Sunday, July 20, 2014

Date Night

Gravel road and tall, green corn stalks
This was our date tonight.

Skinny rubber tires treading through white dirt and little rocks.

Pink and purple sun setting on a hazy blue sky.

Golden-lit fireflies dancing in the corn fields.

Cellular tower in the distance blinking white dots like a string of Christmas lights.

Iowa rows of corn line the horizon like Utah mountains.

Farm houses lit up inside at the end of a long day's work.

American flag waving against the backdrop of the Heartland.

Two bikes side-by-side and sometimes single file.

A girl and boy basking in the freedom of their own sets of skinny black wheels.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Feeding Difficulties

The past several weeks around here have been wrought with feeding difficulties. Evan nurses just fine  but I have been feeling like he hasn't been getting enough milk. He is not satisfied after feedings. It is very hard for my body to make enough milk to feed him twice in a row. Even with continued sucking he wasn't getting anything more than what my body was making for him.
At his 7 month appointment he was in the 1 percentile for weight and height. That had dropped from being in the 4th percentile for height 2 months previously. He had only gained 1 pound in 8 weeks. It seemed, too, like he had been wearing most of the same outfits since March. Based on past experience that is kind of a long time for my babies to wear the same clothes without growing out of them. The good news is he wasn't losing weight but he certainly wasn't gaining as expected. Also, it is probably worth mentioning that his head circumference is in the 71st percentile, which is great. His brain is growing! The doctor also said that his muscle tone is great as well as social cues and interactions and color.
But still. Something was not right.
The doctor referred us to a GI specialist. To give you some background, for the past couple of months I have been trying to give him baby cereal and many flavors of baby food without success. After nursing, when I felt like he didn't have enough milk from me, I would try giving him a bottle. He wouldn't even suck on it.
Yesterday we went to the GI doctor. They didn't recommend this, but I brought him on an empty stomach. They weighed him before AND after his feeding. He had only gained 3 ounces, which means he was only getting 3 ounces of breastmilk. That is NOT enough for a 7 month old baby.
We went through many possibilities of why he has not been gaining weight and the doctor even ran a blood test to check for thyroid, metabolic rate, electrolytes, blood cell count, etc. This all came back normal. My hunch was that this all had to do with him not getting enough milk.  They officially diagnosed him as "Failure to Thrive"--3 words that a mother never wants to hear.
I was advised to hold off on the food for now and focus solely on him getting the milk he needs. Before leaving the hospital (that's where the specialist was located) I met with a lactation consultant who gave me some tips on how to increase my milk supply. She also recommended a specific bottle (since he had rejected the 3 different kinds I had tried giving him at home). She said it can be found at Target or Babies R Us. Well we went to Target and of course it wasn't in stock in the store and could only be purchased online. While in the baby aisle I noticed a mother searching for a bottle and asked her what she was looking for. She found the product she needed, showed me what it was (the Playtex Ventaire), and told me that it was the only bottle her baby would take. On a whim, and maybe out of desperation, I grabbed the same one.
As we were driving home I decided that I wanted to focus my efforts on trying to get Evan to take a bottle. I didn't want to spend time and energy increasing my milk supply because for one, how long was that going to take? A few days at most? Knowing that my baby was FTT I felt the need for him to consume extra calories immediately.
The GI doctor had given me instructions on how to fortify my breast milk (I had about 7 ounces in the freezer). He also gave me instructions on how to fortify formula (basically adding more powder than the can recommends)
What happened next was a miracle.
It took him a minute to get used to but he guzzled that bottle down so fast. Then he nursed both sides. 
He has happily been drinking from both sources since yesterday afternoon. I couldn't be happier. I feel like a new woman. And I am sure he feels extremely content and FULL. 
Once again I am reminded that the Lord has His hands in every aspect of our lives. I think of the tender mercies that the Lord blessed me and Evan with. 

1) Our babysitter was available and was able to watch my 2 oldest boys for 4 hours so I could take Evan to the appointments and the store to find a bottle--it would have been a lot more challenging to do these things with a 3 and 5 year old in tow. Plus, it would have been harder to concentrate on what the GI doctor and lactation consultant had to say. 

2) Initially, I took him to the doctor on an empty stomach because I was afraid we would be late and we could just nurse when we got there. This ended up being a huge blessing. The Lord put it in my mind to think about having him weighed after his feeding so I would know how much breast milk he was getting. 

3) Talking to the lactation consultant convinced me I should go to Target to buy a bottle, even though they didn't have the right one. The mother being in the bottle aisle and recommending a bottle to me. 

4) Remembering to buy formula, because the one from the hospital was several months old and it wouldn't hurt to try something new and fresh. 

5) On the way home I thought about how critical it would be for him to take this bottle and how I really needed to focus my energy on that rather than increasing my supply. What would happen if he didn't? What on earth would I do to help this baby gain weight? 
But my fears were pushed aside as that baby sucked his bottle down like a champ. And he did it at the next feeding. And the next. And the next. 
I am so grateful.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summertime Accomplishments

Today I've been reflecting on everything that we've accomplished of summer in the past 6 weeks. Here is a brief list:

Read "The Fault in Our Stars" and saw the movie
Attended adult swim classes in the month of June at a local outdoor pool
Started swimming laps at the Y (my goal in taking swim lessons)
Watched the kids outside for countless hours and visited with neighbors
Gone to the library with the kids once a week
Helped the kids participate in summer reading programs at the library
Driven the kids to swimming lessons
Nursed Evan hundreds of times

Learned how to ride his bike without training wheels (this was in April, I think)
Continues to progress in swimming lessons--he is great at backstroke and freestyle and is now working on side stroke and breast stroke and learning to dive
Working on earning prizes for the library's summer reading program
Continues to improve in reading
Looks forward to school shopping
Loves wearing "sport" clothes

Started swimming lessons in June
Fully potty trained
More attached to me lately
Continues progressing in his language/speech skills...his "r's" sound more like a "luh" sound.. my favorite is when he says, "do not cly" (cry)
Copies Owen on most things
Learned to pedal his tricycle!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

8 years

Eight years ago today Cameron and I were sealed for time and all eternity in the Dallas Texas Temple! I thought I loved him then...but I had no idea...
I have seen this done on other blogs and I think it's a great idea to tally up the numbers over the past 8 years:

3 degrees!
3 children!
6 moves!
For me, thousands of hours spent at home with my wonderful children!
For Cameron, thousands of hours spent in the office providing for his family!

In the 6 wards we have lived in here is a list of callings we have had:
Callings I have had (in order): primary pianist, young women secretary, young women mia maid advisor, ward organist, ward music chairman, nursery worker, primary pianist, young women 2nd counselor, primary pianist, relief society music conductor, primary pianist, young women laurel advisor

Callings Cameron has had (in order): duty to God person (not sure of the correct title!), scoutmaster, cubmaster, nursery worker, primary chorister, young men's 1st counselor, young men's president, ward clerk

I would go on and list the names of all the different jobs Cameron has had but I would totally fudge the titles...
I, myself had several different jobs from the time we got married to the time we moved away to graduate school and started having children..

A few months before meeting Cameron! I had no idea what was in store for me at this point! 
Young and in love 

My husband is still devilishly handsome!

I think that he would say the same about me...except replace "handsome" with "beautiful" and "devilishly" with "angelically"
30 weeks pregnant with #1! How naive I was to motherhood...
Cameron's graduation present from me--when I had time for fun things like quilt-making!

Checking out our first house out of grad school
With our one and only!

Pregnant with #2...about 2 months away from delivery..this was moving day!

Sweet Elliot with big brother Owen!
Went through the awesome terrible 3's!

6 weeks pregnant with #3!
 Sweet cuddling with #3

Hard to believe it all started here on this day 8 years ago! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Car-Losh

It has been so fun the past several months to hear conversations between Owen and Elliot. Just now, we have been planning Elliot's birthday. Owen, the 5 year old, talking to Elliot:

Owen: Elliot, where do you want to go for your birf-day?
Elliot: I wanna go to the car-losh (car wash).

I just have to laugh on the inside because Elliot has been obsessed with the car wash for the past little while. Last year he balled when we would drive through the automatic car wash but this year it is pure delight for him. I pretend like the car wash is giving me a shower and that I am wet and he shrieks with laughter. I love watching his eyes light up and look from side to side (he sits in the middle of the bench) as the sprayer turns on and paints our car with soap.

If we drive by a dirty car on the road he says, "That car needs a car losh." Nearly every day when we are out driving he asks for a car wash. He is SO happy when our car is finally dirty enough for a car wash!

So, for Elliot's birthday, we will make sure we fit in a trip to the car-losh.
Elliot's feelings about the car wash have
 changed drastically in the past 12 months! 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Three Kids

Sometimes I marvel at the fact that I have 3 children. But most of the time I am trying to survive and get us through this baby stage. I am holding a screaming, hungry baby in one arm and helping my 2 year old, who just woke up and must have had an awful bloody nose in the night, into the shower. I am at the park, feeding my baby and trying to visit with some friends while my 5 year old is balling under the tree because he barely got a scrape and he is ready to go. I am talking to the tax lady on the phone while my 2 year old is screaming and crying over something. I am trying to keep myself fed so I don't lose it. I am trying to keep my kids fed so they don't lose it.

And this is what everyone must have been referring to when they told me 3 kids was hard. Because at first I didn't believe them.
My baby did this his first 3 months. It was great. He still sleeps, just not 18 hours a day. 

Owen 5 years ago

I found this old blog post today...I love it because this is the exact size and age that Evan is now. Let's just say this. Had Evan and Owen been babies at the same time people would have thought they were identical twins.