold the flashing light Brazilian Jesus:

Click on it to see a short video of it in action. Freaking glorious.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006


We had a very upset Isaac on our hands tonight. Everything went fine at first, he breastfed well and was very charming. Then when we were getting him tucked back in to his crib, something set him off. He cried. And cried. We changed his diaper and checked all his wires to be sure he wasn't getting pinched by any of them, and held him, and he still cried. We ultimately got him quieted down with a tight swaddle, a blanket over the crib to block the light, and some soft talk from Dennis.

The whole thing only lasted a few minutes, but we felt pretty inept until it was over. Ultimately, though, we think we handled it reasonably well.

He was a good eater again today. I got almost a whole feeding into him with the bottle this morning. I think he's starting to figure it out.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

eat! eat!

It was a good day for Isaac. He had his best day ever with eating. The physical therapist switched his bottle to a slower one a few days ago and he seems to like it much better and took an ounce of milk before he fell asleep today. That's a good chunk of his feeding, he only got half an ounce more down his tube. He also set a new record for nursing. It was very encouraging.

Dennis and I have more songs to sing to him. Isaac was being grousy-pants when I was giving him the bottle, so I sang These Pants Are Made for Grousing. Dennis is working on In the NICU, a reworking of In the Navy. I know, it's like having Weird Al for parents. Why can't we just sing lullabies like normal people?

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Isaac's mommy dresses him funny

Or, go Isaac, it's your birthday...

The cupcake hat is pretty silly, but I just couldn't resist. It turned out a bit small for him, because his mighty head is growing along with the rest of him. It's a scaled down version of this pattern, with an i-cord candle instead of a cherry.

Of course, I've now set a precedent and will need to knit silly hats for all upcoming events.

Happy one month birthday, sweet boy!

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

we hear the sound of machines

Isaac had his hearing test today, and he passed. We weren't concerned, though; with all the stimulation in the nicu, it would have been obvious if he couldn't hear. When he comes home, he's going to wonder why everything is so quiet; we'll need to play a tape of babies crying and monitors going off so it will seem familiar. What is this strange, non-beeping place you've brought me to?

He's still working on eating. He'll be able to come home as soon as that little switch flips and he starts taking a whole bottle without falling asleep from the effort required, but right now he's just not ready. The physical therapist evaluated his bottle skills today and he got the whole ounce and a half down, but it was slow going. You can almost see his brain working while he's taking the bottle, trying to coordinate everything he needs to do. I'm working really hard to not get anxious about it; it's just something he can't do yet.

Tomorrow is his one month birthday!

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006


As predicted, he hit five pounds today! We have so much baby!

He has actually outgrown some of his little outfits now. It's so funny to think that he's too big for anything, but that pudgy little guy won't fit in his 3-4 pound size body suits anymore.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

video cuteness

I've taken a couple of short movies of Isaac being cranky, because the Angry Chicken noises are so cute and I know he won't make them forever. You can check out the 30-second highlight reel here.* But don't do it if Gracie is around, because the sound of Isaac crying freaks her out a bit.

Four weeks old today, and he's creeping up on five pounds. I bet he hits it tomorrow or Thursday.

*video is in .wmv format

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Monday, November 06, 2006

vision thing

Isaac had his first eye exam today. The retinas are supposed to be all developed by week 36, and his are there as advertised. We suspected as much. He also had another meeting with the physical therapist to show off his bottle skills, so it has been a very busy and social day for the boy. He was tired this afternoon.

I worked on his room today; I've almost finished painting his changing table, which is now a nifty metallic red. And I have one curtain finished and the second one is about halfway done, so I finished putting the hardware up today. I'm hoping to be able to put photos up later this week. We're not putting the crib up right away; we'll use the bassinet and the moses basket at first, since they're more flexible and we can move them around the apartment. I need to sort all his clothes and wash the smallest things, the ones he'll be able to wear first. Mostly I'm looking forward to changing and dressing him without having to work around all the sensors and wires.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

baby's first craft

Ryan came to the Isaac Show this morning, and made clay impressions of his foot and hand. She gave us a really lovely keepsake kit which comes with the clay and a frame with spots for both impressions and a photo. I wanted to get his impressions made before he gets any bigger, but hadn't managed to do it. So she did it for me and Isaac participated in his first craft project. He was a good sport about it, which is to say he was pretty much asleep after getting a belly full of milk. He won't have to do any more craft projects until after he's home.

I don't think his feet have grown much, but his hands are definitely bigger. And busier. I wished for an extra set of hands for myself while I was trying to nurse him yesterday, because he was trying to get his nasal tube out at the same time I was trying to get him latched on and, well, it just wasn't helping the whole process. I flipped him over so the cheek with the nasal tube was against the stupidly named breastfeeding pillow (sorry, I just can't call it the My Brest Friend) and foiled his little plan. See previous note re: I'm a monster.

Nursing is slightly more successful the last few days, in that some actual milk is getting into the actual baby. Fortunately, being able to breastfeed isn't one of the requirements for going home. He's having an easier time with the bottle, although he still needs to get a bit better at it before we can get a release date. Most babies fully transition from bottle to breast within a couple weeks of leaving the nicu and getting settled in at home, and I'll still have support from the lactation consultants then, so we'll get there eventually. I'm going to re-up Calculon the rented breast pump for another month at least, so Isaac will have all the fresh-squeezed boobie juice he can eat.

Of course, now that we're talking about him coming home in more realistic language, I really really need to do some work around the apartment so that it's ready for him.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Mr. Crabby

It's a crabby Isaac!

He's not a big crier compared to some of the other babies; he mostly just makes a few cranky noises if he's unhappy. He'll let loose if he gets a shot or something equally upsetting happens, but in general he's a pretty mellow guy.

And of course the crankiness is really adorable. Even the very angry cry sounds like hhh-WHY? hhh-WHY? Why did I get a shot? Whyyyy?

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Friday, November 03, 2006

now with 50% more baby!

Isaac hit 4 and a half pounds today! That's a very nice increase over his 3 pound birthweight.

He had a visit from the physical therapist yesterday, who checked out all his motor skills (such that they are) and reflexes and said that he's right on track. His other big excitement was getting a bigger nasal feeding tube. So his arch-enemy is growing right along with him. It does make the tube feedings a lot faster, though, since he's getting about 1.25 ounces of breastmilk at a time and it was taking forever to get it all through the tiny tube. He still hates it, of course, and was making very cute little snuffly pig noises yesterday as he tried to figure out what was going on with his nose. He's starting to get some bottle feedings now, so hopefully the feeding tube will be left behind before too long.

He's even more alert and awake now; he wakes up before it's time to eat and doesn't get fussy until we start doing something horrible to him, like take his temperature or change his diaper. The temperature is the first thing and it's especially tortuous, because we have to hold his arm still over the thermometer for several seconds. Like monsters. Horrible, horrible monsters.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006


I ended up in the doctor's office yesterday, because I had a very bad headache with dizziness and visual weirdness and my hands got all tingly and I was being very scary and not making any sense. Turned out I was probably just really dehydrated. This is disturbing given how much water and juice I've been drinking lately, but apparently it wasn't enough to support the massive dairy farm that is my body. So I'm working very hard at drinking more, and I'm feeling much better today.

We had an infant CPR lesson this morning (shout out to anneaerobic, for all your CPR certification needs!). It's a good thing to know, especially with a baby who has been in the nicu, so today we practiced saving the CPR dummy babies. We could not save them from being kind of creepy, but it was great to practice doing baby CPR and we also learned how to handle choking. So, Isaac - don't bother eating those marbles, because we know what to do. You can skip the whole thing, mmmmkay?

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

baby rage

I got to wash the baby's hair this morning. I think I enjoyed it more than Isaac did. There was some grousing on his part. His hair is getting much lighter, and so are his eyes, which look grey like mine now. He's such an attractive boy, and he still has that great new-baby smell.

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