Saturday, February 28, 2009

Heard at my house

Let's set the scene. I'm practicing with Abby. She's recently been assigned a particularly difficult scale. (A flat, for those playing along at home.) She' stomping her foot, whining, and threatening full-blown meltdown.

Me: "Abby, come on. It's just a scale. It's not going to kill you."

Abby: (grumbling and muttering) "Yes it will!"

Here's lies Abby. Dead from practicing the A flat major scale. Poor thing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why is it...

That clean bed sheets attract baby messes? I mean, really. It takes at least a week of looking at my sheets and thinking "I really should change these" for me to get clean sheets on the bed. You would think we could enjoy them clean for at least a night or two. Nope. Clean sheets+3 month old co-sleeping baby= approximately one large pile of spit up, two piles of drool and one very large poop explosion, all within approximately 30 minutes of putting the clean sheets on the bed. Which then means I have not one, but two set of sheets to wash. And we all know how much I love doing laundry!

And while we're on the topic, why is is that the tiniest person in the house always takes up the most room in the bed? Seriously, he's less than two feet tall- how come he gets the prime spots in the bed and I get the teeny-tiny spot on the edge of the bed, where if I breathe wrong I'll fall out?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A vent and a PSA

Apparently, I go to a church where news travels pretty fast, because its very common for people to come up to me and ask me how Max is, and to hear some details. I've only told a couple of people what's going on, but it seems like everyone knows. There's horrible illnesses being passed around my neighborhood, and my daughters were both sick this weekend, so we left the kids at home and Tom and I alternated meetings today. I was on my way out when someone I don't know stopped me. I recognized her as being in my ward, but I couldn't give you her name if my life depended on it. She said to me without any introduction, "So what's wrong with your baby?" I stumbled around for a second, taken aback. She continued "What's wrong with him? I heard something was wrong with him." I smiled and gave a little chuckle, and she then said "I don't have all day, so you'll have to give me the watered down version."

What?!?!? I was astounded at how rude she was. First, to keep insisting that there was something "wrong" with my baby, and then to act like she was entitled to know everything that was going on and that I needed to "make it quick." Ugh. I know she probably didn't mean to be rude, and I know I probably taking this way too seriously, but I know that this is jus tthe first of many rude comments that I'm going to get, and I don't want to deal with it. He's cute, he's happy, and to me, he's perfect. Yes, he has a skull defect. Yes, we're going to get it repaired. But no, it doesn't define him as a person. I would much rather people ask me what is going on with my son rather than insinuating something is wrong. I hate the way people tend to flock to drama, and want all the details about doctors, surgeries, etc even when we're not even friends! I hate the misplaced pity. And when Max is done with surgery and has a huge scar running from ear to ear, I know I'm going to be surrounded by all sorts of inane comments, and I just don't want to deal with it. Yes, I'm frustrated and defensive. I'm probably reading way too much into this. But I've been struggling with the realities of our situation all weekend and this comment came at exactly the wrong time!

So here's the PSA: I don't mind aswering questions. I don't mind talking about it. Its not a huge secret. But don't come up to me demanding that I tell you my life story and my son's medical history. And if we're not friends, don't expect that I'm going to open up to you and tell you everything about what's going on. And for heaven's sake, if you want to know, at least be polite about it!

OK, vent over. I feel better now.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ashlynn's birth story

I'm working on Max's birth story, but thought I would post this in the meantime. My warning to you is that even after significant editing, its still really long. So sit back and relax, and enjoy.

Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I had been planning and preparing for a natural childbirth. I went through three health care providers before I found one I really trusted, and I read everything I could find on the topic, ending up with quite a collection of books. I read every birth story I could get my hands on, and spent a lot of time planning for, visualizing, and talking about what I hoped would be my perfect birth experience. Having been induced with my first daughter, Abby, I really wanted the experience of going into labor naturally. Tom had taken a five week block off from school, anticipating that the baby would be born by the time that he had to return on the 10th of July, and we were both really nervous about having a baby and then having him starting back to school the same week. At my Dr’s appointment right before my due date, the Dr said he wanted to talk induction. I was stressed out about the possibility- it really wasn’t what I wanted or what I planned on.

I slept okay Saturday night, but Abby woke up really early Sunday morning. When we did get up, I wasn’t feeling very well- it just felt like my body was overtired and worn out. It was a beautiful day- the sky outside our window was blue with just a few clouds. I thought briefly that it would be a beautiful day to have a baby. After reading for awhile, I laid my head back on the couch and started dozing a little bit. I noticed a contraction, but it felt like all the others had for the past few weeks- nothing special. I dozed off, and then felt another one not too much later. I still wasn’t too excited; I had had fairly regular contractions before and nothing ever came of it.

I knew that Abby was tired, so I brought her upstairs and rocked her for a little while and it didn’t take long for her to fall asleep- we rocked and I sang some songs quietly. I felt particularly close to her, and very grateful for quiet moments like that. She was laying her head against my chest with her hair falling across her closed eyes, and I started to feel pretty emotional. I had been aware for a few days that our time together as just the three of us was ending, and that however wonderful it was going to be to have another person in our family, and no matter how much our new daughter would be loved and cherished, I knew that things were never going to be the same. I knew that as our family dynamic shifted, and Abby got older, that there would be less and less quiet moments like this. When I moved her into her bed for her nap, I knelt by her bed for a little while and rubbed her back, then leaned over a kissed her, loving the sight of my sweet daughter sleeping peacefully.

When I got in the shower, I felt a few more contractions; still irregular, painless and short. I knew that if I stayed home from church, expecting labor to start and then nothing happened, I would be terribly disappointed. As I was getting ready, I felt a few more light contractions, but didn’t even bother timing them because I knew that when it was serious enough for me to start timing them that I would know. After all, contractions are supposed to hurt, right?

Tom decided to stay home from church so that Abby could stay asleep, and I grabbed the keys and drove the short distance to our church so that I could be on time. I got to the children’s class where I was supposed to play the piano and the leaders smiled gently at me. I returned the smile, half wondering if I was going to have a baby that day. After a little while I noticed that I was having quite a few contractions, and started watching the clock. I raised my eyebrows a little bit when I realized that they were coming five minutes apart. Some lasted as long as forty-five seconds or so, none of them hurt, and none of them were more than just my belly tightening, like all the contractions I had previously.

I noticed the contractions stopped after 45 minutes or so and I didn’t have one for about fifteen minutes after that. I was disappointed, but not too much. I thought that they might start again later that day or the next. When a break came, I went out in the hall for a drink of water and to stretch my legs, and was standing by the water fountain when I felt my first hard contraction. It was an interesting feeling- it didn’t feel like the ones where my belly tightened. This was more like an aching hurt in my pelvis, and although it didn’t last very long, I definitely couldn’t keep walking or do anything else during the contraction besides just stand there and breathe through it. I went back into the room, and couldn’t concentrate much on what was being said. The contractions definitely were getting my attention by now- I had to really concentrate. Soon, I knew I needed to go home. I was incredibly grateful at this point that I had decided to drive the short distance to church!

By the time I got to the van, I had had two more contractions. I knew at this point that I was either in labor, or a very good imitation of it! I walked in the house slowly and was met by Abby running through the house at breakneck speed, a huge grin on her face when she saw me. Tom looked at me and raised his eyebrows- I told him that I was having some pretty serious contractions and that I thought that I was probably in labor.

The first thing I thought of was to call my parents- they were on call to watch Abby when we left for the hospital. I was in the bedroom while Tom was on the phone with my mom. Another contraction hit, and I was kneeling on the floor, holding on to the bed. I could hear him tell my mom to take the cell phone with them to church, but after the contraction subsided, I said that someone needed to come now. I could tell that my contractions were building rapidly, and figured by the time a half hour passed and my mom got there, it would be time to leave for the hospital. Tom told me that my mom was going to come, but another contraction started while he was talking. His voice and everything else faded into the background- all I could feel was this giant force within my pelvis.

I tried going out to our rocking chair in our front room- kneeling on the floor and draping myself over the ottoman or back of the rocking chair had been a huge help alleviating the back pain that I had experienced my last trimester. Another contraction hit, and I couldn’t help but moan through it- the pain was increasing with each contraction, and the sound just started coming out. The rocking chair wasn’t working, and I couldn’t seem to get control of the pain. I had envisioned being meditative and quiet- instead, I was pacing through the house, agitated. I couldn’t get control of my breathing, or my response, and the pains were coming faster than my ability to cope with them. I searched my head for more options- the bathtub was the next thing that came to mind.

I told Tom I wanted him to fill the bath so I could get in. I waited for the relief that everyone tells me they feel when they get in the water during labor. Nothing. I couldn’t get comfortable for the life of me, and it seemed like every time I tried to shift positions, another contraction would come and leave me powerless to move. Abby came in, and seeing me in the tub, started beaming. “Mama naked!” she said with glee. Then it was “Belly? Baby?” in her sweet voice, while touching my belly gently. Tears filled my eyes- I wondered briefly if she somehow knew what was about to happen, and I knew that my baby Abby wasn’t going to be my baby much longer. I kissed her cheek gently and told her that Mama was going to have a baby today, and that I loved her so much, no matter what happened. Then I yelled for my husband to take her downstairs. I couldn’t handle her being such a distraction.

I was getting so irritated that I couldn’t get on top of things. I was still moaning, trying to keep it low pitched and wasn’t having much success with that either. I felt something come out of me, and saw some mucus floating in the tub, and then I felt my water release. A few seconds later I noticed that the water in the tub was turning slightly green and started to panic a little bit, knowing that it was probably meconium in the amniotic fluid. I knew then that we needed to get to the hospital as soon as we could. In the next brief pause in between contractions, I told Tom we needed to leave for the hospital as soon as we could and he needed to go get someone to watch Abby.

Tom got back from the church a lot quicker than I thought he would- and I was grateful. I really didn’t want to be left alone anymore. I was starting to panic- I was so afraid that I was going to get to the hospital and have hours and hours of labor left to go. I wasn’t coping well at all with the contractions- they were overwhelming me more and more, and I just couldn’t get a hold of myself and my reactions to the pain. I wondered why in the world I had thought natural childbirth was such a good idea- I wasn’t enjoying this at all. I wasn’t meditating or anticipating the birth like I had thought I would be- I didn’t feel beautiful or powerful, I was just in pain and I wanted it to stop. Tom had brought a friend of ours from the neighborhood, and I was really grateful to hear her voice.

Tom then came in and told me that I needed to get out of the tub. He helped me stand up, and was drying me off when another contraction hit full force. I dropped to my hands and knees, moaning. I felt like I was going to be ripped apart by this force- the pain was unlike anything I had ever felt or ever imagined. I cried out that I couldn’t do it anymore, that I didn’t want to do it. My friend was rubbing my back and shoulders and told me that I could do it, and that I was doing it. She then said that she thought I was in transition, and I would have laughed at the idea if I physically could have. There was no way I was in transition, I thought, because I hadn’t been in labor long enough! I was seriously worried about how much longer I could handle the pain. I was ready to throw all plans for natural birth out the window. An epidural sounded like heaven to me, although the moaning with next contraction came from the knowledge that I still had to get to the hospital (about a half hour away) and get admitted before they could do anything!

I decided it was time to start moving towards the van, and the two of them helped me up slowly and we started walking to car. I was literally hanging on Tom’s neck when the next contraction hit, and was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t hurt as much when I did that. What a time to find a position that worked!

I decided to kneel on the front seat of the van and drape my arms around the back of the seat. I rode for a few minutes that way, but I was so hot. I couldn’t handle how I was feeling so I had to turn around. He was speeding through our residential neighborhood, honking his horn as he went. I was trying so hard to get comfortable in my seat and get focused- Tom gave me the hand he wasn’t driving with and I started squeezing that for all I was worth. I was literally screaming at this point- there was nothing else I could do. The next contraction, something abruptly changed. I felt the baby drop into my birth canal and I screamed out “The baby is coming!” Tom told me, very calmly, “No, we are going to the hospital. We’ll be there in about twenty minutes.” The next contraction my body started to push. At first, I didn’t recognize the sensation- it felt like I had to go to the bathroom. But the feeling got stronger and stronger, and with the next contraction, I knew that my body was pushing this baby out, and there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. It was an overwhelming force- a tidal wave or a freight train.

I screamed that I had to push, and Tom said that he didn’t know what to do. I told him to stop and he kept going. I hit him on the arm and screamed again that I was pushing and to “Pull over and dial 911!”

We pulled off to the shoulder of the highway. He dialed 911, and heard the conversation going on around me without being able to understand what was being said. The force that was going through me was absolutely amazing- it was an intense, overpowering feeling, but it wasn’t painful the way the contractions were. Before I knew it, Tom had come to my side of the van and was trying to persuade me to take my pants off. I’m still not sure how I managed that feat sitting in the front seat of a minivan while having contractions. He looked down between my legs and announced to the 911 dispatcher that he could see the head. I think that was when it really hit me- we were going to have the baby right there on the freeway. I started to feel burning. It was everywhere, it was overwhelming and it didn’t go away. Tom put his hand on my perineum on the instructions of the dispatcher, but I felt my body push against his hand, like it was rebelling against his restriction, and all of a sudden, her head was out. Tom reached down to get a towel to wipe her face and mouth when a final huge contraction came ripping through my body like a wave and I heard him say “She’s out, she’s out, she’s all the way out!”

Tom put her on my chest and it was one of the most powerful, emotional moments of my life. I looked at this little body and was completely amazed. She wasn’t crying, but was completely pink, so I knew that she was breathing. She was still, looking up at me with these wide, intense, dark eyes, like she was as amazed as I was at what had just happened to her. I was filled with this overpowering love for her- there is nothing in the world that could compare to that moment. I studied every inch of her that I could see- her tiny hands, her thick, dark hair, and the still pulsing umbilical cord, which was surprisingly long and thin. Here was this tiny little person who had just come from inside me- she seemed so much smaller than I remember babies being. Tom was still on the phone with the dispatcher, and I watched him tie off the umbilical cord with his shoelace. The minute he cinched it tight, we heard the sirens of the ambulance, and we both breathed a sigh of relief.

Before I knew what had happened, there were four paramedics looking in on us. They quickly cut the cord, and I felt a small pang as they took the baby, knowing that we weren’t joined together anymore. I was so anxious to know that everything was okay with her, and I kept asking them until one of them told me that everything was fine. They loaded me carefully onto a stretcher and I asked for something to cover me up- all of a sudden I was concerned with modesty again I looked in the van as I was getting moved out, and was slightly horrified at the amount of blood and mess that was everywhere- I looked over at Tom and told him I was sorry that there was such a mess. Thankfully, he just chuckled.

They loaded us both into the ambulance, and I was laying on the stretcher in a daze. They started an IV, and put me on an oxygen mask, neither of which I wanted, but I didn’t argue. They were concerned because the placenta hadn’t delivered yet and wanted to give me some pitocin in my IV and I refused flat out. Shortly afterwards, I started feeling contractions again and I was so angry- I thought I was finished with all of that. They gave me the baby to try and nurse, but laying on a stretcher in the back of an ambulance was not the ideal place to begin our nursing relationship! She nuzzled with me a little bit, but they wanted her to stay so covered up, and have an oxygen mask nearby so it just wasn’t working. They decided to leave the placenta until we got to the hospital because the contractions weren’t doing anything and they wanted the OB to deal with it.

When we got to the hospital, they put the baby on my chest all wrapped up and we were wheeled through the hospital on the stretcher. We got up to L&D and two nurses immediately jumped up when they saw us, following all of us into a labor and delivery room. Everyone seemed concerned that I hadn’t delivered the placenta yet, and I was getting more and more frustrated that I kept having all these stupid contractions! It seemed so unfair to do all this work to get the baby out and then have to have more contractions. At one point, I had a nurse applying pressure to my uterus, and one trying to pull on the umbilical cord, but it still wouldn’t come. They decided to call the OB on call, and my heart nearly stopped when they said his name. It was the Dr who had delivered my first daughter- the one I fired early in the pregnancy. I should have refused him flat out, but everyone seemed so panicked that I didn’t see that I had any other option.

The Dr came in and went straight to work. I was moaning and telling him how bad it hurt, and he told me it wasn’t his fault, and that I should take it up with God. (Bedside manner was never his strong point…) He told me that I was going to have to help them, because if he had to pull it out, there would probably be pieces left inside me, and then he would “have to go in after them.” That was enough to get me going. The next few contractions, I was pushing with everything I had, and finally, almost an hour after the baby was born, the placenta was finally delivered. Then it was time for the stitching. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a third degree tear towards my rectum, and then had torn upwards straight through my urethra and clitoris. When he put his hands in that area to examine me, I cried out in pain. I refused pain meds in my IV at first- I didn’t want to be drugged after I had just had a completely natural birth, but after two more seconds of touching me, I was screaming at him to stop and they had to give me something. The next half hour or so as he was stitching me was absolutely excruciating. What they put in my IV didn’t make a dent, and all the shots of local anesthetic barely took the edge off. I was still aware of every stitch, and it felt like they were tearing me apart at the most sensitive areas possible. I thought that anyone passing by the room must have thought I was dying. I learned later that the paramedics said that I looked like I had a gunshot wound, and the Dr said it looked like I had sat on a hand grenade. I’m glad that they didn’t tell me that until after I had been stitched up!

A nurse came in periodically with updates on the baby- we found out she had weighed 6 lbs and 14 oz, and that she was 19 ½ inches long. They had to take her to the NICU because her temperature was too low and because she was born in an “unsterile environment.” I just wanted my baby. That was the only thing that made any sense after all the pain I went through- I wanted to hold her, see her, touch her, and nurse her. Finally, the nurses told me that I was okay to be wheeled to the NICU, and they took me to see my daughter. They wheeled me into the NICU, and I saw her being held and rocked by my husband. Tears came to my eyes and I reached for her. She was so beautiful, and was doing well enough that she could come with us to a regular post-partum room.

We became minor celebrities the whole time we were in the hospital. Every nurse, assistant, lab person, or anyone who came into the room seemed to know exactly who we were and wanted to hear details of the story. I laughed when we were wheeled into the room and saw that a message had been written on the white board- “Congratulations Mom and Dad on the speedy delivery- hope your daughter doesn’t spend her whole life living in the fast lane!”

Ashlynn, one day old

Ashlynn at 5 1/2, with Dad

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another day, another specialist

We took Max to visit with the craniofacial specialist today. He is the Doctor that will actually be doing Max's surgery. The visit went mostly as expected- we waited around a lot, and then the Doctor took one look at Max, said that the craniosynostosis diagnosis was obvious without even looking at the x-rays. His is what they call grade 3- the most severe. (That's my boy- if you're going to do something, do it big!)

We talked about the surgery and what it entails. The details are pretty gory, so let's just say that its a pretty long and involved procedure. Its probably a good thing he's a boy, because he's going to end up with a very large zig-zag scar from ear to ear. We're currently soliciting snappy comeback lines for the slew of ineveitable "What happened to him?" questions that we're going to get after the surgery and before the hair grows back.

The surgery is on the calendar for May 1st. For those of you keeping track at home, yes, that is my birthday. I'm going to have to be a big girl and suck it up, because it was the only date in three months that works for all three surgeons (yes, three surgeons!) that will be working on my baby. Luckily, birthdays when you're a grownup aren't all that big of a deal. I'll have to negotiate my sushi dinner the week before and call it good.

I also have appointments with two other doctors that we need to consult with before his surgery. And in my quest to see every pediatric subspecialty at Primary Children's, we have now seen/consulted/or scheduled and appointment with a:

neurosurgeon (who I'm still hoping looks like Patrick Dempsey.)
craniofacial surgeon
speech language pathologist

Pretty impressive, huh? Although, if I have a choice, I would rather not see a cardiologist or an oncologist, thank you very much. A friend of mine mentioned that we have yet to see a pediatric podiatrist. Didn't know there was such a thing. Thankfully, Max's feet seem to be doing just fine.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Winter Fun

I'm not a fan of winter generally. And winter here seems to be taking an extra long time to leave. I don't think we've seen the grass for months. But, with Tom off work, the girls out of school, and the sun shining, it was a perfect sledding day!

Down the hill!

Get ready, get set...

I even took Max down the hill. Not sure he was all that impressed.

Somebody? Anybody? I'm in the snow... I don't think I like it!

OK, maybe its not that bad.

Preparing for launch!

Wipeout! (Watching the wipeouts was more fun for me than actually sledding. Ashlynn took some really good falls!)

Happy Abby.

And a cute smiling baby. Because how can you resist?

Just one more!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Adventures in Nursing in Public

I'm a pretty confident breastfeeding mama. I have no qualms about nursing anywhere. And I'm not brazen about it- I'm not out to offend anyone. I try to be as discreet as possible while breastfeeding. When my first was an infant, I used to practice nursing in front of a mirror to make sure I wasn't showing anyone anything. But when my babies are hungry, I'm going to nurse them, and I don't use a nursing cover. I don't have a problem when someone else does, but as a general rule, I'm pretty uncoordinated. Even if I tried, I don't know that I could manage getting my hungry baby latched on and covered up with a blanket. I've tried a couple of times, and I honestly think I need an extra set of hands to make that work. Plus, I don't see why a baby should have to be covered up to eat- my girls would never stand for it. And, I honestly think covering up draws more attention to what I'm doing than just tucking my baby in close, lifting up my shirt and latching him on. So there's the background that makes today's story even funnier.

Baby Max loves his afternoon nap. As in, he generally naps for at least three hours in the afternoons if not more, and is very cranky if he doesn't get his long afternoon nap. (Yes, I realize how fortunate I am, and all I have to say to that is I paid my dues with two girls who didn't sleep!) Enter one o'clock church, and you will understand why by the third hour of church today, I had a very cranky baby. So rather than leave Relief Society, trekking to the other side of the chirch to the mother's room for what I thought would be a short nursing session, I decided I was just going to nurse him there, figuring he would probably fall asleep quickly, and I could stay in the meeting.

I laid him across my lap, and he immediately started making the fussing/excited noise that little babies make when they know its time to eat. Enter a very nice woman from my ward, who we shall call J, to protect the innocent. She is a wonderful woman, who really does have a good heart. She genuinely cares about everyone, and always has something nice to say. So the meeting is about to start, and I have Max laying across my lap, and I'm trying to get ready to nurse. J sees me, and immediately rushes over. "Let me HELP you!" she loudly exclaims. (Umm, help me what?)

"I'm fine." I said, "I've gotten pretty good at this."

"Well, let me help you cover up," she says and grabs Max's blanket off my lap while I'm busy trying to unhook my nursing bra. She holds the blanket in front of me, like a screen, doing a good imitation of one of those spanish guys that wave a red cape in front of a charging bull.

"You know," I replied, feeling a little sheepish, "I'm okay." By this point I have my shirt up and am trying to latch Max on without flashing everyone in Relief Society. Max is now fussing louder.

"But let me HELP you," she insists. She puts down the blanket and starts pushing my baby towards me. I hem and haw for a minute.

"Now look," she says, "He's really hungry." (Well yes, that's why I'm trying to feed him.) At this point, half of the women in the Relief Society are looking at us. Max is almost frantic, rooting around. I'm trying to maintain some semblance of dignity by keeping covered up at least a little bit. "Oh look," J continued, "He's so hungry he's going to eat your shirt." (Well, really, I was just covered up. Which is the way I wanted it, and the way I'm sure everyone else in the room wanted it!) So then, she reached down and starts pulling my shirt up over my breast, thinking she's doing me and the baby some kind of favor! Really what's she's doing is exposing me to everyone in the room at this point.

By this time it was almost a comedy show, because here she is, insistent on helping me nurse, by shaking a blanket in front of me, shoving my baby into me, and lifting up my shirt. I kept trying to push my shirt back down, and she kept trying to life it up, and all the while, Max is spinning his head around watching the freak show. I was half expecting the lactation consultant treatment where they actually start grabbing your breast and shoving it in the baby's mouth for you. It was quite funny because it was so ridiculous. I mean, my baby is almost three months old. I've obvously learned how to breastfeed- he doubled his birthweight by two months old. And by "helping" me, she was really just drawing more attention to me in the first place. Luckily, the meeting started just then, and she walked back up to the front of the room, (she was conducting the meeting) and said loudly as she was walking back, "I just wanted to HELP you. Its a perfectly natural thing for you to do you know, I didn't want you to have to leave the meeting just so you could feed your baby."

Well, I tried to be discreet. Next time, I might just head to the mother's lounge.

An update

A few of you have asked for updates on Max and our nursing situation. Ummm, let's just say I'm not being such an obedient mama anymore. Honestly, a few days of bottle feeding was about enough to send me to the proverbial padded room. He hated it. With a passion. With a scream-for-twenty-or-thirty-minutes-and-then-take-forever-to-drink-it passion. The kind where when he woke up at night, instead of me just rolling over and feeding him and us both falling quikcly back to sleep, he would take an hour to drink the bottle, then stay up for another hour because he woke himself up so thoroughly while eating. It wasn't pretty.

So what to do? We followed our insitincts, gave Max a priesthood blessing, and we're now back to nursing full time. And we have a much happier baby, and a much happier mama. And, he really is doing much better. The choking seems to have lessened somewhat and he's much more settled at the breast.

We made another trip into Primary Children's last week, this time to meet with the ENT team. They were supposed to be looking for structural defects, such as a hidden cleft palate, or a laryngeal cleft. We didn't find any of those, but what we did find after they put a tube with a camera up his nose (and yes, that's about as pleasant as it sounds) is that he has severe reflux. He almost never spits up, but it seems to be coming up into his throat and then going back down again. His throat, esophagus, larynx, etc are all raw and swollen from the reflux. What this new Doctor believes is that there has been so much damage from the reflux that everything is numb, complicating the process involved in swallowing, which is likely resulting in the aspiration. So, he put him on a much stronger reflux med, and we go back in three weeks for amore in depth swallow study. Its actually great news, because if the next study shows improvement, we can likely be back to breastfeeding as normal and have the doctors on board as well.

Although, this doctor is my favorite so far. He was the first to admit that pumping and bottlefeeding was an obnoxious timewaster, and told me that he thought nursing would be fine if Max was calm, since that seemed to reduce the choking and aspiration. So there you go. At least one doctor somewhat on our side.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Blessing Day

We blessed Max on Sunday in our ward. His full name is Maxwell Thomas Smith. My mom bought his cute little suit and OK, the hat is a bit dorky. He'll hate that we made him wear that when he's older. My mom made me. (Yes, I'm an adult and still use that excuse!)

This is the first family picture that we've taken since Max was born that wasn't right after the birth. I love, love, love this picture. Aren't we cute?

And here's a picture of my handsome man after church, without the silly hat. (I should have taken more without the hat. What was I thinking?!) If you look closely, you can see a small stain on his lapel from where I dropped dessert on him while I was eating and feeding him at the same time. Its a sign of love, I promise! It was a wonderful day, and we had lots of fun with family. And once they all went home, we headed to a Super Bowl party. Abby and Ashlynn couldn't get over the fact that we got to go to two parties in one day!

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