Friday, September 28, 2012

2 Months

Bowen :: Two Months Old

Weight: 12 lbs 5 oz. 65th percentile & wearing 0-3's. The newborn clothes are officially packed up. 22" long. Cheek chub, thigh chub, arm chub. Chub chub chub. I love it.

Eats: 5 oz of formula, 5-6 times a day. I didn't realize how much had changed until I went back and read his 1 month update - he's dropped at least 2 feedings while bumping up 2 oz per bottle. And, he no longer chugs his bottle like it's the first meal he's had in a week ... but he also never leaves a drop behind. 

Sleeps: Oh you had to ask, huh? Up until last week: in his swing, all the time. He was consistently doing 6-ish hours at night with just one feeding and 2-3 naps a day that were an hour or two long. So of course we had to go mess up a good thing. We started "crib bootcamp" this week to try and get him to sleep in his crib. I figured the earlier we break the swing habit the better, right? To say it has been a tough week would be putting it mildly. We're back to short naps and 2-3 wake ups a night. Sigh! He is also still swaddled but now thanks to the miracle blanket, no longer breaks free. This month we started a bedtime routine of bath, books & prayers. Loves loves loves bath time. Also, I have now memorized an entire Sandra Boynton book. 

Hair: Still blonde, still a mullet in the back. 

Eyes: Still blue! He focuses very intently on anyone who talks to him, but also loves lying on his back on the activity mat and looking into the mirror or watching his bird friends go in a circle on his swing. And ceiling fans! And lights! So much to look at.

Nicknames: Bo, Bowie, Biscuit, Fussbucket (still)

Milestones: First smile! And then lots & lots & lots more smile. Maybe the best thing I've ever seen in my life. Tummy time has become less fun now that we do it regularly, and I suddenly understand why everyone talks about babies hating tummy time. Lots more coos and noises! Still loves to sit in the babybjorn bouncer and occasionally is successful at making one of the toys attached to it spin. Mostly by accident. Loves the wubba, holds it constantly and also jerks it out of his mouth constantly. And of course, cannot put it back in yet. 

Firsts: First smile! I had been waiting for that one. First tailgate & football game. First round of shots. First night in his own room. First nap in his crib. (Followed by many non-naps in his crib.) First overnight stay (at Aunt Katie's house.) I've gotten much more comfortable with taking him out now (diaper bag with LOTS of extra bottles & diapers makes me feel secure) and I've tried to taken advantage of the fact that he IS relatively portable and can nap in his car seat still to try and get out on a regular basis. We've taken more walks, gone on more errands and visited friends more this month. It's been nice to venture out from the confines of our living room. 

Happy two month birthday, Bo! We just adore you, little guy.

And of course... lots of cute baby spam to follow. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Got Guts: Colitis, Pregnancy & a Happy Ending

When I was first diagnosed with colitis, getting pregnant was the last thing on my mind. I was 20 years old, sick as can be and just wanted an answer to why I felt so crappy (literally) and how I could start feeling better.

Though it took awhile to answer the latter, I finally was able to achieve remission after a few years of trying different drug regimens. At this point, I had just finished grad school and was moving down to North Carolina to be with my boyfriend (hi, husband!) and still wasn't really thinking about how my guts would affect my ability to get pregnant or have a healthy baby.

It wasn't really until 2009, about 6 years after I had been diagnosed and 2 years of marriage in the books, that Matt and I first started to talk about our timeline for having kids and the issue of my colitis really came to the surface. I was fortunate enough to have been under the care of the same doctor for 3 years now - the longest stretch I had had so far - and we both really liked and trusted him. We weren't really ready to have a baby quite yet, but we figured we should broach the subject with my doctor sooner rather than later.

Given that I hadn't put much thought into how my disease could affect my fertility, pregnancy or having a healthy baby, I started to get a little nervous and scared when we first started discussing it. In the literature (which is where science nerds like Matt and I turn to), there are studies that show that women with colitis have higher risk for miscarriage, pre-term babies, low birth weight babies and birth defects, like cleft palates. To make matters even more complicated, the type of medication that I had been on for years - and that I had finally achieved remission with - was an immunosuppressant with fairly little research to either support or deny use during pregnancy. Even if I did stay on it during pregnancy, I wouldn't be able to breastfeed on it which was disappointing and upsetting to me.

To keep a long story (relatively) short, the next couple of years brought some frustrating setbacks. First, I tried to taper down and then eventually go off my immunosuppressant. It didn't work. I had my first flare in over 4 years and it took two rounds of prednisone to get me back under control again. My doctor was supportive of my "experiment" but when all was said and done, we both agreed it was pretty obvious I needed to stay on the medication. I also ended up changing OBs after this when, despite the obvious setback from my health, the doctor I was currently seeing sent me to a high risk specialist and both of them basically spent the entirety of every appointment reading all the risk factors of colitis and pregnancy to me and never offering any support.

When I met my new OB and explained my situation and her response was a very reassuring "So you'll stay on the drugs, we'll monitor you, we'll monitor baby and it will all be okay" I could have cried from relief. In fact, I probably did. Once I had my OB and GI on the same page and my drug regime established, we finally felt like we were in a good place, medically, to have a baby.

I was healthy when we got pregnant, and my GI had told me anecdotally that people tended to stay in the same state they were when they got pregnant. Healthy women stayed healthy, women who were flaring tended to stay in a flare. I hoped he was right.

I had an amazingly easy pregnancy and felt great throughout most of it, minus a 2-day bout with morning sickness around week 4 and the normal discomfort and some nausea at the end. Around Memorial Day, I started having symptoms of a flare and panicked... but they went away within a day or two. A normal GI bug, my doctor concluded, or maybe just one of those random inexplicable symptoms of pregnancy. There are lots of weird ones, so I'm told.

Despite my easy and healthy pregnancy, the worries lurked in the back of my head about pre-term and low birth weight babies. I refused to let my mind think about anything worse. When I passed the end of the first trimester, I breathed an initial sigh of relief. When I passed the 37 week mark, I breathed another sigh of relief.

When my early baby showed up and weighed a whopping 8 lbs 1 oz and had all ten fingers and toes and a perfect little face, my sighs of relief became tears of joy.

It's easy to take health for granted, and even I can do that when I've had years of being in remission. It's easy to take a healthy baby for granted, after the initial exams confirm that everything is perfect and you're home and in the midst of sleepless nights, making bottles and changing diapers.

Yesterday I went to my routine quarterly GI visit, with my healthy 12.5 lb baby in tow with me. As soon as I was checked in to get my vitals done, I had about six different nurses flock over to me and cluck and cuddle Bo. They tucked us into our room to wait for the doctor and as I sat there in the quiet room waiting for my appointment - the kind that I happily refer to as the "good boring" appointments - I suddenly felt very reflective. I thought about reading all those research studies 3 years ago, tampering with all my medication doses and the 9 months of the quiet low-intensity worry that was always present - and how quickly it all disappeared the moment I laid my eyes on my son.

And I thought about how I hope, never ever, to lose sight of the gratitude that I have for his health and mine and for the journey it took for us to get to this "routine, boring" appointment.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Just Another Fall Weekend in the South

Another fall weekend spent doing what we love: tailgating!

This was a noon game so we did a breakfast tailgate - mimosas & Bloody Mary's, eggs & bacon on the grill and the most ridiculous pecan rolls from Camino Bakery. Despite the fact that noon games mean shorter tailgates, we can still manage to squeeze a few thousand calories in during those short hours.

This was Bo's first tailgate AND game. We only stayed for half the game because it was super hot - even on the shaded side of the stadium! Despite the heat and the noise, he did great and slept through most of the game. Around half time, I figured my luck would probably run out soon and we should pack up and head home. My instincts were right on - as soon as I hit the parking lot, my snoozing Deac fan woke up and stared SCREAMING. (Maybe he was just mad I made him leave the game?)

It was insult added to injury when we got home from the game and I walked in the door expecting the relief of the a/c to hit us.... and discovered it had broken. This doesn't sound so bad in September but it was 84 outside. And 86 inside.

Bo got a quick bath and was swaddled up with just his diaper on and a fan blowing for a nap and I poured a cold glass of Pinot Grigio and retreated to the porch, which was actually cooler than my house. (In fact, that was where Matt ended up sleeping that night!)

Ahh, fall. Nothing like sweating your bum off in your own house in the middle of September to remind you that even though there's football games and Halloween candy in the store, it's still practically summer in the south.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bo's Room: Changing Table Before & After

As mentioned, the changing table started out looking pretty rough.

I think it may have been a bathroom cabinet. The top has been taken off and replaced with a piece of plywood. It was pretty ugly...but I had a vision.

Unfortunately, while I have vision and imagination to spare, I sometimes lack a bit of practicality. I totally underestimated what it would take to get the table into working order and I totally overestimated my ability as a 36.5 week pregnant woman to get the job done.

Matt took it over, begrudgingly, as soon as I brought it home. Other than picking the paint color out, I didn't see it until it was done.

Seriously? Amazing. And don't ask me how he did it. I have no idea. I just know it involved a lot of sanding, about a bajillion coats of paint, new hardware and a piece of granite.

And I am never allowed to go to a consignment furniture store on my own again.

Bo's Room

This is my very favorite room in the house.

We still have a little work to do - for instance, figuring out what to put on the wall over his crib. But getting this room completed for Bo to move in was quite a labor of love - especially when he showed up early and threw our completion plans off a bit!

It turns out it's a little bit harder to do construction when you have a sleepy newborn hanging out at your house. The room is fairly small and there wasn't a lot of room for storage, so Matt had designed and built the cubbies and drawers in the closet. The only problem was he built them at our neighbor's and they had to be installed and painted in the room. (And this was the primary reason that it took us 7 weeks to finally move into his room... we were quite ready to evict our noisy little roommate sooner than that!) But now that it is done, I love the closet. The boy has more room to store his clothes than his momma does!

The changing table was also another labor of love. Meaning that, Matt really really really loves me to have finished that one for me. I got this idea in my head (blame Pinterest) that it would be super easy to find an old dresser and paint and refinish it to make a changing table. Well, I found an old dresser... but that was about as far as I got. It turned out my "find" was in rough shape (a drawer fell apart in Matt's hands) and the top of it had to be completely replaced. Oh and I was 36.5 weeks pregnant when I brought this home. Oops. Matt took it over and sanded, sanded, sanded, repaired drawers, placed new hardware on, painted and replaced the cracked wooden top with a piece of remnant granite. I'll post a before and after picture on another post. My jaw hit the floor when I saw the finished piece. It is almost too nice to be a changing table. But, since it weighs 100 pounds with the granite, it will stay in that room and be a changing table for every kid we have.

And in keeping with the theme of "Meghan bites off more than she can chew", the "B" was also a project I started (darn you, Pinterest) and couldn't finish. I literally went into labor while I was working on that and had only about 1/5th of it done. My saintly sister took it home and finished it up the last week of her summer vacation.

The curtains were sewn by my momma, the stuffed animal holder is a window box hanger from Lowe's that we spray painted and the lamp was a garage sale find that was formerly pink and got the spray paint treatment also. The quilt (on the floor) was sewn by my mom's friend, the rocking chair was a Babies R Us floor model clearance item (woohoo!), the lovey was inspired by Quinn's donkey and picked out by my sister, the pillow (in the chair) came from my in-law's, the bookshelves were in my bedroom growing up and the xylophone was a gift from my brother after he saw me admire it in an antique store.

I think this little boy is going to like growing up in this space just fine, don't you?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Meeting Uncle MPC

We had a great visit with my brother this week.

It really saddens me that he lives so far away (San Diego), but fortunately I have a very travel-willing family and Bo has gotten to meet everyone in his immediate extended family now.


We had such a great week visiting with Uncle Mike (and my momma, who came to help!) I've seen my brother be so hands on and helpful with our younger cousins and cousin's kids throughout the years, and he didn't miss a beat when it came to getting to know his new little nephew. In fact, one of the best advantages of him being a night owl stuck on pacific coast time was his willingness to take on the 2 am feeding so I got a little extra sleep. Woohoo!



Bo also went on his first road trip while Mike was visiting. We have two cousins who live in Charlotte who we were very close with growing up in Rochester, but rarely get to see anymore with everyone going different directions at holidays. So on Friday, we headed down to Charlotte to have dinner with lots & lots of Claffeys. Good thing Bo is too little to know the chaos that ensues when our large, rambutcinous clan gets together - he happily slept in arms while people played pass the baby. We got to see my aunt & uncle (who live in Rochester but were down visiting), my cousin & her husband & their four kids and my other cousin & her fiancé. (As well as, of course, my sister and her husband.) On Sunday, my engaged cousin had her wedding shower so we saw 2 more aunts and another cousin who I literally have not seen in a DECADE. A decade, people.

My brother made the comment as we were driving back home from our weekend of family time how there's something sort of sad about the fact that families spread out so much these days. You know, it used to be that most people grew up and stayed in relative proximity to their hometowns and it meant entire families were in the same small town. Of course, there are downsides to this… my family, like any family, can drive each other absolutely bonkers and it's easy to romanticize the notion of everybody sharing one zip code. But there's something about having a small baby that makes you relish the feeling of community - the "all hands on deck" approach that seems to happen whenever there's a new tiny family member - and it does make me a little bit sad that my family (and many of my dearest friends) are so far flung and our get togethers are so infrequent. To see my one cousin for the first time in a decade - it's kind of crazy. The last time I saw her she was a ten year old. Now she's getting ready to graduate college, and looking for jobs and is a beautiful, grown up articulate woman. (And, she also just so happens to be a bit of baby whisperer.)


I did try to take advantage of that conversation about far flung families to try and convince my brother to move to the Dash, but I don't think I was successful. San Diego over Winston-Salem? Weird, right? I guess until teleportation technology improves a little bit, we'll have to make do with frequent flyer miles and instagram photos and FaceTime to keep our villages close at hand.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Messy, Messy, Messy!

It's taken me a few weeks to get the hang of iPhoto and in doing so, I've been digging up old photos from the last few months since my photos are now amazingly organized by "events" (dates) without me doing anything. I am totally convinced my computer is smarter than I am. (Especially because I just googled "smarter than me vs smarter than I.") Anyways, in sorting through my new folders, I came across this series of pictures of a Saturday afternoon at the end of June.

I had had 2 baby showers in May and then took off for about 5 weekends in a row of travel. It was lots of fun, but in the meantime I had schlepped everything baby to the back of the to do list.

Including organizing all my baby stuff. At one point, our bonus room looked the warehouse of Babies R Us. The room that was to become Bo's room was formerly our "catch all" closet - I had stashed everything from crafting supplies to off season dresses to holiday decorations. When Matt started working on Bo's closet, all of those were moved to the guest room. It was absolute baby clutter chaos taking over 2/3rds of our upstairs!

After all that travel and with the impending arrival of my mom coming to visit (and you know, needing to actually use the bed) I had to get cracking. Apparently, I also felt the need to document it.

Before: Messy, messy, messy!
{Bonus points to you if you said that in the "Frosty the Snowman" voice.}

After: The chaos is tamed, order is restored.

I love a dramatic before & after... especially when it's my own house. There's something about a clean room and made-up bed that makes me go "ahhhh...." I can't be the only weirdo out there who feels the need to document and relish in the simple act of restoring order to a messy room. (Right?)

Obviously, the work was exhausting for everyone involved... (including our two little canine houseguests, Ema & Watson!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I mustache you a question...

But I'll shave it for later.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tummy Time

Let’s call it what it really is: pissed off baby time.


Monday, September 10, 2012


Tailgate season is upon us once again!

Or as some people like to call it: football season.

The fact that there’s a game we attend is really just a minor detail in my grand scheme of thing. (This is where my husband starts to wonder why he bothers to buy me a season ticket...) Don’t get me wrong – I actually enjoy watching football now and can for the most part keep up with what’s happening on the field. But I am still partial to the action that happens before we get into the stadium: the meal planning & preparation, the picking out of my black & gold outfit each week and of course, the eating, drinking and schmoozing once we arrive. Go Deacs!

For the first game, my sister and I popped by the tailgate for an hour and brought Bo to introduce him to tailgate life. It was a little hot out, so we didn’t stay for the game. Bo was on his best behavior and enjoyed getting passed around and snuggled by all his aunties.


Last week our tailgate was a little more involved. The game was at 3:00 which meant we got to do a two meal tailgate: breakfast around 10:00 (mimosas, of course) and then a later lunch before heading into the game. Matt’s parent’s came up to watch Bo since we were going to be gone the majority of the day. The tailgate was a great success with about 22 people attending and we even had extra reason to celebrate since 2 friends had gotten engaged the night before!


(I borrowed this picture from Anne. Don’t mind Kelley wearing the wrong colors. She doesn’t know any better.)

We were packing up the tailgate to head into the game when all of a sudden the skies opened up and let loose. It was quite a torrential downpour.  Good timing that we had barely gotten the tailgate packed up! Although it only lasted about ten minutes or so, we learned there would be a game delay of 45 minutes to see if another storm cell was going to pass over us.


So we did what seemed most logical: pulled out one table, one tent and a bunch of solo cups and started a flip cup tournament. Those 45 minutes standing in the drizzle with everyone crowded around the table, cheering, yelling and spilling beer (and then champagne) everywhere will go down as one of my favorite tailgate memories. Usually we’re all spread out among our three tents, eating and chatting or people are off playing cornhole or washers. Despite the bad weather all around us, it was so fun to have everyone squeeze together under one tent and hang out together before heading into the game.


I was honestly a little disappointed when the fun was over and it was time to head into the game! Looks like I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, as the student section remained pathetically empty the whole game.


Fortunately though, the Deacs won and it turned out to be an exciting and close game against our I-40 rivals, the Tar Heels. And in just a few weeks, we’ll get to do it all over again… minus, hopefully, the pre-game monsoon.

Go Deacs!