Thursday, January 31, 2008

Last chance to vote for Jonah!

Friends -

Our boy Jonah has inexplicably fallen out of 1st place in the cutest tax deduction contest ! We need your help. Voting ends tonight at midnight. Please vote for Jonah here:

And please share this with as many people as possible. We need to get out the vote. One final push before the polls close!

Many thanks,
Matthew, Nicole & Jonah

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State of the Union

Non-Jonah news...
If you're interested in politics and or news photography at all, check out this video about the State of the Union Address last night from the photographers perspective. My friend John Harrington made it. He interviewed me and a bunch of my friends. It's about 12 minutes long and mine is the last interview...

Final push: Vote for Jonah

Thanks to Jonah's loyal following of fans, friends and family, Jonah is well on his way toward becoming America's cutest last minute tax deduction. This is great because the prize is a $5,000 savings bond, and by the time Jonah goes to college I'm sure that will come in handy!

The deadline to vote for Jonah is January 31. In just a few days, Jonah came from behind in third place to take first place with a solid lead. But, lately the kid in the #3 spot seemed to have rallied his troops. Help secure Jonah's first place finish by voting today!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

All about Jonah

Things Jonah likes:
Sleeping on Dad's chest
The kitties
His "Sleep Sheep"
Staring at couch fabric
Making a new sqeaky noise for his own pleasure
Getting his hair washed
Being worn in the Baby Bjorn or Moby Wrap
Belly kisses
Sound of the hair dryer and vaccuum
Riding in the car or stroller

Things Jonah dislikes:
Being undressed
Sleeping by himself
Poopy diapers
The sound of velcro ripping apart
Spitting up
Peeing on his own face
Having to wait too long for mama's milk
Diaper rash

Vital statistics
Eyes: We think they're going to be blue, like Matthew's
Hair: An ashy brown, and it feels like baby chick feathers. So far, it's not falling out.
Feet: Big, like his dad's
Hands: Long fingers like both mom and dad
Weight: Definitely more than 9 pounds, but we haven't weighed him lately. Our arms are tired, so he's getting heavy. He's still way smaller than the cats, though.
Skin: Everyone says he looks "tan" in his photos. His skin is a bit darker than other babies, but in person he's pretty much got that rosy, soft baby glow.
Scent: Scrumptous. He smells a little like cinnamon, and you want to just eat him up.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Vote For Jonah!

We entered Jonah into this silly contest but now he's a finalist he could win a $5000 savings bond! Please send this link to your friends and family too. Thanks!

Thanks for all your votes and for getting out the vote! Jonah jumped ahead 13% today and has pulled into 2nd place! Here are some of the great responses we've received from the electorate:

"So clearly the cutest baby of the bunch."

"I have made all my coworkers get on and vote, too."

"I have most of the Westfield Air National Guard now voting for Jonah!"

"And he even is, in fact, the cutest!"

"I want lighting that flattering!"

"clearly his Dad is a photographer!!"

"Ok, you are officially on the dorky parents list."

"Pimpin the kid....slippery slope...I like it!"

"My buddy just had a kid. Go to this website and vote for Jonah. He’s by far the best looking kid. All the other ones look like aliens."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Back to work

It was the strangest feeling leaving the house this morning. I haven't worked in nearly a month. My life is completely different now. Completely better. When I left, Nicole was sitting on the couch with Jonah trying to calm him. He was crying about hunger or gas pains - none of us, including Jonah, can tell the difference. I felt bad of course, leaving her alone to care for our baby. We have learned over the past few weeks that it's a full time job and then some taking care of a newborn. The two of us had our hands full with him and we still had trouble getting things done. Keeping up with the housework, getting enough rest, getting to the grocery store - all seem so difficult when you're in babyland - and that's with two people at home. So I felt guilty leaving her and felt so sad leaving Jonah. I just can't describe how much I love him. He's just so incredibly beautiful and perfect. I could just watch him sleep all day. And he smells so good that I want to eat him.

I also felt guilty because I was a little bit excited about returning to work. Not completely of course, a job is a job and ideally I would have another week or two off to help out. But I do like my job. It was a crazy first day back too. First order of business was to meet with the head honcho and his #2 who are visiting from Germany this week to assess the progress of EPA USA. I haven't seen these guys in almost three years. I felt completely out of it, but the meeting went well. We had to meet in one of the only restaurants in DC that still allows smoking because, well, they're Europeans. They are appalled by our stupid American smoking bans. My boss - or boss of bosses - is a really nice guy and very easy to chat with. English is not his native language so without meaning to, he says some funny stuff. Like "freelancers jump for the sausage." ??? Anyway, they know I have a baby at home and after a shooting quick assignment this afternoon I was able to cut out early. I immediately hit the couch with Jonah and fell fast asleep. The greatest feeling in the world.

Home alone

Well, I survived day 1 of being home alone with Jonah. Matthew returned to work today. Not all went as planned but that's pretty much standard around here these days. It also was a lot better than I thought it would be.

I had this idea that I would get up early with Matthew and get dressed while he was still home. But, Jonah had other plans: eating. He still has days when he wants to eat very frequently and he can be very demanding when he's hungry! By the time I was able to finally do the baby hand-off to Matthew, he had to jump in the shower and get ready for work. We also didn't make it out for a walk today. Every time I thought we could go, Jonah either needed a new diaper or wanted to eat or was crying and needed close cuddling. Being home alone truly means that the only thing I can do is take care of Jonah. No chores. No phone calls. Even making myself lunch was a challenge!

Luckily, we did get a nice nap in together. There's really nothing quite like snuggling up with your warm, delicious little baby for a nice mid-day nap. I was also pretty proud that I was able to soothe Jonah pretty quickly today and we had some nice time together when he appeared content and alert, looking around and at my face for long stretches. He has the most beautiful eyes, which are turning blue just like his dad!

I was glad when Matthew was able to come home a little early today. Of course, Jonah was finally settled down for a nice nap, not fussing, not wanting to eat, fresh diaper, when Matthew got home. I finally got my chance to brush my hair and "freshen up" a little for the day. Matthew promptly moved our napping baby to his favorite spot in the world, right on Matthew's chest, and now both are fast asleep on the couch. ~ Nicole

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The birth of parents

Things are looking up, and I've learned that I need to trust my gut.

We talked to Jonah's doctor about his crying fits. She is convinced that it's just gas and that with some modifications to my diet, this will soon pass.

Before we called her, I was already feeling like we were overthinking the whole situation. We had the good advice from the lactation consultant, but some of it just wasn't sitting right with me. I just wasn't feeling right when I wasn't feeding Jonah even though he seemed hungry because we thought he had indigestion. (Since he can't tell the difference between the two kinds of pain, he often makes hunger signals when he's got indigestion.) It just felt wrong to not feed my baby when he clearly seemed hungry. Now, I believe my gut feeling was right. If he's hungry he will eat. If he's not, he may suck for a few minutes but then stop. Or maybe he'll spit up. I'm sure spitting up isn't fun for him, but it's relatively minor.

And, I've stopped worrying about having too much milk. I can think of worse problems. Jonah is gaining weight and his doctor is happy with that. I can do some simple things to make my milk supply jive with his needs, but I also believe eventually we will sync up.

It's not like things are going to turn around overnight. But, just knowing that we can do something to relieve Jonah's pain and that the end is in sight really helps. Plus, even though Jonah continues to cry sometimes despite all our best efforts to soothe him, it's not like we are wasting our time by rocking him or holding him. His doctor reminded us that even though he keeps crying, he knows we are there for him and that he can count on us to take care of him. We are imprinting this feeling of security on him, even when he has to keep crying.

We love Jonah's doctor. She's so cool-headed and loving and keeps reinforcing that we do, indeed, know how to take care of Jonah. She seems to know that all we need is a little more confidence and helps instill that in us with every conversation. For me, that means making sure any advice we get passes my gut test.

We may still be learning this whole parenting thing, but the fact is that we are his parents and we already know more than we think we do. ~ Nicole

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Milking it

Jonah is now 9 pounds. We weighed him at The Breastfeeding Center yesterday, where we met with a lactation consultant. We've had a rough couple of days. He's been crying more lately, including after he eats.

We're not sure what's wrong but the lactation consultant had a few ideas. It's possible that I could have an oversupply of milk, or he could have indigestion or reflux, which causes him discomfort. At the same time, he's really clamping down on me causing me a lot of pain. It could be his way of trying to stop the milk flow so he doesn't gag, but we're really not sure. I have to unlatch and relatch him over and over, which really frustrates him . . . and me. Plus, he's getting stronger -- I'm amazed really about how strong he is -- so he is getting better at fighting me. Little flailing fists don't make it very easy to see what you're doing. I swear, new mothers should grow a third arm. I can't tell you how many times I wished I had at least one extra hand to hold his arm out of the way.

We've been dealing with this for a few days but it feels like a week, and I'm really dreading what it will be like when Matthew has to go back to work on Monday.

The lactation expert gave us some good advice, including teaching me how to perfect Jonah's latch. We felt really good when we left the center, but now that I'm home it's hard to put her tips into practice. Maybe because she often provided that third hand when I was practicing at the center yesterday! Meanwhile, I'm now no longer eating soy, in addition to no dairy, in case it's upsetting his stomach and causing indigestion. So, I've moved on to rice milk. If the problem is reflux, we are assured it's just a matter of time before his body matures enough to keep the milk down. For now, I can do more nursing with him in a more upright position, which is fine, except in the middle of the night when the side-lying position is best because it lets everyone get right back to sleep. And, since Jonah can't tell the difference between pain caused by hunger and pain caused by indigestion, it's Matthew's job to soothe him after feedings. If he calms down within a few minutes, he's probably full. For some reason, I have a harder time soothing him after he eats. I think it's because he knows that I'm where his food comes from.

A couple other things she told us: It might be a good time to buy a pump and let Matthew give him my milk in a bottle once a day to give me a break. And, Jonah's big enough for a pacifier if he just needs to soothe himself. Despite my severe pain, I am finding it hard to accept these two pieces of advice. I know I will have to pump eventually and I'm not totally against pacifiers in general, but I'm reluctant to start so soon. He's still so little!

The good news is that despite the problems, Jonah is steadily gaining weight, so he is obviously getting enough milk even though I have been repeatedly unlatching him, much to his dismay, and then sometimes just saying, "Enough. We're done for now."

The nights are the hardest. No matter how many daytime naps we take, waking up for a 1 a.m. and then a 3 a.m. changing and feeding is not easy. But, the sun comes up every morning, and we know we've made it through another night. This morning, Jonah and I had another rough feeding which I ended when his good latch suddenly changed to bad and painful. After I managed to soothe him for a few minutes, he then started with another crying jag. I did the hand off to Matthew, wondering if Jonah was still hungry. A few minutes later, Jonah was asleep on Matthew's chest -- this seems to be his favorite place to sleep -- and then a few minutes after that, Matthew was asleep, too. We have a peaceful house, for now. ~ Nicole

Friday, January 4, 2008


Jonah is growing! He had his two-week doctor visit today and now weighs 8 pounds 10 ounces. His doctor is very happy with his growth. She said most people are pleased when babies have regained their birth weight by the time they are two weeks old. Jonah already gained back his birth weight (7 pounds, 11 ounces) and then some! As a breastfeeding mom, it makes me feel good, like I've been doing something right. And, all those sleepless nights are worth it.

Matthew and I have a pretty good system for night feedings, but everything is harder when you don't get enough sleep. Matthew gets up first and changes Jonah's diaper. Then, he brings the baby back to bed so I can nurse him. Matthew also usually fills up my water bottle and brings me a snack. After Jonah is finished, burped and soothed back to sleep, we all sleep again for about two hours before doing it all over again. All night long. It's really hard sometimes, especially when Jonah doesn't go right back to sleep. And, it can be pretty comical, too, like the night that Matthew was so tired that he fell asleep while talking to me. He started to say something and then he was asleep, just like that!

I had a good checkup this week, too. I visited my midwives for my two-week postpartum checkup yesterday. They say that I am recovering and healing well. But, they also reminded me that postpartum recovery lasts about six weeks and to be patient with my body. It's easy to forget how much my body went through now that I'm starting to feel better. Meanwhile, I'm shrinking. I've barely had time to step on a scale, but when I did a few days ago, I was about 18 pounds lighter than I was at the end of my pregnancy. I'm nowhere near my regular weight, but it's quite amazing how fast breastfeeding takes the weight off. And, I'm hungier now than I was when I was pregnant!

We're all eating well thanks to all our friends who have been dropping off food for us over these past two weeks. It's made everything so much easier because we don't have to worry about what's for dinner. Thank you everyone! ~ Nicole