Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to School and Charlie (7 months)

Ok, I know, I know, where are the pictures I promised like a month ago? They're coming, really they are! I've been working and running around like a crazy person (wow, two kids is something!), and my laptop at home is almost kaput, so...excuses, excuses! I really will work on this tonight.

My big boy started kindergarten this year. I can't believe he's old enough for that. I can't believe a lot of things. When we bought our house we were on the 5 year plan. "It's a great starter house, but we'll be out by the time our kids start elementary school." Famous last words. What we didn't expect when we bought our house at the height of the market was for it to crash as hard as it did. So, now we're on the new 5 year plan-the "before Charlie starts elementary school" plan. I have an adorable Pin.terest inspired picture of Jack on his first day of kindergarten to post here, but as usual, I'll have to post it when I'm not at work. We picked him up from his first day on Monday and asked him how his day was. His response, "It was MAGNIFICIENT!" He was so excited and everyday since when we pick him up, we're told his day was magnificient (with a little less enthusiasm). This is a very welcome change as he didn't seem to really like preschool as much as he's liking the "big school".

His teacher seems really nice, she also goes to our church (he goes to a private Christian school, and we're members of the church there as well). She does a good job of keeping us up to date on what they're doing, and we really like that since sometimes getting that kind of info from Jack is a little difficult. But if we want info on how many times they went outside to play, or who he played with, or which kid didn't earn a dollar at school today, then we're full of info! The earning a dollar thing is what our teacher does to encourage good behavior. The kids can earn fake dollars (one a day) for showing good behaviors. If they earn green or blue (Jack says blue is better than green and means you've had excellent behavior), they get $1 for the day. If you are on yellow or red, you don't. When you've earned $6, then you can "buy" something from the teacher's treasure box (which the parents have supplied the goodies for). Jack has $5 so far, and he's looking forward to going back to school on Tuesday to earn another. And one last thing-I thought I was going to hate that they have to wear uniforms. I LOVE it. First of all, he is just so darn cute in his uniform. Secondly, I don't have to worry about matching outfits together-I only have to worry about making sure he's got a clean, neat uniform to wear the next day. It doesn't get any better than that!

I miss having Jack at home, and being able to be spontaneous about what we do that day. Or being able to decide to skip a day at school and do something fun instead because it's "preschool" not "real school" and by real school I mean that his attendance counts, where at preschool it doesn't. I miss Jack being able to help me with Charlie when I need to go get something from the kitchen or from another room. I miss Jack just coming up to my room when I'm napping for work and snuggling into bed with me and deciding that he wants to nap with me without being asked or talked into it. That being said, I like feeling for a few hours each day that I only have one child to worry about. I drop Jack off, and Charlie and I will go to the grocery store and walk around, we lounge around the house, and the only time I have to worry about what time it is is when it gets close to 3pm and I have to worry about waking Charlie up from his nap to go get Jack. That part is nice.

In other news, Charlie is 7 months old. Actually I guess he's about 7.5 months old now. He began pulling to a stand on his own about a week before the 7 month mark. We heard him on the monitor, and Jack went to Charlie's room to see what he was doing and I heard a gasp and then, "Mommy! You better come here, quick!" Of course, the first thing going through my mind is "Oh no!" Well, maybe not no, but that's cleaner to say. So I hightail it to Charlie's room, and look in, and the child is standing up in his crib and smiling at me. I had to run back to my room to grab my phone because I didn't think Archie would believe me and of course, I had to get a picture. I'll post that later too. Charlie started crawling 3 days before his 7 month birthday. It was only a couple of "steps", but he was doing it. He started while we were on vacation at our friend's house. I think he was motivated by the "older" kids being able to get around and do what they want. Since then he's been more happy. I have video of him crawling to me from last week that I'll try to post.

In addition to pulling to a stand, and crawling, he is now trying to walk if you hold his hands. He can take a few steps this way. He also likes to show off by holding onto furniture while he's standing and letting go and just holding on with one hand and smiling at you. The big boy also has two teeth now, and I swear he's working on more. Between the crankiness, and the way he bites my finger or anything else he can shove in his mouth, there's no doubt that more are coming in.

Charlie goes to bed at about 7:30 most nights, and for me, he usually wakes up between 3 and 4:30 wanting to nurse, and then sleeps until about 6:30 or 7. That said, he has nights where he sleeps straight through until 5:30am. He seems to sleep better at his grandmom's or for his dad. My suspicion is that if I put him to sleep, he knows that if he wakes up and wants milk and screams loud enough and long enough I will come and I will feed him. God love him, breastfeeding was the one thing I wanted to go right this time, and it has, but he thinks he owns these things! He cries any time that I leave his sight. The only time I can get away with it is if he's interested in something before I sneak away. And usually by the time I get down to the basement and start to load the washing machine, I can hear him crying for me. He's been more clingy the last few days and I'm not sure why. Maybe teething, maybe because Jack's back in school and it's disrupted the routine, maybe he just wants to know his boobs aren't far away, I don't know!

He does still spit up, but usually that's all it is, not throwing up. I did test the waters while we were on vacation and have some forbidden things, and initially he tolerated it ok, but the night before we left to come back home he had a bout of diarrhea, and then the night that we got back, he was up frequently during the night and screaming high pitched like someone was trying to kill him. And the other day I don't think I ate anything bad for him, but I must have because he was throwing up quite a bit for my mom. So, back to restricting my diet. We meet with the allergist again in October, and I'm interested in picking her brain about what to feed him yogurt-wise. At this point we were giving Jack that Yo-baby yogurt and he loved it, but I'm just not sure with Charlie. I eat coconut milk yogurt (only the mango flavored, or I'll get plain and cut up strawberries to mix in and that's good too), but I think coconut can be pretty allergenic so I didn't want to go there until we have an ok. Someone at work suggested goat's milk yogurt. I can't say I've seen that, but I wasn't really looking for it either at the place we usually go to get my "special" butter, yogurt, etc. We see the GI doc again in November or December.

I feel so much pressure this year. I don't know what it is. Jack had talked briefly about playing a sport this fall. He either wanted "real" football (he played flag football this past Spring and loved it, but now wants to play "real" football-yikes!) or baseball. I hate to say it because I think that it would be great for him to do, but I just feel like I can't handle it. Charlie's a handful-he's very busy, much more active than Jack was at this age, and he wants to be into EVERYTHING. Jack has school all day, and 2-3 weeknights I have to work which means we get Jack from school then we're making dinner/getting ready for work, and I'm rushing around to get stuff ready for work and for them to go to their grandmom's house, and that's chaotic enough but to add in a sport at least one night a week and maybe a day on the weekend? I just feel like that's too much right now. Not that it will be better when Charlie is actually walking and I've got to chase him around when Jack's trying to play a game and I want to be watching him. Do any other parents feel this pressure or is it just me? Either way, I haven't signed him up for anything. I just don't have the energy to try to keep up with all of that right now.

That's my update for now. Hope all is well with my bloggy friends out there!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Charlie at 6 months

Sorry, no pictures this post as I'm at work and can't upload any, but I promise to post some soon.  At his 6 month appointment on his actual half-birthday (the 19th of July), Charlie weighed 19 pounds 14 ounces, and was 27.25 inches long.  Big boy!  That said, it seems his growth is slowing down a bit.  It's ok, he's still totally within normal statistics, I just think it has something to do with him rolling everywhere.  He's not "mobile" as of yet if you consider "mobile" to be crawling or walking, but that's not far off.  He does roll everywhere and is a very active boy.  He stands (he's been doing this for a while, mainly because he stiffens his little legs and so that's the only option!), and can even stand leaning against something without assistance.  He's got some strong legs!  He gets up on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth, so as soon as he can coordinate those arms and legs, he'll be officially "mobile".  He is a LOUD talker.  He says "mamamamamama" and when he does, he tucks his lips in.  I think it's so funny and so cute, I have a video that I'll post if I can figure out how. 

On July 30, his first little tooth broke through the gum surface, but it's still taking it's good time coming in all the way.  He enjoys food!  His favorites seem to be fruit-he's only had two-bananas and pears and he loves both.  He's also had rice cereal and oatmeal, as well as sweet potatoes, avocado, carrots, peas, zucchini, and squash.  He HATES peas and green beans.  We can disguise peas in some sweet potato and he will eat it then, but we started the green beans last night and mixed a little sweet potato in with alot of green beans and he was gagging and wretching like he does with too much peas.  Poor kid!  We'll have to work on that.

Is it too early for separation anxiety to start?  I swear, if you're out of his line of vision, he has a complete meltdown!  He's challenging at times, and rather demanding, but I love this little monkey so much.  I love watching his older brother play with him, love on him, and help care for him.  I loved this summer how when I'd pick Jack up from the camp bus, that he'd hop into his seat next to Charlie and start talking in a cute little voice to his baby brother.  I love how proud Jack is of his brother-how we go to the pool or a playground and Jack will make "friends" with complete strangers (kids), and then I'll hear him say, "Hey, want to see my baby, come here!"  I love how when Jack walks into a room and Charlie so much as hears him, his eyes light up and he smiles and wants to see what Jack is into.  This is what I always wished for, what I always wanted.  We are so blessed and I thank God everyday for the time I have with these boys. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Just Call Me Slacker

Just call me "Slacker".  I just looked at my last post and Charlie was almost 4 months old, I was going to post after his 4 month pediatrician appointment and here it is 2 months later!  Sorry!

When I last left you, Charlie wasn't measuring up well enough for the GI doc, I was eliminating egg (in addition to the previously eliminated dairy, soy and crab), and we were thickening his bottle feeds when I was at work.  The following week we had his 4 month pediatrician appointment and go figure, I was right with his weight as luck would have it.  The GI doc's scale needed to be recalibrated.  The boy weighed 17 pounds and was 26.5 inches long which is 88th percentile for weight and 92nd for height.  The child doesn't have any problems with weight gain people!  We've stopped thickening his bottle feeds, and started feeding him baby food.  Eliminating egg has helped, though he still spits up from time to time, sometimes small amounts, sometimes larger, but oh well.  His first food (besides rice cereal) was avocado which he liked fine.  He's also had yellow squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and banana.  His favorite of these is banana!  He started the rice cereal on June 3, so about 4.5 months old.  The GI doc would like us to wait at least a week to 10 days between introducing new foods.  We're waiting about a week.  His next new food will be peas this weekend sometime. 

I'm enjoying making his baby food.  I can't believe how many things they put milk in.  I had started off making Jack's baby food as well, but after the first two things, I gave up.  This is better for Charlie because I know that there aren't any big allergens in them, just what I put into it.  I bought the Baby Bullet steaming system and blender and it couldn't be easier. 

Charlie still has his cranky times EVERY DAY.  It doesn't seem to be as bad when I'm around, maybe because I just hook him up and feed him and that works for us, but for Archie and my mom he can really be a handful.  Archie and my mom have both made comments that they think it's me, that he gets upset and wants to be comforted, but I'm not there (not that they don't try to comfort him, but for whatever reason it's a me issue). 

At 5 months old, I had both boys in the pediatricians office for different looking rashes, but was concerned.  I'd had Charlie on avocado for 3 days and he started breaking out on his face in an eczema-like rash which was concerning as this had been Jack's MO with his food allergies.  Turns out avocado is a low-risk food for allergies, so that was good news, he was just reacting to something else or having a flare up.  Jack had pityriasis rosea AGAIN (he had this last summer too).  It's a wierd looking rash that looked kind of like white heads all over his trunk and back-caused by a low load viral infection and clears up on it's own in about 3 weeks and sun seems to help it.  It's pretty much gone now but man are my boys some rashy kids.  Rashes really bother me.  Growing up I had a thing about bumps, they just grossed me out, so you can imagine what it's like when my kids are bumpy and I have to figure out what it is, and how to get rid of it.  Anyway, at that appointment we saw one of the pediatricians we haven't seen in a couple of years (we have one we like to stick with, but for urgent appointments, we'll see any of the 3 that are in the practice).  She was watching Charlie roll back and forth, standing up with assistance, and she asked how old he was, and Jack told her 5 months.  She said if we hadn't told her, based on what she was watching him do and his size, she'd have guessed 7-8 months.  He's a tank!  Charlie weighed 19 pounds at that appointment!  19 pounds, at 5 months old!!!  Seriously?!?!?  I looked back at Jack's baby book and he weighed 19 pounds at 9 months old!!!  He's a beast of a boy! 

Size is just one of the differences between my boys.  Charlie will likely have the height from my side of the family, but be built more like his dad.  Jack will have more of the height from his dad's side, and be built more like our side.  As an infant, Jack was happy to play in his jumper or just be cuddled for an episode of the Backyardigans.  NOT Charlie!  Charlie is entertained by his jumper for all of about 10 minutes maybe?  He doesn't jump, he just has stiff legs and stands which is fine and he does this ALL THE TIME, but I think he'd find it more fun if he'd jump.  I don't know how to make him realize that.  He wants to be held sometimes, but mostly he just wants to stand, or roll from one end of the room to the other.  He's gotten up onto his knees a couple of times, but Lord, I think when he figures out how to crawl that we're in big trouble!  He is going to be an active little boy where Jack really wasn't until about 2 years ago and even then, he still will sit and do things quietly for a while.  Charlie likes to talk or scream VERY loudly, where Jack was more quiet.  He's much more fussy than Jack was.  And has an annoying cry which Jack didn't.  Just as sweet as Jack was, but definitely more of a challenge especially when I have things I need to get done.

I'll have to get it on video to show you guys, but the other comical thing about Charlie would be what calms him down when he's throwing a fit.  By accident really, we found out he likes the song Assassin's Tango from the Mr. and Mrs. Smith movie.  Archie was asking me if one day we could take Tango classes and I told him sure, that sounded fun.  Jack asked him to play some tango music and Charlie was fussing and Archie put that song on and complete silence from Charlie is what we got.  Other tango songs don't have that effect.  The other two things that will make him stop crying we discovered thanks to Jack.  He sings "Little Bunny Foo Foo" or "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister (we watch the Betty White show and that's the song for it) and Charlie stops screaming and just looks at him.  I've found that the Little Bunny song also works for me if I sing it.  Not sure what it is about those songs, but I'm not going to argue with what works either!

Today is Jack's last day of camp for the summer.  He seems to have had fun, and his swimming has improved a ton since last year.  We're looking forward to taking some day trips this summer, going to the pool, and at the end of August, going to the beach! 

I WILL update after Charlie's 6 month appointment next week, and hopefully if I do it from home, I'll be able to post a couple of pictures and maybe a video!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Updates on Charlie

Charlie is doing fabulously!  He is a "fluffy" little guy with juicy little legs and cheeks!  He laughed out loud for the first time a week before he hit his 3 month mark.  He did it for my mom while I was at work.  She called me and said, "You didn't tell me he laughs now!!!"  I said, "He hadn't."  :(  It's ok though, I know I won't be able to be around for all of his firsts, but I sure would like to be!  He laughed for us for the first time at home on his 3 month birthday.  I had been blowing raspberries on his belly with diaper changes for weeks trying to elicit a laugh, and I finally got quite a few that day.  He's not big on laughing and doesn't do it often, but he will make a little half chuckle from time to time when he thinks you're being funny. 

Charlie is also rolling over.  He had rolled from his belly to his back twice about a week apart immediately after I would put him down for tummy time.  Neither time could I get him to do it again, so I'm not sure if I was just laying him down and positioning him just right initially (without even trying), and he was able to do it or what.  But as of Mother's Day (this past Sunday, and for my records-6 days before his 4 month birthday) he can roll from back to belly!!  He will do this over and over again, and then he gets on his belly and gets mad because he can't quite get the coordination to flip himself back over. 

He saw the allergist a few weeks ago for skin testing.  If you remember, his RAST blood test came up negative to everything.  His skin testing came up positive for crab (his histamine wheel was 10mm, and so was his crab wheel), and dust mites.  I'd been eating crab at least every other week.  So now I've eliminated diary, soy and crab from my diet.  He continues with spitting up or vomiting, but it is definitely better than it had been.  Where he was a really irritable baby, he's now more pleasant, and instead of throwing up pretty large amounts every feed and in between, it seems that some days he is spitting just little bits here and there, where others, he'll throw up 5 times in 30 minutes.  There's no rhyme or reason to it.  He'd been on zantac, but he had to be off for 6 days prior to his skin testing for the allergist.  We didn't notice much of a difference in his temperment, the frequency or amount of the vomiting, so we didn't put him back on it after the testing. 

We saw the GI specialist last Friday.  I was telling her how he is so much more happy, and the spitting is definitely less than it had been, and it's pretty random now, etc.  She looked at his growth and go figure, according to their scale he dropped from 75th percentile in weight 6 weeks prior to between 25-50th now.  I had weighed him a week or two before with me at home and swear he was about 16.5 pounds, but at the doctors we weighed him another 3 times and we couldn't get anything but 14.5 pounds.  I tried to argue that in that 6 weeks, he'd gained almost an inch in length since the previous appointment.  She agreed that he didn't look malnourished at all, but that she couldn't ignore the weight.  So she wants me to now avoid egg for three weeks, and if the vomiting and runny stools don't improve, she wants to also eliminate nuts.  In the meantime, she gave us some "Simply Thick" to thicken any breastmilk bottles he gets.  The Simply Thick seems to be working-his stools aren't as liquidy, they are more soft, and the vomiting isn't as much in amount when he does do it.  The problem is that since we started using it over the weekend, he is much more fussy (crying like someone is hurting him and then sobbing), and his sleep is all messed up.  I can't help but notice that it started when we started thickening his feeds.  I'm going to call the GI doc in the morning and let her know that this has been a change, and let her know that I'm going to stop thickening the feeds just for a few days to see if his irritability and sleep habits change again.  I will reintroduce the thickener, and if it starts back up I'll know it's the thickener and not a growth spurt or something else more common and benign going on. 

Charlie has his 4 month pediatrician appointment next Wednesday and I'm very interested to see what his weight will be at their office.  If his growth curve has stayed the same then I will feel more comfortable, and I will assume the GI doc's scale needs to be recalibrated.  We shall see.

Jack and Charlie are like two peas in a pod.  We will pick Jack up from school and he will start talking to Charlie in baby talk in the back seat making a big fuss over him.  It's adorable.  And Charlie just LOVES Jack.  If Jack is in the area, he watches him so intently.  I can just see the gears turning, if only I knew what Charlie was thinking!

So, that's it in my neck of the woods.  Next week I'll post after his 4 month appointment, and I'll include some pictures of the cute monkey.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back to Work and Updates

Boy am I a slacker or what? No posts in a month and a half. So sorry, been a little busy enjoying the time I had left of maternity leave. Tonight is my first official night back to work. Yuck!

Charlie is doing great. He's almost 3 months old! At his 2 month appointment he weighed 12.10 pounds and was 24 inches long. I got on the scale with him yesterday and it said he is almost 15 pounds. I find that hard to believe, he still seems pretty small to me. He's outgrown most of his 0-3 month outfits and is now in 3-6 month clothes. It could be that I'm cloth diapering him and so the bulk of those diapers makes the 0-3 month clothes too tight, but lengthwise he was busting out of his sleepers!

Charlie smiles all the time (started March 18th!) and for the most part is just happy for you to look at him and talk to him. He coos back at you, and loves it when you'll imitate the sounds he's making. He doesn't particularly care for tummy time. Jack didn't either. He's a big snuggler, and LOVES being outside. He will sit quietly on my lap and watch the kids play at the playground during his normally fussy period-I love this respite! He doesn't care much for the pacifier (which kind of sucks especially during that 3-8 or 9pm time period when he's throwing his fits), but in the last week seems to have discovered that sucking on his knuckles or fists is kind of nice.

Charlie continues to have reflux. He continues to throw up and choke. I had eliminated dairy from my diet as he broke out with a bad rash (not pimply looking, but very red and bumpy-eczema looking) after a night of lasagna stuffed with cheese and alot of milk on my part. I tried reintroducing it on our trip in Disney and he broke out badly again, so I haven't put it back in my diet. We had an appointment with a Pediatric GI doc and she wanted us to also eliminate soy. She wanted us to put him on Elecare which is a formula that's amino acid based, so lacking the big allergens, and for me to pump and store my milk for 3 weeks to see if his reflux and vomiting improved. He HATES the Elecare which was to be expected. I even tried giving him some bottles with breastmilk and Elecare mixed together and he refused them. So, I'm just avoiding the soy and dairy and he's just getting breastmilk. This means we can't thicken the breastmilk with rice cereal because breastmilk won't thicken with rice cereal. You have to use something called "thickit". So we haven't bothered trying. If we could get him to take some of the Elecare we could thicken that with rice cereal, but he won't take it so it doesn't matter.

Then last week the allergist called with results of Charlie's RAST testing which is basically a blood test to check for allergies. They were all negative which I find hard to believe given his reaction when I consume dairy, but I know it's also not an error-proof test. The allergist wants to skin test him this Thursday morning so we had to stop his reflux meds. I thought this was going to be awful, but I can't say I notice much of a difference reflux/pain-wise. What I can tell you is a problem is that after having stopped giving him his med diluted in about a half an ounce of breastmilk by bottle, he doesn't want to take a bottle anymore. I did finally get him to take one last night, but he's at my mom's tonight while we're working and sure enough, he's fighting it. I feel so bad. I feel bad for my mom mostly because it's going to be a long night for her unless he gives in, and she'll be exhausted when she goes to work in the morning. I feel bad for him because he's inherited my stubborness and it's only going to hurt him and make him really hungry unless he gives in. I haven't heard back from my mom in a couple of hours and I'm just praying it's because he gave in and they're all finally asleep.

In other news, we got a letter from our fertility clinic about our frozen embryos and what we want to do with them. We could pay the storage fee for another year, let them be disposed of, or donate them to research. This is something I have personally agonized over since we got pregnant with Charlie. I didn't want to have to decide. And as I was sure it would turn out, we were given 45 days to decide. It's kind of funny (not haha) how this played out. You see, a girl I worked with 8 years ago (Amy) and I have remained friends with through facebook posted about one of her friends. She's trying to raise money to help her friend offset costs of medical bills and now rent, etc that they are incurring for their 5.5 month old daughter-Lillian. As it turns out, their daughter was diagnosed with Krabbe disease. It's a degenerative disease caused by the myelin surrounding your spinal cord breaking down and causing you to lose control of your muscles, etc. Most kids with this disease won't live to see 2 and it they start to show signs at about 5-6 months old. One of our mutual friends and I talked about it, and we can't imagine what we'd do if either of our newborn babies was diagnosed with this. This little baby has two older siblings who only know that their baby sister is sick, not that she's going to die. In an effort to slow the progress of this disease, her mom and she have moved to an apartment in Pennsylvania to be closer to the children's hospital where she is now getting chemo in anticipation of a stem cell transplant while her dad and siblings stay behind in Maryland.

When we first got the letter, Archie and I talked about whether we thought we might change our minds about wanting more kids down the road. He was adamant that two was good unless God blesses us the old-fashioned way. He didn't want to do any more treatments. I wasn't as convinced, but I also didn't want to just "throw away" our embryos. Having just heard about this little girl's story days before receiving the letter, I talked to Archie about the donation option. Initially we'd been against this as we felt like people would be manipulating and playing around with our babies. But after hearing about her, and definitely not feeling right about just letting our embryos go, and about how I would feel if something happened to either of my kids that stem cells or any kind of research could help with, I felt differently about the research option. I felt like it was a chance not to "waste" our embryos, but to donate them to possibly help another child, or help anyone affected by awful diseases like hers. It would mean so much more to us to know that our embryos went to do something good. Archie agreed with me. I can't tell you how "easy" and good it felt to finally come to a decision that we were both happy with, and didn't feel guilty about. I know I may hear some negative comments about our decision because not everyone will agree with it, but you have to do what's right for your family and what you feel comfortable with, and we have to do the same. Like I said, it was something I agonized over for a year. They weren't wasted. They had a purpose, and I honestly believe we've been shown what that purpose is through this little girl's struggles. To read more about Lillian and her disease, you can visit this site.

That's it from me for now, I'll try not to take another month and a half to post!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

One Month Old

On February 19th, Charlie was a month old. Today was his one month pediatrician appointment. He weighs 10 pounds 7 ounces!!! He's gained almost 2.5 pounds since he was born. Even crazier, last Thursday he weighed 9 pounds 7 ounces, so in less than a week, he's gained a pound. He likes his food.

We've been battling reflux and colic. I keep reminding myself that this isn't my first rodeo, and the difference between this time and when I had Jack is that with Jack, I didn't know that this was eventually going to pass, that it just might take a few months and alot of patience. This time I know that. It doesn't make it any easier, and as tired and frustrated as I might get, I wouldn't trade it in for anything if it meant I'd have to trade Charlie.

The spitting up started before we left the hospital, but he had the high bilirubin levels (jaundice), and so I was nursing him and then syringe feeding him colostrum I'd pumped before he was born (for that exact situation of high bilirubin levels and trying to avoid food allergies as with happened with Jack after we'd supplemented with formula when he was born) so I thought maybe he was just being overfed. Once we had been home a few days, the spitting up turned into throwing up which turned into projectile vomiting 4 times over the weekend, and him screaming alot. Because of this he ended up on zantac. Well, zantac is not meant to stop the vomiting, just to help with the burn. And the liquid form of the med for kids is downright disgusting. We finally figured out that I had to pump once every few days just to be able to give his medicine. I put about 10ml of milk to put the med into in a bottle so he would actually get the full dose instead of spitting out half of it. He gets it every 6 hours. The vomiting has continued, but for the most part, it's not projectile. Well, then he was having choking episodes-while he was on his back sleeping (with his head elevated because of the reflux), while he was being held, in his the doctor put him on reglan to help with emptying his stomach quicker. We started this medication last Thursday. I can't say it's helped really. As a matter of fact, yesterday and today were the two worst days for the choking yet. Yesterday morning at 4:30am (3 hours after his last feed), I heard him in his bassinet in our room choking and his cough just got weaker and less effective which got my attention. I mean, usually it's a little choke with a few coughs here and there, but they're usually good, and pretty effective coughs, but this episode had me out of my bed and my heart going...and I deal with things like this for a living. I kept him sitting up for an hour after that and while I was holding him in my arms, he choked again. I sat him bolt upright for a bit after that, and again, choking. What the heck?

So after talking with the doctor today, we've decided to do a barium swallow which is a swallow study done with x-rays. They will feed him barium (which shows up white on x-ray) and shoot x-rays as he is eating to evaluate the anatomy of his esophagus and stomach. It sounds awful, but at least if they found something wrong they could fix it. I, of course, don't want anything to be wrong with my baby, BUT, I do want him to be safe and comfortable, and he is NOT now. For that reason it would almost be good that they did see something during this study. He chokes in his carseat while I'm driving which is nerve wracking, not to mention talk about a distracted driver! And he gets so uncomfortable with the colic and gas symptoms that he just cries and cries and there isn't much you can do to console him. You just have to wait it out until he's tired enough that you can get him to fall asleep. It's awful to feel so helpless. And his stomach-I'm holding him and you can feel his stomach churning. Today it felt like it was vibrating like a cell phone. Very strange. No wonder he's uncomfortable.

In other news, I'm pretty sure I got my first smile yesterday. It was after his second choking episode, and a screaming period right after I got him calmed down. He got this sweet open mouthed smile on his face and held it for like 5 seconds looking at me. Usually his eyes are half open and rolling around in his little head while he's dreaming and he does it, so that's not real, it's probably gas or something, but this time he was looking at me, AWAKE, and did it. It made me feel awesome, especially after not being able to console him sometimes and feeling completely incompetent.

Jack is doing great with Charlie. He holds him, rubs cheeks with him, kisses him, and his most favorite thing to do with Charlie is to tickle his feet. Charlie has really ticklish feet. He also has what I call piano toes. His fingers look like a normal length to me, but his toes look really long to me! It cracks me up. He is a very long boy. I'm not sure of his length as they didn't check it at his appointment today, but he fills out his 0-3 month clothes rather well.

Nursing continues to go well. He eats sometimes every hour for a few times during the day, and sometimes it's every 2-3 hours. At night he usually passes out between 8-9pm and doesn't wake up until sometime between 1-2am which is really nice. Then he's usually up again around 4:30ish, and again around 6:15. At least I have one kind of long stretch in there. Now if I could just find a way to go to bed right when he does, I'd be maximizing my sleep! That's about impossible with another one running around and things to do all the time (you know, like laundry for all the outfits, bibs and burp cloths Charlie has taken good aim on, and bottles and syringes to wash). Oh well, such is life with a newborn. This too won't last forever, and I'll be talking about how I wish he'd stayed little longer.

Sorry for the long lag between posts, but duty calls! I do religiously read my bloggy friend's blogs, and I comment when I can. Sorry for being a slacker. I'll try to post an update next week when I know the results of the study.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Baby Charlie Has Arrived!!!

Sorry for the lack of posting. I've been busy with the newest member of our family!

Charlie decided he was going to make us force him to come out as he was definitely too cozy. So, January 19th was our scheduled induction date. Believe it or not, I actually did sleep the night before, probably because I skipped my nap on the 18th in the hopes I'd be able to sleep some that night. I got up at 4:45am, and we were due at the hospital by 6:30. We left our house at 5:45am, and arrived at L&D at 6:15. We were ready to go! To be honest, I didn't expect them to really do much besides a set of vitals and put in an IV before shift change at 7am, but they were working on us right through shift change, it was awesome! They started my IV, did a set of vitals, put me on my side (thanks to the high blood pressure in any position but on my side), rechecked my stats, and hooked me up to the monitor.

Charlie's heartrate was fine, but was only riding in the low 100's-110's. This had me slightly curious given the fact that his norm was 140's. I thought maybe he was sleeping until it continued. They were ok with it, and kept telling each nurse and doc that came in that it was his baseline. I don't know about that, but I do know that any heart rate greater than 100 is normal, so I wasn't too concerned. One of the nurse practitioners checked me and I was 3cm and still about 50% effaced. On the monitor they saw that I was having contractions 2-3 minutes apart, so they said they couldn't start me on pitocin yet. It's funny, I thought they were braxton hicks, I mean, they're not any different than what I'd been feeling the last few weeks of my pregnancy, and they didn't hurt. They were talking about maybe breaking my water, but they didn't want to do it until they spoke with my doctor because with the polyhydramnios, sometimes the docs wanted to be there in case there was a problem. At 7:15am, they broke my water. I was a little concerned because it was really bloody, but evidently if they rupture your membranes for you, that's normal. It did eventually turn clear. By this point my contractions had spaced out so they started me on Pitocin.

Evidently, I respond really well to pitocin. They started it, and then they had to back it down because the contractions were coming closer than they'd like. Then they'd slow down and they'd have to kick the pitocin back up, and we went back and forth like this all day. In the meantime, Charlie was deciding to drop his heartrate at times, lower than my heart rate, during contractions. This bothered me as it seemed like FOREVER before he'd come back up, and the nurse would stand there at times, holding her breath. No one really liked that he was doing this, and the thought was that his cord was wrapped around something and during contractions it was being compressed. They continued to watch me closely. He'd drop his heartrate and they'd come in and have me change positions. This happened frequently and I spent most of my time on my left side. By 11:30am I was 6cm and 90% effaced, had my epidural in, and by 1:30pm when they next checked me I was 7cm. I was worried we were slowing down since I'd had that big jump between 7:30 and 11:30 and then two hours later had only changed by 1cm, but at least I was progressing. The poor lady in the room next to me had also been an induction and they were preparing to send her home because it wasn't progressing. I felt awful for her, at least I knew I was having that baby soon.

They checked me next around 3:10pm and I was 9cm during a contraction, so a little less when I wasn't contracting. Charlie continued to elude the monitor and have drops in his heart rate so they put in a scalp electrode to monitor his heart rate. At 4pm, I asked when they were going to check me again. I was told I'd be checked when my doc finished her office hours and came over. I was comfortable with the epidural, so this was fine. My doc came over around 5 and checked me and told me it was time to have this baby! Yes!!! We kicked my father-in-law and Jack out. My mom got the job of holding my one leg, and Archie the other. My mother-in-law was up by my head behind my husband, but after a couple of pushes, and me feeling like I was going to pass out and throw up all at once, she got the job of fanning me with magazines and a barf bucket. I'm sure she was just praying I wouldn't throw up on her.

I pushed for about 10 minutes and my doctor told me that two more pushes, he'd be out. I gave it all I had for one more push, and Charlie dropped his heart rate to the 60's and wasn't coming back up. At that point, my doctor made the decision to use the vacuum to get him out. This is something I wasn't entirely comfortable with until the night before my induction. I had told my nurse that if it came down to him needing to be assisted out, I would prefer the vacuum over forceps delivery. I gave him one more push while the doc applied the vacuum, and at 5:16pm, Charlie was born! He weighed 8 pounds 0.4 ounces. He is not chubby at all, as a matter of fact, he's rather scrawny looking-probably because he's also a long boy, measuring in at 21.75 inches!!! He has a full head of hair, and looks JUST LIKE JACK did as a baby. Which basically means he looks like Archie, LOL. I was told for the first year of Jack's life that I obviously had nothing to do with his conception since he looked nothing like me!

I am so in love with this little guy. My little family feels complete. Jack absolutely loves him. He always wants to kiss him, hug him, and touch him. I've included a few pictures for you guys.