Thursday, November 19, 2009

Infection Collection

Sounds disgusting, eh? Disgusting is the word that I would use to describe my house the last 2 months or so. And I'm not even talking about the clutter! Forget the workers of the world, the GERMS of the world have united in my house and refuse to leave. They are staging a nasty and fierce revolution with my family!

Here is a recap of the battles:
*Went on vacation late August. Thought one or both girls might be getting sick, but it was a minor skirmish.
*Middle of September--thought I had the flu, but just sinus infection. Felt like crap, but functional.
*End of September: Kelly hit her head hard and passed out in my arms for 2-3 seconds. Went to the dr. Was told to look for vomiting as a bad side effect. The next day, she started with diarrhea. Day after that, here comes the vomiting. Took her to Childrens (that's a whole 'nother post), and it luckily had nothing to do with the injury. Unfortunately, she had a horrible stomach bug for 10 damn days! Those weak-of-heart need to skip to the next battle!!! I mean, full-on, explosive diarrhea going thru the diaper, outfit and even leaking off of the crib railing. As Mike is cleaning the crib and changing the sheets, Kelly then threw up all over me and the floor. In my almost 5 years as a parent, I have never seen that much vomit at once! Blech. Took every ounce of strength not to add to it!!
*Mid-October: Nasty stomach bug is gone, but both girls have had runny noses, coughing, etc. *End of October: Kelly is diagnosed with an ear infection.
*Early November: I still feel like crap. Diagnosed with sinus and ear infection.
*The very next week: Ally is diagnosed with sinus and ear infection, with lovely goop in her eye.
*This week: Kelly is diagnosed with another ear infection. Feverish, snotty, cranky and not eating. Kelly eats for an hour at a time, so if she's not eating, something is definitely WRONG! Off to the ear, nose and throat dr we go!!!

For those keeping count, that means 4 infections in 4 consecutive weeks. We are on a streak, people!
It just won't end. I finished my antibiotic last week and don't feel much better. This round, I feel even worse--like maybe this IS finally the flu or H1N1 or whatever. Maybe we will go 5 infections for 5 weeks! I haven't felt "good' for months. Every time we go thru this, I wonder IS IT SWINE FLU? And it doesn't seem to be. But dear God, if we haven't had it yet, I am truly terrified!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Off to the doctor (again)

Yep, once again, my house needs to be quarantined. The last 4 days have really sucked around here. I wll detail it all later. Right now, I have to get a hacking 4 year old in the shower so that I can take her to the pediatrician.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NaBloPoMo Fail

Okay, so we all knew it wasn't going to happen. I tried really, really, really hard to post, but the planets were not aligned for naps yesterday afternoon. Ally fought me, even though she had been up since 6:30. She woke up to tell me that she was hungry! I was not a happy mommy, considering she and I battled over her not eating enought dinner the night before. It is just cosmically wrong to have a 4 yr old wake up before the 1 yr old! Kelly refused to take her morning nap and then only napped for 1 hour in the middle of the day. Ugh.

Then I was up late last night cleaning the house. My in-laws were coming to visit today, so can we just blame the fail on them? Just kidding!
I had to make the house look (ahem) presentable. Or at least not as horrible as usual. After cleaning up toys, sweeping floors, and throwing out junk while the kids aren't watching, I stumbled into our room around 11:55 to fall into bed. I saw the computer and thought about posting, but we had already turned it off. I knew that I would never make the deadline if I had to wait for it to boot back up. Being the Type-A personality that I am, I was a little disappointed. However, I was so tired that my eyes rolled back immediately and I crashed! :o)

Oh well. I'll still try to post every day, considering I was using this as motivation. Right now, I am going to take some drugs and go to bed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The LAST baby

Allison Nicole

Poor thing had jaundice!

Kelly Elizabeth

What kind of face is that?!

As you probably know, Mike and I have two beautiful girls, ages 4 and 14 months. We didn't plan for there to be 3 1/2 years between them, but Ally was/is a handful and never slept as an infant. So, we weren't even considering another one until she was 2 years old.

When I was a little girl (3rd grade or so), I wanted to be a teacher and a mommy. And I wanted 6 kids. Now, I am the oldest of 2 kids, so I think I wanted to experience a large family. Especially since my mom is one of 5, and my dad is one of 7. (And if you think that is a lot--my grandpa is one of 14!) Realistically, once I grew up and got married, I knew that 6 kids was not going to happen. Mike and I always said 2 or 3--he leaned more towards two, and I leaned more toward three!

When we decided to try for a baby, I went into it expecting fertility problems. It took my parents YEARS to conceive me, and that included all kinds of fertility treatment and shots. So Mike and I tried to conceive for a while, and then had to stop because I was having stomach problems and horrible migraines. Being overly cautious, I didn't want to take the meds on the chance that I was pregnant, and my dr was not happy with me. We focused on getting me healthy for a while, and then tried again later that year. After just a few months, we were thrilled to learn that we were expecting! I had a lot of morning (well, all-day) sickness and the hour commute did not help. But once that subsided, it was pretty easy for the next few months. The worst part of my pregnancy with Ally was the gestational diabetes--having to watch my diet like a hawk, but thankfully not having to take insulin. In the last month, I wound up with sciatica, which is excruciating pain in your lower back/hip area, so it hurt every time I took a step. However, I loved being able to talk to her while she was in my belly, and once I felt her move, it was amazing. Loved, loved, loved it! And of course, it is always totally worth the inconvenience in the end!

When we decided to try for number 2, I again expected problems, but conceived within 3 months of trying. This second pregnancy was much harder, for multiple reasons. 3 days after I took a positive pregnancy test, Ally shared the flu with me. I was sick for two months between the flu, subsequent ear and sinus infections, and I think I ultimately cracked a rib from coughing. One of the hardest things was not being able to take a nap when I needed to. All of my aches and pains started earlier as well. On the plus side, I first felt Kelly move around 3 months! She was an Olympic soccer player in the womb!

Once Kelly was here, Mike felt that our family was complete. He (his words) didn't want to put me through all that again. He also knows that I am stretched pretty thin and have a quickly diminishing supply of patience at home. So, for reasons of sanity, space, health and money, we agreed that we were done having kids. My mind understands that, but my heart doesn't. It is hard for me to accept that I will never be pregnant again, never go through the agony/amazing experience of birth again, and never see another beautiful little person that we created. Sometimes I wish that an "oops" would happen that would take it completely out of our hands. I agree that two kids is enough (and sometimes more!) than I can handle. Every time I hear that a friend or family member is expecting a baby, I am thrilled for them. I also feel a little pang of envy--I miss that fleeting newborn phase. It goes by too quickly. I guess that is why people have more babies!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The ballerina and the ladybug

Since the last two posts have been long and depressing, this will be short with cute pics!

We have had the girls' costumes for months. Ally wanted to be a ballerina, so I found a beautiful dress in a catalog and it has been hanging in her closet since. Ally helped Mike and I pick out Kelly's outfit, though she argued with us for a while! She liked the one we liked least, of course, it was more expensive.
It took forever for us to get out the door, since we wound up eating dinner later than planned. We didn't leave until almost 7 pm, and actually handed out candy to about 10-15 kids while still at the house. The outfits took forever to dry. I had to find pants and shirts to go under the costumes since it was so cold. Then I needed to "do" Ally's hair.

My beautiful ballerina! You can't see the pretty curls in back.

My ladybug all ready to go!

My girlies!

Kelly is just like her sister, in that she hates hats!

We snapped this pic as soon as we put the hat on, because we knew she would take it off immediately!

We took Kelly in her stroller and she did great. We only took her up to half of the houses, because she can't have the candy anyway. She only has two teeth, so that makes it difficult too. Of course, the main thing is the dairy allergy, so no chocolate for her. I felt bad, so I made her special "Kelly-friendly" treats. Ally wanted to come home after about 45 minutes and hand out candy. I had to tell her that we didn't usually see a lot of kids on our street, so she decided to rake in more loot! When we got home, we were all cold and the girls were TIRED! Ally didn't even want to play. She wanted to look at her candy, eat some and go to bed! So we did! :o)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Seven years ago today, our family suffered a huge shock with the loss of Mattie. Even after all this time, it impacts me immensely, but I will try to express my thoughts.

M (Mike's sister) and her husband W were pregnant with their first baby. We were extremely excited. Mike and I had a pregnancy scare earlier in the year, and it turned out to be a false alarm. We were nowhere near ready to be parents, since we were only 24, had lots of student loans and were still in an apartment. But I will admit to being a little disappointed. When we found out that M was pregnant, we thought that it would be great practice! We anticipated spoiling that little baby like crazy, learning how to do diapers (neither of us had any experience with babies), and years down the road, babysitting to give them a night off.

M had an incredibly easy pregnancy for the most part, with no complications, and was due November 3rd. She is a very tiny woman, so she looked like she had a basketball under her shirt! We enjoyed all the baby news updates. In October, Mike and I were on vacation in Kentucky and called to check in on them. We had a discussion full of laughter, as we placed our "bets" in the pool as to when the baby would be born. M and W had determined the name, Martha Michelle, or Mattie, early on in the pregnancy.

I remember the phone call on November 3rd vividly. Most of that day is etched permanently in my memory, even though I wish otherwise. Mike and I were joking around and watching a taped episode of West Wing when the phone rang. I jumped up, laughing, and grabbed the phone. My MIL was on the other end and I could tell that she was upset. She said "the baby is dead." My heart dropped into my stomach and I thought I was going to throw up. I thought that maybe there had been an accident and both M and the baby were dead. I asked "how is M?" and she said that M felt guilty, that she must have done something wrong. When I clarified my question, she said that M was physically fine. They were waiting to see if M would go into labor; otherwise they would induce her.

I basically went into shock and said goodbye, without finding out what hospital they were at. I had to turn to Mike and tell him the hideous news. Then I bawled hysterically. We had been anticipating the call with joyous news, nothing like this had ever crossed our minds. Mike called his mom's cell and we went to find them. We wanted to be there for support during this time. We met at the hospital and I distinctly remember us walking into her hospital room. Mike saw the incubator and immediately starting sobbing. I think M was in shock as well, because she joked about his tears. I followed him out in the hall and just held him.

When we went back in the room, we found out that M had woken up and questioned the last time she felt the baby move. As anyone who has been pregnant knows, you can go hours without feeling movement, especially overnight and if the baby is getting into position for labor. I saw that they had their hospital bag packed as well as the cord blood registry kit with them. They might have even had the car seat there as well. It broke my heart. They raced to the dr/hospital once they thought something was wrong, but it was too late. There was no heartbeat. Mattie was gone.

We spent the rest of the day there, waiting for her to give birth. I don't remember if they wound up inducing. Mike and I went out for food that evening, which tasted like sawdust, but we had to eat. I remember having the headache from hell all day. We checked on them and found out she was in labor. We went back to the hospital and were able to see that beautiful baby. She was gorgeous, and had the family cleft in her chin, just like my girls do now.

The simple reason for Mattie being stillborn was a cord accident. The dr said as Mattie moved, the cord wrapped around her neck. Since Mattie's death (and I never know whether to say birth or death since it is all wrapped in one), I have heard statistics and read stories. It happens more than you think. It doesn't change the horrible sadness that permeates a family. I couldn't sleep that night--I kept thinking of what happened, what could have changed things, and kept seeing Mattie's little face.

It has been seven years, and every November 3rd, I remember. I am crying as I finish this post. It still makes me nauseous, sad, and heartbroken to think of what happened. The emotions have different shades now that I have experienced both pregnancy and motherhood. My girls should have a 7 year old big cousin bossing them around.

The loss of Mattie shadowed my pregnancies with extra stress, worrying every time I didn't feel the baby move. The loss of Mattie splintered Mike's family for several years due to grief and miscommunication, which is an entirely different story, but it compounded the sadness and heartbreak. The loss of Mattie makes me pray even more every time a friend or family member is pregnant.

Life is short and precious--don't take it for granted.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Got Milk part 2 (belated)

So, months and months ago, I wrote about our discovery that Kelly was allergic to milk. She had been cranky and crying, unable to sleep, etc. I mentioned that she was doing much better after the diagnosis, and she was indeed. What I didn't feel like delving into at that point was a discussion of the continued weight issues.

Kelly was a "chunky monkey", weighing about 8 lbs at birth, which was 1 1/2 lbs heavier than Ally. She was a barracuda of a nurser at first, which was excruciating for me, but she gained great! We were thrilled, because we had all kinds of weight gain issues with Ally. I was so thankful that we didn't have that problem this time around. Umm, maybe I said that too soon! She had not gained much weight (about 8 ounces) between the allergy diagnosis and her next checkup (maybe 2-3 weeks), but the allergist wasn't concerned. He said that the milk was still working its way out of her system, and that my milk supply was adjusting. For reference, at that age she should have been gaining 1/2 to 1 ounce a day.

We still had a lot of crying, and it wasn't just Kelly! I was starving! Not literally of course, because I was eating and trying to eat well. But watching two kids and dealing with a limited amount of time and food options was quickly wearing on me, both physically and emotionally. I was becoming cranky from the deprivation of "good" food, and was constantly trying to find something filling to eat. No offense to any vegetarians/vegans, but the soy stuff just doesn't cut it for me. Adding to that was the very unhappy baby who would not sleep anyway but with Mike or I.

I finally took her back to the doctor February 3rd because of the increased fussiness (OMG--I couldn't take it anymore!!!!) and lack of sleep. At that visit, she weighed only 13 lbs 5oz, which was a gain of only 14 ounces since December 19th. I was terrified by that number. I was afraid that they were to have to hospitalize her to "pump her up"!

I pretty much lost it with the dr. I explained that I was at my wits end and didn't know what else to do. I felt that I had done all that I could with regards to breastfeeding her a milk-free diet and since she would not take a bottle, that I didn't know what else to do. The dr informed me that some babies can still be irritated by breastmilk from a milk-free diet just by the fact that human milk has lactose in it. So she suggested that I completely wean Kelly to formula. We decided on Alimentum, since many babies who are allergic to milk are also allergic to soy. She also suggested that we have a RAST performed--basically a blood test for food allergies.

I feared the next few days, since she had always fought the bottle. I nursed her at lunch, and then planned a bottle for the evening. Mike and I decided to run out and get the bloodwork done after picking up Ally from preschool. We knew they were forecasting a little bit of snow, but not a big deal. Boy, were the forecasters wrong on that one! It was a holy mess. Accidents, stop-and-go traffic, insanity. We sat at a light trying to get to the hospital for 30 minutes! We honestly thought about walking--it would have been faster except for the possible falls! It took well over an hour to get there (should have taken 20 minutes) and those scenarios are why I keep nutrigrain bars and fruit snacks in the diaper bag. We were all hungry, so they came in handy! We actually were thankful for the hospital cafeteria, so we didn't have to go back out in the snow to eat. You know things are bad when you are looking forward to hospital food! :o)
Kelly handled the bloodwork as well as could be expected, and Ally was a great help in distracting her. I wound up nursing her that night in the cafeteria, since I hadn't had a chance to buy new bottles or formula. It was not the sweet bonding moment that I wanted for my last nursing session with Kelly. I was trying to be discreet while 2 teenage boys were at a booth right near us! Horribly uncomfortable and worried about getting home safely.

On a "thank goodness" note, Kelly didn't fight the abrupt change to bottles at all. She took them pretty well for me, right away. Maybe the formula settled better in her belly and she was grateful! And of course, I appreciated not being the only meal ticket in town at night--ha!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Posting Plethora

NaBloPoMo--National Blog Posting Month--you post once a day. Yep, I'm going to try. Yes, it HAS been almost 3 months since I have posted, thanks for noticing. I thought that forcing myself to post every day might actually get me in the routine of posting at all!

Right now, Mike is taking the girls out for a nice walk in the way-too-cool air while I blog and pillage the kids' candy. I consider the pillaging a perk of motherhood! :o) The weather here has been insane--it dropped to 32 degrees last night! Not to mention, we froze our butts off during trick-or-treating. We didn't get out until almost 7pm, so the sun had already set and the temperature had dropped immensely. Being the genius mom that I am, I didn't want to impede the look of the costumes, so we didn't wear coats or hats. Poor Kelly's hands were bright red when we got home! Probably not the smartest thing since she is getting over an ear infection. In my defense, they both had long sleeve shirts on under their costumes and Kelly had pants as well. But let's be realistic. Kelly immediately took off the hat to her costume, so I don't think winter hats will fly here either!

I will add pics later, but I'm off to find more candy!