Dear Nine Month Old Maura,

img_7424Dear Nine Month Old Maura,

This past month was a whirl wind!

This month you started pulling up to stand in your cast! If you had it on longer, I wouldn’t be surprised to see you walking in it. You also started dancing and clapping along to music.

You’re babbling all the time – You say ‘Dada’ and ‘Da’ – which might be ‘Dog’? We aren’t sure, and we’re not quite sure if you know what you’re saying yet either! When I ask you to say ‘Mama’, you either say ‘Dada’ or ‘Mmmm’ then laugh. I think you’re teasing me!

You love books and spend a lot of time flipping through the pages, studying the pictures You read aloud, babbling to yourself, humming, and letting out little giggles as you go. I’d love to hear the story you’re telling! You enjoy pop up books and books with tabs the most, but you also end up eating the tabs that you’re able to rip out….

You have discovered that our kitchen cabinets ALL open, and they all have different things to pull out! Luckily for me, when you see something exciting that you want to get into, you start laughing and crawling as fast as you can towards it – I know what giggle means I’d better grab you quick!

This month was your 1st Christmas, 1st New Years, and 1st Snow!

I absolutely love watching you grow and learn. I’m so lucky, and can’t believe you’re my daughter.

Love,

Mom

(Notice, I didn’t mention sleep in this post… I’m trying not to think about it. Ugggh. We’ve been up twice a night for weeks. I tried to night wean a little but really just don’t have the energy, and part of me doesn’t want to deny you the comfort if you need it…)

 

 

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Dear Eight Month Old Maura…

Dear Eight Month Old Maura, img_6922

Wow. I know I’ve said it before – that you amaze me, but you really do. This month you have shown me what determination truly looks like. You’re my inspiration to keep moving forward.

You had your cast put on a month ago. Within 24 hours of being home from the hospital you were crawling around on the floor. You were frustrated, and grunting with every ‘step’, but you kept on lugging that cast forward. You haven’t let it slow you down at all. I’m in awes of your happy disposition – I don’t know where you get it from, but it certainly reminds me to smile and laugh all day long.

You re-learned to crawl, and roll over in your cast. Rolling took a little longer, but you’ve got it down now. The weight of the cast gives you some momentum, and often makes you giggle. Since we took a little break from gross motor development – you’ve really made img_6632leaps and bounds elsewhere. You can perfectly pincer grip little pieces of food (and everything else) and put it in your mouth (or the dogs). You like puffs, and yogurt melts. You’re eating three good meals a day now.

You love to play peek a boo, and you’ve started initiating the game by covering your face with anything you can, and tearing it away laughing. You do this with your food covered bib smushing food all over your face, you do this with blankets or clothes you can reach while I change your diaper, sometimes you even grab my shirt to play while we are trying to nurse. You crack me up.

img_6953You’re beginning to wave Hi and Bye-Bye. You can sign milk, but usually don’t start the sign until we’re already having it. You clap along with music, especially ELMO. You Looooove Elmo. You only clap with one hand though, you hold one still and tap the other against it. Sometimes you kick your free foot to the music too. You ‘read’ to yourself often. You adore pop up books, especially ones that make noises. You were just turning pages and flipping up flaps, but now I’ve noticed you mumbling and babbling while you turn the pages. I think you’re pretending to read, and I love it.

Sleep has gone out the window with the cast, oh well. We’ll see how it goes once it’s off. For now, I’ll take the extra snuggles at night.

Love you tons,

Mom

Spica life, Week One

One week down, four weeks and 5 days to go… until the count down starts over for another 6 weeks. We scheduled our cast change for December 21st. At least we’ll smell nice and fresh for Christmas!

I’m trying really hard to embrace each day, and not wish it away, but people were right when they said this would be hard. It breaks my heart to see my baby frustrated or uncomfortable and not be able to do anything about it. I’m tired from the middle of the night diaper changes that I thought were over after the newborn stage, I’m sore from the constant holding of an awkward 20+ pound baby who doesn’t want to get down on the ground anymore, I’m tired from the stress and the emotional roller coaster of Spica life. At this point, the absolute hardest thing is not being able to snuggle. Maura usually lays on my lap, with her head against my chest and dozes into a nap. With the cast, we can’t get that close position down and trying usually ends up with an over tired, frustrated, screaming baby who just needs to be held tight – but can’t be. It is getting easier though.

img_6527After a little experimentation, and necessity, and buying a million different sizes and types of diapers, I have a system of diapering that is working for us. It’s held up impressively a few times, and makes me feel ok spreading out the changes a little bit longer over night. If she goes down at 7pm, I can change her once about 12:30/1am and then not again until 5:30/6 when she wakes up. I think I’ll do a full post on that soon, once I’m really sure it’ll hold up.img_6529

We purchased a Cast Cooler. It attaches to your vacuum, and basically sucks air through the cast to cool it and dry it. The idea is to reduce heat/moisture reducing bacteria and odor. I was nervous about the noise of the vacuum, but Maura didn’t seem phased. She actually smiled at me, and put her head down to relax!! I consider this a success AND it dried the cast well after our first accident.

img_6512Breastfeeding is NOT a comfy as it was. But it’s doable. I was worried about it pre-cast. So I’m including a photo, just to show those who are worried how we manage it. (haha the sock! We hadn’t yet figured out how to keep that leg warm… we’ve since gotten some better socks.)

Maura mastered the army crawl within 48 hours of being placed in her Spica. Although she tires very easily, it makes her happy that she can still maneuver around and find her toys. (I wrap a soft blanket under her legs when she’s on the floor, and she zips around really well – also saves the hardwood).

Every day, Maura acts a little more like herself. She’s regaining her confidence, she giggles often, naps well.

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This face sums up week 1. 

Closed Reduction – Day of

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The day before her casting, we snuggled lots, spent extra time in the tub and being naked ❤

When we got news of Maura needing a Closed Reduction and Spica cast for 12 weeks, we were devastated, but we were also scared to death. We had no idea what to expect. Even after Googling like crazy and joining forums, I didn’t have a clear enough image of how the day would go to feel comfortable. If you find yourself in this same boat – hopefully this will help you prepare. And as others told me, the waiting is emotionally the worst part.

3:30am – I got up and fed Maura her last meal. We were instructed to cut off solids at 10:30 pm and breastmilk/formula at 3:30am. We also got dressed, got her changed, and started loading up the car. Our check in time was at 6:15am and the hospital is an hour and a half away – we left plenty of extra time in case there was fog or any driving/parking issues.

5:45am –  We arrived a half hour early, but were able to park and find where we were going without stressing. We arrived to the surgery floor and there were a couple other families there already too. Surgeries were ordered by age, so babies go first. We checked in, and were given a pager and an ID number. We were told that when she was in, we would get texts so we knew to come back to speak with the Dr. or see how she was progressing. There were also big screens throughout the hospital that showed all the children’s ID numbers with a color coded status update. This way, even if we were in another area of the hospital we could see that she left the OR and was heading into recovery etc. We also filled in the blanks on a form on Maura’s behalf that had statements like “When I’m scared, ____ calms me down”, “I brought _____ today to keep me happy” etc. I thought that was great.

6:15am – Right on the dot they called us back. We met with lots of people – a nurse took her height, weight, vitals, and got her into a little hospital gown. She let Maura watch cartoons from the hospital crib which made Maura happy. We met with the MRI tech and signed paper work, the anesthesiologist and signed paper work, the surgeon and signed paper work, and the OR nurses. Everyone went over the procedure and poibilitie (which were scary) I felt a little bit like our surgeon had skipped some posibilities when he originally told us about the procedure – like if they couldn’t get the joint in line, they’d go right to an Open reduction instead, or if the tendons were tight they may need to cut them…. Hearing those things really made me nervous. When I told the anethesiologist no one had told me those possibilities prior, he said that the surgeon must have felt that they were very unlikely in our case. They also  offered anti anxiety meds for Maura prior to the procedure, but we all agreed that Maura didn’t need any. She hasn’t developed a fear of strangers yet and had no clue what was happening. (They could have offered me some! haha just kidding) I told them that singing the Alphabet slowly calms her down, the nurse tried and Maura smiled. The nurse let Maura play with her name tag and she happily went with the staff at about 7:20am. They also assured me that they would do the anesthesia prior to ANY pokes including the IV. Everything the littlest bit uncomfy would be done while asleep. ( I saw on other blogs that a parent was allowed to accompany their child until they were put to sleep… I asked, but they said no one was allowed in the OR).

7:30am – The waiting game began. My husband took her car seat and things down to the car. I went to go use the breast pump since our feeding schedule got wacky. At about 8am we got a message on our pager “Procedure is underway and she is doing great!” I’m sure it’s a generic message but it made me feel better.

At about 8:15 I went to walk and eat a granola bar (no eating in the waiting room since the kids are all starving pre surgery). within 10 minutes, my husband came running after me and I saw the surgeon behind him. My heart sank thinking something went wrong and they were unable to do the procedure. Nope! It was done already! We were notified that the procedure went as planned, her hip easily went into a great position, no cuts were necessary. Her MRI had been scheduled for 10am, but the surgeon called them to tell them she was ready. He said the timeline was dependent on them so he couldn’t tell us if they’d call us back in 30 minutes or an hour.

8:30-10…. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I made two beaded keychains with the craft group and kids waiting for their surgeries. At about 10:15 I was ready to pass out I was so hungry and thirsty but hadn’t wanted to go anywhere.

10:15 – I give in and ask/beg my husband to go find me some food. About 5 minutes later the nurse comes out and calls in another family. Before going back, she turns and tells me I can come back too… Maura is about to wake up. I text my husband who had gotten on an elevator that didn’t come to our floor! He had to run down 9 flights of stairs, cross a street, come up a different elevator to come back…. Ha.

10:20 – Maura was just fluttering her eyes from the anesthesia. She wasn’t crying, but was pretty out of it. She was mad that an IV was put in her left hand – that’s the finger she likes to suck on. She was a bit cold, so had heated blankets on her, but was doing great. Within 15 minutes she was up. She didn’t seem panicky as I expected. She was tired and horse from breathing tubes. They just gave her a little Tylonal.

10:30 – We met with more people. The nurses needed to weigh her in cast, take vitals. The

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I don’t know where she gets such a happy disposition! Maybe just happy to be heading home. (3 hrs after waking up from anesthesia)

nurse showed us how to diaper her, how to carry her, helped me find a position to nurse her. We were almost ready to go, but needed to be fit for a special car seat. Holy cow it took forever. Maura was such a champ up til this point. The occupational therapist was the one fitting the seat. Maura’s thighs were too short to hang her casted leg over. With the first insert she was too tall for the head rest. After about 45 minutes, the woman found something that she felt was acceptable but wanted to supervisor to give the ok as she wasn’t positive….. The supervisor made her re demonstrate all the previously tried positions. Poor Maura was put in and taken out at least 10 times. After an hour we started melting down. Luckily, we got a position that works. They met us at our car and helped install the seat and sent us on our way!

12:30 – we were on the road!

2pm – Home sweet home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Seven Month Old Maura…

Dear Seven Month Old Maura, img_6385

This month was busy and filled with ups and downs. You had your first cold and stuffy nose (expected this season), your first tummy bug (yuck!), being sick really threw your sleep down the drain. We started getting up once or twice a night again, although we’ve had a couple 12 hour nights so I’m staying hopeful your old routine comes back!! Unfortunately, you were also diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at your 6 month check up with the pediatrician. We did NOT see that coming. As soon as the Dr. moved your hips around, we heard a big clunk. It really hadn’t slowed you down in the least. We really aren’t looking forward to the journey of getting

img_6387
Savoring the view of these beautiful legs.

your hip healthy, but know that it’s something we have to do. You have proven yourself to be a tough and motivated little lady, so I know you’ll be just fine and I will be with you the
entire time.

You have mastered crawling on your hands and knees, and crawl everywhere very quickly. After only a few days of crawling, you learned to sit up on your knees… and then grab onto anything and pull yourself up! I have found you several days in a row standing in your crib after naps! I’m amazed at how fast you learn and figure out new skills!

We really upped the number of foods you’re eating too! You love to gnaw on apples cut in half, and eat little chunks of banana. You eat pureed sweet potatoes often, liked carrots, liked yogurt, liked strawberries, and were amused by the tartness of raspberries (although you didn’t want to many more, so maybe tart isn’t your favorite!)img_6299

We had lots of visitors this month! Your Grandma and Grandpa K came out to play for a
week, and then your Grammy L came out for almost two weeks! Grammy L got to hang with us for your very first Halloween. You dressed up like Curious George. We took you downtown for Trick or Treating a few days ahead and although you really didn’t know what was going on – lots of people smiled at you and told you how cute you are – so you had fun.

You popped two new teeth also! The top two have made an appearance. They were a lot rougher on you coming in that the bottom two. You now have a total of 4 teeth. We have been brushing your teeth at bath time, and I think we might have to start a 2 a day routine soon.

Love you tons,

Mommy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it rains, it pours.

I’ve been waiting to get a few of my own questions answered, and get myself in a good place to write this post – hence the blog silence. Picking up where I left off with our awful week, I was really ready for things to start looking up. Unfortunately, they got worse.

Wednesday (10/19) was Maura’s 6 month check up. The pediatrician detected a hip click and sent us for urgent xrays that same evening. The next day, our fears were confirmed and Maura was diagnosed with Developmental Hip Dysplasia (DDH). (The linked site describes is very well).

The xray report noted that her hip was subluxating (loose and coming part way out of the

img_6299
First Halloween!

socket), but not dislocating. They sent us up to Portland to meet with a pediatric orthopdic surgeon. I did lots and lots of research and prepared myself for the news of a brace, since she wasn’t dislocating. The following Monday, Halloween – we met with the Ortho and got a very different report. Her hip IS fully dislocating, the original report that had given me hope was completely inaccurate…. The Dr. broke the news that Maura will need what’s called a ‘closed reduction‘, and then spend 12 brutally long weeks in a Spica cast (ribs to toes). Her procedure is scheduled for Friday, November 11th. I asked lots of questions and in terms of her cast it will hold her right leg (bad hip) in a flexed and abducted position (knee up and out) and extend down to her ankle. Her left leg will be positioned in a more neutral position with the cast ending just above her knee.

I’m ready to get this started. We’ve researched and researched, I’ve re-joined Facebook after a few years hiatus specifically to join groups of other parents going through similar experiences. Some stories end as expected – procedure worked, cast off, healthy kiddo, done. Others seem to drag on and on with procedure after procedure not working. I’m praying we’re in the first category. Our Dr. seemed confident. He saw no reason that this wouldn’t work. That’s the part I’m choosing to focus on.

A week of NON Exercise….

It’d be nice if this were another ‘Week in Exercise’ post, but unfortunately it is not…. we had a VERY rough week last week and I took to the advice of Sleep over Exercise. Actually, that’s a lie because I really did neither.

Last Sunday evening Maura went to bed and woke up a few hours later with a runny nose and her first cold. Yuck! She woke up a few times in the night to try and nurse (which is not easy with a snotty nose) but was definitely not herself Monday.

Monday night was brutal, she was up most of the night and had a fever. I ended up giving her Baby Tylenol and snuggling with her in our guest bed all night.

Tuesday we napped and snuggled most of the day and although the fever was gone, Tuesday night we were up several times again. This pattern continued all week despite feeling better and last night was the first night we actually got our old pattern back. (Monday night this week I was up 7 times. SEVEN TIMES!!!!! She has NEVER woken up that many times ever in her life)img_6184

Wednesday, my in-laws got into town. It’s great to have extra hands to hold Maura while I work and do things, but it’s also a bit stressful not having the same alone time during the day. I feel like I have to be doing something most of the time to look productive!

Thursday – I had a follow up with my OB and got some bad news. I’ll have to do a separate post on it, but basically was told that we’re out of non-surgical options for the prolapse. With the research I’ve done so far – surgery is NOT for me. I have a lot of thinking to do in figuring out what’s next. I just haven’t had the time to think yet given the week….

Friday – I had my wisdom teeth out. Yes, in my 30s. Who has their wisdom teeth out this late in the game? Me, apparently. Yuck. I chose to just have Novocaine, being put under freaks me out. I only had the top two removed, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It certainly was disgusting to hear my teeth crack out of my head. Ew. Made me queasy. Still makes me queasy. The recovery was better than expected though and I only took a few Advil before not needing anything for the pain. Even those were precautionary more than necessary.

Monday (I skipped Saturday and Sunday because nothing worth reporting happened, haha) I ended up with a very clogged milk duct. I spent a large portion of the evening in the hot bath, shower, trying to pump, and panicking over the potential mastitis. Luckily and unluckily, Maura had her worst night ever (the up 7 times night) and I think the frequent nursing helped and the next morning things popped back to normal…

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Feelin better!

Last night Maura slept her full 12 hours. Thank God. We have our baby class in an hour or so, the in laws fly out tonight. Back to our routine for a few days. Hopefully things start looking up!