Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Passed Out


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Yesterday during quiet time I noticed that Bradley was extremely quiet. Usually I can hear his little voice singing, reading books, or playing with his toys. When I checked the monitor, I saw he was dead asleep. So I went up to get him up from his nap since it was getting late in the afternoon, and I found him compeletly passed out with his "Hershey Dog" tucked under his arm. It was so funny, I brought Chris up look too. Gotta love this little boy!

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Yes, Hershey has bandaids on her, apparently she has had a few falls!

I couldn't do a post without including some pictures of sweet Ellie...

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This is Bradley's new favorite thing...making funny faces at the camera.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Who is Who??

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If it wasn't for the boys and girls clothing, these two look strikingly similar at two months old! Everyone that meets Ellie says that she looks a lot like her brother...poor thing, getting compared to a boy! But, when I look back through the photos I definitely see a lot of similarities. She also has some different features. Her complexion is lighter, and her hair is a totally different shade. Of course that seems to already be changing to a shade of brown, from the red at birth. I can't believe how much these babies change in the first year, I can't wait to see how she grows. Will she become more like me or more like her Daddy?

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My Mom keeps saying that Ellie looks just like me as a baby. I don't have a scanner, but my Aunt posted this picture of me with my Grammy, Bina Clare after Ellie's birth...what do you think?


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Monday, May 24, 2010

Strawberries and Sunshine

There is truly something to be said for getting out of the house these days! Sometimes it feels like a miracle that we even leave the driveway...dressed and presentable!


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But we made a short drive over to a gorgeous farm to pick strawberries last weekend. It is actually right down the street from our new house! The view was beautiful, and the berries were yummy! I mostly took photos and pointed out ripe berries, while I walked around with Ellie in the carrier. She was a little angel and slept on and off for her first trip to the strawberry patch.

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The boys did all of the hard labor (make that Chris), Bradley ate most of his sweet finds!!

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The best part was the homemade fresh strawberry milkshake! Yummo!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Daddy's Girl (and other 8 week stuff!)

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I was asking Chris the other day if he felt more protective over Ellie than Bradley? He said it is different, but the same when they are little. Just so helpless and needy, it brings out the protective instincts for sure. I have been wanting to do a post about Daddy for a while...

This man has gone above and beyond in more ways than I can count lately. With all of our feeding issues in the past month Chris was working overtime. Running his own company, building our new house, and waking up all night to feed Ellie. I can't even begin to thank him for being there for me and for Ellie. I was falling apart, exhausted, and he was our rock. Letting me worry about our sweet girl, and reassuring me that everything was going to be alright. Every marriage is tested in one way or another, but it is times like those that true colors are shown.

He is so strong, so involved, and a true partner in raising our children. It is amazing when one person is weak, the other is strong. I know we will face hard times again, but I am just so happy to have him by my side through whatever comes our way.

I know this is so sappy, but I just wanted to thank him for all of his hard work!

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On to our sweet girl...I can't believe she is 8 weeks old TODAY! Wow!

In some ways things have completely mellowed out, and in other ways we are still in the 'tough' newborn stage. Ellie had a wonderful check-up yesterday.

Stats:
Weight: 11 lbs. 6 oz. - that is THREE pounds in one month! Crazy! 75th percentile
Height: 20 1/2 inches - only one inch...3rd percentile for height, guess she is short and chubby!
She is officially out of all of her newborn clothing, and has moved on to 3-6 month outfits!

Since all of the craziness with feeding I have just been nursing her exclusively. But, at her appointment the doctor warned me to re-introduce the bottle or she may never take it. So, we did last night, and she took it fine. It was filled with breast milk though, so that really helped! I have been trying to nurse her 8 times a day. If she only feeds 7 times she will usually wake me up more often to feed in the middle of the night. I have been feeding her every 2 1/2 to 3 hours during the day. We made the transition last night to her big crib, and she handled it great! She slept for 6 1/2 hours for the first time last night in awhile. The most I was getting was 5 hour stretches for a few weeks.

Today was her first day in 'napping boot camp' as I like to call it. I had been trying not to let her cry too much, by going in to give her a pacifier or pat her on the back. But, today that all ended. I laid her down for all of her naps today and she has cried some, but NO WHERE near the crying I endured with Bradley. I think the most has been 10 to 15 minutes and it is less and less each nap already. Fingers crossed that it will only get better from here!

I know some people are so against the 'cry it out' philosophy, but I have reaped the benefits and it seems to work for us. Bradley was a really hard baby, and I know I have posted about doing a lot of things wrong when he was a newborn. But, with help from a mom of three I had the courage to try crying it out. Bradley was seven weeks old, and she told me that he was just over tired. It lasted about 4 or 5 days with him, but in the end it was amazing. I ended up with a baby that could put himself to sleep, and would ask to go to bed as a toddler. He has always been a great sleeper and napper. It seems like Ellie is a much easier baby in general (or maybe I just feel more confident this time around?).

That being said, the evenings are still a tough time for us. She is usually awake and fussy from 5 or 6 until 9 or 10. Chris and I have attempted to start a bedtime routine of bath and bed. But, she is just difficult, and cannot get to sleep. Or she will just take short cat naps until 9 or 10. This is still so hard, and I can't wait for this phase to be over. I was asking the doctor about it again yesterday, and he said that it should end by 12 weeks... I keep wanting to hear some magic words of wisdom, but I just know we have to get through it. She is so agreeable during the day. It is like she knows that I am tired, trying to fix dinner and put Bradley to bed. Why not ramp it up a notch? Last night I was able to get her to sleep by 9, but sometimes we aren't that lucky.

I have been trying to respect her need for sleep and consistency. It is so hard when Bradley wants to be on the go. I am also finding that Ellie won't just sleep in her car seat wherever we go. She will nap, but not quite as long as she would at home. I pretty much will go for one nap cycle out and about with Bradley, but then try to get home so she can sleep at home too. It is so hard to strike a balance. We have been playing at home a lot more and just doing fun stuff around the house. I have been trying to go for walks or take him down to the playground in the afternoons since she is a bit more fussy around that time anyway.

I know this too shall pass, and it is good for Bradley to make some sacrifices for her as well.

Overall we have really been enjoying Ellie's coos and smiles. Every day she is getting more aware and holding her head up so well. I already feel like the past two months have flown by!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's All Worth It

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This makes it all worth it...

the pregnancy
the delivery
the hours spent feeding
the hours spent rocking
the hours without sleep

when you get the first smile,
your heart melts,
and you realize that all of this work we call motherhood is worth every penny!!


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Baby girl your sweet smile and beautiful new cooing sounds fill me with joy!!

I love you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

So Much I've Missed

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I have to get back to posting, because there have been a lot of fun things to share lately too! Despite all of the stress with Ellie, we have had a lot going on. I am trying to find a balance between doing the things that we love, and keeping some sort of routine with sweet Ellie. We have her two month appointment on Wednesday, and I want to write down some of the milestones in her life after that! We have been getting some smiles, so hopefully I can get one on camera soon!


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I never got to wish my sweet nephew Sammy a happy third birthday!! The Monday after his party was when everything started with Ellie, and I never shared the pictures. Sammy had a "Cars" themed birthday, and he was so excited! Lindsay did an awesome job with the party and the decorations. The family had a great time!

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Blowing out his cupcake!

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Ellie with her Aunt Lindsay!

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Our outtakes of the boys and Ellie, they were so cute with her!

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Love this one!! This picture totally sums up Sammy! Always happy!

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Another exciting thing is our new house! We have been going by to see it once or twice a week. Chris of course it out there every day and keeps me posted. It is really coming up quickly, and we are hoping to move next month! I can't even say how excited I am to move in!

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This was a few weeks ago...missing the front porch!

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This was two weeks ago, with our front porch on and it framed up on the inside!

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It is now "in drywall"! Which Chris says is the hump day for construction. The dry wall is getting finished this week, and the hardi plank will go on this week too. So new pictures will be coming soon!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hopscotch

We have found some really fun things to do around the house lately. Bradley has learned about hopscotch, and thinks it is great!! It has actually helped him a lot with learning his numbers too. There is a lot of concentration and hard work that goes into hopscotch, but we are still learning how to hop on one foot! He also knows you have to throw a stone to start, but doesn't quite get why you throw it. I love that he is just happy to jump along and count the numbers, so sweet!

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There is a lot of concentration needed for the 'stone throwing.'

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Jumping with gusto

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Landing on two numbers at once!

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I won mama, I made it to ten!
Then he will do a little cheer, and it is the cutest thing ever!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Back In Action

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My love for these two little ones is overwhelming. I know there will be more things to worry about as they grow up into amazing little people. But, for now our sweet Ellie has done a number on Chris and I. I was nearing a mommy breakdown last week with pumping, feeding, worrying, researching and waiting. Oh the waiting. It can be so horrible. After my post on Thursday we had to keep waiting. The tests weren't in on Friday, so our clinic appointment was canceled. The doctor said he would check for us on Saturday...still no phone call.

We did not find out anything until I called yesterday afternoon. An almost full two weeks time to find out if your baby girl has a problem. It just seems inconcievable to wait that long. But, finally after all of th worry, phone calls, and prayers some good news. The doctor was excited to tell me that Ellie had a normal enzyme level. We didn't get the wonderful news of two bad tests, but it was still the best possible outcome if there was something going on. They measure the enzymes from 0 to 18. Zero enzymes would be a child with full blown Galactosemia. Anywhere from 12-18 enzymes is considered normal. Ellie has 13! I guess 13 can be a lucky number for us! She has less than the maximum 18, but enough to process breast milk and doesn't have a motified diet. Part of me is overjoyed at the news, and the other half was hoping it was nothing but two bad tests.

The doctors were not concerned in the least, and were ready to let us go on our merry way. But, I still have some questions, and we are going to run some genetic tests on the blood that they already drew on Ellie. I am not as concerend about this affecting her right now, but later in life when she wants to have children. I just want to make sure I understand everything before moving on. Chris made me feel better too with the fact that if we lived in a different state we wouldn't know any of this. I guess after two weeks of being worried sick, I just want the reassurance that everything is A OK. I even asked if we needed to have her galactose levels checked in another month just to make sure that it isn't rising for some reason. She told me that she didn't think that was medically necessary, but if it would make me feel better we could. That Ellie would have had an elevation with the last test, and she was going to be just fine.

I am also so thankful that I didn't give up on breastfeeding. All of that pumping was horrible, but I am so glad in the end that it worked out. Ellie is so much happier on breast milk. Much less fussy and gassy. My friend told me that she couldn't believe that I had pumped that much, and hadn't given up. There were a few times when I thought maybe I should give up and just bottle feed her. I felt like it was putting such a burden on Chris and our whole family. I thought that I was holding on to it for me more than what she needed. I am so glad that I stayed strong. Because at 2 am when you are up pumping and you can hear your husband struggling to bottle feed your fussy baby you begin to doubt yourself.

Little Ellie you have truly made your mark on our little family in these first six weeks. Chris and I were doing the math...one week in the NICU and two weeks dealing with this. That is about half of your little life that we have been worried to pieces about you. If it wasn't for all of this, you have really been the sweetest baby ever! You are sleeping and napping well. You are a great little nurser, and just starting to smile. I am just so thankful that you are 'normal' and we can look back on all this like a bad dream.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Looking for Answers

Well here we are on Thursday, Ellie is SIX WEEKS OLD, and I still don't have all of the answers. And probably just as many questions as I did last week! I am feeling a lot better about the situation and hopeful that there is an end in sight.

We have been waiting all week on this mysterious 'enzyme' level test results from the Mayo Clinic. The same enzyme test that came back abnormal for Ellie on the state screening. They still aren't in. After talking to the doctor at UVA in the metabolic clinic, she didn't think they would even be here tomorrow. That is crazy! But, she did make me feel 100 times better about everything. Since Monday we have continued to feed Ellie half breast milk and half formula. Well, that went well until late Tuesday, early Wednesday morning when she decided she ISN'T drinking from the bottle. She will scream and cry and let the formula pour out of her mouth. Then she will cry and cry until I break down and nurse her. So, yesterday I think she drank about 3 oz of formula total and then nursed the rest of the day.

I explained all of this to the doctor and what we had been through last week with pumping all of the feedings. She said, "Why don't you nurse her until you come in on Friday and we can do another blood test to check her galactose levels."

Ummm, people you did that test on accident last week! I didn't tell her that, but I did tell her that we already had those tests run. Sure enough she looked up Ellie in the computer and she was surprised. She said she didn't think that there was going to be an issue, her galactose levels were in the normal range. She didn't have any build-up. Most children with Duarte Galactosemia will have some build-up. She said that a normal enzyme level is 18, the worst case scenerio being 0. She said any child falling between 12 and 18 has enough enzyme to process milk, and she believed that is probably where Ellie is....

She also went on to say that some states don't even test for this. More puzzlement on my part??? She said that some states don't treat it, and don't feel that it is a genetic condition.

I asked her about Duarte Galactosemia children developing speech delays or learning disabilities. She said she had been doing this for 25 years and had never heard of that. Then she asked me where I was getting that information?

The internet was my answer.

I guess won't be googling for a my medical advice anymore.

We are still going in to meet with the specialists and visit the clinic tomorrow afternoon. I am praying that we will have this enzyme test results and we can finally get all of our questions answered. I know we still don't know exactly what is going on, but I am feeling much better. The galactose build-up is what is worrisome, and she doesn't have any. So, my hope is still that we had two bad tests.

In the mean time I have been nursing Ellie. I am at a loss for what to do about the formula feeding. My sister had a good idea to mix some breast milk in with the formula. We might try that tonight. I just don't want her to refuse the bottle all together. I would like to leave her with a babysitter at some point in the upcoming year!

Throughout this process I have stored enough frozen breast milk to feed another newborn for their first year. I think I might be throwing my breast pump in the trash once this is all over!

Monday, May 3, 2010

They Screwed It Up!!!

Chris and I were in total disbelief on Friday night when the doctor called. UVA entered in the wrong code for Ellie's blood, therefore causing the Mayo Clinic to run the wrong test. They accidentally tested her 'galactose' build-up. Which fell into the normal range. We already knew that from the other two state tests. Chris and I were SOOOOOOOOOOOOO upset on Friday night. I just laid my head on the kitchen table and started sobbing. How in the world is all of this happening to us and our little sweet girl??

We had to go BACK to UVA on Saturday morning and have more blood drawn from Ellie. She was not happy. The second they put the band around her little arm she started screaming. It was like she knew what was about to happen to her. They tried two different times to get her blood and finally they were successful. Horrible. Just horrible. She slept for over three hours after we got home...probably because she cried for almost an hour straight.

Now we have to wait until Wednesday at the earliest for an answer. Most likely Thursday. I have been feeding her every other feeding now. She won't take a bottle from me anymore, she puts up quite a fight. She isn't the little peanut newborn, she is aware of what is going on. She wants Mommy. It is heart breaking to see.

Trying to just get through these next few days as best we can. Still waiting and worried sick.