Murphy's law, that is. Yesterday, a crazy storm blew into town. Tomorrow, the day we are supposedly driving to Anchorage, another one is scheduled to arrive. Rain. High winds (122 mph gusts were clocked near Anchorage). Car-swallowing puddles. Nothing but fun for the whole family, for sure.
Meanwhile, the saga of Thea's latest setback continues. On Wednesday morning, she woke up at 4:30 a.m. with a big blowout. At 5 a.m. she had another. We got up. At 7:30 she went back to sleep, and I did too - but by 9 a.m. we were both up and the tummy troubles continued. So I called the hospital to see if those test results were in, because we really hadn't fed her anything too out of the ordinary - pork, rice, chicken, peas - I did feed her some banana, which we haven't done much of because she hasn't seemed too into it. So maybe that was it. I don't know. But I really wanted to find out if the test results revealed anything new.
The hospital said they were done and had been sent to the medical clinic. I called the clinic to see how I could get the results. They said they weren't there. I told them the hospital said they had been sent. The said they weren't there. I asked if this limbo-problem happened often. The nurse offered no ideas.
Now, you know, it's one thing to have a frustrating time with the medical profession, but when your child is suffering, it rachets everything up a notch. So I called back to the hospital - oh, they just aren't looking in the right place, said the lab tech. I will call them for you, she said. I called back to the clinic a couple hours later, only to be told there was only one result in and no one knew what it was meant.
At this point I basically gave up. I took her in this morning for a check-up, and asked if I could find out what the one result was. The nurse, who hadn't looked at Thea's chart and didn't even know she had allergies, said the lab tech was delayed and wasn't here yet and so I couldn't get them. Then, about 20 minutes after I got to work an hour late on the busiest day in the world, they called and said actually, all the results were in - they had been in the file. And they had all come back negative.
So now I have to research more about what that means, because as far as I heard, that just means she's not at risk for the throat-closing kind of allergic reaction. that doesn't mean these foods won't upset her stomach and give her the runs.
Good news is Thea is doing much better today - eating normally and pooping normally, too. So who knows. It's so frustrating. Maybe she had a bug. Maybe it was bananas. Maybe she shouldn't have dipped her corn cake in the dog water bowl. Who on earth knows. So we just muddle on.
But I must say, I'm far more understanding in the shortcomings of science than I am in the shortcomings of medical professionals.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Today we spent a good half of the day inspecting, detecting and injecting Thea. It was pretty rough. We slammed a bunch of appointments into one visit because Matt has insurance right now while he's working for a few days training to be a trainer of firefighters. Coming from Canada, it feels so strange to not be able to just get the health care you need - especially for my children. But here we are.
First we had our 1-year check-up. That went well. Thea is following a wonderfully steady curve up the growth chart with a weight of 24 pounds (is that all - when she is squirming it feels like 50) and a length of 31 inches, which is almost exactly where Liam was at 1 year. She's in the 90th percentile for height, 88th for weight and 80th for head size. All good stuff, considering the struggle we have been through to give her a nutritionally balanced diet.
Then, sadness, her shots - three of em. Tears.
And on to the next appointment. We met with the nurse-practitioner who works with allergy testing next. We talked about options for testing, and I found out there was no easy (read quick) result for some of the foods I suspect most, like tomatoes and potatoes. So that meant we had to do some blood testing. But first, we did three panels of skin tests, which revealed some interesting things. Her response to milk had decreased significantly, and beef showed no response. That means in another six months or so, we can probably start doing isolated introduction of those foods and see how she handles it.
It showed three new allergens, however. Salmon and tuna popped up slightly. I don't think she's ever had either, so her response could be more dramatic if her body had a chance to develop the allergy. Ironically, I have always said there are two foods I can't eat - and salmon is one of them. One bite makes my stomach feel like an over-inflated balloon and very uncomfortable for hours.
But the big whammy du jour - cats. She showed her most dramatic response to cats, which didn't show up at all last time. So now we have to monitor that and factor it in. My thought is we'll start by looking at an air purifier and vacuuming often and go from there. Right now, I haven't seen her having an extreme response to interactions with the cat, in fact I think I have more itchy eye issues with the cat than I've seen her have. So we'll just see. But I did a lot of vacuuming today as a result.
So Thea was subjected to a lot of pokes at this point, and was starting to get sad every time someone inspected her. But it wasn't over yet. She had to get her first blood draw, and we won't get the results for a week for over a dozen foods.
We had to sit forever in the waiting area for the woman who would take Thea's blood for the other tests. Then, she tried to find a vein and couldn't find one. So she sent us up the hill to the hospital. It was so hard, holding her still while they inflicted pain on her little body. I know many people go through this, but I'm just going on record as saying that was tough. Finally, it was over, and we went for a drive while she took a much-needed nap.
Thea fell asleep tonight at 5 p.m. and hasn't gotten up since (it's 10 p.m. now) Probably the immunization shots, combined with the stress of the day. I figure she won't care if she sleeps one night in her clothes.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Today was Thea's birthday. As we neared 11 a.m. when she was born, I could not help but go back in time a bit and remember her birth. The thing that stands out the most for me is the feeling of pride that I had managed it - the pain, the need to get her out quickly, the craziness of the whole situation. I remember thinking I had a dream team of providers. I remember the wonder of seeing this beautiful little girl, whose spirit was obvious from the first breath she took.
I also remember worrying about Liam, how he was coping with the whole situation. Especially the second night when they made Thea and I stay while he and Matt went home. I'm sure I was hormonal like crazy, but that was an intense feeling of fear and sadness. But we made it through. And Liam is fine, and more recently, I have begun to see how having a sister is an enriching experience for him, though he may not realize it for years to come.
Thea had a great day today, although it was almost entirely napless. She got up at 7:30, took a 1-hour nap from 12 to 1 and went to bed at 7. Hope that's not a new leaf, because I can't imagine that working well for anyone. But today it was fine. We had our friend's 2-year-old over in the morning, and Liam had a play-date in the afternoon, so she had company to bat her eyelashes at pretty much all day. She got to skype with her grandma, too, and play in the bathtub as long as she wanted. Pretty much, I'd say she had a stellar day. Liam and I sang her happy birthday at dinner, which she also enjoyed.
As I put her peacefully to bed, I found myself wondering what amazing things were in store for Thea during her second year as we work to iron out her diet issues and embrace and parent her engaging but spirited personality. All I can think is - what fun!
Saturday, January 3, 2009
You know all those self-help books that advise you live in the moment? They are not parents. It seems like all I do as a parent is live in the moment - the nanosecond I turn around and look back, it seems impossible that all that happened before was all that big a deal. So after a year of writing this blog, I'm very thankful to have this record of the experience of Thea's first year on earth.
And what a year. Today, on a whim, I asked Thea, "Where's your bear?" and off she toddled, babbling as she went, and returned a minute later carrying Mr. Bear and smiling widely. I was floored. I don't know why I didn't think she understood me that much, but I didn't. It was like a light-bulb going off. Oh, she gets it. She gets a lot of what I'm saying. I can actually talk to her and expect her to respond. Woah.
A year ago right now, I was heading to bed, huge and uncomfortable, hoping that it would soon be over. At 5 a.m., my water broke. By 11 a.m., I was holding my new daughter. And the journey began. And now she is a walking, talking (all-be-it her own language) human.
It is soo cold right now. The kids hands get cold just walking 20 feet to the car. The windows are all ringed with ice. It was minus 4 when we drove through town at 7 a.m this morning to drop Matt off at the airport. It warmed to a balmy 5 degrees by the afternoon. We are almost out of wood, which means back to the monitor oil stove only, which doesn't come close to heating the house the way the wood stove does. It's supposed to warm up on Thursday, but only to 20 or so. Even so, that will feel like spring after two weeks of shivering and bundling up in layers.
Thea had a rough couple days. She's got something going through her system that isn't working for her. It's terrifying when that happens. Tonight, for example, I fed her cauliflower, which is on the list of not-likely-to-be-allergy-producing. She rejected it, so I put a bit of soy sauce on it. Then she ate it. Then her face got red. Of course that could have been from something previously. So is it soy? Is it wheat? Is it - shudder - rice?? Is it the turkey sausages I've been feeding her so often? It kills me. The list of things I want to test her for is loooong. We go in Friday for those tests. Turns out we actually had medical insurance for December and didn't even know it. Infuriating.
We aren't doing much for Thea's birthday - we went to the toy store today and spent some birthday money on a doll (her first) and an activity box thing. Our friend's 2-year-old is coming over for a couple hours, so that will be a nice break from the mundane. I'm just going to try to treat her like a queen for the day. So, essentially, business as usual.
It's been a wild year, but I'm so happy to be here at this moment now. And I can only hope it just gets better from here.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Just in case I forget this later, here's the forecast right now. I'm putting in the whole thing because it's crazy that it has been like this for over a week, and it is going to be this way for at least a week more. Please take note of the 40-55 below part. Oh yeah.
When it is this cold, kids don't go outside much. In fact, even our cat door has frozen shut. There is ice around the edge of the inside of the windows. The car acts likes you are asking it to fly to the moon when you start it. I wore my hat all day at work today, even after turning the heat up to inferno.
All I can say is .... two weeks to Maui, which is currently 72 degrees warmer than Homer.
Thea put food on a spoon and got it into her mouth tonight at dinner. Very proud.
.TONIGHT...CLEAR. AREAS OF FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS 20 BELOW TO 30 BELOW EXCEPT 10 BELOW TO 5 ABOVE SOUTH OF CLAM GULCH. NORTHEAST WIND 15 MPH.
.SATURDAY...SUNNY. AREAS OF FOG IN THE MORNING. HIGHS 15 BELOW TO 10 ABOVE...WARMEST AROUND KACHEMAK BAY. NORTHEAST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH.
.SATURDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. AREAS OF FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS 15 BELOW TO 25 BELOW EXCEPT 5 BELOW TO 5 ABOVE SOUTH OF CLAM GULCH. NORTHEAST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH EXCEPT NORTHEAST 15 TO 30 MPH AROUND KACHEMAK BAY. WIND CHILLS 40 BELOW TO 55 BELOW.
.SUNDAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. AREAS OF FOG. HIGHS 5 BELOW TO 10 BELOW EXCEPT 5 TO 15 ABOVE SOUTH OF CLAM GULCH. NORTHEAST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH EXCEPT NORTH 10 TO 25 MPH AROUND KACHEMAK BAY.
.SUNDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. AREAS OF FOG. LOWS 15 BELOW TO 20 BELOW EXCEPT 10 BELOW TO 10 ABOVE SOUTH OF CLAM GULCH. VARIABLE WIND TO 10 MPH. AROUND KACHEMAK BAY...NORTH WIND 10 TO 20 MPH.
.MONDAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. AREAS OF FOG. HIGHS 5 BELOW TO 5 ABOVE.
.MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS ZERO TO 10 BELOW. HIGHS ZERO TO 10 ABOVE.
.WEDNESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS 5 TO 15.
LOWS 5 BELOW TO 5 ABOVE.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Today, our house bulged at the seams and Thea, our little social butterfly, couldn't have been happier.
Since Matt is heading out of town on Saturday, we threw a party on the first instead of the fourth for our soon-to-be-one-year-old. I really had no idea how many people would show up, and didn't expect too many folks to drag themselves out of the house on New Year's Day. But at a friends house the night before, I realized there might be a few folks coming... so, I amped up the prep a bit.
Unfortunately, Matt threw his back out, so I was still prepping at 11 p.m. last night. But it was so worth it. Thea had some 30 guests come through. We had enough food for everyone, and tons of people and babies mingled together with very few conflicts. The big kids went to Liam's room and out on the hill sledding (regardless of the single-digit weather), the babies played in the living room - it was positively mellow.
We had a carrot cake and dairy-free icing, which Thea enjoyed almost as much as Liam blowing out the candle for her.
But the real miracle was Thea - who refused to nap this morning, and made it all the way to 2:30 without melting down. She fell asleep in my lap as the last guests trickled out. Very peaceful.
I am so relieved to have the party behind me. Now I can focus on making it through the next week of work without Matt here, then another week and we are Hawaii-bound.
And right now, my house is pretty clean, I've got enough ham to feed me for a week, and Thea is OUT. Peace reigns.