3 months

Saoirse is three months old.  It’s been a blur.  We had such a difficult start, and it’s gradually becoming easier and easier ever since, but it still doesn’t feel easy.  I guess as a general rule, caring for a three month old baby is not easy, no matter how things started.  S is now 11 pounds 6 ounces, which is between 15 and 20% for weight.  (We have an appointment at the doctor tomorrow for a weigh-in to find out exactly.)  We are still fortifying her food to 24 calories, and I still set alarms at night so she eats every four hours, but she is doing very well.  I am mostly pumping, but I’ve started breastfeeding her twice a day in the morning, and I’m going to discuss adding a third feeding with the doctor.  I’m not making enough milk to exclusively breastfeed (we supplement with formula), but I make the most in the morning, and so I can nurse at that time of day.  It still requires discussion, even if I make enough milk, since my milk is obviously not fortified to 24 calories, and whereas I can basically pour the bottled milk down her throat, I need her to participate and eat sufficient calories when she nurses.

When we got home from the hospital, it took me upwards of 90 minutes to feed her, sometimes 2 hours.  She needed to be fed every three hours around the clock, no exceptions.  You can see how this would be challenging.  H took one of the night feedings, giving me four hours of contiguous sleep, but it was still extremely hard.  My parents left (after staying more than three weeks to help), and I literally sobbed because I didn’t know how I could do it without their help with the girls.  Well, H took on most of the work.  He got them up in the morning, gave them breakfast, made lunches, worked with them on their homework, did the laundry, made the formula and on and on.  And I spent 12+ hours a day feeding her, took all the nighttime wake-ups except one feeding, dealt with the feeding tube, pumped and fortified breastmilk and so on, picked up the girls from school and put them to bed.  It was HARD for both of us.

Since then, we got rid of the feeding tube.  We started letting her sleep four hours at night.  We have fewer doctor’s appointments.  I feel so much better physically after struggling with blood pressure for weeks after her birth.  S also initially had her days and nights reversed, and that got fixed, thank God.  I’ve taken over homework and laundry and do all the night feedings four nights a week.  So, it’s still hard – easier, but not easy.  The most important thing is that she has been gaining weight, and the terrible fear and anxiety have lifted for the most part.  I was having nightmares about her funeral.  Those have stopped.

S herself is becoming more and more interactive.  She started smiling at 10 weeks and loves her toys.  She loves baths.  She loves animal noises and likes to be sung to.  She loves interacting with us and is generally a happy baby.  She cries if I don’t hold her for naps, but usually sleeps pretty well at night between feedings.  In general, she likes to be held.

She dislikes tummy time and being put down.  She hates hats.

We’re looking forward to another month.

mini rant

Sanders is not my favorite.  I find him to be a loose cannon, in some ways reminiscent of Donald Trump in terms of being a maverick and not following established rules.  I get a sexist vibe off him as well.  However, if he is anything, he’s principled, and in a he-said / she-said contest between Sanders and Warren, I believe Sanders.  Warren I find generally slippery and very capable of bending and stretching the truth.  Did Sanders say something about the difficulty of a woman winning president?  Probably.  Did he say what Warren says he said and he denies?  Highly doubtful.  I think it’s about as true as it is true that Warren is a Native American who did not benefit from claiming said ancestry when hiring on at Harvard.

Books of the decade

Fiction

  • Euphoria
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
  • James Herriot
  • Cloud Atlas

Non-fiction

  • The Sixth Extinction
  • What’s Going On In There
  • Zeitoun
  • Nothing To Envy
  • Shoe Dog
  • A Kim Jong-Il Production

Kids

  • The Ramona Series
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Reflecting on the greatest books of the decade makes me want to read more.  This decade also saw me transition from paper books to ebooks.  This has been a necessary move (reading in the dark with babies) but mixed, as the 3-week library limit can be very inconvenient at times.

2019 in books

According to Goodreads, I read 51 books this year (so far).  Several 4 star books stood out:

Sapiens – I didn’t love this whole book, but I loved the first couple chapters about our forebears (you know, early humans).  It’s so interesting to me to think about how “cavemen” lived – people just like me, but with a totally different life experience.

Evvie Drake Starts Over – This was just a fun, feel-good easy read.

Educated – This is a memoir of a woman who was raised in a highly unusual manner in Utah.  It has been fawned over by critics, probably with good reason.  I found it engrossing from start to finish.

Becoming – Michelle Obama is almost as interesting as her husband.  I loved the first half of this book.  The second half which describes her time as First Lady, sadly, read like political propaganda, but that’s to be expected.

Me Before You – Another easy, fun read about a woman who falls in love with a disabled man

Little Fires Everywhere – Thought-provoking, original fiction about an adoption gone wrong and a first-gen girl coming of age

I’m continuing to read to the girls every night.  It can be tough with pregnancy, babies, etc., but it’s often my favorite time of day.  This year, we read lots of Beverly Cleary.  Ramona the Pest was my favorite.  The girls love them all.  We’re currently finishing off Ramona, Age 8.   The girls also fell in love with Roald Dahl this year.  I’ve read his books to them before, but perhaps they were too young to fully appreciate them.  They LOVE Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Isla must have read it three times, and Bri loves to look at the pictures.  Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator was also a huge fan favorite.

aerospace and software

I can’t believe NASA would even consider a crewed flight without another uncrewed flight.  The awesomeness of autonomous spacecraft is that you can fly them until you get things right.  My old company has flown its spacecraft numerous times without any major issues, but they’re still doing missions to make sure everything is safe before putting a person on.  Boeing had a MAJOR issue, and what’s troubling to me is that it’s the sort of fault that should have been avoidable with proper ground simulation.  Some things are hard to test on the ground, like getting high confidence in aerodynamics, for example, but proper timing should have possible to ground test.

This also just makes me wonder what is going on with Boeing.  Are they capable of making safe aircraft and spacecraft?  Their recent track record is just not great.  I’d love to know more about their software development process for spacecraft.  I’m familiar with the approach used here in Seattle for aircraft.  It’s industry standard (for aerospace), but I honestly feel it’s flawed, as was obviously demonstrated by the crashes.  I think a lot of the approaches used in software today made more sense when software was far less complex.  The complexity that today’s powerful computers allow calls for rethinking some of the verification approaches.  I think we should be moving away from verification that’s focused on unit testing and moving towards more emphasis on simulation.  Both are obviously done, but my experience has been that as the rigor of verification increases, the emphasis shifts from simulation to unit test, to the detriment of the system’s overall reliability.

 

a few words

So many things to say.  The first few weeks of S’s life were just so hard, I didn’t have time to come up for air, and I couldn’t bring myself to write about it.  The reality made me sad, and I didn’t want to document it.  I took no photos those first few days in the hospital when we were the most scared.

Now, though, S is doing great.  She was 7 pounds 3.5 ounces yesterday, up from a low of less than 5.5 pounds.  She takes more than 90% of her food by mouth, 95%+ most days, so I think we’ll be able to get rid of the NG tube in the next 2 to 3 weeks.  She’s also started sleeping at night, which is giving me my sanity back.  Feeding her is very time-consuming, and I’ve had virtually no free time, unless you count pumping as a leisure activity.

It’s been harder than I expected, but I know these early difficult days will pass soon enough.  It’s reassuring to see how solid and big and strong her older sisters are.

home

We are home!  We spent ten days and ten nights at Seattle Children’s.  Saoirse is finally gaining weight thanks to an NG tube we use to supplement her bottle feeds.  She’s now two weeks old!  It’s been a hell of a two weeks.  I can’t even begin to write about it yet.  Soon.  Right now, we’re just trying to adjust to being back home.