Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bye-Bye Eosinophils!

Caleb had another scope on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Everything appeared normal, just as it did on his first scope, when he was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Enteritis. After all, eosinophils are allergy cells, and you can't see cells with the naked eye.

So, the GI doctor took biopsies of every part of his upper digestive system (just as she did the first time) and tested them for everything under the sun (just as before). We got the biopsy results back on Monday morning and guess what...? NO MORE EOSINOPHILS! The diet of just an elemental/hypoallergenic formula along with apples, rice, grapes, chicken, tuna, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes (well, he basically only ate apples, grapes, and sweet potatoes for the past few months) worked!

"Bye-bye eosinophils"
"See ya [daddy??] eosinophils"
"No-no, all done, eosinophils"
You probably can't tell, but I'm happy to point out that he has cooked rice and pureed sweet potatoes on his chin and bib. :D

Now we just have to hope that he has gained enough weight to have a stronger small bowel so that he can fight off any new allergens as we introduce new foods. He has only gained three pounds in the last 4-5 months, and he's not even close to being on the growth chart, but the GI doctor thinks it's time to start new foods. I really hope that we're not moving ahead too soon. If he's not ready for new foods then we could lose all of the progress that we've made. I'm just scared that, if he isn't able to fight off the allergens, we won't know what the offending food is. After all, the only clues that anything was wrong before his diagnosis were occasional vomiting of huge amounts and refusal to eat. And even though at the start of his new diet those symptoms were completely resolved, they are now worse than ever because his body is rejecting the formula. So it's going to be hard to know what's going on.

So. We're going to take a leap of faith. Our GI doctor has seen a 100 percent cure rate with this type of eosinophilic disorder, so I've got to trust her. And it will be nice to have a head start on all of this by the time the baby comes.

So, what comes next? New foods! We will add one new food every three days and see how Caleb reacts. We've already started our first new "food"--a non-hypoallergenic formula. Instead of using a medical formula with completely broken down proteins that is impossible to be allergic to, we are now using Nestle/Gerber Goodstart (it's an infant formula that you can get at any store). It has partially broken down proteins, so it's still very gentle on his system. We're in the middle of day five on the new formula and we've already seen major improvements!! He only threw up once in the past five days and his appetite has increased! He is (kind of) swallowing food again and the other day he wanted me to spoon feed him an entire jar of applesauce!

I don't know which food we will introduce next, or how we will go about introducing the most common offenders (like dairy, eggs, wheat, and soy). But the GI doctor and I decided to wait for two weeks to offer another new food, just to make sure that he will continue to tolerate the new formula. After that, we will probably go with the "new food every three days" rule...depending on what we see, I assume.

And at some point, depending on his symptoms, he will probably have another follow-up scope to make sure that the eosinophils are under control.

I had no clue that motherhood would be about watching your baby suffer day in and day out. It's not supposed to be like that. You're supposed to watch them suffer when they get an ear infection, or a stuffy nose, or the 24-hour flu, or their first vaccinations...not when they take a bite of food. Not when hunger pains are more tolerable than eating pains. Not when they're so dehydrated that their lips crack and bleed. Not when they get surgery so that they can do one of life's most basic functions--eat. Not when projectile vomiting becomes a part of everyday life.

I'm just so thankful that my valiant little guy's happy spirit hasn't been effected by this disease. Today we went to the store and for no apparent reason he just couldn't stop laughing. He may be wild and crazy and uncontrollable at times, and his medical issues are certainly trying at times, but he is almost always happy. He loves to do things that please me. He hardly ever throws tantrums, and if he does, a quick time-out cures everything. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect child, medical problems and all!

37 Weeks!

Yes, I made it to full-term! I may be 3 weeks away from my due date, but at this point, the baby is considered "full-term" and wouldn't be considered a preemie if he was born now! To my understanding, his chances of needing to be in the NICU are the same now as they are three weeks from now.

There is a very, very good chance that I will get the four things that I have really wanted from the beginning: to hold my baby after he's born, to hear him cry, to take him home from the hospital with me, and to be able to feed him without a feeding tube and/or stress/feeding therapy/medical concerns.

AMAZING!!!

In fact, my new goal is to give him nothing but breast milk for the first four months. After all, getting formula too soon is our best guess as to what caused Caleb's feeding problems. If we have children with weak digestive systems, I'd rather be safe than sorry. Yes, Caleb was under three pounds when he first got formula (as a fortifier to the breast milk), so of course it was hard for him to digest it, but still. Can you blame me for being paranoid? We've been living a nightmare. I'd do ANYTHING to keep my next little baby from having to suffer like Caleb has.

It's so nice to know that he has such a good chance at not suffering.

Nate and I celebrated by having pizza, wings, and cupcakes. :) I know that sounds so unhealthy, and that I look huge in the picture (who am I kidding, I AM huge!), but my weight gain is right on track, so no worries! It's worth the cupcakes!

37 weeks!

So, last Friday I had strong, painful contractions, every three minutes, for three hours. Then they went away. BUT!! Apparently they were kind of the real deal, because I am now dilated to 1.5cm and 60 percent effaced! Ever since 26 weeks I've been dilated less than 1cm and 50 percent effaced. So, it's nice to know that I won't be pregnant forever, and that some day in the not-too-distant future I will get to meet this little guy! I'm so excited to see him!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The 2-year-old Cal!

  • Weighs 21 lbs 1 oz (not even close to being on the charts)
  • Is 32.5 inches long (8th percentile! Woohoo!). If you go by the old wive's tale of doubling a child's height at age two and you'll get their full adult stature, that would mean that Caleb will be 5'5". One inch taller than me. That's not so bad.
  • Has a head circumference in the 31st percentile
  • Wears size 12 months clothes
  • Wears size 3 diapers during the day and size 4 at night (although he's so dehydrated lately that we can probably put him in size 3 at night now)
  • Has officially outgrown his infant car seat! (By the height limit, not the weight limit. The height limit is 32 inches, and the weight limit is 35 pounds.) He can still rear-face in his new convertible car seat for a LONG time--until he is 45 pounds or 45 inches. Perfect timing so he can hand his infant seat down to his little brother!
As much as I wish my toddler was bigger, healthier, and eating on his own, I do enjoy getting to have such a small little guy for so long. He'll get big some day. For now, I love him just how he is. :)

World Prematurity Day

It's World Prematurity Day today. Say a little prayer of thanks for the healthy babies in your life, and say an extra little prayer for the babies who suffer because they were born too early.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The (not-so-lovely) Bucket.

I do believe my child is now trained to vomit in his "throw-up bucket." Sad, isn't it? And also quite wonderful, in a depressing way? When he coughs just a bit, he runs and grabs his bucket and holds it in front of his face. (He always coughs before vomiting.) He hasn't successfully thrown up in it without help, though. But it's just a matter of time. He calls it his "throw-up bucket" and everything. I mean, it's sad enough that my 24-month-old's vocabulary contains the word "throw-up." But I think my life just became a little bit easier. Less wardrobe changes, thus less laundry. Less scrubbing of the floor on my hands and knees. If vomit must be a part of our everyday life (which it has been for the last two months), then this just made my life a little bit easier. Thank you, Bucket.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A lovely afternoon at the aviary!

My dad (who is a pilot) had a 4-hour layover in Salt Lake City, so Caleb and I drove up to meet him and spend a few hours at the aviary! It was INCREDIBLE! Caleb liked it more than the zoo! I liked it more than the zoo, too, because we were the ONLY customers there! Caleb learned how to say "eagle" and "peacock." And his favorite part, other than just spending time with Granddad, was feeding the ducks:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happy Dayday Cal-ba!

(That's how Caleb says, "Happy birthday"--"Happy Dayday.")

My little boy turned two years old on the 12th! It was a wonderful day. I did everything I could think of to make it special for him, since he couldn't have a birthday cake and since I didn't feel comfortable having a "party" for him if I couldn't serve our guests food, and there was NO way I was going to serve food if the guest of honor couldn't have any!

As I was saying, it was wonderful. We woke the birthday boy up by presenting him with balloons (an obsession of his). He LOVED them, and they'll stay floating for a while, so he will get a lot of enjoyment out of them!

Then, after filling his tummy, we hopped in the car to drive to the Rec. Center to swim with his friend, Nash! He threw up in the car (thankfully in a bowl, so he didn't get his fancy birthday outfit yucky) which was nice, since he inhaled some pool water later and had a few good coughing fits. I did NOT want him to throw up in the pool!

The pool at the Rec. Center was incredible! They had a great little toddler area where Caleb could comfortably wade. They had water slides that were perfect for him to go down with Auntie Jenna (Nash's favorite part). I was swimming, too, but I don't have enough lap space lately to be able to go down the slide with Caleb. :) Caleb loved to just stand by the end of the slide and get splashed by everyone who came down. He laughed and laughed! And we enjoyed a lovely little lazy river. The hour that we were there just flew by! We'll definitely have to go back. It was really affordable, too, especially for how much they have to offer!

We planned on getting back home with enough time to give Caleb a horse ride, but we spent too much time swimming! So next we opened presents with Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunties. Caleb has really improved his present-opening technique! It was so fun to watch him. He got a lot of books (which he wanted to read right away) and some great toys that he isn't even tired of yet!! Amazing, isn't it? We all did a great job giving presents. :)

Then we put two matches in an apple and sang "Happy Birthday" to him! Caleb knew just what to do (we had practiced blowing out matches), and when Daddy was lighting the matches, Caleb blew the flame out! So we had to light it again. When he blew the matches in the apple out, and we all cheered, he clapped with us with a big ol' grin on his face and said, "again?"

After nap time we went to a church dinner, then came home and played with the new toys. :) Right before bed, Caleb helped Daddy unload the dishwasher--another one of Caleb's favorite activities. :) I planned to have the dishes clean and ready for him to put away, as a special birthday treat! The only thing that I could have done to make the day better would have been to fold a load of laundry with Caleb's "help," too, but I was just too tired for that one.

It was such a wonderful day for all of us! Even if Caleb won't remember it, I will! And he certainly enjoyed it as much as possible for a little two-year-old! In fact, he didn't even need to go in time-out a single time! I don't know what these "terrible two's" are that everyone talks about...psh.... ;) (No need to tell me "just wait"...I know, I know! Everyone gets their time!)

Stay tuned for updates on Caleb's growth and such. He has a well-child appointment with the pediatrician on Thursday, so I'll update you after that! For now, I'll leave you with this thought: all of his clothes are size 12 months. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

The things that make motherhood so sweet:

  • I opened the google chrome browser and Caleb saw the Angry Birds icon and said, "Angy Birds!" How he learned what Angry Birds was, I may never know.
  • Caleb loves to count. More specifically, he loves to identify when there is more than one of something, i.e., "TWO puntins!" (pumpkins). Sometimes, if there is more than two of something, he'll say, "A lot of puntins!" Just yesterday we realized that he knows that when there is more than one of something, you put an "s" on the end. "A dog" vs. "Two dogs."
  • The other day he looked out the window and saw the horses. He knows Hank's name, and when he saw Laci, he said, "TWO Hanks!" It reminded me of the time when my niece was little and said, "I have two Auntie Jenna's, only one's an Auntie Anna." (Remember, Jenna is my identical twin sister.) Too cute.
  • Caleb is getting very good at forming more complex sentences. A few common examples: "I see d temple!," "Where'd d temple go?," "A puntin with a face!," "Uh, oh, I dropped d pad," "Uh-oh, I made a mess."
  • He is in love with LDS temples. We have a picture of a Temple on a small card, and every time he finds it he brings it to me and says, "Adain?" (again) because he wants me to sing the child's song "I love to see the temple." While I sing, he carefully puts the picture on the floor and looks at it as he dances (more like sways) to the gentle music. One day, after it was dark, we decided to drive by the brightly-lit Temple to see what he thought. He recognized it right away. From then on, every time he would see an LDS church building (they are all over the place, and they have spires on the top), he would shout, "I SEE D TEMPLE!" He has since learned that it's a church that he sees, so now he excitedly proclaims, "I see a church!"
  • Nate has a co-worker named Pearce. Every time Pearce comes over, he will find an item (a blanket, a box, a book) and ask Caleb what it is. Caleb will answer correctly, and Pearce will say, "No, it's a hat!" and put it on Caleb's head. Then he will ask Caleb what the item is again, and Caleb will usually say, "A hat." A few days ago, Pearce was visiting along with a friend. His friend asked Caleb what the dog was, and Caleb answered, "A hat!" Ummm...I wouldn't suggest putting Meggie on your head, Dear Caleb, although it was very clever of you to make that association.
  • Caleb loves to look at my belly to say "hi" to the baby. After saying "hi," he will wave to the baby and say, "Bye-bye, Baby. Yuv you." (love you) and give my belly a kiss and insist that I pull my shirt back down immediately. The other day, Nate was bathing Caleb, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and Caleb was copying everything that Nate did. So, Nate took his shirt off and did a nice, loud Tarzan impression, banging his chest with his fists while singing/shouting, "OooooOooooooOooooo." Caleb watched him do this, and when Nate was done, in a very unimpressed tone Caleb said, "Bye-bye, Baby," and continued to play in the bath. Yep, he wanted Nate to put his shirt back on immediately.
  • Caleb has become a little bit of a snuggler lately. He's been much too busy most of his life to make time to snuggle with Mommy, so I've been enjoying it. If I am laying on the couch, as I often do, he will come to me and say, "Up?" So, I pick him up and lay him in front of me, sort of in a spooning way. He will lay there for about two seconds and then say, "Uh-oh, blanket," or, "Uh-oh, cup." Then he will hop down, grab his blanket and cup, and come back to me and say, "Up?" He must snuggle with his blanket and cup (even though he hardly ever drinks from his cup).
  • He has learned the difference between little and big. He loves his "yittle blanket," (little blanket), a soft blanket made of four blanket squares. He also loves to put his two pumpkins next to each other and identify them as Yittle Puntin and Big Puntin.
  • Caleb pronounces all of the "L" sounds at the beginning of words with a "Y" sound. Yittle, Yight, Yeaves, Yove.
  • Caleb loves to identify things that are "yuty," (yucky). We have a mesh laundry bag of dirty button pads (the soft fabric pads that we put around his g-tube to protect the skin from the booger-like discharge), and he loves to point to it and say, "Yuty pads." Just today he noticed some dirt on the floor and told me it was, "yuty." When he throws up and we have to change his clothes, he says, "bye-bye yuty shirt." We always know when he's done throwing up because he says, "Bye-bye, yuty."
  • One of Caleb's favorite games is, "Where'd Caleb go?" He will run behind the couch and say, "Where'd Cal-ba go?" When he comes back around to the front of the couch he explodes with laughter and quickly runs away to play again. And yes, he pronounces his name "Cal-ba." It sounds a lot like "cowboy."
  • When I sneeze, Caleb says, "Achoo, Mommy." I think he thinks he's saying "bless you." Close enough, right?
  • He loves the movie Finding Nemo lately. He calls it "Nemo Fish." Now he calls our pet fish "Sunshine Fish."
  • Caleb can identify, almost flawlessly, the following colors of crayons: blue, green, orange, yellow, purple, red, brown, pink, and silver. But he can't identify the color of anything that isn't a crayon. He tries, but he gets it wrong almost every time.
  • Caleb knows that the baby's room is the baby's room. When he walks by the door, he says, "Bye-bye, baby room."
  • He knows that "bye-bye" and "see ya" are synonymous. He also uses dog, doggie, puppy, and puppy dog interchangeably. Same with horse and horsie; rabbit, bunny, and bunny rabbit; etc.
  • When we are doing something to Caleb that hurts him (wiping him after a dirty diaper when he has a diaper rash, cleaning around his feeding tube when it's sore), he cries, but he says in a very tough way, "Bye-bye OWie! See ya, OWie!" over and over, through his tears, as if he's demanding that the owie go bye-bye. He is one of the toughest, strongest people I know.
  • He knows that a kiss always makes an owie better.
  • When we tube feed him in the middle of the night, sometimes he wakes up just enough to look at us and smile. We whisper, "I love you," and he whispers back, "Yove you." Melts my heart.
:)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Another random pregnancy update!

33 weeks 3 days (today)


There is no rhyme or reason to these updates. It's just when I think about taking a picture and actually get around to finding time to blog (ok, ok, I could find time if I made time, it's just harder to prioritize these days).

I didn't realize how big I have gotten until I saw this picture that Nate just took. Ummm...is that a torpedo hiding under my shirt? When did that happen?

And I'm pretty sure the baby has "dropped," whatever that means. I woke up one morning (actually about a week and a half ago) and I felt like my belly had changed a little bit. I could tell just by looking in the mirror that the baby wasn't sitting as high as he used to. I'm not worried about it being a warning that I'll go into labor soon, because I certainly didn't drop with Caleb until I was in labor and started pushing. I carried him really high the whole time.

Speaking of labor, my doctor told me that my progesterone shot at 32 weeks 5 days would be my last one. I was under the impression that my last shot would be at 36 weeks, but I was too excited thinking about not having to poke myself in the rear with a needle every week that I didn't think to ask any questions. But everyone I've talked to says that their last shot is/was at 36 weeks, and it seems that most people deliver 2-2.5 weeks after their last shot. Soooo, I'm not comfortable with having my baby next week. I think I'll go ahead and give myself just one more shot and go from there. That should take me to 36 1/2 weeks, at least.

Speaking of not having a baby yet, I'm totally not ready to have a baby yet! I mean, technically I'm ready. I have diapers and clothes and a place for the baby to sleep. But I'm just not uncomfortable enough to want this to end! Sure, there are times when this little guy naps in my ribs (but I just push him right back out, he gives an objective kick, and then we both settle into a more agreeable position). And sure, I have a hard time sleeping (but seriously, it's not because I'm uncomfortable. I just can't sleep!). But it's really not bad. I'm in no way miserable. I'll have to reevaluate that one in a few weeks too, I suppose. :)

Well, ok, there are two parts about being this far along in my pregnancy that aren't all too enjoyable. One is the pelvic pain. Youch! It's like the whole 26 pounds that I've gained is resting right on my pelvic bones and whenever I'm vertical it just aches. The other less-than-wonderful part about being this far along is that I can't bend over. If I try to put my socks on, I have a contraction. If I try to pick up the crayon that Caleb drops on the floor, I have a contraction. If I try to get up off of the couch, I have a contraction. I have to think about what I do before I do it, because it just might cause yet another really painful contraction. I feel a little bit like an old woman who can't get up if she bends over. But the nice thing is that some day, most likely in a month or so, I won't feel like an old woman any more! I will be able to play on the floor with my little boys and keep up with them and not think "ugh" every time I have to do a little task! That doesn't happen if you really are getting old! I get to be young again! Isn't that splendid?