Sophie update

06/30/2011 at 4:53 pm | Posted in baby sunshine | 6 Comments
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Thank you so much for all of your kind words and concern for miss Sophie. I’m really happy (and relieved) to report that she’s feeling MUCH better.

After a frightening bout of projectile vomiting Sunday morning, the doctor advised us to take her off all medications and start from scratch. I nursed and held her all day. Then, miracle of all miracles. She slept better that night. And the next day, she wasn’t as fussy. And with each day this week, she seems happier. And her stomach is quieter.

I don’t know what to think, y’all. All I know is, reflux or not, she’s a much different baby than she’s been in weeks.

Thank goodness.

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Tiny dancer

06/29/2011 at 11:17 am | Posted in Small Fry | 10 Comments
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(A quick Sophie update: She is feeling MUCH better. We’ve stopped all meds. It’s a surprising and rather embarrassing story. Coming soon to your computer screen. )

Lily’s big dance recital was so full of awesome I can hardly describe it.

I was nervous for her. I mean, she’d practiced her routine at the studio time and again, but to do it on a big stage, in front of a crowd, with bright lights glaring is a whole different story. I was sure she’d freeze up.

Boy, was I wrong.

Not only did Lily (at far left) and her “Baby Doll” pals kick butt, they totally stole the show with a routine that combined classical ballet and Justin Bieber-infused booty shaking.

Truly awesome. And I ugly-cried through the whole thing. So proud of my girl.

Auntie Julie

06/28/2011 at 9:38 am | Posted in Friends, Love | 10 Comments
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You know that friend? The one who doesn’t think twice about wiping your kid’s butt or telling you that you have food in your teeth?

How lucky I am to have that friend.

The girls’ Auntie Julie flew down from Ohio to spend last week with us. And she jumped right into the trenches. She did every household chore you can imagine, not to mention entertain Lily and take many a shift on the rock-bounce-sway-Sophie rotation.

She is an angel. Our angel.

Thinking about smiling

06/27/2011 at 11:52 am | Posted in baby sunshine | 3 Comments
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Reflux redux

06/23/2011 at 8:21 pm | Posted in baby sunshine | 16 Comments
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So here we are again. Three years later. Trying to comfort a baby whose stomach has decided to stage a revolt.

Reflux.

Silent reflux, actually. But there is very little silence about it. Baby girl can scream. The good thing is that her cry sounds like a sweet little trill compared to Lily’s piercing shriek (that is forever burned into my psyche). The bad thing? She’s uncomfortable and fussy, and on occasion, difficult to console.

The last few nights have been a marathon relay, Marc and me (and sometimes Auntie Julie, who left her nice, quiet home in Ohio to visit us), handing off a crying baby, each bobbing and swaying and rocking and burping until, exasperated, we pass her off for a break.

It’s frustrating to be back here. And, even though we’ve been through this before, it’s still confusing and mind-numbing.

Should we increase her medicine dosage? Is the gripe water doing anything? The gas drops?

And, of course, the ever-frequent questions: is she hungry? tired?

Ugh.

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent doing squats in the bathroom with the fan blaring, a squirming Sophie in my arms, thanking God that I’m properly medicated this time around.

The funny thing is that this caught us by surprise.

At around five weeks old, she started writhing and screaming just a few seconds into a breastfeeding session. I thought it had something to do with my supply, and even Marc, sweet as he is, scoured the Baby Center boards for information about “over-active let-down.”

After a few days of this, frustrated and convinced that my milk tasted like jalapenos, I called the advice nurse at our pediatrician’s office. Ann asked me a series of questions, and as I said “yes” for the billionth time, she got quiet. Then, gently, she said, Suzanne, you know what this is.

You see, Ann coached us through Lily’s reflux. And here she was, three years later, informing us that we’re facing the beast again.

I want to share the checklist, just in case there is an exasperated mom (or dad) reading this post, struggling with what you think might be reflux. These are Sophie’s symptoms, but there are more. And what makes her reflux “silent” is that she isn’t spitting up frequently.

Here goes:

– pulls off the breast or bottle after beginning a feed, screaming and thrashing
– frequent bouts of hiccups
– rapid weight gain (surprising, no?)
– gas
– the sound of a burp, but nothing comes out of her mouth
– irritated during diaper changes (from being flat on her back)
– wakes suddenly screaming
– unhappy after feedings
– feeds better at night when she’s half-asleep

Also, a major factor in our case is family history. And age. Apparently, the acid begins at about five weeks of age, which is exactly when little Sophie first started showing these symptoms.

After the conversation with Ann, we started Axid. We also elevated one end of her changing table and sleep her at an incline, too. We burp her often during feedings (which she hates) and we give her gripe water, which especially seems to help with the hiccups.

After a few days, she showed signs of improvement: eating better, sleeping better, generally being more peaceful.

But then, in the last few days, things started to nosedive. Thrashing on the boob, screaming fits, silent burps, and most telling of all, when I’d hold her, her little body would jerk her awake in a fit of pain. I called Ann again and we’ve switched medicines to Prevacid, which is a different class of drug than Axid.

Tonight was our first dose.

Fingers crossed.

Likes the bath

06/21/2011 at 5:05 pm | Posted in baby sunshine | 8 Comments
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Today I'm grateful

06/19/2011 at 9:24 pm | Posted in family, Love | 4 Comments
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father and baby

For my husband, who is an amazing father and loves his three girls more than anything in the world. Lucky us.

toddler with grandmother

For my mom, who was born on this day. Her love for me and my little family is overwhelming.

father and daughter

And for my dad, on Father’s Day. He taught me how to find peace, keep humor and shoot the perfect free throw.

The one in which guilt swallows me whole

06/16/2011 at 1:40 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, Motherhood, Small Fry | 26 Comments
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It’s been almost six weeks, and my heart is still heavy. I just can’t let go of the special relationship between Lily and me. I had no idea how much it would change. But it has. Because it has to.

I’ve been breaking my back trying to preserve everything just as it was: if daddy does bath, then mommy does books. Mommy helps with clothes in the morning and brushing teeth before school. When mommy is called, she answers, she helps.

Now, the occasions where I reply “I can’t right now. I’m feeding/rocking/holding/changing Sophie.” far outnumber the occasions where I can actually drop what I’m doing and be with Lily.

It’s heart-breaking for me. And these feelings are growing worse with each day I spend alone with the girls.

Of course I love Sophie with all my heart and experience bliss on a daily basis, but I ache for Lily.

I just can’t be for her what I used to be, and it makes me terribly sad. I feel like I’m grieving a loss. Every time I see her, especially when she comes home from being away from me, I want to scoop her up and apologize. Over and over.

What makes it even more difficult is, true to her nature, Lily handles all this with such grace. I can’t help but think it would be a tiny bit easier if she’d rebel or turn into a brat. But she is patient and loving and adores her little sister. She plays quietly at my feet while I nurse the baby, and every morning she staggers into our room in a sleep haze to kiss the baby.

Lily will do anything to get Sophie’s attention, and she doesn’t understand why the baby won’t hold her hand or look at her. This makes me so sad for her. I keep trying to explain that Sophie is too little, and things will change soon, but I don’t think Lily buys it.

And now that we’re caught up in the brutal world of infant reflux, I have even less time to be with Lily.

I miss her.

Just call her Ishmael

06/14/2011 at 9:57 pm | Posted in Small Fry | Leave a comment
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One of Lily’s favorite friends just turned five and celebrated his birthday with a super-rad party at the bowling alley. Lily totally loved her first bowling experience, especially the shoes. Hesitant at first, she ended up throwing a spare on one of her first tries. Making mama proud.

Sophie's birth story

06/12/2011 at 6:25 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, family | 19 Comments
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I thought it was gas.

When that first contraction rolled through, I was sure it was nothing. Like all the false alarms I’d felt in the weeks before. So I sat on the toilet.

Until another one came.

And another.

This was two in the morning on Saturday, May 7. I let Marc sleep while I timed contractions in the bathroom. Within a couple of hours, they grew closer and closer, until they were only three or four minutes apart.

After all I’d heard about second babies coming so much more quickly, and terrified of giving birth in the passenger seat of the car, I woke up Marc, called the doctor and crept into Lily’s room for a kiss goodbye.

Here is where time stood still.

I just could not leave the house, leave my sweet girl to wake up with her parents missing, without one last snuggle before her world turned upside down. I leaned over her bed, put my cheek to hers and whispered, “I love you.”

And in her sleep, she mumbled those words back to me.

How I wanted to scoop her up, explain and apologize and smother her with kisses. But I pulled up her covers, smoothed down her hair and left the room.

I will never forget that moment.

The contractions picked up, but they weren’t all that painful. So I’m riding in the car to the hospital, thinking, Hey, this isn’t so bad. Maybe this time won’t hurt as much.

Ha. Hahahaha. Haha.

The doctor who delivered Lily was on call that night, and I remember thinking it was a good sign. Same for the fact that both girls were due on the 15th of the month and both were born on the 7th. I also was supremely comforted that the triage nurse reminded me of my best friend’s mother, also a nurse. Matter-of-fact and down-to-business, but in the kindest way.

She broke the news to me that my cervix was dilated a mere centimeter and a half.

So we walked. And walked. And walked some more.

I memorized the floor tiles of each different hall we paced. We’d stop every 20 feet or so to breathe through the contractions. Marc held me up, carried my water and didn’t let go of me the entire time.


Finally, after about an hour of walking (and moaning and scaring people in the hallway), I lay flat on my back in triage, hoping for progress.

But again. A centimeter and a half.

They might send you home, Ann said. I cursed.

We hung out a little longer, me writhing in pain on the bed and Marc doing his best to help me breathe. Then, thank the sweet lord, I passed my mucous plug.

They admitted us and I staggered into a delivery room.

Within minutes of lying down on that bed, after a huge contraction, my water broke. I was ecstatic.

Bring on the epidural.

Our delivery nurse, Katerina, was this tiny little thing with a heavy Slavic accent. I could barely understand her at first, but after so many hours together, I mastered Katerina-speak. She quickly became my hero, teaching me a better breathing method on the fly (that really worked) and talking me through every frustration, every procedure. I will be forever grateful for her kindness.

Things get a little blurry here. I labored while we waited for the anesthesiologist, and it became so painful (and I don’t do well with pain) that Katerina gave me some sort of IV drug that made me feel like I was back in college at a keg party.

I dozed between contractions and progressed to four centimeters by the time I received the epidural. Which was pure hell. Poor Katerina. I clung to her through the pain, her head clobbered by my boobs, her ears filling with obscenities streaming from my mouth. I’m sure she’s seen much, much worse, but I remember feeling embarrassed when she kept saying, “Oh my!”

Then, relief. Finally.

The epidural worked slowly, warmth and comfort spreading over me like a blanket fresh from the dryer.

I’ll never forget lying on my side in those quiet early morning hours, Marc snoring in the chair next to me, the baby’s heartbeat galloping over the monitor. I felt peace like I’d never experienced before. Anticipation, happiness, calm.

Then, nausea.

I paged the nurse to ask for a bedpan, and she discovered that my blood pressure had dropped significantly. More medicine and a shift in my position took care of it. And a round of pitocin nudged my contractions along.

In a short time, I was dilated to six centimeters. And even more quickly, I hit the magic 10.

Time to push.

The doctor (a new one; Lily’s delivery doctor had ended her shift) didn’t realize how very close Sophie was to making her entrance into this world and had to scramble after one push to get everything prepped. I remember being told to wait. To hold on until they were ready.

Then, in two swift pushes, the baby slid right out of my body. Head, shoulders, legs. Everything at once.

When the doctor placed that squirming, slippery little body onto my chest, the baby’s back was to me. No one announced “It’s a girl!” so Marc and I got to make the discovery ourselves. Euphoria.

I held her to my skin, kissed her face and breathed her in. Her cries quickly subsided into this awesomely mellow state of alertness. Eyes wide open, neck craning, as if to say, “What is this place? Where am I?”

She latched easily and began sucking away, although my body didn’t have much to offer her yet. Still. I was amazed.

I can honestly say that the love I felt for her surprised me. No fear. No anxiety. Just all-out bliss.

While I was nursing, Marc went downstairs to fetch Lily. And I can’t possibly write about the sisters’ meeting without crying. There are no words to describe. Lily, tentatively walking over to the baby, curious and afraid. Sophie, calm and bright-eyed and covered in goo. I held the swaddled bundle out so Lily could get a better look, and without hesitation, she leaned over and kissed her baby sister’s head.

And again that day, time stood still.

The only thing that existed in the entire world was the love radiating among the four of us in that hospital room. Our little family. A new family.

This was the experience I’d hoped for. That I was so blessed to receive.

And that I’ll carry in my heart forever.

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