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Monday, October 26, 2009

Breathing: An Unneccessary Addiction?

Last week was...interesting. Maybe horrific would be a better word.

On Saturday night, Princess started having a hard time breathing, as did I. By Sunday, she was taking nebtreatments which didn't seem to do any good. She spent most of the day gasping, wheezing, and sounding like she was about to take her last breath. Scary. Especially knowing from experience as I do, that severe asthma can be fatal at worst and traumatizing at best. On Monday morning, I called the doctor and got Princess in at 1 pm. The doctor diagnosed her with pneumonia and sent us home with an antibiotic. Tuesday and Wednesday, Princess and I both seemed to improve which was good because I was about ready to have a break-down worrying about PRincess so much while being unable to breathe myself. On Thursday, Princess and I were both much worse. I got Princess into the doctor again. This time, chest x-rays and a blood draw were ordered.Princess  does not particularly care for doctors and nurses probing, touching, or generally looking at her so I was concerned about sending my baby girl off into the x-ray room by herself (They still haven't changed the rule about pregnant women being near the x-ray machine). Apparently however, she and the nurse in charge of baby wrangling that day really hit it off and the only time Princess cried was when the x-ray technician tried to touch her.

The blood tests came back negative and the chest x-ray showed that Princess had pneumonia. DUH! Tell me something I didn't know. The doctor assured me that, since Princess didn't appear to be sick in any way or wasn't even running a small fever, that she had the "best kind of pneumonia to have." That really made my day especially since my daughter was still lying on my lap wheezing and exhausted from lack of oxygen. We were sent home with a prescription for prednisone this time.

Being a lifelong asthmatic myself, I've been around the block a few times with prednisone. In case you don't know, prednisone is a strong steroid that is often given to asthmatics when nothing else is helping. It weakens your immune system, does weird things to your stomach and appetite, can bloat you and make you gain weight. And that's just a few of the lovely side effects. Not something I really wanted to give my daughter, but breathing is kind of important and I know how much prednisone can help.

Princess loves taking medicine, and I've had to hide her baby tylenol because otherwise she begs for it. So I was totally unprepared for the reaction I'd get to the prednisone. The stuff tastes incredibly strong and burns your throat on the way down. Being a strange child, I actually didn't mind the stuff when I was a kid.  Princess  does not take after me in that way. She started eagerly sucking it down and then stopped, gave me a stony glare that clearly said, "How dare you give me something that tastes like this." and turned away. Try as I might, not another drop went down her throat. Most of it made it into her mouth, but was rejected and kicked out immediately. The next morning, I decided to be sneaky. So I made some really strong sickeningly sweet chocolate milk that I knew Princess would absolutely adore. Then I made sure she wasn't watching and surreptitiously poured 2 teaspoons of prednisone in the milk. I handed the cup to Princess who happily took it from me and began gulping it down. Then she realized that I had sabotaged the chocolate milk and I was graced with another "if looks could kill" glare as she handed the cup back to me. Try as I might, she only drank about 2 more sips. In desperation, I called the doctor's office to see if they had any ideas on how to get a 21 month old to take some of the worst tasting medicine available. The nurse cheerily suggested I put it in chocolate milk because "that works every time." She was rather taken aback when I informed her that I had already tried that and my one-in-a-million kid had not cared for it at all. She offered to call the pharmacy and see if they had any ideas. The pharmacist didn't call me back that day and so that night, I recruited Hubby's mom to help with the predisone taking. She used M&Ms as a bribe and managed to get both teaspoons into Princess. I was very relieved to see that Princess had finally taken a full dose of her much needed medicine. The stress of taking care of a child who couldn't breathe, trying to get her to take her medicine, not being able to breathe very well myself, and the incredibly crabby, clingy mood Princess had understandably, but still frustratingly been in for the last couple of days was wearing me down and I was literally standing on the edge of the cliff ready to push someone (probably Hubby) off of it.

Thankfully, Friday night I got a reprieve from the governor. My parents were going to a concert called Bowfire (look it up on youtube, it's amazing) and I had guilt tripped Hubby about not getting me anything for my birthday until he said I could go too. The timing could not have been better. We met one of my mom's old friends at an Indian restaurant which was really good food that I didn't have to cook or clean up afterwords. Then we went to a concert where I managed to relax and enjoy myself. By the time I got home that night, my nearly dead battery had been recharged and I was ready to get back to real life.

Saturday morning, after convincing Princess to choke down another dose of prednisone, I got a call from the pharmacist.
"I put the wrong dosage on the bottle. It's not 2 teaspoons twice a day, it's 2/3 of a teaspoon twice a day." he said.
I stopped breathing until he continued. "It won't hurt her to have taken so much, but it is hard on her stomach. Better skip a dose tonight."
I was furious. Was he saying that I had just forced my daughter to take over twice as much of a harsh steroid as she needed?!?!?!? Since I've been going to the same pharmacy since I started taking medicine and never had a problem before and because Princess was not going to suffer any permanent damage from the overdose, I managed to forgive him, but I will be triple checking everything from now on!

So anyways, that's my week. Lets just say I don't do well under pressure, but everyone came out alive. Even Hubby who almost didn't make it on Friday when, on my ONLY day to sleep in, Princess uncharacteristically woke up at 6:30 am. He could've been sympathetic, but instead his reaction was, "Oh good, you're up. Now you can pack my lunchpail before I go to work." But I managed to refrain from killing him (this time) and we're once again a happy semi-healthy family.

Unsolicited Advice:
I understand that not everyone has this tremendous resource at their fingertips, but whenever I get sick, I call in reinforcements to help me take care of Princess and the house. My younger sister was the lucky victim this time who not so willingly did my dishes, swept the asian beetles off my porch and did my laundry. If you have someone like that around, either ask them over or send the kids to their house!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Someone's Going to be a Big Sister!

It's been 8 weeks since I found out. Hubby didn't want to tell anybody, so I decided to abide by his wishes. But now it's time to let the cat out of the bag. Baby #2 is on its way! I'm 12 weeks pregnant now and everything has gone well. I got to hear the baby's (strong and easy to find!) heartbeat at 10 1/2 weeks. We had a little scare around 6 weeks when I had three days of small amounts of bleeding, but that stopped, and then the morning sickness kicked in to reassure me that I was indeed, pregnant. Unlike my last pregnancy, when I craved potatoes in any shape or form, this time I'm craving cheese. Which has done wonders for my pregnant digestive system. Have I mentioned I hate chugging Metamucil?

My due date is April 27th although I know from experience (Princess was 2 weeks late and had to be induced) that a due date doesn't mean much. My sister, the one with a son 6 weeks older than Princess, is also expecting a baby in April. Hers is due two weeks before mine. So, if she goes a week late and I go a week early, we could save the relatives a trip to the hospital and kill two birds with one stone. But I know better than to count on that happening.

I'm nervous about adding a second child. I'm looking forward to having a baby again and am more confident this time because I know a lot of little tricks that make taking care of a newborn easier, or at least bearable. Of course, there is always the chance that everything that worked with Princess will irritate this baby immensely. What I'm nervous about though, is taking care of a toddler and a newborn. Especially since the toddler is very possessive of me and her toys. If I hold another child, she has a meltdown and tries to push them off my lap. Because Princess adores babies so much and is such a good little mother to her dolls, I think she'll love her baby brother or sister unless I'm holding him or her. Which could be a problem because newborns require a lot of holding. This time, I have a sling I plan to use which should help at least some, especially since I will breastfeed this one as well.

When I was pregnant with Princess, I didn't really start to show until I was over halfway done with my pregnancy. This time, I was wearing maternity clothes by 10 weeks. The fact that I'm a little pudgy around the middle and am wearing maternity clothes has made it a little harder to keep the pregnancy a secret. I thought I'd kept it a secret from most of my coworkers at the bed and breakfast, but apparently they had it figured out anyway.

My doctor told me that it's normal to show sooner with the second baby because your stomach muscles are already relaxed from the first pregnancy. No offense, doc, but that one was kind of obvious. Even though I lost all the baby weight and then some, my stomach never quite looked the same as before pregnancy. And by the way, although I was pleasantly surprised at the way the weight just kind of disappeared after having Princess, I hold out no such hopes for this one. If it does happen, great! But if it doesn't, I understand that it can be much harder to lose the weight the second time around.

Just a note to the person who left a comment on my last post about the pacifier saga-I will try to blog about how I got Princess to eat and stopped stressing myself out about her weight. However, just in case I don't get to it, leave another comment with an email address or something and I'll definitely talk to you about what's going on with your child. That way I could answer your direct questions better instead of just writing broadly about the subject. I know how rough it can be and I know it realllllllly helps to talk to someone who's been there.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Part One of the Pacifier Saga

I gave Princess a pacifier to try when she was only a few days old. Ever since then, the "paci" has been a part of our lives. When she was younger, she got the paci when she was fussy or tired or loud in church. When she turned one, the paci was banished to her crib where it was only to be used when Princess was sleeping. I bent the rules a few times when she was really sick or when I was really sick, but basically the paci is only for sleeping.

I was three when I gave up my pacifier. Before my third birthday, my mom began psyching me up to lose the pacifier. She told me over and over how when I turned three, I would be a big girl and big girls didn't need pacifiers. On my birthday, the beloved pacifier disappeared and I sadly went to bed that night without it. I remember several weeks or maybe months later, finding my old pacifier in a drawer in the changing table and looking at it with fondness. I wanted desperately to stick it in my mouth for old time's sake, but knew that I was too old for it. So I put it back and never thought about it again. The whole process was relatively painless even though up until that point I had always had my pacifier for bedtime. I thought this might be a good way to get rid of Princess's pacifier as well, but here we are, trying to get rid of the pacifier at 20 months.

Personally, I don't have a problem with Princess using a pacifier for sleep. It's not like she walks around with it in her mouth all day. However, I have fallen prey to mommy guilt. Mommy guilt is not just the guilt a mommy feels when she feels guilty for giving in to her child's demands for jelly on white bread for supper the fourth day in a row. Mommy guilt can also occur when somebody else makes the mommy feel like she's doing a bad job in raising her kids. The second is what happened to me. Certain people have made no secret of the fact that they strongly disapprove of me letting Princess have her paci.  Never mind the fact that Princess is not their child and they have no idea what she really needs. I also have gotten several guilt-inducing lectures from co-workers, friends, and relatives. Hubby is of the strong opinion that Princess needs to throw her pacifier in the trash yesterday since he has been listening to all these people as well. Never mind the fact that he doesn't have to sit up half the night when she cries.  If it were up to me, I would leave Princess alone until she's old enough to understand that big girls don't suck pacifiers, just like my mom did with me. But because of increasing pressure from so many people, I have begun cutting Princess off her pacifier. Literally.

Rather than go cold turkey which would result in traumatizing sleepless nights and days for both Princess and me, I am cutting the end off her pacifier little by little. The first time I cut a tiny sliver off, it didn't seem to bother Princess much although she immediately became more attached to her baby blanket. The second time, I cut off enough so that the air could get through and Princess...well, she noticed. She has become even more attached to her blanket and is not as thrilled about getting the pacifier as she was before. Every week, I will cut a little more off until she (hopefully) decides that the pacifier is not worth it and gives it up completely.

This whole thing seems ridiculous to me. With Princess's asthma, the paci has been an invaluable tool to calming her down and getting her to breathe again when she's gasping for air. She's also getting very attached to her baby blanket which to me means that no matter what I do, she will need something to sleep with, be it the pacifier or the blanket. Does it really matter which one it is? I'd rather it were the pacifier actually. It's easier to carry around then a blanket.

Unsolicited Advice:
Apparently, I don't follow this one well, but here it is. You know your child better than anyone else. Always remember that.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

If You Don't Go To Sleep Right Now...

Princess decided that she simply did not want to take her nap today. By the time we got home from babysitting and she'd eaten a delicious lunch of pb&j, it was 1pm. Definitely time for a nap, right? So I gave Princess her blanket and pacifier and laid her down in her crib with a good-night kiss. She didn't move at first, but then I left her room and sat down to finish my lunch. A tiny whimper reached my ears, then a louder one. Within a few minutes, she was screaming. Not crying, not yelling, but angry bloodcurdling screaming that came one after the other. After about 10 minutes of this, I marched into her room, checked her gums, her temperature, and everything else I could think of to make sure that there was nothing really wrong and quickly ascertained that she was throwing a major tantrum in an effort to skip her nap. I gave her a little swat on her diapered bottom and sternly told her that it was naptime and it was not negotiable. I tried to lay her back down in her crib, but she spit her pacifier at me rebelliously and tried to climb my arm to get out. I pried my arm out of her grasp and left the room to angry yells that soon turned into screams again. Within a few minutes, Princess was beyond angry. She was hysterical. I went back into her room and picked her up, knowing from experience that the only way to get through a tantrum this bad was to hold her close and tight and "shush" her until she calmed down. I finally managed to get her to stop screaming and tried once again to put her in her crib. She clung desperately to my neck and refused to let go. Finally, I gave in and sat down in the rocker to rock her to sleep. As she played with my hair, her fingers gradually slowed down until her hand hung in mid-air before dropping to her side. I realized then how much I miss being able to rock my baby girl to sleep. One of the great rewards of parenthood to me, is being able to hold your beautiful sleeping child and study all of their tiny perfect features. I thought about how just a few minutes earlier, I had been angry with her for throwing such a massive tantrum. Even though I had given her a spanking and was stern with her, she still wanted only one thing-me. Talk about humbling. I rocked her longer than I needed to, listening to her soft snores and holding her relaxed litle body close to me. And then I thanked God for the opportunity to rock my baby girl to sleep even if it did involve a temper tantrum.

Unsolicited Advice:
From the time Princess was a newborn, making a repeated "shushing" noise has always soothed her. Even now when she's 20 months old, I can still get her to relax by doing it.
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