Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blog Notes

(1) I just got around to changing my email address for comment notification, so I may not have seen your comment if it was left during the last 3-4 weeks. I scrolled down my recent entries to see comments, but any comments left on old posts have probably not been seen - if you need me to see something, please resubmit. Sorry about that!

(2) I'm afraid I've been very, very, very bad about using blog category labels - in fact, I haven't done it for the past, oh, 18 months or so. Thus, I have installed search bars on both my blogs so that visitors can search for a subject of interest. I'll probably get rid of the label category side bars soon.

(3) I have added a new side bar - "Various Lines of Thought on HG Prevention" - this is for links from people who believe they have info on preventing HG, usually through pre-conception diet. If you see anything that would belong there, please let me know!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Challenge

Considering that I only completed (maybe) half of the summer marriage challenge at Women Living Well - actually, I'd forgotten about it until I saw this new one - I kind of questioned if I should jump on the wagon again.

However, this new Fall Challenge is super-super-super easy - much easier than the summer challenge - and it's in an area I need serious (i.e. remedial) help in - that is, decorating and seasonal decor, etc., type of stuff. It sounds fun - and more importantly, as I said, easy! - so as of Monday we'll be off! Join me if you feel like it! Here's the summary:

"Is your calendar full like mine? Do you feel a little tense, rushed and even panicked at times when you are running late? Do you feel like the rest of the family is feeling the same way? I believe we women can create a physical environment, as well as a spiritual environment, that can bring peace, harmony and a sense of calmness to our homes if we are willing to be intentional.

"So let me introduce you to the "Making Your Home a Haven" Fall Challenge. Each week I will give you one practical tip and one spiritual tip that you can do to create a haven in your home."

Hurray for my very favorite season - Autumn! Bring it on! (And these near-record heat wave things can leave any time.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

HG Has a Button!

See my sidebar - many thanks to Becky at Refuse to be a Womb Pod!!

Here is the link:

I feel special now! I have a button!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Adventures in Preschool

First, an update on baby - We had our evaluation with the state-run early-start program this past Tuesday (they offer free in-home therapy), and baby more than qualifies - so much so that they're probably going to pass us on to the next level - so we'll be dealing with a different department, one that will probably offer more services. We'll hear back on that this week.

It has been so unusual to note the differences between our sons. Our eldest is the "healthy as a horse" type. He's only been to his pediatrician for sick visits once in his life... he's never had anything wrong with him other than colds.... he is the kind that the doctor has a hard time remembering whenever he does come in.

Our youngest, on the other hand, has so many issues (I know I've written about this before, but it keeps coming up). Besides his main issue of whatever is going on (diagnosis hopefully coming in November/December), he is fussy/delicate about things like temperature and wind, he gets more rashes, he has gotten ringworm (we think), his colds last a lot longer (current cold is on day 8), he can't handle solids well (he throws up if his food isn't smooth enough), etc. At this point, the receptionist at our doctor's office actually knows my voice on the phone. It's crazy. We talk with them constantly. I guess it's just our turn to learn about non-perfect health in children!

Now, our older son:

Our eldest son's preschool does daily "grading" - they get "green" for good behavior, "yellow" for doing something naughty, and "red" for doing something really bad (you are only allowed 2 reds before getting kicked out of the program - yikes).

On Thursday, our son brought home his first "yellow" - for not following directions during P.E. time. I can't say I was surprised - in fact, I had been pleasantly surprised that he went so long (two whole days!) getting "greens"!

It has now been a full two years since we began to be approached by various teachers. Thankfully it's only world-destroyingly-catastrophic the first time - I don't think I took in half of what his two-year-old-class Sunday School teacher told me when she let me know she was having issues with him in class - I was in a state of absolute shock, dismay, panic, denial - the works. It was super-hard to take in.

Since then, I'm afraid I've gotten a bit used to it. We continue to work hard, hard, hard on obedience issues (it is a daily adventure), but the truth remains that our son continues to have absolutely ZILCH interest in group activities, and obedience is a hard sell with him, despite our work. His attitude seems to be "Sure, you guys go over there and do whatever you want; I'll be over here playing with this toy." If you put him in a group of older teens, he's all attention, but with his peers he is distant and unconcerned.

Part of what makes this harder for me is that I was a docile, mild-mannered, pleaser, compliant, disgustingly-goody-two-shoes girl. So my experience with spirited, non-pleaser-type, wilfull, energetic boys, is naught.

I can still remember the only three caregiver-discipline issues of my entire K-6 experience.... #1 - Getting put in time out for spanking a boy who deliberately knocked over my block tower. (I have no regrets! He deserved it, LOL!!!), #2 - Being spoken to firmly after questioning my 2nd grade teacher's directions, #3 - Getting scolded by my mom for bringing home an A- instead of an A+ in some 6th grade subject. Oh, the horror!

(As a matter of fact, I didn't get a non-A grade till college.... it was first-quarter Physics lab - I got an unexpected C. I'm still in therapy for that.)

Oh, and there was that little incident in third grade where I and a friend were almost arrested on suspicion of masterminding a jewel robbery, but that was a frame-up! I swear it!

(As another matter of fact, that really did happen.... Thankfully the school authorities and the police realized that the accusing party - a rather nasty fourth-grade girl - had completely made up the charge to get back at us for reporting her playground bullying.)

Anyhow, this whole thing is rather new to me. As I've said, we are working super-super-hard on constant obedience training, learning more and more parenting techniques, instilling good morals, etc. etc. etc., but for now we are still stuck with having occasional teacher issues.

So for now, we set up consequences for any future "yellows," and we'll be explaining them this weekend. Hopefully they're complete enough for deterrence!

Is this a sign that we need to persevere, and that things will get better? Or is this a sign that our son is not going to have a fun school experience and that we need to still consider homeschooling?

I still have not come to a place of peace about either homeschooling or not homeschooling. Thus, I'm trying to keep an open mind, pray constantly about it, and watch how preschool goes. If we decide on school, then preschool will be preschool.... if we decide on homeschool, then preschool will just be an "enrichment class." I'm just praying for direction and peace with whatever decision God wants us to make.

And if anyone has any parenting suggestions, tips, techniques, or books/websites to recommend for dealing with spirited boys, let me know! I've read some that have been very helpful - every little bit helps!

Have an awesome Sabbath, everyone!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Mama Blogs About Future HG....

..... and she is a braver woman than I!

It's Not Easy Being Green

Can I say that I love this mama's blog? A birth blog and an HG blog, all rolled into one.... that is my kind of blog!

Thanks for writing!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Doctor #5: Cardiology

Gosh, we're really chalking up the doctors' visits, aren't we?

I'm shot after today - a very busy morning after too little sleep!

So today was cardiology for our little one. A friend offered to watch our eldest (he had a great time!), so it was just baby and myself (and DH joined us halfway through).

I got a dreadfully late start, but thankfully it didn't matter since I'd arranged to have them fax the intake papers to us so that I could fill them out at home - there is nothing I dislike more at doctors' visits than having to fill out reams of paperwork in a noisy and distracting waiting room while dealing with a cranky baby or rambunctious toddler, all while secretaries are asking for insurance cards and co-pays. So thankfully we skipped all that! I plan to do that with every doctor appointment I have for the rest of my life. (Though some docs, like my primary care provider, have real on-line forms! Love it!)

Thankfully, they were really on-time - there was little to no waiting. We started out with a quick EKG, for which baby was a sweet angel. Then we went for the echocardiogram (an ultrasound), and he let loose for all he was worth - screamed his head off the whole time - why, I'm not sure, as it was painless and on a comfy bed. But he was not having it! Poor baby, and poor ultrasound tech! We were all a big ragged by the time it was over. Baby went right to sleep in his carseat afterward, then DH arrived, and then the doctor came in.

We had a great doctor, who was a pleasure to work with - I love doctors who are clear, concise, and logical. This was a good visit.

We were expecting a clean bill of health - that this visit would be more of a formality than anything. Well, not quite - but nothing horribly serious either.

They found two things with baby's heart:

#1 - A Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) - this is a septum that should have closed at birth (when circulation changes from fetal circulation patterns to newborn circulation patterns) and didn't. It's extremely common - 20-25% of the adult population has it, so it's nothing to worry about and almost never causes problems.

#2 - A Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA) - another circulatory pathway that should have shut down at birth and didn't. Less common, and may possibly cause problems due to reduced circulatory efficiency. We're going back in 9 months to see if it is causing problems (heart enlargement, etc.), or if it has possibly closed (that would be best, though very unlikely since it usually closes within 24 hours post-birth), and we'll confer at that time with the doctor to see if correction is necessary. If it is, it will be done through groin catheterization, so it wouldn't be major-major-major (i.e. open-heart) surgery. Hopefully it won't happen at all!

These health issues with baby are like an onion - every time we investigate, we find more problems! And I can't say that I'm not a bit freaked out by the possibility of heart surgery for baby. However, knowledge is good, and I'm glad to have another doctor visit in the "done" category. Now remains only our visit with our geneticist, as well as next week's state-sponsored therapy evaluation.

I'm shot! Nap time!!!! Have a lovely weekend, all!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

HG Activism: The Necessity of Getting Full Information

A facebook friend of mine - an old high-school acquaintance - is expecting her first baby (hurray for new babies!!!). A day or two ago, she posted that her husband had had to take her to the emergency room for out-of-control nausea and vomiting that was causing dehydration and preterm contractions.

*Red Alert! * Red Alert! * All hands to the HG-advice station! *

So I immediately hop onto Facebook and message her, giving her my blog address, the address for the HER (Hyperemesis Research) Foundation, encouragement, etc. You know the drill.

Then I got her response: "Oh, actually, I just had a 24-hour stomach bug. I'm fine now."

* Crickets chirping *

This is why I need to wait until having full information before jumping into HG mode! I am so freaked out about HG that whenever I hear about bad vomiting from a pregnant mama, that's where my mind immediately goes. Next time I will need to THINK before I jump.

And Jess, if you're reading, my apologies!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Preschool, Day #1

Today I had something I haven't had in so, so very long - free time during the day!! (I suppose I could call nap time free time, but when the kids are napping, I nap too - there, I admitted it! - and it is also so unpredictable as to when each child will wake up, that I don't count on it being productive.) It was kind of weird - in a wonderful, wonderful way.

I dropped DS off at preschool this morning at 9 a.m. He maintained his "I don't wanna" attitude, though nothing major, to the very end. When I left his classroom, he was a wee bit teary, but they were dealing with it well. When I picked him up, he had his usual statements - yes, he had fun, but no, he doesn't want to go back. We'll see!

(We'll also have to see if they KEEP him in the program - they are very clear that they are a run-of-the-mill preschool with no facilities for dealing with any extra issues - so hopefully his tears and his I-hate-group-activities attitude will subside. Can't say I'm not nervous about this.)

In the meantime, after getting baby down for his nap, I had - get this! - 1h and 15 minutes of FREE TIME. During the day. Free time. It was beyond wonderful.

Thus, half of me was saying, "Am I doing the right thing? Should I really be leaving him at preschool?" and the other half of me was saying, "Praise the Lord, I'm finally by myself for more than two minutes together." I think the latter sentiment dominated. About ten times over.

During that 75 minutes, I baked brownies, made rice, prepared our dinner, answered email, wrote a blog post, finished the laundry, made a phone call, and cleaned the kitchen. The stress of that to-do list erased a bit of the pleasure of the free time, but it was lovely to be able to GET SOMETHING DONE in an uninterrupted fashion. Mmm.

As I said, these next few months are a test. If we see positive results and are confirmed that what we are doing is the right path, we'll continue with our plan - 2 years of preschool, then a 1-year delayed start into a Christian school/homeschool hybrid. If we see bad results, we'll regretfully reconsider homeschooling.

I really don't understand myself. I have planned on homeschooling for years, but I find the way barricaded by a distinct antipathy to it. I love homeschooling families (that's why we decided on it initially!); but I simply cannot force myself into being interested in it. I simply have no interest in it at all. A lot of guilt, but no interest. So hopefully this is the right path for us, because I think insanity would be right around the corner for me as a homeschooling mother.

I plan to write a post entirely about education soon, in order to write down my thoughts on the whole issue. But in the meantime.... having a few minutes to myself was a breath of sanity. It was wonderful. And hopefully DS will start enjoying his little preschool too!

Doctor #4: Neurology

Yesterday we had a most excellent appointment with a top-notch doctor in the neurology division at the Phoenix Children's Hospital. This guy was great! Really top-tier. When I watched him evaluate baby, I got the same feeling that I get when I watch Michael Gambon (sp?) act in "Wives & Daughters" - this is the touch of a master craftsman. Someone who has knowledge, skill, and the expertise that comes only from years upon years upon years of experience - this guy really knew his stuff. And to make it even better, he carried a traditional "doctor's black bag"! Is that neat, or what?

Anyway, this was a very cheering visit, because he confirmed what I've been thinking - yes, there is something wrong, but no, it's not serious or life-threatening or anything requiring surgery. Because of the physical symptoms (facial morphology, clinodactyly of the 5th digit, simian crease), he believes that the final diagnosis will be some sort of genetic syndrome (i.e. chromosomal error), though he didn't give any guesses. However, he does not believe (as doctor #3 did) that this is undiagnosed Downs Syndrome - he says that baby does not have enough symptoms pointing in that direction.

Dr. K told us that in neurology, there are two things a doctor does not like to see - progress that regresses, or non-progress. Glenn's style, that is, progress that is steady though extremely slow, is not too worrisome - it just means that he's going to be behind/slow/etc. He may need extra help, but it isn't going to be too terribly serious.

He told us that our geneticist, whom we see in one month, will most likely order the chromosome micro-array test, and will be able to give us a definite diagnosis using that. She can then tell us what, if any, conditions/symptoms are associated with the condition and give us insight as to what treatment/therapy/other help we will need to deal with this thing.

So, all in one visit we got (1) confirmation of a problem, (2) reassurance that it's not serious, and (3) direction on where to go from here (we wait till our geneticist's appointment). Good stuff.

And if you ever need a pediatric neurology recommendation in Phoenix, I know where to send you! :)

Today is day #1 of preschool for our eldest, so we shall see what we shall see.... As I've said, this quarter is a test. Do we see good results? Or bad results? Our future direction will depend on our observations from the next three months. Should be interesting.

Cheers, all! I'm off to enjoy my first official free time in four years!!! (Baby is napping.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering September 11th

My memories of September 11th are quite unique for an American, simply because I don't have them. Or rather, I do, but only in a very distant sort of way. When that first fateful day rolled around, my parents and I were camping in the northern California wilderness. Sometime around mid-day, my dad had to take our truck to town to get it repaired. When he got back that afternoon, he told us, in his usual dry way, that terrorists had attacked several locations and there was a lot of stuff going on. For a while, we thought he was joking, and even after that, we didn't really get clued in on the situation for quite a while. We missed the whole cultural upheaval that occurred following that date, and I didn't actually see the full video footage that went on at the time until years later. So, in a way, my memories of that time are rather shadowy and distant. But at the same time, I can't believe it's been nine years! Such a tragedy for all involved.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Baby, Updated

An extremely brief update (bedtime calls!):

Last Friday we got baby's chromosome test results - all normal.

True to our natures, DH was elated; I was deeply frustrated.

Why frustrated? Because I really do feel that there is something there to find. I don't know what that something is, but with that feeling present, a clean test does not mean a clean bill of health, but simply that we must begin the search again, put baby through more tests, etc. etc. etc.

I spoke to our developmental pediatrician, and she recommended finishing up with the specialist visits we have scheduled - neurology, cardiology, and genetics. The geneticist in particular will help us determine if we should do any more genetic testing, including another chromosome test that is more exact and can catch things that the other test sometimes misses. Neurology and cardiology are this coming week, and genetics is in October. So we should have some answers within two months.

It also begs the question - how far do we want to pursue this thing? We could keep testing forever, in truth. At what point do we want to just give up, accept the lack of a diagnosis, and just focus on therapy to treat symptoms?

My cousin M. very wisely told me that sometimes a diagnosis can be a handicap - it can be both an excuse ("Oh, we can't expect him to do X, because he has condition Y.") as well as a reason for teachers to write him off. In the absence of actual health problems, treating the symptoms might be good enough.

So that's where we are! We will know more in a couple of months. In the meantime, I am wading through paperwork (intake forms, record-keeping), and the chore of keeping all the doctors' offices networked (having each office fax their reports to all the other offices - yikes!) as well as trying to chase down the apparently elusive Arizona Early Intervention Program, which is supposed to provide free in-home therapy to at-risk children. I called them, gave my information, and was told that I'd be contacted within 48 hours. Two weeks later, I have heard nothing, despite repeat phone calls. The struggle continues tomorrow.

In the meantime, baby's tummy time (assigned by our therapist) is going well. Oh, how he hates his tummy time! I have limited it to four sessions of 30 seconds each, and already he has learned to flip off of his tummy to get away from the dreaded tummy time. He's adorable!

And now, off to finish my yogurt and hit bedtime! Hurray!!!

Postpartum Nausea: Mama #2

My friend Anna has dealt with an extremely rare complication of HG - namely, HG that continues right on past baby's birth. Thankfully, it is a very, very rare complication - so rare, that she has never found anyone else who has dealt with it... until now! Anna told me that she has been contacted by another mama who is also experiencing post-pregnancy HG. This intrigues me.... if there are two, there are most likely more. This is very rare, but the information needs to be out there for mothers who deal with it. Anyone else who finds this and has experienced post-pregnancy HG - let Anna know!

I have dealt with post-pregnancy nausea issues - being more nausea prone, having longer nausea after stomach flu, having random low-level nausea for the first postpartum year - but thankfully I have never known true postpartum HG. Scary stuff.

Article: Yup, That's What We Guessed

I ran across this on Facebook (thanks, Kathy! - right?) - it tells us what many of us know, namely that there is no known true cure for morning sickness!

No Cure for Morning Sickness Yet

Morning sickness is a Catch-22 issue. On the one hand, it's an extremely widespread, common condition, and anyone who successfully addressed the issue would immediately make his fortune. On the other hand, no one is his right mind is going to experiment on pregnant women, both from a (hopefully!) moral standpoint (it's just too risky), or a practical (financial) viewpoint. So the issue of morning sickness is not likely to receive any in-depth attention any time soon!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Doctor #3: Physical Therapy

We're now halfway done with our doctors' visits!

Item #1: Our bloodwork - or rather, most of it - came back earlier this week, and it was all normal. Hurray! However, that's what we expected. The most critical part, and the part that we're expecting that any answers will come from - that is, the chromosome analysis - won't be here for up to another two weeks. And so we wait!

Item #2: Our appointment today with the physical therapist for baby's evaluation:

Well, we had a harried beginning - I got lost (I thought it was Mapquest, but in the end it turned out to be me, which quickly ended my flood of righteous indignation), and then I couldn't call the office to ask for directions because - as usual - my cell phone was dead. So by the time I actually got there it was late and DH was freaking out because he thought something was wrong, knowing that I'm the uptight-and-on-time kind.

Additionally, it was a bit distracting because we had our 4yo with us and had to keep an eye on him, and there were also other clients in the room with us.

However, the evaluation went well and the therapist (whom we really liked) was not unduly concerned with baby. She said that he is behind, but doesn't have the critical issues of some babies she sees. She gave us some exercises to do at home, and then we'll be contacted in a few weeks (would be sooner, but our therapist is leaving the practice, so the next person will call us after she gets settled in). After that, therapy will be on an as-needed basis.

My most interesting observation of the day was what a difference there can be between caregivers! Our doctor last week was of the "we're all gonna die" ilk, while today's was of the "eh, he'll be fine" variety. So very, very different!

In a lot of ways, I prefer the "we're all gonna die" variety of doctor, because I'm a hard-headed realist - I want to know the worst immediately, with no false hope. I've always been a "Just the facts, ma'am" kind of person.

DH, on the other hand, much prefers the super-optimistic type of caregiver. He always likes to look on the bright and cheery side of medical situations - he is the type who is always surprised when anyone dies or gets worse, because he has observed signs of improvement and hopefulness, and is sure that recovery is on the way. In fact, we were watching "Wives and Daughters" (our favorite!!!) tonight, and we agreed that he is just like Squire Hamley - who convinced himself that his wife was getting better, when in fact she was dying. So with that in mind, DH was much-encouraged by today's visit!

Now we just have to wait for the chromosome analysis.

The complicating part of it, though, is that we learned afterward that the chromosome analysis that was ordered is not the best test - so even if it comes back clear, it may not be, and we may have to go through the entire process again with the better test, with another month of waiting. Yikes!!

Lots of other stuff going on, but it's bedtime! Happy Labor Day to you all!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One Year Ago

One year ago this morning, I had labored most of the night in our bathtub, surrounded by my amazing birth team and family. One of my doulas said, "Look! The sun is rising!" And so it had - the light was gradually dawning through the darkness. And at 6:47 a.m., after 7 hours and 11 minutes of labor, our baby was born into water into the waiting hands of his daddy. Thank you to our amazing midwives who guarded and guided us, our doulas who encouraged us, and to my husband and son who accompanied me through our second labor journey. Happy First Birthday, sweet baby!!