Sunday, January 31, 2010

Amelia at 2 months


*Blink*...and our little Amelia is already two months old.  These last couple of months have absolutely flown by.  I remember driving to the hospital every day thinking that we were in an interminably long phase with our little girl, and now she's been home with us for over a month.  All that time in the hospital seems so long ago.  Granted, we get to drive down that way at least once every week, but we're so happy she's here.  Nothing and no one could have prepared me for the way I just take her condition in stride:  she's my daughter, she's a beautiful baby, and oh, by the way, she has spina bifida.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Doctors and Banana Slips

Amelia says hi! She's really happy tonight despite the fact that she had two shots and an oral immunization today.  Plus, both shots had to be in the same leg since her cast comes up almost to her hip.  Poor thing.

I took both Xander and Amelia to the pediatrician today.  Amelia for her two month checkup (Can you believe she's already two months old?), and Xander because he developed a cough a couple of days ago and I'm not taking any chances - especially with Brian sick.  No worries, though - Xander is fine.  He's cutting all of his two-year molars (top ones are almost fully in, bottom ones are just starting to come up), so the cough just developed from the runny nose he has.  He did end up getting his flu shots today, though, so I had two slightly puny little ones.  There were a lot of snuggles and cartoons this afternoon!  Plus, after dinner he got to enjoy his first banana split - "banana slip" as he called it.

Amelia is doing great - she got a new cast yesterday (a little more fitted than last week, so I think we have a good chance of keeping this one on again until next week), she's starting to smile at us, and she's growing so fast (9lb 13.5 oz, 20.5" - woot!).  She's also sleeping through the night every other night or so, which I am so thankful for.

Brian's feeling better, too.  He's on the tail end of a pretty nasty upper respiratory infection (like he gets every year), but the doctor put him on a strong antibiotic and a heavy cough syrup.  Tonight he even made dinner - a sure sign he's feeling more like himself again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Taking a sick day

Brian never calls in sick.  In fact, I can really only think of one occasion in almost eight years of marriage when he was so sick that he voluntarily stayed home from work.  Today marks the second time I've seen him call in sick.  It's that bad.  All the poor guy's been able to do today is sleep.  I'm praying I don't get whatever yuck he has because, um, moms don't get sick days.

Xander's still running full bore, though.  Yesterday after breakfast he asked for a game, so I asked if he wanted to play a board game or a video game.  By video game, I meant computer game since we've been playing a lot of fun games at the PBS and Playhouse Disney websites.  Xander must have taken "video game" literally though, because he lit up and said, "Oh yeah, I go get my guitar!" as he ran for the closet where we keep the Guitar Hero controllers.

The kid's actually been raised on Guitar Hero in a sense: I played frequently while I was pregnant (most famously the night I was in labor) and Brian would play with him strapped in the Baby Bjorn to settle him down when he was fussy.  However, today he went for the microphone.

Later in the day, we got down on the floor and played with Amelia.  She's really pushing up now; I guess that's one nice benefit of having her prone all the time.

I took Xander to the playground this morning.  It's been a challenge to keep him occupied and away from Brian.  Usually having Daddy home equals fun times, so I've had to work at explaining that Daddy is sick and we need to let him rest.  Xander wisely asked if Daddy was going to go to the doctor.  Happily, I can say yes, tomorrow Daddy is going to go see the doctor.  As is Amelia - I'll have an orthopedic update tomorrow, too.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Haiku

Poor Brian is sick
I napped in the sun and breeze
And made him some soup

Amelia's cast came off at church today, too, but I couldn't figure out how to fit that in.  Besides, we managed to put it back on.  I hope it doesn't cause any problems.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Big-boy bed

Brian put Xander's new bed together today.  I'm still second-guessing myself about the bed we decided on, but that's my problem.  I always get like this when we make any semi-big purchase.  I wonder if we made the right choice; if the color is right, the design something that both kids and anyone else can use.  Brian says to give it a few weeks and it will seem like the bed has always been here.  He's probably right.

Once we got the bed all made up with the fun sheets and pillows I've been collecting over the last few months, it really did look good.  We had to put a stool next to the bed so Xander can climb in, but at the rate this kid grows, it won't be long before he's jumping in without it.  It takes up more space than his crib/toddler bed, obviously, but it's even more strange to see his crib set up in Amelia's room.  Ack - I have two kids!


Brian put up the bed rail I bought a while back, too, just in case since the new bed is pretty high off the ground.  Then Brian went upstairs to check on Xander - the little guy had climbed out of bed to get a book to read (not unusual) when he heard Daddy coming up the stairs.  So he did what he usually does in this case: he flung himself back into bed.  Only tonight, the bed is suddenly much higher than he's used to, so he ended up flinging himself into the mesh side rail instead, falling back onto the stool and then onto his bottom.  I haven't heard Brian laugh so hard in quite a while.

This little guy was camped out on our front step yesterday. At first, I thought it was a piece of trash or debris or something. That is, until I saw him move and curl up! Then it struck me that it looked like someone's poor mustache had escaped and was seeking refuge at our house. At least that's the story I told Xander.

A new record

Today was a rough day...Xander is being very two, and we spent the day in our pajamas. Not the good-lazy-do-nothing-spend-the-day-in-your-jammies kind of day, but the steam-rolling-fight-to-change-a-diaper-day-with-no-chance-to-change-out-of-your-pajamas kind. In fact, I think the only things that happened of note were that Brian picked up Xander's new big-boy bed and mattress, I finally saw the last half of "You've Got Mail" (yeah, I know it came out over ten years ago, and I can't really pin down exactly why I've never seen the whole thing, but 'tis true), and - the big one - Amelia's most recent cast is still on.

She tried to roll from her tummy to her back yesterday. As you can see, she's pretty angry about it and she didn't quite succeed (probably because of the cast), but she did try. I think her attempt had something to do with the fact that I propped her chest up on that little pillow in her floor gym. I'm just happy she tried; since she's been prone her whole life, she's really content to lie on her stomach and I really worry that this milestone will be severely delayed. I'm already preparing for "back time" once our neurologist clears her for it. She'll have to be trained to be happy on her back just like most babies have to be trained to be happy on their tummies. Just one more thing to be concerned about, I guess.

Anyway, back to the cast. This is attempt #4 to keep the poor thing's right leg in a cast to begin correcting her knee. We abandoned the idea of correcting her knee and feet at the same time last week, hoping that the bend in her foot would help keep the cast on. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Her right knee is straight right now - much better than bending the wrong way like it wants to, but the cast just wants to slip right off. On top of it, she likes to wiggle around. So on Tuesday, the orthopedist decided to just cast from her hip to her ankle in the hopes that her foot would really stop the cast from sliding off (you can see it pretty well in this picture). I am happy to report that it seems to be working; we're going on day 4 with no major problems. The cast does slide down, but I can easily stretch her leg and move it back up her leg. I also keep her sock kind of tucked up under the bottom edge of her cast to keep it from chafing her foot. I feel really good about this new approach; hopefully, we can get through the next couple of weeks with some good improvement and be able to bend her knee the right way so we can start in on her feet.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rainy day fun

Amelia slept through the night! She slept from 11pm to 7:30am - of course, I was up at 5am, wondering why she wasn't. What's funny is she and Xander both slept through some crazy thunder last night that rattled our windows and caused several brown-outs. I guess that's what qualifies as a winter storm around here.

So, fueled by a full night's sleep, I felt strangely motivated today to do some fun activities with Xander and try to keep us out the funk that can come with a day of storms and tornado warnings.

First up was a craft I've been wanting to do for Xander's room. I saw this neat little piece of art at Pottery Barn Kids a couple of months ago that was just a simple frame with a picture of a car made from construction paper. I thought it would be easy enough to recreate and would look great for Xander's new big-boy room.

I have to admit, I'm pretty pleased with the results; I managed to put the perfectionist in me aside and enjoy making something with my son. He got to use his scissors for the first time, and enjoyed using them to cut up the scraps from our car. He also helped squeeze the glue (He wanted to do it by himself, but the only glue I could find was Tacky Glue. Must buy glue stick.) and press the paper down.

After (an early) naptime, we made snickerdoodles for Brian. Xander loves to help me cook, and I never got to make Brian's favorite cookies at Christmastime this year (plus, he's having a rough week, and who wouldn't like to be greeted at the door with his favorite cookie fresh from the oven?).

Xander's really starting to be a great little helper; he helped Brian tear up basil for dinner the other night, and today he helped crack eggs (he's getting better not just smashing the egg into the counter anymore) and manned the mixer. He did a good job of turning it off and on and dumping ingredients into the mixing bowl. I only had to watch him when he would turn it on after putting in the flour; he wanted to go from OFF to 10 immediately!

After the cookie dough was done, we started a little assembly line (well, I tried to). I would scoop out a cookie and put it in Xander's hand, then he would dump it into the bowl of cinnamon sugar. I tried to get him to roll the dough around to get it coated, but he just wasn't getting the concept. He loved the process, though, and even tried to man the scoop a few times. Of course, he also ate the cookie dough every chance he got.

In the end, the cookies were a bit hit - I'm munching on one right now, in fact. I don't think I can measure up to this level of fun again tomorrow, though.

By the way, why are my pictures so grainy? I've had this camera for a year now, and I still can't figure out how to make my snapshots look as good as on my old Canon. Grr.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Holding on

Xander is a really good big brother. In fact, he keeps surprising me with how kind and loving he is toward his sister. I'm sure you've already seen how he sings to her when she's crying (the ABC's, of course), and I've already told you that he likes to bring her a pacifier and put it in her mouth, too (which leads to a lot of pacifier washing, since sometimes it takes a detour on the carpet as a car before it makes it to Amelia). This morning he blew me away, though. I had just finished feeding Amelia, and was getting up off the couch when Xander reached for his sister and said, "I hold baby sister, Mommy. I hold her."

He went from sweet in the morning to sour in the afternoon, though. We tried to go to the playground since it was such a nice day, but the slides were really wet and had a lot of mulch on them. I'm not sure how that much mulch accumulates on the slides, but it was probably done by a child who likes to pick it up by the handfuls so it can rain mulch like mine does. Anyway, he just walked around the playground area for a few minutes, picking up rocks, and then we moseyed back home. Where he proceeded to act very strong-willed and dramatic (i.e., 2 1/2). Amelia was fussy, too. I'm not sure if she was picking up on the mood of the house or if she had her own reasons, but I was trying to calm either one or the other for the rest of the afternoon. Tomorrow's forecast is for rain all day, so I hope we're all in better moods to deal with the dreary weather.

It's all here

I've been wanting to blog again ever since Amelia was diagnosed with spina bifida. I found very few blogs that documented what it was like to have a baby with SB, and I hoped that if I could chronicle our story, it might help another family going through the same thing. Unfortunately, being pregnant and having a 2 1/2 year old complicated things just enough so that every time I thought, "Hey, I should write a post today", something else came up that demanded my attention.

Well, no more! I've imported all my old posts from my previous blog, Squiggles McGillicutty, and kept all the old posts on this blog, and I think we're off and running. I'll be posting new adventures, as well as going back and retro-posting the adventures we've already had. So keep any eye on the archives to see what we've been up to, and be on the lookout for new material.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Finally, we meet

Today, Amelia and I paid a visit to the urologist.  He is the only doctor involved in Amelia's care that we never got to meet in the hospital, so I was eager to finally get to talk with him and ask some questions that Brian and I never really got answers to.

Things actually look pretty good; the VCUG Amelia had in the hospital shows that she's eliminating well enough not to need a catheter, which is a huge relief.  We know that we'll very likely have to cath her at some point, but the farther back we can push that day, the better.  She does have some low-grade reflux (basically, urine backup) in one of her kidneys, but apparently it's not enough to be too concerned about right now.  In fact, the doctor said that this kind of reflux is very common in little girls and usually goes away on it's own - we're just keeping a closer eye on it because she already has a neurogenic bladder (typical with spina bifida).  He even said that he thinks that hers may clear up in a few years!  So, our course of action right now is to prevent a UTI with a daily dose of antibiotics and keep an eye on things via another ultrasound in three months.  She'll probably have to have another VCUG in about a year, too, which I am already not looking forward to.  Still, to walk away from the urologist with only a couple of prescriptions for antibiotics is a huge blessing, considering many babies have to be cathed from the beginning.

Xander was busy taking pictures with our camera today.  As you can see, he really likes his new airplane.