Archive for the 'Sick kid' Category

Working Through My Baby & Mama Drama

I’m always pretty guarded about telling my children’s birth stories. Unless you ask. Then I will talk your ear off. First, everyone who has children has a birth story. Everyone thinks their story is pretty spectacular and dramatic. The truth is, birth is pretty miraculous. Saying you had a baby is saying it all.

I’m guarded because of guilt, I guess (what else is new?). We have two healthy, happy, thriving children and they were conceived with no trouble. Some people have a hell of a time conceiving. Some never are able to have babies. Some people have multiple miscarriages. Some people have a baby, but can’t bring baby home right away. Some people have a baby, but the baby doesn’t make it home. It goes on and on. So when I think about the little dramas I encountered in the maternity ward, they appear to be just that: Little. Not worth sitting here talking about. When I think of that, the little dramas fade. Then I feel particularly jerky and guilty for wanting to talk about our birth stories.

BUT, all of us parents can agree that it’s VERY therapeutic to talk about our birth stories. And I am all about talking, writing and working through our traumas to move forward. And I really feel like I’m at a place, seven months postpartum, that’s I’m ready to talk about Delilah’s birth story, get it out of my system and continue moving forward.

Our drama began when I was doing kangaroo care with Delilah just minutes after I was in recovery after my c-section. She was making some funny breathing sounds – what I thought were cute newborn baby noises. But it alarmed the nurse and she took Delilah away. She was having trouble breathing. Then she stopped breathing and they had to put her on oxygen in the NICU. Honestly, I was not worried. We were in the best possible place for infant care. I trusted what was happening in the NICU. The doctors were very forthcoming with detailed information about what was going on. And as much as I wanted to have our baby room in with us as we did with Ollie, I was kind of looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Is that selfish? Probably. I was on pain meds, recovering from a c-section. I was exhausted and doped up and I just wasn’t too worried. She was healthy for the first nine months, she’d be fine.

When the breathing problem went away, suddenly Delilah wasn’t keeping down her fluids so they gave her an IV to keep her hydrated. In her goddamned forehead. They told us, “It looks barbaric, but it’s the best vein.” Whatever. Whatever. Whatever. They put a little bow near the IV site. OK, just fix her!

I gimped over to the NICU as often as possible to nurse. I pumped like a madwoman filing little vials with colostrum so the nurses could give that to her in between.

Her condition improved and we were able to go home in the standard four days for c-section births. But her interventions didn’t end there. She spit up a lot. I’ve never been a big milk producer, so I felt so defeated when I’d nurse for a half hour and she’d spit up half of the milk. She spit up the formula I was supplementing with. And she wasn’t particularly happy. Then I began finding blood in her stools. After some labs, her pediatrician deducted she had a milk allergy that was straining her and giving her pain. We had to put her on this special formula that is approximately $261 a can. But the blood went away and the colic subsided and she became much happier overall. And so did we.


Clockwise from top left: Kangaroo time – I had no idea her cute baby sounds were alerting us that she was having trouble breathing. In the NICU. All better and finally able to room in with us. Very proud big brother Ollie meeting Delilah for the first time.

So whatever. You do what you need to do. She’s absolutely doing fine now. I’m a little leery about the transition from this magic formula to regular formula as far as when that’s going to happen and how she’s going to react, and then how the transition to cow’s milk is going to go. I hope the allergy doesn’t stay with her forever. But if it does, we’ll figure it out.

So sitting here with a very happy, healthy, giggly, pink-cheeked redheaded spitfire of a girl, it’s really hard to lament without sounding like an ingrate. But I think the trauma of all of that has weighed on me and I’m now starting to want to get it out so I can move on.

And that’s not all. We had another blow at the hospital.

A NICU nurse pulled a vial of my colostrum from the fridge and gave it to another woman’s baby. The other mom saw my name on the vial’s label and flipped. I don’t blame her. The fuck?

That just made me mad. Mad for me for the embarrassment and inconvenience of having to get blood work done to prove I don’t have HIV/AIDS/hep. Mad for the other mom who found out her baby got some random woman’s milk who, for all she knew, had HIV/AIDS/hep/crack addiction/zombie DNA. Mad for everyone who puts trust in hospitals and their healthcare staffs. And mad at the dingbat nurse who fucked up. Even more mad for her manner of sharing the bad news. I was having a private moment nursing my baby and catching up with my sister when she peeked in looking like someone just died and said she had horrible news, proceeding to tell me how she fucked up. Which, yes, is horrible and needed to be communicated to me pretty immediately, but certainly there was a better way. Like in private without the imminent-end-of-the-world facial expression and tone. I realize to her, fucking up could cost her her job, so maybe it was the end of the world to her, but chill. I was in a delicate state as it was – baby in the NICU, I’m recovering from a major surgery, on meds, not in the best mental state. I basically fell apart. Blubbering like a damn fool.

I would have been royally screwed if a) my husband wasn’t the rock that he is and incredible at dealing with people and b) my best friends weren’t waiting for me in my room to cheer me up. They came unexpectedly and I wasn’t sure I could pull it together for them, but I took a deep breath, wiped away my tears and went in and laughed like nobody’s business for a good half hour. Sometimes a surprise visit is the BEST visit. So thank you Cely and Jaime. 🙂

My reward for having my bloodwork done was $30 worth of hospital cafeteria vouchers. Looks like I came out the big winner, amiright? It was also reassuring to know that I don’t have zombie DNA.

So yeah. It was the roller coaster ride that had a lot of free falls, but also lots of fun parts in between like getting home-baked goodies from my sister’s bakery, ridiculously cute girlie stuff from friends and family, so many flowers it smelled like a garden in my room, plus lots of private, happy moments between my husband and me, and my baby and me. And seeing Ollie with his little sister for the first time was priceless.

I guess as I start closing this post, I just want to say no matter how minor, your drama as a parent is yours. It has value. It has meaning. You might not even know its weight till you’re seven months postpartum. It might hit you all at once. Talk about it and don’t feel guilty. For me, when people ask me if and when we’re having No. 3, I feel like unloading all the stuff we’ve been through physically, emotionally, hormonally and financially. I am not aching to add to my brood. And I’m not sorry for feeling that way. I’m VERY happy with my perfectly messy, chaotic, silly and crazy family. I can’t imagine it getting any better than this, right now. I don’t want to “push” it!

Now, tell me about your birth story! (Oh no, I just opened the flood gates, didn’t I?! Bring it!)


Hey-ee-ay-ee-aaay, What’s Goin’ On?

Clockwise: Going to see my husband J’s band play at seven-plus months pregnant \m/; the baby at six months; J and Ollie on our nature hike yesterday; Ollie playing in the autumn leaves; total big brother material; the nursery is coming along – forest buddies theme.

I’ve been working on this post for more than a week. It’s been a whirlwind caring for a sick kid, then getting sick myself, being super busy at work, running around making social engagements, feeling like I have a deadline to get all of the things done before the new baby on November 2. I’m sure there’s a frazzled-looking cat meme somewhere that kind of says it all.

A lot of people ask how Ollie’s doing with the TBA baby. Mostly great. Ollie lays on my belly, pets it and talks to the baby. He was certain I’m having a girl for the longest time, but now he’s leaning toward boy. Although right now is also a little confusing and emotional for him, I think. He’s been more dramatic than usual about little things. That’s supposed to be MY JOB, amiright? I’ve been meaning to ask you guys with multiple kids if your child or children were a little “off” before the new baby was born – do you recall? It’s nothing that we can’t handle. We’re no stranger to the phases of a preschooler. BUT, it is heartbreaking when your kid is being all emo and not really mature enough to explain what’s up. It’s a delicate operation trying to get into a little kid’s head.

Speaking of emo, I’m a little emo these days, too (I know, my husband has it bad). Crying at Children’s Tylenol commercials (and THIS amazing, heart-string-pulling post), having wack dreams, kind of freaking out about the 25,398 things I need to do before my due date (mostly work-related). I’m also very ready to have this baby. I’m not in any unmanageable pain, just ready. I’m a bull in a China shop with this big belly. I’m moving slower. Meanwhile, the baby is moving a lot (which yes, I know is a good thing) and I’m just ready to meet him or her and start bonding. I think about holding the baby all of the time. I’m probably acting out a little on Ollie getting all up in his grill kissing and fake noming on his cheeks and junk. Sorry, Ollie. Your mom is weird.

I’m also overdoing it (mentally and maybe a little bit physically), but I can’t sit still. There’s so much to do. I don’t like being cooped up. Even with a severe cold and sinus infection this past week, I didn’t really slow down much. There’s no time for that laying around nonsense! Truth? I’m looking forward to being at home for a while with our baby. Slowing down a little. Nesting. Getting my body back. I got pregnant around the same time I hit a 4o-pound weight-loss goal. I miss my skinn(ier) jeans! I miss zippers. Is that vain?

So yeah. That’s what’s going’ on. What’s new with you?

PS: I hope you don’t think the 3-D ultrasound pic is TMI. I debated whether or not to post it. But the baby is so beautiful and we can’t get over how much he or she looks like big brother Ollie. You can see why I’m so ready to meet this little nugget already!

True Story: Stuff I Don’t Mess Around With

Geoffry, does this smell a little funny to you?

I preemptively dub myself “The Paranoid New Mom” when I call the pediatrician about what they probably consider amateur hour, but there are a few things I don’t mess around with and one of them is poop.

We were trained early and often about baby poop – what to expect, what’s normal, what’s alarming. Disgusting as it was, we looked inquisitively at the poop pictures that were passed around in “Brining Home Baby” classes so we’d know that meconium (baby’s first poop) is black and why later it would look like Grey Poupon meets sweet potatoes (breastfed baby poop).

Today Ollie had a very pale poop. Not stark white, but very light colored. Sort of tanish beigish. At first, I’m like, OK,  he’s been teething and not eating very much because of it, so maybe it’s just his current diet. Still, I googled “baby poop” and found this really helpful chart about how white poop could indicate that there is no bile from the liver to digest food and to call the doctor. So I did just in case there was a “gray” area between white and tan that I should be concerned with. The nurse said unless it is chalky white and hard, that he’s OK. Phew!

The other thing I don’t mess with is the ears. Ollie’s had two ear infections in his young life and the last one in January was really bad in one ear. Ollie is an easy-going kid, very happy and was only really inconsolable once when he had a fever (which was during his first ear infection). His ear infections tend to manifest through a runny nose, which he had again last week. My doc said especially at this age when he’s learning how to say words and communicate, an ear infection hinders his ability to hear, which is cause for concern, therefore needs to be treated. So I don’t mess. I had him in to see the doc last Friday. Thankfully he checked out OK. And we were able to get his second (and final) H1N1 shot out of the way while we were there.

Sure, there are lots of warning signs when kids are not OK, but some are not as obvious. For me, it’s ears, and today anyway, poop. As for the “paranoid mommy” technique, I’m thinking this might also come in handy down the road when someone is faking sick to stay home from school. A threat to take a kid to the doctor is probably not worth it. It never was for me, anyway.

Have you had any “paranoid mommy” moments? What health issues do you “not mess around with” at your house? Also, can you be too safe? Is there such thing as being too paranoid when it comes to your kid’s health?

Random Mommy Musings

A very rosy-cheeked Ollie with his ABC cookies. The end of a loooong day.

Just put Ollie to bed and poured myself a generous glass of wine. It’s been a long day. Not bad, just long and this wine is hitting the spot. I haven’t first-person mommy blogged for awhile and there’s a lot of ground to cover.

Ollie’s one-year pediatrician visit was today. Coincidentally, he’s come down with a cold and cough in the past 24 hours. Today we found out he also has an ear infection. His second in four months. Otherwise, he’s a super-healthy one-year old. Height, weight and head circumference are all 95 percentile-plus. He’s doing all the great things one year olds do: babble, grab’n’grunt at things, cruise, play and eat, eat, eat. Still, having a sick kid again is really heartbreaking. Like last time, I’m getting the feeling J and I are taking it worse than Ollie. He’s doing pretty well considering getting several shots, giving a blood sample, taking icky meds for his ears and being driven around greater southern McHenry County today.

I decided today would be a great day to take back unwanted baby Christmas presents, which explains why we were all over the county. Would it be totally shitty to tell people from here on out, no department stores or Babies’R’Us? The closest mall is an hour round trip and Babies’R’Us is not only way overpriced, but it’s also a good 45-minute round trip from my house. Also, today I went to a mall for the first time in about two, maybe three years. I felt my soul withering away the moment I pushed through the heavy glass doors, kind of how Walmart makes me feel except Walmart at least promises low prices. Also, the ladies at Macy’s and Kohl’s both treated me like total crap. I decided to be really nice because what did I have to lose? I can’t control others’ bitchiness, but I can control how I react. I know that sounds noble. I secretly wanted to just stab the shit out of their faces.

I’m getting super-stoked about Ollie’s ninja-themed b-day party. We gave ourselves and our families a little break after the holidays by postponing Ollie’s b-day party from the weekend of January 7th to next Saturday. Frankly, it also gives us some time to get our house in order and prepare this awesome ninja-themed party we’ve been dreaming about. Not only are ninjas freakin’ cool, but I’m a long-time admirer of ShawnimalsWee Ninja doll and Ninjatown. I met the toy’s creator Shawn Smith at a music fest we were both working in Chicago during my zinester days. He’s from the burbs, too, now residing in the city. Lots of parallels. Anyway, my big sister/pâtissier Nicholette is going to make Ollie’s ninja cake and baby cake (the one he gets to smash) in the shape of Wee Ninja. Of course, I need to get my order in for a plush toy and soon (supposedly their stock is low). For the party, we’re thinking about getting catered Chinese, some Singha beer and a few colorful paper lantern garlands. Oh yeah, and I scored a party-sized container of fortune cookies today (one down).

Call him Lil Hercules. Last night, Ollie demonstrated his super strength by pushing the ottoman from the family room to the dining room and back. It’s officially on like Donkey Kong.

No more Carters. I’m starting to sound like a total ingrate with my picky taste in clothing, but nothing could be further from the truth. I’m a common-sense mommy. Carters is this name-brand children’s clothing that, OK, is decent quality. But it comes with a price tag. And honestly, the clothes don’t fit Ollie very well. Admittedly, he’s not the average-sized one-year-old, but even the 18 and 24-month clothing fits awkwardly — tight in some places and super huge in others. And considering kids grow so fast, it just doesn’t feel right to spend too much money on clothes.

Sick Kid

8484_tired_mom_taking_care_of_crying_baby_in_cribIn Parentland, many times, when it rains, it pours. You have those days you get the bodily function trifecta, which includes getting spit up on, peed on and pooped on within minutes of each other. If you’re really lucky, the wipes are nowhere to be found during said fluid storm.

We had a pretty gnarly trio of travesties over the weekend, the first two being nothing in comparison to the third, but still. Here goes: First, the monkey mobile broke. I blame myself for letting Ollie yank the life out of it while I was putting him down for a nap. The boy loves his monkeys, what can I say? Nothing a little plastic welder can’t handle. Then, the overstuffed Diaper Genie wouldn’t close after I changed out the liner. Diaper Genie fails are the worst. Daddy had to dig around with a screwdriver to fix it, it was so bad. And because these things happen in threes, Ollie, my little butter bean, got sick. He’s had mild runny noses, insignificant coughs and a drooly mouth due to teething, but this was different. This was genuine, bona fide sick sick. I knew it was a matter of time, and my sitter even warned me.

She wasn’t trying to freak us out. Contrarily, this childcare vet was trying to relay the obvious: He’s going to get sick sick, it’s a matter of time, he’s not the first and you’ll all get through it.

Well, our time came last night. I had Ollie all snuggled up in his new fleece footie jammies. One with a cyclopes Sully monster knock-off appliqué on it. Something about babies in footie p.j.s that kills me every time. I am fully aware they now make these for adults and am disturbed to no end by it, but babies and toddlers? Instant warm-fuzzies.

Anyway, long story short (I know, too late), he was just the cutest thing. I laid him down for the night like usual. A little after midnight, he was up. Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night and babbles himself to sleep. Sometimes I actually get up with him to change his diapers if they need it. Last night, it was a lot of tears (the kind of crying where the face takes on a tomato-colored complexion), severe fussiness, a runny nose and an old lady cough. I was up and down with him a handful of times. Around 3 a.m., I fed him a bottle and a half. He was like a bottomless pit. The next time, J held him while he fell asleep in his arms. I threw in the towel around 6:15 a.m., got up with him, fed him breakfast and some bottle while reading from “Baby 411.” All signs pointed to “wait it out.” No fever, no vomiting, he wasn’t refusing food, turning blue or struggling to breathe.

As he fell asleep in my arms, exhausted from little sleep, I laid him down for a morning rest. He was exhausted, I was worn out, and daddy, now halfway to work, was undoubtedly a little drained. But we survived and baby was taking his much-needed nap with his blankie over his head like it always is.

He came around after his nap, seemed content, so I proceeded to take him to the sitter. The bulb syringe, which we don’t use, but  keep around, offered him a lot of comfort to hold and chew on, so I let him enjoy it. I crossed my fingers the worse was over, but he started bawling with those BIG boy tears once I passed him off to the sitter. She chalked it up to a cold, teething and maybe a little separation anxiety. She wanted me to go to work and not to worry. I told her not to hesitate to call me if he was inconsolable. I know it’s all symptomatic of being a new mom, but I was worried.

I called the pediatrician, who, like the book and my sitter, calmed my fears. The general attitude is, if your kid is running a high fever, isn’t eating, is struggling to breathe, etc., get medial help. But as new parents, when an otherwise jovial and energetic baby is bawling and inconsolable, it’s a cause for concern.

Tonight, I put the repaired mobile back up and put Ollie to bed pretty early. He was pooped.

So, yeah, we all made it through Day 1 of baby’s first real illness. What a day.

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