Hazel's Playlist

Not Fade Away: Buddy Holly & the Crickets (love is love not fade away)
Chan Chan: Buena Vista Social Club
Here come the Martian Martians: Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers
If You're Feeling Sinister: Belle & Sebastian
'Deed I Do: Blossom Dearie
Handle With Care: Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins
After Hours: Velvet Underground
China Girl: David Bowie
Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby: Islands
Centerfold: The J. Giles Band
SexyBack: Justin Timberlake
Who By Fire: Leonard Cohen
Ugly: Violent Femmes
Rockaway Beach: The Ramones


The Worst Day of Our Lives

So you might notice that this is the fourth new post today. We are a little backed up over here because we have had a bad few days.

On Tuesday morning, Hazel and I were at our Neurotic Mothers Group. She had her bottle, we played on the floor for a little while and she fell asleep as she usually does. After group, a bunch of us went out for lunch. Hazel slept in her car seat under the table, but I had a hard time waking her up to eat. She only took half of her bottle after I forced it on her. We left to come home where she continued to sleep on my chest all afternoon. She was a bit groggy, but I assumed that it was from all of the excitement from the party on Sunday. Around 4:30, I had to wake her again for a feeding but this time I found her to be listless and very difficult to wake. I thought she felt warm, but she had been sleeping on my chest for hours. When I took her temperature, it was 101.1 so I called the pediatrician.

We go to the Emergency Department and the triage nurse took her temp. It was almost 103 at this point and she was on fire and totally lethargic. I could feel the heat radiating off of her little head. They took us in back to an exam, and the next few hours were some of the most painful of my life. First, they put a catheter in to get a urine sample. I stood on the other side of the room and cried while three nurses held my screaming baby down. Then, they needed to put in a heparin block, but baby veins aren't the easiest to poke, so it took three tries before they were able to get a line into her. They took some blood. I cried more.

Then, they told me that they needed to do a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. My stomach turned. We had to leave the room for that one, but we stood outside with our ears pressed against the door. She screamed and screamed and I paced the hall wringing my hands and crying. After a few minutes we could go back in. The nurse said, "She was so good and she didn't cry a bit." I hated her for lying to me. They told me that it doesn't hurt babies and I don't buy that for a second.

While we waited for the results, Hazel slept and fussed. She did not like the hep block in the back of the paw that she likes to chew on. The splint they put on her to keep her hand stable kept hitting her in the face when she would try to soothe herself. Finally, some results came back; her spinal fluid was negative for meningitis, but her white blood cell count was low and they would have to admit her to the hospital for at least two days.

I'm not even going to write about how scared and sad we were. I'm not even going write about the Big Fears that were running through both of our heads. All of the terrifying possibilities that we and so many other parents have had to face at this point are things that I can't even speak about with Jamie in our most private moments. I can't even let the words hit air. To hear Hazel scream like that hurt my body. I could feel myself falling apart. I was nothing but a seething bag of cortisol and helplessness.

The pediatric unit is depressing for a lot of reasons, but the thing I hated most about it was the stupid cartoons everywhere. The Pooh wallpaper border and the cheap Disney decals on the window of an otherwise typical dingy hospital room were pathetic and cloying. Hazel was hooked up to a bunch of monitors and received some antibiotics through her hep block. She had a Tylenol suppository By now it was 2am and we were tired. We slept.

For a day and a half her fever came and went. All of her cultures were coming back negative, so they were thinking that it must be a viral infection. We kept giving her Tylenol to keep her temperature down. She was fussy, cranky, scared, tired, clingy, needy, and hungry. Jamie and I took turns staying with her so we could go home to shower and walk the dogs (who were a total heartbroken wreck after we left them alone for so long). Last night her fever seemed to break and didn't come back. She started to coo and smile again, so Jamie stayed at home and I slept in the hospital. This morning the hospitalist and her pediatrician who came to visit said that she seemed to be doing well enough to go home. We were discharged this afternoon.

So here we are back at home. Hazel is still quite fussy and will only lay on mamas chest, but she isn't hot anymore and has been eating and resting. I gave her a bath and a massage with some chamomile, tangerine and sweet orange essential oils. It looks like she picked something up at her party on Sunday. We are so happy that this turned out to be a relatively minor bug when it could have been the end of our world. The hospital was fantastic, the staff was awesome, and Hazel was so brave. Everyone said so.

A HUGE shout-out to our good friend Corleigh, who brought Jamie and I our favorite Thai food in the hospital and coffee and bagels this morning. It was so nice to have yummy food, but even nicer to have the company. Thank-you Jillian, Janel, Molly and Natalie, too for your encouraging messages and offers of help. Hazel is lucky to have such an awesome group of extended-family aunties. We love you all.

Meet Hazel

So, Hazel had her Meet and Greet party at her Grandma Sandy's house. She wore a little wool, red-plaid jumper that I wore when I was her age, and she looked dashing if I do say so myself. It was quite tight on her, but I wiggled her into it anyway. At the end of the night we had to actually cut her out of the dress. I'm glad she got to wear it once...

She did very well with all of the excitement and held herself together like a lady (except for one big blowout of poop). She was all smiles and coos and cuddles with everyone who looked at her and charmed the pants off of everyone in attendance. Her cousins Nora and Taline were fascinated by her little self and followed around behind her like baby ducklings all afternoon. Six-year old Nora was so thrilled to meet Hazel (who she said was named "Hazel and Gretel") that she had made her a beautiful aqua headband and matching pillow with the help of her grandmother. It really is quite stunning, though we might have to wait a while before the headband fits her little pea head.

It was a small group of family, nothing fancy. The usual Suspects were in attendance: Grandma and Grandpa Donabed, Nate and his beautiful girlfriend Amy, Ani (Audrey) and Apo, Laraine and Koko with Taline and Nora, Jack and Patty Petersen, the O'Donnells (Patty, Loraine, Johnny and Jean with her husband Steve), Richard and Helena, Lisa Cowley, and Michelle.

We were prety tired after all was said and done. I didn't end up taking that many pictures because I was so busy chatting, but here are a few highlights.

Apo held a sleeping Hazel for half the day. She was quite content.

Jack, Patty, Grandpa Ralph and The Star of the Show.

Taline, Nora, Mama and the big bald dome.

Nora and Hazel-and-Gretel modeling her new handmade headband.

Amy and Hazel in her fabulous new sunglasses from Lisa Cowley.

"This Girl Needs a Bow!"

Hazel had her Two Month pediatricians appointment on Friday, and the nurse decided that Hazel needed a bow. She had her back to Jamie and I while she was measuring Hazel and babbling to her about how she needed a bow in her hair. Jamie and I sort of looked at each other and rolled our eyes but when the nurse turned around to hand her back to us, this is what we got:

By the way, Hazels new stats for those keeping track: 10 pounds 8 ounces (50th percentile), 24 inches long (75th percentile) and 15.5 inches head circumference (50th percentile).


One Plus One Equals One and a Half

So we have hit the two month marker. In many ways, I feel as though Hazel has been with us for much longer. Sometimes it seems as though she arrived yesterday. Either way, she has managed to fit herself seamlessly into our lives. Maybe it is because I've been used to changing my life around for the dogs, but I find myself thinking that this parenting thing really isn't that hard. It isn't nearly as difficult as people told us it would be. We still manage to go out and see our friends. We go out to dinner with each other just about as much as we did before Hazel. Our house is clean, the fridge is stocked, her room is all finished, the dogs are exercised. We certainly are busy, but its a comfortable busy. I still found time to give myself a pedicure and I take a shower every day. We get a little less sleep, but that won't last forever and it isn't that bad.
The first couple of weeks were hard; trying to breastfeed while recovering from labor and delivery and having visitors every day all day was not easy. If it wasn't for Jamie, I think everything would have fallen apart. There was one really terrible night when Hazel was screaming and Jamie was at work very, very late. I almost lost my mind, but it ended and its far in the past now and it has not happened since. I am in complete awe of single mothers now.

I especially love our mornings together. Hazel wakes up next to me talking to herself, all wide-eyed. She gives me a smile when I open my eyes and I feed her. She has a long period of alertness and we use that time to play together and read books. Then I can put her in her bouncer seat in the bathroom while I shower. She starts to get overwhelmed and a little fussy, so I usually pop her in her sling so that she can calm down and nap while I clean up, make coffee, and let the dogs out. Our day the consists of bursts of sleep, play, running around town, and doing whatever needs to get done. Not everything gets done, but mama doesn't care. When Jamie gets home, I'm pretty sick of being mama so he gets to snuggle Hazel while I tie up loose ends around the house. There was a time when she wouldn't let me put her down, even for a second, even if she was in a deep sleep. That seems to have ended, so now I have all this free time when she is sleeping in her seat. I honestly think that when she is running around things will be harder than this, but way more fun, too. I'm really looking forward to all of that. This part, while not hard, is really mundane a lot of the time. That has been more of a struggle.

I had initially been a bit upset that we had no help with Hazel, especially when Jamie was having to be at work all the time, but now it doesn't bother me at all. Now I think that I'm glad that I didn't have much interference because Hazel and I have been able to learn about one another and make our own world together. We got through it with each other she and I, and we are a pretty tight team now.

Two Months?!?!

On Saturday, Hazel accompanied us to Steve and Molly's Meat Fever 2008. Steve smoked ribs, brisket, chickens and pulled pork for seventeen hours. We drank too much beer, ate too many ribs, stayed out way too late and had so much fun with our good friends Natalie, Derek, Molly, Steve, Jeff and Stephanie. The visiting lymie blokes Dan and Nigel couldn't handle the American Meat; they were passed out and sweating when we arrived around 7pm and did not wake up all night. The most we got was a grunt and a wave when we left around midnight. Hazel also passed out when we arrived and only grunted all night.

Jamie using Hazel's head as a cookie plate.
(Hazel, if you're reading this in fifteen years, I love you, honey.)

Jamie obviously took this picture, since it is his favorite angle to photograph. All the better to capture ones double chin in the most flattering manner.

Natalie and Derek


Hazel also got to spend the day with her grandma Sandy who returned from Florida on Monday. We went over for lunch and stayed all afternoon to show her off.

On Sunday, Hazels other grandparents Mike and Ellie came for a visit. We entertained them with a walk around Newburyport and dinner at Agave Mexican Bistro. Mama was happy to get a couple of pomegranate martinis into herself, of course.

Unfortunately, Bad Mama forgot to get pictures of Hazel with her (great) aunt Audrey (Ani). Ani came up from Brookline to Ipswich bearing a ridiculous cheese borek. It was off the hook delicious, but I fear that I now need bypass surgery. Ani and I took Hazel out for a walk in the carriage in downtown Ipswich and had a nice lunch at Stone Soup Cafe. We love visitors, and Ani was particularly patient with an especially fussy Hazel.

Yesterday, before going to grandma Sandy's, Hazel and I attended our Neurotic Mother's Group in Beverly. A bunch of women have returned to work and some have "graduated" to the Thursday morning group because their children are now four months old. The group felt much smaller so it was a bit more relaxed. There was a large turn-out of brand new moms last week. One woman was there with her five day old baby, after having a c-section, and she has 21 month old twins at home!! I'm shocked at how tiny and new the babies look compared to Hazel, who is now getting to be one of the Big Kids. I remember when she would just sleep through the whole group, but now she is wide awake and a trouble-maker!

This coming week is a big one for Hazel. She is having a vaccination on Friday, and we are terribly nervous about it. Because we are doing the Sears Alternative Vaccine Schedule, Hazel is only getting DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis), but we still are sick to our stomachs. (The current CDC schedule recommends Hepatitis B, rotavirus, haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococcal and polio in addition to the DTaP all at once at her 8 week visit.) Please keep your fingers crossed for us on Friday morning.


Hazel's Favorite Songs This Week

The Ramones: Do You Wanna Dance?
Twisted Sister: We're Not Gonna Take It
The Swirlies: Pancake House
Modern English: I'll Melt With You (she's just as mortified as I am that this is now a fast food commercial)
Ben Kweller: How It Should Be (Sha Sha)
Death Cab For Cutie: I Will Follow You Into The Dark (too bad mama can't hear this song without crying her eyes out)
Jay-Z: Izzo (H.O.V.A.)
Justin Timberlake: Sexy Back
The Kingston Trio: MTA
Marvin Gaye: Whats Goin' On
The Pipettes: Dirty Mind (Demo)
The Be Good Tanyas: The Littlest Birds
Postal Service: We Will Become Silhouettes
School House Rocks
Wycleff Jean: Perfect Gentlemen
Cowboy Junkies: Sweet Jane
Any Jonathan Richman with or without the Modern Lovers.
Anything that makes mama scoop her up and dance around singing.
And especially that CD that just plays a heartbeat.


Seven Weeks Old

Every time we put her snow suit on her, we get this face. She freezes with her limbs stuck straight out and looks shocked at what we have done to her. Poor thing.

We don't have a lot of pictures for this week. I think we have been pretty busy. Jamie was home Friday and Monday of this week, but Monday doesn't count because he had oral surgery. While Jamie was getting his jaw cut open, Hazel and I walked the beach in Swampscott and had some coffee. It rained for a lot of the weekend, so we didn't do very much, but somehow the time flew and nothing that we planned to have done, was done (yardwork and taxes, mostly). Jamie was able to take Hazel down to Boston on Saturday to have lunch with his parents and it allowed me the time to finally take a bath and work my scary feet back to normal. Pregnancy did a number on them since they were out of reach for many moons. Saturday night I was able to go out with my girlfriends for Too Much Wine and Too Much Indian Food and most importantly, some adult conversation that did not revolve around baby related crap. I missed Hazel terribly, but going out and feeling normal again was priceless.

Yesterday we took the dogs back to the beach in snobby and exclusive Manchester-by-the-Sea. Hazel tolerated her snow-suit and the cold. We did not make it out to our Neurotic Mothers Group yesterday morning due to an epic blowout of poop, pee and puke from every orifice all at once. It was truly magnificent. Hazel was spitting up out of her nose while peeing all over herself and kicking her feet around in the poop that was running down both legs. I just stood back with my jaw agape and waited for it to be over so that I might intervene. When the leaking seemed to come to a stop, I picked her up and carried her to the bathroom to hose her off like a baby elephant. We decided that the Neurotic Mothers could do without this story, as it was really the most eventful baby-related thing I would have to contribute when it was my turn to speak.

Speaking of mamas, my very cool mama-friend Michelle (also a SAHM, but a very laid back, snarky, and intelligent one) sent me this blog. I feel like this woman is a funnier and smarter version of me, but damn if she doesn't live inside my head! I'll just let her speak for me from now on.


Weekly Pictures v.6.5

This set of pictures is for week six and a half. Enjoy!

Hazel's first visit to daddy's office in Cambridge

The Pit: "This is where mama used to go when she skipped school to hang out and smoke with the punk rock kids, sweetheart."

The Donovan's reliving 1991 in The Pit. We felt like such tourists.

Hazel in Harvard Square

Flossie always sits at Hazel's feet when she sleeps.

She was in a deep sleep with her hands up in the air like that for about an hour.

Hector puts up a fight for the Boppy.

The many faces of Hazel getting kissed.

Floor napping. Flossie joins in.


The camera crapped the bed, so...

...I can't put any week six pictures up just now. I'll get to it soon though. Week six entertainment will now consist of a story.

Last week, Hazel started to get progressively more clingy and needy for me. It eventually got to the point over the weekend where she would not let me put her down for a second without screaming like I was abusing her. It was getting pretty annoying for me, especially after the third day in a row that Jamie had to work late and Hazel was essentially pinning me down to the couch. She didn't even like being put in the sling. She also started eating every two hours instead of every three. She was fussy if she was awake, an screaming unless I was in physical contact with her. It was getting old fast.

Monday night around ten, just as I was getting her ready for bed, Hazel had a plaid fit. She started screaming out of nowhere. Now, Hazel is not big into crying. She fusses when she is uncomfortable, and she cries when there is something wrong that is usually pretty easy to fix (poopy diaper, hungry, gassy or needing a cuddle) and she is always close to us, so she never has to cry for long. She is never left alone. But Monday night, she howled at the moon. Her whole body was stiff as a board, her face was purple, she was making herself choke on her tragic sobs, the poor thing. Nothing was working to soothe her. I finally had to resort to putting her in her crib and taking a breather in the bathroom. I think this was the first time Hazel has ever been alone in her room, and she just screamed louder. Finally, for some unknown reason she just stopped. She probably got tired and just passed out cold just after 1am.

The next morning I went to change her diaper, and when I stripped her down I thought, "Who's baby is this?!" Hazel grew overnight! Her belly got wider and rounder, her arms got pudgier, even her head got bigger! It seemed pretty freaky to me so I put on some of her newborn sized clothes (which she still fit into well into her eighth pound) and they were too small. Her pants were like Ipswich clam-diggers all of a sudden. Her sleeves were too short. Even her size one Seventh Generation diapers all of a sudden fit when they had been too big before. Her newborn sized diapers are too small to even use anymore.

Since Hazel's concentrated growth spurt, she has returned to normal. She lets me put her down again so that I can use the bathroom, or refill my water glass. I guess she just pulled an Incredible Hulk.