Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eating = Weight Gain

On Sunday, we sent a bottle with Juliana to the nursery. In theory, the little girl should have been hungry. She hadn't eaten since 2 AM, and church starts at 9. We had tried to feed her right before we left, but when the little girl doesn't want to eat, she doesn't want to eat. One of my friends, Anna, works in the nursery and there is no one I'd rather leave Juliana with. Anna is a calm and loving lady. She has the ability to get any baby, no matter how fussy, to calm down, just by holding them and talking to them. I let Anna know that if the little girl got fussy, she could try to feed her with the bottle that was already made.

When I went to pick Juliana, Anna said, "I'm so sorry, Jenna. I tried to get her to drink some of her bottle when she got fussy, but she just acted like she was drinking." I assured Anna that it was alright; that the little girl likes to "toy with your emotions" when you're feeding her, that that was perfectly normal for Juliana. On a different note, Anna was able to soothe her right to sleep.

My point is this, if Anna couldn't get her to eat, then it's not just me, Ryan, Theresa, the grandparents, etc. So, we still continue to get up twice in the night to feed the little girl, as the night time feedings are still some of her best. During the day, she will eat between 5-6 ounces from 6:30-6. I know what you're all thinking, because that's exactly what Ryan and I think, "that's not normal". No, it's not, but we will continue to do what it takes to get food in this little girl.

Ryan and I had noticed that her legs have gotten a little meat on them (yay). We'd noticed that the 0-3 month clothes she had been wearing were getting a little small, and had finally switched over to all 3-6 month clothes (yay). The little girl turns 7 months at the end of this week, and we've been carefully monitoring and tracking all the food she has been eating- since birth. Ryan even prints out a graph that we take to doctor appointments, so that they can see that she still eats about the same amount of food she ate as a 1 month old.

Today, Juliana had an appointment at the gastroenterologist. I stripped her down to her diaper, and we weighed her. She had gained a pound in a month- this is a new record! I was excited. I had been feeding her when they called us back (hey, any weight counts, why do you think I didn't take her diaper off?). Dr. Smith was pleased as well. He told me, "I've been worried since I knew you were coming in today. If she hadn't made a big weight gain, I was afraid of what I was going to have to tell you." His statement took me by surprise. We knew he wasn't happy with the weight gains at all the previous appointments, but he never showed any worry. If Juliana hadn't made a big weight gain, he was going to send us to Children's Memorial downtown, and we were going to have to get her on a feeding tube.

Juliana is back on the growth charts (she had been on a slippery slope going downwards). She's hanging onto the 5th percentile by the tips of her fingers, but we will take it. Nothing has changed. He still wants us to do both night time feedings (sleep will have to wait awhile longer). We still have to concentrate her formula. She's still on both medicines. And we will still be working with the feeding therapist and dietician. He is hopeful that in the next 2 months, she will stay at the 5th percentile or even move to the 10th. All of our hopes are that she continues to gain and to eat.

Thank you for all the encouragement and prayers. You'll never know how much we've appreciated all of them.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Girls' Afternoon Out...

Being a high school teacher, I sometimes get sucked into reading books that my students are reading. Case in point, the "Twilight" series. Last year one of my students became my "supplier" bringing me a book as I finished each one. Fortunately, they are an easy read (otherwise I wouldn't have wasted my time because of my brain injury). As I read them, I found that I preferred one character over another, Jacob. I was totally turned off by Edward, he was too controlling, too overprotective, telling Bella who she could be friends with, where she wasn't allowed to go, etc. Jacob reminded me of Ryan. They both wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Anyway, if you're not a teenage girl, or the mother of a teenage girl, the movie, "New Moon" came out on Friday. It's the second book and second movie of the "Twilight" series. A group of ladies from work arranged to go see the movie on Sunday, and I went with. It was the first movie I'd been to since "Prince Caspian". Needless to say, I was excited. It was nice to get out of the house, and be out with friends. Plus, I enjoyed the movie, as it was more about Jacob than about Edward.

Was it a cheesy love story? Yes. Was there action? Yes. Was the acting better than it was in the first movie? Yes. Does Ryan want to see it now? Yes.

Go Team Jacob!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy birthday, Mom!

I love you so much. You are a great grandma to your ray of sunshine and ladybug girl, and to Rori, Liam, and Brendan (of course). I wish you lived closer so we could see you more often. Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Feeding Therapy...

People have been asking me about Juliana's feeding therapy and what it entails. I wasn't sure myself, but after a couple sessions, I can give you kind of an idea of what it is.

Our therapist, Vicki (same name as my mom, so that's a good sign), comes to our house, which is very nice. While she is at our house, she asks questions about Juliana and her lack of eating habits. Then, she holds her and touches her face and mouth, so that Juliana gets used to other people and having her face touched. After that, she gives Juliana different "toys" with different textures for her to put in her mouth, like a toothbrush, spoon, etc. We end the session with either Ryan or I giving Juliana a bottle while she watches Juliana eat (she's at the 1 month stage on sucking on a bottle, and the 3 month stage at how she sits while eating). While one of us puts Juliana to bed, she writes up her recommendations for us to work on until the next session.

This week's task has been getting her to hold a biter biscuit and having her put it in her mouth. We are supposed to do that every day. She's done pretty well with that, and lately she cries when she loses grip of it or if she can't get it to her mouth fast enough. We also have to try to get some baby cereal in her. We try that every day as well. That isn't going as great as the biter biscuits. I usually can get 2 baby spoonfuls in her mouth before she either gags or refuses to take anymore. The other night I got 5 spoonfuls in her before she turned away.

Anyway, that's what feeding therapy is. They tailor their therapy to the kid, so what works for Juliana may not work for another baby. Vicki told me that there are 32 steps to eating, and it starts with having the child in the same room with the food (some aversions are that bad- yikes!), so at least we've accomplished that step!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Special Visitor...

One of the perks of being a teacher is when former students come back to visit you, and you get to see the person they have become.

A few years ago, I had a student named Matt. Matt didn't care much about school, and he definitely didn't care about Chemistry, but he and I got along. I watched Matt make some poor decisions about friends and make other poor decisions. His mom works with me, and she and I would talk about the kind of person we knew he had the potential to become. We knew that if Matt got his head on straight, he could do great things.

At the start of the school year, I ran into Matt's mom, and she told me that he joined the Marines. As any proud Mom does, she pulled out pictures of Matt. I could barely recognize the young man in the pictures. A few weeks ago, Matt's mom asked me if I would be interested in writing to Matt if she gave me his address. I told her I would love to. Then she told me that Matt would be on leave and wondered if he could stop in and see me. I told her that would be awesome.

Yesterday, I was walking to an office to pick up the paper I had printed out, and I saw Matt's mom walking with a tall, thin, young man. It was Matt. I barely recognized him. I greeted him with a hug, and told him how proud I was of him, and then something happened that took me by surprise. I started to cry, because I was so happy to see that he turned his life around, and had become the young man that I always knew he could be.

Matt, I'm so proud of you! Thank you for serving our country!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things I've Learned Today...

Okay, so Ryan is on a business trip, and I have had quite the eventful afternoon/evening.

Here's a list of things I have learned this afternoon/evening...

1) Noah's frames for his glasses have been discontinued, which means a trip back to the eye doctor's.

2)When you are soothing Juliana, and you don't hear Noah, you must immediately become suspicious.

3) The reason you should be suspicious is because the toilet in the downstairs bathroom is clogged.

4) YouTube has a video that will show you how to snake a toilet.

5) Snaking a toilet is not something you should try to do when Juliana is angry.

6) When the feeding therapist arrives, it isn't always happy news (Juliana is at a 3 month stage for several of her oral milestones, and is at the 1 month stage for feeding).

7) The feeding therapist is excellent about getting the dogs to go back outside after Noah lets them in (because I forgot to lock the patio door after sending them out) while I am changing Juliana's very poopy diaper.

8) When you are feeding Juliana (with the feeding therapist observing), and Noah goes upstairs, you should immediately become suspicious.

9) When Noah comes back downstairs and shows you his sticky hands, immediately become suspicious.

10) The reason you should become suspicious is because Noah has somehow gotten the cap off of his Thomas toothpaste (to brush his teeth like a big boy) and has smeared it all over the bathroom.

11) After stripping Noah down and cleaning him up, NEVER let him close his bedroom door when no one is in his room.

12) The reason for doing that is because, Noah hit the lock on his door when he shut his door, leaving him naked in the hallway along with his VERY frustrated mother.

13) Always leave the bedroom door keys on a bookshelf, it makes them easier to find.

14) Opening a locked bedroom door takes some skill, but eventually anyone can do it.

15) Just leaving a clogged toilet to sit, doesn't mean it's still not clogged.

16) After 15 minutes, I successfully snaked the toilet. Still don't know why it was clogged, and I don't want to.

17) Being a single parent is NOT an easy job, and I am thankful to have a husband.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Balding Already?!?

Yesterday, I took the kids to the opthamologist so that Noah could get his eyes checked. While we waited for his eyes to dilate, Noah sat on the floor and was playing with a toy. I happened to look down at the top of his head, and I notice that he's missing a patch of hair. I knelt down next to him, and moved his hair to examine it closer. The size is a little smaller than a quarter, but that's still a good chunk of hair to be missing. I couldn't believe it and Ryan and I couldn't figure out how he lost a patch of hair, until after we put him to bed.

Since Noah was like 10 months old, he always rocked himself to sleep. He puts his head in the corner of his crib, gets down in what we call the "praying to allah" position and rocks and rocks and rocks. The doctor told us not to be worried about it, so we didn't worry about it. We always had the bumpers there. Well, the last time Noah threw up, some of the ties on the bumpers broke and we couldn't tie them in his crib, so we didn't put the bumpers back in there (yes, he's still in his crib, but we have his "big boy" bed set up in the room in case he shows interest in it).

Ryan figured out what happened to his head. Sunday morning, Noah woke up at 4 am (obviously we didn't get him). He started rocking. He rocked on and off until Ryan got him at 6 am(the earliest time we will get him). So basically, he rocked on and off for 2 hours. The friction probably started loosening up his hair follicles (yes, the anatomy teacher in me is coming out). Sunday night he must have continued to rock, and his hair started falling out.

I tried to take a picture of it to post, but when I took it, it didn't look like he had a bald spot so it didn't have quite the effect that it should. I just hope his hair grows back.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Special Protector...

When we first brought Juliana home, Noah wanted nothing to do with her. By the time she was 7 weeks old, Noah acknowledged that he had a sister. Now that she's a little over 6 months old, he has become her protector. This is a good thing, and a bad thing.
On Tuesday, I came to pick up the kids. Theresa told me that Noah had a rough day. Noah is a stubborn child, a very stubborn child. He gets that from both of us (mainly Ryan, though- ha ha). He doesn't like it when Paxton (who's a little less than a year younger than him) touches Juliana or anything that belongs to Juliana.

Theresa said that Paxton touched Juliana's car seat, and even though Juliana was not in the car seat, Noah went up to Paxton and shoved him down. Theresa put Noah in time out (I would have done the same). Every few minutes she would ask Noah if he was ready to say he was sorry or if he could give Paxton a hug. Noah kept saying "no". 25 minutes later (I told you he was stubborn), Noah gave Paxton a hug.

A positive part of Noah protecting Juliana, is that now he wants to hold her, make her smile, and he plays with her. I just hope that continues.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Breaking Point...

Last night, the speech therapist came to our house to evaluate Juliana and see if she has a feeding aversion. Well, as I suspected, Juliana has a feeding aversion. Now, she will be having oral aversion therapy 1 night a week. Fortunately, the speech therapist makes house calls. However, she also suggested a referral for a dietician to make sure Juliana is getting the right amount of calories.

At that point, I was ready to start crying. Really? Do we need to add another specialist to our roster of doctors?!? We have the pediatrician and chiropractor (for both kids), we have the opthamologist (for Noah), we have the cardiologist, gastroenterologist, and speech therapist for Juliana. And now we're going to add a dietician?!?

Honestly, I am at my breaking point. I really don't know how much more I can handle. We see some doctor every week. I feel like I am constantly going somewhere and I'm never at rest. Tonight, I'm supposed to be at "Mom Connection", and I know I could really benefit from going to it. To tell you the truth, the thought of getting into my car and driving there through the exhaustion that I'm already experiencing does not appeal to me.

I am physically and emotionally exhausted. I am seriously hanging there by a thread. Every day I wake up and plaster on the fake smile and prepare to say "everything is fine" when someone asks me how I am or how my family is, when I just want to scream or cry instead.

I know that God doesn't give us more than we can handle. I KNOW that, but right now it sure doesn't feel that way.