Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bethany's Birth Story

Wow! It's almost Christmas, Noah is 18 months old, and Bethany is finally here!!! Actually, she's been here for a month now. And it's been fantastic! I love having a baby in the house again! I know there are so many other details about our lives that I could (and should) write about, but today I'm just going to focus on Bethany's birth.

Sunday, November 18th, was my due date. That afternoon, as I sat in church, I had a few contractions that felt different from the usual Braxton Hicks. They were sharper, and they wrapped around my whole lower back and abdomen, instead of coming just in front. They weren't anything to pay serious attention to, so I went on with my day and didn't say anything. About two hours later we were driving out to Tyler's parents' house for Sunday dinner. I noticed the funny contractions again, and mentioned it to Tyler. By the time we got to my in-laws' house, I was starting to feel like this might be the beginning of labor. Not wanting the contractions to go away, we left Noah with Cort and ElLois and took a walk around their neighborhood. It was very cold outside, but I didn't mind. I was excited that our baby might be coming soon, and I sincerely hoped all that walking would encourage my body to keep those contractions coming!

We only stayed at my in-laws' house for about an hour before I decided we needed to go home. The contractions continued all the way home, and I whipped out my handy-dandy iPhone contraction timer app to see how far apart they were. If I remember correctly, they were about 5-7 minutes apart and lasting for about 50 seconds, and definitely different from Braxton-Hicks.

Once we got home, they seemed to slow down a little bit and came a little less regularly. We went to bed and tried to act like everything was normal, just in case nothing came of it after all. Thankfully, normal was not in the cards for us that night! My contractions woke me up at about 1:30 am, and they were definitely getting stronger and more regular. I woke Tyler up to tell him, and he advised me to try to go back to sleep. I tried for another hour and a half to sleep, but was unsuccessful. After timing my contractions for a little while longer, I got up to get a snack. I was starving! I got some applesauce and some toast, but as soon as I ate a little, my appetite went completely away. I started feeling a little nauseous, and my bowels started moving quite efficiently (how's that for putting things delicately, eh?).

I decided that taking a bath would help relax my body and my nerves. I stayed in the tub for an hour or so, timing contractions and reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. At this point, my contractions were about five minutes apart and lasting for about a minute, and I had to start concentrate to relax through each one. I called the midwife at the hospital to tell her what was going on, and she advised us to come within the next hour and a half. I woke Tyler up and told him to start getting things together to to go the hospital. I didn't feel the need to rush, so we took things slowly and calmly.

About 30 minutes later, I realized that we needed to leave for the hospital ASAP! I couldn't talk through contractions anymore, and they had really started to hurt. The center of the pain was right in my lower back, and I asked Tyler to come and push on it when each wave came. We got Noah up and got our bags in the car, and by 6:10 we were on our way to the hospital. It was a 40 minute drive to the hospital, and I wished that we had left an hour before we did. Each contraction was getting harder and harder to handle, and during that car ride, things intensified really quickly. The only way I could keep my body relaxed was to sort of hum and moan through each wave of pressure.

By the time we handed Noah off to my father-in-law in the parking lot and got into the L&D lobby at 7:00, I was really having a hard time. It was all I could do just to remain standing as we checked in. They got us into a room very quickly, and I changed into a long, grey nightshirt that I had picked up at the DI (last time I had to wear the hospital gowns and I HATED it!). The nurse, Cathie, checked me and told me I was 8 centimeters dilated. I felt so relieved and elated! I was terrified that she would tell me I was only at a 4, and even my best-case-scenario thoughts  imgined I was only at a 6. Without saying another word, the nurse zoomed out of the room to see if the midwife was there. Since everyone was in the middle of shift change, the midwife I had spoken to was already gone, and the new midwife was 30 minutes away. Cathie got a resident doctor to be on standby, and she came back to get my IV for antibiotics started (I was strep positive). About five minutes later, I told the nurse I felt like I needed to push. The nurse checked me again, and told me I was at a 9. Since the midwife wasn't there yet, she said I could push "a little" to make me feel better. Any woman who's given birth naturally knows there's no such thing as pushing "a little" when your body is truly ready to push. I tried pushing and my body completely took over, pushing harder and longer than I even imagined possible. Just as the resident doctor was getting ready to come and break my water, the midwife, Martie, ran in and started coaching me through my contractions. Three contractions later, my water broke as I was pushing and the baby really started moving down. Martie and Cathie did such a great job coaching me through this pushing stage. I was not a very calm and quiet laboring mother, that's for sure! The contractions were so very intense that the moaning and humming had long given way to a very loud groan that was closer to yelling than anything else. As I pushed and the pain intensified, my groans started getting higher in pitch, and it took a lot of reminders from the nurse and midwife to keep it in a lower octave. Apparently, when I let my voice get higher, it tightened my vagina. Keeping my voice low allowed my vagina to remain relaxed as the baby descended.

It seemed like the "ring of fire" stage lasted forever. For a few minutes, I felt like I couldn't do it anymore and that the pain would never go away. But Tyler, Cathie, and Martie gave me lots and lots of encouragement, and I kept pushing. After only 20 minutes of pushing, Bethany Elise Bailey emerged at 7:55 am, and Martie put her right on my chest. I couldn't believe it was all over and Bethany was here at last!

That hour after Bethany was born was completely opposite from Noah's first hour. Because there had been some minor complications with Noah's birth, they had to whisk him right away after I had only held him for a few moments. They had cut the cord immediately and started doing his assessments quickly. The room was full of nurses and lights and talking. When Bethany was born, the room was completely devoid of rush and worry. It was just us, Cathie, Martie, and maybe one other nurse. Everything was just as it should be. I held and tried to nurse her for a good 20 minutes before anyone talked of taking her anywhere. When I was good and ready, the nurse did her assessments and gave her right back to us. Everything was calm and peaceful. In fact, the only uncomfortable thing that was going on was the attention Cathie and Martie had to give to my body. Just as with Noah's birth, I came close to hemorraging, and I needed medicine right away to stop it. I also had a 2nd-degree tear which took a while to stitch up. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to be alert, with no epidural to restrict my movements, and to have Tyler and my baby right there with me the whole time.

My recovery was a hundred times better this time around, thanks to the lack of drugs. Last time I felt like a train had hit my body, and it took two full days before I was strong enough to walk around comfortably. This time, I was able to get up and go to the bathroom a few short hours after giving birth, and by that evening I could stand up long enough to shower and make myself look presentable for my parents and Tyler's parents to visit us. I was definitely on a birth-high, and I felt happy, energetic, and pleasant. In short, everything that I had wanted for this birth came true. It was intense, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle with the great support that Tyler, Martie, and Cathie gave me.

 
I love my dear, sweet Bethany. She is such a blessing to our family, and I am excited to see her little personality take flight and grow. I hope I am being a good mother to her and Noah. Motherhood is definitely a challenge, but it is also a joyful privilege. I am so thankful for two healthy, beautiful babies and for my wonderful husband. Family means everything to me, and I feel so blessed by my Father in Heaven because of the beautiful people that share their lives with me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Counting our blessings

Phew. Things are finally starting to get back to normal around here. And I feel so relieved and so glad! To briefly bring the story of our summer up to speed, we finally got an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Primary Children's last week. The doctor was very thorough in making sure that he had every detail of our story correct before offering any judgement, which was a huge comfort to me (I didn't feel like that was the case with our previous gastroenterologist). We came up with a game plan to help Noah start eating better, and Dr. Varier seemed confident that we could easily and quickly get him back on track. They did one more stool test and the results were--negative! The clostridium difficile was completely gone! Tyler and I both felt like a huge weight had fallen off our shoulders when we heard the news. We eagerly turned our attention to implementing the eating strategies that would encourage Noah to have a better relationship with food.

Dr. Varier gave us two different options to try at mealtimes, and the first one didn't work all. Instead of giving him his special Elecare shake with every meal and snack, we tried reserving the drink for snacktimes and just before bedtime, and serving food only at mealtimes. The theory behind this was that by withholding food and drink until specific times, Noah's hunger and thirst would build up enough that by the next meal or snacktime, he would eagerly dive into the food (at mealtime) or drink (at snacktime) and increase his intake. We tried this for four days without seeing any change at all in Noah's willingness to eat. We decided to switch to Plan B.

Plan B was to simply offer Noah his food first, and give him the drink only at the end of a meal or snack. We saw changes almost immediately, and by the end of the third day, Noah had increased his overall intake to about 100 calories per each meal and snack (before it was more like 25 to 50). It has continued to increase every day, and I can't tell you how thankful and happy I am to see him become invested in his meals again!

We've also had to really change our approach to mealtimes. Over the last month, Noah had developed a really negative attitude about meals and snacks, particularly when it came to sitting in his highchair. He became impatient and started throwing tantrums (and food) for no apparent reason--even if he had appeared to be enjoying his meal 30 seconds before. I'm sure many, many moms have experienced this before, and that his behavior is perfectly normal for a toddler his age. That, combined with his little drink "addiction," had been making meal times even more difficult and discouraging. I have a bad habit of getting wound up when Noah's wound up, so I really had to work hard to make myself relax even when Noah starts throwing food and crying. Tyler's much better at it than I am!

Our dietician also said that making mealtimes a social experience for him was important also, and so we've really been trying to sit down and eat with him. It's so tempting to use the few minutes of high-chair-containment to do dishes and sweep and other household tasks, but I've found that sitting down with Noah and giving him direct attention while we're eating has helped his patience increase tremendously. It took a few weeks of doing this regularly before we started seeing results, but I think that our efforts to make mealtimes a relaxing and pleasant social experience, as well as our little plan of giving him his drink at the end of a meal, have really paid off, and will continue to help Noah eat more (and get fatter!).

Now that it seems we've got the most of this mountain behind us, I've had a lot of time to reflect on the changes that are quickly approaching. Our second baby is due on November 18th, and I can't believe how quickly that is coming up! I feel like this pregnancy has flown by so fast. Sometimes I feel like a deer in a headlight when I think about how soon this pregnancy will come to an end, and how much our lives will change. Often, I feel apprehensive about how Noah will feel when he sees me holding her all the time and giving her so much physical attention. I don't want him to feel sad or replaced, but Tyler keeps assuring me that he will adjust and that he'll be just as happy as always. But mostly I just feel happy. I am so excited to meet our little Bethany!

 
I've moved into a bit of a nesting stage lately, and I've spent a lot of time doing housework. I don't think I've ever been so on top of the laundry piles and the dishes in my life! (Don't get too used to it, Tyler, because once this baby's here, that's all going to change...)

I'm also using these next few weeks to just enjoy Noah and Tyler and the little life we lead together. Noah is learning to do and say so many things, and I just feel fascinated whenever I stop to watch him play and talk. He loves wearing his shoes, exploring outside, and laughing. He's also developed a keen interest in finding special places for him to sit down--the bottom of a bookshelf, the bottom of the stairs, and any chair he can manage to climb up on. Once we came across a small plastic chair in a consignment store, and he was so upset when I made him get out of it so we could leave! I think I foresee a special table and chairs under the tree for Noah this Christmas...

 

 
 
I love fall. It's such a perfect time to sit back and just drink the good things of the world into your heart. That's exactly how I intend to spend these next four and a half weeks. As always, thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Battle Rages On

Poor blog...you must feel so neglected! Life has been crazy, to say the very least, since I last posted. And Noah's c. diff is still not gone. The whole world is probably sick of hearing the things I've been posting about Noah's battle over the last three months, but that's ok. I'm mostly writing about all of this for my own benefit, because I think certain experiences are important to remember.

So, to pick up where we left off last time, Noah was on a new medication and accepting the recommended quota of the formula the doctor gave us. We were seeing great results from the medicine, and Noah's appetite started to normalize. He completed the 10-day course of antibiotics, and we started giving him lots of high-quality probiotics to encourage healthy bacteria to grow again. We held our breath as we waited for a week to pass before doing another lab test to see the results. But on the fifth day after we stopped the medication, Noah started having major diarrhea again. Obviously, that nasty bacteria had not been killed. We knew before that there was a good possibility this could happen, so we quickly got a test sent off to the lab to confirm the presence of c. diff and got Noah started on a new round of the antibiotic. This time, we thought, this time for sure we will beat this.

Noah's appetite, in the meantime, took a turn for the worse. I'm not entirely sure if this happened because he felt sick, or if he just fell into a habit, or what--but Noah started to refuse almost all solid food in favor of this formula-smoothie-shake thing--the same shake that had originally saved us from possibly putting Noah on a feeding tube. Does anyone else see a remarkable amount of irony here? In the middle of August, I was depressed and worried about getting Noah to drink enough. By the beginning of September, the situation had turned completely around into a new, scary monster that I could never have predicted--getting Noah to eat. Not just eat more vegetables, or eat enough calorie-dense foods. Just eat. And he wouldn't do it. The formula won out every time, no matter what we put in front of him.

This worried and scared me out of my mind. Just a few short weeks ago, my baby's appetite had been ravenous and eager. Noah's interest in food quickly shrank and shrank, until he was eating, on average, about 5-10 bites of food (translating into roughly 25-50 calories) per meal. Sometimes, it wasn't even that much. I called our dietician for advice, and she reassured me that, through the formula-shakes, he was getting enough calories to sustain his weight and energy. She said that trying to force him to change would not be a healthy choice right now, since he was still sick with c. diff. I felt a little more optimistic that things would start working themselves out after that phone call.

However, things did not start to work out. Noah finished his 2nd round of antibiotics, and we waited a few days before doing another stool test. The fifth day passed, and the sixth, and the seventh--we saw no symptoms of a relapse, and Tyler and I felt so hopeful that this was over. When the results of Noah's test came in, the doctor called to say that, despite the lack of symptoms, the bacteria had not been killed. Noah would need to have another round of antibiotics. This time, though, he said that he wanted to try a different one, an antibiotic originally designed to treat--of all things--traveler's diarrhea. Tyler and I were not convinced that this medicine was going to help our son. In fact, when Tyler picked up the medicine, he asked the doctor, in a very straightforward way, if this medicine would work. The doctor essentially said that he had no idea, and that he was just having us try it because he didn't know what else to do.

We knew, at that point, that it was time to find another doctor. I called Primary Children's Hospital to get us an appointment with one of their gastroenterologists, only to find that they were very booked out and that the best I could do was set an appointment for November and put Noah's name on a wait list, in case there was a cancellation. That was two weeks ago. We're still waiting. But our pediatrician is using her influence to help us get in to Primary's sooner, and I have high hopes that we will be able to get in on Thursday or Friday.

Noah became ill with c. difficile nearly three and a half months ago. It was diagnosed two months ago. We've been through 4 different medications. Noah has not eaten a normal-sized meal for a full month. We've been to the emergency room, we've been threatened with feeding tubes, we've had to buy ridiculously expensive formula to whiz into his smoothies, and we're still waiting for the help we need to end this, once and for all. Most of the time, I try to pretend that all of this is "normal": I make the smoothies, I call the doctor, I take him in for lab tests, I shove medicine that probably won't work down his throat 4 times a day as he squirms and cries, I put miniscule amounts of food on his plate and, more often than not, wash 50% of it down the drain. And then, some nights, I stop long enough to think about it, and a very loud voice in my head yells that this is NOT normal, my little boy is NOT healthy, this is NOT ok--and I can't help but break down. And the only way I can pull myself back together is to put the facade back up and tell myself that this, for now, must be normal. It has to be.

My only solace, through all of the crazy, unforseeable twists and turns our lives have taken over the last three months, is that Noah, bless his heart, isn't old enough to be distressed by any of this. He has as much energy, as many smiles, as much laughter, as much intelligence and playfulness as ever. This helps my ability to be happy and optimistic tremendously.


The next time I post, I very much hope that it will be to share the good news of Noah's full recovery. The Lord has blessed us in many ways, especially in the wondefully supportive family and friends He's given us, and I have faith that our "normal" will be back to what it should be very soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Master, the Tempest is Raging

Master, the tempest is raging,
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o'ershadowed with blackness,
No shelter nor help is nigh.

After Noah's diagnosis with c. difficile a week and a half ago, we've tried three seperate medications. The first one, Flagyll, made him horribly sick, and he wasn't able to hold anything down all day. My poor baby laid on the couch almost all day with me, refusing to engage in even the most gentle play, refusing even Pedialyte and popsicles. I'd never seen him like that before, and before the day was out, I knew he could not continue on this medication. So our doctor called in another prescription, one that is not commonly successful with treating c. diff but much gentler on the body. The vomiting stopped, but the new medication still affected his appetite enough that he showed no interest in eating all his familiar, favorite foods. The only food we could consistently get him to eat was Cheerios, and the only drink he would readily accept was water. Further, the medication did not produce any results, even after a week of trying it.

When our pediatrician heard my report about his appetite, she insisted that we get him eating some higher-calorie foods, worried that the lack of nutrition would impede his recovery. I tried pushing him to eat some of his favorite fatty foods--avacados, chocolate rice milk mixed with coconut cream, and wheat bread spread with sunbutter. Whenever we presented these foods to him, he would mostly pick a little at them and then reject them completely. All our coaxing and all the healthy options we tried to present him with only won out about half of the time. He won the other half, and he got his Cheerios.

We got his medication switched again, and this time we started seeing results almost instantly. His appetite improved, though he was still extremely picky and resistant to the higher-calorie foods. Our pediatrician became worried enough that she decided to call the gastroenterologist himself, and they decided that we should try Elecare and Neocate, two formulas designed for children who have suffered severe trauma to their digestive system and are unable to process food correctly. On the plus side, these drinks are high-calorie and easy to digest. On the downside, they taste awful, despite the manufacturer's effort to make them more palatable with flavors such as tropical and chocolate.

So I went to the doctor's office on Tuesday to pick up a bunch of samples of this formula. While I was there, they basically told me that I needed to get Noah to drink 20 ounces of this formula daily, or else we would need to put him on a feeding tube. They gave us a rough deadline of two days to meet this goal. Suddenly, the main issues at stake changed from Noah's battle with c. difficile to Noah's failure to eat enough and gain weight.

I left their office with a heavy, worried heart. Noah doesn't even drink that much water--his current beverage of choice--on a daily basis. And lately he's become more and more resistant to accepting new drinks, even if he likes the flavor well enough. How was I supposed to get him to drink 20 ounces of some nasty, chalky formula?

However, the thought of putting him on a feeding tube scared me to death. So we started giving it our best shot. I offered him the drinks every chance I got, and always kept his cup close at hand. We tried buying new cups, hoping that the novelty would help him accept the drink. We even tried mixing the formula in a very thick, concentrated amount and giving it to him via syringe. Noah met each new effort with the most stubborn resistance. At best, he would take sips of the beverage here and there, and then lose interest completely. He began resisting the syringe violently, even when it was the new medicine, which he happened to like. Meanwhile, our two days were flying out from under us.


Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep
When each moment so madly is threat'ning
A grave in the angry deep?

Tyler took the day off work yesterday to give me a break, and I enjoyed a quiet afternoon in Salt Lake shopping and trying not to think about the imminence of Noah having a feeding tube. I'd hoped that Tyler could do a better job of convincing Noah to drink while I was away, but when I came home, I found that nothing had improved.

I won't try describing the emotional journey I went through last night. Putting your child on a feeding tube is far from the end of the world, but when you start thinking about all the implications--the discomfort it causes the child, the daunting task of learning to put it in and take it out, weaning the child off of it when it is no longer needed--it becomes a very scary thing. The more Tyler and I thought about the prospect, the more we noticed the gaps in our doctors' reasoning behind the feeding tube, and the more we realized that they might not have enough information to make this decision correctly. We knew that before we put Noah on a feeding tube, we needed to sit down with our doctors and have them explain all their reasons for thinking it is necessary, and we needed to be convinced that they were right. If they couldn't convince us, then we would seek another doctor's opinion. I decided that if Noah hadn't magically decided to love drinking the stuff by tomorrow afternoon, I would call and set an appointment to discuss our questions with our doctor.

As I tried to go to sleep, exhausted from a lot of crying and worrying, I thought about the formula, thought about all our prayers and efforts to get him to drink it. I said in my mind to Heavenly Father, "There is nothing more that I can do. I've tried everything I can think of. We need you to take over." 

Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled.
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o'er my sinking soul.
And I perish! I perish! dear Master.
Oh, hasten and take control!

This morning, before I even got out of bed, I knew that there was one more possibility. I remembered that there used to be another drink that Noah would chug down as eagerly as if it were water, something I hadn't made in a long time. Before Noah got sick with c. difficile, I used to make him "green drinks," smoothies made out of spinach leaves, bananas, juice concentrate, ice, and water. I stopped because I was worried that the juice concentrate would make the diarrhea worse. However, I thought that maybe if I tried mixing up the formula in the style of a green smoothie, he might accept it more readily.

We didn't have spinach, but we had the rest of the ingredients. I dumped a bunch of formula in the blender cup with a banana and lots of juice concentrate. I whizzed it up and poured it in Noah's cup at breakfast. He didn't touch it, didn't show any interest in trying it whatsoever. I felt my hope slowly evaporating as Tyler left for work.

As soon as the door shut behind him, Noah realized that the cup was there. He picked it up and drank. He drank for a long time. He put it down, and then picked it up to drink some more. I could see that several ounces were gone from his cup, gone within a matter of seconds. I could hardly believe my eyes--yesterday, convincing Noah to drink that much would take an entire afternoon.

His interest in the drink, though sporadic, was enough that he had finished the entire cup by noon. I quickly whizzed up another batch and offered it to him before putting him down for his nap. This brings us to the current moment--Noah is still napping, and I have a newfound hope. He's already had a quarter of the formula that he needs for today, according to the doctor's recommendations. Again, this is much, much more than every bit of formula that he has drunk willingly over the last two days put together. I feel optimistic that we can get him to drink at least two more cupfuls, which will put us close to that 20 ounce mark.

Even if that doesn't happen, and even if our doctors are still pushing for a feeding tube, I feel much better about things now. I feel like my idea about the green smoothie was a gift from heaven, a merciful gift that is the start of everything really getting better. I feel calmer with the realization that it is perfectly within our rights as parents to ask to sit down with our doctors and make sure they have all the information they need to really make a good judgement about this issue, and that we have all the information we need to feel that their judgement is, indeed, correct. This has been an exhausting, scary process, and it's not over yet. But the tempest is, at least for now, gone.

Master, the terror is over.
The elements sweetly rest.
Earth's sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven's within my breast.
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more,
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor,
And rest on the blissful shore.

The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-toss'd sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No water can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will:
Peace, peace, be still.

Master, the Tempest is Raging:
written by Mary Ann Baker,
as found in the LDS hymnbook.


Monday, August 6, 2012

The night is darkest just before the dawn

Before I launch in to today's story, let me just say that I'm not writing about all of these things because I want to be a Sally Sob Story. A big part of my reason for writing this blog is to be better at journaling. These last few weeks have been difficult, and I've learned a lot as a result. I'm writing this stuff down partly so that I can remember it and continue to learn from it. Thanks for putting up with me!

So, to start where we left off last time: Noah's wheat allergy test came back negative!!!! His reaction to wheat on the blood test was only slightly elevated--definitely not enough to be causing all those poopy diapers, and not enough to start buying gluten-free bread. Naturally, I was relieved that he doesn't have a wheat allergy, but that still left us with no answers about what was making Noah's body so sick.

The next step that our pediatrician advised us to take was to see a gastroenterologist. I took the first available appointment, and on Thursday morning I got both of us up early and drove in to Salt Lake to see what they would have to say. I met with their nurse practitioner, and we discussed the possibility of Celiac Disease based on certain things that made him a candidate. She ordered a blood test for it, but she thought that a bacteria called Clostridium Difficile (c. diff) was more likely to be responsible, and ordered a test for that as well. All of the antibiotics that Noah took for his ear infections killed all the good bacteria and thereby gave this c. diff. bacteria--normally dormant in most people--an opportunity to grow, eventually growing enough to cause this nasty diarrhea that has been plaguing Noah for over a month now. So we went to their lab, got the tests done, and went home to wait for the results to come on Monday.

As if all of this--the blood tests, the possibility of Celiac disease, bad diaper rashes, and Noah's increasingly poor and picky appetite--weren't wreaking enough emotional havoc in our lives, Noah had a rare complication from the month of constant diarrhea on Sunday morning. I was alone with Noah when it started, and I had no idea what to do about it. I'm not going to go into details here, because it really was an unpleasant business. All I'm going to say is that it was NOT life-threatening (thank goodness), but it was still scary, it put Noah in a lot of pain, and it was all very upsetting. After trying to handle it myself (with the help of my mom and mother-in-law over the phone--thanks, moms!), I called Tyler home from his church meetings and started trying to decide how we were going to make this better. It was evident that we couldn't deal with this problem on our own, but it also happened to be Sunday--a day that our normal pediatricians' offices aren't open. And, from our internet research about this particular issue, it appeared to be rare enough that your average pediatric Instacare wouldn't know how to handle it. We decided to give the Kid's Instacare a try anyway, and drove 40 minutes in order to get to a location that opened an hour sooner than our local one. Although the nice nurses and doctors at the Instacare recognized that this problem was not life-threatening, they didn't know how to handle it and told us that we either needed to take him to the ER at Primary Children's, or wait until our normal doctor's offices opened on Monday.

We didn't want Noah to have to suffer any longer, so we decided to go to the ER. Not only did they show us how to handle the problem and gave us pain meds to make it easier on Noah, they also had the results of the c. diff test, and told us that it was positive. The gastroenterologist on call--who also happened to be from the same office as the gastro nurse practitioner we saw last week--gave us the prescription we needed to start treating the c. diff, and since the hospital's pharmacy was open on Sunday, we were able to fill it right away and start giving it to him.

Even though it took a trip to the ER to get it, I felt very relieved that we finally know what's been causing Noah's illness a day early, and that we could get the medicine to treat it right away. A phone call to the gastroenterologist's office this morning confirmed that he does not have Celiac disease, and that it's just this nasty, stubborn bacteria that's making him sick.

Unfortunately, things still aren't simple and easy. This c. diff bacteria is very hard to get rid of, so Noah's road to perfect health may be long, and we might need to try several medications before we get there. The medicine that Noah is currently taking makes him nauseous, and while I'm hoping that his body will adjust to it and that the vomiting won't reach a severe level, we might need an anti-nausea medication to counter it.

Despite the many, many roadblocks we've encountered in this process, I'm so glad that we finally have answers. We know why this illness started, we know how to treat it and how to prevent it in the future, we know that he is not allergic to wheat and that he does not have Celiac Disease. Most of all, we know that he will soon be back to his normal, healthy self very soon.

Especially over this last weekend, I've been reflecting on the steep, steep learning-curve the first year of my motherhood has given me. I've become acquainted with the worlds of ear-infections and food allergies. I've learned creative ways to help pack some pounds on an underweight child who is allergic to dairy. I've learned the importance of taking a good probiotic after taking antibiotics for a long time (VERY important, folks!). I've learned that I can deal with things I never thought I could handle--things I never wanted to handle.

More importantly, I've learned how to enjoy my son. I've found a wealth of joy in the way he wrinkles his nose and sets his lips, the way he cuddles with stuffed animals and romps right before bedtime, the way he loves to look at books and carry my purses around. My child's vitality and curiosity and smiles enrich my life and causes me to say that I am truly blessed. I thank the Lord every day for a life so full of joy and love.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I wish I could say things were better

I posted a few weeks ago about how Noah has been having digestion issues. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that I've been changing an average of 6-10 poopy diapers A DAY. After a lot of troubleshooting, a round of expensive medication, two bottles of diaper rash cream, and multiple conversations with our pediatrician, dietician, allergist, and my mother-in-law (a NP), nothing has changed. It's been over a full month since this started, and we are getting desperate for an answer.

Fortunately for Noah, a bad diaper rash marks the extent of his suffering--to all outside appearances, he's a perfectly healthy, normal little boy. This is the one good spot I can be thankful for during this whole experience--that he hasn't felt or appeared to be sick. His oblivious cheerfulness makes everything easier to handle.

After trying all of the normal solutions, it's time to move into deeper testing. Today, we're going in to have his blood tested for wheat and corn allergies. We tested a few months ago for dairy, eggs, and peanuts, but we didn't test for wheat and corn since I had not yet seen any signs of a problem with these foods. Noah's been eating things like bread and graham crackers since he was 6 months old, and this is the first time I've ever suspected that there might be a problem with it. Now that this issue has gone on so long, though, I can't think of anything else it could be.

The thought that Noah is probably allergic to wheat has been extremely hard for me to handle. Is it silly to be so worried about this? I mean, it's just food, right? It's not like death or war or a hurricane or cancer. And there are so many resources for people with allergies today. Being allergic to major food staples like dairy, eggs, and wheat doesn't mean the same thing that it did for people 20 years ago. Alternative foods and ingredients are very accessible today, and I'm grateful for that.

Nevertheless, it's been really hard for me to put a positive spin on this. How is Noah going to feel, as he gets older, when he sees other people enjoying birthday cake and sandwiches and pasta and McDonald's Happy Meals and pizza and ice cream? How hard will it be to teach him not to eat these foods when he's out on his own? How can I teach him that things like this don't matter, when it matters so ridiculously much to me?

I've only been able to come up with three answers so far: First, I need to find a way to let go of it all. I LOVE cookies, and whole wheat bread, and french toast, and breadsticks, and pizza, and spaghetti. But in order for me to emotionally handle the fact that Noah can't have these things in conventional forms, I need to change my attitude about them. Spaghetti can be just as yummy with rice noodles. Wheat-free, egg-free, dairy-free cookies and brownies can be just as delectable and enjoyable. And skipping out on the cake and ice cream at family birthday parties doesn't have to take all the fun out of it. In order to raise a child who is not emotionally upset by all the things he can't have, I need to find a way to erase my own emotional attachments.

Second, I need to stop thinking about all the things Noah can't have and focus on the things he can have. Ice cream made with coconut milk, for example. Corn chips and guacamole. Otter Pops. Potato chips. Popcorn. Maybe whenever I'm tempted to list all the can'ts, I should habitually list all of the cans instead.

Third, I need to remember that the important thing here is that Noah is healthy and happy. As long as he doesn't eat these few foods, he will be perfectly healthy. And as long as he is surrounded by loving family, friends, and given lots of opportunties to expore and learn and play, he will be perfectly happy.

Well, that's all I have time for right now. There's another poopy diaper to change. And then it's off to the hospital to get this blood test done. And even though I've started to be ok with another allergy, I'm still praying and hoping and crossing my fingers that everything turns out negative!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Crazy Preggo Dreams

For the first time in my life, I think I've been having what some people might call a "recurring dream." It doesn't happen every night, and the details aren't always the same, but the pattern and the message is. I've had the dream about five times now, spread out over the course of my pregnancy. It's rather bizarre!

Since half of the reason why I'm writing this blog is for journaling purposes, I wanted to write about this dream mostly for my own sake--so I hope I don't wierd anyone out too much!

The dream usually starts out with me going into active labor. I go to the hospital--which always looks different with each new dream--and things get going. Strangely, I never remember the actual birth. My dream always skips that part, and the next thing I know, it's the next day, and I have no clue how the actual birth went. However, my body always feels fantastic, even though I've just given birth, and I start to do crazy things--like leave the hospital to run races with my sister-in-law or go to work. One time I gave birth the day before Thanksgiving (that's the week I'm actually due) and decided it would be a good idea to go to RC Willey and buy a TV the next day. I stood in the customer service line for an hour and a half, and I felt so proud of the fact that you would never know that I had just pushed a human being out of my body.

This time, I delivered my baby via C-section, at 20 weeks along (which is about where I'm at right now). In real life, I am terrified of having a c-section! I mean, I know I would survive if I ever had to have one, but I am still quite scared of the whole thing. But in my dream, I was perfectly calm and happy with it. I knew exactly why we needed the surgery, and I agreed that it was necessary. I remember up to the point where they were making the incision, and then--nothing. The next thing I remember is seeing our baby girl, dressed in adorable pink clothes and looking like she was perfectly healthy and fat, even though she was 20 weeks premature.

Again, even though I had just had a major surgery, I felt fabulous! I went back to work at my old job the next day, and I did a great job teaching and interacting with the kids. No one even asked where my baby belly went. I could feel the healing wound, but it didn't hurt at all.

By the end of the day, the memory of yesterday's events finally impact me. I just gave birth. I have a brand new baby at home, which I haven't seen all day. My body just went through a major surgery. Why am I working? I don't belong here, doing busy-people things. I belong at home, resting and bonding with my newborn. Just because my body feels energetic and carefree doesn't mean that I don't need to be doing new-mommy things. I need to go home to my baby.

These dreams always end that way--with the realization that, even though my body feels perfect and full of energy, I still need to be home, resting and taking care of the new child in my life.

I wonder what my subconscious is telling me here. Do I just want a positive birth and after-birth experience so badly that I'm creating this scenario over and over again when I sleep? Or is there a deeper meaning somewhere?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

And mama bear says, "GRRRR!"

For those of you who don't want to listen to me grumble and complain for the next 500 words or so, here's a nice little summary of what I'm saying today: grrrrrrrrrr.

Let's start with the more trivial matters of my disgruntledness. I know I should be extremely grateful for the rain that is drizzling outside my window--heaven knows our poor fire-stricken state needs it! But remember my newly remade goals to go walking and do yoga and all that healthy exercise-stuff? Well, I had planned to go on a walk this morning. Of course I can most likely go on a walk later today, but I was really looking forward to starting my day with that burst of energy that only a fresh, sunny morning and a brisk, long walk can give you. Oh well. Better luck tomorrow, yes?

Next: I've been waiting for a dietician to call me for over a week now. Each day that passes, I feel more and more anxious about getting an appointment for Noah with them as soon as possible. With his egg, milk, and peanut allergies, it has been very challenging for me to find ways to give him enough protein and fat to help his little body grow. As a result, he has not gained any weight for the last 6 months. Calcium intake is also a problem, especially since Noah is now fully weaned. So at his 12 month appointment, our nurse practitioner said she would get in touch with this dietician, who would then contact me with information about setting up an appointment.

That was on Tuesday last week. Since that time, Noah has started having a lot of--ahem--bowel problems that are very worrisome. I'm positive they are connected to his diet--he shows no signs of sickness other than this one problem--so I've been doing my best to change it accordingly while waiting for help from this dietician. I've been giving him lots of applesauce, bananas, and bread for most of the last few days (I haven't stuck 100% to this diet, I admit. Like yesterday we went to a fun July 4th BBQ, and I admit to feeding him watermelon and grapes. And some steak.)

This morning, when it became evident that these efforts were not enough, I realized that I needed to look at the other sources of fiber he's been getting. Like the refried beans he had as part of his dinner a few days ago. And my homemade wheat bread. And, heck, don't apples and bananas have fiber in them, too?

So in a last-ditch effort to try and stop this diarrhea on my own, I'm making white bread this morning. I can't think of anything else I can change that will decrease his fiber intake without completely depriving him of the other nutrients he needs.

More fat, not less? Without any dairy and eggs? Less fiber, not more? White bread, not wheat? This is so confusing and backwards to everything I know about nutrition, and it just seems to get worse. I tried calling our NP to see if she could give the dietician another call to remind them that I'm still waiting for them to call me (I would call them on my own, but our NP seemed to want to do it this way), but she won't be in the office until Monday. So here I am, stuck in limbo, painted in a corner with a son whose poor body needs better nutrition than I currently know how to give him. Again I say: grrrrrrr!

Of course I haven't given up on solving this thing on my own. I'll keep trying to find the information I need until this dietician remembers that my son's not getting any fatter over here. It would be impossible for me to just sit on my hands and wait helplessly.

Sorry for the sob story. I mostly wrote about this stuff just to see if it made me feel better--which it has. I feel much less grouchy now that I've put it in writing. So don't worry too much about me. Things will be ok, and the rest of this day will be better than the first half of it has been. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!

This morning Noah invented a funny game while I was reading. He got a soft fleece blanket out and--for reasons unknown to me--tossed it over his shoulder and decided it would be fun to drag it around. He's still quite wobbly when he walks, and having to adjust his balance to accomodate the trailing blanket didn't make it much easier for him. So about every ten seconds or so he would fall down in a little heap on the floor, and he'd immediately try to get back up. He usually had to try two or three times before he successfully got on his feet again, and then he'd be off with his blanket, walking as fast as he could, trying to see how far he could make it before stumbling.

The way he was dragging this blanket around was so precious and very funny. As I watched this little play of his, I wondered if he might get frustrated from falling down so often. But his delight only seemed to increase with the frequency of his falls. At first it was only a few smiles, but soon he started giggling each time it happened. This made me laugh, too--which made him laugh even more.

There's nothing quite so entertaining as watching this kid learn how to play on his own. Of course, the times we play together are fun as well--but it has been quite the experience for me to watch him explore his world and initiate little games like this entirely on his own.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Monday

It's a new week, with new goals, projects, and one of my favorite holidays to look forward to!

I went to the craft store on Saturday to get some inspiration for the things I'm going to make for Baby Girl over the next few months. To my delight, I found some lovely fabric that will be perfect for a play mat! I bought the first piece with a coupon, and I'm waiting for more 40-50% off coupons to come in the mail before I buy the other pieces. I'm excited to start working on it!

I am determined to get back on my exercise goals again! Going on 30-45 minute walks at least 3 times and doing yoga 3 times a week are my main goals. I also want to try some of these exercises that I found on Pinterest that are supposed to help your body support and heal the seperated abdominal muscles during and after pregnancy.

As I write this, here is what I'm hearing in the back of my head: "Do the baby vorkout! Make those babies gleeful! Hallo! Who are you? Get avay! I don't like vat you say!" One of the best movie moments ever. Anybody recognize this? :D

Well, I think that's all I have to say for today. Time to get Noah up from his nap...



Saturday, June 30, 2012

Brought to you by India

Do you ever do searches on google just because you feel like browsing the web? When you really want to have important, interesting things to look up and find, but nothing happens to be on your list at the time, so you start doing random searches until the perfectly important and interesting search suggests itself?


Well, I freely admit to doing that sometimes. The other day, for example. It was when I was in the midst of my preggo "blahs." Naturally, I did a search on "things to do while pregnant," since that was the most pressing thing I could think of at that moment. (Not that I really needed suggestions of things to do, especially not ones you'd get from your standard whattoexpect.com article. They all say pretty much the same thing: go for walks, buy some cute maternity clothes, get a haircut, take one last baby-free vacation, try yoga, enjoy your sleep while you can.)


Sure enough, my search turned up the standard, expected results from your standard, expected websites. And then I happened across this article from parentingnation.in. I didn't realize that I was clicking on an Indian webpage at the time--usually nationality doesn't make much difference in an article's content, unless it's not in English. This one was in English, all right...with a few twists! Allow me to share a few gems from India with you!


{Before I go on, please let me explain that I am wholly supportive of people who are trying their best to learn English. I promise I'm not making fun of this writer or other ESL speakers--I just find the ways they use the English language, especially in writing, to be very amusing sometimes. I actually think the ideas behind this author's words are quite good and intelligent, as far as standard pregnancy articles go. And I'm sure if I wrote an article in a new language, my own work would be as full of funny misusages, which would probaby give a native speaker a good laugh as well!}


Shopping: "Shopping is one of the very favorite activities of women. She gets excited by hearing to go for shopping." {lol!}


Change your outlook: "You might become demoralize from your outlook as during pregnancy you gain some weight, your stomach gets enlarge...You should not get unconfident as all women have to face such situation during pregnancy {read: suck it up!}....You should try to look yourself confident by keeping yourself up-to-date...Select your dressing such that it give you confident look." {Next time I go shopping, I'll have that phrase in my head--"select your dressing..."}


Arrange small trip or picnic: "During your pregnancy, in the second trimester of pregnancy, you can arrange small trip or a one day picnic to your nearby place. Take advice of your doctor for traveling..Don’t forget to take all your medicine first. When you go outside it will give you more fun and you can enjoy it. Take some good friends together. Take some good snaps to attach in your scrap book. Do not arrange any trip or picnic during the last weeks of your pregnancy."


{The best for last...}


Exercise: "It will give you fresh feeling. During early morning, you can feel more fresh air and it will make your mood fine." {I laughed out loud at that one!!}


I hope you giggled a little bit, too! Again, I really do admire this person's courage at writing in a new language...but you have to admit, it is at least a little bit funny! :)


Well, my time for blogging is up. I haven't decided if I'm going to write a blog post every Sunday as well, so we'll see when we get to it! Ta!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Catching up

Hello, blog world. It's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry for neglecting you. Lots has been going on in the Bailey house. Noah turned one, and his birthday party was fabulous! It was a hectic, crazy experience putting together his party (of course), but it was well worth it!



On Tuesday this last week we had our 20 week ultrasound. Baby #2 is a girl!!!! I think we are going to name her Bethany. We are so excited!


I can't believe that I am already halfway through this pregnancy! Baby looks perfectly healthy, and my body feels great! Despite our good fortune, though, I must admit that I've got a mild case of the pregnancy "blahs."  I've gotten myself mentally geared up for labor by reviewing my Hypnobirthing book and watching one or two birth documentaries on Netflix. I've planned out how we will change the setup of Noah's room to accomodate his little sister. I made a "days to delivery" countdown on our Google homepage. I've even picked out the clothes I want to buy to wear while in the hospital after delivery (see below). Doesn't that look SO comfy?

Pinned Image
{Robe: $45 from Gap, Nursing cami: $17 from Old Navy, Yoga pants: $22 from Old Navy, Long sleeve t-shirt: $5 from Old Navy, Jersey Lounge pants: $15 from Old Navy, Slippers: $23 from swell.com}


It's all I can do to keep myself from packing a hospital bag! Can't I just hit fast forward for the next 20 weeks? Of course, I can't. However, I think I've found a way to make it feel like I can! But first, a confession:

I have been frightfully lazy at home lately! It's mostly because I've been so darn busy running between doctor's appointments and birthdays and shopping and helping with my brother's Eagle Scout project and going to book discussions over the last week. Our family is NOT used to having a busy schedule at all right now! Life is usually fairly quiet and easy-going in our house. So when we are busy with lots of external, going-out things, I tend to feel entitled to spend the rest of my time doing absolutely nothing. This wouldn't be a problem if the end of the busy-ness corresponded with the end of my do-nothingness. Most often, though, this is very much not the case. Usually I continue in my lazy, lounging ways for a while longer, until I get really, very sick of it.

This is just what has happened this week. And thus it is that a case of the pregnancy blahs was born in our house. As I was thinking about how very "blah" I felt about waiting for 20 more weeks for this baby to be born, something clicked. I realized that when I was motivated to do lots of fun/healthy/ productive things--like going on walks, doing some yoga, drinking smoothies, reading, and keeping the house (semi) clean and presentable, days and weeks tend to go a lot faster. DUH!

Being the amazing listmaker/planner that I am (note: planning is one thing while carrying it out is something entirely different--I'm only claiming skills in the planning area!), I thought it would be fun to try and motivate myself to stay busy by writing down all the things I want to do before Baby Bethany arrives, assigning a rough date for when I wanted to do them, and putting them in a special Google calendar. Genius!

Here are some of the things I put on my little calendar:
July: Make a ribbon-tag softie and a play mat for Bethany
August: Take nice family pictures, make Bethany's bedding, and go camping for a weekend with just Tyler.
September: Go to my favorite semi-annual consignment sale and buy lots of cute girl clothes for super cheap prices! Also, buy this pattern for a front/back baby carrier and make it.
October: Sew Bethany's Christmas stocking, stock up the freezer with lots of casseroles and soups, and get a manicure and pedicure!
First week of November: Wash and fold all of Bethany's blankets and clothes.
Second week of November: Stay calm. Try not to panic. Kill time by re-reading all the Harry Potter books.
Third-Fourth week of November: It's showtime!

Along with these fun activities, I've also made goals to go walking and do some yoga three times each week, eat healthy, drink raspberry leaf tea, and write a blog post every day. I think this will keep me pretty busy! :)

Well, that's my plan for alleviating my pregnancy blahs. Do you have any ideas to add to the list? 

Until tomorrow-
Sarah 






Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ear infections, Food, and Sharing an Apple

Some crazy things have been happening these last two weeks. I'm officially in my second trimester (huzzah!) and I'm back to feeling pretty human.

I can't believe that Noah will be turning one in just a few weeks! My first year of being a mother has been everything I wanted and more. Noah has taught me so much about myself, and I am endlessly grateful to be his mom. This post will be mostly about him--and I'm afraid it's not going to be very sunny and happy. I'll probably sound like a doom-and-gloom monster, but I promise to put a bit of sunshine in at the end that will make things seem a little better.

We finally got Noah in to see an ENT two weeks ago, and scheduled his ear tube surgery for this Friday. I felt so relieved when we got it on the calendar. He's been through 7 ear infections so far (yikes, right?), and I know the fluid is blocking his hearing and inhibiting his balance. Since January, each time he wakes up in the middle of the night and cries, or tugs his ear, or is fussier than normal, my automatic thought has always been, "He might have another ear infection, I'd better take him to the doctor." It will be so nice not to have to worry about that, at least for a few years. I've been really looking forward to see if any dramatic improvements in his speech or his walking (he's soooo close!) occur. But the closer we get to the surgery, the more mixed my feelings become. I can't help thinking of him being alone in a room full of strange doctors, and feeling worried that he'll cry and be afraid. And, even though this is the most commonly performed surgery for children, and the risks are very low, my mind sometimes goes to that scary place of "what ifs." What if he has some freak reaction to the drugs they give him? What if something goes wrong and he loses his hearing completely? I'm going to stop myself right there, before I start bawling....

Mostly, though, I still have the positive feelings about the surgery that I did before. I'm sure everything will be fine, and Noah will be happy as a clam by Sunday.

On another medical side of Noah's life, we had his blood tested for allergies. He first saw an allergist in November, because he had a nasty skin rash that we thought might be caused by a food allergy (it turned out to be nothing but a skin rash that went away with hydrocortisone cream). We did a simple skin test at the allergist's office, and peanuts was the only thing he reacted to. Knowing that skin tests were only 50% accurate, and having grown up with a brother allergic to peanut butter, I really wasn't worried about it. He asked that we come back in about 6 months and have a blood test done, to confirm the peanut allergy.

Fast forward two months later. I tried feeding him yogurt a few times, and he started getting red patches and small hives where it had touched his skin. Though the patches went away an hour after touching the yogurt, we thought it was likely that he was allergic. A similar thing happened when I fed him scrambled eggs. No eggs, cheese, yogurt, or milk has touched him since then. Our pediatrician comforted us with the knowledge that most babies outgrow these allergies quickly.

Last week we had our follow-up appointment with the allergist, as well as his blood test. We tested for eggs, milk, peanuts, and soy. As luck would have it, all but the soy came back positive. The eggs were a "definitely yes" allergy, and the milk and peanuts were in the "high grey zone," meaning that he will probably grow out of it. I had quite a melt-down after the nurse called with the test results. Since Noah's switched from eating purees to finger foods, he's become quite picky. Right now, his diet consists of canned peaches, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, homemade pancakes with fruit and veggie purees hidden in them, deli meat, and graham crackers. Even though we offer him other foods quite often, he'll usually refuse anything but the foods mentioned above--and sometimes he'll refuse even those! His weight gain has completely stopped since he hit six months, though he is growing taller all the time. At 16 pounds and 28-ish inches, he is one long, skinny baby. How do you put fat on a baby if the only foods he'll eat with even a trace of fat is deli meat??? I try to use olive oil whenever I can, but those occasions don't arise that often. Though the test results didn't really change his current diet because we were already avoiding those foods anyway, it killed any hope that I had of adding those foods back in so that he can have more variety, as well as fattier foods.

Weaning poses another problem. Up until now, Noah has been 100% breastfed (not counting when the stupid NICU nurses made us supplement Noah with formula the day after he was born...but that's another story). But with baby #2 causing changes all over my body, it is becoming increasingly painful to nurse, and it seems like my milk supply is getting lower and lower. Most families have no problem switching to formula, but I can't bring myself to do that. Please don't think that I'm judging parents who give their babies formula--it's a choice that families make based on their own personal needs, and that's great. My siblings and I were fed formula, and we are all healthy and happy. But I looked at the ingredients on the soy-based formula the other day, and it almost made me sick. The first two ingredients in every single brand are corn syrup solids and sugar. I can't bring myself to give that to my baby after giving him healthy, wholesome, no-sugar-added breastmilk for nearly a year. I feel like he deserves something better. So I started searching for alternatives. My pediatrician originally suggested soy milk, almond milk, and rice milk. However, I am not very satisfied with their nutritional value. I know that these work for a lot of healthy kids who are allergic to dairy, but I don't think they will work for Noah just now. He needs something with lots of good fat. I've read some good things about coconut milk and raw goat's milk. We are going to try both of those and see what works better for Noah. I feel fairly optimistic about these options.

Are you bored of reading about food problems yet? Well, there's one more. And this is what has been really stressing me out lately. When Noah was younger, he was very much a "happy spitter." He'd spit up like a geyser all day long, and it didn't bother him whatsoever. We started feeding him solid foods at around 4 months. After a while, we noticed that he coughed frequently while eating. Sometimes, after a few coughs, he would throw up everything he'd just eaten. At first I was worried, but then he would always go back to normal, just like he did when he was spitting up breastmilk. In fact, he would be so normal that he would expect his next bite of food to come just as quickly as if he had not thrown up at all. Since it wasn't inhibiting his appetite, and he was so utterly undisturbed by it, I decided that he must have a sensitive gag reflex or something, and stopped worrying about it. Once or twice a week he would chuck up his meal, and life went on as normal.

A few weeks ago, however, I became concerned that it was happening more than usual. After vomiting his food three times in as many days, I called the pediatrician. Since it seemed like he was spitting up pureed foods more often than finger foods, she advised me to switch more completely to finger foods and see what happens. That was three weeks ago. Since then, the number of times he throws up in an average week have gone up, and it's started happening at different times. Up until now, Noah would only throw up while he was actually eating. It would usually happen if he ate a piece of food that was too big, or if he tried to swallow it too soon and wanted to cough it out--hence my gag-reflex supposition. For the last week, however, he's also been spitting up well after a meal is over. On Monday he vomited twice while eating breakfast and once while playing. After lunch on Tuesday, he spit up a little bit three or four times, and then lost all of his lunch. And when I got him up this morning, I found a bunch of his dinner in his crib. Nice. (Sorry if this is TMI for you guys, but this is some pretty worrisome stuff for me). When an underweight baby is chucking up a third of what you give him on an almost daily basis, something is definitely wrong.

Between the approaching ear surgery and the allergies and the weaning and the vomiting, I've been at the end of my rope lately. I finally had a complete meltdown last night, and my sweet husband comforted me and held me and told me it would be all right. He's really good at being optimistic like that. And, in the end, I know it will be. We will wean Noah onto a healthy alternative milk, we'll find what's wrong with his stomach, the ear surgery will be successful, he'll outgrow his dairy allergy in a few years or so, and we will continue living life happily.

I told you I would share a bit of happiness with you at the end of my post, and here it is. Noah woke up early this morning, and I brought him into my room to play on my bed. After nursing, he sat up and got ready to explore like he usually does. Looking over my shoulder, he pointed and started saying "nananana!" This is what he usually says when he sees food that he wants. I looked around and saw an apple I put on my nightstand, in case I got hungry before going to sleep last night. I picked up the apple and bit into it, eating the skin so that he could taste the white flesh underneath and scrape off little bits with his teeth. After all the food-related stress wracking my brain lately, it was nice to just sit on my bed and quietly share an apple with my baby. We enjoyed every bite. :)


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Much more "muchier"....

So since I last posted, I have been doing exactly what I said I would do. Reading, pondering, going on some nice walks, cooking a few simple dinners, doing a bit of yoga, watching fun movies with Tyler. Already I feel much better...much more "muchier," which is exactly what I wanted. :) I'm starting to feel like there's some substance and importance to my life again. It's one thing to know your life is important, because it's a fact. People are important. I'm a person. Therefore, I'm important. The end. But it's an entirely different thing to feel that your life is important, and I think that matters more.

A few more random things on my mind this morning:

We are officially out of the "miscarriage" stage, and I am so happy! 12 weeks feels like a big accomplishment, even though it's rather small in comparison to 40 weeks. I love reading about the way my baby is changing and growing each week on my husband's What to Expect iPhone app, especially the part where they compare your baby to a fruit or vegetable. It updates and changes the type of fruit almost every day, and though I know this way of measuring growth is far from scientifically accurate, it makes me ridiculously happy all the same. On Sunday it said our baby was the size of a large plum, and yesterday it had updated to a large peach! That's like, WAY bigger!--to me, at least. At any rate, I'm already so proud of my baby for growing and developing in leaps and bounds, and I can't wait to see him (or her) when we get our ultrasound in 6 weeks!

I'm finally starting to get my energy back (which has helped quite a lot in the "muchness" area), but I still get ravenously hungry like 8 times a day. Speaking of being ravenous, that's a pretty good way to describe my current state of hunger. Please excuse me whilst I make some peanut butter toast...ahhh, much better!

On another pregnancy note (are you tired of this topic yet?) I am showing al-freaking-ready. Given the squishiness of my tummy beforehand (thanks to baby #1), I'm not entirely surprised. I'm in that horrible in-between stage where my normal jeans won't button (well, they actually can button, but I don't because it puts too much pressure on my uterus) and my maternity pants are far from fitting. I make do with the old rubber band trick, but even that gets uncomfortable after a while. So I've found a wonderful degree of freedom in wearing skirts. They are so SO comfy, and it's all I can do to stop myself from going on a skirt-spending-spree.

Enough about baby #2 now. Let's talk about Noah. Oh, how I love him! As we ate breakfast this morning, he made a funny face at his applesauce. It was so cute that I started laughing. This made him laugh, too--which made me laugh more. So we just sat there, laughing our heads off, for about three minutes. I loved it! He is so adventurous and smart. His constant objective is to explore every nook and cranny of his environment (which makes babyproofing something of a challenge). His latest "new" thing right now is standing up on his own. We are sure it won't be long before he takes those first steps!

It's such a nice, bright, warm day! It's days like this that make me think of a song on one of our Mormon Tabernacle Choir cd's. It's called Morning has Broken, and here are some of the lyrics:

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God's recreation of a new day.

It's even more beautiful with the music, but this is good enough for now. Have a wonderful, beautiful day! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Reclaiming my Muchness


Tyler, Noah and I took a little weekend getaway to Cedar City this weekend. One of my favorite things about our stay was the TV in our hotel. I know that sounds soooo boring and silly to most of you, but we don't have a television set up in our house right now. We hardly ever watch DVDs, and we don't feel like paying for cable or satellite, so we've just been using our Netflix unlimited streaming to watch our favorite shows. Having a TV, complete with commercials and a special TV guide channel, was actually rather exciting for me. After a long, fun day of driving, playing and having fun, it was so amazing to just sit in bed and flip the channels.

On Friday night, the new Alice in Wonderland was on. We stayed up for half of it, and then decided to call it a night (which proved to be a wise decision, as Noah woke up about 6 hours later and refused to go back to sleep!). But a line from the half we watched has been somewhat stuck in my head since then. The Mad Hatter says to Alice: "You used to be much more..."muchier." You've lost your muchness."

Some exciting things have been happening in our lives lately. Noah is busy, happy, and is learning to stand up on his own, Tyler graduated with his BA, I get to start working on my degree again this summer, and...drumroll please....we are expecting baby #2!!!!! I am 11 weeks along, and I am happy to say that this baby has been much less taxing on my body than Noah was. We are due on November 18th--the week of Thanksgiving. Needless to say, I will not be participating in any crazy Black Friday shopping sprees.

I hope this explains and somewhat excuses my absence from Blogger these days. Even though I haven't been very sick or tired, the pregnancy has definitely taken a toll on my mind. My motivation to do all those things that I gave so much priority to before--keeping my house 80% clean, exercising regularly, reading all those books on my shelf, making healthy meals--all of it has gone out the window. Finding mental stamina is really, really hard, even though I know that, physically, I'm ok. I feel like my "muchness" is all but gone.

Well, I feel like it's time to reclaim it. No, I'm not going to hold myself to ridiculously high standards, but there are things that I know I can and should do that will enrich my life and bring my "muchness" back. Blogging is one of them, I think. So is making dinner. And going on nice walks. And doing some relaxing yoga a few times a week. And spending more time reading scriptures and fulfilling literature.

I know there's a lot more that I could write about--so much has happened since I last posted. But, with a post here and there, I will start filling in the cracks. Hopefully the next one will be from a "muchier" me.
 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Comfort

I haven't been posting as often lately because I decided I'm only going to write when I have true inspiration, and it's something I really want to write about. I feel like I give you a much better reading experience when I do this, and hopefully you agree.

This evening the word "comfort" popped into my head, and all of a sudden I wanted to write about the things that comfort me at the end of the day.

  • Wearing my husband's pajama pants. They are blue and cozy and they are super baggy. But I pull them on every once in a while, and it feels so good when I do. 
  • Taking long bubble baths with a good book. It feels like a mini vacation, and I love it!
  • Cuddling with Noah before putting him to bed. No matter how many mishaps occur during the day, I can always count on this to be especially peaceful. It gives me a few moments to recenter myself and focus on making my baby feel as loved as possible.
  • Sharing ice cream with my husband. This is a treat we normally enjoy on the weekends as we watch shows on Netflix. Our favorite standby is Dreyer's Mint Cookie Crunch, though we have been known to favor treats from Wendy's, Iceburg, and American Burger upon occasion.
  • Family Home Evening. We try to have a special family night on Mondays, usually just before dinner. Because Noah is so little, we don't really do a lot. We sing a song out of the Primary Children's Songbook, say a short prayer, read a story to Noah, and sing another short Primary song to finish. Noah loves having both of us focused solely on him for those few minutes as we sing and read to him, and it comforts me to know that he can feel our love through our expressions and actions. I know that the way we do Family Home Evening will change and shape itself over the years, but right now, I love these simple, little things we do to bring the Spirit into our home and our hearts.
  • Prayer. Some nights I am too tired to focus very hard, and I just go through the motions as I try to keep myself awake. But most nights I find much-needed peace from reviewing my day with the Lord before going to sleep. Knowing I can rely on my Heavenly Father and cast my burdens upon Him amazes me, humbles me, and comforts me no end. I love how Robert Browning puts it: "God's in his heaven--all's right with the world!"
Where do you find comfort when you need it most?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Snow in the mountains, blossoms on the trees...

Well, I'm back from my little break. It helped a lot, and I've made some new goals that I really want to stick with.

Typical March weather today. Clouds. Wind. Rain. There's a little bit of sunshine peeking through my window right now, wishing me a hurried "Good morning," before the clouds cover it up again. Beyond this sliver of sunshine, I can see the mountains, dusted with snow.

Many of the trees in my neighborhood are speckled with buds. Only a few of these trees have burst into bloom. The occasional sight is enough to remind me of the reality of spring.

Snow and blossoms. They really don't go together. But today it's ok; it won't last long.

Source

Yes, I wrote this as a metaphor for something in my life right now.

No, I'm not going to expound the personal symbolism.

But maybe, if you think about it a little, you'll find there are metaphorical snow-dusted mountains and springtime blossoms in your life, too.

Happy Monday!

(p.s.--I'm just a little bit proud of the title of this post. Doesn't it sound like it should be in a song or something? Unfortunately, the only song I'm coming up with is "Smoke on the water, Fire in the sky...." The words fit, but it's not exactly the feel I was going for...haha! Oh well!)

Friday, March 16, 2012

taking a break

Do you ever scroll down your Pinterest page at the end of a long day, expecting to be entertained and inspired to do something cool or crafty, and instead you just get overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings of inadequacy? This is what is going through my brain as I scroll through my Pinterest page tonight:



My immediate reaction: I barely had enough energy to make sure my baby was fed and diapered today. The last thing I can think about right now is being a "Rockstar Parent." (Guilty feelings ensue as I realize what I'm thinking.)




My immediate reaction: Man, my arms are flabby. I haven't exercised nearly as much as I should have this week. (Further feelings of guilt ensue.)



My immediate reaction: Ch, I'm pretty sure my stretch marks are beyond anything this stuff could cure. Wouldn't it be so nice if stuff like that actually worked? As it is, I'm stuck with these for life. (Slight feelings of sorrow/longing ensue.)




My immediate reaction: Oh dear. Save me. I would die if I attempted this right now. (Inward groan as I imagine the hugely messy "everything" room that I've been meaning to organize for the last four weeks.)

Obviously, my Pinterest addiction is not doing much for me right now. In fact, I don't think any of my usual internet stuff is doing much for me right now. I've gotten myself overwhelmed with all the "shoulds" and "wants", the good ideas and the delicious recipes.

That's no way to be happy.

So it's time for a break. Starting tomorrow, apart from essential things like finding recipes for dinner and answering important emails, I am unplugging for a week. I am looking forward to spending more time and energy trying to better use the gifts God has given me.

See you later.

Help!

Ok, expert moms. I need some advice. Thanks to all those wonderful 8-9 month developments Noah's made lately, he's much more able to keep himself awake during naps.

Standing up, crawling, rolling around, talking to himself, crying--this kid has all sorts of tricks up his sleeve to keep himself awake instead of napping.

At best, he'll sleep for 30-40 minutes and then cry.

And cry.

I know he needs more sleep than this, because he's usually grouchy when I get him up. Grouchy, touchy, and whiny.

I really miss the days of 1-2 hour long naps. Will they ever come back?

You moms have been there before. What did you do to help your baby learn to nap again?

For the record, I love this little guy so much! I mean, how could you resist this face?



Thank heaven for little boys.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Little Piggy...

Confession:

Sometimes, Noah's sock falls off. Not both socks. Just one. Don't ask me why the other one doesn't come off, because I don't know.



When this happens, I usually know exactly where the other sock is.



But something in me can't stand to put it back on. There is something indescribably precious about baby feet.


As long as his toes aren't cold, I leave the sock off. And a little part of me is happy to see his mismatched feet whenever I look at him.