It's been a stressful few days, and I finally broke down and made an appointment with a pediatric gastroenterologist. I'm so worn down, exhausted... emotionally drained over the problems E has. I hate looking into her sweet face with her "I love you" smile knowing that she's going to be in pain again at some point. I completely broke down yesterday. A was having a terrible day with her, and I'd had a terrible day the day before. We both got so frustrated we had to leave the room for a minute and it made me feel like I let her down. There's nothing like being unable to stop your baby from crying (and getting frustrated about it) to make you feel helpless, like a failure, like the worst mother in the world. I just kept saying I didn't deserve her. A doesn't feel this way. He knows that a constantly screaming baby is something anyone would have trouble with. But I feel like I should have more patience. I don't know how I could, but I want it. And I'm going to pray for relief for my sweet girl, and extra patience until she's all fixed up. A called me after I texted him about how awful I was and said "are you done?". In this "You're being ridiculous. You're a great mom!" voice. And my parents keep saying that, too. But I just wish I could be even better. And I wish E didn't have to feel pain. So I made the appointment. She doesn't always do it, but basically the problem is that she screams, cries, thrashes, arches, throws her body around, etc. when eating. She looks so happy to see the bottle, then you put it in her mouth and she screams.Sometimes after sucking for a second, sometimes the second it enters her mouth. It's hell to get her to finish, because you know she needs to eat, and she wants to eat, but it seems to be hurting her. Once she's done, she spits up copious amounts of her meal, up to 3+ hours afterwards. It makes her cough, her eyes get all read and watery, and sometimes it makes her cry. It's just not fair to her to feel that way, so although we don't want to put her through tests, she needs to get better, and we'll hopefully solve this problem for good on 6/19 when we see the doctor. I expect they'll do a barium swallow, which I'm not excited about, but if it clues us in to what's going on with my baby, I'm OK with it.
The thing that's so strange about it all is that she has plenty of days where she's perfect. Where she doesnt thrash around and scream. And I don't know what the difference is. And whenever she's not thrashing or spitting up, even on the "bad" days, she has this huge, gorgeous, heart-melting smile on her sweet face. I wish we could move the appointment up, but apparently pediatric GIs aren't easy to come by, and the only other place we would be able to go is at Hopkins, which, while I love, is even worse with appointments (at my August 8th appointment for my kidneys, the next available was March. Yes. March).
I keep saying that if I knew she was crying just to be a jerk (which she is WAY too young for) I could deal with it. What I can't deal with is not being able to fix a problem. My mom keeps saying "I've never seen a baby do this! Something is wrong!" and I keep saying "Well no shit. I've been saying that for months!". The time has come to nip this thing in the bud. If I had to guess, I'd say severe reflux and slow gastric emptying. Only the tests will tell. I don't think Zantac is doing it for her, but she doesn't tolerate the Prevacid solutabs, so we'll see. I don't care what I have to do. I'm going to fix my child.
Like I said, she has great days, too. It's like the problem comes in spells for 2-3 days at a time. I was actually starting to think she'd outgrown it until last Friday. Anyway, here is my angel playing with her birdy yesterday right before bed time. She was happy as a little clam.
It's Memorial Day and I'm pretty happy. I've gotten to spend 3 whole days with Evie and I miss spending all day with her every day. Every so often she reminds me of why it's not complete and total hell going to work by screaming and throwing her body around when trying to eat. I've tried everything to keep her from doing it and nothing helps, so I guess I just have to wait it out and hope she grows out of it. She's napping right now and it looks like it may last. And she's not in my arms which means... I should probably spend this time writing a blog, not cleaning?
Today I'm trying to embark on a new post-baby journey. I feel like I took over the body of a completely different person. I'm overweight obese, so I already had some stretch marks, but my stomach now is crazy. I have more stretch marks. The lower part of my belly is a jiggle fest, and the top part is hard, and protrudes more because the muscles are still shifting back into place. My body is a mess, and so I haven't taken any time to try to look nice. I'm down to my pre-pregnancy weight, and have been for some time, but it's time to really work hard. Sometimes my joints hurt, and part of it is still healing, and part of it is having so much extra weight to carry around. I want to be able to run around after my daughter, take her fun places, and be around for her when she's older. I'm pre-diabetic, I have hereditary high cholesterol so it's already extremely high, and I overload my kidneys by making them work harder by processing even more blood. Yes, I want to have more babies and need to fix my kidneys, but I want to be around for the baby I have. I NEED to do something.
So I joined Weight Watchers. I love their program, and I've lost a lot of weight on it before, but then I started steroids and gained it back. I know I can do this. According to the internet, I need to lose about 110 pounds to be in the "normal" range, and 75 to not be obese. Seriously? That's terrible. So I need to get started. Today I'm re-stocking my pantry with healthier foods, and taking Evie for a nice, long walk. Since I have my mom to help with Evie, I can start eating healthier dinners and bringing lunch to work without having to get too distracted. I can take walks with her in the evenings as well.
I think exercising and eating well will help my mood, which hasn't been great and has contributed a lot to arguing with A. We did come up with some solutions last night to our issues so I'm excited about that. And we're really, really ready to buy a new house and get out of our tiny craphole. We want to be in the new place by Thanksgiving so Evie can spend her first Christmas in her own home.
I feel like now that I'm getting better sleep and back into more of a routine, I'm ready to really make some changes and put a little bit more focus back on me. I do deserve to feel good about myself, so I need to make an effort to get myself to a place where I can do that. I want to be a healthier, happier momma. I'm pretty excited to get started. And I have this gorgeous smile to motivate me!
Things keep moving along, no matter how much I sometimes wish they would just. slow. down. My little girl is 3 months and 2 days old today, and I've been back at work almost 3 weeks. It doesn't seem possible. I feel like I just gave birth. And she still gets more amazing every day. For about a week now, she's been greeting me every morning with a huge smile. She smiles all the time, and it's not a gassy smile, it's a smile that says "Hey! You're my mom and I love you". She loves it when her daddy pouts, she's still astonished by kisses (what on earth is she putting her face on my face for!?) and she spends at least a little time every morning snuggled in my arms asleep before work. She sleeps anywhere from 5-8 straight hours, though she's been incredibly fussy for two nights as she has hit a growth spurt. She's up to 5oz bottles as of last night, and finding her hands more and more often (Ok, they're always in her mouth. Always). My little angel still hates tummy time with a fiery passion, and is rolling from her back to her side. It won't be long before she's rolling all the way over! She spits up constantly and fusses from being uncomfortable, but when she's not spitting, she's giggling and trying so hard to laugh. She still just squeals, but any day now it'll happen.
My sweet one is still a teeny tiny. 11lb 12oz today in her diaper. Her daddy has fallen massively in love, and you can see his entire world calm when she's in his arms. Her popi (grandpa) is mildly obsessed, and, well.. so are we all. It's almost inconceivable the joy this tiny little person has brought to us. We're so incredibly blessed and thankful for our miracle. Each little smile melts my heart into a little puddle of goo.
Grateful is not even an appropriate word for how I feel. I feel like God stepped down on earth, created a perfect little human, and said "Here, this is yours to keep safe". And I get to be her mommy.
Andy and I are still working on some things. We took a huge step forward on our date night on Saturday. It was amazing to get a chance to reconnect. I'm trying to be less overbearing and he's trying to get a job that doesn't stress him out and lets him have more time with his girls.
And me? I'm the happiest momma in the entire world.
Apparently, babies' cries are so generic that there are a documented set number of cries with their own meanings and signatures. Generic enough that there's an app to tell you which cry is which (how lazy have we gotten that we need an app to tell us why our babies are crying? I mean who out there is thinking "sweet, now I don't even have to invest enough time in my child to figure out why he's crying!"? I hope no one...).
My daughter has some very specific cries, which I'm going to explain in detail, from most to least severe (since you'll all need this information at some point, right?).
"Someone is murdering me" - This is the most terrifying of all cries. It has only been heard once in our household. It instills fear in the hearts of its enemies (mom and dad). It is so named because I'm pretty sure that's what she was thinking when it happened. Though I'm not sure why. I put her down on the changing table after her bath to put a diaper and jammies on her. Que awful, horrid screaming. I looked her over and nothing was wrong. We do this every time she gets a bath and she doesn't love the few minutes when she's cold, but it's not this big of an issue. And I decided that the legend about babies being able to see things adults cant is true. And there must have been a monster in the room or something. She was totally fine. And I will be totally fine if, and only if, I never hear that sound again.
"Someone is trying to murder me" - This one used to happen a lot. This is the cry that had me in tears, rocking my baby and saying "I can't help you... I'm so sorry I can't help you..." over and over. We've come to the conclusion that this is a reflux cry. It's loud, and causes red face and big, wet tears (from both Evie and I). She only did it while she was eating, and accompanying it was thrashing of arms and legs. And while I now know that it was reflux, I'm pretty sure at the time she was certain someone was trying to get her. Solidarity, Evie. Heartburn is the devil.
"I'm crying. For realz, yo" - This is a standard cry. It's the last of the "real" cries, and normally means "I'm really, REALLY hungry". It's the most annoying of the cries because I don't feel terrible that she's in pain for this one. I feel "STFU, I'm making your bottle already!". Of course I think this internally, and Evie gets the sweet baby voice. 'Cause when I'm in the kitchen and she's crying it's annoying. When I'm looking at her cute "OMG I'm about to eat!" face.. I melt. It's cute. I mean REALLY cute (I've only mentioned its cuteness 3 times in .037 seconds). She gets SO excited and has the widest eyes and squirms all around. Seriously. I'm pretty sure it's cute.
"Stop being a b*tch and pay attention to me!" - Ahh, the cry of "I'm starting to get hungry" or "Excuse me. You've had 15 seconds to eat dinner and use the bathroom. It's Evie time". It's these ridiculously dramatic wails interspersed with long pauses. The kind where, if she were older, I'd expect her to be looking back over her shoulder to make sure I was looking. She gets the drama from her daddy, and dear God help me if it gets worse.
"AHHHHHH EVERYTHING IS INTERESTING" - Otherwise known as overstimulation or overtired. This cry is kind of funny, because it's not really a cry. It's the beginning of a cry. Or a quick "WAH". Then nothing. Then another one. Then a weird noise. Then a giggle. Then a smile. Then another "WAH". Then she starts marching with her little feet. It's really rather hysterical. I have what is apparently called a "high energy" baby. There's a cute face that goes with this one, too. Wide eyes taking in the world. If her toy bar is on the rock n play, she bats furiously at them. If you feed her, she's asleep in T Minus 2 seconds. She's so excited and so tired that she has no idea what she's doing. This happens pretty much every night from about 6pm until feeding. It cracks me up at first, and then makes me want to punch myself in the face. And then cracks me up again. And by 7:30 when it's time to eat, I'm actually ready to put her down, which is a change from wanting nothing but her all. day. long. Another name for this cry could be "The long-winded way to eventually prepare mommy for separation when it's sleep time" cry.
My daughter is a peach. Unless she's really gassy or reflux-y, real cries are rare. She's probably the best creature that does live or has lived on this earth, and probably the universe. And if I ever need you to babysit, now you know what to do.
I'm not sure exactly what it is about kids' brains that allows for development to take place so quickly, but "holycraplightningspeedthisisamazing" doesn't quite cut it. I remember, very specifically, trying to get E to take a toy last week. One of these (which seems like a really dumb toy, but at her age it's easy to grasp and she loves it). I kept putting it near, on, or in her hands, and she simply wouldn't take it. I tried to tell myself that the fact that she had it on her wrist and moved her hand meant she was actually playing with it. She is, after all, a genius. But I was lying and she wasn't playing. She was the victim of mommy ridiculousness. This week, however, she really is holding things and playing. As evidenced here:
Yes, it was dark, but she's holding that same ring she didn't know what to do with just a week before. Please pardon the fact that she is quite literally covered in toys. I was.. erm.. experimenting (she'll pick up and shake rattles now, right!? [Not three days ago, but as of last night, yes!]). And if her binky, otherwise known as Polky, wasn't in her mouth, the ring would be. That's where everything goes these days, you see. And if the ring wasn't in her hands, Polky would be getting a hug. Because she's a hugger. Or likes touching things. Or something like that.
And as of today, everything means....
That we have a little thumb sucker. She has been noming on her hands for about two weeks, but she's apparently found something fun to soothe herself with - a thumb! My baby is growing up. WAY TOO FAST.
Bumbo sitting, rolling over, toy playing, thumb sucking. What's next? Walking? No thank you. Slow down, little one. I'm not ready for school and dating and weddings and.. Oh God.. my baby's going to get married one day.
Queue hysterical mother response.
I think I need a deep breathe. I'm marrying off my 3 month old. Well.. 12 weeks tomorrow.
She's amazing. And growing at the speed of "holy crap WTF just happened"?
For a long time after Evie was born, my night went a little like this:
-Rock Evie to Sleep
-Put Evie in her newborn napper and hope it doesn't instantly wake her
-Listen intently to any noises/get up and check on her
-Sleep for 15 minutes if she manages to stay quiet long enough for me to fall asleep
These days nights are a lot simpler, and go a little something like this:
-7:00PM: Begin feeding Evie. She falls asleep
-7:30PM: Take a break to change her and put her in PJs if she isn't already. This wakes her up
-7:45PM: Finish feeding her
-8:00PM: Swaddle and put her in the Rock n Play
-Enjoy some time with A/Alone time to watch some TV or do something else
And that's pretty much it. I went from basically hoping and praying she'd stay quiet long enough for me to pass out between weird noises to putting her down and her instantly falling asleep when I was going to be up another hour plus anyway. Sometimes she'll spit up and I'll clean it up and she'll go back to bed. And by the time I want to sleep, there are no distracting noises, as she's happily passed out! This has been our routine since about 9 weeks. She's now 11 weeks. She generally sleeps 4+ hours that first stretch. She had two nights where it was 3.75, but even that's an improvement. And last night? 6 hours! I put her down at 8. She spit up at 11:30 for some reason (reflux is an a-hole) so I cleaned her face off and gave her her binky (without having to get up. Co-sleeping FTW [not bed sharing, though. She sleeps in the rock n play because of her reflux]) and she fell right back to sleep. For some reason I kept thinking she was up at 1, but when I went back to sleep it was after 3, and there's no way I was up two hours. Maybe an hour. Maybe. I changed her diaper and fed her and that was it. It took her about 5 minutes to get to sleep, but... there's no way she woke up before 2.
There was a time when I was certain she would never, ever sleep, but we've gotten into a relatively comfortable routine of about 8-1, then 1:30-5. If she goes to sleep early she's up at 4 and that messes everything up, but, generally speaking, it's a decent schedule where I get 3+ hours, then another 3. And then we take a nap.
We did this with one amazing, magical word: Schedule.
My pediatricians have been telling me to get her on a schedule for forever. And I kept thinking "clearly they don't know my child". My mom was on my case about it. And I just thought they were insane. But one day I decided to throw caution to the wind and put Evie on an every 3 hours eating schedule. Holy life-changer. The myriad ways things are better is sort of mind-blowing. She still doesn't nap. But she does sleep at night.... ever since that first night. She does start to fuss a bit before each feeding, but normally her pacifier takes care of that. And she's eating more, which, with my tiny peanut is a good thing. She went from taking 2oz whenever she pleased, to taking 4-5oz every 3 hours between 7 and 7. Then she gets up at night and takes 3-4. I feel like things are so much more manageable. I don't have to wonder if she's going to start screaming when we go out because I know how much she ate and when and I know when her next feeding is. She wakes up smiling because she actually slept! Rather than attempting sleep at 10pm and waking up every 2 hours. And that little 45 minute nap we get from 5:30-6:15 or so every day is my favorite part of the day. I wake up, bring her up to my lap or my chest and we sleep. Then I wake up and she's happy and smiling at me. That smile melts me. It's changed who I am in the most fantastic of ways. And it's because we put her on a schedule.
I don't know that this would work for everone.. but it works for us. She's happy. I'm happy. We're rested. And life? It's good.
I decided it's not time for me to mommy blog. Not yet. I have too many issues I need to vent about with people I don't even know who care enough to read and talk to me over the internet. I <3 you all. That's not to say I won't write those kinds of posts in that blog, but I still need this. It's my special place. And I don't feel like my journey is over yet. I do plan to put something somewhere at the top that indicates I already have a baby, though.
To that end, I've been thinking. Now that I'm back at work and have breaks and lunch time, I've been back on The Bump talking to folks and hearing about their lives. Now that I'm on the Success After Infertility board, there are a lot of women working on their second, third, etc. pregnancies. I know it's early to worry about this, but... I don't feel like I'm done having babies, and I feel like someone is going to tell me I am and mean it.
When I was diagnosed with kidney disease I made it clear to my family and my doctor that I wanted a baby, and, at the time, was more worried about that than anything else. They all worked with me, including A who is 2 years younger than me and might not have been quite ready. We knew we might not have a lot of time, so we made it happen, and I wouldn't trade it. Not for anything. And I promised myself, A, E.. everyone.. that once she was born it was kidney city. And I meant it. I started back on all my medications, and now that E is getting a little easier, sleeping more, and I have time at work to researching things, I'm about to embark on a big diet change, and try to find time for exercise. Even if it's just walking during lunch. My blood pressure was borderline before E, and got higher while I was pregnant, but it's not high enough that it wouldn't be great if I lost weight. My kidneys would have less work to do as well. My cholesterol would come down a little (it's 500. I have hereditary hypercholesterolemia) which might help my kidneys some. They have some sort of a strange relationship, kidneys and cholesterol. Lowering my sodium will help my kidneys. And we'll even look into Cellcept in a few months if things aren't getting better. My goal is to lose 100 pounds.
But something messed up my kidneys. I'm still bitter about it. Everything was *supposed* to be OK. All the literature said my kidneys should be fine from pregnancy. And they weren't. My creatinine jumped from 1.1 to 1.7. I lost about 40% of my kidney function. And right now I'm in limbo. I got a call from my doctor after my last appointment stating that I might have an infection. Despite two full courses of antibiotics before I had E, I still had white cells (many) in my urine. I had to do another urine culture to confirm. And there's this little glilmmer of hope that the kidney failure is artificial. That it wasn't E, but an infection, perhaps exacerbated by pregnancy, but that things COULD go back to normal. It's possible again.
And so a little piece of me is thinking about more babies. I have 3 perfect embryos in storage. And every time I look at E I feel like I want 8 billion of her she's so fantastic. I'm curious what else we could make if we made something that beautiful. I think that she deserves someone to be close to, and to hold on to when she's older and we're gone. It's not that I 'm trying to be selfish. It's just that she's perfect, and it makes me have all these feelings that... just point to how amazing she is.
Right now I'm waiting on my blood work results and my urine culture. Once again, waiting for test results to determine the course of action. This is my life, and always will be. It's hard that we had to do IVF, and doctors have to "allow" me to have more kids. I feel jilted that I will never, ever get to be normal. As lucky as I am to have 1 baby, I hate that my rights to procreate at will have been revoked. It's not fair. It doesn't make me feel any less grateful for what I have (and I'm sure some people think that but it's not the case. Not being physically able to have a child, be it your first, second, or fifth, for whatever reason, sucks).
I guess all I can do is work hard, lose the weight, and keep trying, and see what the future holds. And for now, cherish every second I get to be with the perfect little angel I thought I might never have.
It's 2:30 in the morning and I don't have anyone else to tell, so I'm writing here that Evie slept 5.5 straight hours tonight! She did that last night too. Since I've been up so early I went to sleep at 9. 5 straight hours! And she just took a 3oz bottle which she doesn't normally do at night. I'm excited to see how long she sleeps now. Please let us have turned a corner. This is so awesome. Now I might not pass out at work!