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...