Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm hijacking this from another blog that I read because it is beautifully written. Although the road to motherhood and the journey thereafter have been difficult, I thank God for the precious gift that he has given me in Lexi. I can only hope that one day in the future He will be gracious enough to entrust another little heart into our care, but if he doesn't, I am thankful for the experience of motherhood, and the chance to love and care for our precious miracle.

"There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.

I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books, but because I have struggled and toiled for this child. I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed. I have endured and planned over and over again. Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.

I will notice everything about my child. I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life. I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see. Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love. I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain. I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body, I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall. I have prevailed. I have succeeded. I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs. I listen. And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immerse power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes. I have learned to appreciate life.Yes, I will be a wonderful mother." - Unknown

Monday, January 10, 2011

Slow but good progress

I am over the moon lately because I feel like The Chub's oral defensiveness is starting to improve quite a bit. I feel like she is finally to a point where she isn't as scared or apprehensive about new things coming near her mouth, which makes life easier on all of us. Although texture continues to be an issue when she eats, it is becoming less of an issue for her to merely HAVE texture in her mouth. Before she would not let anything texturized into her mouth no matter what it was. She is now starting to accept:

Teething biscuits (sometimes will even hold them in her hand and chew on them without my assistance)
Washcloths (chewing and sucking on)
Texturized Spoons & other texturized utensils
Cheetos & Veggie Straws (Licking and taking small bites)

When I bring something close to her mouth, she tends to be open to the idea of exploring it. Her exploration isn't without some sort of trepidation, but I wouldn't expect her to jump in feet first with anything. Everything we've accomplished has taken lots of exposure and repeated tries to get to where we are.

I think she's getting bored of her bottle, but I haven't successfully transitioned her to any sort of cup. Liquids are not her favorite thing, so I think it will just take a lot of persistence and more exposure to get her comfortable to drink out of a new object and do it on her own. We're in the awkward place where she's kind of done with the bottle, but there isn't another alternative quite yet so we just have to push through.

On another note, although self feeding sounds freeing in theory, I'm terrified about it. I don't know that I trust her to eat or drink enough on her own, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there!

She's doing much better on her hands and knees now. She rocks on her own and seems to enjoy it for a period of time. She's doing well with weight shifting from arm to arm. We still need to use a thin cushion under her hands, because she's not quite ready to put her hands flat on the ground, but in a week or so, I'll pull the cushion and go from there. We started with two cushions, so we're getting there. At first she wasn't able to get back up on her knees from the one cushion, but can do that now, so I think she just needs time to build the muscles more. She's also improving quite a bit pulling herself up from sit to stand.

And since I haven't posted a picture of her in awhile, I figured one was in order:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

13 Months 2 Days

No, this is not the age my daughter is right now (she's 13 months and 17 days to be exact). It is the age that I was told to look out for. That my daughter's blue eyes could possibly turn brown over night on that exact day. Yes, I did say overnight.

Who would say such a thing you ask? Oh just some random lady working at the American Girl store. I'm sure she has her doctorate and is an expert on baby eye color. My mom and I popped in there about a month ago just for fun. I loved the books when I was a little girl and they have expanded their collections so much I thought it would be fun to browse and see what was available and dream about when The Chubs is old enough to start playing with them. We were in the baby doll section looking for a doll that had brown hair and blue eyes. Not because we wanted to get it for Lexi, she's not old enough to truly appreciate a doll that expensive, but just for fun. The sales associate in that particular area asked if she could help with something and my mom, being the oversharer that she is (love you mom! :)) mentioned that we were looking to see if they had any babies with brown hair and blue eyes. The saleswoman said they didn't and wanted to know why we were particular about it. I just mentioned that my daughter had that combination and it would be fun to find a doll with the same features. Then our conversation went a little like this:

Saleswoman: How old is your daughter?

Me: She just turned 1 year

Saleswoman: Well, you know her eyes can still change.

Me: Really? I thought most eye colors were set at around 8 months and green eyes are the only color that change after that.

Saleswoman: No. That was what I was told too, but at exactly 13 months and 2 days both of my children's eyes changed from blue to brown.

Me: Wow? Really? You mean overnight? Or was it gradual?

Saleswoman: It was overnight. They went to bed with blue eyes and woke up with brown! So just watch out.

Me: Um, ok? That is so weird that they changed over night. You would think it would be a little more gradual.

Saleswoman: Yes, it was weird.

Awkward silence

Saleswoman: So, just watch out for that day!

Me: Um, well thanks for your help.

So thank goodness we made it past the 13 month, 2 day mark. Looks like she's keeping her blue eyes for good.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, Fresh Start

I can't tell you how happy I was to say goodbye to 2010. To most people that would sound really terrible because it was the first year of my baby's life, but to those of you who regularly read my blog, you can understand where I'm coming from. I'm just so ready for a fresh start, and things are looking really promising.

I haven't posted much lately but for the last few months The Chubs has been doing so well with her eating. She's been eating much more each day than she needs to which is a huge victory in itself, but what is even more exciting is that we are down to 4 bottles a day and 3 solid meals. I really never thought I'd see the day (or at least wouldn't see it until she was 5... ok maybe 2). My sweet daughter is now sleeping 7pm-7am, with a bottle every 4 hours during the day, and solid meals in between each bottle. I can't even tell you how much this has transformed my life.

Flash back to August I was feeding her every 3 hours round the clock like a newborn. She was about 9 months old and was still not accepting solids. I had to wake her through the entire night to feed her or she wouldn't get enough calories. Even with all of these feedings she still wasn't eating enough. She averaged about 17 oz a day. It was HORRIFIC. I was so depressed, cried everyday, was sleep deprived and felt hopeless, especially when she puked up everything I just fed her on a regular basis. Thinking back to that time, I really don't know how I survived. It was so hard to know she was not feeling well and not knowing what the problem was. Her reflux medication didn't seem to be doing anything and I was still pumping and supplementing with soy formula because I knew she was intolerant to dairy.

What made the huge turn around? Well, I finally realized that for whatever reason, my breast milk and the soy formula were not gentle enough on her system. Everyone thinks that breast milk is the perfect food, and really it is. But there were things I was consuming that were transferring to my milk that were taking a toll on her little system. And instead of doing weeks of trialing foods and seeing what it was she was sensitive too while she continued to lose weight, I made the hard decision to stop pumping and give her a completely hypoallergenic formula that you can only purchase directly through the company or through a pharmacy with Doctor's permission, called Elecare. Within 3 weeks, I had a new baby. And even though these measly 14 oz cans cost almost $50 a piece (and last only a few days), it was completely worth it (and thank God for craigslist).

We still struggled to get her intake up with her formula and solids but as the months went on and the healing process continued she started to gain weight, and take more interest in eating. She actually started to seem like she had an appetite. It's been a slow process getting her over her oral aversion, but slowly her defensiveness is starting to dissipate. She now allows us to brush her teeth with a wash cloth, dispense medicine via dropper, use a vibrating teether among many other things I never thought I'd see her do.

I realize how pathetic these achievements sound. Any normal baby would have absolutely no problem with these things and would be chewing and mouthing anything in sight, but I can't help but thank God over and over again that our little orally defensive sensory refluxer is now eating like a champ and allowing us to put more and more types of things in her mouth. We're still having major issues with texture and gagging but we're making progress.

I know that things will only continue to improve. I can see that as she feels better and is finally getting the nutrition she needs that she is starting to explore the world much more. She was completely shut off from everything for the first 9 months of her life. She felt so horrible that she wouldn't explore anything. She wouldn't even touch toys. I always felt bad doing anything around the house because all she would do is sit there. So now when I see her playing with toys, rocking back and forth on her hands and knees and wanting to learn about everything around her, it makes me smile. She had a very late start so we are suffering a lot of delays because of it, but she has learned so much in such a small time frame and even if it doesn't mean she walks until she's 2 or 3, I can rest assured knowing she feels better and is getting the calories she needs.

Yes, 2011 is going to be our year. I can feel it!