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Zachary's Birth Story
Pregnancy Loss
Third Times the Charm
Vivian's Birth Story





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October 17, 2013

First steps!!!!!!!

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October 15, 2013
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. At 7pm local time all across the globe parents of angel babies light a candle in remembrance. This is called the “Wave of Light.”
I decided to take Viv to Zachary’s bench to light our candle even though she was pretty sleepy. I did a brisk jog to the playground to make it just in time.
It got a lot darker than I expected so soon but it was nice. I was lucky enough to have someone who was just leaving the park snap the only photo of Vivian and me before my phone died. It was nice to sit in the darkness and watch Viv climb the bench. She looked so cute in the candlelight touching Zachary’s plaque.
Last year for my first Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (and month) I participated in Project Heal. This year, I’ve gotten to do so much more with PS Walk to Remember planning and various other things.
One thing for sure, whether I do special activities or not, I will never forget my baby boy.

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. At 7pm local time all across the globe parents of angel babies light a candle in remembrance. This is called the “Wave of Light.”

I decided to take Viv to Zachary’s bench to light our candle even though she was pretty sleepy. I did a brisk jog to the playground to make it just in time.

It got a lot darker than I expected so soon but it was nice. I was lucky enough to have someone who was just leaving the park snap the only photo of Vivian and me before my phone died. It was nice to sit in the darkness and watch Viv climb the bench. She looked so cute in the candlelight touching Zachary’s plaque.

Last year for my first Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (and month) I participated in Project Heal. This year, I’ve gotten to do so much more with PS Walk to Remember planning and various other things.

One thing for sure, whether I do special activities or not, I will never forget my baby boy.

Video

October 15, 2013

Yesterday was Vivian’s first time solo down a slide. Such a big girl!

October 13, 2013

Today I went to Parent Support of Puget Sound’s Walk to Remember. This was my second year in attendance and the 12th annual walk. This year was different though for many reasons.

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Me and my girl ready to walk for Zachary!

Last year, Zachary’s place in my heart was still a raw hole. This year, that hole has healed a lot - still ever present but much less raw.

Last year, I was lost and confused wandering to a walk I didn’t want to be a part of because of what it meant. This year I have accepted that I am part of this “club” which has formed an amazing community of support.

Last year, Viv was still just a thought. Sure I was seven months (30 weeks) pregnant but I still knew things could go tragically wrong. This year Vivian came with me in the flesh and proudly wore her “I walk for Zachary" shirt with me.

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Viv was a tad tired and cold but she proudly
(and very cutely) wore her PS shirt with
Zachary’s name on it!

Last year, I was an attendee. This year I was an organizer, I was the president of the organization! Last year I couldn’t even hear the announcements but this year I was making them! (and I tried to make sure everyone could hear me.)

It was a great experience! Vivian was too interested in all that was going on so she couldn’t take time to sleep. When she wasn’t in the stroller trying to rest, she was passed around to anxious arms that needed to hold hope - physical and true hope.

While Viv and I went to the walk, we let Tyler sleep in and do some errands. Next year, I think he will be joining us so that we can walk as a family to honor Zachary the month before his birthday.

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The fall colors were amazing at the park!
October 11, 2013
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How is this possible?! My baby is ten months old… double digits!!! We are only two months away from Vivian’s birthday. Yikes!

In the last month Viv has gotten three more teeth, all on top. The only one missing to even out her smile is her front left so she appropriately for the month looks a bit like a jack-o-lantern.

Vivian isn’t walking on her own yet but definitely likes to push a walker or hold fingers for mental stability since she could probably do it on her own if she tried.

Vivian loves her dog and cat and every morning tries to give them big snuggles by diving her head into their fluffy bellies until they run away. She usually grabs fists-full of fur at the same time which is what drives the pets away. Surprisingly Lucifer tolerates it better than Glory.

Our little miss will eat nearly everything and has at least three solid meals a day. When she is finished she will try to lift her plate and if I am not right there it will be on the floor for Glory in a heartbeat. She loves leaning over the highchair to watch Glory eat the food on the floor. The only things Viv seems to dislike are plain tomatoes, mushrooms and swiss cheese. Her favorites all include meat. She will pick out the meat and eat it before everything else. We cannot give fruit until the end of a meal because she won’t eat anything else after it - she could eat fruit all day long. If Viv gets something she wasn’t trying to get in her mouth she will simply spit it out which can be quite messy and funny.

We have a pretty predictable schedule of waking around 7-8am, nap two hours later for about 1.5 hrs then another nap around 3pm and bed around 7pm. She sleeps well through the night but will wake to talk to herself every once in a while. She chit chats about her plans for the day then goes back to bed without complaint and doesn’t require any attention from Tyler or me.

Besides chatting in the middle of the night she will talk and talk and talk if she gets herself going. Usually she talks to herself or other things but sometimes she directs her conversation at us. In fact she does say with purpose “mamamamama” and “dadadadadada” as well as “nigh nigh nigh nigh.” Obviously mama and dada are self explanatory and “nigh nigh” she picked up from me saying “Let’s go night night” for naps and bed. We’ve figured out that it has two meanings - tired or hungry. Since I’ve transitioned to nursing before nap and bed only (in addition to morning wake up) she connected “night night” to nursing or sleep. Such a clever girl.

Speaking of nursing, we’ve had to start some formula in addition to breastmilk. My supply has taken a huge hit and has not been able to recover despite my various attempts. I can only get about an ounce total no matter how frequently or infrequently I pump or nurse. So enter formula on October 11th at exactly 10 months out. I’ve had to come to peace with it but still will pump if I miss a nursing session and before bed. I’m glad I’ve been able to make it this far and will try to provide as much breastmilk as possible for as long as possible.

Anyway, I cannot wait to see what the next month has in store for Little Miss Vivian.

October 7, 2013

Last weekend - no, not the one that just finished yesterday, I am a week behind yet again - Tyler, Viv and I went car shopping. If you’ve read my blog in the past few years you know this is not my favorite activity. I’ve had two Santa Fe’s in the last three years and they have been great but it was time for something else.

So last Saturday Tyler and I had some spare time around a friend’s birthday party so we headed to a few dealerships - Hyundai, Subaru and Mazda. We test drove a few cars and at the end of the day decided that we were going to be getting a Mazda CX-5.

My Sunday morning was spent on the phone negotiating prices for our new SUV and finally we got the price we were happy with and after Vivian’s nap we headed to Walker’s Renton Mazda to pick up my new ride!

Even though all the negotiations were done over the phone we had to wait around because everyone and their grandmother decided to go car shopping that day. We spent nearly four hours sitting. And sitting. And sitting.

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Finally ours after nearly 4 hours!!!

Viv was amazing both days. She actually held up and didn’t complain much at all. I probably complained more than her since car shopping is miserable.

But now I am the proud leasee (for 3 years) of a beautiful new sky blue 2014 Mazda CX-5 with all the bells and whistles (my first grown-up car!!!) which we will proudly call Lil Blue.

I am loving our newest little family member!

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Lil Blue with her big sister, Big Blue - who was being packed for
our weekend away (details to come!)

Video

October 7, 2013

Practicing walking!

Photo

October 3, 2013
First cold weather walk requiring hat and mittens!

First cold weather walk requiring hat and mittens!

September 26, 2013
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Shelby’s birthday treats.

Shelby, Viv’s nanny, has been with us now almost a week and things have been great! In fact, today is her birthday so we went out to celebrate!

Of course I had a little something set up in the kitchen for her when she came upstairs for the day. Viv was supposed to be awesome and make it an easy day but apparently she missed that memo and ended up fighting both naps. In between the naps though Shelby, Viv and I went to lunch and then to the YMCA to swim which was fun and Vivian thoroughly enjoyed.

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Me and my girl swimming
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Shelby and Viv splashing around
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Standing up all by herself on the step of
the pool…
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…5 seconds later she was face down in
the water - a bit of a shock that water
wasn’t solid!
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Shelby’s birthday dessert!

After swimming we got home and tried round two of nap which went slightly better than round one but not by much. After nap we all - including Tyler’s brother, Nick who is staying with us for the week - went out to dinner at Shelby’s choice, Cheesecake Factory.

It was a fun time celebrating with Shelby and we are looking forward to a fun year with her! Viv really seems to like her, as do Tyler and I.

September 24, 2013
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At one of my baby showers I was gifted a book, Super Nutrition for Babies by Katherine Erlich and Kelly Genzlinger. I put it aside until not too long ago after I read Baby Led Weaning. Unfortunately Super Nutrition for Babies has a picture of puréed baby food on the cover so I opened it up and quickly discarded it as “not for us” thinking it was going to be about making your own puréed baby food which is very much not along the mindset of baby led weaning (BLW).

I most definitely judged the book by its cover and I thought nothing of it until I had a few mama friends rave about this book. So I picked it back up and decided to give it a go. After all, it was gifted for a very specific reason and other moms were loving its principals. And let’s be honest, I do want Vivian to have super nutrition and I want to set her up to be a healthy and happy little girl!

It is very important when you consider what to feed your baby because food is the most significant “environmental” component in his life. (Page 12)

Too often parents focus on making sure their children get enough calories, rather than focusing on the nutrients their kids most need. (Page 14)

So I curled up with the book and started reading. I quickly saw the value of the book and its lessons on nutrition not just for babies, but as a general lifestyle for all humans.

 It comes down to this: Poor health comes from poor food. (Page 11)

In an ideal world we’d be eating all “super power foods” as they are called and none of the crap processed stuff. But life isn’t ideal. Life is life! It is real and it is fast paced and the book does touch on that briefly saying it is OK to have some of the crap food and it is OK if you can’t get all grass fed, cage free, organic and untainted meat but of course your quality of life will be better and toxin level will be lower if you make the best choices most of the time.

The food selected, their source, the preparation, their timing of introduction, their quality, and the combination are all important in the protection of health. (Page 18)

Your child will be fed a diet made up of a mixture of crap, okay, PURE, and some super POWER foods. (Page 35)

The book is in chapters based on age and offers helpful recipes for each stage based on baby’s digestive system and its abilities. One of the biggest eye openers of the book is how it details why allergies are on the rise and how the gut flora impacts life from babyhood and beyond.

While your baby’s digestive system won’t be fully “grown-up “until at least two years of age, at around six months, he’ll have some very particular nutrient needs that are best met by introducing solid foods. (Page 39)

Food allergies come from undigested protein and “open,” or “leaky,” gut walls. In early months, your baby has openings in his intestinal lining – a normal state called “open” gut. This allows good antibodies from mom’s milk to pass through his gut wall easily into his bloodstream, where they can protect him… When the immune system sees whole or only partially digested proteins, it views them as foreign invaders and attacks. (Page 39)

With celiac’s disease in our family, I seriously took note of the warnings of feeding our baby gluten so early on. Cheerios are a go-to first food for many babies but it is theorized that the early introduction of gluten is a main factor in gluten intolerances these days. Apparently babies don’t yet have the required protein or enzyme to breakdown the gluten proteins.

Even if she has “bad” genetics (or genetic susceptibility) that sets her up… It is most often not her genes, but rather her environment that will determine whether she actually ever gets any of these conditions. (Page 18)

Your baby’s body is not ready to digest grains… Babies (prior to toddlerhood) are functionally grain intolerant because they don’t effectively make starch-digesting enzymes. (Pages 43 – 44)

Early gluten introduction has been shown to play a role in the development of celiac disease, as well as other autoimmune disorders… Some experts postulate that this increase might be directly related to early and excessive gluten-containing diet, including an increasing reliance on grain foods for babies. (Page 81)

A special enzyme (called DPP-4) is needed to digest gluten. Since babies don’t yet have this gluten-busting enzyme, the gluten can get “stuck” in a partially digested form… [which] acts similar to other opiates – opium, morphine, and heroin – clouding and fogging the brain, hindering development and perception, and altering behavior… your baby can get physically hooked on cereal and wheat. (Page 82)

Of course, the day before I read about this, I had given Vivian her first peanut butter sandwich. On bread, yes, glutinous bread. I’m not worried I broke her for life and I have seen others unknowingly give her something gluten based and I don’t flip a lid but it now makes me think twice and I won’t be choosing gluten options for quite some time. In fact, I’ve made a few easy substitutions thanks to the book - Viv absolutely loves my coconut flour pancakes. They pack a huge protein punch with an egg as well as lots of fiber from the coconut flour. Yum.

The book actually recommends a meat diet early on with suggestions of baby’s first foods being egg yolk and liver.

Saturated fat and cholesterol are absolutely necessary in a baby’s diet… Babies need most of their calories from fats in the first year… Babies should not be on any kind of fat-restrictive diet for at least the first two years. (Page 42)

The first readily available digestive enzymes your baby makes are those for digesting protein, fat, and cholesterol. Perhaps this is why, historically, traditional first baby foods have always been animal based. (Page 46)

I can easily see the importance of giving such high fat and protein foods instead of sugary meals of just fruit. In fact, how can that actually fill her up enough if I am trying to make it a real meal?

Always serve an animal protein or fat with each meal. (Page 84)

Another concern was the glycemic index of all the fruit based “baby foods”. Sure they are natural but having dealt with gestational diabetes while I was pregnant with Vivian I learned a lot and I always have the worry in the back of my mind that she now has genetic markers that may predispose her to getting diabetes. I’d like to keep that at the absolute minimum! So I have a hard time offering a high carb load food without balancing it with a protein.

Apparently the book also suggests that the sugar is a main factor of immune deficiencies.

Studies show that sugar in juice reduces immune function by disabling critical white blood cells for five to seven hours after ingestion, which makes them less able to fight off infection. (Page 80)

Avoiding flour – and sugar-based foods and other inflammation-causing foods will increase the chances that your baby’s immune potential will be reached… Sugar and white flour are the favorite foods of many bad bugs and yeasts… By eliminating refined carbohydrates in your baby’s diet, you reduce these sickness causing flora by starving them. (Page 102)

In addition to a high sugar intake, Super Nutrition for Babies suggests that over-sterilization is a huge factor of illness as the body doesn’t have enough good bacteria. I have always believed this myself and it is a reason I am not a afraid of germs - you need them to get stronger!

The primary cause of infection is not due to the presence of unfriendly bacteria, but it’s actually due to insufficient friendly bacteria… Significant findings imply that chronic runny noses, coughs, and viral illness in children could actually be caused by a probiotic deficiency. (Page 96)

Being “sterile” by using disinfectants should not be confused with being “clean.” Instead of seeing antibacterial soaps, cleansers, wipes, sprays, and sanitizing gels as ways to protect your baby from “harmful” “bugs, view them as products that kill off his army of protective microbes, making bad bugs even stronger and your child’s defenses even weaker… Let him fight his own microbial battles; he’ll be healthier and stronger for it - all his life. (Page 97)

Ensure that soaps and products do not contain antibacterial agents such as triclosan (a toxic agent). (Page 73)

Simply being exposed to germs doesn’t mean your baby will get sick. Whether he gets sick is based on the strength of his immune system, not germ exposure alone… Microbial exposure serves to strengthen immunity by helping your baby’s gut develop and create a strong barrier against agents that could make him sick… A weak immune system is the true culprit behind illness. Struggling immunity comes from poor diet, sugar, toxins, antibiotic overuse, nutrient deficiencies, low omega-3 and high omega-6 fatty acids, protein deficiency, and lack of good bacteria… 80 percent of our immune system is actually found in the gut… Healthy intestines discourage infection… By building these layers (intestinal tissue, mucosa, good bacteria), you’ll be ensuring that he’s got a really thick and strong barrier against infecting agents and toxins, so your baby is much less likely to get sick. (Page 95)

Vitamin D insufficiency is related to higher rates of common colds, influenza, and the respiratory infection RSV. It likely contributes to the increased rate of illness during darker winter months when we expose our skin to less sunshine. (Page 96)

In fact, it may seem extremely strange but since having Vivian I have made sure to get my intake of bacteria. I don’t hunt germs down and lick something someone sneezes on (super disgusting image there) but I don’t stop Vivian from putting her very likely germy and dirty hands in my mouth. Why? Because I know that as a breastfeeding mother that it is important to come in contact with the same bacteria Vivian has (of course she doesn’t think twice about chomping on her dirty fingers) so that my breastmilk can contain the antibodies. Maybe I’ve been mislead and this is not at all how it works, but that is how I’ve come to understand it and I will do anything to help my kiddo out - including being a homemade “drug” against illness.

Of course, she’s bound to get sick because Tyler and I aren’t germaphobes but it is important to remember,

When your baby does get sick, honor his instincts to eat (or not eat), but ensure that he drinks and stays hydrated… “Feed a fever, starve a cold”… Temporarily not feeling hungry and therefore not eating much while sick might allow his immune system to function better. While we don’t ever suggest you make your baby fast, we offer this information to help reassure you that if he’s not eating for a day or two, as long as he’s drinking, you need not be over worried. (Page 104)

Besides germs, the book talks a lot about toxins. There are a lot of statistics about scary environmental factors and toxins but I’m not going to detail all of those. You just have to read the book for all that info. But I will say it notes,

If you serve a nonorganic apple to your baby, you’re also serving up an average of sixteen pesticides applied at least thirty-six times. (Page 69)

Also a hot button issue - vaccines. The vaccine debate can become quite a heated topic and this book doesn’t necessarily go into that, as it shouldn’t being a nutrition book, but it does state,

Nutrition deficiencies, particularly vitamin K, B12, and folic acid, can increase the risk of side effects from vaccines. (Page 74)

 Ok, to wrap this post up I will leave you with the fundamental beliefs laid out in the book. The main idea is if you follow Super Nutrition you will greatly decrease/limit the risk of being affected by the 3C’s.

Contemporary Chronic Childhood maladies [called] “3C” conditions, and they include autism spectrum disorders; allergies, eczema, and asthma; attention deficit disorders and learning disabilities; emotional, mood, and behavioral disorders; recurrent pain disorders; metabolic syndrome, obesity, and autoimmune diseases; digestive disorders; tooth decay; and cancer… [which are] nonexistent in preindustrialized populations. (Page 17)

To best follow Super Nutrition keep in mind that "whole foods are your best source of nutrients." (Page 20) and the four pillars of super nutrition (summarized from pages 26-28):

Pillar one: digestibility. Facilitate digestion and support intestinal health.
-since the digestive system impacts immunity, availability of nutrients, protection from toxins, and detoxification of toxins, it directly affects the health and functioning of the brain.
-digestible foods are soaked, sprouted, or leavened; fermented or cultured; and/or containing enzymes.

Pillar two: Purity. Reduce toxic exposure and improve detoxification capabilities.
-no additives, synthetic nutrients, preservatives, or other chemicals; organic; pasture fed; no growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs given to farm animals; whole form; minimally processed; not genetically modified.

Pillar three: immune boosting. Strengthen and support immunity.
-healthy bacterial exposure and colonization is critical to a healthy body and strong immune system… The best way to prevent infection isn’t to avoid microbes. It is actually to fortify the immune system from within.

Pillar four: nutrient worth. Provide optimally nourishing foods.
-are nutrient dense, containing a rich amount of nutrients per calorie; do not contain antinutrients that block mineral absorption; do not contain sugars or refined salt.

There are so many other very interesting points but you might just want to get your hands on a copy of Super Nutrition for Babies yourself. Happy mealtime!

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