Sunday, March 18, 2012

Celebration & Chocolate cake

Today I'm in a celebratory mood, so in the middle of writing this post, I decided to quickly bake myself a gluten free chocolate walnut cake=) I LOVE chocolate. In addition to being gluten free, I'm also sugar free. Yes it's a major pain in the butt when it comes to baking desserts, but I manage with substitutes. Tonight I didn't want to think about figuring out substitutes. I was gonna go all out. Sugar? In to the cake the brown sugar went! As I put the sugar back, I spotted the coffee. Chocolate and Coffee....yum! Coffee is another thing that bothers my stomach, so I haven't had coffee in over 2 years, but I'm celebrating, so what the hell=) A teaspoon of coffee went into the cake=)

What am I celebrating? My beautiful Naama is 3 months old today! According to the baby Iphone apps, my baby has graduated from newborn to infant stage. Man does time fly!!

I'm also celebrating more breakthroughs this weekend. I was by myself with Naama who as usual was on her tummy time mat on the couch. When she'd had enough of tummy time, I picked her up, sat her on my lap and sang to her. When she got fussy, I put her back on her tummy. When she started to cry, I flipped her on her back. Still crying, I realized she was hungry and wanted to eat NOW! I tried calming her because I wanted to wait for my husband to get back from walking Doggie, but Naama wasn't waiting and I felt I was in a secure position to pick her up. I strapped my nursing pillow around my waist, picked Naama up and settled her on my left side to nurse. I was surprised that it wasn't that difficult. Would I do it again while alone? Probably not. When my husband walked in and saw me nursing Naama he said "wow I'm impressed! You did that on your own?!" I just smiled=) I'm also able to pick Naama up from her swing as long as I'm sitting down and I only pick her up if I feel I have to. She has better head control now, so it's easier to pick her up from surface to surface. One huge advantage of being able to pick Naama up from her swing, is that she's facing me, so before I sit her on my lap, I get to hug her yummy little body=)

Who knows, maybe one day, I will gain enough confidence to hold Naama as I'm standing, just the way I did with a friend's baby in 2009. If I can stand with Naama, that's all it will be, just standing still, no attempts to move a step forward. I won't take that chance, but to be able to hold Naama like I did this baby...

Oh, did I forget to mention that last week, half an hour before she was supposed to turn up for work, Mila the nanny called my husband and quit without giving much of a reason. I had a mixed reaction. I was surprised she quit. When she left Friday, everything seemed fine, especially since I had smoothed over issues I had with her. My next thought was oh shit what am I gonna do now? My 3rd thought was thank god I don't have someone living in my house anymore.

Later on, I spoke to a friend whose caretaker is friends with Mila. Her caretaker said the reason Mila quit was because she wanted more money. I almost hit the roof. The woman worked 4.5 days a week and received a very nice salary which included an allowance. Yes you read correctly. She received a small allowance every week for her day off. Sound ridiculous?? It is! I haven't received an allowance since I was a child and I had to work for that allowance! Here Mila got pocket money for her day off! As crazy as that is, apparenty all philipinos get an allowance in addition to their salary. that's just the way it's done. In addition to that, Mila had the best room in the house with her own bathroom and shower. We gave her the master bedroom upstairs. We have one of the smaller rooms downstairs because I wasn't sure I could deal with the stairs in the last stages of my pregnancy and after a C section.

So now that Mila is gone, It's just me and my husband and that makes it difficult because he has to stop whatever he's doing to help me with the baby. This has changed our relationship somewhat. Before Naama was born, the word can't wasn't in my vocabulary. I think that is one of the things that attracted my husband to me. I didn't let having Cerebral Palsy stop me. Now, the word can't is part of my daily life and I know it's a difficult thing for us to get used to.

On Thursday nights my husband works outside the house, so we hired an older woman to come and be with me and the baby for a few hours. She was a nice lady and we talked about several things, but man did she smell! My apartment reeked so bad afterward. The whole time the woman was here, I felt like crying. I hate that I always have to have someone here. I just want to be by myself, but it's been like a revolving door around here lately. I think even Naama is weirded out by the different people who have helped me out. When this old woman was holding Naama, my husband remarked how strangely the baby was looking at this new woman. See? I knew it! The baby does know who's taking care of her! Plus, it's always awkward with strangers. Because I need help positioning the baby for nursing, whoever is helping me sees my breasts. I have no privacy. My breasts aren't a private part of my body anymore since they are Naama's food source. However, one good thing I learned from this old woman was that it's possible to feed Naama in the swing if I have to. Today, I did.

So now we are trying to find someone new to help out, but we don't need a live in anymore. I am in the process of dealing with the national insurance institute to increase my disability percentage now that my situation has changed and I can't take care of my baby on my own. Receiving a higher percentage, will enable me to get help at home that's paid for, as well as other disability services. Unfortunately, being unable to care for my baby isn't going to score me any points. Only if my physical situation has changed will they consider increasing my disability percentage. I am now trying to prove things are worse by doing a bunch of tests. If any problems show up, better for me=) Getting permission to do some of these tests call for a twisting of the truth just a bit. The person helping me to increase my percentage, sent me to an ENT to try and get him to give me permission for a hearing test. I realized that one of the things he wanted me to tell this ENT was that I also had a ringing noise in my ears! I almost burst out laughing when I found that out. So with a straight face, I told the ENT I thought I was losing my hearing and that I sometimes hear a high pitch sound like EEEEE!! He gave me a slip for the hearing test and after examining me he actually saw that I have acute sinusitis! Score=) Sinusitis....add it to my collection of problems...why not? What's one more ailment?? Now where's that chocolate cake I baked??

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I was going to start this post differently, but I have made some breakthroughs recently, so I figure they are worth starting with=)
Drum roll please.... I picked up my 12 week old daughter for the first time on March 2nd!! Naama was face down on her tummy time mat crying hysterically. The mat was on the couch. I was sitting beside her trying to calm her but nothing was working. The nanny was cleaning upstairs and I couldn't wait for her to come down. I just couldn't hear my baby cry so hard any longer. I swung the baby's legs towards me, put my hands under her arms and lifted her up on to my lap. I was surprised at how light she was! As I placed her on my lap, she quieted down and I had the biggest smile on my face. Just then, the nanny came downstairs and saw me holding the baby. The look on her face was one of total surprise and a bit of shock but she didn't say anything. Today, March 10, I picked her up again. This time, Naama was on her back. Like last time, I was sitting beside her. My husband encouraged me to pick her up. I was nervous because I was afraid the baby would throw her head back, but she didn't. I lifted my crying daughter and hugged her. It was such a yummy feeling! My husband said he was proud of me=)

The other big thing that happened is that the baby sits comfortably on me now that she's a bit bigger. This may not seem like a big thing, but it really is. Until now, I have mainly been feeding her, which was the extent of my physical connection with my daughter. I wanted more. Now that she can sit on me, I feel so much more connected to her. I sing to her as I cuddle with her and breathe in her warm, sweet baby smell. We often sit this way after nursing. In a sitting position I can hold her close and eat her up as long as she lets me. She's mine. No more holding other people's babies and feeling sad when I have to give the baby back.
The first time I held Naama in a sitting position was when the nanny placed her on me. I thought it would just be our moment, but then I saw Mila making the baby smile. Well gee, doesn't this defeat the purpose of mommy and daughter time?! Today, on Mila's day off, I cuddled and sang to the baby for more than half an hour and it was just us, no interruptions!

Recently, Naama started smiling in reaction to stimulation and people instead of just smiling because she has gas! My baby loves to be entertained and now that she's more aware and smiles back, I can do all sorts of things to make her happy. I dance, sing, and stimulate her with toys, so if she starts crying, I have more options now then just rocking the cradle or sticking a pacifier in her mouth.

My little baby has brought so much light into our lives. Yes, we are exhausted like all parents of newborns, but we are so happy to finally have our baby. A month after Naama was born we celebrated our 5th anniversary. For 3 years, we tried for the baby we so badly wanted, but G-d had other plans and I suffered 2 miscarriages.  I physically felt empty. My arms craved to hold my baby. Our lives used to be so routine, so empty and somewhat sad.

Now our home and our lives are complete. Simply having her baby toys around the house brings a smile to my face. Singing along to Toddler Tunes as I nurse her and watching her in her swing as the music plays, brings such joy to my heart and fills me with such a light, carefree feeling. Even though her swing music has become our new Top 40, I love hearing every note. That heavy emptiness I carried for 3 years is gone.

On Friday nights, I light a tiny sabbath candle for her. A candle's flame represents a soul. During our hard times, when I lit my two candles, I fervently prayed for a baby. My two candles have become 3. We have been blessed with a beautiful soul.
                                                Photo not taken on shabbos

Every morning as I nurse my daughter, I sing her the morning prayer of thanks in Hebrew and in English. (My version goes to the tune of You are my Sunshine).

Oh every morning when I'm through sleeping
I open up my eyes and say
Thank you G-d for my soul
And for giving me another day.

Often, as I nurse my daughter she will play with my fingers as she looks at me. I tell her all the things I want to do with her as she grows up, like feed her solids and watch her get it all over her face, watch Cinderella with her, and dress her all pretty for school. I know it will be difficult for me to do fine motor tasks like tie her hair back, button her clothing and tie her shoes, but let's hope she doesn't turn around while I'm trying to tie her shoes and say I can do it myself! as one 2.5 year old once said to me as I tried tying his shoe numerous times. I almost died of laughter and embarrassment! So what if her clothing and hair may just be a wee bit off if I dress her? Everyone will know she's my daughter=) My daughter is already a little lady. She will literally push me away with her hand if I'm crowding her too much. She also nurses all proper with her hands

My husband on the other hand is willing to let her play in dirt when she gets older because it'll be good to build up her immune system. Oh what a dichotomy raising our little girl will be !

Every morning, the 3 of us cuddle in bed for family time. I stare at her tiny, perfect little features and I thank god for my beautiful little miracle.

I love seeing my husband and his mini me as they nap together.

I love hearing my husband talk to her as he changes her, bathes her and plays with her. It brings such joy and happiness to my heart to see his face break into a huge smile as he holds her. In the past, when he would hold and hug friends babies, my heart would sink as a happy look washed over his face and he'd look at me and mouth "I want one."

When our daughter was born, one of my most fulfilling moments was in the hospital where I caught this moment between father and daughter.

I think Doggie is the only one who isn't really happy that Naama has taken so much of our attention. He's still getting used to her and apparently so are we because we have occasionally called our daughter Doggie.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Wide awake at 4am this morning, I pumped milk for my still sleeping baby. When she woke up around 7am, I told my husband to give her the bottle so I could sleep. As he was giving her the bottle, the nanny comes down and says "give me the baby, I can feed her." Even though my husband had his coffee cooling, he told the nanny he was fine.

The baby definitely connects with the person feeding her and vice versa, so I had explained to my husband that I didn't want the nanny bottle feeding the baby unless absolutely necessary. I wanted him to be the one singing to her and making eye contact with her. I wanted him to be the recipient of his daughter's smiles. This morning when I heard the beginning of the discussion between my husband and Mila the nanny, I flew out of bed yelling NO! I went to the dining table to see my husband holding the baby and the nanny staring daggers at me. I felt awkward for my outburst, but did not apologize. Instead I mumbled something and went back to bed.

Shortly after that, my husband brought the baby to me in bed so we could spend some time together. He placed her on my left side. I sang to her and cuddled with her, but she wouldn't look at me. When I looked at her straight on, she still didn't smile. All the while, I was slightly uncomfortable because I wasn't laying in a good position. I tried making myself more comfortable and it was quite an effort that basically landed me back in the same uncomfortable position. My body is stiff and out of shape. I also have had a really painful left rotator cuff for the last 6 months, so the way I was lying was pretty painful as well.

After a bit the baby started to get fussy so I tried feeding her. I couldn't get the nipple in her mouth.
The nanny came in and started smiling and singing to the baby just as I had done. Suddenly, Naama was all smiles. I was numb. I tried interacting with her again, no go. The nanny butted in again and Naama was happy again. Frustrated beyond belief I got out of bed and left the two of them alone. When I saw my face in the bathroom mirror, my black eyeliner had smudged, making me look like a heroin addict...maybe that's why Naama cried when I looked at her? I left the bathroom and went to find my husband. I told him how upset I was and he hugged me. Even Doggie stood up on his hind legs and hugged my leg, but it didn't really make me feel better. I could still hear Naama and the nanny being all happy together. I wanted to go in to my bedroom to get my slippers but I didn't want to see them, so I made myself tea instead.

After awhile, Mila comes into the living room holding the baby and as she's singing to Naama and rocking her to sleep in her arms, I hear Mila sing "go to sleep my darling baby." WTF?! I didn't say anything. I don't know how to handle this situation. If I start butting in when I feel she's getting too close, she may decide not to handle the baby at all and I need her for a majority of the baby care. Besides, I can't tell her not to be affectionate toward the cutest baby ever! But what to do? I feel my baby is closer to the nanny than to me...