Friday, August 29, 2008

My Little Piglet

Ella Grace had her two month check up on Wednesday and she weighed 10 lbs. 13 1/2 ounces! She was also 22 inches long. I knew she had gotten longer because I had to take the harness off recently to wash it, and I was amazed at how much lower her feet hit my body when I held her on my hip. You can't really tell how long she is because the harness keeps her legs bent, but she has really grown! I'm just imagining the stack of barely worn onesies we'll have to retire once the harness is gone and I know what fits and what doesn't.

She was a wonderful baby, smiling and flirting with the doctor! She can be very charming these days. I asked him about acid reflux because she's been showing some signs of it, and it could be an explanation of some of her crying fits. He decided to try her on some medicine to reduce the acid production to see if that would make a difference. I'll say that after 4 doses, she is a different baby. She's much happier, even during the evening witching hour.

The shots hurt her feelings, but she did much better than I expected. The first one shocked her, the second brought tears and crying screams, the third and fourth just happened in a blur. The nurse gave them really fast and as soon as I picked her up she started to calm down. I nursed her for a few minutes and they were all but forgotten by the time she finished nursing. Nursing is a gift from God!! :)

Here she is practicing her newest skill. I turned around the other night to find her chewing on the duck's beak. She managed to get it into her mouth all by herself. I was so proud!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Life's a Beach

We had a great time on our mini vacation, even if we had to cut it short thanks to Tropical Storm Fay. We had one beautiful day on the beach and Ella Grace loved it. She slept and slept out there. And, can I say there is nothing more convenient than breastfeeding when you take a tiny baby to the beach?

She did great on the ride down, and even though she barely slept at all that day, she was a happy baby. You could tell that she knew she was somewhere different and she was trying very hard not to miss anything. She finally took a nap at dinner when I wore her in my wrap. Her little eyes were so red and puffy and she was still holding them wide open to see what was going on around us. We didn't have the animal mobile with us, but there was a nice ceiling fan in the bedroom that provided good entertainment for her.

The drive home was not so pleasant, but she was in the carseat for a really long time. We were all worn out when we finally got home. We stopped in Foley to shop and eat, but I think it still took us about 6 hours to get home. It poured - I mean, pounding sheets of rain you couldn't see through - all the way home. Dave drove the whole way and I felt so bad for him because it was nerve racking and Ella was unhappy most of the way, which made it even worse. Cars would pass by us (where were the Troopers then when people were driving 80 in rain you couldn't see through?) and disappear because it was raining so hard. We finally made it safely home Saturday evening. I think it took us all a day to recover from that car ride. :)

If you've never been to Lambert's (Home of Throwed Rolls) in Foley, stop there for lunch the next time you go to the beach. It's an experience you shouldn't miss. This was the second time for both of us and we really enjoyed it. The food is good, the atmosphere is fun, and the staff are really friendly. I wore Ella in my wrap (because that's the easiest way for me to eat out with her) and I've never had so many comments and questions about it. People loved it and asked me over and over where I got it. One lady asked to feel it and a guy stopped Dave in the bathroom to ask, "Was that your wife with a baby tied around her neck?" Most people just stare, but everyone there was commenting and asking about it.

We had our 3 week appointment with the orthopedic doctor today. He adjusted one of the leg straps on the harness and gave me permission to cut the little socks out of them. Her feet have gotten so long that her toes were curling up inside of them - well, the ones that were still in it. I had already opened the ends for her big toes to poke out. At least now she doesn't look like a hobo baby with holes in her socks. :) We have our next appointment on the 15th of September for the ultrasound and to find out if she has to keep wearing the harness full time. We are really praying that the answer to that is no.

This week she also has her two month check up with the pediatrician and her first round of vaccinations. I'm so not looking forward to those shots. I know it will only hurt her for a minute, but it breaks my heart to think about them making her cry. Mostly I'm really hoping we don't have any adverse reactions to them. I know that kids get vaccinated every day, but it doesn't make me less nervous about it for my kid.

It is so fun right now to watch her develop a personality. She has really started "talking" more, conversing with me by fitting her cooing noises in the pauses of my ongoing commentary about everything. She also talks to the animals on her mobile and the frog on her carseat toy bar. She has started playing with the frog toys in the car. It's so cool to hear her hitting them and entertaining herself while we drive. It has made riding in the car with her much more pleasant. Her cries have become more organized and distinct, including a new one to tell us when she is really mad. She has quite the temper, and she lets you know when you've made her mad. :) She pauses in anticipation when she signals for something, and gives the mad cry when you don't respond the way she anticipated (for instance, if I don't feed her when she's telling me she's hungry). Her hands are very busy these days, finding their way into her mouth more readily and generally just entertaining her. I'll catch her holding them in front of her face, just looking at them. She smiles and laughs now in response to your smiles, too. She can be quite charming when she wants to be - especially in the mornings when she's well rested. Today was the first time I've seen her startled to the point of tears. Georgia barked a giant booger bark (that's the really loud, scary one), and scared the pants off of both of us. We both jumped and I looked over at Ella to see her face scrunch up, her lip poke out, and tears squeeze out of the corners of her eyes as she gave a cry. It was really cute. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Road Rage

This story came from my sister last week, and I thought I would share it here because I completely agree and it made me laugh. It has been edited to protect the innocent.

"As you all know, I have a rage against bikers and runners doing their thing on major roadways because they insist on being on the pavement; God forbid they move over so they are not upsetting the flow of the motor vehicles all around them that are so much larger than them. So, you can imagine my complete disbelief and violent rage this morning when this happened. I was driving down Hwy 281, just minding my own business, driving on the roadway that was built for cars and trucks to get from here to there, when I spot an older white male walking down the side of the road. He also insisted on being on the pavement. He had this stick in his hand that I would estimate to be about 4-5 ft long. When a car approached him he started swinging and twirling the stick into the roadway- his actions mimicked those of a flag girl. He was doing this, I am assuming, so that cars would swerve away from him. I saw him do it to other cars and then my own and he very purposely came close to hitting the cars. Please keep in mind that it was morning time, there was on-coming traffic, so we unfortunate souls who had the displeasure of driving by this lunatic could not swerve very much. I was WISHING he would hit my car because I wanted to get out and BEAT him with his own freaking stick. And he was just old enough, and I was just pissed enough that I'm pretty sure I could take him. Who in the fiery pits does this monkey face think he is?? There are only 50 neighborhoods on that one stretch of road, and I'm willing to bet he lives in one where he could safely have his morning walk."

I told her that I completely agreed with her rage and she should have stopped and beaten him with his stick anyway, just for good measure. I'll concede that cities around here are not built for pedestrians, but come on! Use some sense! Don't walk on a major roadway during rush hour traffic AND have an attitude about it! That's just moronic.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Few New Pictures

This one shows a little of the harness she is wearing. It actually goes over her shoulders and around the middle of her chest, too. We originally thought it wasn't bothering her, but I've changed my mind about that. She has been very high-needs since we got it; she needs to be cuddled a lot and is refusing the bottle in favor of nursing. We really need to be weaning off of the harness when I start back to work. Here she is getting ready for our walk this morning. She loves to stroll around the neighborhood, and if my legs could handle it, we'd walk 10,000 miles every day.Finally, here she is in the wrap, which is the reason I can get anything done (read eating or using the bathroom) on really high-need days, and sometimes the only way to stop the crying when she gets started good. I don't mind it. I'll do whatever it takes to make her more comfortable. How miserable would you be if you couldn't straighten your legs for 6 weeks? In all, she's pretty good natured about it, it's just sleepy times that are really an issue, and that's why she's in it right now.
Oh, Iforgot to mention that she weighed 10 lbs. 1 oz. at the doctor on Tuesday. She's growing like a weed. Her face is changing and she finally looks a little like me now. I love watching her grow. She laughed for the first time recently. There isn't a better sound in the world. I'm completely addicted to her.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Slow Ride to Insanity

This is a story about jumping to conclusions. Disclaimer: It has a grossness factor, so reader beware.

The past couple of days with Ella have been a little trying. She hasn't felt well and she's been very clingy and almost inconsolable at times. There has been lots of gas and poop and baby puke, and very little sleeping. It seems that every time I tried to put her down for a MUCH needed nap, she would wake up screaming 20 minutes later. She has needed constant motion so I've probably walked 10 miles around my house and yard. After a day of this by myself, I was at my wits end when Dave got home last night. He took her and walked her and tried to comfort her while I cooked dinner and raced around trying to do some things in the house. I took her back so he could eat before a meeting at church, and this meant that I ate with her in my lap. Not an unusual occurrence in our house. She started crying again so we went for a diaper change. When I opened the diaper, I was horrified to find something foreign in there. This was my thought process: "WHAT is that?! It looks like rice, but it can't be rice because breastfed babies don't eat rice. Rice doesn't come out whole in breastmilk. What else looks like rice? Tapeworms. Tapeworms! That would explain the horrible gas and stomach pain that's been upsetting her all day, and probably the green poop, too. Oh my, my baby has worms! People are going to think we are nasty! How did she get worms? The pets are up to date on all their medications, we don't have fleas, I know that tapeworms come from eating infected fleas. Can humans even get the same tapeworms as animals?....." This went on for two hours while I Googled it and waited for Dave to come home so I could tell him what a horrible mother I am because my baby has worms. Fast forward to this morning when I called the doctor's office and spoke to the nurse. She didn't seem at all phased by the whole worm thing and told me that the doctor might just call something in for us. Good! That means this happens sometimes because she didn't act like it was a big deal. A couple of hours later, she called back to tell me that the doctor wanted to see us. We were there at two, worm in purse so that they would know what kind of worms we were dealing with. I explained all the symptoms to the doctor and gave him the worm. We went through several scenarios in which she could have gotten the worms, but she hadn't been in any of them. He said, "The thing about worms is that you have to get them from somewhere." I said, "I know! This doesn't make any sense." He took the worm to look at it under the microscope.

Twenty minutes later he was back with questions.
Doctor: When did you find this in the diaper?
Me: Yesterday evening.
Doctor: Did you have rice yesterday?
Me: Yes! We did have rice for dinner!
Doctor: Is is possible that you dropped some on her?
Me: Well, she was in my lap while I was eating.
Doctor: This worm doesn't have any digestive organs, like the mouth. It's a solid piece of something. Do you think you might have dropped rice on her and it got in her diaper?
Me: Oh my God, I'm so relieved!!

My baby does not have worms, but she does have one half-crazy mother who is only getting crazier by the day. The gas and upset stomach could be explained by the spinach I ate for lunch on Sunday. I did thank the doctor for humoring me. He said he didn't mind, it broke up the monotony of the regular runny nose visits. :)

While we were there, I had him take a look at the big toe that Georgia kept sniffing. I broke the rules this morning and took the boot off to look at it. It was gross, so I cleaned it up and trimmed the toenail as best I could while it was kicking frantically. He said it was a little ingrown and might be getting infected, so we have some antibiotics for that. Georgia was right about that toe after all.

It's been said that God put that piece of rice in her diaper so that I would ask the doctor about her toe. That's probably the truth, especially since we are going to the beach next week and we don't want a sick baby, and I've been praying about that.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Queen of the Argonauts

One of these days, Ella will start talking and her first words will be: "It is I, Ella Grace, queen of the Argonauts, and these are my Argonaut parents."

When she first started cooing at us, it sounded like she was saying, "Whoooo?" So we, of course, say "Whooo?" to her all the time in an attempt to get her to talk to us. Dave started answering with this Argonaut business. I had to Google it to make sure it wasn't something bad, and I found out that Argonauts are sailors from the ship Argos. This is something from Greek mythology that he picked up in his fraternity days. That's all I know. :)

If animals could babysit, we'd be all set around here. They are all trying to tell me what to do with this child. When the baby is crying in the evenings and we can't get her to stop, Jewel chimes in and fusses at me as if to say, "Something is wrong with her! Fix it!" This morning, Ella started crying in her cradle, and Gypsy was yelling right along with her. When I came into the room to get her, Gypsy was sitting on the arm of the couch closest to the cradle, yowling, "Mo-om, the baby is cryyying!" Like I didn't know. Georgia thinks it's her job to tell me when the diaper is dirty by giving it a good sniff and looking at me pointedly. She also smells the little feet, which are wrapped in booties because of the harness, as if to indicate that I need to wash them. I'm sure they need washing, but that will have to wait until the harness comes off. They are very helpful.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hip Dysplasia

I just experienced another great irony in my life. As the owner of a large breed dog, I know quite a bit about canine hip dysplasia; the irony, of course, is that my daughter, not my dog, has hip dysplasia. Luckily for us, the human kind can be detected at birth and corrected before the bones harden completely - not so for our canine friends.

We had our orthopedic appointment yesterday. I must say that I love Children's Health Systems. The doctor was very good about explaining to me exactly what is going on with Ella's hips and what we will be doing to fix them. She has a very mild case of hip dysplasia due to her breech presentation. As he explained to me, when the baby presents head down, its legs are in the perfect position for hip development - pulled up and folded at the knee, think Indian style. Ella sat butt down, basically folded in half with her legs straight up in front of her face. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and both of hers are in the sockets and stable, they just aren't in there deep enough. They want to see the socket cover 60% of the femoral head (the ball), and at our three week ultrasound she had 30% coverage on one side and 40% coverage on the other. They aren't too bad, but they treat them anyway because there is no guarantee they will correct themselves. From what I've read, first-born daughters are most likely to develop dysplasia - especially when they were a breech presentation.

Her treatment consists of wearing a Pavlik harness full time for the next 6 weeks. Full time means ALL the time - no taking it off for anything. We have to sponge bathe her and diaper around the harness. If it gets dirty, I'm supposed to wipe it off with a rag. I think that part bothers me most of all because I can just imagine how gross and stinky the thing is going to be in six weeks. People who say babies don't get dirty are just wrong. The harness holds her legs in a bent postion so that they are positioned optimally for development. Right now the cartilage in her hips is still very soft, so it will mold over the femoral head as it hardens. We go back in three weeks to have the harness re-fitted, and in six weeks we will have another ultrasound. At that point, the doctor will decide if she needs to continue wearing it full time or if we can start weaning her off of it.

The minor inconveniences:
1. We have to diaper around it.
2. No more real baths for a while. This makes me sad because she loves them so much and baths are an excellent tool for calming her fussiness in the evenings. Oh well; she still likes having her hair washed and being sponged off.
3. No more swaddling because it pushes her legs too close together. This isn't so bad because we had reached a point where swaddling just made her madder anyway.
4. No more wearing her in a sling for the same reason. I had already started wearing her in a wrap anyway because she has gotten too heavy for me to wear in the sling for long. I'll be getting a backpack carrier for Dave to use.
5. Most of her clothes won't go over it. We will be in t-shirts and dresses only for the next six weeks.

The blessings:
1. We don't have too worry about losing those tiny socks because the harness has it's own sock boots built in.
2. I get to add a new backpack to my babywearing collection. I LOVE wearing her - it's an easy and miraculous way to stop the crying and have my hands free.
3. It's August - the hottest month at 100 degrees in the shade - so I don't really have to worry about the clothes fitting over the harness.
4. All newborns are screened for hip dysplasia - especially those with a breech presentation - allowing early detection and correction before the bones are too hard. The prognosis for complete correction is very good, especially since her case is mild.
5. The harness doesn't bother Ella at all. She doesn't seem to care in the least that she's wearing it.
6. It makes my squirmy worm just a little less squirmy. :)

If you would like to pray a specific prayer for us, please pray that both hips have 60% coverage at the next ultrasound and we can start weaning off of the harness. God is good all the time, even when we don't understand what He is up to.