Matthew is 18 months!

Matthew is now 18 months old! I still have a hard time conceptualizing the fact that when Luke was his age I had a two week old and when Olivia was his age he was being born. I can’t imagine having a newborn now or being pregnant with 3 kids!

Matthew is truly special. He has such an amazing personality already. He’s got a pretty laid-back temperament however has no problem expressing when he is upset or angry. Speaking of, he has already taken to throwing mini tantrum’s. It usually looks like throwing a toy when he can’t have something he wants and folding his arms and making a pouty face. I know this behavior will get more difficult to deal with as he gets older but I have to admit I think it’s kind of cute right now. It is clear that he has picked up on some of his older siblings” behavior.

He is pretty obsessed with cars and could read the same book about buses, tractors, or taxis for the better part of the day. One of the things that I love most about reading with him is that he insists on sitting in my lap. I know this won’t last forever and I’m trying to soak it up while he still requests being held while reading. He also loves animals and whenever he sees a dog does his own little version of a “woof, woof” which is really just blowing air through his mouth. He’s getting pretty good at making animal noises and my favorite might be his horses’ “neeigggh.”

He is proving to be pretty verbal and hit his 18 month word explosion early. But even since he had his check up I can see his language skills are increasing. He says stop when he doesn’t want to do something and all done when he’s finished eating. He’s even started to sing twinkle twinkle little star.and Puff the Magic Dragon.

He loves being around his older brother and sister and really just wants to be included in all of their play. At the same time he doesn’t understand why they get so upset when he knocks down their magna tile building or chews on their stuffed animals. I feel a bit sad about how narrowed his world has become due to the pandemic but I’m thankful he has the two of them to interact with. I am looking forward to the day he can be around children his own age again.

He is starting to show some of the early signs of being ready to potty train that Luke showed around the same age. If he has a poopydiaper he will often grab his diaper and grimace. He even Peed outside when Luke did the other day. At night or when the big kids go to the bathroom he will say pee, pee and wants to sit on the potty. If the signs continue and increase I will plan to potty train him sometime in the fall.

He is still using a paci at nap and night time. This is totally new territory for me as Luke and Olivia never really took the pacifier. I think in the next six months we will try to wean him from it. But he is pretty attached to it. I’m hoping to use the “big brother and sister don’t have a paci” strategy but it may or may not go the way we need it to.

He is our biggest baby weighing in at 29 pounds (94% for weight and 99% for height) at his 18 month appointment. He is a great eater but becoming more picky. When our pediatrician asked Luke at Matthews 18 month appointment what matthews’s favorite food was Luke said “everything.“ which is kind of true. He doesn’t necessarily favor any food over the other and really the only thing he won’t eat is eggs.

Matthew is truly a rambunctious and active child. He has no problem trying to climb up something or hurl himself off of something. I have to be extremely careful with him and his surroundings as I am terrified he’s always going to try to do something he is way too small to do. He’s constantly bumping into things or falling but handles it like a champ usually laughing and saying “whoa!” Definitely a brut.

It saddens me to watch Matthew grow but also so very heartwarming. He is a doll and I am grateful for my time with him.

Olivia is 3!

On June 3 our little Olivia turned three years old! It is when I look back at the pictures of her second birthday that I realize just how much she has grown in the last year.

She is the sweetest little thing ever. It is clear that she is a caretaker. She is constantly telling me that she wants to be a mommy when she grows up and I know she will be a great one. She loves taking care of things especially stuffed animals. She is currently really into bunnies and kittens. We recently took her to a goat farm and she was in love with all the animals.

She is mothering to both Luke and Matthew but in different ways. She is often bossy and strict with Luke saying things like “Luca you cannot do that OK?“ and with Matthew she will say things like “its okay, don’t cry!” She has a unique position in that she is the middle child and the only girl. She is both of the boys playmates but in different ways. She often picks on Matthew in the way that a big sister would and with Luke she is more of a peer. I have been so thankful for the relationship during this pandemic as they have gotten so close even having sleepovers in each others rooms at some nights. Don’t get me wrong they still fight like cats and dogs but I am thankful they can engage with one another and play.

Olivia has a wicked sense of humor for a three-year-old. She is constantly saying things that make us all laugh and truly brings out the silly side in Luke. She often makes up her own words and inserts them in daily conversations. For example she will say something like “where did the bobo go?“ Or Luke “did you forget about Octoputa land?” (They make believe land they often play in).

She loves books and can often be found in the middle of a pile of them thumbing through and reading. She often wants to read a book to us before we read it to her. She sleeps with them, brings them in the car with her, and often on walks and bike rides. She also loves music and singing. She will randomly burst out in song on our bike rides. She’s also very vocal about her likes and dislikes in music, often requesting I turn to a different song if there is one she does not like.

She’s learned her letters almost out of nowhere and is working on learning to write them. She’s got a pretty crazy pencil grip but she’ll get there. She’s constantly saying things “mommy! Look I wrote a W.” She said her favorite letter is an O. She’s got her numbers 1-10 down often mixing up 6 and 9 (Luke still does this too) and thanks to Luke’s love of numbers is learning to count to 100.

This spring she got the hang of riding a bike and it has been cool to see her and Luke ride together. She loves jumping on the bed and creating obstacle courses with our Nugget comfort. She also loves being chased and playing tag. We got a playset a couple of months ago and she’s learned to climb up the tunnel slide but still prefers to pushed in the baby swing.

She is becoming very independent. She wants to do things herself like get her own water and get dressed by herself but she becomes easy frustrated if she cannot do things. She’s known to just start crying or whining when she can’t do something and we’ve talked a lot about using our words and ask when she needs help. That being said she has the best manners and will say things “more ketchup please” and then when she is given some she says “thank you mommy! You’re the best.” She’s a sweetie for sure.

Olivia really enjoys helping out in the kitchen. I admittedly do not enjoy cooking with the kids as I tend to feel it is not efficient. This summer I made it a goal for myself to get them in the kitchen and helping more and have had fun making things like granola or muffins with her. She loves to do the pouring and mixing and I’ve noticed an increase in her cooking pretend play.

To say she’s attached to me is an extreme understatement. She prefers that I do things with her/for her and has been known to have an epic meltdown if Walt tries to unbuckle her car seat or help her put on her shoes. She no longer sleeps in her own pajamas and instead prefers to wear “mommas shirt.” When we read books about kids going to school and I ask her questions about what she liked about school she says “I just want to stay home with mommy!” I worry about separation anxiety if and when she goes back to school in the fall.

She now says “mommy, I can do it because I’m three!” She is such a big girl and I love watching her grow! She’s got a special place in my heart.

Matthew is 15 months!

I had every intention of writing this last week but alas the world has made my mind feel muddled.

Matthew is 15 months old! And wow does he have his own little personality. I seem to have forgotten just what little sponges they are at this age. There is so much latent learning that goes on. For example he all of the sudden started to try and put socks on for himself and he’ll bring Luke and Olivia their shoes before we go somewhere. He’s up to around 15 words. Included in them are momma, dada, all done, round and round, Bomba (his favorite snack) ball, bear, and my favorite pa pa for his paci.

He loves books and will put them in his crib. His favorites are “No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” “Peek A Who” and anything with a school bus. He likes singing songs and can even accurately hold a tune to some of our favorites. He loves playing with balls, blocks, and anything his older siblings have. He is a bruiser in that he will welcome a wrestling match or a game of chase. He isn’t afraid to fight back when someone is doing something he doesn’t like.

He likes puzzles and is good at matching the correct puzzle piece to its place on the board. He’s also recently gotten into playing kitchen and will continue to bring me plates and cups.

He continues to be a wonderful eater although he does turn his nose up to some things sometimes. He loves all fruits and squash and any type of nut butter is a win. I never know if he’ll eat the meat we have but I always offer. He’s slowly learning to use a fork and spoon but most of the time it ends up on the floor.

He’s dropped the AM nap which is a mixed blessing. He will take a cat nap in the car is we are out and about but he’s adapted to the one nap nicely. He sleeps well at night thankfully! I hesitate to even say that as I don’t want to jinx things but he’s been a solid sleeper since 7ish months.

Dinner time is still a struggle for us. He cries most of the time I’m trying to make dinner which is pretty stressful. He is also starting to have mini tantrums when I take something away. He will throw himself on the floor but recovers once I pick him up.

Overall Matthew is such a happy baby. He’s very social and his smile melts my heart.

Matthew turns 1!

I still cannot believe it but Matthew, our littlest baby is one year old! Someone corrected me when I posted this on Facebook and said it should be our biggest little baby as he is physically the biggest baby at this age.

Matthew turned one on December 3. I kept with my tradition of starting a journal of letters and thoughts to my children and like the others started his on the eve of his first birthday. I had so many thoughts and emotions running through as I wrote his first letter. My baby isn’t a baby anymore!

I look back at pictures of him and realize just how much he has grown in the last 13 months. Howquickly it has happened is still astonishing to me. This has by far been the fastest year ever.

In the last month he has gotten another tooth bringing his total up to seven. He is also starting to say more words and will try his hardest to say things when asked. New words this month include “Hi” and “hey.” He’s also gotten into handing things to us and I think he’s trying to say “here” when he plays the game.

Books seem to really capture his attention lately. He loves thumbing through the pages of a book. He loves the “Baby’s first 100 words”  Book, anything by Jane Cabera, Brown bear “Brown Bear” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

He loves playing with balls and any toy that his siblings have. He loves going into our pantry and grabbing all of the granola bars off the bottom shelf and carrying them around. He will not keep socks on him to save my life but prefers caring them in his hands and chewing on them. I think his most favorite thing is to get clothes out of his dresser and throw them on the floor.

He is really starting to understand things we say and will answer commands. He can point to his daddy and the Christmas tree and trees and birds outside. He can give high-fives, and wave. He loves giving kisses and hugs especially to pictures of real babies and books. He thoroughly enjoys roughhousing with Luke far too much for my liking but it is heartwarming to see them play together. He loves music and rocks and dances with the beat.

He stands on his own and will take some steps here and there but is more interested in crawling around. He is so steady on his legs and walk so well when holding one of our hands. I think in the next month he will really take off. Climbing the stairs gives him so much joy and I am excited to give the kids our Christmas present which is The Nugget. Great for climbing!

He despises diaper changes and getting his nose wiped. We are also going through a very difficult time around dinner. He will scream and cry if I put him down and even when he is distracted by a toy he will cling to my legs which makes it very difficult to do anything productive like make dinner for everyone.

He is still taking two naps which are fairly decent. He has trouble napping on the go and in the carrier now and I am hopeful in the next few months he will drop down to one nap. He is sleeping around 11 hours a night and goes to sleep without an issue. I feel really lucky for this given the first six months of his life were exhausting.

He continues to be a great eater. We are still nursing once in the morning but I have a feeling that will be done in the next week. We have transitioned to whole milk but I found he doesn’t like it cold. He now drinks smoothies like Luke and Olivia and I too am thankful for that. He is starting to get a little more picky or at least has discovered his ability to throw food on the floor!

I’m excited to see what the next few months of his toddlerhood have to bring! He is such a happy little guy and I am grateful he completes our family.



Matthew is 11 months old!

I have no idea how the last 11 months have passed so quickly but here we are! On our way to ONE!

Matthew is growing like a weed. Already in 18-24 month clothes and I think I’m gonna have to buy him a pair of real shoes even though he’s not walking yet because none of the baby shoes fit his feet. He’s approaching 24 lbs and is so long!

He’s picking up on new skills and words every week. He’s trying to repeat the things we say and do and it’s pretty darn cute! New words are pop, boo, and he makes a”bruhhhh” sound when he hears an airplane. He’s starting to understand more and more and will point to things like trees when asked.

He’s standing pretty sturdy but no big leaps or steps I should say when it comes to walking. He will push his walker around and transfer from item to item but he still prefers crawling and boy is he fast! Climbing up stairs brings him immense joy so I let him do it when I have the time to safely walk behind him as he’s still a bit uncoordinated at it.

He’s becoming more feisty and dinner time is still the most challenging part of the day. He hates diaper changes and being wiped down after a meal. We are still having to constantly change sceneries as he gets bored very easily. He loves playing with balls and chewing on socks?!

He enjoys music and dancing and I love his little side to side sway that he does when we sing “Go Matthew, go Matthew!” He’s very shy and bashful and if a stranger pays him attention he’s either going to grin and bury his head in my chest or start crying. Luke was the same way at that age but will now talk just about anybody’s ear off so maybe Matthew will be the same later on.

Sleeping is solid (knock on wood) and he’s still taking 2 naps. We continue to nurse but it’s really and truly only in the AM. We will see when and how we cut that out. I’m fine keeping it for a bit longer. We gave him a taste of cows milk and he started clapping so I think our transition to no longer nursing will be easy.

What may not be easy is taking away the paci. He’s my only baby who has used one this long. I should say his Paci stays in his crib and is not given to him at all throughout the day. He can manipulate it and put it in his mouth when we put him in the crib but I’m wondering when do I take this away? It makes me nervous as his sleeping is solid but he is pretty attached to it. Thoughts? Advice?

Can’t believe my littlest guy will no longer be a baby in 3 weeks! I’ve so enjoyed this very fast last year.

Makena

On August 5th, 2014 I went into preterm labor at 24 weeks 6 days. The medical and emotional events that followed were unimaginable.

One of the most frustrating things about these events was that there was no explanation as to why I went into labor. I wanted an explanation, a cause, some reason why these things happened in hopes that I could prevent it from happening again. I quickly realized there was no explanation but hoped there was something different we could do in a subsequent pregnancy to try to prevent preterm labor from happening again.

After appointments with the doctor who delivered our son, my OB and PA in Durham, and MFM doctors at Duke I learned about the drug Makena, a synthetic form of progesterone administered by injection from 16-36 weeks gestation. This drug was cited as reducing the risk of preterm labor and women who have had a prior event by 1/3.

My hope was that if lucky enough to become pregnant again after the loss of our son this drug would help me reach 37 weeks and allow my to hold a living baby in my arms.

I was able to carry 3 babies to 37 weeks and now have 3 very healthy children, something that I still have a hard time believing sometimes.

This morning while working out I heard a story on NPR that I found to be extremely worrisome. Tears welled up in my eyes as I heard the opening description of what was to come.

An FDA advisory panel has recommended that Makena be pulled from the market. Despite a prior study showing that preterm birth dropped by 66% in women who had a prior preterm birth a follow up study done by the manufacturer showed no difference in the reduction of preterm birth when comparing the Makena group versus a group given a placebo.

I am the first to admit I know very little about medical research or the drug industry but I do know that pulling this drug off the market has the potential to be medically and emotionally harmful for women who are at high risk for preterm birth and their babies.

The FDA does not have to follow suit and pull the drug but apparently they often do when a panel suggests so. I hope the ACOG advocates for this drug to stay on the market until further research is done.

I do not know if Makena allowed me to have three healthy pregnancies but I do know it gave me hope. And for someone who has lost a child due to pregnancy complications hope accounts for a lot.

You can listen to the article hear. I plan to do some further research and see if and how I can be an advocate to keep this drug on the market.

https://www.npr.org/2019/11/04/775982524/premature-birth-medication-makena-doesnt-work-research-shows

Matthew is 10 months!

It’s hard to believe in just two months Matthew will be a one year old. I see his babyhood slipping away and we are getting a glimpse of the little toddler he will become.

I’ll start by saying he is now no longer nursing between 2-5 am. It just kind of happened naturally. I was fine with the one early morning nursing session as it would allow him to sleep until seven which is late in our household. But then one night he slept through and it just continued happening so I told myself if he did regress I would go in and comfort him but not nurse him. So far he’s been doing great. He has woken up the last two nights as he’s pretty congested and had a cough but has settled soon after my going in and comforting.

He continues to be a great eater. We are still nursing 3 to 5 times a day and with the exception of the first morning feed all of the sessions are extremely short. I’m hoping this lends itself to a natural weaning process over the next several months. I have always been an under producer and I am no longer pumping to keep supply up so hopefully we can make it two more months to the year mark. He out eats Luke and Olivia most evenings and will still pound down a 6 to 8 ounce bottle of formula before bed. He still hasn’t met a food that he doesn’t like. I think “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” theme will be perfect for his first birthday! We have a baby scale at home and the last time I weighed him it said 22.9 pounds. Thats more than Luke and Olivia weighed at 12 months. He’s rapidly outgrowing Luke’s hand me down winter clothing so I may end up needing to purchase some things for the colder weather,

I forgot how quickly babies learn things starting around this age. He can wave and is learning how to clap. He won’t do it on command but if he’s happy he will often clap (like when I let him taste whole milk). He can also give kisses and loves doing so to baby dolls and pictures of real babies in books. He mimics things we say and when there is a heightened sense of state in our house (whether it be tantrums or dance parties) he will often babble at his loudest. He says uh-oh sometimes after we say it when something is dropped and he started to say “more” if I give him a bite of something new but it’s very infrequent.

He’s crawling so fast, pulling up, and walking around furniture. Complete accident risk especially with older siblings but we are trying our best to baby proof just about everything.

He loves playing with Luke and Olivia, His favorite game is peekaboo or chase. He likes to go after one of them and then crawl quickly in the other direction. He’s really into the sensory baby books and things he can bang or shake (pianos, drums, maracas etc).

He seems to be pretty social when around other kids his age and will go up to to tap them on the head or try and give them a kiss. He’s still very bashful when adults give him attention and will give a big smile, blush, and lay his head on my chest.

Love this little guy who has competed our family so nicely.

Matthew is 9 months

Matthew is now 9 months! And this last month has brought with it so many happy and challenging times.

I’ll start with with the challenging. Matthew had his first prolonged fever. He woke up at midnight early one Monday morning and was burning up to the touch. We took his fever with a head thermometer and it read 106. I quickly got the digital thermometer to do a rectal temp and it read 104.9. I know this is a very high temperature but not uncommon but to say I panicked is an understatement. We spoke to the doctor on call who told us to give meds and a tepid bath. Thankfully his fever was explained as the whole family has cold like symptoms. Long story short the fever lasted for 5 days. It continued to get lower and lower but it was a very stressful week. We were at the doctors office twice due to the length of the fever and even though we knew it was viral I worried there could be some drastic underlying issue causing it. I should also say (and I know you shouldn’t do this) that I compared our experience with Matthew to that of Luke and Olivia. Neither of my other two kids have ever had a fever above 101 or a fever that lasted more than 24 hours. I feel like I’ll be more prepared for this in the future as perhaps Matthew is my “high fever kid” but I still feel a little traumatized by that entire sickness.

On a lighter note Matthew is mobile!! And I mean like “hurry shut the gate, hurry shut the door, watch out for a blind snapping dog” mobile. He is crawling everywhere and pulling up on everything. He actually started crawling during the week he was sick and really started scooting when he felt better.

He’s also saying “momma” which started that same week too. I had suspected he was saying it the week prior but that week it became clear that when I was out of his sight he needed me.

Speaking of, he’s very clingy these days. He’s always been somewhat clingy but lately it’s only me he wants. I feel like we may be coming out of that a little bit but I know stranger danger and object permanence are at play.

He also got to visit the beach for the first time! He loved the sand. Mostly crawling in and eating it. He slept pretty well there too which was much appreciated because Ms Olivia did not.

We have his appt next week but from what I can tell he’s near 21lbs. He seriously loves to eat and I’m thankful for that.

He loves turning pages in books, puzzles and toys with doors he can open and shut, listening to music, and playing with his siblings.

Matthew is 8 months old!

Matthew turned 8 months on the 3rd. Oh I just love my little cuddle bug so much!

Well he is mobile but not in the way he’d like to be. He’s been scooting backwards and turning himself around like a breakdancer for a while. And in the last week he will push himself onto all fours but then push his butt up like he’s doing a down dog in yoga. Walt said “in two weeks he’ll be crawling.” On one hand it would be so cool to see him all about but on the other hand I know this means trouble. Either way it’s cool to watch him figure it all out.

Man this boy loves to eat! We are still nursing….whooo hooo but he definitely prefers food to milk. He really hasn’t refused anything we’ve offered him and I find myself sharing my food with him after he’s downed his. He’s tried the top allergenic foods and done well. I have several friends with children with food allergies and I know how scary and challenging it can be so I feel very grateful we haven’t had any issues yet.

Matthew loves exploring all aspects and angles of new toys and books. He loves books with sensory pages and toys that light up. He’s fearful of our Curious George Jack in the box but also somewhat intrigued. He loves playing peek-a-boo and watching Luke and Olivia do silly things like jump. He’s also started his own version of dancing. When we play music he’ll bounce and bob along and I’m excited to seem him on music class this fall.

Sleep is going pretty well. Depending on our schedule and the length of his naps he’ll take two naps. The afternoon one is the longest by far averaging about 2 hours in length. His AM nap is in the carrier most days and is becoming reallllly short. I know he needs a longer one but I’m also not willing to be house bound every morning especially with Luke and Olivia ready to go. On the days we do stay home he will take a crib nap and I enjoy my “alone” time with the bigger kids. Still nursing around 4am and totally fine with it. Gets me up for the day and allows me the ability to have “me time”and workout, read, or just sit in silence.

He’s chatty and has really started to respond when talked to. Sometimes he babbles things that sound like “hey” or “momma” and “dada” but no true word associations yet.

Hard to believe he’s already 8 months. This year has flown past faster than any other.

5 years later

Five years. That’s how long it’s been since losing our first born son. It seems like so long ago but on so many levels I feel like it was just yesterday.

I remember feeling so connected to him when I was outside that August in 2014. I would often sit outside on our deck in Durham and look up into the trees knowing he was there with me but also feeling the deep ache in my heart that he was no longer in my belly.

It’s all still very fucked up what happened to us. I’m still angry and bitter but also just deeply sad. Sometimes I feel like I was better equipped to deal with his loss in the early months and years after it happened I’m not sure if it’s my other children or time but sometimes I feel like I can’t bear to think of what happened or what could have been.

I wish there was more time and space for me to continue on my grieving journey but daily life gets in the way. Despite the lack of time there isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think about my 1st baby boy. Some of these moments are sad. Luke is obsessed with numbers right now and will often say “there are 5 people in our family.” The number hurts and I think to myself “actually 6.” If I see a family with 4 children I think “my oldest isn’t living.” Among these sad memories are happy ones. I think about the time I did have him, the lessons he’s taught me, and the person he’s allowed me to be.

Im hoping to gather up some school supplies and donate them to a kindergarten public elementary school in honor of him. The idea came from my dear friend Danielle who did the same thing in honor of her son Stephen

The weight of your baby on your chest is a feeling like no other. I never got that with Oliver but the weight of his presence in my life is beyond measurable.

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