Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hold My Heart...

Lately I've been drawn to the song, "Hold My Heart", by Tenth Avenue North. It really sums up how I've been feeling for the past few months, so I thought I would share it. I chose the acoustic version, because I really enjoy acoustic music.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thank You...

Aren't these flowers beautiful and happy? Last night, while we were putting Noah to bed, the phone rang. When I listened to the message, it was Kelly, a lady at church that I've been getting to know. She wanted to drop off something for me. When she stopped by, she gave me these happy flowers, and a very nice card that made me cry. This morning, Noah saw the flowers, gasped and said, "Someone gave Momma beautiful flowers! Noah likes them a lot!"

If you couldn't tell, we've been stressed out for a while (I know, shocker, right?). This weekend, my mom and dad came down and watched the kids so that Ryan and I could go out to lunch and see a movie. It was nice to get out, but I'll admit, I was worried the whole time we were out. NOT because my parents can't handle my kids (they are wonderful with them), but Juliana had been extra cranky, not eating and not napping well. Of course, I didn't need to be worried, because Grandpa Jim was able to get her to eat 2 tubs of food (what's that about?), and spent some time snuggling with her in the rocking chair, while Grandma Vicki played with Noah.

My sister, Jaime, has been trying to figure out a way to help us as well. She has 3 kids of her own, but she wants to help us out. She and Bill had won a couples' massage at their New Year's party, and they wanted to give it to us. We didn't take it, but it was nice of them to offer.

Thank you for all the prayers and the offers to help out. There really isn't much anyone can do to help us, except to pray, and we are very grateful for that. We are blessed with wonderful family and friends. Please continue to pray for us. We go to Children's Memorial on March 5, to meet a different gastroenterologist who specializes in food aversion. Maybe he will be able to give us some direction.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Failure To Thrive...

I don't know about you, but as a parent, no one wants to hear those words uttered by any doctor. I have been struggling with whether or not I should post this, but maybe it will be therapeutic for me.

Since I have heard those words uttered by different doctors about Juliana, I have been dealing with a lot of different emotions. Those words hurt, no matter who speaks them. I feel like I am failing my daughter. We can't get her to eat. No one can tell us what is wrong with her or how to fix her. I am angry. We live in the 21st century where there are so many advances in medicine, and yet all these brilliant minds can't figure out how to get a 9 month old how to eat.

I went to see my migraine doctor yesterday. My blood pressure was high. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have very low blood pressure. One time a doctor told me that with my blood pressure I should be on a slab in a morgue, not standing in front of them. During my pregnancies when many women are told their blood pressure is high, I had to do things to boost my blood pressure- caffeine, compression stockings. So the fact that my blood pressure is high, says something. Merle wants me to take a leave of absence from school because she feels that my stress level is too high causing my blood pressure to be high. I'll be honest, school is my escape from the stress. It's a time when yes, I'm worrying about Juliana and her eating issues, but my mind is able to drift away from that for a little while. If I took a leave of absence, I think, and others agree, that my stress level would be even higher, because I would be dealing with Juliana's eating problem 24/7 without any relief. It's not like she eats better for me, or Ryan, or Theresa. The burden and worry are shared between the 3 of us, which I think makes it less stressful.

I don't like the phrase "failure to thrive". It hurts me every day. Juliana is small. She doesn't eat. I get that. But don't tell me that she's failing. I am doing the best that I can. We are doing the best that we can. Juliana is fighting to the best of her ability. We won't give up. There's too much at stake for us to give up.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Growing Up So Fast...

I have been swimming with Noah since he was 6 months old. Yesterday at swim lessons, it was suggested to me that in the next session, Noah should move to the next level, which doesn't involve a parent. I knew the time was coming, but I didn't want to think about it. Every week, Noah has become more and more confident in the water. He isn't afraid to put his face in the water, and he loves the part of class where he gets to climb out of the water and jump in, because then he goes all the way under. Saturday's are our special "momma-Noah" swim time, and I'm not happy to give that up and just watch from the sideline. Next week is our last swim together, and it will be bittersweet for me, because I know that Noah is ready to move on, but I am not. I am reminded that now I get to start class with Juliana and I will have a few years left with her in the pool before she graduates through the classes to the one without a parent. They grow up so quickly, so treasure your time with your little ones!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Good News...

I've had migraines since I was almost 15 years old. They run in our family. My parents dragged me to like a zillion doctors, before we found a place that specializes in migraines; the Diamond Headache Clinic. People with migraines come from all over the world to get treatment. I see Dr. Merle Diamond, whose father, Seymour is the founder of the clinic. I think she is a phenomenal physician, of course I could be biased, as I have been treated by her for 17 years.

Anyway, since January, I have been getting headaches. Not my usual migraines, different ones. They start at the back of my head as a pulsating ache that feels like my head is being squeezed in a vice, and then they spiral over the top of my head to the front of my head, until my whole head feels like it's pulsing and being squeezed. Sometimes I lose vision in my left eye. I've also started slurring my words at times and have been mixing up my words and spelling (I'm a pretty good speller) since then.

I knew that if I emailed Dr. Merle, she would make me come in to be checked out, so I put it off, because going to 2 doctors a week for Juliana has been very taxing on me, and I don't have the time or energy to get to the clinic. Ryan finally forced my hand and made me contact Merle. As I had suspected, she wanted me to come in immediately and get checked out. I told her very politely that that was not an option. I told her my appointment was in February and she could see me then. She emailed me back a compromise, I had to have an MRI done. I told her that that was fine, I could do that.

Last Friday I had my MRI. I had it done at a new facility, which was very nice. The technician was very nice to me. I get claustrophobic in the MRI tube- to me, it's like laying in a coffin with a very loud jackhammer beating on top of you, and your face is very close to the top of the coffin. She put a towel over my face, which helped. I even got a nice warm blanket laid on top of me. The best part was when she showed me a list of radio stations that I could choose from, so that I could listen to music while I was in the coffin. I chose the Christian music station, "The Message". The 45 minutes flew by, because my mind was distracted by the music.

When I got home, I emailed Merle and let her know that I had my MRI. She told me she would call to try to get them to have it read faster than normal. On Tuesday, someone from the clinic left me a message that I needed to call them because they had my results. I had to sub during my plan period on Tuesday- a lot of teachers called in "sick" because of the snow, so I didn't get a chance to call. I forgot to call on Wednesday, because I was writing my sub plans for today (Juliana is sick). So I emailed Merle last night. She told me my scan was normal, which for some reason, I already knew it would be. So that's great! Now we just need to figure out why I'm having these new headaches and slurring and mixing up my words.

Monday, February 8, 2010

First Birthday Party...

Noah got invited to his first birthday party, recently. Our friends, Emily and Derrick's little boy, Logan turned 3 on Sunday. We received an invitation to a party at "Pump It Up"- which is a place full of inflatables- slides, obstacle courses, a giant bouncy house, etc. It's a little kids dream. We put Noah down for an early nap, because we needed him fresh and un"cranky" for the party, especially because he didn't get a nap on Saturday.

We got to the location, and Noah was bursting with excitement. He didn't really know what we were going there to do, but he did see that we had a present with us. When we got there, the employees fawned all over Noah, building up the excitement even more. He got a stamp on his hand, and then we were ushered to a room to wait for everyone to arrive. Then, we got to watch the safety video, which I don't think any of the little kids understood, but that just helped build the excitement.

Finally, we got to go into the first arena. Noah started jumping up and down instead of walking. I was able to get his shoes off and then he and I were off and running. Ryan and I took times holding Juliana and doing the obstacle course with Noah. Finally, both of our arms were tired from helping Noah climb, and I was able to get Noah interested in the big slide. Then it was time to move to the next arena. More fun ensued, and even Juliana did well.

Sadly, our time was up, and Noah was sad. He didn't want to leave the last arena, but then I told him that we were going to go have cake and pizza. He went and sat at the table with all the kids, and he didn't want Momma helping him... until he needed me to cut his pizza. At the end of the party, Noah got a goody bag and gave Logan a hug (the last time Logan and Noah met, Noah was 3 weeks old and Logan was about 7 weeks). He babbled about the party the whole way home. Juliana held it together until we were 20 minutes from home and then she began to scream... which then led to her projectiling all over herself and her car seat as soon as we entered our neighborhood.
I was able to take some pictures with our old camera, which is not as good as our new camera.

Here's a picture of Noah at the top of the slide- look at the smile on his face.

Here's a picture with one of my co-workers, Tye and his son Henry. Both boys didn't want to come down the slide so that we could go to the next arena, so Tye helped out since he was already up there with Henry.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Meltdown...

I just had a meltdown for about 15 minutes. I am tired, frustrated, and angry. Why can't anyone get Juliana to eat?!? I am tired of trying new things and being hopeful that they will work. I am angry that we try the new things and they don't work.

Juliana's dietician suggested we switch Juliana to a different formula. Neocate- google it, it's ridiculously expensive. About $50 a can, and I'm not talking one of those bigger cans, I'm talking a little bigger than the sample cans the pediatrician gives away. RIDICULOUS! Having a food scientist as a husband, I have learned that the cost to make a product is usually pretty low, but the companies can markup the price because people will pay it.

Juliana does not like the new formula. We mix it in with her old formula. She still won't eat it. Normally she will eat for Ryan. Last night, he tried for 45 minutes to get her to take the bottle. Ryan is a patient man (one of the characteristics I love about him), but even he gave up after 45 minutes and only 2 ounces were downed (I'm rounding up about that).

Today I had an institute day. I was already fairly fragile, as we had a guest speaker for our science bunch. His name is Ken Miller. If you don't know who he is, he co-wrote the Biology textbook that our school district uses. He is a professor at Brown University, and to top things off, he was a key witness in overturning the Pennsylvania ruling about teaching Intelligent Design in school. Yes, he is into evolution, as are most science teachers. I think I am one of the few who believes that God created us and that we didn't emerge from primordial soup. Needless to say, I found his presentation interesting, up until he began to poke fun at Ben Stein and his documentary, "Expelled". If you haven't seen it, you should. Of course, I am one of the people who can think of things to say well after the moment has passed, so I sat there mute while he proposed his thoughts on evolution.

I was already a little on edge. After the institute day, my friend Lauren and I went to the gym to work out (the kids were napping). I had a fairly good workout, and was feeling good. I picked up the kids. That's when the crying began. Noah was crying because he wanted to go home and he's constipated, Juliana was crying because she was tired (and probably hungry because she didn't eat well today). We get home, and I get Noah settled in, and get Juliana out and was in the process of putting her for a nap. She refused to eat for me and continued to scream in my arms as I tried to soothe her. I put her in her crib, she screamed for 25 minutes, while I cried in my room- I didn't want Noah to see me cry. I don't even really know why I cried. This happens every day. Maybe it's because I'm tired, frustrated and angry. Either way, when I called my dad, I told him that I can't do this anymore, which is a lie, because I can and I will do it until the issue gets fixed.

Anyway, she was quiet for about 20 minutes, and now the screaming has resumed. So, I guess I'll go try and feed her and give up on the nap for now.

Sorry if this was a downer for you, but I'm just being honest. This is why when people ask how we are doing, it's just easier to say fine, because otherwise this is what you get.