WE'VE MOVED!! You can now find us at Sunshine and Spoons!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hanging In There, But Barely

I don't have a lot of time to blog right now, but here's a quick update on Little Dude...

He's not eating any better.  He still cries a lot when he tries eating, and I spend most of my day trying to feed him and holding him because he cries if I put him down.  We did another blood draw last week to check for H. Pylori, food allergies, and some other things that I can't remember and all the tests came back negative which is good, but means that we still don't know why the poor little guy is having such a hard time eating.  His first blood draw a little over a week ago showed high eosinophil levels so he's now on Nutramigen formula and Zantac.  I've been at the doctor with him quite a few times in the last few weeks and at his appointment today, we saw that he'd lost weight over the weekend.  I'm taking him back in tomorrow for another blood draw and then he has another doctor appointment on Wednesday if we don't end up seeing a specialist before then. 

We've been trying different bottles and nipples including Haberman bottles which are designed for babies with cleft palate.  Little Dude has an unusually high roof in his mouth and we know that he doesn't suck correctly, but we're not sure if he has cleft palate yet or not.  It definitely wouldn't surprise me though as Hubby was born with a cleft palate and it can be genetic.

At this point, I'm beyond exhausted.  Because I spend so much of my time working to get Little Dude to eat and going to doctor appointments, I can barely manage to take care of the basics for the rest of my family and my home, let alone get anything unpacked which means that we're still living in a mess of boxes and chaos.

Any prayers are appreciated that we'll figure out what's going on with Little Dude so we can get him eating better!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I'm Back!

We just got our internet hooked up in the new house today so I can finally blog again :)

Yes, we finally moved!!  It happened kind of suddenly and because of that, things are pretty disorganized right now, but we'll get everything situated eventually.  We closed on the house last Tuesday, but weren't sure when we'd get the chance to move because it's hard to find help during the week and Hubby had to work over the weekend.  However, he and his dad decided that they could get most of it done last Thursday so Thursday morning, Hubby informed me that we were moving that day at which point my blood pressure probably shot through the roof.  Despite that chaos and last minute plans, we are officially moved in and we spent our first night in the new house that Thursday night!

I took Little Dude to the doctor last Friday for his feeding issues.  He's only eating between 7 and 14 ounces in a 24 hour period and isn't gaining weight very well.  She sent me to the pediatrician who ran a bunch of tests that all came back negative.  So we're just continuing to do what we have been doing which is working on feeding him pretty much all day and doing periodic weight checks to make sure he's still gaining at least a little.  It's pretty exhausting fighting with him to eat and sleep all day, but hopefully things will get better soon.

Sorry for the short, picture-less post, but between Little Dude and unpacking, I don't have time to breathe these days :) 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Little Dude - 1 Month

Age: 1 month

Weight and height: At 3 1/2 weeks of age, he weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces.

Wearing size: He's still in newborn diapers and wearing newborn and 0-3 month clothes.  Most 0-3 month clothes is a little too big for him.

A more realistic picture of Little Dude

Likes: Being swaddled and toasty warm.  Being sang to.  He loves being snuggled and takes a pacifier really well.

Dislikes: Being put down, having his diaper or clothes changed, eating, his carseat.  

Eating habits: He ate well for the first week and a half, but then something changed and now he's a terrible eater.  He'll start drinking and then a few seconds later, I can hear his tummy gurgling and rumbling, at which point he'll pull away crying.  He has to be calmed down (not an easy job!) before trying the bottle again.  He usually repeats this 3-6 times before finally settling down to finish the bottle.  We've tried 5 different bottles, 2 different formulas, gas drops, peppermint, and everything else we can think of and nothing helps.  He burps well and hardly ever spits up.  Right now, I have to fight to get him to take five 2-3 ounce bottles in a 24 hour period.

Sleeping habits: He doesn't usually stay asleep very long if I'm not holding him.  He will sometimes sleep from about 10 or 11 pm until 3 am and then wake up to eat.  After that though, he won't stay asleep unless I'm holding him.  Many nights, he's up pretty much all night crying.  To say that I'm sleep deprived at this point is an understatement.

Milestones: His umbilical cord fell off at 12 days old, but took over a week to finish healing.

Miscellaneous:  He had to be admitted to the hospital at 3 weeks old for breathing problems due to a cold he caught from Star.
Little Dude easily fits in the guidelines for colic-at least 3 hours of crying a day for at least 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks.  He's pretty much either crying or sleeping, and since he doesn't sleep well, that means that he's crying a LOT.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

National Sibling Day!

Today is National Sibling Day!  In honor of that, I found some pictures of me and my siblings to share with you :)  I had slim pickings since the photo albums were one of the first things that got packed up in preparation for our move (which is going to happen soon, we hope!  The loan is taking longer to finish that we were originally told it would.)

First up is a picture of all five of us on Christmas.  I'm guessing that the year is somewhere around 1994 or 1995.  From left to right is me (gotta love the huge plastic glasses!), my younger brother (approximately 8 years old), my little sister (around 4 years old), my older sister (around 13 years old), and my youngest brother (about 6 years old).  I would've been around 10 in this picture.    

This is a more recent picture of our family and it's actually a really good picture of everyone except for seriously-unphotogenic me.  This was taken in August of 2012 when I was 8+ months pregnant with Star and my older sister was newly pregnant with her fourth baby.  My cousin took the picture at our family reunion.  BTW, if you want to see more of his photography, check out his Facebook page-he's an amazing photographer!

From left to right is my youngest sister, my older sister, my younger brother, and my youngest brother with my parents in front.    

About my siblings...
My older sister is the mother of four awesome kids, ages 1-6.  We've always been really close and shared a room growing up.  We spent many nights talking until long after our parents had gone to bed and I'll always cherish those memories.  When I was 18, I moved out of my parents' house and into my sister's apartment with her.  We lived together until she got married in April 2006.  I got engaged that same month and married in September 2006.  We had our first babies within 6 weeks of each other and our second babies 11 days apart.  We're so close that we joke that our kids are interchangeable.  

My younger brother is an amazing, involved father of four awesome kids as well.  He and I were the worst of enemies and the best of friends when we were growing up.  He's got a great sense of humor and is very well-spoken and knowledgeable about many subjects.  He's not afraid to stand up for what's right.  

My youngest brother is in college right now.  He's a big tough guy, but has a soft heart.  He's sensitive and sweet and whoever he marries is going to be one lucky girl.  ALL of the nieces and nephews absolutely adore him.  He's a hard worker and driven to achieve his goals.     

My little sister is the baby of the family.  She works at a daycare and wants to continue to work with kids in the future.  She's a baby-whisperer and is one of the few people besides me who was able to calm Little Man down as a baby.  She's care-free and fun to be around.   

How many siblings do you have? 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How Are You?

What a loaded question..."how are you?"

Generally speaking, when someone asks that question, they're expecting this reply:
"Fine, how are you?"

The superficiality of that answer (and the question) has always annoyed me. 

Lately, when someone asks how I am, I respond with, "not bad."  The unspoken part of that answer is "but not really good either."

So how am I?  Here's my real answer.

I'm exhausted.  I'm stressed.  I'm frustrated.  I'm overwhelmed.  I'm ready to cry...or sleep at a moment's notice. 

I love being a mom.  I love my kids and there's no way I would change our family or the fact that I stay home with them.  Right now though, I am at a difficult season in motherhood...four kids, age 6 and under.  A six year old who will repeat an offense the second the punishment for it is over, a three year old with a temper that is set off at the slightest thing, a one year old who constantly gets into everything, and a very needy infant who easily fits the guidelines for having colic.  To get even the smallest thing accomplished, I have to listen to the baby scream while I'm doing it and put the toddler in the pack n' play so she doesn't destroy something or inadvertently hurt the baby.  Most of the time, I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water.  I know this is just one stage in life and it will be over before I know it, but that doesn't make it any less hard at this moment.   

Oh, and did I mention that we're getting ready to move next week?  I'm absolutely thrilled that we'll finally have our own home and enough space, but the timing is not the greatest.  I'm not exactly confident that I will have everything packed in time for the move.  

There are two things I hear from people on almost a daily basis...."Wow, you must be busy!" or "You're doing a great job, I don't know how you do it!"  Yes, I am busy, and thank you, but I don't know how I'm doing it either.   Or of course, there's the other camp that prefers to tell me how their situation is so much harder than mine so I don't have a right to feel the way I do.  I have a blog post for them too

Don't worry, I don't plan on giving out the long answer every time someone asks how I am, but it's really hard right now to smile brightly and give the socially acceptable answer of "Fine!"  And, if I ask how you're doing, I truly do want the real answer.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Star - 18 Months

Age: 18 months

I just realized that she's wearing the same outfit she wore for her 16 month update post :)  What can I say...it's one of our favorites!

Weight and height:  At her weight check a few weeks ago, she weighed 18 pounds, 10 ounces so she's finally gaining weight!

Wearing: Size 3 diapers and 12-18 month clothes.  She wears size 4 shoes.

Likes: "Reading" books, "writing" especially with pens, LOVES her special owl blanket, dancing to music.  She's also pretty attached to the doll that Princess gave her for her birthday and is such a good little "mommy" to it.  She loves to carry purses and bags around with her.  She also enjoys pushing things around such as Little Man's toy dump truck, an ice cream bucket, and her little pink wagon.

Water on her face, not getting her way.

Eating habits
She eats 3 meals a day and 1-2 snacks.  Her favorite food is still green beans and she also loves peas, toast and waffles.

Sleeping habits
She wakes up between 6:30 and 7:30 in the morning.  She takes a nap after lunch and is ready for bed between 6 and 7 at night.  When we brought Little Dude home, we moved Star into the crib in the kids' room.  I was nervous about how she would sleep once we transitioned her, but other than staying up a little later than before to talk to her siblings, she is doing really well.  

She knows the following words in sign language and uses them correctly:
All done
Star's favorite phrase right now is "Where doe?"  (Where'd it go?).  She answers every question with "yeah" or "yes, ma'am."

Star has done really well with the new baby.  Absolutely no jealousy issues although I noticed that every time I put the baby down, she comes running to me and asks to be held.  She's very gentle with Little Dude and always makes sure he has a blanket.
She's hit the "into-everything" toddler stage where she literally runs from one thing to the next getting into trouble.  She's constantly running off with Little Dude's bottles and pacifiers, playing on my computer, stealing my phone, etc.  She keeps me running all day long! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Very Long Day

About a week and a half ago, Little Dude started having issues with eating.  He'd start eating and then pull away from the bottle and start crying.  That would go on for 15-20 minutes before he would finally settle down and eat.  I tried a different nipple on the bottle, gas drops, sensitive formula, etc, but nothing seemed to help him.  Over the last weekend, he started skipping feedings and so I decided it was time to take him to the doctor.  I got an appointment for Monday morning at 9:15 am.  Princess was at school, and Hubby took Little Man to the farm with him so I only had to take Star with to the appointment.  Over the weekend, Little Dude had also developed a slight cough and stuffy nose so I figured it would be a good time to ask the doctor about that too.  The doctor listened to his lungs and was concerned that he wasn't breathing very well.  Because he was only 3 weeks old, she decided that it would be best to have him checked out by a pediatrician at the clinic in The Big City.  She called up there and arranged for me to go straight there to meet the pediatrician at Urgent Care.   

Hubby had to lay down and sleep in preparation for working the night shift that night so I knew he wouldn't be able to watch the kiddos while I took Little Dude to the pediatrician.  I started going down the contacts list on my phone trying to find a babysitter who could watch Little Man and Star for me.  It took about 15 minutes, but I finally found someone who wasn't working or already busy.  I ran back home to pick up Little Man, dropped him and Star off with my friend, and started the 45 minute drive to Urgent Care with Little Dude.
We arrived and were quickly checked in and ushered back to a room.  It turns out that when you walk into Urgent Care with a 3 week old baby with respiratory distress and feeding problems, you get priority over pretty much everyone else waiting there.  The pediatrician checked Little Dude's oxygen levels and was concerned when she saw that he was dipping into the low-mid 80s.  She ordered tests for pertussis and RSV (which came back negative) and an x-ray to check for pneumonia (which was also negative).  After doing a nebtreatment, his oxygen level improved, but dropped again when he fell asleep.  He was observed for a few hours and she finally decided that it would be safest to keep him overnight at the hospital.  Right before arranging a room upstairs for us, she listened to his heart and detected a heart murmur that she hadn't been able to hear before due to his raspy breathing.  Wanting to be sure that it wasn't anything serious and wasn't connected to the other issues he was currently having, she decided to send us to a bigger hospital in The Big City where he could have an echocardiogram.

While waiting for the transfer order, I spent a lot of time on the phone arranging childcare for the three older kids overnight since Hubby was working and updating Hubby and other relatives of Little Dude's status.  Hubby's mom took the next morning off of work so she could keep the kids overnight.  She also started the prayer chain at our church for Little Dude.

We headed over to the other hospital around 5 pm and were soon set up in a room there.  Hubby called shortly after we got there to let me know that he'd been able to get the night off from work and would come spend the night at the hospital with us.  I asked him to stop and pick up some supper before coming since I was getting pretty hungry at this point.  I hadn't had time to eat breakfast before going to Little Dude's appointment that morning, had gone almost straight to Urgent Care from there, and then finally ended up at the hospital for the night.  There had been no time to eat at all that day.

Little Dude at the hospital.

While we were at the hospital that night, Little Dude's oxygen levels went up to the mid-high 90s and stayed there even when he was sleeping.  He also started eating better.  The echocardiogram was done the next morning and showed a benign heart murmur which we'll just keep an eye on until he outgrows it.  Little Man also has a benign heart murmur so it didn't worry me too much to hear about Little Dude's.  At 1:30 pm, he was finally discharged and we could go home. 

Little Dude looked so tiny in the hospital crib. 

What was supposed to be a quick doctor's appointment turned into an all-day, all-night affair.  We're very thankful that Little Dude is doing well enough that he was able to come home the next day since they had told us that they would be keeping him until he could spend a whole night with high oxygen levels.  Little Dude is especially happy to be home as he did NOT appreciate being constantly bugged for tests and vitals.  Unfortunately, he hasn't been eating very well again since we got home, but he definitely has a virus of some sort (which he probably caught from a very germy 18 month old he lives with) which we think is making it uncomfortable for him to eat.  We're just keeping an eye on him and will take him back to the doctor if he doesn't start improving soon or starts to get worse.  

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