Sunday, November 18, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Work

I am going back to work tomorrow, which means that Freyja will start her first day of daycare. I will not go into my thoughts at this time--or I wouldn't get any sleep! Instead, I have just written a little poem inspired by 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore.

'Twas the Night Before Work

'Twas the night before work, when all through the house,
The only creature stirring was mom, not the mouse.
The clothes were hung in the closet with care,
In hopes that Freyja would sleep better than fair.

Freyja asleep in her crib, dad in his bed,

While visions of tomorrow danced in their heads.
Mama eating her snack, no baby in her lap,
Telling herself she should go take her nap.

The morning will come just like every day,

But mama will miss her sweet Freyja Fray.
She will kiss her cheeks, smile, and say goodbye,
And hope that the work day will fly by.

Mama knew it was time to close her eyes

Not knowing when she would hear the cries.
Whispering before she tip-toed out of sight,
Much love to you all, and to all a good night!

Emily Kremer
November 18, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

3 Months!

Today is November 15, which means Freyja is 3 months old today!

Today Freyja and I visited my grandma (her great-grandma) for lunch. Freyja slept comfortably in my arms for over an hour; it was very sweet. It was nice spending time with my grandma before heading back to work! After our visit, Freyja and I headed to my work to introduce her to co-workers before I begin on Monday. It was great to see everyone and it reminded me that the past 3 months have gone by quickly! One of my co-workers who was 6 months pregnant when I went on maternity leave had her baby this past weekend, so I wasn't able to see her today. A few more women at my work are due in the next few months; baby fever!

She actually let me read to her two books tonight without getting too squirmy, so that was nice. I also sang her a few songs--and she doesn't mind if I forget the words or go off tune. Nick was reading her a book earlier and he made up extra parts to it--he was very good at it.

Well, it's the evening time which means Freyja is more cranky and just wants to eat or sleep, so time for me to go! I wrote this post in the time it took for Nick to change her outfit and her diaper to get her ready for bed. He is a wonderful daddy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Playing catch up with blogging!

My guess is I will have ether shorter, more frequent posts, or longer, less frequent posts...depends on if I get behind or not! Here's a long one...just a warning! I will look back and be glad I wrote as much, but  I don't mind if no one else reads it :)

On the play mat

Only one week until I go back to work...but if I dwell on that, I will get sad and won't finish this entry! So I will be in denial for the remainder of this post...On Friday, we celebrated Freyja's first Thanksgiving with an early celebration at Nick's mom's house. We had a very nice time and I was relieved that Freyja fell asleep at her "normal" time of 8 pm. Between 7:30 and 8:30 pm I have labeled as the witching hour. She gets cranky and the only things that console her are breastfeeding followed by rocking/bouncing her to sleep. Since she is still not taking a bottle and thus I am her only source of food (and responsible for the night feedings then of course!) I especially have stock in her getting good sleep! :) On Saturday, the three of us got together with other families we met through the group prenatal class. All the women were due in August; only one was born in July! It was nice to have a get together where the guys were able to come too. Because most of us had maternity leave around the same time, the moms and babies met up for a walk and/or lunch on Wednesdays. We started with 6 women, now we are left with three of us who still have to return to work. The remaining three of us start work again the week of Thanksgiving, so this Wednesday will be our final walk for now. On Sunday we recovered from the busy previous two days...for most of the day, anytime I was not feeding Freyja I was relaxing. I had wanted to get things done around the house, but good intentions are nothing without having enough energy!

Freyja's first Thanksgiving! :)

Freyja loves her daddy!

Her smile melts my heart!
It's Tuesday afternoon, and the only way I could get Freyja to nap for more than 5 minutes was by putting her in the swing in the bathroom while I took a shower. I was done showering before she fell asleep, but since her eyes were getting droopy, I stayed in the shower longer until she fell asleep. Naps are so important, yet she sometimes fights them. When she is riding in her car seat in the car or stroller, she is able to fall asleep...but at home it's another story. She has been barely fitting in her velcro swaddle, but when she is in her crib or bassinet and not swaddled, she doesn't sleep long at all. Today I laid her in her bassinet and she woke up after 5 minutes. Even though she is getting close to the age where she shouldn't need to be swaddled, for my sanity I may have to go get another velcro swaddle and just use it for a few more weeks. Since the concern is as they get older they may roll over from their back to stomach while sleeping, which could be dangerous if they were swaddled, I may just leave her arms out of the swaddle. Ah, decisions. I don't mind as much trying different things during the day, such as trying to get her to nap without being swaddled, but at night when my sleep is crucial I want a tried and true method for her!

I'll admit...Freyja is still napping in the bathroom and I am nervous to go and check on her (it has been about 45 minutes since she fell asleep), because I don't want to accidentally wake her up. But the motherly guilt is rising, so I guess I will go check quietly....

 **Yay** she is still asleep. I'm not sure for how long, but long enough to write a little more I hope! While sometimes Freyja can be a sound sleeper (she slept through Nick drilling a hole in the wall when she was sleeping in the other room), she is inconsistent enough where I just assume something may wake her up. I know what you are probably thinking--and I will lay your fears to rest. I know that it isn't good for her to get used to sleeping without any noise, but trust me when I say she has had plenty of experience with sleeping with noise. It's just when she hasn't slept much (naps or at night) I am extra careful. My sleep is dependent on her sleep. Enough about sleep or I may just want to take a nap, and with my luck it will be right when Freyja wakes up!

During one of my many night feedings in the past few days, I created a list that I entitled Fun Facts about Freyja (11/11/12) I don't know that all of them would be considered fun, but I appreciated the alliteration. Here goes (& pardon my grammar):

Looking at the lamp
  • Doing well with tummy time, and can roll over from stomach to back sometimes. Rolled over first at 6 weeks, then not again till 10 weeks. Has not rolled from back to stomach
  • Can hold gaze for longer when looking at people, toys, etc and has cute "social smiles." Smiles some at strangers but more with parents and parent's friends/family (it depends on the time of day too. She is more smiley in the morning and more serious in evenings. In the evening can usually get her to smile on changing table by smiling at her or singing to her. Likes silly songs too.
  • Can hold the ring of a rattle but doesn't do it for very long. When on the play mat she sometimes hits the toys, but it is hard to tell how much of it is intentional. Usually lasts about 5-10 minutes on the play mat (and usually needs someone to hit the toys for her!) but sometimes she tolerates it long enough for me to fold the laundry or empty the dishwasher. My time is described in what chore I can get done :) I am finding that I can get parts of things done and then have to come back to them...just like I can't write a blog post in less than 2 sittings.
  • Daytime naps easier when not at seat when riding in car or stroller or when I am carrying her in the Snugli (similar to a Baby Bjorn)
  • Often takes an evening nap around 7:30/8:00 for about 45 min to 2 hours, then fails back to sleep between 10:30 & 11:30. Trying to establish bedtime routine...feed, swaddle, feed, rock, crib. She's too fussy in the evening to sit still for a book. 
  • Breastfeeding usually takes 15 to 30 min & still refusing bottle. Haven't tried it in the last few days but they will try it every day at daycare. 
  • Weight on 11/11/12 was 9 lbs 8.3 oz. Still have the Medela scale and for a few feeds per day I weigh her before and after to determine how much she ate.
  • Likes to be held most of the time when awake. When in a good mood, enjoys sitting or standing in lap with support. Likes to face out sitting up in your arms to see what's going on. She is very active, which probably also contributes to her body size. Tends to fall asleep lying in my arms rather than leaning against my shoulder like she did when she was newborn to 6 weeks old. 
  • She fits in 3-month clothes and only some newborn clothes. Most of the newborn clothes are too small in the length. 
  • Still sleeps best when swaddled. Has ended up at edge of crib half the nights this week...I think it happens when she is crying and she kicks her legs and moves around.
  • Usually eats at 7:30/8:00 pm, sleeps, then eats again between 9:30 & 11:30 pm. Sometimes needs to play a little to get out energy. Then sleeps usually 3 to 6 hours before middle of the night feeding between 2:30 & 5:30 am. Sleeps 3 to 5 more hours (latest she slept till was 9:45 am)
  • Works best to swaddle before she finishes eating; then she can fall asleep in my arms undisturbed at the end of a feeding. She is too big for the newborn swaddle and I am planning to buy the next size up even though we may not be swaddling her arms much longer. But I can use again for second child in the future. More often sleeps with head turned to the side (over left shoulder). Has a small bald spot on back of head from moving around, rubbing.
  • When upset/sad/cries, area above her eyes (near eyebrows) and eyelids get red. She doesn't like it when I first put her in her car seat or when I first put a hat on her, but she usually quiets quickly. It helps if she can have a blanket in her lap and if she will take the pacifier. Usually just takes a pacifier when tired or after eating.
  • If she is crying, the best method to help calm her is breastfeeding. If she isn't hungry, then rocking or bouncing (often while swaddled or held firmly in cradle position of arms) works best. Shushing helps calm her too, but mainly if she is just fighting sleep rather than crying. Sometimes I can distract her when she is crying, but it doesn't last too long. One time I got her to smile as she cried...that was a little funny! When she is tired, if she is being held she often bumps her head into your chest and I have caught her rubbing her eyes. 
  • She likes grabbing the afghan and other soft blankets. She can grab hair in her fists and only sometimes reaches at a toy.
  • She doesn't love or hate bath time...just neutral
  • Likes movement--rocking, bouncing, riding in a car or stroller. Can tolerate swing more than being set down on the floor, but often just for a short time (it usually only works well if she is tired. Cries if she is awake and doesn't want to be in it. If she wants to move around, I put her on the play mat.
  • In the past week, her new thing is sticking out her tongue frequently. It's like she just discovered it! :)
  • Her cheeks are getting more chubby and I love giving them kisses (or sometimes I give her Eskimo kisses--nose to nose)
  • She has a fold on her left ear identical to fold on Nick's left ear (he mentioned this to me)
  • She has very long, dainty, skinny fingers. She is comparable to other babies in length (she was in the 39th percentile at 2 months) but more thin than many babies her age. However, she is gaining weight now at a great rate and the doctor is not concerned. We don't have an appointment to see her pediatrician until she is 4 months old.
  • She is very expressive!
Ok, I'll smile for you mommy :)
What are you looking at?
After making this list, I am reminded that even though she is young, she has a personality already. It's just hard to know what of her disposition is just normal baby tendency and what is unique to her and will continue in the future. I hope she continues to enjoy cuddling! 

She's awake! I'm sure she will change quickly so I want to document how she is now. She will be 3 months on Thursday!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Being a Mother

This August I took on a new role--being a mother. I tried to think of what to compare it to without using a cliche analogy, like a roller coaster. But as anyone who has been sleep deprived can relate, I will just stick with that for now because I can't think of anything better! I have had some very high moments, and a few low moments too, with a lot of little ups and downs in between. I am very blessed to be the mother to a beautiful baby girl named Freyja!

Freyja is expressive, has beautiful big blue eyes, and a smile that melts my heart. It is amazing to see her change so much in such a short period of time!

1 day old (birth weight 6 lbs 7 oz)
4 days old, coming home from the hospital, 5 lbs 12 oz

1 week old (her due date 8/22/12) weight: 5 lbs 14 oz 
2 weeks old (8/29/12

3 weeks old (9/5/12)

4 weeks old (one day shy, 9/11/12)

5 weeks old (9/18/12)

6 weeks old with daddy (9/25/12)
7 1/2 weeks old (10/8/12

My phone memory was full, so I can't find pictures for 8 or 9 weeks old

10 weeks old with mommy

And a few pictures more recently:
11 weeks old (10/31/12)
11 weeks old (tummy time)
Almost 12 weeks old (11/5/12)
Medical updates: 

We are finally slowing down on doctor appointments and have a plan in place for starting daycare on November 19th at a center near my work. We have our last speech therapy appointment, and she still has not been taking more than 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce at a time.My boss is graciously allowing me to leave work twice during the workday to feed Freyja since she still is refusing a bottle. Someone asked me what has been the hardest part of motherhood so far. My response? Feeding. It has been a struggle from the beginning, as it took her almost a month to reach her birth weight, but she is gaining and growing and is oh-so-cute!

During the first month we were going to the pediatrician 1 to 2 times per week, and then again once per week when her weight gain slowed. She continues on a medication (ranitidine, generic for Zantac) twice daily for reflux, and after feedings I try to keep her upright for up to 20-30 minutes.  At her 2 month appointment on 10/16/12 she weighed 8 lbs and was in the 0 percentile (not on the curve for weight), but was 39% for length. We rented a scale that measures how much breast milk she drank per feeding (weighing before and after a feed wearing the same clothing and without changing a diaper). This helped immensely, and by 11/2/12, 17 days later, she had gained 12 ounces. Normal weight gain is about 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce per day. Her pediatrician was very pleased with her progress, and we don't have any more appointments scheduled until her 4-month check-up!

During pregnancy, I thought that the biggest hurdle would be related to her goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), which was found on my 26-week ultrasound. As expected, following birth she was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism. Congenital means present at birth, and hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland is not producing an adequate amount of the thyroid hormone.  Freyja needs the synthetic version of the thyroid hormone for proper growth and development. She takes a medication daily (levothyroxine, the generic of Synthroid) and she has been doing well with this. It is a very safe, thoroughly tested medication, and the side effects are only present if the dosing needs adjustment. For the first year she will get her thyroid function levels checked every month and see the endocrinologist every 3 months.

Two weeks ago she had genetic testing to check for Stickler syndrome (on one of 2 genes) and the results will likely take 4 to 6 weeks. I have the syndrome, and because it is autosomal dominant, Freyja has a 50% chance of having the syndrome. Basically, if you have the gene you have the syndrome. but if you don't have the syndrome it means you can't pass it on. I won't be surprised if she has this syndrome as the risk is 50%, but I can still be optimistic until proven otherwise! The biggest concerns with Stickler syndrome involve the eyes (specifically, detachment of the retina). If she has the syndrome we will see the genetic doctor again, she will have x-rays done at 6 months, and we will be seeing an ophthalmologist (this appointment may happen before the results are back).

We also saw a chiropractor who specializes in pediatrics. This seemed to help her positioning of her head/neck. The chiropractor does a very gentle adjustment by applying light pressure at certain points of her neck and back.

Now that the appointments are winding down, breastfeeding is improving, and I finally am finding ways to take care of Freyja and get things done around the's just about time to go back to work! Go figure. Well, time for bed! I should have gone to sleep at the same time as Freyja but I got wrapped up in writing this post. I hope Freyja lets me sleep a little while before her next feeding! I will end this post with a picture of 4 generation of women...
My grandma, mother, Freyja, and me :)


Ps: Some of Freyja's newborn photos (1 week old) can be viewed at 

Back to Blogging!

*Written 10/23/12 (I forgot to post it that day!)

The biggest event in my life since I posted on this blog over a year ago?

First family photo 2/14/12

On August 15, 2012, Nick and I welcomed our first child--a beautiful baby girl-- Freyja Valerie Kremer weighing 6 lbs 7 oz and measuring 19 1/2 inches long.

Our family of three; Freyja at 10 days old

 I waited 9 months to give kisses :)

Nick's mom--Grandma Melanie
My parents--Grandpa Randy and Grandma Deb

It has been a very busy past 10 weeks since she was born and I wish I would have started writing on this blog sooner. I wrote in a journal on and off for the first month, and have gotten lazy in writing the past month and a half. Instead of lamenting for long on my lackadaisical writing, I will instead pat myself on the back that I started this up again. I think many of us are quick to choose a goal but then quick to criticize when we can't keep up with it; I think that many people can relate in February when their New Years' resolution went out the window after they ate the greasy cheeseburger and fries or skipped a few days of exercising. I stopped making resolutions--like keeping the house tidy and working out daily--and instead focused on smaller changes. But I digress. Something I missed more than keeping up on this blog? Running. Today I finished my first run (which included plenty of walking) since I was 6 months pregnant this past spring. It had rained earlier in the day, but it was humid and warm for October standards and I decided that I needed to get out of the house and break a sweat. Before our run, Gasthof was beside himself with excitement after he heard the word "run," and Freyja was beside herself with crabbiness strapped in her car seat. I had already changed into my workout clothes and running shoes and I hadn't talked myself out of the run, so I decided I couldn't let Freyja's unhappiness stop me. As I listened to her cries I reminded myself that movement usually soothes her and she would be fine once we got outside. As expected, as soon as I attached her car seat to the stroller she quieted. 

While it was my first run in a while, I have been able to get out and walk and enjoy the nice weather the past 2 months. I am thankful that my maternity leave started at the end of summer rather than at the beginning of winter. For the past month I have been meeting once a week with wonderful ladies from my prenatal group. We met each other at a group prenatal class that met regularly with a midwife, nurse, and lactation consultant...and we were all due in August. I have enjoyed getting out of the house and meeting up with other moms--learning from each other and being around others going through similar ups and downs.

Looking back in time, I really wanted to blog during my pregnancy...but procrastination persevered and it just never happened. I am sure many people can relate to that. I didn't start week-by -week photos until 16 weeks and I missed some weeks. Even though this is late, I want to have this post to look back on--so here goes:

And some ultrasound pictures:

10 weeks
12 weeks--what a difference 2 weeks makes!

22 weeks--3D

22 weeks--3D

And here are some pictures I took of the dad-to-be:

It's time to feed Freyja, but I hope to write again soon!  :-)