Sunday, March 29, 2009

Long Winter

Mallorie's had a rough winter season, with some respiratory stuff, and now some gastrointestinal thing, but she seems to be coming out of it.

I probably definitely bring her too late to be seen by her pediatrician when she gets sick. Believe me, this is NOT because I think I know how to handle everything, but more like I think I'm supposed to know. When I call the office for an appt, and they ask, "What's wrong?" (to write down the purpose for the visit), I stumble for words, wondering, if this is a time when I'm being silly. I should and do know how to handle diarrhea and vomiting, by now. Clear liquids awhile. Slowly advance to more foods. Avoid lactose for a little while. Right? So I figure I will get to the office and hear, "Well, you know what to do."

Monday, when Mal got her last RSV immunization for the season, I wasn't surprised to learn her wt was down. It was 20.5 lbs, her usual low. I'd do a not-me and say I didn't start giving her soy protein, since about a week prior, I triggered some diarrhea and vomiting and diaper rash by giving some whey protein, but I'll just admit I did. Gave her whey, and yes, I know it's dairy and that she is allergic or something to dairy. And gave her soy protein because I was in a panic and realized she needed more calories than she was getting and more protein. Matthew had sat down with me one evening, and using the blenderized diet book and reading labels on jars of baby food, unintentionally made me see just how little she was getting each day, while I was appropriately giving her pedialyte when she wasn't tolerating milks.

Yes, I remember Dr. B's comment that she didn't necessarily have to gain weight, but she just didn't want her losing weight, because then she was moving in the wrong direction. Well, I swallowed all the responsibility for the weight-loss, and drew the straight line between Pedialyte (at 100 calories per liter vs milk at 100-ish calories per 5 oz) to weight loss, and decided to start adding things again. You don't even want to know all that Matthew and I decided she should have, but I bought a bunch of canned meats, Dinty Moore beef stew, and soy protein powder, and went a little hog wild with her diet, plus olive oil.

Took me a day to realize she was also running a fever, and since her tummy didn't take so well to the new diet, maybe the combination was that she had what Matthew and Jacob had had? Or maybe just moving too fast, again!

Took me another couple of days to realize that she look weak. And really felt pretty light. And when she got extra sleepy about mid-week, I called the pediatrician's office. Know this first: Dr. B is pretty popular, and you probably want to call the day before or early in the morning if you want to beat the throngs making their way to sit at her feet. So are her colleagues. So calling at 1:30pm is silly, but I was lucky enough to get an appt with one of them. Here's what I learned:

Her weight was down to 20 lbs, with her clothes on, and a big granny diaper. Poor baby can't have a working mom and wear all cloth diapers when she's having diarrhea, sorry. Especially when her mommy and daddy are up all night dealing with babies vomiting and having the kind of diarrhea diapers that cause rashes.

I lose the forest for looking at all the trees. Yes, I even knew this before, but apparently, knowing it doesn't prevent it! Dr. W smiled, and told me to step back a bit, look away from the trees, so I could see the forest. Then he walked me through the steps which I already knew, but had to shut my mouth and listen to ... because I really wasn't following the rules! She probably has some sort of stomach virus, so clear liquids till she can go 8 hours without vomiting (and he gave us fluid rates, since she was probably somewhat dehydrated, I loves me some numbers!). After 8 hours of no vomiting, we could drop the rate, and see if she could take some soy milk (doesn't have the lactose that breastmilk has), and work slowly, slowly moving beyond with the diet. He assured me that Mallorie, like any other baby, can go a little while without "proper nutrition." I cannot tell you how very badly I needed to hear someone tell me this. Another couple of trees for me .... I worry about protein intake whenever Mallorie gets her diaper rash and it won't heal, and about calories whenever I actually do a calorie count. I worry about her heart's VSD not closing, ever, because of inadequate nutrition. Heck, I worry a lot.

After all we've learned about Mallorie and soluble fiber, you probably won't believe I had already given her a whopping dose of oatmeal plus rice cereal the night before we brought her to see Dr. W. Thank God, she barfed the first time we tried that. And it's also good that when I spoke to Dr. B the next night, she told me giving her cereal when her gut was still messed up was rushing her too fast, because that meant she only got cereal the one time. Because last night she was screaming the cry we recognize from when I've done this before. We gave her lactulose and 2 enemas, and I've asked all the kids to remind me to put the cereal down the next time I get a bright idea that she can "take it" if she has watery poop. She can't.

Some things I've learned:

I don't need to wait till Mallorie is quite sick to bring her in to be seen by a pediatrician. Even if they do actually look at me funny, and tell us she's fine, it's OK.

I can't remember one other thing when I try to figure out calories, or protein, or some other detail. Pediatricians are good about helping someone like me with the whole picture.

I love Dr. W. And who knew he'd be so good at calming me down, considering Mallorie weighed in at 20 lbs, and mommy guilt oozed out of me in that moment of truth.

But I missed having Dr. B lay her gorgeous brown eyes on our baby.

Dr. B says it is always OK for me to bring Mallorie in for even minor illness. That it's what she's there for. And when I spilled out some of my crazy (how I worry over her VSD/protein intake/calories/what-have-you), she told me I could let her worry about her. And when I said, "So, OK, it's on you," she agreed. And here is a rough quote: "Yes, you are absolved of all responsibility, if you let me handle it." Apparently, by how light I felt at the end of that conversation, I was in need of a dose of absolution!

Dr. B is the queen.

And her colleagues also rock.

Mallorie is in some very competent hands.
Ignore the dates. These are from today. I couldn't figure it out in time to fix this, and am NOT going to try moving them from the camera to the computer, again. This was already over my head!

What Jacob says it takes to make Mallorie smile. As if he needed an excuse! :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Need a New Name for Puke

This blog thing is not Mommy's cup of tea, after all. But just so everyone knows I'm fine, here's a recap.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday
I wake up, play, listen to music, get lots of kisses. Mommy decides it's Serious Food Days, so I get beef, chicken, boiled egg yolks, peaches, yogurt, applesauce, bananas, green beans, squashes, brown rice, peas. Not all at once, sillies. But I do really well, and everything seems OK. Then I puke Monday evening and night.

Mommy decides the puking I did through the night might have something to do with pooping too much and decides maybe the magnesium/vitamin C stuff she gives me is "too poopy," and she doesn't like how my diaper rash just stays so bad. So she decides it's a day to try Warm Water With Prunes, instead of magnesium stuff. Yummm. All day I poop, get milk, listen to music, play. And puke. I use lots and lots of those cool new flannel wipes Mommy and Matthew sewed just for me,

and wipe out my supply of cloth diapers.

Mommy decides I'm pooping too much, and because she hates that my butt still looks bad, she decides it's a Barley Cereal Day, and so I stop pooping, just like that. I get milk, puke, and get lots of baths, so I smell great, anyway. I listen to Raffi. I puke some more. Mommy refuses to call it reflux, because she hates all talk of surgeries to treat reflux and puking. No idea why she calls it puking. Maybe we should call it a name no one else knows, except the family! :) Mommy hits the "volume" button on the feeding pump at about 10 pm, because she thinks it's a cool thing to have on a pump.

Mommy decides early in the morning that I need a haircut, and everyone tells her to put the scissors down. Even Ida calls from the hospital! So I play, and puke throughout the day, and because I'm puking so much, when she gets a call at work, Mommy decides it was because of trying to fit feedings in around therapy yesterday. Or maybe The Barley Day. But everyone forgot that we were going to do only liquids on therapy days, because they digest faster and can fit in between therapy sessions. So she says only Pedialyte all day, to let my stomach rest a little bit, and let me get lots of fluids in, so maybe I can poop again.

And I get Lactulose, which I personally hate, because it makes my tummy cramp. But I sure do poop! No one even talks about cloth diapers, wipes, anything! They even pull out the disposable pads Becca gave me the other day! I puke a lot, too. Mommy's at work and everyone at home thinks I can't get pedialyte or anything if I puke, so I don't get much today, because ... I keep puking. But I do get a haircut. I even gag and try to puke there. Mommy comes home from work and goes straight to bed, because she's been sick all day. I moan a lot at night and Daddy stays by my crib most of the night, rubbing my head and playing with my (little bit of remaining) hair and aiming my fan at me to help me calm down. Mommy's worried I might be sick, too, but she goes back to sleep.

Mommy gets up kind of late, because she thought she was going to stay home from work, she was so sick all night. She hits the "volume" button on the feeding pump, and reads something like 517. What? in a day and a half, she realizes, that except for one milk bottle early yesterday morning, I got only Pedialyte, by pump ... but I puked so much that everyone was holding my feedings most of the time. She realizes that I better get some fluids, and fast! She decides she LOVES a feeding pump, because she'd never know that the real reason for all my puking wasn't about pooping, prunes, barley, other solid foods, or anything. Just like how I never gagged or puked all those days in the hospital with IV's going, now Mommy and Daddy think it's how much I drink! Mommy and Daddy both feel silly, but seriously. Most babies just get fed when they cry, "in case" it's why they are crying. If they aren't hungry, they won't eat. No one does that with me, because I eat with my tube! So Mommy gives me a bunch of Pedialyte really fast, and I have my tongue out to say, "Thirsty!" so I get to guzzle a bunch with my squirt bottle, too,

and the rest of the day it's drink, drink, drink, mostly in my tube. Pedialyte, then milk. Pedialyte, then milk. All day. I only spit up a tiny bit one time, and I'm feeling a lot better!

No puking all night, so I wake up, get some milk, get a bath, get rolled around, rolled around, rolled around, get dried off, dressed up, eyes covered up (my eyes are really sensitive to the son, just like Annabel's and Vera's), and jump in the van, get buckled in my car seat, and puke. And puke. Mommy knows better than this, that reflux puking and babies and after-feeding baths and rolling don't mix, but she forgets sometimes, so I had to remind her. I'm fine, so they bring me back inside.

Kidding!!!! We go out driving around, and while I'm sitting in wet puke, happy as can be, Mommy and Jacob look for wild violets to dig up from the ditches in the neighborhood and Daddy watches me. They never find any of the violets that the girls found JUST 4 DAYS AGO. Mommy says they have a really short season, so the ones she got in the vases from my sisters are all she gets. They find vetch and other beautiful wildflowers, instead, and Jacob finds a sweet ladybug, and brings her with him. I barf again, so back home and in the house we go, carseat and all, because now my seat cover needs to be washed. Jacob loses his ladybug between the van and the house, so he's upset, but I'm cool. I love my baths, and I get another one. And Jacob keeps kissing me to try to make me smile for the camera.

I got a package today, with 3 new flannel fitted diapers, and boy, are they loose! I got to wear them with my beautiful diaper liners.

And Hannah decided the other day that she doesn't like a shirt, and put it in a bin she likes to call Yard Sale. Making Mommy laugh. So today, I went to Yard Sale, and got myself a new dress that looks just like Hannah's shirt. :) She has no idea how good this looks on me, because she and Carley are dancin' up a storm at convention. And probably taking home all sorts of awards with their team!

Mommy wants to know if anyone can figure out what most of the "journalling" everyone does about me all week is mostly about. a) ladybugs b) solid foods that I seem to do OK "eating" through my tube c) cloth diapers and wipes d) puke and poop

If you guess the right answer, she says you can come over and help take care of me. Someone will teach you how to feed me. It's easy; all my brothers and sisters know how. You just gotta remember that puking (which we are SO gonna rename) is not a reason to stop feeding me. And no day is ever a Barley Day.

And you gotta like chicks.