Sunday, April 5, 2015

Like Brother, Like Sister

When our toddler was 4 and 5 weeks old, he turned fussy. He went from being a delightful mellow happy kid to a screamer. All. The. Time. Then, the day he turned 6 weeks old, I changed his diaper in the evening and it was not right. Instead of the normal color and consistency that we had come to understand as being normal for a breastfed kid, it was horrible colors - including bright red blood. As you can imagine, this terrified us as new parents. But it was late Sunday night so we just put another diaper on, hunkered down for the night, and waited until the morning to call the doctor. At that point of his life he was sleeping from about midnight to 5am in a solid chunk but I remember spending a lot of that night googling the possible options. None seemed good. We spent a week or so trying things like block feeding to ensure the right percentages of the right kinds of milk and I gave up overt dairy like ice cream and cheese. Nothing got better, in fact it got worse. The next couple week I gave up all dairy and soy. It got worse. He got diagnosed with MSPI, or Milk Soy Protein Intolerance. I was mentally falling apart. So we decided to put him on Alimentum as a test. During that 10 day span, I went on the total elimination diet and pumped around the clock in hopes of getting my body clean enough to feed him. Everyone was miserable. Hubby was supportive of my attempts but he was back at work by that point so I was pretty much on my own a lot of the days. It sucked. After 10 days I went back to nursing. In 36 hours, he was bleeding again. He refused to nurse. I gave him a bottle and he literally gave a sigh of relief and never looked back. Eventually, about a month later, the Alimentum stopped working - he bled again - and we moved to Elecare. Luckily he was a mellow kid as long as there was something going in his mouth and he adapted to both formulas easily. Especially because his brain seemed to understand that it was helping him. After 10 months we added soy into his diet and after a year we introduced yogurt and then dairy. By 13 months he was deemed healed, at 14 months he graduated from the GI and became a normal kid in the GI sense. However, we continue to deal with ramifications of that time. He wound up with some serious food aversions and wouldn't put food in his mouth. That was hard, but he got the calories he needed from formula. However eating does way more than just nourish you - it teaches your mouth to work in different ways that leads to speech. Luckily that is getting better now, but it has been hard.

Anyway. Our newborn has been showing symptoms of MSPI for a lot of her life. However, for every symptom I thought I saw, I also found something to argue that she didn't have it. Nursing was easy from the beginning and she gained weight like a champ. But her diapers have always been a little weird and she has hated filling them from day one. We had never had a 'normal' kid before though, so we didn't know what things from Derek's life to attribute to MSPI and what was not. Last weekend I had ice cream and pizza. I hadn't been avoiding dairy but I hadn't really had a lot of it either. But the morning after the pizza she woke up covered in a rash from head to torso. It could have been baby acne, but the sudden appearance was fishy. Her fussiness picked up, too. On Easter Saturday we celebrated with family. In retrospect I did have more dairy than usual. There were lots of adults here and so she was passed around all day and I didn't realize until later how fussy she had been all day. She had a bloody diaper at her bedtime diaper. So, instead of nursing her, we gave her a bottle. (We happen to have 7 cans of Elecare in the house that we thought were expired and when we went to throw them out last week during a cleaning frenzy we realized they are good til October!)

At Derek's GI graduation appointment, we asked about the chances of any future kids having this. Our GI actually had 2 kids of her own with it. The regular pediatrician said she wouldn't have any more of a chance than any other kid but it does seem like the people I know who deal with it see it in multiple kids. We talked to both of them before this baby was born and said our family decision was that if this kid bled, we were not messing around with diet and Alimentum, we were going right to Elecare. We didn't want to watch another kid suffer for more than a month and deal with the ramifications. So tomorrow I have lots of doctors to talk to and appointments to make.

I'm sad that she bled earlier and is missing out on a month or more of antibodies. I'm sad that even though we suspected it, I was blind-sighted and didn't know our 8pm nursing session was my last one ever. I'm sad that I still hurt from my reconstruction and now am dealing with the physical and mental issues that come with weaning at a time where she was eating around the clock. I'm sad we will never have an average regular baby. I'm worried that she won't be as lucky as Derek in the growing out of it way. I feel guilty for wishing, just days ago, that someone else could feed her once in awhile so I could get some sleep. I'm sad that she hasn't taken to me giving her a bottle yet because she wants something else. I'm sad that I thought BF was going so well, and I was poisoning her all along.

I'm glad that she is already feeling better. I'm glad that we are seeing her rash disappear by the hour, and hoping that her insides are healing as quickly. Derek had the rash for more than a month and it took more than a month for it to go away after we switched. So we do have a little physical sign that she's healing quicker. I'm hoping the fact that she gained so much weight while still BF means that she was bringing in a decent amount of calories even with the lack of absorption. I'm reminding myself that Derek and I still have a great bond regardless of how he was fed.

We're re-learning how to do this. We remembered after a couple failed bottles that in our variety pack there are different speed bottle nipples - and she was much more successful when we realized that and made sure she had a slow one! We are trying to figure out how many ounces a 1 month old eats, because it's very different than a 2.5 month old like last time. And I'm still recuperating from my delivery - that was better by the time we did this last time. She was not digging the formula at all last night, but now she's taking it no problem (as long as it's not from me.) My mom graciously changed her plane ticket to help with the middle of the night stuff for a couple days while we figure this out. Mike's FMLA leave ended last week because he went back to work - and he can't come and go and still have it be FMLA. Plus we'll need his sick days for dr's appointments since I'm out of days. My mom and Mike did all of the feedings last night and I got 5 hours of sleep for the first time since who knows when, between the heartburn of late pregnancy and the four weeks of nursing around the clock.

It's hard. It's frustrating. It's the latest in the seemingly endless challenges that came from us saying, "Hey, let's have some kids!" But as Mike tried to point out to a very irrational me late last night, the IVF rounds sucked, but they eventually worked. Derek's MSPI sucked, but he healed. His lingering issues suck, but they're getting better. The injury from his delivery sucked, but I got mostly better. The injury from this delivery really sucked, but with time it will hopefully be better. And hopefully 12 months from now we'll have a kid who can eat her first birthday cake.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

This Week Is No Fun

Ok, so we have a new kid and she's pretty cool. I'll give this week credit for that much! But beyond that, I am finding pretty much nothing redeeming about it.

So first just the toddler had the juicy horrible cough, pale face, irrational crying, and fever. Then Daddy got pretty much the whole thing but he doesn't think he ever got the fever. At that point, baby and I moved to the bedroom. The thought of coughing or sneezing while purely moving from a laying down position was enough to make my eyes water was just too unbearable. Those 3 nights of being alone were so hard. I couldn't move easily at all, so she had to be pretty much attached to me. That isn't safe and worried me, so there wasn't much sleep on my part. Whenever I put her down she would scream, so that wasn't working well either. Even though the pack and play was right next to the bed I couldn't move from laying down to putting her in there smoothly so she always woke up. There was one glorious hour that she stayed asleep in there. Then she spit up all over herself and that was the end of that.

Meanwhile, the older kid missed a day of daycare with the fever and went to the doctors to check to see if by any chance there was a possibility of something that we could fix with medicine. Alas, it was just a virus. (One that won't end - he's healthy enough for school now, but still has a juicy cough and isn't learning as quickly as I would like about covering his mouth.) So that meant Daddy was on toddler duty 24/7 pretty much on top of feeling sick and miserable himself.

But then, I got the cough. Just barely, but enough to be painful. At least I didn't get it until a few days later, so I had healed a little more. And then, I got the fever. I had to go to the OB to get checked out since there are few unfortunate things that could cause a fever at this point. While they (I had a whole team - OB that I like, midwife that delivered Carrie, and the head nurse) decided that I had a virus rather than anything else, it involved examining all the repairs for problems or infection so that is back to last week's level of pain. Add the coughing and sneezing and I'm pretty sure I'm worse off than I was a few days ago. Not to mention the little bit of muscle/tissue tone that I had recovered in the recovery area is now gone again. That's super frustrating. My round the clock super doses of advil that they prescribed aren't helping anymore, but the super pain killers make me and the baby really drowsy so I'm trying to dole them out slowly to myself.

I miss my other kid, I miss being able to sit up. I see notes from other girls who had kids right around when I had Carrie and they're already out and about in the world and I can't even get to the bathroom by myself all the time. I'm also disheartened at the fact that the toddler has been coughing for 9 or 10 days already and I'm in this much pain from 24 hours of it. It's hard to see the light at the end of the pain tunnel!! Thank goodness my husband was able to take off more than 2 weeks of work. I don't know what I'd do if I was losing him in less than a week!

Attempting to find something positive:
Last night was the first night I could just sleep, and someone could bring me the baby when she was hungry. That was nice, except for the fact that I had to keep getting up and disinfecting myself and switching areas of the bed. Even though she's obviously been exposed to me, I didn't want her laying on skin and clothes I had just hacked and sneezed all over. But still better than being on my own all night!

Also, my OB is a really cool guy. We started talking about a few random things, and making sure people help me and all that jazz. I mentioned that lots of people want to help, but there are very few things I really need right now. I told him what I could really use is a magical medicine for viruses, someone to magically feed the baby for me, a new body from the belly button down, and 36 hours of straight sleep. I told him that when I ask people for new body parts or something else irrational, they laugh good naturedly, but then they give me chocolate covered strawberries as a peace offering. He said "BE RIGHT BACK!" and left the room. At that point the nurse started laughing and said careful what you wish for. Wouldn't you know, in 30 seconds he was back with a chocolate covered strawberry. Someone had happened to bring them in to work to celebrate the March birthdays. So that made me smile.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Carrie's Birth Story

For the week leading up to her appearance, I was routinely having 2 or 3 painless contractions about 10 minutes apart and then they would stop. This often happened in the middle of the night during my daily insomnia time in the 2-3am hour. Since Derek's contractions got bad at 3:30am I would pay attention to an extent, but they never got closer than 10 minutes apart.

The night she came, I was up at 2 and felt one, so I started reading on my tablet just so I could time the next one. I had a couple 15 minutes apart, a couple 10 minutes apart and then two at 5 minutes apart. I got excited then, but then they stopped. I was still feeling not quite right, but there weren't active contractions. I woke up Mike and said it might be time to call the doctor just to get advice because I wasn't feeling right, but that I wasn't sure. This was just before 3am. While I was listening to the message on the doctor's line about the pager number for the midwife on call, my water broke. More like exploded. Luckily I had been sleeping on a hospital pad for a week or so, so Mike just had to throw it at me and we managed to save the carpet. :) I called the midwife right at 3am and told her and she gave us the go-ahead to come on in.

Meanwhile, Mike threw the bags in the car and grabbed the few things on the list that weren't prepacked like the tablet, chargers, and camera. I knew the contractions could potentially get worse and quicker after the water breaking so I was ready to hit the road and got a little testy when he took time to brush his teeth and put in contacts. ;) Luckily we had some hospital pads and materials in a bag from my friend, so we wrapped me up in that stuff and grabbed another big one for the car and got out of here at 3:15.

I had several more painful contractions in the car that were lasting longer and longer. They were similar to the ones I had in the car last time, so I started thinking about the realistic concern of missing my epidural window. Last time I got to the hospital at 7.5cm and by the time they spent the 90+ minutes giving me fluids and waiting for the epidural guy, they put it in and I was at 9. They told me that was one of the reasons for being such an ineffective pusher which led to him getting stuck which led to the drop in heart rate which led to the vacuum which led to the tear. I spent a lot of time during this pregnancy wondering if I'd have the guts to turn down the epidural if I was faced with the same window to help me push better and avoid everything else.

When we got to the hospital, the girl checking me in was NOT in a hurry at all. I spent a lot more time waiting for her than I did last time. However it was still probably less than 10 minutes, maybe even as little as 5 since we left at 3:15 and it was only 3:30 at this point. They started getting really strong at that point, enough that just breathing through them wasn't working. Finally they took me to triage. I flopped on to the bed right at 3:30.

Then all heck broke loose. The worst contractions are from 7-10cm. That was the stuff I had for between 90min and 2 hours last time while waiting for the epidural. There aren't even words for those. I couldn't make words, just noises. I curled up in a ball on my side like I did last time because that helped last time. But she wouldn't let me stay there because she had to check and see where I was. I remember saying I was going to die - but that's probably a common complaint because she was just like Nope honey you're not but you do have to roll over! I was less than compliant. :) I also realized in my head at that point that I was probably out of time in the pain drugs department. Then she announced with a surprised voice "She's fully dilated, we have to get her to a room now!" My only response was "THERE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DRUGS!" She said "Well, there are not going to be any of those. But there is going to be a baby - soon!"

Thankfully they wheeled me - last time I had to walk to my room. They ran - just like a TV show! The super painful animal contractions stopped and I could totally tell she was on her way. Again, just like TV I said something like I can't not push! She's coming right now! And then they wanted me to move to the other bed. Again, not very compliant. I was like nope how about right here. I have 3 marks on both an arm and leg that appear to be slight bruises from being moved - I imagine that's when I got those.

The next contraction they told me to push. I was still crying about how there were supposed to be drugs. Between the midwife, the two nurses, and Mike, someone finally convinced me that I was going to have to do this but that the pain would be over super quickly since she was so close. The next contraction her head was almost out, then I whined through one about the pain, and the next two pushes she was out - at 3:49.

So last time, the contractions went from annoying to painful to animalistic in 2.5 hours. This time it was about 5-10 minutes.

Having a baby without pain meds is so different. Seriously - the second after she was out I felt crazy good. Not only was I like dude I had a baby with no drugs! I was also feeling this super high of being not pregnant. The end of pregnancy is so horrible and uncomfortable, but the second she was out my heartburn stopped and I just felt - not pregnant. I don't know how else to describe it. My brain was also thinking no epidural, so no tear! I asked if I tore and apparently that's not something that is apparent very quickly.

Then all of a sudden all their faces got very serious and the midwife looked at me and said, we're going to need to wake up the doctor to fix this. Sigh. That's when I really lost it. That mentally hurt more than any of the physical pain, because I still remember last time. It took 2 hours for them to figure out the best plan of attack and then for the doctor to do it. I had a little novicane here and there while they worked, but without the epidural I had to endure a lot of the awfulness of the stitching, too. Again, worse than the birth because it just wouldn't end.

It's been almost a week now, and I'm still in pain. On top of that, the toddler and husband are both sick with a terrible cold. I can't even imagine having an illness that would make me sneeze or cough. Swallowing and sitting both hurt. I had to take her to her pediatrician appointment on Wednesday and sitting in the car and in the office made it even worse. So basically baby and I have been living in the bedroom. Occasionally in the height of his medicine effectiveness hubby showers, changes his clothes, and wears a mask to take her for a little while, and my mom's cold is very minor so she wears a mask to bring us food and spends some time sitting in the room. I did come down for the toddler's speech appointment on Thursday and wore a mask for my own protection from the boys. I miss them! That's the hardest part. I just don't want to get sick. I have a minor cold, my ears and nose are plugged, but I have only coughed 2 times. That was 2 times too many, but if I can just make it another week without getting the illness I'll be that much more healed and will be able to survive.

Luckily she is very mellow - how could she not be? She's been held for most of her life! :) She does like the rainforest mat with its music and lights and she liked the swing at one point too. She hasn't grown to love the buzzy chair yet, but I'm hoping that's next. She doesn't hate it, it just doesn't lull her to sleep like I want it to!

That's all the news from this corner of our world. :)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Books

I had this list on an electronic sticky note on my laptop, and when it was re-cloned it was one of the few files that disappeared. Thanks to the large amount of ebooks I read this year, I was able to recreate the list with the exception of 4! (I knew that I had just logged in book #30 before the computer switch.) This is not the order I read them in, but rather the order I remembered them in (or found in my ebook files).

2014 Books I Can Remember

  1. Upstairs at the White House
  2. Prep
  3. Arranged
  4. Goldfinch
  5. OITNB
  6. Fault in our Stars
  7. King Peggy
  8. The Good Nurse
  9. This Is Where I Leave You
  10. The Husband’s Secret
  11. Divergent
  12. Insurgent
  13. Allegiant
  14. Labor Day
  15. American Wife
  16. Sisterland
  17. Leaving Time (Picoult)
  18. All We Had
  19. Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
  20. Close your Eyes Hold Hands
  21. Gone Girl
  22. Keep Quiet (Scottoline)
  23. Save Me (Scottoline)
  24. Defending Jacob
  25. Visible City
  26. Five Days At Memorial
  27. ?
  28. ?
  29. ?
  30. ?
  31. The First Family Detail
  32. The Selection
  33. The Elite
  34. The One
  35. The Queen (Novella)
  36. The Prince (Novella)
  37. NPH Autobiography

Monday, May 19, 2014

No, Really, The Common Core Isn't That Evil

Yesterday at the grocery store, someone wanted the clerk to price check how much it would be for 2 items that each cost $1.96. The girl couldn't do it. Someone else in line said "Just do 2 dollars times 2, then take away the 8 pennies." I giggled and said that's how my brain did it too.

This caused the original confused person who wanted the checker to do the math to launch into an anti common core rant because "that's not the way math should be taught."

But the person who offered the suggestion was easily older than my parents - so they didn't learn the CCSS way. And I'm in my 30's, so I didn't learn the CCSS way. The confused person was between us in age. The education world goes in cycles. We're currently in a cycle that believes in understanding the "why" behind things ... the previous cycle believed in figuring out the answer with formulas.

Since the last set of people to go through school were taught long division, we know the formula. But not everyone can explain why it works. Can you explain why when you divide fractions you just flip it over and multiply? For some situations, maybe you don't need to understand why things work. But if you know why they work, you'll have the number sense to figure out that maybe you pushed a button wrong on the calculator.

#1 - We'll go through more cycles so don't get yourself all worked up about it

#2 - The federal gov't didn't tell us to teach this. Teachers & ed experts from multiple states wrote them, reviewed them, and they're actually decent if you take the time to look at them. No, seriously. Look at any random language arts standard. Read what they have to do in 12th grade, and then read backwards how they mapped it all the way down to what we can teach a 5 year old to prepare them for high school eventually. It's really interesting how the littlest things like asking questions about a photograph can help them in the long run.

#3 - If you hear someone admit to being a doctor or a lawyer, do you feel the need to tell them how to do their job? Because it's getting to the point where I'm scared to let the general population know I'm a teacher, because immediately they launch into the evil empire that is the CCSS. It's scary.

We'll teach your kids. They'll learn. They don't care how we learned it when we were kids. We can teach them a lot of things. It's no different than teaching them anything else they don't know yet. That's why we went to college. Teaching is different than just talking in the general direction of kids. But when you tell your kids that their teacher is stupid and doesn't know what they're talking about, your kids don't want to learn anymore. How is that helping?

Breathe deep people, it'll all be ok.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Illness That Took Down Our Family

Last Thursday, our friends had the worst day ever and then it ended with their kid getting the tummy bug. As soon as I knew their kid had it, I figured it was in our kid's future because they spend 40 hours a week in the same building. And indeed, 48 hours later our kid got it. And thus began A VERY LONG WEEK THAT IS NOT OVER YET.

(Warning - I'm writing this down now because I've had to recreate this timeline multiple times for multiple health care people. It's way too TMI.)

1 Year Old! (11 days late - why break tradition now?)

Size: 20 pounds and 30 inches. He has gained weight in the last couple months but hasn't gotten longer since his 9 month appointment. (We could have kept the infant car seat those extra 3 months!!)

Clothes: Still firmly in 12 months. Of all the sizes, we have the least amount of 12 month clothes because the girl who generously handed down her kids' wardrobe gave the 12 month bag to another appreciative girl at school, and I bought a couple variety packs of onesies and some pants and called it a day. Luckily it will start getting warmer soon and he'll get to wear the cute short sleeve 12 month ones too. I was worried that if he grew too fast he'd miss those, and he has some great ones!

Eating: We experienced 8 glorious days of having a downright normal kid when it came to food. Starting on Feb 28 (3 days pre birthday) we got the all clear to challenge dairy using a baby serving of yogurt a day as well as allowing him to eat foods that have hidden dairy. We didn't have a complete free for all - no cheese, ice cream, milk, or true hard core dairy things other than yogurt, but it was a whole new world! About 10 days before that, he finally was able to keep whole food down without the gagging and vomiting which is what gave us the all clear to try. Since vomiting and stomach bug style symptoms are what he'd get if he was allergic to dairy, we had to get that under control before the challenge. It's like his body just decided to cooperate one day. He ate, and then ate more...he had likes and dislikes, but was willing to try pretty much everything and just shook his head no instead of puking it everywhere. He was even able to eat almost all the center food for those days, and loved it (especially snack time. He very much has a sweet tooth!) A stomach bug after 8 days derailed everything, but those 8 days were great and give us something to look forward to hopefully soon.

Sleeping: He has totally given up the morning nap at daycare or when things are fun (like grandparents visiting.) When it's just us here at home, he still takes a morning nap and just adjusts his afternoon one to a little later. Regardless of nap times, durations, or quantity, he wants to go to bed around 7 or 7:30.

Physical/Talking: He finally has started physically mimicking us. Not all the time, but we can get him to do some things. He spontaneously does some things like clapping, but won't do them on command. This is apparently part of learning language and is tied into his lack of trying to speak. The food situation may have affected his physical ability to make certain letter sounds, but his language skills are delayed in general, so this is something we're working on. He's very good at going up stairs but hasn't figured out how to come down. One too many face plants on the single step into the family room put that skill on pause for awhile. He still makes lots of D sounds and not much else. He says Da for Daddy when Daddy comes home in the evening or when he's been out of the room for awhile, so we know he does know how to use it appropriately at times, but he also uses it just for random reasons.

Other: He was evaluated by Infants and Toddlers the week before his birthday. Originally they were brought on board to help with the eating issues but since he got those under control he didn't qualify for services in that area. They were the ones that officially ID'd his language delay though and he is getting language services 2x a month. We're starting with teaching him how to mimic which is interesting. I wouldn't have thought that clapping when Mommy claps is a precursor to talking, but it is! I thought it was a physical thing. This also explains why we've been doing certain signs for most of his life and he has yet to react to one or make one himself. If I say "I see Daddy outside! He is home!" it gets no reaction or response whatsoever, but as soon as he hears the key in the lock he goes nuts and gets all excited. That always baffled me, now I know what's going on. Hopefully in the next few months we'll learn some tricks of the trade and get him on his way. This seems to be his MO ... not do something forever and then explode in skills. Fingers crossed!