Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Water baby

Summer is definitely here in northwestern Louisiana. Geez! It's HOT! So, I bought my boy a pool. Mind you, it's an inflatable pool and he really can't do anything except sit in it and splash a bit in the couple of inches of water we put in there, but he seems to enjoy it.
Andrew has always loved bathtime. Ever since that first time we put him in his tub he has been a happy boy when he's in the water. In fact, the first time we put him in his tub and I poured water on his head I told Greg he looked like an old lady at the beauty shop getting her hair washed. He was just so relaxed and happy. I have always loved the water. I spent half of my childhood underwater at White Lake, I think. Mama always said when she wanted to check on me and my cousins she would just look for legs sticking out of the water -- that was us perfecting our handstands. If bathtime and pooltime are any indication, it seems Andrew takes after me.
Andrew is such a little wonder. And, sometimes such a mystery -- even now. I worked all last week to institute a nap schedule based on the newest sleep book I'd read. It completely backfired on me. The wake times were so long that Andrew was practically a zombie by the time the next nap time rolled around and his naps got increasingly shorter -- something that happens when babies are overtired. In fact, some of his naps were only 20 minutes. It was terrible! He was so pitiful! And I was running out of things to do to keep him from fussing while waiting for his next nap time.
So, I reverted back to the shorter wake times but he still wasn't napping well. Today I reached out for help on a message board and a lady suggested even shorter wake times. I did what she said and got a one hour nap out of my catnapper. I could hardly believe it. So I will definitely be trying the shorter wake times this week to see if I can get good naps consistently.
Andrew has been slow to roll, probably due to the fact that he has always loathed tummy time. He will roll from his stomach to his back, but not consistently. Last night, I heard hysterical crying while he was going to sleep and went into his room to find that the little bugger had rolled onto his stomach and couldn't get back over. He was so angry! I tried my best to get him to show me his new "trick" today but no luck. He is drooling up a storm and gnawing on anything he can get into his mouth -- including Greg's nose! So, I know there's some major teething going on. When he's on his tummy, he will push up on his arms and can get his butt up in the air. If has something to push on (like my hand) he can scoot forward, but then doesn't really know what to do with his arms, because they get stuck underneath him. It's amazing to watch him learning all these new things. His favorite new thing is eating baby food. He has tried all the veggies and he likes them all -- except peas. But I will keep trying to give him peas because I think he will learn to like them. Next, he gets to try fruits like bananas and apples. I know he will love it!
The big news at our house this week is that I have a new ride -- a minivan! I know it's not very cool and it's cliche but I love it. We had been looking around and found a couple of vans that we were interested in last week. I was worried we would get taken to the cleaners if we tried to trade in my Buick SUV so just for the hell of it I posted an ad on craigslist and we sold it to the very first person who contacted us! So, we went this weekend and bought the van. We picked it up today. Greg said there isn't anything else I can do now to yell to the world "I'm a Mommy!" But I told him there is one more thing -- I can get those little people stickers for the back of my van. Daddy, mommy, baby and doggie!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Sometimes I am nearly brought to my knees by the love I have for Andrew. I remember once when I was telling my sister Renee' about how we were considering the idea of living child free and she said "No, honey, you can't. You HAVE to know this kind of love."
And to anyone still trying to conceive I would now say the same thing. Don't give up. Consider other means to parenthood but don't give up. Because this kind of love is different than any love you've ever known. It's deeper, it's sweeter, it's more tender. It changes your perspective on the world. It makes you fiercer but at the same time it turns you to a pile of mush. It makes you more vulnerable, but it also makes you stronger. It surprises you everyday.
This morning, Andrew was lying on the floor in his room on his quilt my friend Anna made for him, just playing in the morning light as I put diapers in his stacker, picked up dirty blankets and burp cloths and cleaned up his changing table. I looked over at him and he was looking right at me with this big smile on his face. I went to him then, because who could resist? I leaned over him and put my face close to his. He reached his little hand up and patted my cheek.
It was almost like he was saying "I love you" in baby language.
Moments like these are so special. This is what my sister was talking about.
Andrew is every dream I ever dreamed come true. He is so magical, so beautiful. Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky. Of all the couples out there who struggle to have children, how did we get chosen for this miracle?
I feel so unbelievably blessed and it makes me feel a great responsibility to be the very best mother that I can be.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Hi, I'm Krista, and I'm obsessed with baby sleep. I've heard the first step is to admit you have a problem, so I guess that's what I'm doing.
It all started back when Andrew was a fussy, inconsolable, miserable baby and I was a fussy, inconsolable miserable mommy. I got a NOOK for my birthday and one of the first books I bought was The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. This is when I started learning to recognize Andrew's sleepy cues and get him to bed before he turned into a pumpkin. At least, that's what we call it in our house. You know, like in Cinderella when at midnight the carriage turns back into a pumpkin.
Soon, I was reading everything I could find on the Internet about baby sleep. I bought several baby sleep books and each time, I'd think I'd found the answer to our issues which are short, inconsistent naps.
I can't really complain about Andrew's sleep at night. He usually sleeps 11 hours or so and doesn't wake for feedings anymore, even though he still occaisionally has a night waking. He talks to himself for a while and then goes back to sleep, usually without crying. Andrew's pediatrician said he's just built to take short naps and that he's getting most of his sleep at night and for me not to worry. But she doesn't have to deal with him after he's had one of his mini-naps. They just don't give him the rest he needs to be happy and content.
The problem with reading all these different books is that each book contradicts the last one I read and nothing they've suggested has worked to get longer more consistent naps out of Andrew. Some folks think it's no big deal, why am I so worried about it. But any stay at home mommy will tell you that a long nap is like a mini vacation and it gives you time to do stuff, like shave your legs or floss.
And, if Andrew were on a more predictible nap schedule, I could perhaps leave the house without screwing up his entire day.
I am jealous of parents who have never picked up any baby sleep books and who don't sweat it and their babies sleep well and take long naps. Maybe if I didn't think about Andrew's sleep so much, he would sleep better. Greg says I'm crazy. And, maybe I am.
In fact, we had another argument about it today. I tried to explain to Greg how important it is for babies to get the sleep they need and how important it is for them to have a daily routine. But he doesn't get it. He even said to me "why don't you just let him go until he falls asleep." Yea, like that is the answer. I told him you don't let your kid eat Cheetos for dinner even if that's what they want, so why would you prevent your child from getting the sleep they need simply because they protest before falling asleep?
Anyway, I am working on getting Andrew on a more consistent nap schedule using this formula -- two hours after he wakes up in the morning, I'll put him down for a nap. If he naps for less than an hour, he will stay in his crib to finish out the hour (he is typically very content in his crib and will simply play with his lovey or his feet during this time). For the other naps of the day, he'll go down 2.5 hours after waking from his last nap. We'll see how this works.
I'm also going to try to start putting him down for the night at 7 p.m. I had been allowing his bedtime to fluctuate based on when he woke up from his last nap. But, lately, his last nap has been ending really late, like around 5:30, so that moves bedtime back to around 8 p.m. and that is a little too late I think. Anyway, we will try this method and see what happens. Fingers crossed that we can get Andrew into a better nap routine.
Any tips are greatly appreciated!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


We've been home for almost a week now and I haven't had to make the transition back to loneliness because Greg was on leave and his dad was here visiting. But, Monday is almost here and I'm dreading Greg's return to work and the quiet that will fall over this house as Andrew and I go about our day.
My trip home to visit my family in North Carolina could have only been better if Greg had been there with us. I was worried, so very worried, before we left. I worried Andrew would cry his eyeballs out on the plane, I worried that he wouldn't sleep well at my parents' house, I worried that after seeing only two faces that all the new ones he'd be bombarded with would upset him.
But, Andrew never ceases to amaze me. He was an angel on the flights and after a couple of stutters the first few nights and then again just before we left when he had a stomach bug, he slept well in my old crib. All those faces seemed to make him happy, not upset. The picture here is of some of Andrew's cousins checking him out for the first time.
He settled into his routine (sleeping til 7 their time, because of the hour time difference and it was wonderful!) and our days were made so much easier by the constant flow of people in and out the door at my mom's. My sisters would come by in the morning, sometimes giving him his bottle or changing his diaper or getting him dressed for the day. Wyatt, who is almost a year old now, would arrive around 8 and Andrew enjoyed watching him crawl around. My parents were a great source of entertainment -- Andrew though my mama was hilarious, giving her his first loud cackles of laughter. My dad gave him lessons each day on how to say "Hey, Papa." There were different toys and lots of them and a swing outside that if we propped him up with blankets and pillows he could sit up and seemed to really enjoy it. In the afternoons, my niece Emily and my nephews would come in and provide more entertainment. My niece Kelli was in and out most everyday and Andrew really loved flirting with her.
I got several much needed breaks -- leaving Andrew with my parents to go get a pedicure, go to the movies, go shopping and out to eat. I even got my hair cut and colored. I was nervous at first about leaving him, not because I was concerned about how he'd be cared for -- my parents know far more about taking care of babies than I do. I was nervous to be away from him. I even let my mom put him down for the night a few times and that first time was so hard because I have always put him to bed. When I got back to my parents' house he was sleeping soundly and my mother proclaimed him to be a "perfect angel."
Our time there felt short, even though it was 19 days. I missed Greg and he missed Andrew so much I thought he was going to catch a flight out to NC. So, I was glad to come home. Now that I'm here, I'm missing my family and dreading the long days ahead.
Sometimes, when I think about Greg deploying to Afghanistan later this year, I almost feel a sense of relief because Andrew and I will be moving back home. But, then I think about how much I'll miss my husband and how much he is going to miss in Andrew's life and I wish we could just stay together, even if it means living here where we are so isolated.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to the day when we see my family again. They love Andrew so much and they lovingly care for him the same way Greg or I would and that is priceless.

Friday, May 13, 2011

First Mother's Day

I was never one of those infertiles who dreads Mother's Day. I do have a wonderful mother and that always gave me something to celebrate on Mother's Day. Admittedly, I have shed a few tears on Mother's Day in the past because I wasn't a mother yet, but most of the time I just treated Mother's Day like any other day. In most recent years, I haven't had the good fortune to be with my mother, but part of the day would be dedicated to talking with her on the phone as she opened her cards and gifts. And, that was good. I was always thankful, as I still am, to have been blessed with such a loving mother who is still "above ground," as she likes to say. With each passing year, I feel like our relationship changes, matures and gets better and better.
This year was particularly special for me because I actually got to spend it with my mother and, of course, it was my first Mother's Day.
I want to remember all the special moments from this day and one day share them with Andrew.
My mom was the first one to wish me a happy Mother's Day, as I fed Andrew his morning bottle, he and I cuddled up on the couch in my parents' living room, making goo goo eyes at each other in the pale morning light. I love those tender moments even though it sometimes seems like they come way too early.
We all got ready and went to church. Andrew looked so handsome in an outfit Greg's mom bought for him. It was a special service -- Mother's Day and baby dedication. I sat beside my mama on the pew with my daddy, my sisters, their husbands and all their children. In the first part of the service, the congregation sang "Because He Lives," it's a familiar hymn but it now has new meaning for me. Here are the words to the second verse:
"How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives."

When we sang those words, my mama reached over and patted my hand. Needless to say, the waterworks started. A few moments later, the men and children in the church were asked to come to the front, take a pink carnation and give them out to all the mothers. My niece, Emily, presented me with my carnation. With a big grin on her face, she held out that flower and said "Happy First Mother's Day." It was so special.
Then, Andrew was part of the baby dedication service. I had debated on whether to participate without Greg there. But, the church we attend here in Louisiana does things very differently and besides, none of my family would have been able to attend if we did it here. So after talking with Greg about it, I decided to go ahead and sign up. I'm so glad I did. It was special for many reasons. First, it was our pastor's last baby dedication service because he's retiring this summer. Andrew slept through the whole thing, like a little angel. The baby dedication service, for anyone who isn't familiar, is a commitment ceremony in which parents promise to raise their child in a way that honors God. The extended families and the church members also participate in the service, promising to give their love and support in raising the child. As part of the dedication, we had to chose a "life verse" from the Bible for Andrew. We chose Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
I was thinking during the service about how long we waited for our son and how much longing and heartache we experienced and now he is here -- our dream came true and he was there, sleeping in my arms. At one point, I was so engrossed in my own thoughts about how Andrew came to be and how special he is that I forgot to say "I will" in response to the pastor.
That evening, my family gathered at my sister Carol's house for a fish fry. Her family loves to fish and always share their bounty with us. It was so yummy! I'm so glad they did it while I was home. We exchanged gifts and took pictures and just enjoyed being together. It was a perfect day. The only thing that could have made it better was if Greg had been there with us.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Welcome to Abiding Andrew, the blog that will chronicle the moments, big and small, that make up our lives as parents to our miracle baby boy. Why do I say he's a miracl? Well, all babies are, of course. But, ours was a long and difficult journey to parenthood. Years of infertility followed by years of fruitless, heartbreaking treatments. Then, our miracle. A little over a year ago, we hedged all our bets on one last chance to conceive a child with our own genetic material. IVF number three was a failure in that it didn't result in a pregnancy, but it gave us three frozen embryos. One of those embryos became our beloved boy, Andrew.
Andrew is four-months old now. He is a happy baby who laughs and smiles and coos. He manages to charm everyone he meets. Everyday, he makes new discoveries (hello, feet!) and learns new things. Sometimes, it's like I can see the wheels turning in his mind. He is a big boy, weighing in at 18 pounds and in the 95th percentile for weight and height, whatever that means. We are so blessed that he is healthy and happy. He makes us laugh everyday and we can't imagine how we lived all those years without him. Welcome to our blog! We hope you'll stick around to see what the future holds for us in the days to come as we continue Abiding Andrew.