Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Mommy Files: Tummy Troubles

Everything about being a new mom is completely foreign.

Just when you think you've got things mastered,
Baby decides to start preferring/doing the complete opposite.

Trial and error has become an everyday occurrence in this household.

Maybe you can relate to some of our experiences.
Maybe not.
Maybe you're horrified by some of the things we've done to survive this whole parenthood thing.
But I like to think of this as the judgement-free zone.
Can we agree to that?

Either way, I'm going to share some things we've learned and mistakes we've made along the way. Please share your experiences too. Because I'm always gaining my best info from other mamas.

I chose this week's topic simply because I've gotten so many questions and several e-mails regarding reflux. So let's talk tummy, shall we?

And because I like to get a little crazy and mix things up a bit, let's start with the moral of the story.

Always trust your gut (no pun intended). You are mom. Doesn't matter that you're new at this. Your instinct knows best.

Knowing Something Was Wrong

It all started when Lyla turned 6 weeks old. Something dramatically and instantly changed.
We went from having a super chill and extremely happy newborn, to a full-blown fussy baby.

It lasted for about a week when I knew something was wrong.
We all know that newborns cry a lot, but this was different.
My instinct told me Ly was in pain.
This was also about the time she started projectile spitting up.
*P.S. All babies spit up (some even projectile), but this does not necessarily mean that anything is wrong with your baby.*

Every time she ate, things would get bad.
Spitting up.
Arching her back.
Sometimes for hours on end.

Luckily, the screaming fits were somewhat infrequent.
I kept thinking to myself how lucky we were to not have a "colicky" baby.
You know the ones.
Poor sweeties who cry for hours on end for days/weeks/months at a time.
Lyla was never like that. 
Although infrequent, when she did have one of her hysterical meltdowns, they lasted for hours.
She seemed so uncomfortable.
And in so much pain. 

So we took her to the doctor.
All the symptoms pointed to reflux.
Our doctor (who we trust and love so much) put her on reflux medicine.

Instant relief.

We also tilted her crib and held her upright for 30 minutes after eating.
*Worked wonders.*

We breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Our happy baby was back.
...Or so we thought.

Things Get Worse

About 2 and a half months went by.
No problems.
I think Lyla cried maybe 3 times in that time period.

Then at around 4 months, the problems returned.
Gurgling sounds in the belly.
Curdled spit up a couple hours after eating.

The weird and somewhat frustrating thing was that her "episodes" were so unpredictable.
Sometimes, I even wondered if we were imagining them.
Except for one time with my mom, she never had one in front of grandparents or friends.

But suddenly, the episodes seemed to get more frequent.

Our nerves were on edge every time we took her out.
So we just stopped taking her places.
We simply had no idea when, where, or long a severe meltdown would last.

Her longest episode lasted for 3 hours.
Unconsolable screaming and kicking.
Refused the paci.
Refused to nurse.

We went an entire month without taking her out in public.
Except to friends' houses two or three times.

The only thing that would calm her down was us pressing as hard as we could on her belly for hours at a time.
Until she would finally fall asleep.

We took her to the doctor two more times.
Tried two more medicines.

Nothing helped anymore.

The worst part? We knew her cries were for a purpose. She would look intently in our eyes while tears streamed down her face. Her eyes were begging us to help. And she was just so needy.

Finding Another Solution

My mom and several friends kept suggesting to take her to a chiropractor.
Apparently some specialize in reflux and colic.
I was skeptical, to say the least.

But what did we have to lose?
Nothing else was working.

So Gabe took her to the chiropractor.
He was *highly* referred by several friends.
Plus he specialized in babies.
And one of our chiropractor friends said he was the absolute best, and trained chiropractors from all over the world.
I was still nervous.

After her first appointment, Gabe came home and filled me in on the major details:
1). The chiropractor was confident Lyla did not have reflux.
2). But there was indeed something wrong with her.
3). We needed to take her off her reflux medicine...immediately.
4). I needed to change my diet for the next 2 weeks to turkey, chicken, bread, cheese, and green beans.
5). We would need to bring her in every day for the next two weeks for treatments.

I nearly fell over.
A lot of information to process.
And take her off her medicine?
We tried that twice, and it was a total disaster.

I needed more information ASAP.

The Real Problem

He went on to explain more.

Lyla may not have had reflux, but she did have a problem. The valve between her small and large intestine was loose. So when she ate, food would leak out of that valve, travel up, and go back through the intestines causing some serious P-A-I-N.

This is also a common cause of...colic.

So...my baby has colic? But, wait a minute, what?

Basically, when Lyla ate too much, the valve leaked, and she would be in intense pain until the food worked its way back through her system. Subsequently, she would cry until she felt better. Sometimes this took 2-3 hours.

According to the chiro, around 40% of all babies are diagnosed with reflux. Unfortunately, around 90% of those cases are not actually reflux at all.

But, I was so confused. If Lyla didn't have reflux, why did she have all the symptoms? And more importantly, why did the reflux medicine work like a charm (at least for awhile)?

He actually treats babies with reflux. And he said in the rare case a baby actually does have reflux, the most common thing they will do is constantly cough and choke while eating and then start refusing food all together because it is so difficult for them to swallow.

We all know Chunkin never refuses to eat. Ever.

And why did the medicine work so well if she never had reflux?
The medicine can be unpredictable. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not. But it does tend to mask the real problem if a baby doesn't have reflux.
Most babies grow out of their "reflux" by 3-4 months.
Therefore the medicine can mask the real problem for that short time.
But in Lyla's case, she wasn't outgrowing it.
And the real problem persisted.

And in Lyla's case, it was so hard to "diagnose" because she had a mild case of colic.
If her case was mild, my heart goes out to those who have babes with severe cases.
Because this "mild" case was strong enough to nearly send me into cardiac arrest.

How the Treatment Works

He "tested" his theory with Lyla by simply pressing on the area where this connector valve is located.
Sure enough.
Instant pain.
And screaming for about an hour.
He pushed, and simply made the food work its way through her little system.

Then she fell asleep instantly.

He did that for two weeks straight.
Laid her on a pillow in his lap.
Pushed on the valve.
Simply strengthening her muscle.
To make it stop leaking.

Every treatment got better than the last.
We even took her to his house on a Saturday when things got bad at the beginning.
His house!
For two hours.

That's service, I tell ya.

Did We See Results?

All I know is that Lyla hasn't had one single episode since our treatments have started.
We could see instant relief on her little face.
She's been off medicine for 4 weeks.
She has more energy.
She rarely fusses.
She smiles all day, every day.
She can actually be placed on her tummy without screaming.
She can sit without projectile spitting up.
She just looks more comfortable.
She loves snuggling and cuddling now.
She can actually make it through an evening without having a meltdown.

We have a baby who is significantly happier.
More comfortable.
And is clearly pain free.

I'd say it worked.

So, believe what you will about chiropractors.
But it worked for us.

And I'm now I'm a believer.
So incredibly thankful for Dr. S.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Uh-oh. Mom Jeans are next.

Well folks.
The inevitable has happened.
And there's no use fighting it anymore.

The ol' blog has officially become mommy-ized.

So, I guess if you can't beat em, join em.
...or something like that.

It all started when I had a come-to-Jesus moment.
Just after Christmas.

I had developed major identity confusion.
Am I a rockstar teacher?
Or am I a fabulous mother?
Am I really good at one?
Or am I kind of good at both?
How can I do it all?
How do other women make it seem so easy?
Am I the only one who feels lucky to make it out the door with both eyes mascara-ed and a matching pair of shoes?
Or maybe I'm just certifiably, full-blown CRAZY.

Then I realized my life consisted of two things.
And only two things.

Every waking, breathing moment consisted of:
classroom management.
maintaining a house.
caring for a baby.

I was miserable.
And starting to get quite bitter that I was working,
instead staying home with my sweet-cheeks.
Because if I stayed home of course, I could part ways with my arch nemesis,
Mr. Pump.

That's when two things happened.

1). I saw a quote in my bathroom at school. *of all places*

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."  

The irony.
Reading a quote at my work.
And realizing I can't change one thing right now.
So better change my attitude.
...about work.
And maybe even pumping too.
Thank you, Maya Angelou.

2). I had an epiphany.
I knew removing something from my plate was impossible.
So why not add something instead?
(See, told you I am certifiably cray-cray).

I needed a hobby.
Something for me.
Just me.

And then my husband,
thinking 8-steps ahead of me,
got me a new camera for Christmas.
New hobby.

And then I remembered I had a blog.
Not another check on my to-do list,
but a journal of life.
*And my really cheap therapy session.*

And yes, maybe every single thing I talk about revolves around some kind of bodily fluid.
Or how incredibly cute I think my offspring is.

But it's for me.
And I really need that right now.

And then I got really excited.
I thought, why not be resourceful as well?

Blogging is a place to record memories.
Document milestones.
Make friends.
And find resources.

I can't tell you how many late nights I've spent scouring the inter webs looking for answers to questions.
Why isn't she sleeping through the night?
What do I do when my babe is congested?
Is it normal for human waste to look like that?

And guess where I've found some of my best answers?
From other mamas.
And even if they do things differently than me,
it's SO nice to learn about a variety of options.
And hear others' stories.
And know that I'm not alone in all of this.

With that being said.
I'm going to *try* to regularly post on certain new-mommy topics.
Share things that have worked for us.
And what hasn't.
So I can look back.
And use it as a resource.
And maybe others will post and share their experience too.
And thus creating more resources for more often-times-lost new mamas.

So. My first topic will be tummy troubles.
I've gotten 5 e-mails in the last month with questions from others who have babes with tummy problems as well.

So please join me this week as I share our troubles with baby's tum-tum.
Maybe you'll gain some info.
And in return, I can get some info from you?

All of that, my friends, was an incredibly long-winded way to go about saying, 
this mama needed a hobby.
And that I really like the blog community.

The end.

P.S. Did you really think I'd end a post without one single picture?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Week 22: Mama's Back

Week 22: 01/13/13 - 01/19/13

Two months.

That's how long it's been.

Since I left my babe.
Went back to work.
Entered a warzone of a classroom.
Began the journey of being a working mom.
Learned to balance 8,000 things at once.

And that's precisely how long it's taken me to process my new normal.
To figure out just exactly how to manage it all.
Grade papers.
Plan lessons.
Keep up with laundry.

All while my immune system took a major nosedive.
*More like completely shut down.*
All while trying to figure out what was wrong with our usually-happy-but-suddenly-screaming-a-lot-and-totally-miserable baby.

But last week was different.
I woke up on Monday and didn't feel empty.
or nervous.
or scatterbrained.
or depressed.
or stressed.
or sick.

I actually felt normal.
Truly...happy again. 

It's amazing how wonderful one can feel.
With a full night's sleep.
Without being sick.
Without having a sick child.
Without a clogged duct. (Although I managed to get one this week. Argh.)

It was also the first week where I actually enjoyed my job again.
And remembered why I entered the education profession.
And where I didn't feel incredibly socially awkward.

Some would say I got my groove back.

Two long months.
That seemed like an eternity.
But looking forward to moving forward.

Another added bonus last week?

Chunkin decided to love cuddling again.
She has been quite the snuggle-bear.
Something that hasn't occurred since she was a newborn.
After nursing in the mornings, she puts her arms around my neck and lays her head on my shoulder.
Best moments of the day.
By far.

So thank you, Week 22.
Cheers to being normal again.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Five Months

Five Months: 01/19/13


How has it been five months?

I love you so much. And this is an incredibly fun age.

I enjoyed this month. Even though it has been one of the most difficult. 

Being a teacher has caused mom to get sick over and over again.
And I gave you your first little cold.
But you toughed it out like a champ.

And your "reflux" came back in full swing. 
So bad that we decided to take matters into our own hands.
Got two full weeks of chiropractic treatments. 
And took you off your medicine. 
Cold turkey.
You're a new baby.
*Update soon*

Milestones this month:

Still not rolling over. At all. In fact, you don't seem the slight bit interested. Or motivated.  The pediatrician has attributed it to the fact that you've had major tummy issues. Now that we've got those fixed, you actually tolerate being on your tummy. You just don't remember how to roll. And don't really seem eager to.  

Sitting. You are so incredibly close to sitting up by yourself. You've done it a few times for GiGi and me, but you quickly lean back against something. You even pulled yourself up with GiGi - with no help! Only a matter of time. And you sure love to sit. It's your favorite position by far.

Standing. Although a wee wobbly at times, you sure love to stand with our help. In fact, we've realized that will get you to stop fussing every single time you're upset. You love.love.love. to stand. Strong little babe.

Motor Skills. You pick everything up to put it in our mouth. Your ball. Blankets. Toys. Sophie the Giraffe. Your pacifier. But your most favorite is still my hair. Ouch!

Engagement. You love to play, talk, and giggle. Although I'd say you're a fairly quiet and pretty laid back baby - totally take after dad in that department. You still really like to smile at others, but you definitely prefer mom, dad, and grandparents. You have finally reached the point where you get excited when I pick you up. Love. You're even starting to reach out a little to be held. 

You are not a fan of:

Reflux medicine. Thank goodness we finally took you off of it. 2 weeks, 1 day, and counting. 
Tummy aches. Again, pretty sure we've got this resolved. PTL.
Going more than 1 day without pooing. Holy moly. We have one cranky baby on our hands when those bowels aren't-a-movin. 

And that's pretty much the extent of things you don't like. 

Your loves: 

That thumb. Your most favorite love of all.
Mornings with mom. We *finally* have our little routine down. Nurse. Playtime. Mom sings and talks to you while she pumps. And sometimes we even have enough time for a story before I leave for work.
Happy Seat. At GiGi's and at home. You love to show off your standing skills and play with all the little toys. Insta-happiness.
Your dad. I swear your world stops when he walks into the room.   
Putting everything in your mouth. Especially your pink ball and Sophie the Giraffe. I love hearing little squishy sucking sounds when you chew on Sophie.
Grabbing mom's fingers to suck on. You loooove sneakily finding my fingers to put in your mouth.
Sitting in your highchair. We haven't started feeding you solids yet. But you sure love sitting at the table during meals. You feel like such a big girl. 

Now that we've fixed your broken tummy, things are already so much better. Here's to month 6!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Week 21: Recurring Theme

Week 21: 01/06/13 - 01/12/13

There's a circulating theme that keeps popping up in our household.

Well. Ours and about 8 million other households.


And of course by our household, I really just mean me.

Yep. I've been sick on and off for 2 solid months.

And you, Baby Chunk, caught your first cold last week.

I went in to wake you up, only to hear rattling snot and a wheezing chest.

Talk about wrenching my heart.

But you just went about your business giggling and talking as usual.

Still broke my heart.

Last week was also our first round of daily chiropractic treatments. Your last treatment is tomorrow. I'm so excited to give a full report on this topic. No more tummy issues. No more medicine. It's a miracle. Fingers crossed...

In other news, Dad has a new schedule. One that reflects a normal human being. It's made my life significantly easier. He picks you up, and I'm able to come home to both my babies.

It's so cute how close you two are. Joined at the hip, really. You already have little inside jokes and a theme song even. I hear him singing it to you all the time.

The only thing is, Dad does things a tad differently than mom.

We've also been noticing some physical changes as of late. You still have a silly little bald spot in the back of your head. Yet, your hair is incredibly long. So, sometimes I have to do a double-take. Your current doppelganger is Michael Bolton.

And girl. Those thighs. Holy chubbalicious. And so delicious.

Some good news this week? You got to see your Auntie Laur and meet your Uncle Dustin as they were in from Uganda again. So fun seeing you with my bestie since kindie.

Oh. And let's talk about some skills you've mastered.
Er. Um.
Skills you have not totally mastered...yet.


I am convinced you've completely forgotten how to roll over.
It's giving mommy a slight heart attack.
Daddy, however, thinks it's no big deal.
He says you're just doing your thing. In no rush. Taking your sweet time.
Wonder where you get that characteristic from.

I just don't quite understand. You rolled all the time from 4 weeks (technically 3 and a half) until about 2 and a half months. And then just stopped. Now, you can't stand to be on your tum-tum. I mean you practically throw an all-out tantrum.

I must admit though. It is quite hilarious. We call you our little seal. Because you immediately put your arms behind you and bend up.

I keep telling myself that at least you're so close to sitting up on your own, and you love to stand with a little support of course. So, you are a strong little booger...just not motivated, I guess. Hey. Whatever makes mommy sleep a little better at night. ;)

And speaking of sleep...

Oh girlfriend. Thank you for letting mom and dad get sleep at night. We're now going on a solid two months of sleeping through the night. You go down at 6:30...sometimes even 6:00 and sleep without a peep until I go in and wake you at 6:30. And even if you do wake, you put yourself right back to sleep.

I'm totally going to do a sleep post too. Because getting a full-night's sleep is such a game changer.

So thanks, Chunkin.

And thanks for making me smile all.the.time.


Love you, Beans.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Week 20: Back to the Grind

Week 20: 12/30/12 - 01/05/13

Mama headed back to work after an incredible 2 weeks off.

Of course I am sick *again* only four days into the semester.
Being a teacher is either going to give me an immune system of steel or kill me.

Week 20 brought some fun new things.

A new squeal, for example.
This new squeal is 8 kinds of octaves too high. Girlfriend is going to be a soprano. (The singer, not the mobster).

And you like to bite.
Everything in sight.
Sometimes you even do a sneak attack and grab my fingers for a little snack.

And you do this adorable thing where I get really close to your face so I can hear and mimic your cute little breaths, and then you just erupt into laughter.

Then the other day, I came home from work. I was greeted by your dad *because he's back on a normal-human-being schedule*, and I quickly scanned the room to find you. I spotted this teeny little body sitting, being engulfed by our living room chair. You must have heard me come in because you completely turned your body, made eye contact with me, and gave the biggest smile I've ever seen. Over and over again.
Talk about melting mama's heart.

Oh. And we've gotten some good use out of the new toys and outfits that Santa brought you.

You've gotten to model some handmade things, and you even sported your new snowsuit.

But you are especially obsessed with your new ball. This little gem was an after-Christmas-sale special at Target for $4.00.

Entertainment for hours.

But your most favorite of all? That silly little thumb of yours.

I mean seriously.


And can we just stop and talk a second about your sleep habits? 

I can't even believe it. 
Your sleep habits definitely deserve a solo post all to themselves. 
But girl, you sleep so well.

As of the last month and a half, you have consistently slept 12 hours at night and 13 hours on the weekends. 
And you usually take two 2-hour naps during the day. 
We've come so far. 
And though I get sad sometimes that you party-poop out at 6:30 at night...every night...it's quite the even trade-off for a good night's sleep. Consistently. 
Thank you, Chunkin.
Gonna soak it up while it lasts.

Now, although we've had some *fun* this week, we've also been dealing with your "reflux". Which we've come to find out isn't reflux at all. But something that is causing you extreme pain and making you quite miserable. We are currently in the process of an every-day-for-two-weeks treatment by a chiropractor. 

Praying this works. 
A much more detailed post is soon to come.
Hopefully with a happy ending. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Year-In-Review

Is it just me, or is New Years seriously the most overrated holiday?
That or Valentine's Day.
It's a toss up for sure.

But this year was perfect.
We actually made it past midnight.
With good friends, good food, sleeping babes, and Game of Things.
Things got wild and crazy, I tell you.

And now, I'm sitting here enjoying my last two days off before I head back to the ol' grind.
I'm in serious denial.
And am praying for a snow day.

But for now, I'll enjoy reflecting on the past year.
It's amazing how much has changed.
I say that every year.
But this year was extraordinary.

I smile as I think that last year at this time, we were keeping a special little secret.
And were still trying to wrap our heads around that secret.
It was the surprise of a lifetime.
One that took the arrival of a baby to make it actually soak in.

What a year.

So excited to take a look at the best year yet.


Technically, I found out I was pregnant on December 29th. I very randomly bought a pregnancy test based on a "feeling". Telling Gabe was one of the funniest yet intimate moments I've ever experienced. Neither of us saw that one coming. And then we went to a New Year's Eve party two days later. Being surrounded by good friends and champagne toasts made it quite difficult to keep our newly-found secret. 


Flew to Chicago to celebrate my best friend's bachelorette party. Participated in a pole-dancing class while 12 weeks pregnant. Revealed to my bestie that she was a soon-to-be-auntie. Enough excitement in one trip to make me feel my very first kick from the little bean inside me.


The beginning of my *many* trips to Kansas City whilst pregnant. The drive from Wichita to KC never gets easier. And it's much worse while pregnant. But anything to spend some quality time with my college pals.


A big month. Headed to Nashville to celebrate my bestie's wedding. Kicked things off with Boots and BBQ, a stunning rehearsal dinner, and the wedding of the century. Then we headed home to a gender reveal thrown by *awesome* friends. Gabe and I were sure we were having a boy. Decked out in blue and mustaches...only to find out we were having a little miss.


I finally started sporting a baby bump. Made another trip to KC. Attended my first shower thrown by my *amazing* teammates at school.


Back to KC I went for another shower. The pregnancy "morning sickness" started to subside...at 7 months pregnant. Just in time for our Babymoon to Aruba with our most favorite couple ever!


July was...busy. Had two more showers. With some fellow pregnant pals. One of whom has been a dear friend since fourth grade. Knowing other preggos makes things a lot more fun. And hormonal. Then, I traveled to KC. (Seeing a trend here?) This time for a superbly wonderful wedding. Followed by my 10 year high school reunion. Talk about making a gal feel old.


My favorite month of 2012. Went back to school. For 3 whole days. Then, we welcomed sweet Miss Beans into the world. And our lives were forever changed.


We settled in and adjusted quickly and quite nicely to our new little addition to the fam. Being a family a 5 was better than we imagined.


Baby's first K-State game. And Halloween. Complete with a *hopefully continued* tradition of a homemade costume and visiting mommy's classroom.


Baby's first Thanksgiving at the farm. Lots of food and family. Lots of fun.


Baby's first Christmas. Couldn't have asked for a better end to a wonderful year. 

Happy New Year.