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Thursday, March 28, 2013

When the sh*t (and vomit) hits the fan...

So just when I thought my last blog post was messy, I woke at 3am that very night to find that Beau had vomited in his bed.  He had rice cereal and carrots (those darned carrots again!) dried and matted into his hair and his sleep sack was completely crusty.  Poor little guy!  I didn't know if it was just a big spit up/refluxy type throw-up or if he was actually sick.  I fed him as usual but within about 10 minutes it was all over me. And about 10 minutes later, all over me again... and beau.. and the bed...  I woke Andy and we called the nurse's line for instructions.  I felt a little nervous... one of the things I've feared most in the whole baby-getting-sick-department was the stomach flu. (Our neighbors also had the stomach flu so I had a feeling this was where we were headed). Keeping an infant hydrated is scary when they can't keep anything down and aren't old enough to understand that they need to try and drink a little.  They also aren't old enough to understand that when they're hungry and just want to gobble it up, that mommy has to pull her breast away after only a few short minutes so that it will actually stay down. Breaks my heart.

So yesterday was filled with lots and lots of vomit, lots and lots of soiled laundry (which I've yet to tackle completely), lots of timing and notating when he last ate, how long he ate, when he last vomited etc.  We also had a full day of cuddly naps together which was the highlight of my day.... shoot that would be the highlight of my day any day.  There's nothing better than a cuddly baby diving in to your chest for some nuzzle love and in those moments I'm just so grateful.  Grateful he's mine, and that he's fighting this, and that I get to be the person he wants to cuddle up to (enjoying that one while I can!), and grateful that I don't have a house full of sick kiddos.  (How do you do this with multiple?!?)


Oddly enough, when Beau was awake he was so happy!  Babbling, squealing, laughing, and full of life.  This was a huge sigh of relief.  Most of the morning came and went without the large vomit episodes that we'd had before, but just before 2pm I tried a little pedialyte and the vomit hit the fan.  All over the floor, all over my hands in an attempt to catch it, all over the burp cloths while trying to wipe it up.... and then the dry heaving, bile, "adult-like" vomits began  :(  I called the dr again and they had me come in for some anti-nausea medication to try and help him stop vomiting too much.  At this point he had a low-grade fever... 100.4 at home, then 100.7 at the Dr's office.  She warned me that diarrhea would likely follow but assured me that Beau looked well hydrated and was hanging in like a trooper.

Most of the evening came and went with no vomiting, though one of the dogs decided to barf in the hallway just to feel like she was still part of the family.  (What's up with the dogs bodily presents in the hallway the last 2 days?!) We continued our hourly "snack" to try and keep his milk down, but around 11pm he woke, fed, and up it came.  Damn it!  I thought/hoped/prayed that the vomiting part was behind us.  So we gave him his anti-nausea medicine and a tylenol suppository rectally for his fever and mama cuddled him some more.  He woke periodically throughout the night for some more little snacks, and my breasts were so large and lumpy and painful from not getting a full feed in all day that I had to finally just sit and hand express them into a breast pad.  It was like having bricks as breast implants.  Heavy and hard, that shit just plain hurts when you want to lay on your tummy to sleep!  But hey, small problems when your little one is sick.  Watching him go through that is one of the hardest things ever... you desperately wish you could take it for them, but at the same time you're praying incessantly that this nasty bug doesn't slam down on you too... the person who has to hold down the fort and run this whole mommy operation!  As I went to bed last night, I felt a little "eh".  I showered to get the layers upon layers of sour off of me and hoped that my queasiness was actually from one too many rows (yes I side rows) of gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free oreo-look-alike dry-crumbly-cookie type things.  Imagining those coming back up wasn't helping matters either.

This morning we woke and neither of us had puked through the night, so that was a relief.  We're still feeding cautiously to try and keep everything down.  But just when I sat to take a little breath, the explosive diarrhea began.  One loud sploodge and I knew we'd had a blow out.  Yep... all up the back again, not muddy this time, but instead we had what I like to call "ass pee" dripping down his leg while I'm whisking him off to the bedroom before it could get everywhere. I actually remembered to put down a changing pad this time!  About an hour or so later though, the changing pad didn't matter... I laid him down to change an even bigger blow out and decided to check his temperature while I was at it (rectally).  While the thermometer was taking it's sweet ass (pun intended) time, I suddenly got sprayed fully with a forceful geyser of ass pee... all over my pants, all over the bed (through the changing pad onto the sheets), and his poor sleep sack soaked again.  I heard myself just saying aloud, "okay...oh gosh. its' okay... don't worry, it's ok" (I'm telling Beau this, but I think I'm really trying to self soothe or something.)  So now I'm stripping my hot, wet pants off with one hand while keeping another on Beau who is laying in a warm puddle of ass pee.  Feeling a strong sense of deja vu, I hoist the wet naked baby into one arm and head straight for the bath.  This bath had to be quick... the whole time I was washing him, I could see he was pushing and I was just waiting for the yellow cloud to burst into the water, or the towel the second I got him out, but thankfully this time we made a clean getaway.

The whole house stinks.  I feel like I need a Hazmat suit to disinfect this petri dish of a home, but I guess I'm already knee deep in it so I may as well just keep trudging onward.  And I realize I'm not the only one (once again) who's ever had a sick baby, or been covered in vomit or doodoo, or had a slippery baby in one arm and their pants around their ankles while stumbling to the bathroom, but it's the first time for me to be juggling all of this while trying to keep down those fake oreos.  So it's monumental in my book.  And one day I know I'll look back and laugh. For now, please God make my baby better and if I've earned an extra prayer, please keep my oreos down.  Amen.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

HOly....

Holy sh*t (literally), WHAT just happened?!  My house looks like a crime scene... but with poop.  Beau was playing and we were gearing up for his nap time when I noticed he smelled of poo.  I was excited (like most parents at this stage of the game) that he'd done a good one (based on the smell anyway) because it had been a few days and I was waiting for it.  He's new with the whole solids thing so we're adjusting to a different "poop schedule", and the consistency of the poop itself of course changes things.  SO... I wet a washcloth and Beau and I headed toward his room when I noticed something dried and crusty in the hallway floor.  I turned on the light and saw what appeared to be poop!  One of our dogs must have left a present and daddy apparently didn't notice.... and walked through it... and then proceeded to track the smushed poo down the hall.  Ugh... ok, note to self: come clean the hall after Beau is in bed.  So I laid him down on the daybed, opened his diaper, and much to my surprise (again basing the size of his product off of the 'full' smell) there was a mere dollop of doodoo.  {Now that song "Do a dollop, do-do a dollop of doodoo" is stuck in my head}.  Anyway,  I took a little toilet paper (I keep a roll by the changing station and follow with the warm washcloth.  This seems to help prevent irritation on his little bum rather than using a bunch of wipes), raised his legs, and OH... not a dollop at all! Apparently this one made it's way up the back of his diaper rather than front.  Yay Beau!  Great poop! We've had plenty of poop-up-the-back-of-the-diaper situations so no biggie.  Sometimes it comes out onto his clothes, which it looked like it had done, so I started taking his arms out of his PJ's since we'd have to change those too.  At this point he got fussy... so he flipped over onto his belly into the open diaper. Great. But I couldn't even worry about that because what I saw next stunned me. That sh*t (again, literally) went ALLLLLL the way up to his shoulder blades.  Oh. My. God. And this isn't that nice thin breast milk poop that wipes up in a swipe or 2.  This is like thick, muddy, carrots.  I tried to take some toilet paper to it... worthless.  Then I go for the warm washcloth... barely made a dent. Smeared it really. At this point his heels are in it, it's on his cheek, and now it's on his hand.  Not just any hand... no no, it's on his favorite thumb sucking hand.  The fussing is in full force now while I'm trying to figure out how the heck I'm gonna get this cleaned up, and I see that hand just twitching to head towards his mouth.  It was like the slow-mo voice "NOOOOO NOOOTTT YOUUUURRRR THUUMMMMBBBB" rang out into the room.  I grabbed his hand in time and scooped him up into my arms.  His "changing station" is on the daybed in his room and I'm often lazy and don't put down a changing pad first. This time was no different. So The doodoo is all over the bed, all over his PJ's, and the diaper is open and strewn off to the side with the toilet paper and the muddy washcloth.  My forearm is completely orange from his thick doodoo back on me, my clothes are smeared with it, and I'm off toward the bath with a naked poopy baby in tow.  As I'm clutching him like a slippery mud wrestler in one arm, I'm trying to get his bath ready and check the temperature.  Oh,  somehow I'm also keeping that thumb out.  (Amazing how these things always happen when Daddy's extra set of hands are nowhere to be found!)  And then I felt something really warm and realized Beau peed all over me.  Not kidding. But at this point I think, "eh, why not?!".  After what feels like ages, I get him in the tub.  Within like 2 minutes of trying to get him washed off, the water is completely orange.  Once the thick mud layer is off his body, I still feel like he has a poop film on him from the water... so I hoist him back into one arm, slipperier now than ever, while I dump out the tub and refill it with clean water.  Wondering when John Quinones is going to pop out and tell me I'm actually on "What would you do", I finally get him into a normal, clear, bath.... and breathe a sigh of relief.  

He's currently napping.  The hallway floor is still crusty.  I'm sitting here damp and we have a checkup at the Dr. in 30 minutes.  For those who think stay-at-home moms sit around and eat BonBon's while watching soaps... well, here ya go :)

And I realize I'm not the first to have a poop explosion in their life.  This was just the first for ME that was at about a 9.0 on the richter scale.  I wonder if it would be inappropriate to roll into the Dr's office at 11am with wine on my breath?!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Beau's 1/2 Birthday!

So the 1/2 birthday in our family has become sort of a big deal over the years.  It started many years ago with my sister.  Growing up she would come in, on what seemed like a normal day, all offended (90% jokingly, 10% pretty darn serious) that we hadn't wished her a happy 1/2 birthday!  Later in life I'd get a phone call, "ahem... you didn't call to wish me a happy 1/2 birthday today!"  The family would laugh about it and say "Oh excuse me... how could I possibly forget??"... but once she had children of her own we started fully celebrating the 1/2 birthday.  From 1/2 cakes, to 1/2 cards (I like to cut them in half!), to singing half of Happy Birthday, it was always just an extra fun way to have another day to celebrate life!  So you can imagine that on Beau's true 1/2 birthday yesterday, I was rip roaring ready to celebrate (and fully plan to every year)!

When Beau woke it felt just as special to me as a full birthday!  That feeling of magic to the day, that special sense of "this is YOUR day" was definitely in the air.  Daddy and I went in (Faith and Sadie too) and played with Beau in the daybed in his room like I do every morning.  He was all laughs and smiles which always makes it incredibly fun!











Then we put Beau in his special birthday outfit that I had made from this shop on Etsy.  He looked SO cute in it I couldn't take it!  







Oh... and Beau has a girlfriend.  Sigh.  It's a long distance relationship (she's in Richmond), but thankfully she's actually SO friggin' adorable and sweet that I know she will treat him right :) One of the best parts?  Her name is Daisy...His name is Beau.  (Hello Dukes of Hazzard?!?) This was not planned.  Another best part? She and Beau share their birthday which is extra special so I sent her a special little outfit too.  Here they are in a side by side :)  Couldn't you just eat them up????!!!!
I love them!  Ok, back to our day.  Then we took Beau's usual monthly birthday photo in his chair with his Bear.  We usually put him in a onesie with his numbered tie, but this time we decided to put it on the Bear.  Beau seemed to know that just wasn't the right way to do it!


Next we went and played with some of Beau's new-to-him toys.  They were given to us at his baby shower but were for 6 months and up so we were excited to give them to him!   


Because yesterday was such a gorgeous day we went on a long walk as a family and enjoyed some much needed natural Vitamin D! Beau has graduated to the "big boy" seat in his stroller... milestones all around!  




After one of Beau's best naps ever (something we often struggle with in terms of length) it was time for the most exciting part of his day!  Solids!!!  We decided to wait until 6 months before introducing solids for many reasons.  Beau has had a tough time with his tummy and GI tract in general over the last 6 months so I didn't want to exacerbate an already immature digestive system.  Plus I feel pretty strongly about the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding for at least 6 months so I was in no hurry!  I would have likely gone even longer before introducing them, but he has been reaching for food, watching us eat, opening his mouth at the sight of food, etc. for weeks now.  So I had a feeling he was pretty ready to explore new flavors and textures!

Since we can't have actual cake just yet, we came in singing "Happy Half Birthday" (rather than just singing half the song) with his lit 1/2 candle by the bowl of sweet potato puree.  We also opened his 1/2 card and read it to him!  



Next we stripped him down to his real birthday suit and got started with the sweet potatoes!  He seemed to love them!  Grabbing at the spoon and shoving it into his own mouth... I couldn't believe what a big boy he has already become!  





After he started making this next face we decided he must be done (though he ate a ton of it!) and headed straight for his last fun-filled event of the day... his bath!


Whewww... I'm full!  






I can't believe how quickly he went from tripod sitting (supported with hands) to full on sitting and playing with his toys!  Now he sits up in his bath as well (with one of us very close by of course!).

My baby is growing up so fast!  How on earth did half of a whole YEAR go by already?!?  Looking forward to many more 1/2 birthdays, and full birthdays, and celebrating Beau's full life every single day of the year!

Monday, March 4, 2013

If this skin could talk

A few weeks ago I spent some time in Charlotte NC visiting my 94 year old grandmother who was very ill.  She's also been suffering from dementia for some time now, so I knew upon arrival that she would likely be confused.  As I sat by her side in the hospital I rubbed her leg to let her know that I was there.  She gave an audible "that feels good"-type sigh, so I decided to try giving her a gentle massage.  She immediately mumbled that it felt wonderful so I continued.... happy to hopefully help her feel more comfortable.  As I carefully worked my way around her frail legs, feet, chest, and shoulders I thought to myself, "when was the last time someone touched her body lovingly?  Aside from maybe a hug or a hand-hold?  When was the last time her legs or feet or shoulders were rubbed, or that someone held the space for her body to release pain?".  It made me sad imagining her inner child just wanting to be loved and held.  At the same time it felt really special for me...that her offspring's offspring was able to return some of the love that she had given for so many years. 

The room was quiet, it was late, and her breathing (through oxygen) was labored.  She closed her eyes and slept and often sighed out in that same "that feels great" way, occasionally saying it as well along with many "thank-you's" in her true southern fashion.  As I worked, I reflected on how her body and skin had changed over the years.  Thinking back to what she looked like when she was a young woman to now, I began to reflect in that circle-of-life-way that we so rarely stop to recognize.  Her frail hands were bony and her joints knotted. Her spotted skin was soft in some areas, but had dry patches in others and was so paper thin that I felt the need to proceed with caution.  I softly ran my fingers through her grey curly hair and noticed that it was much more course than it used to be.  But somehow all of it was beautiful.  She was beautiful, even in her most tired and lousy-feeling state.  Something about this special moment that we were sharing together sort of stopped time for me, and I saw a glimpse of how much she has truly lived.  I wanted to soak in everything about that moment... as I didn't know when or if I'd get to see her again before she makes her eventual trip to heaven.  

When I cuddled Beau that next morning I just needed some extra hugs and squeezes. I couldn't help but think about life and our bodies and minds and how we grow and learn so much, and then at some point along the way we peak... I guess at our "best" and then start to go in the other direction.  Some would call it "down hill" but I had to wonder... is it really?  Yes, I guess our minds start to slip and our bodies don't want to work the way they used to, but the skin we wear also seems to be such a beautiful sort of badge- showing how much we've really experienced through our lives and all the wisdom that we've collected along the way.  My grandmother was born in 1918.  Thinking of all the things in history that she's witnessed amazes me!  Then I looked at Beau.  That sweet, soft amazing skin.  So fresh and so new.  A blank slate in this world... so far just pure innocence, pure love.  As he looked up at me that morning and smiled that huge toothless smile, I thought of how he knows nothing yet of growing old, or illness, or death, and how all I want to do is shield him from all of it.  

Feeling sad, I started to try and focus on the beauty of it all.  There's so much we don't understand about life, and never will, but I guess it's the yin and the yang.  The balance.  How can we appreciate or understand life if we don't have death?  How can we feel the good if we don't have bad?  How do we appreciate health if we don't have illness?  (Though I'd like to think I could appreciate all of those things without life's less desired counterparts).  Even thinking back to my grandmother's skin....  How can we appreciate that pure, sweet, soft, perfect skin of a baby- so filled with dreams and love and happiness and faith in all things good, if we don't have those with aged skin that have seen more than their fair share of beauty and pain and love and heartbreak along the way?  

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but mortality is something of which I've become acutely aware as a mother (ok, even more so than before).  Knowing that I won't always be here for Beau (that is if nature runs it's course the way that it's hopefully supposed to) breaks my heart.  I worry even more than I did pre-motherhood about dying.  I worry about something horrible happening to Beau, or Andy, or me, and it's much harder for me to come up for air and settle my fears than it used to be.  But I try.  I try to stay present in my life and continue to thank God for all these blessings that surround me right now.  

So one of the ways that I try to stay present is to fling that effing hamster off the never-ending-wheel-of-thoughts and to focus on the adorableness that is my baby beau. So I hold him as he nurses or snoozes in my arms and I stare at him (which I could seriously do forever and be content).  I take in every little part of him with awe and thank my lucky stars for the opportunity to be this little person's mommy.  I touch his perfect, pure, sweet, soft skin and think about how I love to kiss and nibble those chubby cheeks, hold those tiny hands, kiss those little feet, pretend that I'm eating those itty bitty fingers and toes (one of his favorites) while he laughs, raspberry that belly, nuzzle into that sweet neck, and did I mention the part about nibbling those chubby cheeks?!  I love LOVE LOVE the smell of that baby.  I love his breath, I love his soft hair, and yes, I even sort of love the smell of breast milk poop! :)  I love those big blue eyes and that smile that melts my heart, and the way he squeals and laughs in a way that fills me with more joy than I can even articulate.  I love that he has a fresh start in this world and I pray to God that he has many more joys than sorrows in his lifetime.  

The rate at which he is changing is so crazy fast that I'm obsessed with capturing every moment that I can on camera.  As he wraps those tiny hands around my one finger I think about how one day his hands will be larger and stronger than mine.  Those cheeks will one day be course with hair and that little baby squeal will one day be the deep voice of a man. To a child, if I remember correctly, life moves at a snails pace while all they want is to be grown.  As an adult, I've come to realize, life flies by while we desperately try to stop time and savor the beautiful moments of our youth.  Today I just try to take a moment and be thankful for this day, this skin, and its' story right now.  Lord knows it will already be different tomorrow... 


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