Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A few unfortunate firsts: Surviving Sammy's Nursing Strike and Roseola

The day after Sammy's nine month birthday, I felt like Sammy was a bit warm to the touch.  He was still so happy go lucky that I chalked it up to Paul putting him in flannel pj's and a sleep sack even though it was 108 degrees outside (not exaggerating the temp unfortunately).  Later that afternoon, I was a bit surprised that he wouldn't sleep unless held during his second nap, something that he hadn't let me do in 5+ months.  While I was holding him, I decided he wasn't just hot, he was BURNING up.  When he woke up, I checked his temp, 103.5.  Scared to death, is an understatement.  Sammy has had slight fevers before, all under 100 degrees and all for explainable reasons such as teething or after getting his shots.

We went to the pediatricians 3 times in 4 days.  On Friday morning I asked if he had Roseola and was dismissed.  I think they were expecting it to end up being Hand Foot Mouth.  However until the fever passes, generally all you know is that it is a viral infection.  Treatment plan = wait it out, which  is incredibly frustrating as a parent, especially a first time parent.

When he woke up on Sunday, his fever had finally broken and a rash had started to display.  Monday, his rash was at it's peak.  I took these pictures when I took a bath with him for the first time in an effort to try and get him to nurse again.

I've always heard that nursing moms and their babies have an amazing connection.  I agreed, but never quite as fully as when it was just abruptly taken from me.  I started frantically searching on the internet for what would be causing my son to wean like this and fortunately everything I read was that babies don't wean abruptly.  Sammy was on a nursing strike.

In short, we made it through with the three P's: Prayer, Patience and Perserverance.

I think the nursing strike started with him yelping each time he took a sip of milk in the middle of the night thursday.  Friday morning the dr. told us he had a very red throat, so I guess it hurt him to swallow.  He was so scared of getting hurt again that i couldn't even go near the rocking chair in his room with him, bring the boppy out, hold him next to my chest, nothing.  I'm grateful it was the weekend, because Paul was able to step in and help.

To add some humor, to a not funny situation, I'm sure Paul was feeling just a teensy bit gratified since normally this is what happens in our house:

Saturday night, he woke up like he usually did in the middle of the night and each time I went to him, trying to settle him and/or feed him, he screamed and screamed and I just made it worse.  It was the first night in his life he went without food (normally this would have been praise worthy), Sunday was the first night in his life that I didn't nurse him before bed.  It almost killed me.  I wasn't even able to rock him or hold him, before he went to sleep.  He was screaming wanting the comfort but scared to receive it.  I felt like my baby and all of his babyness was slipping through my fingers.  I couldn't even hold him in my arms!  My hormones were going nuts and I was an emotional mess.  I was so incredibly upset, not just because my baby was sick, but because for the first time in his life, he wanted absolutely nothing to do with me.  He was cranky pants and I felt terrible not being able to give him the one thing I always knew gave him comfort.  Sammy has been a nurser thru and thru from day one.  The nurses in the hospital joked when they'd enter our hospital room that of "course, he was nursing again"! He gained 3 lbs his first month on breastmilk alone.  He'd had 17 days worth of breastmilk in bottles when I went to work.  He had never not wanted my comfort and every time I brought him near me over the weekend just to hold him close to try and calm him, he associated the hold with nursing and would immediately start crying.   

On Monday, he still was not nursing and I wrote in my prayer request to the great banquet community I belong to.  Their ability to pray never ceases to amaze me.  Within 1/2 hour of the emailed prayer request going out, Sammy nursed!  Albeit, it was in the most unconventional of ways and I'm fortunate that my saggy boobs are the perfect height to meet Sammy, who was standing in his crib mouth agape.  However he nursed and I dared not move. He woke up in the middle of the night and nursed again (standing again).  In the morning and the following days he continued to nurse normally as if making up for lost time.  

Two weeks later, I pray that we never experience anything like that again.  My decision to allow Sammy to self wean was totally confirmed as was my daily devotion to consistently not take any of his babyness for granted.

His newest funny face!

So, here are my tips for surviving a nursing strike

1. Practice the three P's: Prayer, Patience and Perserveance
2. Don't confuse a nursing strike with weaning
3. Pump to maintain your milk supply
4. Make yourself accessible (how Sammy was met by a boob while standing)
5. Do as much skin to skin as possible
6. Co Bathe to help relax baby
7. Nurse or try to nurse when the baby is sleepy
8. Keep life simple, stay in the home, no errands all over the place
9. Don't take it personally, normally something physical or emotional (too much company, routine has been disrupted) is going on with your baby
10. Keep offering, Sammy's nursing strike lasted three days, but in my reading on kellymom and laleche leauge websites some can go on for much longer.
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Nine Months with Sammy!

Wowza, how did we get here so quick!
Another month of you on the move means the quality of your monthly shots continues to go down hill.  I may have to change this to monthly videos to better capture your cuteness. 

Sometimes, the outtakes are better anyways:
Sammy, you truly light up my life.  The way your smile lights up your face mirrors how my heart swells with love for you each and every day.  There is nothing better than holding you, touching your soft skin, placing my cheek on your soft hair and listening to you breathe.  Your giggles which happen so frequently now are the best sound.  I am doing absolutely everything I can to soak all of you in.  I know each day with you is a gift and I treasure them.  I have a feeling within this next month you will be walking and a whole new adventure is going to begin for you.  You will still need me, but not in the way you do now and I am grateful life changes in steps, so that I can gradually watch you grow from a tiny newborn, to a fun infant, to a vivacious toddler.
 We had so much fun this month.  Most months so far have gone by in a whirlwind, leaving me to wonder how time could move so fast.  While it is hard to believe you are now living outside of me longer than you lived in me, your 8th month of life was incredibly full.  We made each day matter, and had so much fun with family coming in and out of town.  You have now met almost all of your cousins and loved it.  I did my best to get you out of the house at least once a day.  We either went for a playdate, to the library, to grandmas, to the pool, out to eat, shopping or for a walk.  The weather was miserably hot for much of the last month, so unfortunately walking which was our normal daily outing came to a screeching halt when we suffered through 11 straight days of 95 degrees or above.

At the library for your first story time
The biggest change this month for you is that now you are crawling and walking with your walker!  This morning when I was watching you play, I was in awe watching you race and climb and enjoy life.  Last month, I had this sense of knowing that my days of leaving you in one place were numbered.  Today, I watched as you zoomed from place to place becoming engulfed in whatever your mind wanted to let you do.  I am truly enjoying this stage in your life as your Mom.  It is amazing to watch as you experience for yourself all that there is to offer in your world.  I have a feeling you'll take your first unassisted steps this month.  God help me, I'm already on 24/7 suicide watch with you getting into everything I never knew existed.
 You started doing great finally with your naps and bedtime sleep.  Ironically, since you are napper better, you seem to have a radar for when to take long naps (whenever we have someplace to be).  you've now slept through 3 weeks of mommy group and today's lunch date with my friends!  You still wake up twice to eat, but I can handle that and also know that it is a fleeting habit which I'm sure soon enough will fade away.  No amount of sleep training seems to be getting rid of your need for a 3 am chow session so I wave the white flag of surrender.

Some fun things you are doing now:
Standing on your own
Getting back down is still a bit daunting to you, which gives a good chuckle for us, not so much for you.  You've sorta got that figured out now, but it results in an ambivalent plop with a sigh of relief at the end.
You found your toy bucket.  Now I need to teach you how to clean up after yourself!
Eating like a champ.  The other day when we went out to eat at the Clifton cafe you ate SO much.  I couldn't believe that you could eat a hand sized piece of cod, zucchini strips, portabella mushrooms, 1/4 of my smoothie, 7 ounces of milk.  You were like a bottomless pit!  I think that may have been part of your 9 month growth spurt, but it was hilarious.  Everyone was seriously impressed with your baby led weaning skills.  We also took you to fanfare with the family and your love for burgers outside of my belly was confirmed.  This along with watermelon was your all time fav when I was pregnant.
You've figured out my camelbak.  I'm a bit surprised, but I guess I shouldn't be.
You were dedicated on father's day which was such a blessing.
 You swim all the time, and love your backyard (patio) pool

You've become head over heels in love with Bailey (I think you may have always been, but now you can show it)

Both of you two waiting for something to eat.  I think you know what that means too.
No words yet, but you understand a lot.  If I ask for a kiss I get one and you can do high fives which is really cool!  You wave hello and goodbye which melts my heart and If I say, where is Daddy, where is Bailey, you look for them.  I have started to hear the syllables for mama, and dada and baba in your mumblings so hopefully soon I'll hear the word I've been waiting so anxiously for, mama. 

After I asked you where is Daddy. 
Life with an 8th month old is not dull.  Baby Proofing is a MUST as you can see below.  You are hilarious Sammy.  Thanks for doing all these funny faces.  Keep up the good work kiddo, you are Loved beyond measure.
Praying God gives us another healthy happy month together, Sammy my love
Sunday, July 8, 2012

God's Grace

I am again reminded of God's grace in my everyday normal and healthy life.  It is truly a blessing to have 10 fingers and 10 toes and to have a baby....a baby with 10 fingers and 10 toes.

I've never been a fan of fireworks, growing up my parents never bought them, so I never really grew a fascination for them.  We'd go to see fireworks someplace, like old town, my mom's office or a friends boat, or out to one of the dc bridges on the 4th of July and that was about it.  To this day, I'd probably have to be dragged downtown to see the fireworks on the mall. 

For some reason, I've always known that fireworks are extremely dangerous and being frugalicious from a young age, I also always saw them as a waste of money.  I feel the same way about fireworks as I do about gambling; if you have the money to use towards either of those two things, donate the money to someone who has nothing instead.   In fact when Paul, who unfortunately does not share in my disgust for fireworks in the home came home with a decent amount of "clearance fireworks" (I swear some sales send you into the poor house), I promptly told me to please donate the exact same amount of money he just spent on fireworks to Ben's recovery.

The tragic fireworks accident that left my friend's two year old nephew Ben in a medically induced coma on July 3, 2012 just reaffirms my complete disgust for fireworks in the home.  This tragedy, also reminds me to be thankful for the healthy life my family and I have been graciously given.  For every time I step into a car and don't get into an accident, for just every breathe I have, I know it is a gift.  I don't understand why freak accidents like this happen, but just like with the tragic passing of my friend Anna's son Jack,  I see God working in the aftermath to bring communities together to surround the family with the prayers, love and support they need. 

If you could please pray for the Pappathan family, for Ben's recovery and strength for his parents, I would appreciate it.  If you would like to donate to help cover some of the medical cost not covered by insurance, a website has been set up http://www.giveforward.com/friendsofben