Sunday, September 16, 2012

California Coast Classic: Day Eight (The Last Day!)

Today APL and his cousin rode the last 60 miles from Ventura to where we were waiting for them at the finish line in Santa Monica. OZL and I were both very, very happy to see them!!

APL raised a total of $5,450 for the Arthritis Foundation and did a amazing job riding 525 miles down the coast of California. I think I've only heard about half the stories so far, but it sounds like he had an awesome time on the ride and met some amazing people.

We're so very, very proud of him!! And we're super happy to have him back with us! We head home to Colorado tomorrow.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

California Coast Classic: Day Seven

Today APL and his cousin (go Team Z!!) rode 90 miles from Buellton to Ventura. (The map I'm posting is not totally accurate because something went wrong with APL's tracking app - they really rode 90 miles!) Sounds like they are both tired but had a good day. APL also got to meet the little girl who was the ride honoree for today - but she's blurry in the picture because apparently she was so excited to be there that she couldn't stay still!!


OZL and I had a busy day too. We visited one of grandma's friend's this morning and then this afternoon grandpa threw us a pool party. A lot of our local family members were able to come (cousins! So many cousins!) and a couple of my friends from high school and their kids too. We visited, took a swim, ate delicious BBQ, and watched football. It was a lovely evening that went by too quickly. OZL is super tired but still did a great job getting through the evening. And his tummy has been feeling a lot better today, which makes me feel a lot better too.

It has been really great to visit with everyone this week, but we CAN NOT WAIT to see daddy at the finish line tomorrow!!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

California Coast Classic: Day Six

Today APL rode his bike 70 miles from Pismo Beach to Buellton. The ride went through wine country so obviously there had to be some wine tasting! APL said they went to three wineries and the Firestone Walker Brewery. It sounds like it was a lovely time and I really wish I could have been there too. APL also met up with his cousin this evening, who will be joining him for the last two days of the ride. Go Team Z!!


OZL and I had lunch today with his uncle (my brother) and his uncle's girlfriend. Then we went to hang out at Granny's (my mom's) house for a while. Later APL's parents, my godfather, and my sister's godmother joined us at my mom's house for a very lovely dinner.

OZL's tummy is doing slightly better, but he is super exhausted from not feeling well and all the excitement of this extremely busy week. It also doesn't help that it is approximately one billion degrees in Los Angeles right now. As much as we can we are trying to stay cool and relax - though the relaxing part can be a bit difficult because there are just so many people here who want to meet and love him! We are really looking forward to seeing daddy cross that finish line on Sunday!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

California Coast Classic: Day Five

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Today APL rode his bike 60 miles from San Simeon to Pismo Beach. He's having a marvelous time - I hear margaritas were involved after the ride this afternoon! And tonight instead of camping he's staying with one of his mom's friends, so I'm sure he's being extra spoiled!

OZL got to meet one of my favorite people in the world today: my godfather, who is also OZL's great great uncle and performed part of APL and my wedding ceremony. We went to breakfast with my mom, so there were four generations all together. Then we spent the afternoon just relaxing at Grandma and Grandpa's house (APL's parents). OZL is still having trouble with his tummy and is still really tired from all the excitement, but he is doing a lot better today.

Though we're happy he's having such an awesome time and we are so very proud of him, we're really starting to miss APL!! So we're really looking forward to seeing him cross the finish line on Sunday!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

California Coast Classic: Day Four

Today APL rode about 60 miles from Big Sur to San Simeon. The cell phone reception has been really spotty, so we haven't had much of a chance to talk. But it sounds like he is still having a great time and feeling good. And he did manage to send a few pictures. 

OZL and I spent the day with one of my very good friends from high school and her daughter, who is five weeks younger than OZL. We had a very lovely lunch, some frozen yogurt, and took a walk by the beach. Unfortunately, OZL is still struggling with his tummy, so he wasn't a completely happy camper - the poor little guy. And I am still struggling a little bit myself with feeling guilty that he is in pain because of the switch to formula. Plus my boobs still hurt. But we're hanging in there, and I know we will both be feeling better soon.

California Coast Classic: Day Three

Today APL rode about 40 miles from Monterey to Big Sur. He checked in with me and sent a few pictures this morning, but I haven't heard from him since. I assume that his phone died or maybe there's no reception where they are camping tonight. Hopefully we'll get an update on his progress tomorrow. 

Today OZL and I were both feeling pretty exhausted from the past few busy days of visiting, so we spent a quiet day at grandpa's house. Unfortunately, we still had a pretty rough day. (TMI warning!) OZL had some major trouble with his tummy today (constipated baby = I don't recommend the experience). I'm fairly certain the trouble has to do with adjusting to his 100% formula diet since we arrived in California (at home he was still getting defrosted breast milk a few times a day). So today OZL was struggling and straining and miserable and screaming, and I ended up feeling totally horrible about the whole situation, especially because every website I looked at for advice about baby constipation told me that he wouldn't be constipated in the first place if I was still breastfeeding (insert mommy guilt here). I know that weaning was the right decision for both of us, but seeing my baby in pain because of that decision was extremely difficult for me - especially since my poor boobs are still full and swollen and SO extremely sore, despite my two weeks of slow weaning. My boobs are so painful that I have resorted to the old wives's tale solution of wearing cabbage leaves in my bra. I have no idea if it is really helping, but it feels mildly satisfying to at least be trying something. Because it is fairly horrific when your boobs ache with poison milk that you cannot feed your baby, who is crying miserably because his tummy hasn't adjusted to the formula you are trying to feed him instead. It has been a hard day for both of us.

But I also got a reminder today of exactly why I stopped breastfeeding in the first place: my RA took a turn for the worse. Despite the prednisone and the Enbrel injection last Friday, I woke up this morning with severe pain in my knees. The extra pain did not help me get through this day, but it did remind me that I made the right decision in stopping breastfeeding (though my boobs clearly still disagree). Today my knee made it difficult to get up and down and hold and rock my crying, unhappy baby. So it's obviously time to let my meds start doing their job again so I can feel better. I had no time to spare.

Luckily, grandpa (my dad) was extremely wonderful and supportive and helpful today. Hopefully OZL and I will both get some good sleep tonight and be feeling better tomorrow. And hopefully APL is doing awesome and we will get an update from him in the morning.

Monday, September 10, 2012

California Coast Classic: Day Two

Today APL rode his bike 50 miles from Santa Cruz to Monterey. Sounds like the ride was cloudy and a little bit wet today, but still went well. And, after almost 150 miles and one night of camping, APL says he is still feeling pretty great! Tonight he hitched a ride down to cannery row and is enjoying Monterey. 

OZL and I had a busy day too. I met up with some of my high school friends and their babies, and we even went to visit our high school water polo coach! (Was she ever supposed to see us with our babies!!) This evening OZL and I are hanging out with grandpa and his uncle. We do sort of wish we could be in Monterey with daddy, but we also are having a really nice time visiting with everybody here!! And we're really proud of APL. Go, daddy, go!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

California Coast Classic: Day One

Today APL started his California Coast Classic journey by riding his bike 87 miles from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. I talked to him on the phone this evening and he sounded super happy, like he was really enjoying himself. And that made me super happy too.APL also sent me some pictures from today that I wanted to share, because I think they'll tell you more about his experiences than I can!

OZL and I also had a very busy day here in Los Angeles visiting with APL's parents. We also visited with APL's mom's best friend (a teacher at the high school APL and I both went to), another of his mom's friend's (who happened to be both my and APL's pediatrician when we were kids), and one of APL's aunts. It was wonderful to see everyone - and of course everyone loved OZL!! I'll share a picture from our day too!!

Good Luck, APL!

Yesterday our family flew to California. OZL did awesome on his first flight. He slept during takeoff, woke up in the middle for a bottle, sat happily on his daddy's lap for about an hour, then fell back asleep for landing. (Angel baby!!)

When we landed in Burbank, OZL fell asleep in his carrier, allowing me to easily round up all our luggage (a.k.a a TON of crap that I packed, not knowing what we'd need on baby's first trip, including more than 20 cloth diapers!) and hop on the shuttle to get our rental car. Then OZL and I made the short drive to my dad's house.

When we arrived, APL's parents and my little brother were waiting for us. Everyone was super excited to see OZL. My brother (a culinary school graduate) made an amazing Polish dinner (a family tradition) and we all enjoyed visiting until OZL got too exhausted from his exciting day and had to be put to bed.

APL, on the other hand, boarded a plane for San Francisco once we got to Burbank. Today he starts his 525 mile bike ride back to us here in Los Angeles. He has raised $5,000 for arthritis research. I am so very proud of him.

Good luck, APL!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Last Time

I just nursed my son for the last time ever.

I typed that sentence and then literally stared at it for ten whole minutes before figuring out how to continue writing about this. 

It's difficult for me to move forward here, because there's a package of Enbrel in the fridge downstairs waiting for me. I know that as soon as I finish this post I have to go inject myself with it. I need to go inject myself with it. My joints are getting worse. Much worse. Yesterday I stubbed my toes a little and almost passed out in pain. I owe it to my family to be as healthy as I can be. I need the medication so I can keep up with my growing son. It is obviously the right decision. 

But it's still hard. 

Our last time nursing was wonderful. Since I've been weaning for over a week, I didn't actually have much milk to offer him. He suckled a little, but mostly we just cuddled, skin to skin, for about an hour. I cried but I also laughed at him smiling up at me. I will never forget that hour.

When I first made the difficult decision to wean, I was unimaginably sad for the first few days. I think I probably cried harder during those two days than I ever have in my life. Some of it was hormones from weaning, I know, but most of it felt like grief over the RA taking something away from me that I wanted so very, very badly. But then some kind words from a friend and this post helped me remember exactly how much I have to be grateful for. My RA may be quite bad now, but I was extremely lucky to do well enough off my meds to conceive and carry OZL. I am so, so, so lucky to have my happy, healthy, growing little boy. He is totally amazing and I'd go through anything to have him in my life. And this change of mindset allowed me to actually enjoy and cherish our last few days of breastfeeding.

But it's still hard. 

It feels appropriate that we leave for California tomorrow morning. OZL and I fly to Los Angeles to hang out with grandparents while APL continues on to San Francisco to take part in the California Coast Classic. APL will ride his bike 525 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness for arthritis. He has also raised $4,500 for arthritis research. I'm so extremely proud of him. And it makes me feel better about having to make such a difficult and unwanted decision, because I know there are people out there who are trying to do something about arthritis. To change the future for people like me. And I couldn't be more grateful.

It's still hard. But I can do it. From this point...forward.