Monday, January 30, 2012

Progress

So, Kelly finally reached for a toy and held onto it today! This is awesome news because it makes me think she didn't really miss this milestone, she was just a little slow. And that's okay, because she's always been about a week behind on everything since she was born. Maybe my working with her over the last few days helped too. If she got this one, maybe the others are soon to come.

Unfortunately, she's quite unhappy at the moment. Four month immunizations are apparently no fun... She's spent most of this evening screaming. But, the Mechanic will be bringing some baby Tylenol when he comes home and hopefully that will allow us some sleep tonight.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Answers... not really

Our baby girl is now 13 pounds 4 ounces... no wonder Mommy's arm feels like it's about to fall off when she totes around that car seat! I suppose that might also be the reason she's popping out of her 0-3 month clothes, which are supposed to be <12lbs. I'm just not willing to admit that she's too big for them!

Our x-rays and ultrasounds were normal. Like any good nurse, I snuck a peek at the reports that were stuck in the door before the doctor came in. When the doctor looked at Ladybug's head, though, she was still a little concerned, especially after hearing our family history. She called and actually spoke to the radiologist who looked at the x-rays and ultrasound and was told that at this point, there is no evidence of craniostenosis. The fluid that the ultrasound showed is completely normal in an infant of this age. However, as she did her physical she discovered that we're missing a couple milestones she should have reached by now. For this reason we're going to see if insurance will pay for the genetic testing. This is a better option than the next radiology step, which is a CT; that would involve hospital admission and anesthesia, and if the sutures aren't currently closed it won't tell us anything at this point anyway. My theory is that her brain may be growing faster than her skull can accommodate.

In the meantime, we're going to watch her closely for signs of increased pain and more skull changes. We're also going to work with her to try to achieve those missing milestones. As of now, she will not push up on her arms at all, not even on her elbows. She also won't reach for or bat at anything, nor will she hold onto toys and bring them to her mouth. She can bring her hands to midline and put them in her mouth, so that's at least something to start with. She also gave the doctor no resistance when she pushed and pulled on her arms. However, I know she's capable of resisting when she chooses; just watch me try to get her arm in her sleeve when she wants it in her mouth!

So, we have an answer, sort of, in that we're not looking at imminent surgery. However, exactly what is going on is still in question. She may just have a lumpy skull and it not mean a thing. What I don't get is why she's behind, since none of our other family members have missed milestones like this. Of course, she may just be on her own timetable and will catch up eventually. *shrug* She interacts and is growing, which is what I consider most important. She just may walk before she learns to roll over!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Waiting


So, Ladybug had her ultrasound of her skull today. She did so good, although it was a little strange for Mommy to be looking at her baby girl on the ultrasound table instead of being there herself! We had a sweet tech who was about 7 months pregnant with twins, boy and girl; so sweet! She took all sorts of pictures through Ladybug's little soft spot and then went to show them to the radiologist to make sure she didn't miss anything. When she came back, she told us the radiologist couldn't really see what he was needing to for the diagnosis we're trying to rule out, so he wanted some x-rays taken. I'm grateful for the way they handled this, so much better than letting us go home and then have to go all the way back over there.

Back to the waiting room we went, and of course Ladybug fell asleep right before we were called back for the x-rays. Too bad she won't stay asleep when I lay her down; she sure wasn't going to stay asleep on that hard table! She looked so tiny on that huge table. It was good that the Mechanic went with us; since I'm not on prevent-a-baby pills I had to go behind the protective wall, so he garbed up and helped position her. They wanted four views, one of each side, one straight on, and one from the top of her head. They had to retake one view three times because she kept wiggling; finally had to use the head immobilizers, which she didn't like.

We'll get our results at our four month check-up Thursday; all I can tell you is she has a skull. Neither of us really knew what we were looking at during the ultrasound, and we didn't get a close look at the x-rays either. We could probably get the results early, but as I told my mother-in-law today, what's the point? It's not going to change anything at all, and I'm already bracing myself for the most-likely worst scenario, which would be the craniostenosis. The only other thing that might be worse that I can come up with is cancer, and I have every confidence it's not that.

So I wait. I'm amazingly at peace with things right now; perhaps it is the prayers being lifted up for us. What else can I do? I kiss her little head and tell her I love her, and tell her she's cute even with a lumpy head. God will provide. I don't know how, but for right now, worrying isn't going to do a thing.

I was glancing over a blog today which had a verse I hadn't thought of in quite a while, the passage that says "You knit me together in my mother's womb." It's comforting, because it reminds me that God made my little girl just the way she is. He chose the genes she has. He knew when he first formed her in me what life would bring her. He knows all the illnesses, the injuries, the pains, the heartache, the joys that she will have. He knows her every day, and has them planned for her. I don't know what tomorrow, or especially Thursday, will bring. I don't know what the next six months will hold. But I know someone who does. And while that seems trite... it is such a comfort. Someone else loves my baby girl more than I do. More than I ever could. And as hard as that is for me to imagine... it's true.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Worries.

Funny how life works. You make a decision that you believe will be best for your family. Then something happens and you stagger and wonder if you did the right thing. And then you realize you did the best thing you possibly could have and everything will work itself out.

The verse that's been running through my head recently has been "He will supply all your needs according to the riches in Christ Jesus." No idea where that's found or if that's exactly what is said, but the idea is there. My needs will be met. Somehow. And at this point, not just mine, but my child's, and my family's.

We have an ultrasound scheduled for Ladybug's head next week. I noticed on the evening before my last day of work a lump on the side of her head. No bruising, no swelling, just a hard lump. You have to know our family history to imagine what this immediately brought to mind. The Mechanic, his brother, his dad, and our nephew have all had to have major surgeries (basically getting scalped and then put back together) due to a condition called craniostenosis. This is where the soft spots and sutures in the skull harden and fuse too early. The result is an extremely misshapen head, and the results from having a brain with no room to grow. Now, it's fixable, with the surgery. Still, a little scary for a mom.

Anyway, so I looked at and felt the lump, I began finding other things that concerned me, like the ridges on her suture lines that weren't this prominent at birth, a small ridge down the middle of her forehead, and the very prominent forehead that seems to be moving forward, based on pictures. She's been crying out like she's in pain in her sleep for the last few weeks. So when our doctor, out for surgery, dropped by the office to pick up medical leave forms, I mentioned the lump to her. She had us go ahead and schedule the ultrasound so we'd have the results by her well child check next week.

I thought the local children's hospital did this surgery, but now I don't think they do. This means a trip to Knoxville's Children's, Vanderbilt's Children's, or Erlanger's Children's if something's wrong. And I immediately begin to think how we're ever going to afford this. But, for one, I'm borrowing trouble. We don't know for sure what's going on, and it may be something that will resolve on its own. It's also a good thing for me to be home if there's something going on; no worries about getting off work or day care for a post-surgical child. And God will provide whatever we need. Including peace for me.

*sigh* Having children builds faith. By necessity. =)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Safe to publish now...


I have a secret. Well, I had it for a couple hours. Then I just had to tell someone. And who else would I tell than the person for who's wedding I'm supposed to getting fitted for a bridesmaid dress next week? I sent her a text message saying I'd be bringing a watermelon to my fitting next week, because that's the size I'd be at her wedding.

Yep, found out tonight I'm pregnant. Again. And yes, my baby girl is only 3 1/2 months old. If I'm figuring it out right, she'll be about 3 weeks shy of turning 1 when this little one makes his/her appearance at 39 weeks.

Wow.

Yeah, we wanted kids close. And I said I'd be fine if I was pregnant at my 6 week post-partum check-up. And I was somewhat disappointed with every negative pregnancy test I've had in the last 2 months.

But, yeah. Wow.

Here's how things change for the second child. First child, you do a pregnancy test. It's positive. You do another. It's positive too. You do a third. It's positive. And only then do you call the doctor. Second child, you do a pregnancy test. It's positive. And you don't do anymore because your first child is asleep in the swing and you don't dare wake her up to run to the store to get another one.

So here's the story of our little Christmas baby. (Kelly was our New Year's baby, this one is our Christmas baby. I promise, we do it more than just Christmas and New Years!)

I've felt like crap the last couple weeks. The stomach bug (maybe) a couple weeks ago, the feeling like I was going to start a period that went on for a week and a half. I've been extra moody and anxious, and didn't want Ethan to touch me yesterday. I thought the last few days I was getting sick, and today I just felt blah and crampy. I was either burning up or freezing. On the way home I finally decided I was going to call the triage nurse at my OB office in the morning to see if the cramps and irregular periods were normal for almost 4 months post-partum. I figured they were, but since a friend just had a D&C after the birth of her child because not everything came out like it should have, I supposed it'd be best to check things out. I told myself, it feels like I'm pregnant, with the cramps and funky bleeding and moodiness and all, but I know I'm not. I had just done a pregnancy test 8 days ago. 8. Days. Ago. Negative. Got that?

So I got home, unloaded everything in the pouring down rain, let the doggies out, changed Ladybug who had poop running down to her socks, and then put her in the swing. Then mommy got to go to the bathroom. Right before I went in, I, simply on a whim, got the spare pregnancy test out of the bag I'd brought in from the car I'd cleaned out yesterday. I knew I wasn't pregnant, and why I did a test I don't know. I just decided, purely on a whim, to do one. Just to make sure so I could tell the nurse tomorrow I definitely wasn't pregnant.

So I did my thing. Set it on the edge of the tub. Watched the moisture make its way across the little round hole. And thought I saw the edge of a blue line forming. I shook my head and said to myself that it was just wishful thinking. It was negative just last week. It's still negative. So I finished up my business and glanced back over at the test. Um. Yeah. That's a line. A very clear, very bright blue line. In the hole that's supposed to be blank. The hole that had NOTHING in it last week. Negative. 8 days ago.

I picked it up. Like Juno, I tried shaking it. Nope. In every light, every direction, that little line was there. Which meant, there was a little sesame seed inside me. And in 8-9 months, it'll be a lot bigger than a sesame seed.

Holy cow.

So, I went to cafepress.com and found a 3-6 months onesie that says "I'm the big sister." And I ordered it. I have a plan for how to tell Ethan that involves him changing a diaper. If I can keep my big mouth shut, unlike last time. I'd love to wait till Valentine's Day and tell him while we're on our weekend away, but I don't think there's anyway I can make it that long.

Now to make sure I hit "save now" and not publish!!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

1 week

And it's not even a full week, just four days. The funny part is... Ladybug has started going to bed between 7-10pm. Meaning she wakes up between 3-6am. What happened to my child who was wide awake at midnight?

Latest thoughts running through my head: moving. For some reason I had not considered being able to find a place for cheaper than we currently pay. We have a really nice house in my opinion, but would I be willing to put up with some carpet for $150 more/month in my bank account? Probably. Is it worth the effort of moving? If I were working, nope. But since I'll be doing a deep cleaning/organizing/getting rid of anyway, why not? We might stay put and make ends meet. Or we might find something we like.

It's sort of a bittersweet thought. We've been here for 2.5 years. Three Christmas/New Years. The house to which we brought Ladybug home. I love the tree out front. And having no neighbors can be an advantage when it comes to the odd hours and noises we sometimes make.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Our song

Every couple has their song, or should. A special song that when you hear it, you go back to a sweet memory or moment. I wonder if the same thing exists for mothers about their children? Perhaps a lullaby you used to sing to them, or a song the child would sing? Or a song that was on the radio when you saw a positive sign on the dip stick? The song that played in the car as you drove away from finding out if it was a boy or girl? The song you chose to be played as they entered the world?

Ladybug has several songs for me. I don't know if they will be special for each child or just for her; I guess I'll decide that when the next dot appears. Every time I hear "Awake and Alive" by Skillet I think of the moment of her first cry; if I had had music playing in the operating room that's what I would have chosen. That memory still brings tears to my eyes. I'm going to be such a sappy mother. With Arms Wide Open by Creed is also special to me. The Mechanic included it on the Utero mix for my ipod shuffle that I would play for her; I'd never heard it before, and when it came on in the car as I pulled into work I started crying. Sappy mom moment again. It was just such a sweet song to be picked by him.

This song is one that I loved singing to her before she was born. I'd put my hands on my belly, holding my unborn baby, and sing for a few minutes before continuing with my laundry. I suppose it's written for a couple, maybe, but I like to picture this with a parent and child hand in hand. I guess it touches the memories of my times in nature with my parents. It also reminds me of some moments in college with dear friends. I suppose it helps put into words my hope for her to be able to enjoy the simple beauties of life.

Magic Hour by Andrew Peterson
Come climb the hill with me
come and be still with me
come watch the sun slip away
if you will with me

Come watch the garden grow
down by the gravel road
come warm your hands in the gold
of the afterglow

Into the peace of these wild things
into the wild of this grace
into the grace of this blessing
speak in the peace of this place

Come walk the cedar stand
over the broken dam
sit on the bench at the bend
of the trail again

Look how the children laugh
out in the tumble grass
bright as a fire
and as fine as a photograph

Into the peace of these wild things
into the wild of this grace
into the grace of this blessing
speak in the peace of this place

Here at the magic hour
time and eternity
mingle a moment
in chorus

Here at the magic hour
bright is the mystery
plain is the beauty before us
could this beauty be for us

What is this voice that sings
holy and hovering
over the hills and the still of the evening
Son of God speak

Into the peace of these wild things
into the wild of this grace
into the grace of this blessing
speak in the peace of this place

Watching and waiting

I'm a nurse. And a mommie. This makes for a bad combination. I'm not exactly a hypochondriac myself, but some might think I am concerning my child. Given that she's already had MRSA and campibacter, I think this is justified.

So I'm watching this lump on the back of her head. Now, I keep telling myself to feel the flat spot on the other side of her head. And I keep telling myself that this flat spot is why there is a lump on the other side. Flat spots aren't a big deal. I really hoped my child would not get one, but when she sleeps in her car seat at day care she couldn't help but get one.

What concerns me is her daddy's scars. And her uncle's scars. And her grandpa's scars. And her cousin's scars. And her other cousin's frequent doctor visits. All caused by a lovely little syndrome called Crouzon's. A form of craniostenosis, this is when a child's fontanels and sutures harden and close too early, leading to football shaped heads and bulging eyes. If not treated, it leads to insanity and death.

Now, it's treatable. And no one in the USA goes insane from craniostenosis now. We know what to look for and how to treat it. As I tell people, as much for the shock value as the educational value, they chop off the kid's head, fix it, and put it back on. Easy enough, right?

Still, I'd rather not deal with this. I'm hoping we can luck out and not have any kids with the syndrome. But given the 50/50 chance for each child... well, we just don't have that kind of luck.
So I watch. And feel. And check soft spots. And measure her head. And wonder when she wails if her head hurts. Or if she's wailing because she's over tired. Or hungry. Or wet. Or has a bellyache. Or isn't getting her way. Or is bored. Or is just being a drama queen.

In a similar but more pleasant note, heard a song on an Andrew Peterson album that rings true...
"It'll fall like rain on your parade
and laugh at the plans that you try to make
Wear you down till your heart just breaks,
And it's a good thing, love is a good thing.

It'll wake you up in the middle of the night
it'll take just a little too much
burn you like a cinder till you're tender to the touch
it'll chase you down and swallow you whole
it'll make your blood run hot and cold
like a thief in a night it'll steal your soul
and that's a good thing, love is a good thing

It'll follow you down to the ruins of the great divide
open the wounds that you try to hide
there in the rubble of the heart that died
you'll find a good thing, cause love is a good thing

It'll break your will, it'll change your mind
loose all the chains and the ties that bind
and if you're lucky you'll never make it out alive
and that's a good thing, love is a good thing

It can hurt like a blast from a hand grenade
when all that used to matter is blown away
there in the middle of the mess it made
you'll find a good thing,
yes it's worth every penny of the price you paid
it's a good thing, love is a good thing."

Friday, January 6, 2012

Life change

So, for the first time since I graduated high school, I will be neither working nor attending school. I turned in my notice today, effective in two weeks.

First, for all posterity, I would like to say that this had nothing to do with my workplace. I like my work. I love being a nurse. Some things irritate me, yes. That's in every single job out there, and there were not enough irritants in this job to make me leave. I enjoy my co-workers, I have about the most laid-back provider imaginable, and the hours are as sweet as you can get. How many jobs can you get your child from day care and bring her back so you can finish up late night duties without getting charged an arm and a leg for being late to day care? Holidays off, no weekends, kick-awesome. So we deal with druggies and watch our backs when we leave after dark... I got more physical harm done to me in the nursing home. This was the best job imaginable for my pregnancy; they covered for me during my doctor's appointments, and I could sit and stand as often as I needed.

This also really has nothing to do with whether it's best for a child to be home or in day care. I think there is no absolute best there. There are positives and negatives to both situations. Lots of germs in day care. Builds up their immunity. Strangers take care of them. They get used to other people and those people don't stay strangers for long. Mom misses them. This can also mean mom enjoys them more when she's with them.

Ultimately, this decision is what is best for me and my family at this point in time. Frankly, quitting work is an admission of inadequacy on my part. I can't do it all. I'm losing control. I was hoping that after a month I'd find that I was adapting, finding ways of getting things done, making it work. Nope. I did improve. I learned to accomplish some things on my lunch hour, like paying bills and ordering pictures. I learned it wasn't really that nutty to run and get my child before returning for my late night duties. With the assistance of a day here and there to get caught up, I was managing to stay on top of my work duties.

There were just too many other things that I wasn't handling fast enough. Like my house. I would finally get around to cleaning off my kitchen table and find bills I didn't know were there. And occasionally un-cashed checks, which is a nice surprise. The Mechanic does a lot of laundry, and that's helpful... except I can't get around to putting it away. The dishes tend to get done on an as needed basis until the weekend. Cooking? What's that? Using the oven for something besides canned biscuits or frozen dinners? Who does that? Grocery shopping happens sporadically. Seasonal decorations are a joke. Sweeping, mopping, dusting, vacuuming? Changing sheets? Hah. And poor hubby might as well be a dustbunny under the couch for all the attention he's getting.

I told one lady at work today she must have a cape under her t-shirt, because she has to be super-woman. Twin 2 almost 3 year olds and works full time. Has horses and dogs. And actually dusts and vacuums. And is married. All I can say is, wow. And wow again.

So, my goal for my time at home, besides the obvious one of enjoying my child and husband, is this: get myself organized so that I can return to work. How soon will I return? I don't know. When needed, or when I want to, whichever comes first. Part time at some point would be awesome. I'm also going to try to be careful not to become the "stay at home mom's are more awesome than working moms." I hate that attitude. It goes both ways. Both are hard, in different ways. I find myself stiffening when I hear people say "she's a stay at home mom, what does she need a break from?" or "she doesn't work so she has time to watch lots of tv." It depends on your season of life, and what you do with your time. I love one organizing book I read that listed a way of getting multiple household chores done efficiently. She ended the instructions by saying "Congrats. It's 9am and your basic chores for the day are done. For those with no children, it might be 7am. For you moms of infants and toddlers, it's 3pm." Being with your children nearly constantly is exhausting. Working full time and coming home to children is exhausting.

Being a mom is always full time, whether or not you work outside the home. What I've decided is if you work outside the home, something else has to be given up. Less cooking, more outside help, husband has less leisure time, something else has to give. With me coming home, I hope to cook, a lot. I hope to have a cleaner house. I hope to mend my husband's clothes instead of letting them sit in the basement till we remember to take them to his mom to fix. I hope to read my Bible, at least a little. I hope to get back to exercising. I had a lot of "i hopes" for my eight weeks maternity leave too, and they didn't all happen. But, we'll give it a shot.