July 10th

Wow, July 10th. I haven’t written in over a month. I have no idea how that is possible. The month of June somehow flew by, but yet each day felt like 17 years.

June was basically the same as May, only hotter. We played in the pool a lot, see some pictures below, as we still aren’t going out in pubic. It’s been somewhere around 119 days in isolation. I keep saying I might lose my mind. Perhaps I already have. Today is especially bad, it’s near 100F so we haven’t been outside much… and they are obviously sick of being stuck inside. They fight. Nadia is quite physical. I feel like I keep pulling her off Nora. No amount of sending her to her room does any good. I suspect a lot of Nadia’s behavior is sensory related, more on that in another post, but regardless, we need to discipline. And I have no idea how, as nothing I have tried works. I know we can’t stay inside forever, but with cases rising again, I’m just not all that comfortable taking the girls out yet.

In other news… WE BOUGHT A HOUSE. Eric keeps teasing me that it’s our annual real estate purchase, as we seem to move every one to two years lately. It’s a really pretty house, I’ll post a few pictures once we are moved in. We close July 27th but the movers don’t come until August 8th. I guess I should be packing.

Nadia had her first occupational therapy (OT) session last week. They gave us a reoccurring appointment, every OTHER Thursday for 30 minutes. I’m annoyed. I don’t feel like it’s nearly enough time, as I can hardly tell them my concerns much less have them work on anything with her. I feel like they are just too busy to really give any patient the attention they need. Maybe I still need to consider another therapist in another nearby city. Nadia also has a speech therapy appointment at the end of the month. She was in speech, and actually physical therapy also, when she was younger, but I feel like she still needs some help with speech. She doesn’t talk much, although can, but sometimes she acts like she wants to say something but can’t think of the word. Other times she will make a noise or point for something she wants. We’ll see what they have to say.

I can’t think of what else is new… since we don’t leave the house much. We did go to my sister’s house for the 4th of July which was fun, lots of good food! Otherwise, same old same old here playing LEGOs!

Laundry and Catch Up

I’m playing catch up this week, lots of laundry, emptied out my voicemail, returned a ton of calls, rescheduled some doctors appointments for the girls, you get the idea.

Nadia had her 18 month (15 ½ month adjusted) check-up Wednesday. She is now only three pounds behind Nora!

At Nadia’s appointment we talked a bit about her development, revisiting the idea of speech and physical therapy. Nadia is obviously not at the level of an 18 month-old, but we don’t expect her to be at this point. Our doctor was a little concerned though, so she asked we work with her at home and re-evaluate in a few months. Problem is, I have no idea what to work on! The doctor gave us a few suggestions, but beyond that, I’m a bit at a loss… Our pediatrician said Nadia should have 15 words, with meaning at this age. Hum… she definitely has way more than 15 words, as she will repeat most words I say, but I’m not sure 15 of them have meaning to her. Our doctor said she should be walking up stairs, with help, at this point, throwing a ball with a forward hand motion, rather than just dropping it, and now I forget what else. Ugh. Sometimes I think maybe getting her back into speech and PT would be easier. I mean, I know it’s two appointments a week, but at least then I’d know what to focus on each week.

Also, Nadia still isn’t sleeping through the night consistently. It seems she wakes maybe every-other night, and whines/cries in her bed until I take her a bottle. She’ll suck down 7 oz and then go right back to sleep. Our doctor suggested trying just water instead of the toddler formula I’ve been giving her, but I assume because she is worried about the sugar from the formula sitting on her teeth all night. Honestly, maybe that should be my concern, but I’m just happy she is growing well, and I contribute that to her nighttime bottles. She does eat well during the day, but she is obviously hungry at night, or wouldn’t want the bottle, right? I know we need to ditch bottles soon though… Maybe one day I just throw them away and not look back!

I should go… I planned a playdate at my home tomorrow morning. Do I frantically clean the entire house? Or let them see how we really live? And Eric left this morning for another week on-call, so it’s just me and the girls for the next seven days. I guess I should do some kid-friendly meal planning!

Motivation

I’m finding it harder and harder to write these days. It’s not that I don’t want to, or need to. I have the thoughts in the head. I just seem to find myself filling my time with other activities… Maybe once we get back into a routine I’ll find more time. Below is what’s going on in our lives!

  • Thanksgiving was fun! Eric and I hosted at our new home. He smoked a turkey, I made some sides and my mother brought a bunch of food as well, and my sister too. It was a small gathering, just 6 adults and 4 kids, but it was nice, and fun. But in true form, the day went way too quickly. And I was so busy I didn’t take a single picture the entire day. Ugh. As you know how much I love pictures. On to Christmas I guess! I better start shopping!
  • Speaking of our new home… I’m still in the process of unpacking and decorating. It’s supposed to be fun, right? Why does it feel like work?? Our Christmas tree has been up almost a week, and yet still stands with only lights… Maybe today?
  • I went yesterday to get some ideas for window treatments. What are your thoughts on shutters? We have white trim, so probably something similar to this picture. Would you do the entire house in these? Bedrooms too?fullsizeoutput_17b9
  • Nadia had her 15 month (12 month adjusted) checkup this past Monday. I’m totally mom of the year, she has an ear infection and I had no idea. She’s been teething and cranky lately, but I guess I just figured it was her teeth and nothing more. I did ask her pediatrician about continuing physical and speech therapy. Her thoughts were… lets hold off for now. Nadia is babbling more, and says a few words. Also, she is close to walking, as she currently walks around furniture quite a bit. Her recommendation was to see how well she walks once she does. Our PT in Cedar Falls thought she felt some tightness in one leg, but our pediatrician wasn’t able to find that. So for now, I guess we’ll see. I trust our pediatrician, as she has lots of preemie experience but I also recognize she is not specifically trained in physical or speech therapy.RX99vTMmVzPUA1jdGrQ
  • At Nadia’s checkup we also discussed the cyst on her foot again. It started on the bottom of her heel shortly after birth, but now as her foot is growing it seems to be positioned more on the back edge of her heel. Our ped and Eric both agree it was caused by so many heel sticks in the NICU for blood tests. My understanding is its dead skin cells stuck under the skin. It seems to be getting larger so needs to be removed, otherwise the fear is it will bother her when walking with shoes. Problem is… with children, they like to put them out, as it will involve cutting and stitches. Ugh. Eric wants to do it at home. I said no way!
  • Girls are healthier this week and back to ‘school’ as we call it. Nora seems pretty excited to go each day, although is still a little weary of me leaving. Nadia on the other hand, screams as soon as we walk into her room. Yesterday her teacher did send me a few cute pictures of her playing. So she must not cry the entire day! Neither of the girls are napping well there, in fact, Nora hasn’t napped at all this week. So bedtime is fun. And she isn’t doing as well sleeping through the night either lately like she used to. I hope we all adjust soon.
  • Eric has been gone since last Friday, and even with daycare help, parenting alone is hard. Really hard. A part of me hates all this responsibility. I have so much anxiety toward the girls eating, especially Nora. We are still relying on some bottles of Pediasure. Nadia is still taking a few bottles too of toddler formula, but she loves eating much more than Nora ever did!
  • I’m struggling with figuring out my purpose… This probably needs a post all its own… My original intention with daycare was to get the girls some socialization with other kids a few days a week. Everyone tells me though, that the girls will adjust much better if they have a consistent routine, meaning they should go everyday. Do you all agree? And if so, what the hell do I do all day? I can only decorate this house and consider working out so many hours a day. A job is the obvious answer. But I’m scared that would take me away from the girls too much, as I still normally get them from daycare late afternoon. And with Eric off every third week, I don’t want to be working during that time, as then I would never see him. I need a really flexible job. But no clue what that would be!

I’m sure I’m forgetting a million things I was going to mention, but I’ll leave you with a somewhat amusing story…

Yesterday morning I spent several hours remaking our bed. I had purchased a new memory foam mattress topper, a gel mattress pad, and new pillows. So I washed all the new stuff and put on a clean set of sheets as well. I was worn out, so I threw all the dirty stuff into a basket in our bedroom, vowing to do laundry soon. Yesterday afternoon the cleaners came. And put all the dirty stuff back on the bed and piled all the clean stuff in the laundry room. Only in my life, right??

House Hunting

Tomorrow I’m meeting my cousin who is a Realtor in the Cedar Rapids area to look at a few houses. I’m excited, but nervous too. I hate being in Cedar Falls, but the idea of being further from Eric the weeks he’s on call is a little terrifying too. Like tonight, he left to drive to Ft. Dodge a bit ago. If he was leaving from Cedar Rapids he might have wanted to get on the road sooner, and would be home later tomorrow evening. Ugh. I wish someone could tell me what to do, or I could see the future.

In preparation for tomorrow I’m trying to make a list of things I dislike about our current home… things I want to make sure are different in the next house we purchase.

  • I do like a somewhat open floor plan, but our current home is basically one huge room for our kitchen, dining, and living room. It’s very difficult to arrange furniture. And since Nora can always see the kitchen and eating area, she constantly wants to eat, then wants to get down and play. This repeats every ten minute the entire freaking day.
  • Our current kitchen pantry is basically a tall cabinet. It sucks. We need more space!
  • Same goes for our laundry room, which is really a hallway which is also our mud room. Way too cramped. 
  • It’s a pain in the butt walking through our entire house with groceries as the garage is on the opposite side as the kitchen. 
  • Currently the girl’s bedrooms share a wall with the kitchen. Horrible, as after they go to bed I tend to clean up and do dishes, and they can hear it all. And entertaining with the girls sleeping is out of the question.
  • We have a fairly good sized finished basement, but it’s not a walkout, which I really want in the next house, both to make letting Kona outside easier, and for playing outside with the girls. Our deck off the kitchen has a ton of stairs down to the yard, so it’s hard for Nora to walk down them alone.
  • I really need a neighborhood with sidewalks, a place for the girls to ride bikes, or even just take them for walks. There are empty lots on both sides of our current home, thus our sidewalk doesn’t connect to anything. It’s annoying as I don’t really want Nora playing in the street, even though it’s not busy. 

Am I asking for too much?

Oh, forgot to share… Last Wednesday at Nadia’s speech therapy appointment the therapist suggested stopping our sessions for the time being. Nadia does nothing but cry during the sessions, although I blame this on them wanting to take her back alone. And technically she is making a lot more sounds and says mama and dada, so they are thinking it would be okay to hold off on more therapy for now. They said to contact them in maybe four months and we can have another evaluation to see how she is doing at that point. I’m thrilled to knock off one therapy session a week. Hopefully she progresses well with us helping her at home over the next few months.

And then there is Nora. Eric is so hard on her sometimes. I feel like he expects so much out of her, considering she’s only 30 months. Should she be counting by now? Eric works with her constantly, and she knows a lot, but counting is something she gets stuck on. I have no idea why, but when she counts she says 1, 2, 6. She refuses to say 3. And it drives Eric up the wall. Like he actually gets mad at her. Maybe I’m too easy on her, but I let it go. I correct her, but I don’t hold it against her. I guess I feel like at some point it will click with her. Right?

Although, more another time, I’m exhausted and need to be up early to shower and get ready before the girls wake. Good night!

Therapy Update

I haven’t written about the girl’s therapy sessions lately, so thought I would update.

First, Nadia’s physical therapy (PT). I think it’s going really well. When we started Nadia was barely sitting and now she is sitting very well, army crawling all over the house, and getting close to getting herself out of a sitting position to army crawl on her own. Well, I guess I should say without face-planting. Oh, and just in the past few days she has been reaching up, like toward the couch, or even my legs.

Nadia’s PT sessions are once a week for 45 minutes, although usually she is worn out after 35 or 40 minutes. And the past few times the therapist has been taking her back without me, and for the most part that is going well, even though Nadia is very much in the ‘clinging to mommy stage’ and ‘crying when I walk away stage’. When the therapist brings her back out to me she usually tells me what to work on until we see her again. This week she wanted us to get some type of one foot high step so we could work with Nadia on pulling herself up to it, and supporting her while she kneels next to it. I very much see the value in PT, but maybe it’s because I see progress. I’m not sure I can say the same for speech and feeding.

Speech with Nadia is once a week but only for 30 minutes. And of course it’s never scheduled next to another appointment of ours, so it’s a pain to drive all the way there for an appointment that seems to go really quick. For the speech sessions the therapist usually takes Nadia back alone for the first 20 minutes and then gets me for the last 10 minutes.

So…. I’m probably gonna sound like a really bad mom for saying this, but I really want to quit these sessions, at least for the time being. Three sessions ago the therapist blew bubbles and said ‘ba ba ba bubbles’ to Nadia for 30 minutes. Two sessions ago she got out this toy and turned it on and off while saying ‘stop’ and ‘go’ for 30 minutes. This past week Nadia was kind of upset and didn’t really want to be near the therapist, so she played peek-a-boo with her for 30 minutes. Now I realize I’m not trained in this area, but I can certainly do these things with Nadia on my own without paying for each of these sessions. I did ask the speech therapist if we could come every other week, and she didn’t think that was a good idea as Nadia already doesn’t know her, so she thought the more she sees her, the better.

Nadia’s one year check-up was Friday, which is another post in itself, but I did ask our pediatrician about the speech therapy… And she was fine with us stopping for now. She said since Nadia has two words, mama and dada, at about 10 months adjusted, she wouldn’t necessarily consider her behind at this point. So, we’ll see. I haven’t cancelled any appointments yet. Mommy guilt.

And finally, Nora’s feeding therapy which is once a week for 45 minutes. I kind of want to cancel these as well… Each session is very much the same. We bring three foods she will eat and three foods she won’t eat. They alternate back and forth, the foods she likes being a reward if she tries or makes some interaction with a food she won’t eat at home for us. The therapist is very very very happy and outgoing. (I want some of whatever she is on!) They basically play with the food, like asking her to ‘clean your spoon’ when she was trying applesauce, ‘lick it like a puppy’ when I took some yogurt she won’t eat, and ‘make a moon’ in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Again, none of this is rocket science, and now that I know what the therapist does, I can easily replicate this at home.

Maybe I’m being too hard on these therapist, I don’t know. Or maybe we just need to find different therapists. And if we move back to Cedar Rapids, we’d be forced to anyway.

Another Friday

Lots of random updates…

  • Nora had her second feeding therapy session today. The three foods we took she won’t eat were scrambled eggs, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and strawberries. The therapist got her to lick the eggs, take a bite of strawberry and spit it out, and take a torn off piece of the sandwich, put it between her teeth, and drop it out onto the table. Apparently that was good. It doesn’t feel good to me, it doesn’t feel like progress. I don’t see how we will ever graduate from this program. When Nora will eat anything I put in front of her? When we aren’t still giving her bottles of Pediasure? Feels overwhelming to me. I think part of the problem might be that Eric is rarely to never home to share a meal with us. Even if he is home from work early, his idea of early is 7pm. I’ve certainly fed the girls dinner before 7pm, as that’s about Nora’s bedtime. The therapist keeps telling me that the foods I bring to work on in therapy should be foods that would make our home life meals easier, things I make a lot that I really want her to eat. Well, I don’t really have a lot of those types of things. Lately I make her the things I know she will eat, and I eat whatever, as Nadia has baby food. Any suggestions as to things your kids eat that are somewhat healthy that perhaps I could try with Nora? Sometimes I wonder if I’m causing her picky eating behavior by offering her the same things over and over.
  • Nadia seems to be babbling a bit more, kind of trying to spit and make sounds with her tongue. Not sure it’s due to anything I’ve done to help her though. I tried to teach her ‘more’ in sign language, but now she’s just clapping all the time. Our next speech therapy session is Monday, I’m anxious to see how that goes.
  • As for Nadia’s physical therapy, she’s still not crawling, but definitely moving around more, turning circles during tummy time and such, and rolling more. Slowly but surely perhaps.
  • I inquired a little bit through Early Access Iowa in regards to someone coming to our home to help with therapy. Apparently we make too much money, and neither of my girls have documented disabilities, therefore they don’t qualify. I wasn’t really looking for state offered help, but that’s all I’m finding so far. So, my next thought is maybe putting an ad on care.com and just seeing who responds, be it students or professionals with an interest in coming to my home.
  • Speaking of state offered help, Nadia’s Medicaid review is due in a few days. I doubt we qualify, as now that she’s a year old it’s based on income rather than her status as a premature infant who has spent 30+ days in the NICU. I want to just throw the form away and allow her Medicaid to lapse, but our insurance is forcing me to reapply, which means gathering tons of data regarding our assets, liabilities, income, etc.
  • Baptism is in the works. I guess. Still not excited about the day, which is sad for me. I assume Liz will be in attendance, as Eric isn’t giving me a choice on the matter, which hurts. The baptism will be at our Catholic Church, and then we’re hosting a luncheon at the country club here. Strangely enough, Eric’s family is not at all religious, but yet we’re inviting all of his aunts, uncles, and cousins. Fewer on my side are being invited. Who knows who will actually come though. Maybe Liz will decide she doesn’t want to drive herself here. God I pray. I still need to order a cake, and figure out what all of us are wearing. Where does one get baptism dresses? I assumed the girls would be in matching white dresses since Nadia is now in 12 months and Nora can still fit into some 24 month size clothing. What else am I forgetting to plan? The baptism prep class is the evening of August 2nd, maybe that will help me know what else I need to do to prepare.
  • Next I need to start working on plans for Nadia’s first birthday party. AHHH.
  • Today is the last day with our current nanny. Feels odd to just be like, okay, see ya later. I mean, I will call her if we need a sitter on a random evening or something. I feel like I should have gotten her a gift, but what? And it’s kind of late now! I scheduled an interview with a prospective nanny tomorrow morning.
  • I’m so tired I could fall asleep writing this. Nadia wakes up three or more times a night. Sometimes to eat, sometimes just because she has a burp or her binkie fell out. Eric claims he doesn’t hear the girls. Don’t even get me started on this. Remind me to post on this topic separately. Well, him getting up with the girls, and him going out after work, when he already works like 15+ hours a day.
  • If you’re looking for a good book to read, my book club just finished “The Weathering of Sea Glass.” Really good story, but I will say, the author really, really needs a new editor. Lots of errors throughout the book. Oh, and it’s part of the Amazon Kindle Unlimited Reading, if you’re familiar with that program, so another bonus.
  • I mentioned Eric’s new schedule right? How he will have every third week off starting in August. Well, next week is August, and he’s supposed to have the first week off. So far I know he scheduled a case on Thursday. So we’ll see how this all goes…

Do I always have to title these posts…? This one is random….

Sitter is back today, so finally a minute alone after a week. Ah… So nice! My book club I started meets later today, but for now I’m catching up on emails at a coffee shop. I need to schedule nanny interviews as our current is finished this Friday, fill out some paperwork for Nadia’s insurance, and possibly order baptism invites. Well, if I knew where the party was being held. And who was being invited. Don’t even get me started. It’s still not settled. Drama, I tell ya. And my blood boils every time I even think about it. I originally thought maybe I would combine the baptism and Nadia’s first birthday party, but now I’m thinking maybe it would be better to focus on each separately.


Way back when, when Nadia first started physical and speech therapy, Eric asked me if I wanted to hire someone to come to our home to work with her. At the time I was like, oh heck no, we don’t need that. Now, weeks later, and with the addition of Nora’s feeding therapy, I’m wondering if maybe that was a good idea. I’m not sure how that works though. I assume we just pay for it outside of insurance, which isn’t a problem. But how does one find such qualified people? We would still go to the official appointments too, right? Anyone know a lot about all this? I certainly don’t!

But there is a caveat to this… I would feel incredibly guilty hiring someone to help the girls. I guess I have in my head that’s it’s my job as their mom to do everything I can to support and help them, including working on our therapy ‘homework’. But honestly, this is so far from my natural talents. I have no training in this area, and let’s face it, I’m not one of those SAHM who is down on the floor with their kids every minute, dreaming up new ways to entertain and grow their children’s young minds. It’s just not me.

 

Speech Therapy Evaluation

I left the speech therapy evaluation today very discouraged. They want to see Nadia weekly for now, which doesn’t really surprise me. But I guess I did expect to have a better understanding of the process and goals after our appointment today, but I don’t.

The hour-long appointment was mostly spent as an interview, the therapist questioning me based on Nadia’s skills. I didn’t feel like I had a lot to say, other than, she squeals and cries, and that’s about it. We know she can hear based on her last hearing test before she was released from the NICU, but the therapist recommended another, which is fine, I’m totally not opposed to such, but I find it odd they want Iowa City to do the test… Again, fine, we are there all the time, but odd to me. Don’t they do hearing tests here??

The speech therapist seemed young, I’m not sure how much experience she has… She talked a lot to Nadia, to which Nadia basically just stared at her, or screamed and looked to me for comfort. And when I say talked to Nadia, I mean she made over-exaggerated sounds emphasizing the use of her mouth and lips, lots of motions with her hands, lots of expression, etc.

Our homework for the next week until we see her again:

  • Speak as much to Nadia as possible using lots of expression, lots of mouth movements, etc.
  • Mimic Nadia’s sounds back to her, giving her a chance to ‘take her turn’ to aid in the teaching of back and forth communication
  • Work to teach Nadia the signs for ‘more’ and ‘all done’
  • Repeat basic sounds, such as da, ma, and ba to Nadia over and over and over

I’m not at all opposed to teaching Nadia some simple sign language, as even Nora knows some basic baby signs, but I guess even the mention of such scared me. It made me wonder if the therapist fears Nadia will never speak… She did say that Nadia clearly has a voice, as she uses it to cry and such… I don’t know, just brought back a lot of fears for me, all the horrors of the brain bleed and lack of oxygen at birth. Is this all my fault? I’m so busy with Nora, Nadia doesn’t get nearly the attention Nora did at this age. Do I not work with Nadia enough? What am I doing wrong that Nadia needs speech and physical therapy, and Nora will probably start feeding therapy soon? I feel like everything is hitting me at once. I thought I was so lucky with my two preemies, that they were doing so well… I don’t want that to change. And all these appointments are wearing on me. The speech and physical therapy needs to be on different days, as they wear out Nadia and thus she doesn’t perform well at the second appointment of the day. And I can’t take Nora along, so once she starts feeding therapy that will be three appointments added to our list a week. I guess the bright side is I don’t work, otherwise I’d constantly be requesting time off.

Nadia’s 9 month check-up

This morning was Nadia’s 9-month check-up with our regular pediatrician in town. No shots, thank you God! I did leave a bit discouraged though…

Last week we had Nadia’s neonatology high-risk check-up in Iowa City, basically a visit where they check milestones, fine and gross motor, social, physical, etc. It all looks like playing with her to me, but I know it’s a lot more than that! I left that appointment feeling great. There were a couple of areas where she wasn’t performing at 100%, but they evaluate based on an age range, that visit being 6-9 months. Her adjusted age as of today is 7 months 15 days, so they said she technically had several more weeks to meet all the milestones they were testing for before they would be concerned.

So today, our pediatrician was more concerned, specifically regarding:

  • Nadia makes no attempts to crawl, basically just lies on her belly and cries rather than attempting to push herself up on her hands or knees.
  • The only sounds Nadia makes are the traditional high-pitched squeals babies make. She does not make other babbling sounds, such as da, ba, etc.

Our pediatrician is referring us to physical and speech therapy. I don’t know the details yet, as those providers are supposed to contact me to set appointments. I don’t want to be that mom who’s in denial that there is a problem with their child. But I do think its a bit early to start therapy. But… what the heck do I know? Perhaps the sooner the better. Iowa City always tells me that preemies are known to be a bit delayed, even for their adjusted age. Isn’t it possible Nadia will catch up on her own, without therapy? Nora did everything early, so this is all new to me. And perhaps I’m just terrified to learn there really is an issue with Nadia’s brain… remember her brain bleed in the NICU, and the spot on her brain they found on the MRI that showed lack of oxygen at some point shortly before birth?

Last week Nadia did also see ophthalmology in Iowa City. Thankfully her optic nerves, retinas, and vision is perfect! We don’t need to return to them for 12 months!