Vaccinated!

Well, I’m sort of vaccinated. I received the first of my two Pfizer COVID shots last week. A sore arm for a few days, and maybe a little tired the second day, but really no big deal.

It’s another Monday, and Nadia is still home with me. We are still struggling with her not wanting to wear pants or underwear. I had her try a pair of underwear on this morning… Nope she took them off, said it makes her feel ‘wet’ with them on. We did have our first physical therapy appointment last week. The therapist put some sort of electrodes on her upper legs, hips, and bottom. She said it appears that Nadia is tensing almost all the time, meaning when she was just sitting on the exam table, appearing relaxed, she was tense as if she was pushing to pee or poop. I have no idea how that is possible… We were given a list of a few exercises to do several times a day and told to try to make her go to the bathroom every few hours. Nadia lately hates going to the bathroom, so that’s going as well as you can expect! We have another PT appointment this Friday.

I have another follow-up with our naturopath tonight at 11:15pm my time, as she is in Australia. We’ve been slowly increasing some doses, so now we are up to one Candex tablet three times a week to kill yeast. And Nadia is tolerating the first of three bottles of herbs the provider sent us which we can do twice a week as prescribed. Yesterday I gave Nadia a small dose of the second bottle of herbs, and I didn’t notice any reaction, so maybe we can increase that to the maintenance level soon as well. The herbs are for a variety of Nadia’s problems, one being to remove mold from her body. I will say that Nadia seems a lot better lately (sleeping awesome too) except for this lingering wet feeling. It’s odd to me that this still remains, as in January we were able to get her over that… but now it’s back. So frustrating.

Tonight I also plan to chat with the naturopath about Nora. I’m not sure if Nora technically has any issues we can work on, but I want to ask. Nora is so so so picky, only has a few foods she likes, and none of them are healthy. Often she just looks sick to me with very dark circles under eyes. It’s tough to get Nora into school, like I have to almost push her in, the teachers sometimes escorting her in the building. I mean she goes, unlike Nadia, but it’s not easy to get her there. She also cries/whines a lot, somedays on and off most of the day. She doesn’t sleep well, clings to me often like Nadia… I don’t know. Just makes me wonder. I am sending in a urine sample of Nora’s for the organic acid and mold mycotoxins tests. Just starting with those two to see if they show anything before we investigate any further. I figure it can’t hurt to see what is all going on in Nora’s body too as I assume both the girls have been exposed to similar things over the years.

Ah, somehow it’s afternoon already and I still haven’t showered!

Fall

It’s officially fall. I think… Feels like fall here anyway, only 61F today. So certainly not cold, but definitely sweater weather!

I don’t have a lot of updates on Nadia’s health. Yesterday was her four-year well-child exam. And they confirmed my fear. She is losing weight, about 10% of her total body weight although wants to eat all the time. Even wakes in the middle of the night to eat. They ordered some blood tests, but I still need to take her for the blood draw. She got 2 vaccinations yesterday, plus the flu shot, so I felt like that was enough for one day… Otherwise her health is the same. She is still having lots and lots of meltdowns, lots of sensory processing issues, some OCD tendencies, still says she feels “wet” whenever she goes to the bathroom. She used to wipe and wipe and wipe, now she refuses to wipe at all, says that makes her feel like she has to go potty. Eric talked to his partners and they decided to try Ditropan. Per WebMD, Oxybutynin is used to treat certain bladder and urinary conditions (e.g., overactive bladder). It relaxes the muscles in the bladder to help decrease problems of urgency and frequent urination. Oxybutynin belongs to a class of drugs known as antispasmodics. So far I have noticed she asks to go to the bathroom less, which in itself is helpful, as every trip to the bathroom leads to a meltdown.

Aside from the weight loss, Nadia often complains large areas of her body itch, although we see no evidence of a rash or other irritant. And if you Google those two symptoms, scary stuff comes up. So for now, I’ll wait for the blood test results. We are also still waiting on the pediatric psychiatric referral. Our insurance denied our pediatrician’s request for us to be seen in Iowa City, but approved for us to be seen in Des Moines at Blank Children’s Hospital. I’m not as familiar, as we are in Iowa City all the time, but it will have to do. We will also see a developmental pediatrician there to screen for more general issues… whatever those are… I’m guessing Autism and such, which I don’t even want to think about right now.

Nadia still isn’t sleeping well. Which means the entire family isn’t sleeping well. I can get her to sleep, by rocking her. It’s now her only way of falling asleep. She does not like her bed, does not want to sleep in any bed, and certainly doesn’t want any covers if I can get her into bed, which is usually me laying her in bed after she falls asleep rocking. Getting Nadia to sleep though isn’t the biggest issue. It’s keeping her sleeping. She wakes several times a night, and almost always exactly at 4am. What the heck is with 4am?? And no matter how I’ve tried, she won’t put herself back to sleep. Although neither will Nora, so perhaps it’s a me issue. At this point I don’t care how any of us sleep, just that we sleep!

In other news, Nora seems to be adjusting to kindergarten well. Every morning she says she doesn’t want to go, but walks in without crying and seems excited to tell me about her day at pickup. Nadia is not adjusting to preschool well, big surprise. This morning she cried so hard I thought she might be hyperventilating. She says she doesn’t like the teachers. But I know the teachers, they are awesome, Nora even thought so… Nadia just doesn’t like being away from me, but to the extreme. I’m anxious for her referral appointment so we can talk about Nadia’s anxiety. Wonder where she gets it…

Life is slowing getting back into a routine. I’m back in Grove (Women’s Bible Study) on Tuesday mornings and MOPs (Moms of Preschools) on Thursday mornings. Nadia has speech and occupational therapy on Wednesday mornings, and both the girls have ballet on Thursday nights, although so far Nadia hasn’t been brave enough to attend. We’ll see, I’ll try again with her this week. I now have plenty of time to clean and organize the house, but God knows I’m awful at procrastinating. The laundry is staring at me right now… I emailed an interior designer that one of Eric’s partners used for their new home. I’m a little scared. An interior decorator sounds so… expensive. But I honestly have no clue where to begin on purchasing furniture for this house. The help would certainly be appreciated, if even for only a few main rooms. Below are pictures of Nadia’s bedroom curtains and bedding, my attempts at picking a paint color. I think I decided on Intimate White, which is number 8 on the paint samples. Oh, and the house we just moved from is going on the market TODAY, so let’s pray it sells quickly!

We went to a pumpkin patch on Saturday. Thankfully Nadia agreed to wear underwear, since she is stuck on dresses right now. And no coats. What am I going to do when it gets colder??? We had fun, although Nora was sad she couldn’t go down the giant slide all day.

And here are a few other random pictures I found on my phone, several taken by Nora.

Ah, somehow it’s 1:30 already and I’ve accomplished very little today. I guess I better start planning dinner!

Sisterly Love

Why is it, no matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing, I always feel I should be somewhere else?

When the girls wake in the morning I feel like I rush us to get ready and out the door. But for what? Just to daycare, when often my plans aren’t all that important or necessary. (Unless you consider adult interaction as important and necessary.) When I drop them off at daycare I feel guilty for allowing someone else precious time with my babies. But when I’m home with them I’m sometimes losing my freaking mind as they ask for the seventh different item for lunch, which they still don’t eat. And I miss them now that I have a few free moments after my haircut to myself. Maybe the whole mommy guilt thing is real, regardless of the situation, whether they are home with us, or happily playing at daycare…

Last night Nora complained her ear hurt. Last week she finished amoxicillin for an ear infection, which gave her a nasty rash, pictures below. We’re not convinced it was a true allergic reaction, rather probably more likely a maculopapular rash, but none the less they told us to quit the amoxicillin early, although just one day.

 

So back to last night… it was a Sunday evening. Of course only the ER was available, and since she was acting fine other than some complaints of ear pain I decided to wait until this morning.

This morning… the first thing Nora told me when she woke was that her right ear hurt. She was consistent with which ear at least. So back to the doctor we went. I originally had a Mom’s Club event scheduled this morning, which I was hosting, so that had to be rescheduled for later in the week. Of course. It’s not like I have a lot of events in my life, but it just so happens whenever the girls are sick I tend to have something planned. I call it Mom’s Law. Que the feeling of always needing to be where I’m not.

I’ve never seen a kid more happy and excited to see a doctor as Nora was this morning. She literally bounced into the office, happily got weighed and her height measured. (See pictures of happy Nora at doctor’s office below.) Nora was even excited for the blood pressure cuff and for her ears to be examined. And sure enough, an infection in her right ear this time. As a precaution amoxicillin wasn’t given, but rather Cefdinir. Hopefully she’s willing to take it, as the pharmacist told me its pretty nasty even when flavored. So that’s fun!

 

In other Nora news we got results back from her last visit with Dr. Bayer from Immunology at the University. And the news was good! Nora’s IgG was a bit down, but still in the normal range. And she made antibodies to 19 of the 23 strains in the last vaccine she received in December. Such a relief to receive all good news! And the best yet, she doesn’t need to see Dr. Bayer now for over a year!

And a bit of sisterly love to end with today!

 

Nora’s 3 Year Well Check

I just read the first post I wrote after Nora, well, baby A, was born. And now writing about her three-year check-up. I still get a little emotional. Maybe it’s this darn new anti-depressant!

Check-up went well! Probably a little hard to see the pictures below, but Nora was 28 lbs. 4 oz. which is 31% for weight, and 3 ft. which is 48% for height, both adjusted. This was our first visit for Nora with our new pediatrician since we moved, so we had a lot to discuss. This visit did remind me that Nora is due for more immunology blood tests… and I was so hoping they could be drawn at the MedLabs attached to our ped’s office. But oh no… Can’t be that easy! Apparently the University is the only lab around here that has the technology for these specialized, rare tests. I guess I’ll have to find another day for that super-fun (I can only assume) visit. No shots at this exam, as Nora is all caught up on vaccinations, thank God!

I’m really trying not to stress as much about Nora’s eating, or lack there of. Daycare continues to tell me she eats well there, which baffles me. She definitely has certain meals at home she will eat, and some she will only pick at. But she is gaining weight, although still with the help of Pediasure. I’m actually going to start buying the lower-calorie version, I think they are called Sidekicks. Maybe fewer calories in liquid will help her eat better. We shall see…

The picture above is quite telling… A year-year exam with a binkie. I know we need to ditch it. But oh God, I dread it. So much about parenting, and so often alone lately, feels so hard. I want something to be easy. Allowing her to continue with the binkie is so much easier on me, but I totally realize not better for her in the long-run. We’ll definitely be ditching the binkie on a week Eric is home!

Opinions

I got some slack about un-friending over differences of opinions… aka, vaccinations and flu shots and how they are necessary and safe. Here’s the thing people. You don’t get an opinion when it comes to science and proven research. Vaccinations are safe. Period. Just like the earth is round. I’m all about having an opinion. If you love Trump, great, be my friend, read my blog, lets hang out. I don’t care for him. But you get your opinion on politics. But science and medicine, proven research… no. End of story. You can’t argue some things. You don’t want to vaccinate… stay the hell away from me and don’t be spreading your incorrect information where I can hear it.

Now, about those ham balls… I personally really liked them… Nora wouldn’t try them. Nadia put some in her mouth and then proceeded to pull it back out and hand it to Kona, our doggie. So there you have it. I’ll try again…

I was thinking of adding some recipes to my blog, a new menu item so you can easily find some of my favorites. Please know, none of these will be my own, all gathered from other sources, and I’ll try to give credit to the originator 🙂 Stay turned!

Ham Balls and Ignorance

I’m looking through recipes again, attempting to dream up something for dinner… What about Ham Balls in BBQ Sauce? My girls have liked meat balls in the past. Which I know doesn’t guarantee anything! I’ll definitely have a box of processed potatoes or noodles on hand as a backup!cSEpiPT9S3muOKqs7ZLSqw

On another topic… I should know better than to attempt to educate, or perhaps the correct word is argue, with ignorant people. I’m so sick of people saying the flu shot is bad. Or that big pharma is killing us. Seriously people. Have you ever needed an antibiotic? If you don’t believe in what you call big pharma then don’t you dare go to the doctor when you’re sick. You stay home and suffer and God forbid you die! Nora is alive today because of very strong antibiotics that killed meningitis in her tiny, premature body. Kids are dying, yes dying, from the flu, even today. Get the damn flu shot. The problem with the general pubic doing their own research is that they often don’t know where to look, by no fault of their own… Or they don’t have access to the peer-reviewed research. My blood boils just thinking about this. So yes, I had to un-friend another acquaintance on Facebook for their ignorance, and that of their friends. Life is too short. I just can’t. Vaccinating and getting the flu shot isn’t just for your own safety, but for those with weakened immune systems. Nora for example. So f you for thinking you know better than the thousands of doctors who went to school for 25+ years and work their asses off to save you. Don’t ask Facebook for medical advice. Ask your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor you trust and respect, find one.

Happy Friday!

How is the week over already??? Today is my last day with Eric, kid-free, until the end of the month. He has tomorrow off too, which should be a good, relaxing at home, family day. Sunday he is taking our oldest, Nora, out-of-town to a baptism and then that evening he leaves for Ft. Dodge to start his week with clinic there Monday. He’s commuting this week and then on-call the following, so my time with him will be very limited again for two weeks. I’m a but bitter he’s traveling out-of-town with Nora Sunday to a family baptism… I don’t think he actually wants to go to the baptism, or even feels he has the time to go, being he’ll get home and have to leave right away again. It’s more he feels a need to show up at family events. I think what he fails to remember though, is that all the others at the baptism are teachers who have their weekends free… Oh how life would be different if Eric’s schedule was M-F 8-5. No, I’m not saying teacher life is easy, or even that all teachers have nice hours, but I happen to know how his cousins’ spend their weekends, thanks to many Facebook posts.

Most of this week with Eric has been spent at coffee shops, as he’s studying for his oral boards he’ll take in February, I think. Which means in three weeks when he’s off work again, he’ll be studying, again. I’ve been coming to coffee shops with him, in between mom’s clubs get-togethers, mainly so we can still spend time together despite his constant nose in the book, highlighter in hand. We’ve been dropping off and picking up the girls from daycare together. I wonder if they wonder what the heck it is we do??

Speaking of daycare, I’ve noticed a lot of teachers are out with influenza. I was browsing Facebook this morning and came across a post with people arguing about how the flu shot causes the flu and is otherwise unsafe. Da people. Just da. If you don’t believe in vaccinations or the flu shot you might as well just stop following my blog now. Fine, don’t get the flu shot or vaccinations, get sick and die. Survival of the fittest I guess… You realize people are dying from the flu, right? Don’t even bother commenting, let’s not argue. Just stop reading my posts. I don’t want to argue. Rather, spend your time doing actual, peer-reviewed research on the safety and necessity of vaccinations and flu shots. End rant.

12 month check-up

Yesterday was Nora’s 12 month check-up with our regular pediatrician.  All in all, Nora is doing fantastic.  We talked about how we switched to formula rather than my fortified breast milk.  The doctor said that was fine as long as she continues to follow the same growth curve, which she is.  We will continue to offer some baby food and table food, but the doctor said not to stress, that formula at this point should still be her main food, at least until her due date, which isn’t until June 1st.  Side note, does anyone have experience with toddler formula?  We’ve using Gerber Gentle but I see there are several formulas that appear more geared for babies 9+ months.  Anyone use any of these?  I meant to ask the doctor, but forgot.

For stats, Nora weighed 15 lbs 12 oz, was 26.75 inches long, and had a head circumference of 16.8 inches.  Percentages are below in the graphs, based on her adjusted age.

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For vaccinations, we still weren’t able to do the live ones, so she still hasn’t received her MMR or Chicken Pox, but she is up to date on all others, which meant just two injections yesterday.  Oh, and a finger prick for a lead test.  Apparently that’s required at a 12 month check.  Who knew!  I’m kind of annoyed that we still don’t have her immune results back from the last visit, which was February 18th I think.  I realize the tests they ran are very, very rare, and that only a couple of labs in the country run them, but still.  I’ll have to call the University and see what the hold up is…

As far as development, Nora is actually on track for a 12 month old, even though corrected she’s just 9 months.  Honestly I’m thrilled, considering her bad luck with meningitis and sepsis in the NICU.  Remember all those posts of mine, fearing the worse, that Nora would never be a ‘normal’ child?  I guess our prayers were answered 🙂

And I continue to pray for wonderful progress!  Speaking of, she’s getting her third tooth, one of her top eye teeth, or whatever they are called.  Not one of the two front one next to those.  And… she has taken a couple of steps, just one or two on her own before falling, but still, a huge milestone!!!

October 12, 2015 – 30 Weeks (19 Weeks Corrected)

So much to say, so little time! First though, 30 week picture, and of course, more smiles!

30 weeks

Nora isn’t sitting alone yet but she’s doing a lot better with a little help.  And she has started pulling her knees up during tummy time.  I feel like she might be crawling before she is sitting.  Next Thursday is her next high-risk appointment at the University.  I’m anxious to see if they think she’s on track developmentally.  Next Thursday we also meet with her immunology team and I have several questions for them.  I want to know more about Synagis, an injection for high risk children which aims to prevent RSV.  For some reason though, I think it’s live and therefore isn’t something she can have just yet due to her compromised immune system.  I’m so anxious for her doctors to clear her for live vaccines, as she still isn’t allowed the MMR vaccine either.  And damn those people who choose not to vaccinate their children.  Do they have any idea what I would give to make sure Nora never contracts such an illness??  Her immune team will also give Nora her second dose of the flu shot on Thursday, so at least she’ll have some protection this winter.

I was looking back at Nora’s pictures, some of the first ones taken shortly after her birth in March.  I’m still in aw of how far she has come.  I weighted Nora a few days ago and she was up to 12 lbs. 9 oz.  Crazy that she has gained 10 lbs. since she was born!  I feel so truly blessed to have such a happy, healthy daughter.

I feel like life is finally settling down, Cedar Falls is starting to feel like our home.  I have five different girls that I trust to watch Nora and they come here and there throughout the week so I can get out and feel like I have a life.  We’re trying to start limiting Nora’s time in public with it getting colder and flu season approaching.  We are taking her to a family wedding this weekend… I so hope we don’t regret it.  I’m still attending MOPs on Thursday morning and very much enjoying getting to know the other moms.  I can definitely picture a few of them becoming quite good friends.

Eric has asked me twice now when we are having another little Nora.  Shocking isn’t it, since he was the one who originally thought we had years and years before we needing to start thinking about kids!  He is so stinking cute with Nora though, it’s no wonder he wants another already!  We have one frozen embryo, but honestly, I’m fearful of transferring that one, scared that it won’t implant and thus we’ll be back to square one.  A huge part of me would rather do another egg retrieval first, as the quality of the eggs are influenced by the age of the woman at the time they are retrieved.  So basically the sooner the better, even if they aren’t transferred for several years yet.  The thought of starting all over is very overwhelming though.  And adding to that the worry the thought of having another premature baby.  My OB/GYN is 90% sure I’d deliver early again based on my history and the reason for Nora’s early birth.  I don’t know what precautions they would take this time, if any.  Maybe bed rest, although it’s not proven to work…  How would I survive bed rest with Nora?  How do families handle it with a baby in the NICU and others at home?  I can’t even imagine.  And maybe I’m getting completely ahead of myself.  I just know I want more children.  But how…  We have considered seeking out a gestational carrier, but that process seems more overwhelming than another round of IVF.  And probably even more expensive.

Alright, off to pick up some items for this weekend out-of-town.  Side note, I keep complaining to Eric that my car is too small being Nora’s stroller fills the trunk.  Maybe this weekend he will finally realize we do need a larger vehicle!

 

September 14, 2015 – 26 Weeks (15 Weeks Corrected)

I almost missed this week!

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Nora’s six month check-up was last Thursday.  Can she really be six months old already??  Her pediatrician had all great things to say!  Nora weighed 11 lbs 8.5 oz, so she’s still small, but following her curve which is very encouraging.  And she is 23 inches long, a full 10 inches longer than when she was born.  How is that possible??  And we got the okay to stop fortifying my milk!  Problem is, now that I could finally just nurse her and destroy my pump, I doubt she would nurse, as it’s been over a month since I’ve even tried with her.  At this point I’m feeling like giving up on that idea and just continuing to pump.  As much as that sucks, I’ve done it this long…  Would it be crazy for me to take that supplement, what’s it called again?  The one that increases your milk supply…  Would I be able to still pump every five hours or longer on it and just get more milk?  My idea is to keep freezing extra and thus quit pumping altogether soon.  I have an entire freezer full of milk, but I’m just scared to stop since food-wise Nora is really only a little over three months old.  In fact, her doctor said maybe we could talk food at her nine month check-up, three months from now when she’ll be six months adjusted.  I guess I’m just worried that Nora will take in more of my milk now that it isn’t fortified, and I’m scared I’m not making enough per day.  Right now she can eat everything I pump, and God knows I don’t want to go back to pumping more often.

Nora got four shots at her check-up, and I hate to admit I don’t even remember which ones…  You know, the ones they get at six months, well, not the live ones, and then she also got a flu shot.  She’ll need another flu shot in four weeks though, so I think she’ll get that at her follow-up appointment with her immune doctor in October.  I’m anxious for them to clear her immune system of any deficiencies…  Hopefully soon.  After Nora’s well baby check on Thursday she had a repeat hearing test which she passed with flying colors.  Apparently all NICU babies need repeated hearing tests their first year of life due to the noise in the NICU, you know, all those monitors going off constantly!  No really, that’s what they told me!

Nora discovered a new trick…  Spitting.  Check out this video…

Yes, she now does this ALL THE TIME.  Makes me laugh, but we’re getting some odd looks when out in public.

Nora is getting into a routine, well, sort of, which is nice.  I moved her to her own room a few nights ago, although she is still sleeping in her rock n play.  Her crib and other bedroom furniture is supposed to be delivered this week…  We shall see how she sleeps in her bed!  I so hope that transition isn’t impossible.  She’s still sleeping through the night and usually takes a few naps during the day.  She normally wakes around 7am, depending on when she goes to bed for the night.  I feed her, we talk and play a bit, and then normally she will take a nap which gives me time to shower.  Normally she will take another nap around noon, a longer one, two hours maybe, and then she is normally up until 5 or 6ish.  Problem with her wanting to nap then though is that I have to make a point to wake her by 8pm so I can put her back to bed for the night around 10pm.  So far this is working for us…  Praying it continues!

I haven’t made any decisions on a nanny/baby sitter yet.  I guess I need to email them today and at least tell them something…  My main issue is that they each want a schedule, at least an idea of a set schedule each week, and frankly I don’t necessarily have anywhere to be.  I want a sitter just in case, when I need one, and that doesn’t seem to be these girls.  Although maybe if I email each of them and lay out my concerns a few of them would agree to such.  Am I asking for too much?

Kona has been acting up since we moved.  I can’t blame her, she’s been through a lot of changes in the past several months too.  I mean, she is no longer the center of attention, we moved, she lost her yard…  The list goes on and on.  Hopefully this week the company we picked to install our fence contacts us, then Kona will have space to run again.  Speaking of, Eric is at the hospital now, but as soon as he gets home we were planning to take Kona to the dog park here.  I’ve been told it’s nice, we’ll see.  Dog parks always scare me though, as you never know the temperaments of the other dogs there…

Nora doesn’t seem to be in the mood to nap today…  Great…