Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oy... bad Monday, better Tuesday

After just celebrating my defeat of thrush in my last post, I pulled out my breast to pump Monday morning and immediately saw that my breast was red and hot. Lovely. I have mastitis.

I didn't treat it with antibiotics last time I got it and I thought about leaving it, but I didn't want to deal with it if it got worse so I decided to get it checked out. I called urgent care and they were packed. Then I called McSoothy and she's on vacation. Then I called my old primary and she was booked. So finally I got in at the "extended care" walk in clinic and got seen by a really creepy nurse practitioner. I kid you not, he called me "Baby" (after getting a look at my toasty knocker). It was weird. He clearly didn't know what to do (his first recommendation was anti inflammatories) but I'd called the LC and she'd already told me the recommended antibiotic and dosage so I gave it to him.

It really does seem to be a mild case so I'm not bothered by it. I think it happened because Michael skipped a few feedings over the long weekend and my breasts stayed a lot fuller than they should. Sometimes I think the universe is trying to tell me to stop breastfeeding.

I felt like mastitis was enough for Monday, but then I picked up Michael and noticed that they hadn't written down any milk for him so I asked to see the collection bottle I'd sent that morning. I'd sent a small bottle with fresh that I'd pumped Sunday and some bags of frozen milk. None of the frozen milk was touched. Only about half of the fresh milk was used and I know that there was only 4.5 oz in the bottle and some of that was used to make his oatmeal in the morning.

Nothing was written on his sheet so I asked the teacher still there what happened and she didn't know since she'd been in the other room all day. Then I caught the "manager" on the way out and asked her who manager for the baby home these days is. She said, "When something goes wrong I yell at Brit." What kind of answer is that? And on top of all of that it appeared that his regular teacher who I love and he does great with was let go so that's why she wasn't there.

That night was rough. Michael wanted milk badly but I had very little to give him since my supply was readjusting from the weekend (having too much milk for a couple of days kills my supply). I got him to take a couple of ounces from a bottle after I was tapped out. He wouldn't touch solids but was struggling for milk. I was so angry I could barely sleep.

I confronted Brit about it the next day. She'd only made one bottle for him before lunch and he refused it and she didn't try again. The bottom line of the story is that she pretty much failed Michael Monday. I told her I was pissed and he's been drinking 5-6 oz per day and that he's usually thirstier in the afternoon. They did better today and he drank 6 oz. And it turns out that his teacher wasn't let go... but since I like her I'm sure it will only be a matter of time until the management takes a wrong turn sicking it's head up it's ass again and gets rid of another good teacher.

In happier news, Michael turned 10 months today.

He knows to smile for the camera but makes a really cheesy smile now. I hope he grows back into something a little more natural.


Not really a smile, but more natural at least.




And in this round of "coincidence or the tubes" he finally started imitating sounds last week. He's working hard on making different sounds now. We can say a sound to him and he'll try to repeat it. And he still won't make "mmm" sounds normally, but when he gets upset he makes something that sounds like "mamamamama". He also thinks it's hilarious when we say "Bad Cat". This new level of interaction is a lot of fun and really rewarding.

He finally started a more traditional crawl the other week instead of just rolling. He's getting places quicker but he'd rather be up and walking but I don't think he'll get there until closer to a year.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gentian Violet for Thrush

I was so excited about this long weekend. I was going to get so much done and catch up on sleep and maybe even get a few posts up on the old blog... not so much it appears. I'm still running to catch up around here but I though I would contribute to internet by talking about treating 'our' thrush with gentian violet.

I love breast feeding. But I don't love that, for me, it has meant regular bouts of pain for one reason or another. Certainly, the early days were awful. I saw someone somewhere comapare breastfeeding to getting your toenails ripped off. That seems accurate to me. But even after healing up from the beginning, pain has never been too far off. I know that breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but I also think it's *normal* for it to hurt.

When my nipples started hurting in early October I blamed it on the cold weather and my thin nursing undergarments leading to some chapped skin and put up with it for that reason. Why it didn't alarm me that the skin was peeling off my nipples is beyond me, but again, I have come to expect pain. It was nearly two weeks later when the pediatrician spotted thrush in Michael's mouth that I realized that I'd been ignoring the obvious.

I got oral nystatin for Michael and some nystatin cream for me and I felt instant relief when I put that cream on so I was optimistic that it would work. And both of us were taking probiotics too. But several weeks later we were still fighting it. Then some more nystatin was called in for each of us. More pain of course. And I'll tell you, it surprises the hell out of me that some fungus can cause that much hurt. It felt like he was biting me at every nursing session.

But after about a month of fighting it, I was sick and tired and ready to try the internet recommended remedy Gentian Violet. But I wasn't really sure how to use it. I was afraid because I'd heard how messy it is. I read a couple of websites and then just did my own thing and it seems to have worked. So here's what I did in case anyone's interested.

I got a bottle of 1% USP Gentian Violet from the pharmacy. I used it at night before bed only. I laid out a paper towel to protect the vanity and pressed a clean cotton ball up against the bottle to get a good amount on the cotton ball (don't mess with the dip stick, you'll be up all night trying to paint it on with that). Then I applied it to my nipples. I got a good solid coating. Do not try to apply to the whole areola, that would make a big mess, just the nipple and the base of the nipple. Then I got a new cotton ball and did it to the other side. I let my breast dry for a minute (it dries really quickly). Then I put on an old t-shirt.

Then it was time to put Michael to bed. I dressed him in dark colored night shirt. I nursed him like normal. He got a purple mouth from the gentian violet. Theoretically was treating him too.

Did it get all over his face? Yeah, pretty much. This is what my baby looked like in the morning. I wouldn't really recommend taking your baby out like this unless you want stares. I did it after Michael's tube surgery since he was staying home those days.



Most of it came off by bedtime the next night. Another day later and he would be back to normal coloring. I saw very, very few purple spots on anything (mostly just clothes). I wouldn't recommend this if your baby likes to chew on your white couch, but I didn't really have any messy problems.

We did this for four nights. I'm hesitant to declare victory because you are never really without yeast, but I haven't had any pain from thrush since about 24 hours after the first application and that was more than a week ago.

So a month of unsuccessful nystatin compared to 4 nights of gentian violet... I think the violet wins. It's cheaper, easier, quicker, and not nearly as messy as I had heard. I know there is some concern about carcinogenic effects but I don't think that amount I used to treat thrush would pose a danger to either of us... and the alternative was constantly pushing nystatin in Michael's mouth and rubbing cream on me and that doesn't seem too great either.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another week down

The tube surgery went really well. We were scheduled to be the second case that morning and the first case never showed up and we didn't really have any down time waiting at the hospital since we got moved up, so that was nice. We definitely were over prepared.

He did well. He's a very curious baby so he was too busy checking everything out to notice that he was being taken from mom and dad. He was gone for about a half hour and then we were called back to his prep room and told he was on his way. After several minutes of waiting I got antsy, expecting to have my baby back already and stepped out into the hall to see a nurse being wheeled down the hall in a wheel chair holding my groggy baby. He nursed and slept for awhile and we went home. He slept on the car ride home and then took a long nap when we got home. It was a nice little break for us... well for DH, I held him the whole nap. And then he was back to himself after that.


Cutest little patient!


We haven't seen any dramatic changes from the tubes. And I wasn't really expecting any. His ears weren't that bad... bad enough, but not that bad. The biggest one is that he's not picking at his ears constantly. He'd scratched up the inside of his ears a bit before the tubes and they are healing now. And he finally responded to his name. Although it could be a coincidence, I've been waiting on him to do this for awhile and paying a lot of attention and he finally did it the other day.

And when we were at the hospital we were probably less than 50 feet from the door to my fertility clinic's office. I really, REALLY wanted to stop by and show off the baby and DH was a big stick in the mud and said no. We didn't really have time but it would have been nice since we were right there. (And I would have called first to make sure it was ok. I wouldn't just march a baby into the waiting room of a fertility clinic. My clinic is pretty small so there weren't normally many patients in the waiting room.)

MIL was really insistent on coming up after the surgery and helping out. I didn't really think that was necessary and had DH explain that it isn't that big of a deal but she was really pushing. I wasn't going to let her and then DH pointed out that we could go see Harry Potter if she was here. I didn't even know it was coming out this week. I've been living under a rock for awhile. So we let her come and we went to one of the late shows last night.

But MIL pulled her weird, 'ok, I've been here for 5 minutes, time to leave' crap again. She showed up after lunch on Thursday (I was at work, DH was home with Michael) and when I got home DH mentioned that she thought she would leave out Friday now. Honestly, I was only ok with her coming because of the Harry Potter incentive, so DH talked her into staying until Saturday like planned. Then this morning she woke up and left before even having a cup of coffee. I don't know what her deal is, but I just don't get it. It was her idea to come in the first place.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Be Prepared

I was a Girl Scout and our motto was "Be Prepared". I'm pretty sure we stole from the Boy Scouts, but it's a good motto and way to live life. And it justifies big purses.

There are a million things that I need to be doing right now, but instead I'm taking a few minutes for myself to blog. Why? Because I like to document things. And because I feel like I have really neglected myself the last couple of weeks and these few minutes are mine.

I need to be getting things rounded up for Michael's surgery tomorrow. Getting out of the house obviously more complicated than it used to be, but at the same time we've done it enough times I don't get stressed about it too much anymore. We've forgotten this or that and life has gone on. We need to be a little extra prepared for tomorrow so I do need to get on it soon.

He should only be away from us for a short time and I felt better about things when I was told that. One of my biggest concerns is the diapering situation. I wouldn't expect them to change him in that short time, but in case they did, I don't want them throwing one of our cloth diapers in the trash. So I bought a package of disposables. I figure it's a worthwhile purchase because we have this surgery to use them on, then we might use them while traveling for Christmas, and then he'll probably have surgery again in February for his hydrocele and that time we probably will need the diapers. So I expect this package will get used up. He's apparently in size 5's but I don't expect that he will make it out of those any time soon.

The other big concern is the fasting. He's a hungry boy that isn't used to being told no. I'd read that breastfed babies can be nursed closer to surgery because breast milk is easier to digest than formula so I was all prepared to argue with the nurse when she called so that he eat closer to the surgery. But I didn't have to! My hospital's rules are no food/formula after midnight but breast milk is allowed up until 3 hours before check in. So if he isn't awake already around 4 am (as is typical these days) I will go in and give him a dream feeding. Check in is at 7:30. I still expect to have a very upset baby but hopefully it isn't too bad. He bites and scratches me when he is hungry so it isn't very pleasant holding him off.

I need to figure out pumping tomorrow. If I don't feed him after 4:30 then I should be pretty engorged by ~9:30 and I'll need to get some of that out so that he's not choking on never ending foremilk. And if you fill that kid up with a belly of foremilk, you can bet that he's going to spit it back up... on you. I'm thinking that I can just take a couple of ounces off right after they take him back. And since's it's foremilk I'll just dump it which will save me from needing to take a cooler with me.

We need to take some things to keep him busy, but I doubt that he will sit and let us read him a book or something. I'm charging up the iPod in case I need to break out Trololo.

I should probably pack some baby food for after he's finished in case he wants some since we could have to stick around for awhile and it's a longer ride home. I should probably also take some food for DH and I.

The only thing that I'm really upset about right now is not having a good baby carrier to use. I've been trying out buckle carriers because they are expensive and I want to be happy with what I buy. I've tried a Beco Butterfly II and a Boba so far. I'm want to try an Ergo performance before I settle on one and I ordered it last week and paid for expedited shipping. They shipped it on Friday and it still isn't here. But, I shipped back the Boba to them on Saturday and it arrived there on Monday. Just to be clear, I shipped a package a day later and it will have arrived 2 days earlier (we are both shipping using Priority Mail so I don't know why they are so slow). W.T.H? Pissed. And I'll be breaking my back again to carry him around in my sling.

So we will be loaded up tomorrow. Pumpbag/purse. Diaper bag with cloth and disposable diapers. Food and utensils. Bag with toy/activities. Sling. Stroller (in case my shoulder gives out). Baby. Sanity.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Snowball

I'd thought of a good angle to write this post from the other day, but I forgot it, probably because I'm exhausted.

I'm exhausted because Michael is having a really tough time lately. He's teething. He has strep. He has thrush. His ears are infected. He's constipated (I don't know to say 'again' or 'still'). He's working on a bunch of physical milestones at once. He's got stranger anxiety now. Stupid time change too. Can you say snowball?

So all the above has resulted in some big problems around here. He's waking several times a night. He get's up at 4:30 am. He won't nap. He won't let you put him in the crib. If I so much as walk 2 feet away from him he cries.

It's wreaking havoc at day care too. The day care teacher can't get him to nap and he cries if she isn't paying 100% attention to him all day long. She doesn't know what to do with him and I don't know what to tell her to do. I left work and picked him up early the other day he was having such a difficult time.

This has been building over the last week but I think the time change was the straw that broke the camel's back (even though we'd been trying to transition him for the last 2 weeks).

On Sunday he attempted to not nap at all and he was nearly successful at it. When we realized that our sweet baby was replaced by a monster bent on waking the dead we tried to force him into napping by going the cry it out route. He's 9 months old, he should take a reasonable nap at some point and if he wasn't going to nap we were going to let him wear himself out until sleep came. It became clear that it wasn't working. I'm sure it could work if we stuck to it, but we just are not ready to commit to that style of sleep training yet. He finally slept after we took him into our bed and that was even a short nap (sucking on my breast the whole time). Suffice it to say, Sunday was very trying. Sunday night was worse. Monday was as bad.

After that I decided that he was working through something and we really needed to help him with it. I also decided that he's basically reverted back to the sleep routine of when he was 5 weeks old. Those were dark days for me, I could not/cannot handle a 5 week old Michael. But I can handle a 6 week old Michael so I decided that we should go back to his 6 week old sleep routine and expectations.

We moved his 10pm feeding back to 9pm and added the 2am one back. I started holding him for naps again and expecting to fail when I try to put him in the crib. Lots more nursing (I think my nipples are going to peel off soon), lots of positive attention but also some brief alone time because we have things that have to get done too (he cries during it). We let the day care teacher borrow the buckle carrier we are using right now and it helped her.

And we seem to be making progress. It's still rough but we have seen improvement. He's doing a little better at night. He doing a little better during the day. I can go 3 feet away from him without him crying now. He's still waking up at night and for the day at 4:30am but I have faith that we will get back to normal soon. I was a little worried about spoiling him but I don't think we are. Here and here are some good articles I found that relate to what's going on and I think we are taking the right course of action.

His myringotomy (ear tube surgery) will be Wednesday next week. It seems like everyone tells about the miracle of ear tubes. "My kid started talking the next day." "My kid started walking the next week." "It was a life saver." I'm not expecting these tubes to be a miracle, but I'm hoping that we will all be satisfied customers and that maybe the tubes will hit the "reset button" on him. Time for another feeding.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's just wrong

We went to Saturday night mass like normal this week. We didn't realize that it was the end of their big prolife campaign and they had a big finale dinner and such planned. So church was packed with a lot of visitors and there were a bunch of booths and vendors setup in the gathering area. Not my thing, but whatever.

And Michael is a little ham. He loves going to church because everyone smiles and laughs at him and now he starts "talking" very loudly as soon as we get in the sanctuary and it's getting very difficult to sit through a mass with him. He thinks it's the Michael Show and everyone is there to see him.

It got bad the other night. I stood him in the empty pew in front of us where he showed off for everyone and then puked! Yes, in front of everyone, puked on the pew and floor. Awesome. How embarrassing. We cleaned it up with wipes quickly and he was getting evermore difficult to handle so I took him out.

So we were out in the gathering area with all the booths and walked around and looked at things for awhile. We sat down and I tried to wrangle him during most of the rest of the mass. Another "vendor" came in during mass and set up on the table that we were next to. I wasn't paying attention until some guy started talking to him and I turned around and saw what he'd put on display. Sculptures of fetuses at varying stages of gestation.

This is not a post about abortion. If you want to read one of those, please read this. I'm not going to debate pro-life vs pro-choice or abortion or anything thing of that manner here and I don't want to see any comments debating it either. But, I absolutely draw the line when people get "graphic" about abortion. Sometimes I think the graphic becomes obscene and I can't stand that. You're entitled to your own opinion, but graphic obscenity is not ok. (And if someone leaves a comment about abortion itself being obscene, it's getting deleted, again, this is not the place for that stuff, do that on your own blog).

This type of thing really rubs me the wrong way. One day we walked into church and they were handing our plastic fetus stress balls. Since then I have absolutely stopped taking anything that the pro-life committee hands out. Why on earth would they think it was ok to hand out that type of thing?

So the fetus guy has his many fetuses on display (and for the record, they aren't very accurate representations of what the fetuses actually look like at that age) and I'm 3 feet from him trying to corral Michael with pro-life advocates everywhere. But I turned around and gave that guy a piece of my mind.

Women loose babies all the time. Most abortions are "spontaneous", i.e. miscarriages, or later on still births. They don't choose to have their babies die. Many of them have seen the remains of the child that they very much desired. And there are a lot of these women. Miscarriage and loss are WAY TOO common. I thank God that I have not lost a child and I feel greatly for the women that have. And no women should be bombarded with fetuses while simply coming to worship. Just because some women choose to end their child's life doesn't mean a women that didn't should have to be reminded in such a graphic way of the child that was taken from her. It's just wrong.

Again, I've never lost a baby, but I honestly think parenthood has increased my empathy for infertility and especially loss. With every thing my child does that brings joy to my heart I know that there is someone out there that will never know it and that makes me very sad. Seeing those dolls hurts my heart because I imagine a tiny dead Michael instead of the wiggle-worm that I have and I don't like thinking that. So I hope that I wasn't out of line telling that guy that his display is rude and unkind to parents that have lost their babies. I just don't think that kind of thing is right. You can make your point without using shock tactics.

*comment moderation is temporarily turned on*

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The merits of urgent care

Michael has had another rough week. He's been constipated since last Friday which is a big bummer since he was doing so well up until that point. And I'm still not sure as to the cause of it. But we have been trying to relieve it all week.

Finally, Thursday, I called his ped's office and left a message for the nurse. I asked that they please not call back from 1-2 since I would be in a meeting and, of course, that's when they called. The nurse on the voicemail didn't offer up anything that we hadn't already been doing except glycerin suppositories.

So that night we tried those... fail. So I called the night nurse and she talked to the Dr. on call and told us to give him a 1/2 cap of Miralax in 4 oz of milk 2 times the next day (Friday). I laughed since the only time he'll take 4oz of milk from a bottle (in a single feeding) is during a growth spurt. And they wanted him to get seen by his dr. the next day.

So we tried the Miralax at daycare. They got him to take 6 oz all day which is pretty typical but the constipation persisted.

Meanwhile, I called the ped for an appointment. The ironic thing is that he was scheduled for his well visit that day anyhow but they called the other week and rescheduled it and led me to believe that the dr was taking the day off or something. So I was surprised when I call to get in and not only was my dr. there but he had openings! WTF?! Turns they over booked the afternoon and we got bumped which ticks me off since it's so hard for us to get in there in the first place and he tends to react to his immunizations and we are due for his second round of the flu shot now and I was so happy that we'd gotten a Friday afternoon appointment.

Anyhow, the only appointment times they had left were going to be very hard for us to make so we decided that I would take him to urgent care after work instead.

This is only the second time I have been to the urgent care here, but both times I have been in and out in less than 30 minutes. They have been really good experiences. I like the dr that works there. And the copay is only $10 more than a normal office visit and I when I have to miss time off work it costs me a lot more than $10, so it's kinda a no brainer. I know when flu season kicks in that I should probably steer clear, but so far so good. Really, it seems like urgent care beats his regular clinic when the wait time is low.

Now to counter that, when I was in college I went to urgent care one time when I was feeling really crummy. I was feeling completely out of control and tired and had weird bruises on my tongue and I could barely think straight. The (idiot) dr. there spent 2 minutes with me and diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. Fibro-fucking-myalgia! I was 20 and in the best shape of my life and running several miles everyday and had just started dating DH. Life was great and she diagnosed me with that crap. I had enough mental clarity to tell her she was nuts and completely off and I wasn't even sure that I really believe in fibro. If I'd had a little more mental clarity I would have threatened to take her medical license if she dared to write that on my chart (you do not want to have that diagnosis on your medical history, insurance companies will not touch you). I basically marched out of there. The next day I went to student health. That guy wasn't much better... he diagnosed me as depressed and offered me Zoloft after 5 minutes of talking to me and I told him he was nuts. He had to call me back an hour later with his tail between his legs because it turns out it was MONO. Idiots. Of course it was mono! If I hadn't been so incredibly tired I could have figured that out. I had been running a crazy high fever, my tonsils were swollen, the weird tongue bruises, I was becoming jaundiced and my spleen was about to burst out of my abdomen and I was CRAZY TIRED--how could they have missed it?! After they figured it out, it was so bad they were going to hospitalize me until my mom (a nurse) came and got me and promised to take care of me. But I was a healthy 20 year old college student and if it ain't an STD or pregnancy, well then it's probably mono. (And yes, DH totally gave me mono, which he still denies).

So what I learned from that is that it is all about the doctor. Bad drs. are everywhere and you have to be on alert for them and do your homework. If I didn't know a little about fibro and believed that first moron it could have taken me years to realize that she had wrongly diagnosed me since I kinda got a chronic fatigue from the mono (which, interestingly, metformin cured). If I would have listened to the gyn I went to when we were ready to TTC, I probably wouldn't have a baby right now. If I would have listened to my first OB I never would have found out that I have MTHFR (and I probably wouldn't have had such an awesome birthing experience either). I did listen to a surgeon when my gut instinct told me not to one time and hung on to a POS gallbladder for a year longer than I needed to. I've got a small handful of drs that I pretty much trust now but I had to visit a lot of not so great drs to find those few and just because I 'trust' them I don't emphatically trust them. So I like this urgent care so far but I don't assume that I will always get good care from them.

Back to Michael. The Dr. told use to keep up with the suppositories... up to 4 per day (which is way over the product guidelines) and skip the Miralax. And the Dr. loaded me up on gloves which was nice of him. And Michael apparently has strep throat too, so he's on antibiotics again. Which means the thrush will probably flare back up again now.

We had good luck with the suppository later last night. I think the Miralax did help out and make things easier. We're still working on it, but things are moving a little again so hopefully he'll be over this soon. Ditto the strep.