Archive for category baby

Sunday (Not-So) Funday

For the first time in a few years, I have that Sunday night anxiety.  It’s that same awful feeling I used to get on Sunday nights; that feeling of hopelessness, angst and fear, knowing that I was about to return to a job that stressed me out.

Instead of returning to a job that stressed me out, tomorrow, I will be on my own with the two kids for the first time since Josh’s seizures.  For the the past week, I’ve had a knowledgeable medical staff just a call button away,  my parents’ moral and logistical support, and of course, Jeff’s unflappable presence.

Shortly after Josh’s birth in January, I remember thinking, “I’ve GOT this. I can do this, this 2 kid thing.”

I had more confidence in myself than I thought I would, and even started attending press events and writing, just two weeks after his birth. Crazy, dedicated and insane were the words I believe friends called me.  Truthfully? I love being a mother more than anything, but MY happiness lies within pursuing the things that round me out as a whole. Balance, it’s how we do.

But…after Josh’s ordeal? My parenting confidence is completely decimated.  My heart palpitates with worry, I jump every time the baby coughs or sneezes, and worst of all, Jack feeds off of my neurosis and irritability.

Mom, dad and John were supposed to come up to help me this week, but unfortunately, work schedules come first.  As a family, Jeff and I have overcome hardships, and I know we’ll make it through this uncertain transition—one therapy session at a time.

 

 

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Nobody Puts Babyrific on Hiatus

So. I haven’t written on Babyrific in over 2 years. There’s so many reasons for this: I’ve been busy, I’ve been procrastinating and well, I’ve been holding out.  I won’t go into detail about why, but let’s just say, I’ve always been perfectly fine with sharing my life online, that is until loved ones criticized my parenting.  But, to hell with them.

If you’re here again, or maybe for the first time, you might know that since originally starting this blog, we’ve moved to the suburbs, had another beautiful boy and have had quite a few health scares this year.  And that, my friends, is why Babyrific is officially being resuscitated.

Bear with me though, I have A LOT of housekeeping to do around here.  If the site loads slow, please be patient, I’ll fix it…eventually.  For now, this is my main sounding board for our latest adventures, but more specifically, for updating family and friends about the baby’s condition.

 

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Day 3: EGG Monitoring and Making Progress

Even though we’ve been updating regularly on our social media outlets, there’s still so much to be said when you’re trying to wrap your brain around a family crisis.  So, that’s why I’m here.

Just like your kids (or pets and loved ones) are for you, my babies are my world.  My husband is too, but it’s OUR babies that truly make our worlds complete.  And so, when Josh first started having his seizures, I couldn’t help but research, record and take even more pictures.  It’s what I do…even moreso at a time like this.

I’ll get around to updating what we went through this week, but I thought I’d throw in the video diaries that I made on various days, starting with day 3.

This is just a short candid video (read: unedited) of me rambling on and on about Josh, and how he made it through his first night without a seizure. He’d only been stable a few hours, but it was perfect progress, something the neurologists were hoping for.

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Episode One

It was an undeniably sunny Saturday.  A perfect kind of day that we were lucky enough to enjoy at Sesame Place; the rides, fuzzy characters, the slides and the biggest, coolest splash park a kid could imagine.

We spent most of the day in the sun, something we’ve done multiple times at the lake.  We stayed hydrated on Saturday, took breaks from the heat and made sure everyone was happy.  So, who could’ve predicted that a day full of laughs would somehow end in tears in the ER.

On Saturday, that’s just what happened.  After an incredibly fun day, followed by an 1.5 ride home, our four month old, Joshua, gave us the scare of our lives.  Completely exhausted form our day at the water park, Jeff and Jack went immediately upstairs to bed, while I changed the baby downstairs.  On his changing table, eerily enough, a baby staple that I just so happened to rave and write about, Joshua’s hazel eyes turned a striking blue and blinked profusely.  His body, stiff as a board, yet somehow managed to twitch as if being shocked.  His lips turned purple, his porcelain skin was cold; these symptoms paralyzed me for fear that my baby was in some kind of pain. I screamed for Jeff.  And screamed again, until he truly heard the terror in my cry.

“The baby is having a seizure,” I yelled.

Before grabbing his phone, Jeff shook both hands rapidly, something he does when he’s nervous.  Which is never.

“I’m calling 911.  Is he ok?” He asked as I cradled our boy who shook uncontrollably.

“Don’t wake Jack. Just call Sharon.” I suggested, as we tried to figure out what the hell to do next.

In less than three minutes, two police officers and the EMT flung open our front doors and asked to see Josh.  Limp and exhausted, Josh’s seizure had ceased as I handed him over to the uniformed officers.  In just a diaper and rash guard, Josh was still cold and could barely hold up his own head.

The cops and EMT ushered me into the ambulance, not before I grabbed a few essentials: baby’s pjs, diapers and my iPad (to Google baby’s ailments, of course).  We made the 2 mile drive to St. Clare’s emergency room, which was clearly the place to be on a Saturday night.

No room at the inn, we were directed to hang out on a gurney in the hallway until they had a bed available.  And so I stood there, with my cold, crying baby…confused and totally alone.  That is, until our friend and next door neighbor walked into the ER to provide support, just like she did 3 months ago when Jeff went into anaphylactic shock.  Josh was just 5 weeks old at the time, my incision was still sore and my nerves were just as shot.

Jeff and Jack finally made their way to the ER, just in time for us to get our own room and for the dr. to visit.  After giving him the run down on what happened, he mentioned having to insert the IV in the baby.  I took that as my cue to take Jack and walk around.  As we came back, Jeff walked out of the room before we arrived.  His eyes welled up, and forehead revealed his worry:

“Baby had another seizure as the nurses tried to give him a catheter.”

And that’s when I lost it and whisked Jack off to a waiting room tucked into a corner.  I hugged my older boy and asked him to pray that our baby boy would be ok.

“It’s ok, mama. Joshy’s going to be just fine.”

I cried harder, hugged Biggie tighter, but said nothing.

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In Memory of Madeline Spohr

A few days ago, as I was blog hopping, I stumbled onto Heather’s site.  I just couldn’t forget her gorgeous daughter’s big blue eyes.  She’s so sweet, I thought.

Yesterday, I noticed a tweet about Heather’s daughter, Maddie, and something mentioning marching in her “memory.”  I knew Heather was active in the March of Dimes and that Maddie was born several weeks premature.   I clicked on links to check out stories from said tweets.  But, I got nowhere because apparently, almost all of the Twitterverse and Blogosphere were doing the same exact thing.

Tonight, I read more about Maddie and was finally able to get back to Heather’s blog.  On April 7, Sweet Maddie unexpectedly passed away after having breathing problems.  She was only 17 months old.

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My heart aches knowing that Maddie left so soon.  Her sunny smile will never be forgotten.

I’ve been in my own bubble this week since I’ve been in website-tweaking mode.  But now, I’m all tears and can’t sleep.  As a mom with a child in the same age range, I just can’t even begin to fathom what they’re going through right now.

In my last post, the underlying message was that we, moms, are not alone, especially during adversities like this.  I don’t personally know Heather or Mike Spohr, and I’m guessing that neither do several thousands of the other people who have shared their support and love over the past two days.  The power of social media and the mom blogging community is a strong force that has no boundaries at times like this.  Everyone is loved just that much.

Please say a prayer for the Sphor family and keep Madeline in your thoughts.  If you’d like to donate to help this family, I’ve listed the information that their friends have provided below:

A PayPal Account has been set up to assist Heather and Mike with any upcoming expenses. You can donate by sending money, via PayPal to formaddie@hotmomreviews.com. All money received will go directly to them to be used at their discretion.

If you want to show Mike and Heather your love and support in person, further details on services for Maddie will be available as they are arranged. The service will be early next week in Burbank, and they’re asking that everyone wear purple. If you are in the Los Angeles area, or want to be in the area for the event, the March for Babies Team Maddie walk is Saturday, April 25th. Click the March of Dimes link above for more information or email undomesticdiva@gmail.com.

Be sure to hug your babies, big kids and loved ones even tighter today.

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aden + anais sale, New Kid Thing launch and a giveaway!

Since I’ve been busy working toward officially launching The Next Kid Thing, I thought I would let everyone know that we’ll be having a launch week!  While I continue to figure out the details for launch week, which is tentatively set for April 13-17, I will be doing a lot of cross-promoting on the 2 blogs.  So, please forgive me on the occasional duplicate post, but with cross-promoting comes fun goodies!

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aden + anais is having a sale on their Winter Warmth and Dream blankets.  I first spotted aden + anais, the makers of the gorgeously soft muslin blankets and wraps, at Buy Buy Baby.  Their very cool packaging stands out, as do their beautiful blankets.  You really can’t have enough soft, well-made blankets for your babe.  Not to mention, how perfect are these for shower gifts!  To find out more about muslin wraps and what makes aden + anais products so special, be sure to check them out here. Now, onto the sale…the prices are as follows:

Winter Warmth Swaddles on sale for $29.95 (normally $49.95)
Dream Blankets on sale for $39.95 (normally $59.95)
Visit adenandanais.com and enter promo code “wintersale” to receive the discount.

And lucky for you all, aden + anais is giving away one of their winter warmth blankets!

Want to win it?

Visit aden + anais and tell me what style you love.  Add your comment below.

for additional entries:

1.  Tweet about this giveaway and mention my new site, the Next Kid Thing  (2 extra entries)
2.  Blog about my new site, the Next Kid Thing  (2 extra entries)
3.  Stumble this post
4.  Sign up to receive my updates via email.

Contest ends April 13 at noon.

Please add a comment for each of your entries.

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Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower and my new baby

Big City MomsEarlier this week, I had the chance to attend the Biggest Baby Shower, another really awesome event hosted by Big City Moms.  You’re probably wondering, baby shower?  Why a baby shower?  Well, that’s because I have a new baby.   First things first:  nope, it’s not that kind of baby.

In between picking Cheerios out of my hair and cushioning my daredevil toddler’s head dives from the couch, I’ve been working laboriously on my new website for the past few months.  I’ve been researching trends, finding and making contacts, figuring out website layouts, understanding demographics and really, everything else to make sense of this project.  I’m clearly no where near finished, but I am, however, ready to release the Beta version to share with all of you, my friends and family that have kept up with my adventures through this blog.

My new website is a product of many things, but most importantly, it’s driven by the things that I’m passionate about.  Many of you already “know” my story and how none of this particular career trajectory was not really planned.  In case you don’t remember, here’s a quick reminder:  as former magazine editor turned freelance writer, I sought, more than anything, a work-life balance. In October 2008, after countless interviews amidst the failing economy and troubled field of print journalism, I decided to end THAT chase and start a new one, on my own terms.

As I wrote my goodbyes to various colleagues, one simple reply changed everything. “Wishing you all the best on the Next Big Thing.” From that moment, I knew exactly what my next big thing was; it was this, the Next Kid Thing. With my professional background, coupled with my interests as a new mom, I strive for my new website, the Next Kid Thing to be a blog that follows the latest kid trends with a magazine-type flair. From babies to big kids, from books to apps, from features to reviews, the Next Kid Thing is your go-to source for all things kids and the modern-minded grownups that love them.

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Which brings me to the baby shower…as a mom with a journalistic background, I have a sincere interest in finding and understanding the unique stories that relate to the kid business.  At events like the Biggest Baby Shower, I have the unique opportunity to learn about the “Next Kid Things,”  such as the latest new stroller, toddler tables and bottle designs and more.  As I continue to build this site and meet more contacts with the help of social media, it’s my hope to include fun interviews, reveal neat finds and of course, share the good stuff.

While I continue to tweak the website, I welcome any constructive criticism, ideas, suggestions and whatever else you have to say.  In the beginning, you may see some familiar stories that I originally posted here on Babyrific. In the future, I hope to keep the two websites separate, with minimal duplication.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to round up my ideas and new posts, specifically on the great products and companies I learned about at the Biggest Baby Shower.  And finally, As with any website’s success, your comments, frequent visits and spreading the word will help in more ways that you know!

And while you’re there, check out the latest review and great giveaway.  Thanks for checking out the new site :)   Official launch date and more giveaways will be announced soon!

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Dr. Jen on baby’s sleep habits and nighttime routines

Sleep.  I crave it like a juicy Five Guys Hamburger.  I need it, I want it, but like many moms, I don’t really get it as often as I’d like.  (Sleep, not the delicious hamburger.)
Today, for the first time in a few weeks, I actually feel well-rested.  We’ve been going through our own sleep issues right now, so it’s amazing what an extra 2 hours of sleep can do for you.  Though,  I won’t say that too loudly, I don’t want to jinx it!

Fact:  On average, babies fuss about 74 minutes a day.

Dr. Jen TrachtenbergThere are many reasons behind mom’s lack of sleep, but often, a new baby is at the top of this list.  Even though my child is beyond the baby days, with all this lack of sleep that’s been going on, it’s so fitting that I was able to sit in on an event to listen to Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg talk about something so relevant.  The renowned pediatrician and author of Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children, Dr. Jen offered some invaluable tips and insight on sleep and nighttime routines.  Here are a few things that she had to say about baby and my old friend, sleep:
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  • Nighttime routine is very important;  I can’t stress that enough, she said.  It needs to be done consistently, on a day-to-day basis.  It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but more of a daily routine. It’s not a schedule she says, but more of a routine.
  • Not only is the nighttime routine important for the kids, but Dr. Jen says transitioning yourself to nighttime from daytime is really important–turning down the lights, turning down the tv, make it quieter, playing nighttime music such as classical or softer tunes.  In the baby’s room, close the blinds so that baby’s sleep isn’t disrupted by light.  Natural sunlight is known to wake up baby, Dr. Jen says baby should wake up on his own terms.
  • Also check the room temperature.  Babies sleep better in between 68-72 degrees.  Too warm or over-layering the baby can make the baby too hot, thus more fussy.  It’s great to have a fan in baby’s room for many reasons.  There’s new research showing that circulating the air can reduce risks for SIDS for babies.  It also has that white noise effect and drowns out other noises, making it easier for baby to fall asleep. Fans are simple, economic alternatives to those white noise machines out on the market.
  • Good nighttime routines typically start with a bath.  It’s a great time to bond and talk to baby, Dr. Jen says.
      star-pink-32x32 After not having much luck with our initial baby tub, I have to say, Munchkin’s inflatable safety duck tub is the most versatile baby bathtub out there.  It’s portable, inflatable, soft, easy to clean and does the job.  Not bad for $10.
  • Dr. Jen recommends moisturizing the baby right after the bath.  Lotion is a great way to help with massaging the baby.  Baby massages–usually slow circular motions–after the bath is another great time to bond, as well as time to wind down and get ready for bed.
  • going-to-bedQuiet nighttime activity, reading is always recommended.  Dr. Jen says it’s never too early to start reading to your baby.  Starting with a board book that is easy and only has a few words on the page.  Eventually, babies start to respond to rhyming and then inflection in your voice, Dr. Jen says, then reading becomes reciprocal with the anticipation of page turning and when the book is about to end.
      star-pink-32x32Our personal favorite nighttime book is Sandra Boyton’s Bedtime Book.  It’s a short and sweet story about animals aboard an ark that are also preparing for bed.
  • After the quiet activity, ultimately, it’s time for bed.  Dr. Jen recommends putting the baby to bed when she is sleepy, but still awake;  ideally, they should still be arousable but drowsy.  This is important so they learn how to transition from your arms to the bed.  According to Dr. Jen, this is so important for babies so they learn how to fall asleep on their own, and ultimately, sleep through the night.
      star-pink-32x32If they don’t know how to fall asleep on their own or are used to falling asleep with help–rocking, feeding, etc.–they won’t know how to fall asleep without that help when they wake up in the middle of the night.  Dr. Jen confirmed exactly what I kept trying to tell my mom who was big on rocking/singing when putting Jack down for a nap and the occasional bedtime all of those months.  It was so helpful at the time, but unfortunately, Jack never slept through the night until a few months ago (which is a distant memory for now and our current battle!)
  • Dr. Jen is a big proponent of swaddling.  When you swaddle the baby it makes them feel cozy and warm, just like they’re in the womb, but it also decreases the startle reflex they have as newborns, she said. Some moms say that their baby likes to sleep with their arms out, but studies show that babies sleep much better and stay asleep when they are swaddled.  Receiving blankets do the trick, but there are great innovations out on the market equipped with velcro and other things to help with this.star-pink-32x32
    The NYT recently provided some information on the “right” way to swaddle.  We started out with several Kiddopatomus Swaddle Mes which were awesome, but Jack grew so quickly, that by the second month we were miracle_blanket_step11looking for the next size.  Recommended by a good friend, I ended up buying a Miracle Blanket which ended up being one of our best newborn gear investments.  There was no Velcro, just more soft fabric to wrap.  I ended up using it until he started to roll over (around the 5-month mark,) which is when pediatricians recommend to stop swaddling.  If you decide to swaddle your baby, the Miracle Blanket comes highly recommended!

      We’ve probably heard or read some of these pointers along the way,  but hearing her actually say it all was that much more reinforcing. Here’s hoping that all of you, including baby, get the sleep you want/need/crave!

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Sweet dreams are made of this

I had a pretty sweet day yesterday, and I mean that quite literally.  On behalf of Philips AVENT, the awesome baby products manufacturer, I had lunch at Dylan’s Candy Bar. (which, by the way, was my third trip within the last few weeks–yum!)

I dusted off my business attire, smooched my boys–one sick, the other whiny– and headed into the city.  This event was my first press function as a blogger and freelance writer.  Even though I have attended more press functions than I care to count, to be honest, I felt a bit out of practice. In this life, my day consists of singing about parties in my tummy, dancing with Bongo Bird, picking up foam alphabet letters, extinguishing meltdowns, in between researching several stories, then writing 3 words and then deleting 2 words—and all this before lunch and Y&R.  After 4 months out of the game, that magazine editor world seems like a lifetime away.
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As soon as I approached the mecca of all that is sweet, I headed upstairs to the cafe area.  The lovely PR ladies greeted me and like most events where one is invited, they asked me who I was and who I was with.  I could barely say my name without stuttering, nevermind say “Babyrific” without feeling like a dork.

I’m sure I said something like, “Um, I’m Jen and I write” and left the rest for her to figure out.  She checked her spreadsheet with the expected attendees and couldn’t find my name.  Naturally, I couldn’t remember if I RSVP’ed with my hyphenated name or my professional/maiden name.  To make things easier, she asked for my business card.  Of course, I came unprepared. Several months ago, I’d have 658 business cards in my right pocket for easy synchronization with my introduction. Today, I had zero. And, I could barely speak the language in which I have a degree.

So she handed me the list so I could fill out my name and information.  And there I was, the second name on the list:  Jen with Babyrific.net. I felt so much validation at that very moment—and not because I’m on some list, but because I was back in the saddle on my own terms.  After all those fruitless interviews in ’08, dodging the awkward conversations with people who don’t “get” this whole new direction I’m taking and questioning my choice to take said direction, everything is finally starting to make sense.  The ideas, the research, the determination—all of it!

So besides my sweet dreams, today’s function was all about sweet dreams.  The renowned Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, author of Good Kids, Bad Habits, gave a presentation to help Avent launch some new products.  I received so much great information,  multiple posts are in order. Product reviews, details and Dr. Jen’s helpful hints soon to come.

P.S.  Isn’t Annie Lenox awesome? I love that song.  Sweet dreams are made of this, indeed.

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A lot of this and that

A year ago today, I started out the day looking a LOT like this and ended looking more like that.  Despite my obtuse exterior, I truly had no idea how much my heart–OUR hearts–would grow that very next day.

As summer fades to fall and we start putting away the shorts and pulling out the long sleeves, our family is inevitably going through a transition of our own.   As much as I possibly can, I’m savoring the last few days as the baby phase officially winds down.

But alas, with a kid whose nose is like a running faucet and the overwhelming temperament to match, the past few days have been hard to enjoy.  Like most families with kids in daycare/childcare outside the home know, if your kid appears contagious, he or she is banned!  Since Jeff’s been working crazy hours and I’m faced with monthly deadlines (my last for this publication!) the daycare logistics have been less than desirable.  Jack has been with me at work 1.5 days this week, home with me another and home with Jeff for half a day.    In those movies where they glamorize magazine editors, they don’t show the part where their baby completely MELTS DOWN on Park Avenue during lunch hour for every Suit on the east side to see.  To get even more graphic, since I wear black almost every day, I’ve started to look like a walking chalkboard– you know, with the runny nosed, clingy kid and all.

And to think, I once considered black a forgiving color!

But, it is what it is, right?

In a few hours, we’ll be on our way to Va. to celebrate Jack’s first birthday with family!  Yippeee and ughhhh!  And quite honestly, it’ll be, what we hope, the last major celebratory event outside of the state in which we live—aside from major holidays, of course.  Interpret it how you will, but times are a changin’.

We’re throwing a smallish family party on Saturday at Lola and Lolo’s house.  And from the looks of it, we may have the tailend of a storm for even more excitement!  Cross your fingers that it won’t rain!  Of all the things that haven’t been working out in my favor, I hope my kid’s party will be spared!  We are not driving 700 miles just to have waterlogged Lumpia and soggy cake!!

Either way, it’ll be a happy day!!  I can’t believe our boy is going to be 1!

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