Trea–9 months

My baby is already 9 months old.  She is crawling quickly now, standing up, pulling up on everything and starting to pull this off of higher shelves and tables, traveling across furniture, she eats the same food we all do, she has 3 full teeth in and 2 half way and another breaking through.

She is a very tall baby and is wearing size 12 month clothes.  She is a joy to be around.  Smiles abound.  She lights up a room with her happy demeanor and easy going personality.  She love the boys and wants to be right in the middle of their action.  Her favorite activity is playing in the dog water.

I can not imagine my life without this person in it.  She is a magical being. 

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38 weeks

I will be 38 weeks tomorrow.  I had my OB appt. today, and she didn’t do an exam but could feel the babes head deep in my pelvis.  I have been having a lot of pelvic pressure, my hips are killing me, and sometimes it feels as it the babies head is rubbing directly on my pelvic bone. 

I have also been having a fair amount of BH contractions, and the last couple of days cramping in the lower part of my tummy.  Today is by far the worst day.  I can barely walk.

The worst though are the hemorrhoids.  I have an RX for proctofoam, which I have been using since last night, and my doc gave me some Lidocaine today.  It is painful enough at times to make me wish for a c-section.  The thought of them worsening during delivery, is giving me a tremendous amount of anxiety about my upcoming labor and delivery.

I want this baby out! And soon. My only options though are to wait…since I have had a C-section-induction isn’t an option due to the risks of uterine rupture.  She can strip my membranes but not until next week.  And, if I opt for a C-section, it wouldn’t occur until at least 39 weeks.

So, I will just watch and wait.

8 weeks pregnant!

I am pretending that my appointment this past Monday was my first prenatal appointment.  The whole gang came with me to my doctors appointment.  We scheduled the next appointments, she wrote orders for my blood work, and she did an abdominal ultrasound.

The babe is measuring well.  By my count I was 8 weeks 2 days, and by CRL (crown to rump length) he was 8 weeks exactly.  The 2 day variance is normal (they consider up to 5 days normal) and could be explained by my short menstrual cycle.  The heart beat was strong, and we were able to hear it which was exciting.  
The kids didnt know what what going on, until I showed them on the screen and explained that Mommy was going to have a baby.  Elliott’s eyes lit up, and he smiled a HUGE happy smile.  He insisted on having a copy of the US picture for his room.  Spencer was indifferent as a 2 1/2 year old would be 🙂
I will be 9 weeks on Friday, Aug 31st.  This week makes me feel a little nervous since last time our baby stopped growing at 8 weeks 6 days, although we didnt discover that until 11.5 weeks along.  And while I know in my logical mind that it is not reasonable to think a loss would happen again, and certainly not at the exact same time.  My emotional mind is taking the reigns these days…  
Regardless, we are moving along!  I requested another appointment for 2 weeks–just to put my mind at ease.  To line up with the blood work and next steps–I go back in 2.5 weeks.  It feels like forever!  But,  there is no reason to suspect anything will go wrong.  I still feel crappy with pregnancy sickness.  I havent had any spotting or cramps.  And the babe has a strong heartbeat and is growing according the US.

1st prenatal appt.

It seems that bad luck follows on birthdays.  I found out we lost our 3rd baby last year on Spencer’s birthday.  And this year, 2 days before my birthday we almost suffered another loss.

I had my first prenatal appt. on Monday Aug 20th.  I went through all of the normal 1st appt. questions.  We got to the trans vaginal ultrasound and the nurse said she saw a large sac, but didn’t see any of the normal fetal structures.  She didn’t see a heartbeat and she couldn’t really measure a fetal pole.    She suggested that I return in a week to look again, that perhaps it was too early.  In all of my pregnancies–I have always seen a heartbeat at 7 weeks.  So, needless to say, I was freaking out.  She also suggested I have some basic blood work done.  If the results yielded anything she would call me.
She did call me that evening, and said that after consulting with another doctor, she thinks I am having an abnormal pregnancy.  She indicated that my blood work combined with the ultrasound results indicated either a molar or an ectopic pregnancy.  Ok, this sucks.  She said I should go to radiology first thing in the morning for a detailed ultrasound.  Hubby and I were dumbstruck.  If it was a molar pregnancy, and all signs pointed that way, I would need another D&C.  I couldn’t get an IUD, and I couldn’t try for another pregnancy (not that I would!!!) for 6-12 months.  Not to mention the loss, and grief and recovery.

I went to radiology at 3pm Tuesday.  The tech did an abdominal US first.  He immediately saw my baby, the heartbeat, and that everything looked normal.  I was nervously relieved.  He also did a vaginal US to make sure the baby was in the correct place (and not ectopic).  All signs pointed to a normal pregnancy.

The nurse called that evening and confirmed the diagnosis–we have a normal pregnancy!  I agreed to keep my 1 week follow up appt with her, rather than go over all of the ‘next steps’ over the phone.

What a crazy 24 hours!  

The week for Milestones

As timing would have it, Elliott decided that he wanted to start wearing underwear and using the potty the Friday before our trip to Mexico. The first round of potty training didn’t go well and after several months without success we decided to shelve the attempt. From everything I read we put to much pressure on him to use the pot. So he took control of the thing he knew he could-his bladder and bowels to resist the pressure.

After much parental guilt and discussion between the hubby and I – We told him that it was his body and that he needed to be ready to pee and poop in the pot. We apologized for pressuring him and told him to tell us when he was ready. And from then on we didn’t mention it to him. If he would complain about the cold wipes during a diaper change we would remind him that TP wasn’t wet or cold. Or if he would complain or fuss about diaper changes we would tell him that he could decide/choose to use the toilet anytime but until then we had to wear diapers.

I also decided to skip the pull-ups and the training potty and go straight for underwear and the big toilet. I wanted simplicity and less mess (counter intuitive but true!).

So 3 days before our 5+ hour plane trip plus countless airport hours we switched from diapers to underwear. He is doing great. We have had several accidents, of course. But this is a way different experience for us both. The timing is his and he is in charge. What an awesome feeling for him!

Elliott has also strongly resisted dressing and undressing himself. This is partly our fault as his folks. And partly his way of asserting himself. More often we would rather just do it for him and get out of the house than wait and wait and wait for him to get around to it-if he ever did. What we weren’t seeing was the big picture as it relates to self confidence and independence. We were also short changing him as it relates to coordination.

However, since he started using the pot we have required him to start putting his clothes on and taking them off. This is especially important after he has an accident-he has to sit on the pot, then clean up the pee (to the best of a 2 year olds ability), then put his wet clothes in the laundry and get dressed again. All of these things are normal events-but act as a deterrent for him. The benefit is that he is so proud of himself afterwards!

I suspect that alot of Elliott’s new found confidence is from the swim lessons that he took the 2 weeks prior to our trip to Cancun. There are several schools of thought as it relates to swimming. The classes we took we the life saving type and therefore they took a fairly hard lined approach to learning. Elliott hasn’t been exposed to the tuff love method to much-so it came as a big shock to him. There were a lot of tears the first few days and a bunch of pool water swallowed.

The lessons were simple-they were designed to tap into our innate ability to swim. The instructor always orients the child to the side of the pool and then sends him on his way.
At the end of 2 weeks Elliott felt very confident in himself and had learned the basics of life saving swimming techniques. Many people think this method is mean and won’t subject their children to this type of learning. And if my son had a fear of water I might not consider such a harsh method. But, Elliott has zero fear of water-he goes down the water slide at his Grandparents pool, jumps off the side of the pool into the deep end without a care for who will catch him, and last summer walked straight into the Ocean. I had to run in with all my clothes on and get him. So, these lessons taught him to swim as well as a healthy fear of the water.  A win-win in my book.

The finger saga continues.  Elliott has had 2 post-op follow up appointments with the surgeon.  Both appointments went well.  The doc thinks there is still something in his finger based on the swelling, but is hopeful that his body will be able to break it down and absorb it.  We follow up again in 2 months.  Again, as luck and timing would have it-the Sunday before we leave for Mexico I noticed that one of the stitch sites was infected.  There was a bubble of green pus.  I called the nurse line and she said to come into the ER and they would treat it–she didnt recommend waiting until we returned in case it was something more serious. 

 

The doc who saw him said it looked like a stitch was stuck inside, and was causing a light infection.  She took a needle and popped the pustule and sent a sample to the lab.  More antibiotics and we were on our way. I took the liberty of removing the other 2 stitches that appeared to be stuck myself.  Our medical deductible has almost been met.  Yes, that is $6k we are going to have to pay out of pocket.  We dont need anymore medical bills. I even cancelled Spencer’s last PT session because I think it was more of a formality than a necessity.  

Since this is the week for milestones–Spencer took the hint and started rolling over.  I bought him a travel tent/bed for our trip.  I knew we were going to be spending a fair amount of time at or in the pool.  So, I wanted to be sure he was comfy and in the shade.  One day while Elliott was swimming, Spencer was enjoying some tummy time in his tent.  Next thing you know he was on his side then on his back again.  And so it begins–his active journey.  Since he can now move about, we are also allowing him to sleep on his tummy.  He seems to enjoy sleeping both on his back and on his stomach.  Neither position elicit more sleep than the other though.  Boo. 

The saga of the swollen finger

A Mom’s work is worry…or so they say?  Well, I must be working OT.  Or so, I feel anyway.  While I recognize that this is small potatoes compared with many families medical issues, this was scary for our family.

About 5 weeks ago, Elliott was angry and struck a pygmy palm tree with his hand.  He cried for a bit, and was over it.  I looked at the wound and didn’t think anything of it.  It wasn’t bleeding, there wasn’t anything stuck in his finger that I could see, and he was back playing fairly quick.  But, the fronds had spines on them and I knew that one must have poked his finger.

A few days later I noted that it was swollen and he wasn’t using it.  I mentioned it to the hubby, who in typical hubby fashion, said not to worry about it.  I called the nurse line at the peds office and they had me come in.  By this time the finger was really sore and he was complaining about it.

The doctor noticed some redness and spots on the top of his hand, but no other signs of a problem.  She thought that perhaps it was infected and wrote us an RX for 10 days of Keflex, 4 times a day.  40 doses!!  After several days on the meds, I hadn’t seen any improvement in the swelling, so I called the ped office again.

We went to a second appointment, and I ran through the whole story to a new pediatrician and resident.  They thought that perhaps he jammed it, similar to a basketball injury.  But, just to be safe ordered an xray.  The xrays were negative for a break/fracture.  So, the doc said, in a very dismissive, insulting way–to go home, take the rest of the antibiotics and call if the swelling was still there after we completed the meds.

I went home feeling like I was overreacting and started to question my intuition and parenting skills.  On top of that, I was almost out of medication and he had only been on it a few days.  I called the pharmacy only to realize they shorted us a bottle of the medication.  I had to walk through the dosage math with the tech to convince him that they did it wrong.  Some of my confidence was subsequently restored having discovered that it wasn’t my dosing error but their mathematical error. But, having to go back to the pharmacy again bites.

During this same time period, I was finally able to get Elliott in to see an allergist.  He has had what can only be described as allergy symptoms for a few winters.  They did the skin prick test for environmental allergies and all of them come back negative…  I am now feeling extremely over protective and wondering if I am being a hypochondriac.  Not to mention that our insurance deductible is $6k–so all of these visits and meds are out of pocket until we reach our deductible Yes, SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Elliott finished the medication.  We celebrate hubby’s 40th birthday party. Another week goes by and I notice the finger is still swollen.  I ask around to be sure I am not being crazy and paranoid (this occasionally happens), and I call the nurse line again.  2 days later the doc calls back and says they are going to refer me to an Orthopedic doc.  I ask him what his line of thinking is…and he says, that they are out of ideas.

Hmm, ok.  We go to the Orthopedic doc on Friday morning.  They don’t have our appointment on the books, but take us anyway.  But, first we swing by the lab and Elliott gets his blood drawn for a RAST test.  He had 2 skin reactions to what both his daycare provider and I thought was peanut butter.  More worry and panic.  Needless to say–Elliott was not pleased to have a blood draw.  But all things considered he was fairly reasonable about it.  And stopped crying as soon as I released his arm.

We see the ortho doc, who is about as quirky as Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  In fact he looked in my diaper bag twice if that sheds some light on it.  Well, he ordered 3 more x-rays.  Urgghh.  More x-rays!!!  Elliott has had x-rays 5 times and 4 of them have been in the last 6 months–ankle (not broken-phew!), clavicle (broken), chest (Bronchitis), hand/finger twice.  He comes back and advises me that he has a bone infection.

Um, excuse me?  Yes, I heard him right.  Osteomyelitis.  He started saying things like blood work, hospital admittance, MRI, surgery.  I called the hubby and asked him to leave work and meet me at the hospital asap.I was very nervous and needed support.

The doc wanted to get more blood work to help confirm his diagnosis. Poor kid braved out one blood draw, but now needs a second one — on the same day!  The blood came back OK, so they wanted to order an MRI.  Apparently for a kid to get an MRI they have to put them under general anesthesia.  So, we were looking at a hospital admittance.

Uh, not exactly what I had planned for my Friday. But, ok I am rolling with it.  Trying to stay calm for my son’s sake.  He was hungry and thirsty and begging me for water–and since he was going under they wouldn’t let him eat or drink.  We end up waiting several hours for a room vacancy, and by then the anesthesiologist for MRI had gone home for the night.  We finally speak with the surgeon who was confident that either way surgery was needed.  And by skipping the MRI we would save thousands of dollars (see above for insurance deductible)

So, at 6:30pm he went in for surgery on his finger.  They drilled 4 holes in his bone, released the pressure, took some samples of the bone and tendon fluid, and stitched him up.  It was heartbreaking handing him over to the OR nurse and watching him walk back to the OR with her.  Everything went great, and the surgery only took about 40 minutes.  We were out of recovery and back in the room by 8:00pm.

And by 9pm he was drinking water and eating Popsicles on my lap.  By 10pm he was fast asleep with Daddy by his side.  Only one parent can sleep in the room with him, and since Spencer wont take a bottle–I had to go home and the hubby had to stay.  I was back bright and early the next morning, and he was already running down the halls and eating a HUGE breakfast.

He received a few doses of antibiotics and some anti-inflammatory through his IV (which thankfully they inserted after he was already under–thanks to the strawberry scented ‘special air’).  By noon the doc had cleared him for discharge.  They re-dressed his bandage since it was already 3/4 of the way falling off…he is a 2 year old after all.  And sent us home with meds for pain, and another antibiotic.

There was a slight mix up with the RX–as in the doc wrote the wrong one.  We filled it, paid $179 for it, only to discover after talking between us that it was the wrong one.  The nurse verified our theory with the doc and the pharmacy reluctantly refunded our money.  They didn’t have the new Rx, so the nurses called all the pharmacies in our area only to concede to an intra-pharmacy transfer (in-patient to out-patient)…sheesh!

$125 lighter and several hours later–we finally leave the hospital at 4pm.  Freedom at last!

Elliott doesn’t seem to notice the bandages, hasn’t complained about his hand, and has slept 2 solid nights without waking once (something that hasn’t happened in more than a month).

What an ordeal.  But, I learned an important lesson.  You may have already guessed it.

It is to trust myself.  I know my son.  I know when something isn’t right.  I know that even though he wasn’t directly complaining about pain-that something was wrong.  And that sometimes injuries manifest themselves in other ways–like night waking or malaise.

16 week check-up and related rants

Yesterday was my 16 week Midwife appointment. Not much to report really-the baby is growing, the heart rate is normal, I feel good.

The only downsides were that since my last visit I gained 8 lbs and there was blood in my urine. If my blood pressure was elevated, it could be an early sign of pre-eclampsia, but since my BP was 100/50 it is likely an a-symptomatic UTI. They will send the urine to the lab, and have results back on Friday. If I have a UTI, its a 7 or 10 day cycle of antibiotics and then back to normal.
As for the weight gain…well, I didn’t want to gain 8 pounds in 5 weeks. But, it was not really a surprise given the amount of food I have been eating. Since the morning sickness has subsided I have been eating a more diverse list of foods (including sweets, which made me sick during the first trimester). This seems typical for this stage of my pregnancy, given the weight gain at a similar time the last go round.
On a separate but similar note, UCSD Medical Center has left a bad taste in my mouth after our horrible experience in the ER with Elliott 2 weeks ago. I didn’t write about it, because I was so traumatized about the event that I really just wanted it to disappear from my memory. It has not disappeared, and inversely has become poisonous and is tainting my feelings about the care I receive. I wrote a letter identifying my reasons for feeling this way and sent it to UCSD, but have yet to hear anything. If I wasn’t already in my second trimester, I would consider switching hospitals.
As it stands now, I am going to attempt to switch from Hillcrest to La Jolla. The facilities in La Jolla are newer and more up to date. The people are friendlier and appear more sanitary (both the staff and the patients) and it is only 10 minutes farther for us to drive. Plus, the couple times I have been there so far were WAY better than Hillcrest.
Oh, and did I mention that we changed insurance earlier this year? We were on an HMO plan for the last 6 years that was great. But, with the new plans being offered we had to choose a PPO as they were the only plan that accepted UCSD. I have never been on a PPO plan, but our CPA/Tax Planner gave us a fancy spreadsheet that demonstrated the company and personal savings we would encounter if we switched to the PPO. The PPO plan comes with an HSA account, and we are dumping the monthly cost savings from the old HMO plan into the new HSA account. All was fine until I realized that maternity care wasn’t covered until we reach our deductible (which BTW is $6000!!!!). I clearly should have taken more time to read and research this decision. I feel jilted.
Oh, and throw in an ER visit and a couple of X-rays for Elliott when he fell off the curb and couldn’t walk for 2 days and, well…we should be reaching our deductible soon (very soon). Just the preliminary blood tests alone from my first Midwife visit were $2000 (and that already includes the preferred discount). I had an Ultrasound for dating (purely elective on my part) and it cost $900, and the US tech was a cold hearted bitch with zero bedside manner. Add all of this in with my negative feelings towards UCSD and to the HUGE amount of money we will be paying out of pocket (for horrible care) and I am left feeling bitter and nervous.

Yes, we are still alive!


Phew, what a crazy month or more it has been. Hubby was sick, sick, sick for most of the month of December and some of January. Requiring 2 visits to Urgent Care and a doctor visit, several antibiotic Rx’s. 2 sets of blood work, one chest x-ray, and almost a lumbar puncture. Yup, you heard right.

They don’t know what was wrong with him still. They think he has a sinus infection that went haywire. But, who knows. He still isn’t 100%, and needs to go in next week for a third round of blood work and tests. Like I said, Phew!

Having to parent for so long semi-solo was a HUGE challenge for me. I don’t have that much patience or energy, coupled with the holidays; I was drained. I started to seriously stress out with regard to work and the daunting task of trying to keep up with it all.

Hubby and I are both highly organized (some say to much so), and like our house to be in a particular order. Trying to live up to our standards almost put me (and frankly hubby too)into a panic attack. I finally had to let go of certain things and convince hubby to do the same.

We both had to let go and allow our house to be in disorder for a while. We have a small child, and in order for us to enjoy him and be present with him we have to let go of trying to control many of the things in the periphery. As such, we are happier and less stressed. Three cheers for being aware and willing to change.

Speaking of change, Elliott changed before our eyes over the holidays. In the matter of a couple of days he went from not sitting up on his own at all, to being able to sit up unassisted, both hands free. He also started to become highly aware of his surroundings, making direct eye contact and responding with a laughs and smile. Formerly we would have had to solicit his smiles and chuckles, now when he sees something funny–he lets out a belly sized laugh and full face grin.

On his 1/2 year birthday we started him on rice cereal. He is a natural eater, and hasn’t had any issues thus far with any food we have given him. Along with rice cereal he has eaten bananas and sweet potatoes. This weekend we are going to try avocado or maybe pears. He seems to want to feed himself. Every time the spoon comes to him mouth, he reaches with both hands and directs and controls the spoon himself. SO much so that I can not extract it from him hands until he is ready for a refill. We also introduced the sippy cup with water in it. More than the food, watching him try and manipulate the sup into his mouth is endearing. But, when he succeeds and gets a sip of water-the look on his face is hilarious! He keeps going back for more, so I can only assume he is acclimating to its new flavor. But it facial expressions were any indicator–you would think we were trying to poison him.

Hubby and I are working on letting go a bit. We are trying to teach/allow Elliott to fall asleep on his own, rather than need to be rocked to sleep for every nap and bedtime. Lil E will fall asleep in the stroller or car seat on his own, and often times put himself back to sleep when he awakes. So, we realized that perhaps by always rocking him to sleep, we aren’t allowing him to learn to fall asleep on his own. The experiment is working well, and he seems to be learning quickly, all with little to no crying. Neither hubby nor I are the CIO type of parents.

Our 6 month appointment went great too. Elliott is in the 85-95% for all things. He is growing normally and according to the doc has great hand eye coordination and is a very social baby. He weighed in at 21.2 lbs and is 27.5 inches long. No teeth yet and he hasn’t rolled over…but that time is soon coming!

I have so many other things to say, and share but have run out of time. So, this will have to do for now. Be well!

2 month check-up

Elliott had his 2 month check up today. It was a little earlier than originally planned, due to the fact that he needed to get his vaccinations before we travel to SF at the end of the month.

He did a great job handling the shots. He cried for wee bit right after they were injected, but then settled down pretty quickly. I breastfeed him right away, and then he fell asleep in the sling and subsequently the car seat. I think it caused his Dad and I more stress than it did him.

He also got a stellar report card from the pediatric doc. He is at or above the 95th percentile for all things-height, weight and head circumference. All his reflexes are in line. She also put our worry to rest that he was gaining and growing to quickly. She said they look for steady growth over time and showed me the chart they plot it on. She also confirmed that he looked very healthy, and to keep up the good work. Big yippee- she signed off on me being able to donate milk certifying that Elliott was healthy and not wanting for milk.

All and all, a very good visit.