North Boulder Park, Boulder, Colorado

North Boulder Park

Several years ago we visited North Boulder Park. There was a lot of construction fencing around the park and I kept meaning to go back and see what had been done. Finally, last Saturday, we visited the park again. It turns out they added an adult exercise area.

CalvinExercise3

The exercise equipment was very popular with the kids. It is intended for ages 14+ and younger kids could get hurt if not watched carefully. No adults used it while we were there. However, that probably was because it was quite hot. The adult exercise equipment provides a pretty good view of the children’s playground equipment so, depending on the age and needs of your child, it might be possible to exercise while your kids play.

CalvinElip

Naturally, since this is suppose to be adult equipment it was over-sized for all the kids.

CalvinExercise1

CalvinExercies2

The children’s equipment was traditional but in good repair.

CalvinBigEquip

It had an area for older kids and younger kids.

LittleEqipment

Calvin spent a lot of time in a lovely tree.

CalvinTree

Aside from the playground, the park has a wide variety of activities. There’s a very large field next to the playground which is very popular as a cross country skiing venue in the winter. There’s also a fairly large shelter. It’s right next to the playground equipment but you can’t be under the shelter and see the playground at the same time. However, there are various benches shaded by trees scattered around the equipment area. There’s also a half-court basketball court and table tennis.

Summary:

Features 5-12 playground equipment, spiral slide, spiral climber, fireman pole, monkey bars, climbing tree, basketball court, table tennis, 2 spring riders, digger, 2-5 playground equipment, small double slide, small covered slide, small curved slide, swings, bucket swings
Exercise Equipment Leg Extension, 2-Level Horizontal Bars, 2-Person Full Bar Exercise, 2-Person Incline Sit-Up Benches, Single Leg Curl, Single Elliptical, 2-Person Chest Press (Accessible), 2-Person Lat Pull-down (Accessible), 4-Person Lower Body Combo
Surface Material Pea gravel (concrete for exercise equipment)
Restrooms Yes (May through September)
Water fountain Yes (very lower water pressure though)
Shade Shade trees and large shelter. A lot of shaded benches but very little shade on the actual playground.
Picnic area Yes, covered shelter with several picnic tables. Also have a couple of picnic tables that aren’t covered as well as 2 grills.
Parking Parking Lot
Pros
  • Adult Exercise Equipment
Cons
  • Very traditional playground equipment, not very challenging for older kids.


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Summer Update

I was looking at my recent blog entries and noticed that, other than our feeding drama, I haven’t talked about life with a second child.

I don’t have postpartum depression this time. This makes a huge difference in all aspects of my life and how I relate to my children. I can’t even begin to describe the difference. I spent the first month after Julian was born thinking he was an easy baby. We had feeding issues but I wasn’t as obsessed with feeding Julian The One True Way and so was able to focus on nutrition over dogma. Having lived with Julian for four months I now believe that Julian isn’t what most people would consider an easy baby. However, he’s less intense than Calvin was, and we’re more experienced, so he’s easier for us.

The first couple of months after Julian was born I put myself on a very strict schedule. My order of priority was:

  1. eat
  2. sleep
  3. shower
  4. everything else

Julian would wake up for the day between 7:00-9:00am. I’d feed him when he woke up and then start down my to-do list until Julian was ready to nap. Usually I had time to eat before Julian had his first nap. Sometimes I showered. However, as soon as Julian napped, I religiously rested. I didn’t always sleep but I always laid down1. Then Julian would wake up, I would feed him, and we’d repeat until night time. Initially, it looked like Julian was going to sleep through the night2 quickly. However, Julian learned to wake up every 2-5 hours because the pediatricians told me I had to wake Julian up every 4-5 hours until he regained his birth weight.

I planned on twelve weeks of maternity leave. I was very fortunate to have enough sick/vacation combo that I could cover it all at 100% of my normal pay3. At four weeks postpartum everything seemed incredibly easy and I was getting bored. I took the opportunity to catch up on all my work email and started wondering if I could go back to work early. Then, all of a sudden, Julian started screaming unconsolably most evenings for an hour or so. Other things must have changed also, though I can’t put my finger on anything in particular, and all of a sudden I did not have the time or energy to go back to work early. The screaming tapered down a bit around six weeks but Julian was still on the fussy side.

At Julian’s two-month appointment I learned that he had a milk protein allergy. This meant we got to switch from regular formula to expensive formula. I’m not sure if Julian’s fussiness was related to the milk protein allergy or not. I didn’t see an instant improvement when we switched formulas. However, Julian hated the formula and possibly wasn’t drinking as much as he really needed. At around 3 1/2 months we switched to a different hypoallergenic formula which Julian obviously preferred and his intake doubled overnight.

At the beginning of June Calvin, Julian, and I flew to Washington state to visit my parents. Jaeger and I believe that one reason Calvin is such a good flier is because we started him early. So, of course, it was important to start Julian early also. I create all our packing lists on our personal wiki and so I was able to pull up my packing list from when Calvin was the same age. I was astonished to see that at the same age Calvin had been drinking six ounces of formula while Julian was only drinking two. This wasn’t because I was making more breastmilk this time, Julian was just eating less food.

We left for the airport with plenty of time and breezed through security only to learn that our flight was delayed. One of the flight attendants gave Julian a first flight certificate. The flight went well other than our plane being delayed and Calvin and I having a disagreement over whether our supper had been lunch. Julian slept most of it and I don’t think he cried at all once we were on the plane.

We got to my parents’ house a bit after midnight and I was horrified to discover that the first couple clothing layers in our luggage were soaking wet. This included Julian’s sleep sack. I’ve had planes delayed by weather before and sometimes the outside of the luggage has been damp but never the inside. Fortunately, the baby monitor survived unscathed4. A couple of days after we arrived my parents took us to the beach for several days. Calvin had a lot of fun but I mostly stayed inside the rented house because Julian did not approve of the wind. Still, I find coasts on the northwest very invigorating.

The following Monday I started work. We were going to have an au pair come from China to watch Julian but she wasn’t scheduled to arrived till late July so Jaeger’s mom watched Julian. I was really excited to get back to work but also nervous. I was worried because I had a hard time after Calvin was born being productive at work. I think it was different this time because 1) I was getting more sleep 2) I didn’t have to rush Julian to daycare before I could work and 3) I worked in the morning instead of the afternoon.

At about 3 1/2 months my mom came out to watch Julian. Julian continued to reject the first hypoallergenic formula. In fact, it had gotten worse since I started working because he started getting some breastmilk in a bottle. Easy delivery plus better taste must have made him decide he had no need for the icky formula. I was at my wits end because I wasn’t producing nearly enough to exclusively feed him breastmilk and Julian was getting crankier. I called the doctor’s office and they suggested I try a different hypoallergenic formula. I was dubious because it seemed, on the internet, that everyone preferred his first formula. However, Julian definitely preferred the second formula over the first. In fact, all the adults also agreed the second formula tasted better (yes, I tasted it, I wanted to know what I was giving him). Immediately Julian doubled his formula intake. I hadn’t realized until that point how much his feeding had been stressing me out. I was emotionally so much better than I had been with Calvin that I hadn’t really noticed the stress points that still existed.

Breastfeeding had been getting progressively harder. It had gotten to the point where Julian would only eat well at night when he wasn’t very awake. Since I now felt Julian was getting enough food from formula, I decided it was time to start cutting down on the breastfeeding. I did it very slowly as when I stopped pumping for Calvin I got mastitis. This time I was much more careful. Eventually I was down to only a couple of times a night, mainly as an enhanced pacifier, while we waited for the formula to warm up5.

Also at about 3 1/2 mounths Julian’s sleep deterioted noticably. He was having a very hard time napping during the day and also started waking up every 2-3 hours to feed. I was hoping that getting adequate amounts of food would allow him to start sleeping through the night. Calvin was sleeping through the night, a solid 8+ hours, by 3 months. However, more food didn’t seem to increase Julian’s night-time sleeping. Julian is now back to sleeping every 3-4 hours, which is a great improvement, but not where I’d like him to be yet.

Typcial schedule at almost five months:

  • 6:00-7:00pm – Julian goes to sleep
  • 9:30-10:30pm – Julian wakes up for first feeding
  • 12:30-3:30pm – Julian wakes up for second feeding (if I’m very unlucky he’ll stay awake an hour or two before sleeping again but this only happens a couple of times a week)
  • 4:30am – Julian wakes up again. I transfer him to the rocking chair and feed him, if needed, then both of us doze for the rest of the night
  • 6:30-7:30am – Julian wakes up (next week, when school starts, I’m going to have to start getting up at 6:30 so Julian will probably also)
  • Upon waking up, feed Julian his first morning bottle
  • Julian usually eats every 3-4 hours during the day and sleeps every 2-3 hours (though anywhere from 1/2 hour to 2 hours, usually on the shorter side).
  • Rinse and repeat

As long as I fall asleep by 9pm every night I usually get enough sleep. Naturally, Julian’s worst night are usually correlated with me cheating and going to bed late.

Our Chinese au pair was suppose to arrive at the end of July but two days before she was suppose to leave China we got a message that she had fainted and was having major surgery at the hospital. She wasn’t going to be able to come on time. Jaeger and I discussed it and decided that a recovery for that major of a situation probably meant that we needed to go ahead and find another au pair immediately. Jaeger’s mother was having surgery on her hand and would be unable to take care of Julian past the original dates we had agreed upon. Some frantic searching passed and we found an au pair that needed to transition from her initial host family due to personality and lifestyle differences (she’s vegan). We looked at her profile and thought she looked like she’d work out. She’s now been with us for about a month and so far it has worked out very well. She’s very good with Julian, which was my number one requirement, and being vegan her diet is also compatible with ours.

Next week Calvin will start 1st grade which will add different complications to our schedule. I think he’s also going to be joining cub scouts because one of his good friends will be in it so that too will be a new experience for us.

Speaking of Calvin . . . Calvin is doing incredibly well with Julian. Sometimes when Julian is screaming, and I’m not immediately available, Calvin will try to put the pacifier in or hand him a toy to play with. I decided not to put Calvin in any summer camp or daycare. I had some idea of making him read to me every day as well as doing a bit of math. That fell through once I went back to work. Calvin has spent most of the summer listening to audiobooks while playing with Legos. Right now he’s listening to The Odyssey6. I’m sure this books is too mature for him. However, I was so tired of loading multiple books every single day. At least The Odyssey is long enough he’s been listening to it for multiple days7. I do try to push him outside at least once a day and he does enjoy playing in the sandbox and watering everything but the plants. Summer hasn’t been a particularly stimulating experience for him. However, I think this may actually be a good thing because he’s looking forward to starting school. This would be a major advantage over last year when he went from a play-based preschool to a more classical oriented and traditionally structured kindergarten.

My biggest aggravation at the moment is my lack of reading time. I’ve listened to a ton of books but have read less than five since Julian was born. I love listening to audiobooks but it’s a different experience than reading them8. I have finished two books in the last week so maybe I’m slowly ramping up again.

All things considered, I don’t find the second infant experience nearly as demoralizing as the first. It helps that I can look at Calvin and know that some day Julian will sleep through the night and I won’t have to choose between reading and sleeping.

  1. Unless I needed to eat and then I stuffed some trail mix in my mouth before lying down.
  2. For the record, I consider this 8 hours. Possibly medically inaccurate but Calvin slept 8+ hours very quickly so I naively assumed Julian would also.
  3. My work also offers short-term disability for maternity leave but I think you only get 2/3 your regular paycheck. Definitely better than nothing but 100% is best 🙂
  4. For the return trip I zip-locked everything and of course nothing got wet.
  5. The second hypoallergenic formula is edible, which is a big plus. However, it’s also very lumpy when made with room temperature water.
  6. Translated by Robert Fagles and narrated by Sir Ian McKellan.
  7. This is also deepening my suspician that he’ll listen to just about anything.
  8. Though, for the record, I think listening to audiobooks is just as legit as reading the book. It’s just one can multi-task with an audiobook and reading a book requires some time when things are relatively calm

Crestview Park, Boulder, CO

Crestview Park suffered damage during the 2013 flood. The renovations were completed just this summer and the playground looks new and shiny.

Crestview Park

It’s a short walk from street parking to the playground structure. The original park trees are still there and provide several shady areas for sitting. While Calvin played Julian and I relaxed under one of the trees.

Julian on blanket

There’s also several benches and a shaded picnic shelter.

Picnic shelter and bench

The playground isn’t large but it has a nice combination of equipment. It has a basic slide that is built on a small slope.

Slide

There’s a bridge from nowhere.

Bridge

From the bridge you can step on stones, then navigate a net which leads to a house play structure.

Calvin on net

Calvin decided he wanted to pose in the little house.

Calvin in play structure

Calvin ignored the swings.

swings

But did walk over and examine the sand pit, play house, and “wood” table and chairs. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to include our sand toys.

Play house, sand, kid table

No one was there when we first arrived at the park so Calvin wandered around for a bit before laying out on the “log” and complaining there was no one to play with. Fortunately, a couple of kids arrived after that and we stayed until Julian started to get fussy.

Log

Summary:

Features 5-12 playground equipment, slide, bridge, net, play house, sand, kid table and chairs, stepping stones, stumps, and logs, one regular swing, two toddler swings
Surface Material Poured Rubber
Restrooms No
Water fountain No
Shade Shade trees and shelter. There is some shade on parts of the playground. However, there is quite a bit of shade off to the side of the play area.
Picnic area Yes, covered shelter with three picnic tables.
Parking Street parking, requires short walk to playground.
Pros
  • Nice and new
Cons
  • No restrooms or water fountain


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Sandstone Ranch (west side), Longmont, CO

Sandstone Ranch was my favorite park when we lived in Longmont. It has a bit of everything: playground for toddlers, playground for bigger kids, tire swing, and, most importantly in summer, a splash pad! When Calvin was young I adored splash pads because he could get wet without me having to be within arms reach of him the entire time. Today I had to run to Lowes in Longmont so we took a detour to visit the park.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get particularly good pictures this time as Julian was fussy. However, hopefully you can get the idea.

It’s a bit tricky finding the playground for the first time. Drive east on 119 past the Walmart and turn right onto Sands One Dr. Take the first right into the parking lot. Turn right again and follow the road as it meanders west until you end up in a parking lot with the skate park, adventure park, and restrooms.

From the parking lot, the first section is the toddler playground. It has a small teepee, cabin, spinner, spring riders, and musical panel.
toddlerplayground

Behind the first section are farm animal statues for the kids to climb on. There use to be a tractor and a log that the kids could climb through but those must have been damaged beyond repair at some point.

farmanimals

This section also contains a raised sandbox area. It use to have water hooked up which was fantastic. I’m not sure why but the water aspect hasn’t worked for years (possibly sanitary issues?). There’s also a sand area that is level with the ground. There’s a statue of a fish, a frog, and a turtle for kids to crawl on.

sandanimals

The one big downside to this park is it is impossible to watch kids in both the toddler and the older kid section at the same time. There’s wonderful landscaping around the play areas but they obscure the sight lines.

shadedbench

By the toddler section are bathrooms (open in summer), drinking fountain, and a fairly large covered shelter. There’s another shelter close to the splash pad. However, it looks like the other benches will often be in direct sunlight.

The splash pad is one of the best parts of the park. There’s a button to turn the water on. It turns on for several minutes and then there’s an enforced delay of several minutes where the water will not turn back on no matter how many times a child slams the button.

splashpad

Behind the splash pad is the “tree house” play area. Calvin would play on this area, with close supervision, by the time he was two years old and it absolutely terrified me. The New York Times had recently published an article about the dangers of safe playgrounds which I theoretically believed but is much harder to put into practice. Parts of the structure are high enough I have trouble touching them with my hands over my head. Now Calvin is old enough to play in the tree house area without too much supervision and Julian isn’t mobile yet so our visit today was much more relaxing than prior visits have been.

caterpillarslide

The climbing options on the opposite side from the caterpillar slide always made me particularly nervous. Naturally, Calvin loved crawling up them.

treehouse

It’s hard to tell from the pictures that I have but the tree house structure is connected to a small hill with a bridge. There’s a covered slide protruding from the hill.

enclosedslide

There is also a tire swing and a rope climbing structure for older kids to enjoy. There are no traditional swings at this playground.

tireswing

Sandstone Ranch is an entire complex that includes a skate park (close to the toddler play area but mostly hidden from view due to elevation) and sports field. On the east side of the park is a smaller playground area. It has a more traditional-style equipment and I think it has regular swings (though I can’t remember for sure). There are a lot of walking paths that connect various parts of the park and also connect to the St. Vrain Greenway trail.

We don’t visit this park much anymore due to all the great parks in Boulder. However, it’s still worth the occasional visit when the weather is hot.

Summary:

Features 2-5 playground equipment, 5-12 playground equipment, spinner, caterpillar slide, corkscrew slide, covered slide, trapeze steps, leaf steps, small hill, tire swing, water/splash area, sand, spring riders, teepee, statues to climb on, play house, musical panel, rope climbing structure.
Surface Material Poured Rubber, some bark chips
Restrooms Yes, open in summer
Water fountain Yes, on in summer
Shade There’s several shelters by the park which are available as long as no one has rented them. There’s also trees and other landscaping that provides varying levels of shade. The toddler play area doesn’t have a lot of shade. The older kids’ play area has a bit more due to the height of the structure itself.
Picnic area Yes, two covered shelters with multiple picnic tables.
Parking Parking lot
Pros
  • Nice toddler and big kid areas
  • Splash pad!
  • Sand!
Cons
  • Hard to see older kids and toddlers at the same time.


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Hugo Reading Update

I am almost done with the Hugos. I have decided not to try to read everything this year. However, here are my quick thoughts on what I have read and how I will vote:


Best Novel
1) Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie – This was by far my favorite of the nominated novels. I read it as soon as it came out and really enjoyed. Second novels always make me nervous but this one did not disappoint. I really enjoyed seeing Breq’s interactions with her subordinates and her ship.

2) Skin Game by Jim Butcher – I had a really hard time deciding whether to rank this one or The Goblin Emperor second. Eventually, I decided on this one because I enjoyed it more. While I have read Butcher’s Codex Alera series, I had never read any books in the Dresden Files and was prepared to dislike it as I’m not a huge fan of paranormal fantasy. I listened to the audio version of Skin Game which is narrated by James Marsters. It did a good job of distracting me when I was feeding Julian which I am quite grateful for. It took me several hours to get into the book but by the end I was hooked. I always love an implausible but fun finish.

3) The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison -I didn’t like this book nearly as much as many other people did. There were interesting elements and I did finish it fairly quickly. However, I had a hard time connecting with the protagonist.

No Rank) Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu – I read about half of this book and found many things about it fascinating. I’ve been dabbling with learning Chinese characters and it was quite interesting examining the English sentence structure and word choices in the context of what I’ve learned about Chinese so far. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into the plot.

No Rank) The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson – I started out listening to the audio book, gave up, switched to the physical book, gave up and quit. It’s a massive book. At this particular time in my life, there has to be a huge payoff for me to be willing to commit to a very long book. Unfortunately, I didn’t get hooked enough to commit to The Dark Between the Stars. I think I got about 1/3 of the way through before giving up. I don’t particularly like reading books where you have lots of different viewpoints represented. In general, I prefer one strong viewpoint with occasional forays allowed into other people’s minds if it’s absolutely necessary. There were some viewpoints I found interesting but not enough to keep reading about everyone else.

I did not use “No Award” in this category because I felt most of these books had something in them that made them reasonable Hugo potential.


Best Short Story
1) “Totaled” by Kary English – This was the only short story that I really liked. It had a fairly interesting premise.

2) No Award – I did not feel like the other short stories should win.

No Rank) “On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli – I liked how ghosts were created in this story but other than that it didn’t really interest me.

No Rank) “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright – I had to read the opening paragraph of “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” several times before it started to make sense to me. I’ve read a lot of Christian fiction and the style felt fairly familiar to me. At first I thought it was a terrible story. Then, I ran across someone on the internet claiming this wasn’t Christian allegory, it was horror. I’m not entirely sure if the reviewer was being serious or not but all of a sudden it clicked and I agreed. However, I don’t like horror and since this is my ballot, I don’t have to vote for it.

No Rank) “A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond – Meh.

No Rank) “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa – This one almost made it above the No Award fold. It could be the setup for an interesting novel. However, I didn’t feel the story was particularly interesting in isolation.


Graphic Novel
1) Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt – I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It was a lot of fun and I the appreciated trial and error process Kamala went through both with her super powers and figuring out who she wanted to be.

2) Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch – Another fun story.

3) Saga Volume 3 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples – I feel a bit guilty putting this at #3 as it’s still a great graphic novel. However, it feels mid-arc and as such was more depressing than I was interested in dealing with when I read it.

4) No Award

No Rank) Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky – This graphic novel had an interesting premise and made some good points about sex in our culture. However, overall the plot bored me.

No Rank) The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate by Carter Reid – I did not read the actual book. However, I went to the author’s website and read quite a few of the comics to get a feel for the style and content. Basically, I didn’t find any redeeming aspect to get me over my dislike of zombies.


I’m still planning to vote for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form). I’ve watched all the movies except Interstellar. I just need to find a night where A) Julian goes to bed quickly B) There’s nothing else urgent I need to do and C) I haven’t fallen asleep.


I was originally planning to read the “Best Novella” and possibly some of the The John W. Campbell Award nominees. However, I downloaded the Hugo packet, looked at the files, and couldn’t summon any enthusiasm. Instead, I’ve decided to focus on doing more due diligence prior to nominating stories for the Hugos next year. I’m going to try to broaden my short fiction horizons ahead of time. In addition, there’s several novels I’m looking forward to that will be coming out in the next couple of months. I’m especially looking forward to N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season.

This has certainly been an interesting year for the Hugos but I’m hoping next year can get back to normal.

Breastfeeding: The Sequel

***Potential TMI warning***
(Parts of this have already been mentioned in prior posts but this one goes into the nitty gritty a bit more.)

Breastfeeding with Calvin was a debacle. He never learned to suck properly and I pumped so much, sleeping so little, I became suicidal. Even then, I never produced enough milk to fully feed him. I was determined that with Julian I would try to breastfeed but would prioritize my sanity above feeding method.

Like last time I researched breastfeeding but this time I took a different slant in my research. Before I was even pregnant I found a therapist and started meeting with her. I wanted to make sure I had a solid mental/emotional state throughout my pregnancy and postpartum. At Thanksgiving time I met with a lactation consultant to talk about the problems I’d had last time as well as figure out the best way to start this time. The lactation consultant came up with a “plan”. I like plans. Plans make me happy. In addition, I read Breastfeeding Made Simple, which my lactation consultant had recommended, and Guilt-Free Bottle Feeding.

Breastfeeding Made Simple had good information in it. However, I had read so many books last time that I don’t think I learned anything new from it. I was hoping that Guilt-Free Bottle Feeding would offer suggestions on proper bottle-feeding technique. In that regard, it didn’t work. However, I found its attitude toward bottle feeding very helpful and bought it just for emotional support.

Last time, because Calvin couldn’t suck, I spent a lot of time pumping. Looking back at that experience I felt like I traded bonding for pumping time. It’s really hard to sit and cuddle your child when you’re attached to a pump. As a result, I decided this time I would either breastfeed or formula feed. I wouldn’t pump.

Even though I decided not to primarily pump I wanted a pump to help with possible engorgement as well as when I might skip feedings. I looked at the pumps that my healthcare insurance were offering and didn’t feel inspired by any of them1 Eventually, I just bought a Spectra S2 off Amazon. Many reviewers compared it favorably to the Medela Symphony and it was very reasonably priced.

Julian was born via a planned c-section at 40 weeks and 6 days. It was wonderful having a planned c-section vs going into labor and then a c-section. I felt a lot more awake and able to enjoy having a new baby. Julian was fairly large at 10 lbs 6 oz. Unlike Longmont, BCH allowed Julian to start nursing as soon as I was in the recovery room instead of insisting on getting the results of his blood sugar test results first. Not surprisingly, Julian, just like Calvin, really liked nursing.

The first day went pretty well. Julian tried breastfeeding frequently and while it wasn’t comfortable it wasn’t excruciating either. He kept passing his blood sugar tests. On the second day I saw a lactation consultant who looked at Julian’s latch and said it looked fairly good, though she offered some suggestions to make it better. In the middle of his second day we had a complication. Julian didn’t pass his oxygen test. This could mean a number of things, including a heart defect. Julian was transferred to the NICU and two hours of tests followed. He had to stay on his back in the same position the entire time. He spent most of that time sucking on my little finger which kept him a little calmer than he would have otherwise. After all the tests were done he wanted to breastfeed. He seemed pretty traumatized by all the testing so I let him suckle for 3-4 hours without a break. In retrospect, I probably should have asked for a pacifier but I didn’t think of it at the time.

That evening, my left nipple was bloody. I stopped feeding on that side and instead just fed on my right side. Of course, that was putting extra stress on my right nipple and it was starting to look dodgy. I started supplementing to put less stress on my right nipple.

The third day I saw the lactation consultant again and she suggested I start pumping to try to get my milk supply to come in sooner. In addition, she told me to ask my doctor for APN ointment for my nipples. I did pump, though somewhat reluctantly as my nipples were still incredibly sore. In the afternoon they weighed Julian and noted he had lost 7% of his birth weight and they would have suggested I start pumping if I hadn’t already. In any case, I kept breastfeeding him and then would supplement with donor breast milk that the hospital provided.

Some people claim that bottle fed infants tend to me more obese than breastfed infants because the caregiver unconsciously try to get the child to finish the bottle, even if the child isn’t hungry enough to finish. With Calvin, I was very careful to watch and never force him to eat more than he wanted. However, I discovered with the donor breast milk I was much less likely to want to “waste” the milk. I remembered pumping for Calvin last time and every mL of milk I got was precious. “Wasting” the breast milk was almost like sacrilege. Finally one of Julian’s nurses pointed out to me that the women who donated breast milk had plenty and it was ok to not finish the bottle.

During one of the lactation visits, I don’t remember which, the lactation consultant suggested I try using a supplemental nursing system (SNS) to feed Julian. Before having Julian I had decided I wouldn’t try an SNS this time. I tried it with Calvin and it was a disaster. It didn’t do anything except make both of us upset. Because of this, I was prepared to dismiss the suggestion out of hand. Then I realized that Julian’s issues were different than Calvin’s. While Julian’s latch wasn’t prefect, he was sucking. I decided to give it a shot and found, to my surprise, that it worked pretty well.

Julian regained a little weight before checking out of he hospital on the 4th day but wasn’t up to birth weight. Upon discharge the hospital pediatrician told me that I needed to make sure to wake him up at least every four hours at night to feed. This was a little aggravating because he was sleeping so well and it seemed wrong to wake up a sleeping baby. We stopped by the hospital pharmacy to rent a Symphony. While I already had a breast pump at home, I wanted to be able to pump without thinking about it too much (since I used the Symphony for Calvin I could pretty much use it in my sleep). When we got home we started supplementing with formula since the donor milk was no longer “free.”

We had scheduled Julian’s first office visit for two days after discharge because at the time we weren’t sure if he was going to be coming home on oxygen or not. It turns out he didn’t need oxygen. His normal pediatrician wasn’t available so we saw one of the other doctors in the group. She said he was looking good but to continue waking him up every 4-5 hours to eat and schedule a weight check with his normal doctor in a week.

Even though I was determined ahead of time not to worry if I couldn’t breastfeed, I got a little depressed Saturday. This provided enough push for me to overcome my dislike of phones to call the lactation consultant and setup an appointment on Monday.

I noticed the SNS I was using seemed to be getting clogged. The lactation consultant at the hospital had given us an SNS that was meant to be used for longer term but I didn’t like it. On Monday Jaeger and I wandered down to Westminster to a breastfeeding shop that had the SNS that I liked. While there, we learned the one that I liked wasn’t suppose to be used for more than a couple of days but we got another one anyway. After buying the SNS I needed to feed Julian so we drove to a shaded spot in the parking lot and I breastfed Julian in the backseat. Weirdly, the latch that we had been struggling with just seemed to work.

We picked up Calvin from school and then got to the house just a bit after the lactation consultant arrived. She started by weighing Julian. Then she examined his mouth and noted that he had a high palate and a slight upper lip tie but other than that seemed fine. She watched him feed but it was nap time so he wasn’t very enthusiastic. She ended by coming up with a plan to try to boost my milk supply and suggested I ask my OB to check my thyroid and prolactin levels.

It was either Monday evening or Tuesday when I decided to stop using the SNS. It seemed to me that Julian’s latch was worse when we tried to use it and I felt that the more comfortable I was while feeding the more likely I would continue the attempt. I pumped some after each feeding for a bit. However, when Jaeger went back to work I stopped because I did not feel I could give Julian enough attention while I was pumping.

My thyroid and prolactin levels came back and were within the expected range for a breastfeeding woman.

Early the following week we went to Julian’s weight check. The doctor briefly checked him out and said he looked great but also mentioned he should be back to birth weight by that point. So, he also said we had to keep waking Julian up every 5 hours at night.

At this point I was breastfeeding Julian every 2-3 hrs during the day for 15 minutes each side and then, if he wasn’t falling asleep, offering him a bottle which he would often drink anywhere from 1/2 oz to 2 oz.

I went to the BCH breastfeeding club that Friday and weighed Julian and he hadn’t gained any weight since the doctor visit 4 days earlier. Our lactation consultant was concerned and said we should talk to the pediatrician again. We scheduled a weight check for the next week. By that point, he’d gained a couple of ounces so the doctor said to keep doing what I was and to come in the following week for another weight check. About a month after Julian was born he reached his birth weight again. Finally they told me I could stop waking Julian up in the night. Except, at this point he appeared to have gotten use to waking up and tended to wake up every 3-4 hours.

I returned the Symphony and experimented a bit with the Spectra S2 pump. While the actual pump was fine, I preferred how the Medela flanges worked. I used some of the extra parts I had and converted my Spectra to use Medela parts. After using it with the Medela parts, I agreed with the other reviews that it works as well as the Symphony. For a while I was pumping after a couple of feedings during the day and then an extra pumping session right before I went to bed. Based on both weight at the breastfeeding club at BCH and my pumping output I figured out I was producing between 1 1/2 to 2 oz every 3-4 hours. Like last time my right breast got slightly over 1 oz while my left breast got slightly under.

I reviewed what breast pumps my insurance would pay for and decided to order the Spectra 9 Plus Advanced through one of their suppliers. The advantage of this version is it could run on batteries. It also used the same parts as the S2 so the modifications I made to use Medela parts would work with it also. I was impressed when it arrived. It was very portable. I could slip the pump into my robe, put on my pumping bra 2, and do things around the house while Julian slept.

Unfortunately, after about a week of pretty steady pumping my nipples felt overworked. They weren’t getting enough break between feedings and were getting sorer and sorer. Regretfully, I cut out the pumping except when I missed a feeding for some reason.

At two months I was still feeding Julian 10-15 minutes each side and then supplementing with a bottle after most feedings. Breastfeeding was still quite uncomfortable. In addition to being uncomfortable, I was experiencing nausea when my milk first let down. My mother-in-law talked about how when she was feeding Bethany, she would have her arm around Jaeger and read stories to him. I tried that with Calvin but it was incredibly difficult for me. I really, really hate being touched when breastfeeding. I also don’t like being talked to or being expected to talk back. Basically, breastfeeding is like labor for me. I have to sit and concentrate until the experience is over each time.

I was talking to my therapist about how I was feeling guilty for snapping at Calvin when he asked quesitons while I breastfed. She asked me whether I felt better when I breastfed or bottle fed Julian. I told her bottle feeding was usually more relaxing. She then asked me what I hoped to gain from breastfeeding since it didn’t appear to help with my bonding and I couldn’t really answer her. Since I had to supplement, it isn’t any more convenient than straight bottle feeding. In fact, it’s less convenient. It was marginally cheaper since we weren’t exclusively using formula, but not a huge amount. I don’t put much stock in many of the other claimed benefits of breastfeeding. Calvin is remarkably healthy, has never had a single earache, and is quite bright.

Eventually, I decided that my biggest reason to consider breastfeeding was passing on antibodies. Most of the other benefits were negligible once you consider all the benefits Julian is already going to get because of his genetics and socioeconomic environment. I wasn’t sure that antibodies by themselves was a good enough reason to keep breastfeeding. I decided to talk to Julian’s doctor about it at his two-month checkup.

Julian’s two-month checkup was on June 1. About a half hour before Julian’s appointment I took him upstairs to change into a clean diaper before we left. To my surprise, I found blood in his diaper. There wasn’t a great deal, just a few strands intermixed with his poop but it was definitely blood. I confirmed it wasn’t from any sort of diaper rash or other skin cut. I was quite thankful we were already heading for the doctor. I took a picture with my phone and then packaged the diaper to take with us.

When we got to the doctor’s office he got his weight, length, and head circumference taken. Weight was 40th percentile (remember he started at 99th), length was 50%, and head circumference was 90%. Overall the doctor said he looked like he was in excellent health and everything looked fine. Then, we discussed Julian’s diaper. The pediatrician said this was most commonly from a milk protein allergy. He said I should cut all dairy out of my diet and change his formula to a hypoallergenic formula.

The pediatrician gave me a small can of Nutramigen. Since Target is right on the way home, I stopped and got a bigger can so we wouldn’t have to go back to the store as quickly. Not surprisingly the specialized formula is more expensive. It costs about 80% more per ounce than the regular brand name formula.

Julian hated the new formula. Jaeger was able to feed Julian some formula that evening. However, for the next two days he wouldn’t eat any formula. I started to think that maybe Julian didn’t need supplementation. Except he kept getting crankier and crankier even though I reverted to breastfeeding every two hours, the minimum period I could handle. Finally, after about 48 hours of trying, he took the bottle again. He finally ate and was much happier. Julian still doesn’t eat the new formula particularly well but he no longer outright refuses it.

While I had been seriously considering stopping breastfeeding, I’ve temporarily reconsidered, at least for now. While we luckily can afford it, the new formula is much more expensive. Also, while I really appreciate formula exists, food is really important to me. I have a hard time only giving Julian food that I think tastes terrible. While the formula certainly provides the nutrition Julian needs, he obviously enjoys the breast milk more.

I was originally hoping I could breastfeed while working. However, that isn’t going to happen. Both Julian and I have to be completely concentrating on breastfeeding to make it work. Instead, I will pump which I can do while I keep working.

I don’t know how long I’ll keep breastfeeding. However, I think I can make it work, without too many trade-offs, for a little while longer.

  1. Last time I’d never used consumer-grade pumps, only hospital grade pumps so I didn’t have any prior experience to draw on. In addition, my insurance company said they had researched and found no benefit to hospital grade pumps over consumer grade pumps so wouldn’t pay for a rental. I don’t know if I had pushed if they would have backed off this stance or not.
  2. A cheap Walmart nursing bra with holes cut in the middle for the flanges

Discworld Audio Goal

Even though I’ve been very lax recording my progress listening to the Discworld books, I have been making progress. I haven’t been reading them strictly in order since some are proving harder to borrow than others. Books since my last update:

Moving Pictures
Not my favorite. I couldn’t really connect with any of the main characters nor did I particularly care about the plot.

Reaper Man
This one was fun. I think I prefer Death more as a side character but still the story was pretty amusing.

Witches Abroad
I’ve listened to this one before but again really enjoyed it.

Small Gods
Another one that I didn’t really like though it was amusing for a Discworld god to be stuck in the shape of a turtle.

Men At Arms
The City Watch books are among my favorite in the Discworld series. This one did not disappoint.

Interesting Times
Ugh. Rincewind. Not my favorite character. However, it was interesting to see a reappearance of one of the other original Discworld characters.

Maskerade
I really liked most of this one. The Phantom of the Opera spoof was very amusing. The only thing I didn’t particularly like was Agnes’s ending. I’m hoping that she reappears in another book.

The Last Continent
Another Rincewind one . . . Bits were amusing but not something I’d listen to again.

Thief of Time
I liked this one quite a bit. I’m not sure I’ll listen to it again but it was good the first time. I particularly liked Susan. Her ultra-sensibleness appeals to me.

Night Watch
For some reason I thought I had listened to this one before but obviously I hadn’t. This was a really good book to follow Thief of Time. As always, it’s interesting to listen to Sam Vimes talk to himself. I particularly liked learning a bit more about where Vetinari came from.

UPDATED: Hugo 2015 Best Novelette

2nd UPDATE 5/2/2015 – My infant has stopped crying long enough for me to add an official comment policy.

UPDATED 5/2/2015 – Comment policy:
I have never had any aspirations to have a “popular” blog. The purpose of this blog is mainly to keep family and friends informed about my life and interests as well as to double as a personal journal (albeit one the entire world can read). As such, it has never been important to have any policy on allowed comments. Comments were either obviously legit or spam. However, given the controversy around the Hugo nominations this year and my discussion of them, some comments may stray into a gray area.

For those who are new to my blog please be aware that I will not allow comments I feel are abusive, upsetting, or off-topic and I am the sole decider of what constitutes abusive, upsetting, or off-topic. The internet is a lovely place that allows many forums for self-expression including setting up your own blog to disseminate your opinions if they are not allowed elsewhere. That being said, I do enjoy hearing a variety of opinions assuming the opinions can be expressed in a respectful manner.

Because my blog is not popular and most “comments” are spam, all users who have not previously commented go to moderation. This does not mean your comment will not appear, it just means that I have to find the time to manually approve them. These days I have a screaming infant so it may not be instantaneous but usually comments will be approved within 24 hrs.

Now back to the original post . . .


Well . . . I’m still conflicted about what to do with Hugo voting. I’ve read all of the current novelette nominees. If there weren’t any shenanigans in play, this is how I would vote:

  1. “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)
  2. The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)
  3. No Award

“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” and “Championship B’tok” were the first two novelettes I read and they bored me.

“The Day the World Turned Upside Down” was the third story and, as a story, I thought it was much better than the first two I read. The writing was good and compelling. I personally didn’t find the physics a problem because I just put the story in the fantasy category and assumed magic was responsible for the gravity issues. However, the protagonist really rubbed me the wrong way. It’s really hard when a serious relationship ends but I found his level of narcissism very off-putting.

“The Journeyman: In the Stone House” was the fourth novelette that I attempted to read. I say attempted because I didn’t get more than two pages in before giving up. The writing style was way too flowery and contrived for my tastes.

Up to this point, I was feeling really good about the novelette category. I could, without any reservations place the three slate stories below no award because I didn’t feel they were good. However, then I came to “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”. I felt this was a really good story. It is by far my favorite of the five options. The story pulled me in from the first paragraph. I got bogged down a tad during the journey to the alien world. However, once they landed it picked up again and had a great ending.

So . . . I’m still not sure how I’ll actually vote. I’ll probably vote in the order I’ve listed above. However, any stupidity that appears between now and when I place my vote may change my opinion.

UPDATED Hugo Nominations 2015

2nd UPDATE 5/2/2015 – My infant has stopped crying long enough for me to add an official comment policy.

UPDATED 5/2/2015 – Comment policy:
I have never had any aspirations to have a “popular” blog. The purpose of this blog is mainly to keep family and friends informed about my life and interests as well as to double as a personal journal (albeit one the entire world can read). As such, it has never been important to have any policy on allowed comments. Comments were either obviously legit or spam. However, given the controversy around the Hugo nominations this year and my discussion of them, some comments may stray into a gray area.

For those who are new to my blog please be aware that I will not allow comments I feel are abusive, upsetting, or off-topic and I am the sole decider of what constitutes abusive, upsetting, or off-topic. The internet is a lovely place that allows many forums for self-expression including setting up your own blog to disseminate your opinions if they are not allowed elsewhere. That being said, I do enjoy hearing a variety of opinions assuming the opinions can be expressed in a respectful manner.

Because my blog is not popular and most “comments” are spam, all users who have not previously commented go to moderation. This does not mean your comment will not appear, it just means that I have to find the time to manually approve them. These days I have a screaming infant so it may not be instantaneous but usually comments will be approved within 24 hrs.

Now back to the original post . . .


I am groggily looking up from postpartum land to consider the Hugo nominations. I have no intelligent commentary on them that hasn’t already been said better by someone else. Last year was my first year nominating and voting for the Hugos (via a supporting membership). It was a very interesting experience and I was exposed to a lot of material I would never have read otherwise.

This year my husband and I are contemplating going to Sasquan. However, we’re not entirely sure how well this will work out towing along a 6-year-old and an infant. Plus, the Hugos are obviously going to be weird this year which is very annoying. Regardless of whether or not we actually attend, I’m sure we’ll at least get supporting memberships again.

As far as voting, I’m going to read as much as I have time for and can easily get. I’ll certainly read all the novels and probably work my way down similar to last year. At least this time I don’t have any pressure to try to read an entire fourteen book series 🙂 As far as using “No Award”, it’s a slippery slope. At this point I think I’m going to try to judge the works on their own merit and use No Award to signal when I don’t believe a particular work should get a Hugo. Probably not the perfect choice but I’m not sure there is a perfect choice this year.

I’m really hoping that the Hugo packet this year is fairly comprehensive as a lot of the shorter fiction isn’t easily available. With very rare exceptions, I only buy books after I’ve read and loved them so I won’t be buying anything simply to be able to read it before voting. For my reference, I’m linking to where I can borrow the various works that are available via the public library system.

Best Novel (1827 nominating ballots)

Best Novella (1083 nominating ballots)

  • Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
  • “Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, Nov 2014)
  • One Bright Star to Guide Them by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • “Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • “The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)

Best Novelette (1031 nominating ballots)

Best Short Story (1174 nominating ballots)

  • “Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet (The End is Now (Apocalypse Triptych Book 2), Broad Reach Publishing)
  • “On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, Nov 2014)
  • “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • “Totaled” by Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, July 2014)
  • “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
  • “A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond (The Baen Big Book of Monsters, Baen Books) – Worldcat

Best Related Work (1150 nominating ballots)

  • “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF” by Ken Burnside (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
  • Letters from Gardner by Lou Antonelli (The Merry Blacksmith Press) – Worldcat
  • Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • “Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts (Baen.com) – Part 1 and Part 2
  • Wisdom from My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press)

Best Graphic Story (785 nominating ballots)

Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) (1285 nominating ballots)

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Edge of Tomorrow screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Guardians of the Galaxy written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Interstellar screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, directed by Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions, Syncopy) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • The Lego Movie written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, LEGO Systems A/S Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation (as Warner Animation Group)) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
  • Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) (938 nominating ballots)

    • Doctor Who: “Listen” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Worldcat
    • The Flash: “Pilot” teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, story by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, directed by David Nutter (The CW) (Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television)
    • Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper” written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by Alex Graves (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
    • Grimm: “Once We Were Gods”, written by Alan DiFiore, directed by Steven DePaul (NBC) (GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, Universal TV) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat
    • Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions; Space/BBC America) – High Plains Library District, Flatirons Library Consortium, Prospector, Worldcat

    The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (851 nominating ballots)
    Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2013 or 2014, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).

    NICU Drama

    My recovery after the c-section continued to go well. By that evening I had stood up for a couple of minutes.

    The following morning the pediatrician showed up bright and early at 6:30am to check Julian out. He heard a slight heart murmur but noted this was fairly common with newborns and fixes itself within a day or two. By mid-morning I was walking and able to get my catheter and all remaining tubes and monitors taken off. The nurse had suggested I walk around a little more so around lunch time Jaeger, my mom, Julian, and I all took an excursion to the outside balcony. The weather and view was spectacular.

    As part of standard procedure, the hospital wanted to run a battery of tests on Julian to make sure he was doing well. Jaeger and I stayed out on the courtyard and mom took him back to his screenings. When Jaeger and I arrived back at the room we discovered Julian had failed his pulse oximetry screening. This screening is used to catch congenital heart defects.

    BCH has a nurse practitioner onsite from Children’s Hospital that rotate in 24 hr shifts1. The on-call pediatrician had our nurse consult with her and they decided to repeat the test to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. The nurse practicioner also listened and heard a faint murmor. To do the pulse oximetry screening, they hooked up one probe on Julian’s right hand and one on his left foot. The hospital was looking for both to be about the same level and also for them to be in the mid 90s range. Julian also failed the repeat.

    Thinking that possibly he just had a stuffed up nose, they got out an industrial suction device and tried to suction out his nose. It did extract some mucus and they were hopeful that was possibly the culprit. For a bit it looked like he was going to pass the screening but after a while they concluded he was still failing.

    This changed everything. All of a sudden we were moved from our standard recovery room to a “special care nursery” suite. The move was surreal. I had researched BCH’s NICU prior to picking the hospital because I half expected to end up there due to preterm labor. BCH’s NICU setup is very nice as each suite contains a private room for the baby and an adjacent room for the parents to stay. The parent’s room has two doors, one to the outside hall and one directly to the private nursery. The nursery also has a door to the hallway.

    Mom and Jaeger worked to pack up our stuff from our first room and I went with Julian to the special care nursery where they immediately put an oxygen hood on him and started doing all sorts of tests. Julian was not pleased. The echocardiogram took the longest but he also had an x-ray and many blood-test related pokes. It took about 2 hours for them to do all the testing. During most of it I stayed by his bed, let him suck my little finger, and babbled incoherently to him trying to keep him calm. The surrounding medical staff got to here all sorts of things about our family while I was desperately trying to come up with subjects to talk about.

    After all the tests were done I sat in the in-room recliner/rocker and they gave Julian back to me to nurse. This time Julian had 3 ECG probes, a probe to monitor his oxygen, and then oxygen to breath from. At one point they briefly contemplated putting an IV in his umbilical cord but one of the nurses suggested we first try breastfeeding and move to the IV if it looked like he needed additional nutrition. As it was, all the cords were a horrendous tangle to try to keep straight. Not surprising, Julian wasn’t excited by any of this and tried to breastfeed for about 3 hours straight. Unfortunately, his latch wasn’t great and I didn’t shift him from side-to-side as much as I should have due to all the tethers he had attached.

    During the afternoon results started trickling in from the various tests. The cardiologists down at Children’s Hospital had reviewed his echocardiogram and pronounced his heart normal. The x-ray showed some fluid in his lungs which hospital staff believed was probably the results of him not getting properly wrung-out during his c-section delivery. Ever since Jaeger has been threatening to invent a wringer for c-section babies.

    In any case, the pediatrician wanted him to remain on oxygen until the pulse oximeter consistently showed him in the mid-90s. So, our remaining days at BCH were in the “special care nursery” section of the postpartum wing.

    That evening as I was nursing Julian my left nipple started bleeding. The shenanigans in the afternoon had been too much for it. We started supplementing what Julian was getting from me with donor breastmilk from a bottle to give him more milk and give my nipples a bit of a break.

    Since Julian was in his own nursery instead of right by our bed it was trickier to get up to feed him. Our first night in the NICU suite Jaeger would hop up and determine why Julian was crying. If it was a feeding issue, he’d come get me and help me out of bed, otherwise he took care of it himself. It was very helpful to be able to lay back and wait to see if I was needed.

    Standing for two hours my 2nd-day post c-section turned out to have been a bit much for me. My feet ended up dreadfully swollen. My last c-section I had mainly used ibuprofen but I did end up taking Norco once a night for a couple of days. I was still doing really well recovering but physically it was a bit slower than last time due to the additional strain I had been putting on my body. In spite all all of this, I still felt much more clear-headed and more optimistic than I had the first time.

    Other than the initial stress, the NICU experience was really good. While it is appalling to see all the monitors attached to such a little baby, there was also the comfort of knowing that everyone will know as soon as something goes wrong. The nurses were obviously very experienced and were a lot of help.

    While at BCH I saw a lactation consultant every day. With Calvin I had tried a supplemental nursing system (SNS) and absolutely hated it. As a result, I was pretty resistant to trying it with Julian. In fact, on my birth preferences document I explicitly stated I did not want to use a SNS. However, on the third day when a nurse suggested I try the SNS I took a moment to reconsider. My feeding experience with Calvin was a disaster in every respect. However, even though something wasn’t quite right with Julian’s feeding, he was sucking correctly. So, I agreed to give it a shot. The nurse called the lactation consultant and we set it up. It turns out the whole thing works much better with a baby that knows how to suck.

    My recovery continued to be excellent. My OB said I would likely be discharged on Thursday. We could stay in our hospital room as long as our baby stayed in the NICU. However, the pediatrician said he’d probably discharge Julian the same time I was and just send him home with his own little tank of oxygen.

    On our third night Julian screamed in the middle of the night for about 2 hours. It’s unclear exactly why. However, the upside is it appears to have cleared out his lungs. That night the nurse was able to wean him off oxygen. In fact, when I woke up, his oxygen was detached. I thought it was a mistake till I saw there was a note that the NICU nurses were running a test to see how he did without any oxygen. This time he passed.

    The pediatrician stopped by and cleared Julian to take home without oxygen!! The whole discharge process took longer than I expected but finally, on April 2, we were able to bring Julian home!

    Julian is now nine days old and continues to do really well. Breastfeeding has been a bit challenging but nowhere near the scale that it was for Calvin. Julian has been sleeping exceptionally well and at the moment all members of our family appear to be sane.

    Photos related to Julian.

    1. They have a little room with a bed and TV when they aren’t needed.