Summer 2015

Our journey this summer with a newborn and a preschooler.

My journey through sleep training

Follow my ongoing posts of my battle through sleep training and getting Liam to sleep.


Follow my battle with Lupus as a wife, mother and teacher.

Cloth Diapering

My adventures of cloth diapering, tips and tricks, favorite brands and more.

Confessions of an Antique Home

Check out my husband's blog.A newlywed, first time home buyer couple purchases a circa 1760 colonial in New England. This blog follows their adventures during their home ownership.

Monday, February 22, 2016

New additions to our family coming in April!

I wanted to post this shortly after my UPDATE post since I know some of you may be itching to know about our new additions to the family coming the last week in April. My husband and I had discussed the possibility a couple of years ago. We had bought the books and did the research. We even talked about where they were going to live once they grew up. But then I got sick and plans got put on the back burner. And then Emily came.

But now we are in full planning and designing mode. We had to ask the Town's permission (permission?) and applied for a permit (permit?!).  We also, out of respect for our closet neighbor, informed her of our soon to arrive additions.  Steve's been planning and designing a modification to our property as a result and broke ground a couple days ago on the construction of it.  This coop is going to be awesome!

COOP!? Yup, thats right! We are getting chickens!!! Chicks to be exact. I plan on hatching a coworkers fertilized chick eggs at school as part of an embryology lab and then raising the chicks in our basement. Once they are 5-6weeks old they will be moved out the coop that my husband is planing on building. We will keep you updated of our progress.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Update! Postpartum update and Lupus

I am back and hopefully for good! It has been a long 9 months but I finally have a chance to sit down and reflect on the life of a working mom with two. Let me first reflect on 9 months postpartum and then on my lupus.

Postpartum: To review, I gained about 45 lbs with Emily and I have lost almost all of it. My start weight was 118lbs and I am currently at 125lbs. My pant size however has greatly increase. With having two kids, I have climbed up two sizes. I am hoping that once summer comes, I can get into a workout routine. 

Breastfeeding: I am still breastfeeding Emily and have not had the same problems that I had with Liam. It seems more relaxed this time around. I did have a bout of mastitis at the very beginning but have not had any since then. Things at night are also different. Emily's bedroom is large enough to have a King size bed. I am able to nurse her at night and normally fall asleep while doing so. I will wake an hour later, put her back in her crib and head back to our bedroom till the next time she wakes. She is getting up 2-3 times a night but she does put herself to sleep. Having the ability to sleep while nursing her at night allows me to maintain a healthy amount of sleep. Although I am still slightly sleep deprived, I am not nearly as exhausted as I was.

Lupus: I am glad to say that I am STILL in remission! They have been keeping up on my blood work and my last set, about a week ago, was "excellent" according to my kidney doctor. Anti-A antibodies are negative (lupus antibodies) and my kidney levels are in the normal range. The only abnormal results are trace amounts of protein in my urine (better than the 10 grams when I was diagnosed) and two others.
One of the abnormal tests is my complement C3. According to medlineplus "complement C3 is a blood test that measures the activity of a certain protein that is part of the complement system. The complement system is a group of proteins that move freely through your bloodstream. The proteins work with your immune system and play a role in the development of inflammation. A complement test may be used to monitor people with an autoimmune disorder and to see if treatment for their condition is working. When the complement system is turned on during inflammation, levels of complement proteins may go down." My level are below normal and have been for almost 3 years now.
The last abnormal reading is my BUN number. BUN stands for blood urea nitrogen and urea nitrogen is what is formed when protein is broken down. This is what alarmed me in the beginning when I was first sick. A normal reading is between 6 - 20. When I was sick, it rose to 36 and into the 40s. My most current reading was a 26 and that was an increase from 21, 5 months ago.

That's it for me. Look out for the update on Emily and Liam and one on the new additions to our family coming in April :).

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Emily's Birth Story- Part One: Labor and Delivery

I am back! So sorry for such a long break but life got in the way, again. Many of the posts will be backdated until I can catch up. For now, lets start with the birth of my beautiful baby. 

This was me at 39w4d pregnant.  I was huge and uncomfortable but thankfully I was healthy (for the most part). My lupus was staying at bay and the doctors (both FMM and OB) decided that they wanted me to be induced close to my due date.  My chart had told them that baby was due May 9th but the ultrasound estimated her due date of May 5th. When asked what my induction date should be, I said, May 5th.  I was secretly hoping to go into labor on my own.  About a week before baby was "due", my protein levels had started to rise. I thought it was my lupus flaring up and there was talk of an earlier induction. However, after checking my blood work, all seemed to be ok. Not excellent, but not alarming. The only thing that I had to worry about this time around was being Group B Strep Positive. Which meant that I needed antibiotics once induced and up until delivery.  

Unfortunately, May 5th came and still no baby so we headed to the hospital at 9 AM for my induction. It was baby time! We checked in just after 9 AM.  The nurse (named Emily) was very nice and asked us possible names.  She was quite exited when she heard that if we had a little girl we would name her Emily.  Nurse Emily wrote Emily (JR) up on the board for succeeding staff to see.  Since we didn't know baby's gender, nurse Emily also wrote down the possible boy's name,  Sawyer.  She suggested that Steve get me something to eat before my pitocin was started.  At the entrance to the hospital is Au Bon Pain which is where Steve went the last time we where there.  This time he grabbed this wonderful chicken sandwich from them.  

I started my antibiotics at 10:30 AM and my pitocin at 11:30 AM (when I was only 2 cm dilated).  I was allowed to walk the halls and did so, on and off, for the next three hours. The halls were in a cross shape and we criss-crossed over and over again.  During this time, I was getting some contractions but not nearly as close together as they wanted them to be. One of my doctors (Dr. Mac) came to visit me a couple of times and was glad that I was walking.  I was smiling and pretty happy for those first few hours. 
We passed by a rack of old VHS tapes donated to the maturity ward over the past 30 years.  Steve rummaged through the huge stack and picked out movies that I wasn't too interested in.  Romantic films just didn't do it for me, being where I was.  He eventually came back with one of my favorites, "The Full Monty", which, honestly, I lost interest in pretty quickly.  Since we don't have cable TV at home, it didn't even occur to us to turn on the TV, until Steve hit the TV/Video button by accident.  There we watched "Mike Rowe's Dirtiest Jobs" on and off until the end.

Three hours later (2:30) I was 4 cm dilated and they broke my water.  I remembered that with my son, I had two pockets of water. I told the nurse that and they said that could happen. When they broke my water with Emily, I had a TON of water.  I was encouraged to walk since the contractions stayed consistent with movement.  A short while later, I was checked again and still 4 cm dilated.  She said that I had a small pocket of water and that they would probably break if things didn't pick up. At 4 PM, that pocket of water broke while walking and contractions picked up.  I felt so bad that my water broke in the hall that I asked Steve to go get a towel.  The nurse saw Steve cleaning up the mess and told him it was her job and to leave it for her.

At 5:30 PM, I was 5 to 6 cm and really starting to feel uncomfortable. I wanted Steve to blow up the birthing ball but the cheap plastic pump fell apart.   I was no longer smiling, as the contractions were getting more and more painful.  After three contractions, I told him to leave the ball alone and get me an epidural. 

The anesthesiologist came in and did a great job of giving me an epidural, much better than with my son.  At that time, the anesthesiologist said that my back was too muscular making it difficult to insert the needle.  To this, our current anesthesiologist stated that they didn't know what they were doing.  It wasn't like taking a walk, but definitely not as bad as the first time three years ago.

I took a nap and awoke to a painful pressure. I was actually really confused as to why I was feeling pain with the epidural. The nurse checked me and I was now fully dilated!  It was now 8:18 PM and time to push! They informed Dr. Cortland and we began.  I don’t know why I had thought that the pushing part wouldn’t be painful, but it was. Painful and HARD! I was going purple in the face and pushing with all my might. I remembered the time it took to push my son out and was wishing this one wouldn’t take four hours. With him, he kept sneaking back in every time I relaxed. I did not want to go through that again.  With that fear in my mind, within 30 minutes, Emily was born. My beautiful baby girl came into this world at 8:42 PM. She weighed 1/2 a pound lighter than her brother at 7lbs 15oz and was 21 3/4 inches long.

It was truly such a better experience than my first delivery.  They took precautions to make sure that I wouldn't hemorrhage again, which included giving me two types of medicines immediately after the delivery. The nurse also massaged my belly quite hard to encourage my uterus to continue to contract, that was another painful event.  I will write a part two about our hospital stay and Emily's celebrity TV appearance. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Half way there! 20w4d pregnant

I apologize to those who keep up with my blog. Life got in the way and I haven't had a chance to really keep this blog alive.

Over the last several weeks, I have begun to get larger and larger, as one does while pregnant. This pregnancy is far easier in terms of less sickness (though I did have it on and off for a while), and no food aversions. It is much harder to juggle a toddle while exhausted on top of keeping up with work.

The baby is healthy and so am I. Differences with the pregnancy include baby activity and how I am feeling. With the last pregnancy, I was feeling Liam kick early on. Steve was even able to feel Liam kick from the outside at 19 weeks. With this baby, I have an anterior placenta, which acts like a cushion and muffles all of the baby's kicks. I didn't really start to feel strong kicks till the end of week 19 and now at the end of week 20, I was able to feel (just once) the baby kicking from the outside. We have gotten multiple scans with this baby and I will be monitored closely due to my lupus and post-partum hemorrhage. Thankfully we still do not know what the sex of the baby is yet.

I am feeling tired with this baby but with a toddler, there is no chance for resting. Most of my down-time is at night. I am happy that my tastebuds never changed and so I have enjoyed all foods. My sense of smell didn't change either. Below are some photos of baby.
Baby at 12 weeks for my NT scan

Baby at 12 weeks for my NT scan

Baby at 12 weeks for my NT scan
3D Baby at 19w at our anatomy scan (hand over face)
2D Baby at 19w at our anatomy scan (hand over face)
We have been working on the house and we are in the process of stripping all the paint out of the house. We have hired a lead abatement team to take care of it. I can't wait till it's done! In the meantime I am working on spring semester and plan to get my lab manual completed by mid-January.

Liam is doing well with speech and has really started to say more phrases. His favorites: "There she is" "What's that?", "Mommy, gone!" "Oh NO! Its Stuck!""Bye bye ____ (insert car, boo boo, pee, milk. ducks, truck, etc)". Many of his words still lack the beginning portion but he is getting better. I can see that he is really really trying hard. We are traveling and so he has not slept in a crib for 1 week. He is doing well with that (as well as 100% potty trained, including nights) and we plan to move him to a big boy bed after the new year.

Monday, November 3, 2014


Yes! You read correctly! I am happy to announce that our family and I are expecting baby number 2! We are nervous, thrilled and just all around excited. I will write a post on how I am feeling, how this pregnancy is going, et cetera but in a nutshell, I am feeling great. I am starting my second trimester tomorrow (14 weeks) and compared to last pregnancy, this one has been great! My kidneys are happy, and although my lupus is slightly active, its only just slightly. None of my doctors are concerned.

I will try to keep this blog current and plan to update with photos of the baby this weekend.

Fall! Return to Daycare, Hand Foot Mouth and Potty Training

Hello Fall! I can't believe that in the blink of an eye summer was here and gone. Since June, we have been to: Bushnell Park, Wickham Park, Gillete Castle, Springfield Museum and Library, KidStreet Playground in NJ, peach picking at Melick's Farm in NJ, Rocky Hill Ferry, touch-a-truck, various splash pads and many trips to the local park. We took photos during every event and I will share my favorites at the bottom.

Liam had his fair share of colds, including a horrible run-in with the ever so common hand foot mouth disease. There was a rumor that it was pretty bad in our town and our neighboring town. We had planned a trip to see family in NJ and I tried everything to keep Liam well. We refrained from library visits for the week prior and stayed close to home.

During the trip to NJ, Liam stayed healthy, however the day after returning, he developed welts on his leg. At first I thought they were mosquito bites. Wrong. Then the welts started oozing and I thought it might be poison ivy. Wrong again. Liam developed a high fever and white spots appeared on his tongue. The nurse confirmed hand foot mouth and told me that it was a virus that needed to run its course. Liam seemed fussy but it wasn't as bad as I had heard it could be. I thought everything was going to be fine. Wrong again. The sores got worse, Liam stopped wanting to eat and stopped sleeping through the night. He was crying all the time and super fussy. Then I found blood on his pillow and on his pacifier at night. I called the pediatrician and they said that it was just running its course. I brushed it off and thought the sores were healing. Instead of healing, the sores got worse and the next day we were walking outside (Liam was fever free by this time) and bloody drool came out of his mouth. I got so scared that I called the pediatrician and told them that this wasn't normal. I brought him in that day and they confirmed a nasty mouth infection. All in all, it took 3 weeks from start to finish for Liam to heal. I wouldn't wish this on any mother. Liam lost a lot of weight and stopped using his pacifier. Once the sores healed, he slowly regained his old eating habits but thankfully we have dropped the pacifier 100%. My little boy is growing up!

Another major milestone is that Liam is fully potty trained! When I started this draft back in September, we were still in the process. We did the 3 days of no pants and he picked it up quick. Along with positive reinforcement from daycare he was trained in a week. By week two, we didn't have to use pull-ups. Around that time Liam got sick again which caused him to need a nebulizer. He has been sick on and off for about 3 weeks and I am just ready for it to be done.

When Liam returned to daycare, he had some trouble adjusting to the other kids. He was violent, which had a lot to do with his speech. He is now seeing a behavioral therapist at daycare. However, after a couple of weeks (and many sharing sessions with mommy) he has made leaps and bounds. His vocabulary, though slow to his peers, has greatly improved. He has started to put two words together, says mine for when he wants something. He can say "I love momma" or "I love daddy". We are still doing speech every friday.

I have been very busy with school and family. I will try and keep this updated, especially since we have some news about my health... see next post.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Liam is Two!

Last Friday my beautiful boy turned two! We celebrated his birthday over the week since both my mother-in-law and mom were in town. Every day was an adventure. Before I dive into my day to day account of his birthday week, here are a few updates:

Liam update: Liam had a blood test last Monday. His lead level actually rose to a 4 (from a 3) but is still under the 5 that they are concerned about. I am curious (and very nervous) as to how he is still getting exposed. I did catch him latched onto a window sill, like a sucker fish, just weeks prior and I had a mini panic attack. I am trying to keep him busy and out of the house as much as possible until all the lead that he could potentially be near is abated.

Liam is doing well with speech and continues to improve each week. I feel like this last month was an explosion of understanding. He now points at objects in books, signs and says his word for them (for animals, its usually an animal sound). He has learn many words over the last month, however many of them are lacking the first letter. I wish I understood his "method to madness" as they say. Liam's word for go is "bo" yet his word for car is "gar". Clearly he knows the gggg sound, yet he doesn't use it for the correct words.  My strong willed little man has learned the word no and uses that frequently. He knows what he wants, when he wants it and it truly is the end of the world if he doesn't get it, right then and there.

Just this past week Liam has really started to dress himself. He can put on and take off his shoes (he calls them soos). We don't wear our shoes in the house and he knows that when his shoes come off, they go straight into the shoe bin. He can put on a pair of pants (half way) and put on his shirt (half way); socks are still a challenge. He has also become aware of when he has pooped or not; he will come running to tell me and pat his butt. Looks like we should be investing in a potty pretty soon.

We are still working on colors. I thought he knew the color green and blue but only if I refer them to a Thomas character (i.e. where is the blue car, like Thomas?). He knows the number 5 and that it is 5 fingers... but he now thinks every number is the number 5.

Liam and Oliver (our family cat) have become great pals. They will spend a good half hour playing with each other. Liam's Aunt (my sister) bought Liam a Thomas the Tank Engine tent. The cat will run inside and bat at Liams' feet as he walks past making Liam squeel with laughter.  There are times that Liam will get too rough with Oliver and I will hear the cat cry out. I remind Liam to "be gentle" and for the most part he is.

On July 2nd Liam had his first dentist appointment. It was very quick and as he screamed with a full open mouth, they counted his teeth. All 20 of them! Apparently his last molar must have come in at some point over the last month. I was worried about the gaps between his teeth but our dentist said she wasn't worried.  She said that the gaps allow larger teeth to come in straight.  His teeth were also stained a bit yellow from the iron supplements and that she was also not concerned about.

Liam's Favorites: He is loving music and will dance with me around the living room. I put on the toddler channel on Pandora Radio and it is a great way to have the right type of "background noise". For his birthday we bought Liam a train table. He is LOVING it. He also is my little water baby and is enjoying the local pool and splash pads.

Monday, June 23rd: CT Trolley Museum.
Liam and I went to the CT Trolley Museum with my coworker and her family. We got there a little after 10am and although he was apprehensive on the first trolley ride, he actually wanted to go again. He had a blast the second time around! We even visited the firetruck museum in the back.  Below are a couple of photos from our outing.

Tuesday, June 24th: Dinosaur State Park
Before the Grandmas got there, Liam and I ventured to the Dinosaur State Park. We visited their children's area and made a bookmark, the arena and played with toy dinosaurs, briefly walked around the main exhibit (Liam was very scared) and took a hike out on the trails. He had a blast outside but still too young to enjoy inside. I'd give it 6-12 months before we would go back.

Wednesday, June 25th: Hammonasset Beach State Park
The grandmas got in on Tuesday afternoon and we decided that since we still had the state pass from the Dinosaur State Park (borrowed from the town library), we should go to the beach. Wednesday we headed out to Hammonasset for Liam's first time at the shore. He was leery at first, but by the end of the morning, he didn't want to leave.

Thursday, June 26th: Grandmas Babysat
 On the 26th, I had training at my work. The grandmas sat in on a speech therapy session and watched him till I got home. After he woke up from his nap, we all went to the local playground.
Friday, June 27th: Liam's Birthday! Strawberry Picking.
On Friday we decided to go strawberry picking, open gifts, and of course, eat lots of cake. Liam didn't care too much about the strawberry picking but he did love all his gifts and eating cake. All in all, it was a great week.

Hope you have enjoyed the updates! I am taking a break from the blog till the end of summer. I want to concentrate on finishing up writing my lab manual.  If anything should come up (strange blood work, lupus flare, etc.) I will be sure to keep you posted. But until then, hope everyone has a great summer!