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 Thursday Thirteen
Thirteen Things I’m thinking about right now

1. We took Kayla to her speech therapy evaluation today and it didn’t go as well as I thought it would. They said she had severe receptive language impairment and moderate expressive language impairment. She will now be starting individual speech therapy twice a week for the next 6 months (for a total of 48 visits), then they will re-evaluate to see if more sessions are needed. They also referred me to get a developmental evaluation again because her cognitive abilities are very behind and she has a very bad attention deficit. On top of her occupational therapy. They told me she has to get in as much therapy as we can if we plan on enrolling her in “regular” school come time for kindergarten. I never actually thought of the fact that she may not be able to go to regular school.

2. I need to send in the forms CCS sent me to help me cover the co-pays for Kayla. We are spending roughly $45 dollars a week in co-pays now and lots more therapy is needed. We are also spending a lot in gas getting to all the appointments so we need to finish applying for her state disability to help with all the costs.

3. I talked to my gram earlier and she is going to be sending me her old palm pilot to help me get a little more organized with her appointments. Sweet!

4. The show Best week ever is funny.

5. Why is Tom Cruise so weird? He makes the most awesome movies yet he is so freaking bizarre. I think he is from another planet.

6. Kayla’s 3rd birthday is coming up VERY soon! My little girl is going to be three. WHERE DID THE TIME GO?? It’s too bad so many people can’t make it to the party.

7. My hubby bought me flowers and Starbucks the other morning for no reason. Isn’t that the nicest thing? I love him!

8. We are in desperate need of a second vehicle. Dang.

9. I gave Ava a haircut tonight. Her first one! I still have yet to take the kids anywhere to get their hair cut, I always do it myself. It looks fairly good. Maybe her hair won’t get matted in her sleep anymore.

10. David Cook should SO win American Idol. He is really good. It kind of bugs me that he looks like he might be balding and trying to cover it up by bushing forward his hair but that doesn’t change he fact that he is very talented. My favorite song he did so far was Eleanor Rigby. I just like his take on the song.

11. I can’t believe people would be stupid enough to think that a whole household of valuable items were theirs for the taking because of a craigslist ad. (Click here to read the article)

12. I wonder what little babies dream about. I would love to be in their heads for a night just to see the cute little baby dreams. I just went in to check on Ava and she kept smiling and giggling in her sleep. She’s probably dreaming about boobs!

13. Speaking of dreams, I had pretty much the most bizarre dream ever last night. I dreamed that I found out that Charles Manson was Ava’s real father. I know! WTF? I dreamt that I was going to visit a friend of mine and while I was waiting for her to answer the door Charles Manson came up behind me and handed me a pamphlet for something, then he asked if I remembered him. I was like, “uhh, no…” So I went inside my friends house because he was creeping me out. I told my friend about what happened and how weird it was and she said, “Don’t you remember him? Don’t you see the resemblance between him and Ava? He’s Ava’s real father!”  I was like “Riiiiiiigggghhhhtt. Okay, this is a dream.” I woke myself up right then. I realized that I had that dream because the hubbs and I were talking about Charles Manson and how creepy he is right before I went to bed last night. I told my mom about it over the phone and she almost died laughing. She almost had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on my father who was eating a piece of pizza when she told him. She says she sees the resemblance, I, however, do not…

Ava

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Breastfeeding Carnival 

Today I am participating in Sarcastic Mom’s Breastfeeding Carnival. It’s an awesome idea. If you feel bad that you missed it you have an opportunity to make up for it on March 24 during the Birth Story Carnival, in which I will also be participating.

Birth Story Carnival

First off, I have two children but my Breastfeeding story today is going to be about Kayla, my first daughter. Why? Because if I wrote about my breastfeeding my second daughter (Avalynn) it would go something like this;

Baby popped out. Baby was hungry. Baby latched on. Baby eats all the time.

See, wouldn’t that be boring? There is a lot more to tell about Kayla. She was no where near an easy baby to breastfeed.

 

The first time I was able to breastfeed Kayla was when she was eight weeks old. The day she was born she was having trouble latching on, or even rooting for that matter. The nurses told me sometimes it takes a day or two for babies to decide to eat. By the time she was about 24 hours old, they decided to send in a lactation consultant. When she arrived she tried with all her might to get Kayla to latch on but she wouldn’t even close her mouth around my nipple. (Yeah, that’s right I just said NIPPLE! Did I get your attention yet?) During the time the lactation consultant was there, my daughter had a seizure. After a few hours of testing in the NICU, they decided to transfer her to the Children’s Hospital NICU, there they had discovered that she suffered massive bilateral cortical strokes during her delivery. (Click here to read more about that story, but for this one I am going to focus on breastfeeding.) After she was transferred, I had to wait for an OB to discharge me. While I was waiting the lactation consultant came back to visit me and go over how to use the Medela Lactina Select Breast pump we decided to rent.

That pump is like a little mechanical angel. If it was 552 million billion gwazillion dollars, I would own six.

Thus began my pumping story. I cried when I found out I couldn’t breastfeed for a while, but I was determined to get as close to the real thing for both of us as possible until then.

The day she arrived at Children’s she was placed on an NG tube. She received formula through it until my milk came in. Once my milk came in I asked that she only received my breast milk through it. 

While Kayla was in the NICU, I pumped and pumped and pumped. I used a picture of my little angel that I set on top of the breast pump to help with let down. That helped a lot. It reminded me that I was doing this for a purpose, for her.

I kept a little beanie baby I had bought for her tucked in my nightgown at night. I brought it to her every morning and switched it out with a different one that a nurse had brought in for her. They told me it would be comforting to her to smell me and help with bonding after she was released. It always seemed to calm her down. I remember moving it closer to her when I had to leave at night to sleep.

Once she was allowed to come off the NG tube and receive oral feedings, I still wasn’t allowed to breastfeed. They wanted to monitor her intake and they couldn’t do that if I was breastfeeding so I could only pump and bottle feed her my milk. I came every three hours to feed her. Every day. I wanted to feel as close to her as I could, and if she were home with me I know I would be getting up to nurse her every three hours regardless. It was just a little different to make the trip to see her every three hours when we weren’t in the same building.

Close to when she was going to be released they decided I could finally breastfeed her, but despite all my efforts, I just couldn’t get her to latch on. We tried everyday, we worked with another lactation consultant, we even tried nipple shields. She had gotten way to used to bottle nipples and due to her disability the doctors told us that we were lucky she was even drinking from the bottle and to come to terms with the fact that she may never breastfeed.

After she was released I continued to try. Weeks went by and we still weren’t making any progress. I continued to pump and try everyday until one day we went out as a family to the mall. As we were leaving the food court, I saw a mother breastfeeding her child at a table.

I broke down into tears right there in the mall. I was so frustrated and so determined to share this bond with my child, but I felt as though I had failed her since we still couldn’t get it down.

That night I decided I was going to give it one final shot before I gave up and just pumped for her bottles. We spent all night trying and trying until one moment somewhere around 5:30am she latched on and began to nurse. I almost jumped up and down with joy but I didn’t want to interrupt her for fear that it would never happen again.

From that day forward she nursed without a problem. I returned to the breast pump to the hospital. We were one happy mama and baby. She never had another bottle and nursed effortlessly until she was 18 months old.

I am so glad to have never given up. I enjoyed the time I did get with Kayla nursing and I will cherish it always. I am now currently still nursing my six month old who just happens to be the easiest baby ever to nurse. I plan to nurse her until she is 18 months old as well.

 

 

 I thought I would include some tips for pumping/breastfeeding while your child is in the NICU. I believe you should do what is best for both you and you baby whether it’s formula feeding, breastfeeding or pumping. If you do plan to breastfeed, though, and your child has to stay in the NICU for whatever reason, here are some tips:

 

 

(A lot of you that have had babies in the NICU already know these!)

  • Pump, pump, pump! Rent a hospital grade pump and pump every three hours for at least 15 minutes on each side. Yes, that means waking up in the middle of the night as well.
  • To help with the letdown process take a picture of your baby and set in on your breast pump while you pump, or pump while you are sitting next to your baby in the NICU.
  • Tuck a stuffed animal or folded blanket  in your shirt or nightgown every night and sleep with it there. When you see your baby next sit it next to him/her and switch them out every night. (This is how the baby will get used to your smell)
  • Ask that your baby receives breast milk through their NG tube instead of formula.
  • Once your baby is switched from an NG tube to oral feedings ask if you can breastfeed. If that’s not an option, ask that no one feeds your baby but you and show up every three hours to bottle feed your baby. (If that is an option for you.)
  • Never give up!

I’m back! Okay, where to start? Well, we helped my parents and brother and sister-in-law move on Saturday. It’s been freezing all month here but on the day we choose to carry heavy objects up and down stairs San Diego decides,

“Hey, how about 85°? Does that sound like fun? I think that would be awesome! Your air conditioner in your car broke a few months ago, right? All the better! Oh and your driving around two hot cranky kids that aren’t having any fun at all? Sweet!”

It was about as un-fun as things can get (But is moving ever?). It was, however, pretty exciting to see their new place. Once we were done with my bro and sis we headed over to my parents to help them. We had helped them take one load early in the morning, but the rest of the day had been consumed by my brothers stuff, because HE HAS A LOT OF STUFF. Once we were finished they were pretty much almost done (for the day) and so we decided to help by providing a whole bunch of KFC and some strawberry champagne for celebrating. No one had eaten all day so they were very grateful. I just wanted to eat KFC.  Everyone is extremely relieved to get out of there. They can finally live like tenants now and not prisoners of war. They have a toilet, two actually! And heat! Hell, they can even hang things on their wall if thy feel so inclined! I know my Aunt and cousin read our blogs (old landlords captors) so I have a little message for them.

Dear Asshole and Asshole Jr,

You will have to find someone else to control now. I know you want to play it off like you gave them a place to stay to be helpful but you really just wanted one more thing in your life you could control. A helpful relative doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for rent for a TRAILER.  A helpful relative fixes toilets when they break. A helpful relative doesn’t tell you when you can or cannot hang things on your walls, yell at you for hanging up a wind-chime on the patio, whether or not they can collect their OWN mail out of the mailbox or not or how many things they can have plugged in at one time, etc. No one believes you were trying to do anything nice for them. So give it up.

The end.

Today Kayla had her first Occupational Therapy appointment. She loved it! She now calls it “the fun doctor”or “the toy doctor.” They therapist noticed her “tics” right off and said she would probably need physical therapy as well. It’s still not known whether or not they can do anything for them. They’ve decided she is a “Sensory seeker.” I could have told you that. She prefers bright colors, smears food all over herself at every meal (still at almost three), would rather be upside down, spinning, etc. at all times and things to that nature. Hopefully we can work on those things as well as her letting us know when she has gone to the bathroom (and possibly even help with potty training) and learning how to dress and undress herself. It’s pretty strange that she still can’t even take her own pants or shirt off. But it’s soon to get better! I am so, so, SO proud of all the things she CAN DO. She has gone well above everybody’s expectations as to what she would be able to do. She has much less than half a brain left and somehow she can manage to say things like “It’s dark in here.” That’s my girl.

Sunday night (I know, I kind of went out of order) we ended up having to call the cops on some guys out front of our apartment complex. We secretly watched from our balcony as two African American guys came up and started beating the crap out of three other guys. Another guy that happened to be driving by got out of his car and tried to help stop the fight. Instead of stopping, they decided to jump him instead. About four more African American men came out and the all six of them were beating the crap out of this guy that was just trying to help. This is when I decided to call the cops. While I was gone the hubbs said one of the guys looked like he pulled out a gun. All the girls that were around watching started screaming and some guy was yelling “Put that away! Put it down!”

Operator: 911, what is your emergency?

Me: Hi, I’m at ************* St. There are about six African American males beating up a guy in front of our apartment complex. (I didn’ know about the possible gun at this point)

Operator: Yes, someone has already called and the police have already been dispatched.

Me: Okay, thanks.

We live about one full mile from the police department. It took them about an hour and fifteen minutes to get here. I think, even if they had walked here the entire way, it wouldn’t have taken over an hour. That’s pretty ridiculous.

Anyway, shortly after I called, someone yelled to everyone that the police were on their way and everyone took off. Me and the hubbs were like, “What the heck just happened?”

Have I mentioned we are moving? Oh, we are sooo moving.

By the way, my pregnant friend had her first appointment today. He gave her an ultrasound and she has a dot baby. She called me to tell me about how much she loves her little dot. It’s not quite bean sized, just a dot. So she is probably around 4-5 weeks pregnant. He wasn’t sure about the due date but decided it was probably somewhere around Halloween. She goes back closer to the end of the month to get a better idea of a due date. That way the baby will be easier to measure.

Tomorrow I am participating in Sarcastic Mom’s breastfeeding carnival. It sounds like an awesome idea. Everyone blogs about their breastfeeding stories. So look out tomorrow for that. I promised myself when I heard about it that I wouldn’t ait until the last minute to start writing the post but just like high school, it’s tomorrow and I haven’t started yet. So that’s what I am going to go do now. See you tomorrow!

Click here for details!

Breastfeeding Carnival

It has been a busy past few days here. I feel accomplished though, by getting a lot of things done. So I thought I’d let you know what I’ve been up to an give a little update.

Friday I made about a billion phone calls including;

  • Calling to find out when Kayla’s next neurology appointment is. It still isn’t until May, even though were are on the cancellation list. For some reason, the neurology appointments at Children’s hospital are booked out in advance at least six months at all times. Highly frustrating. I really want to know what this new neurologist thinks of Kayla’s ‘ticks.’ (I’m not really sure what they are, this weird arm flapping, jumping motion she makes that seems to only get worse with time. They seem to occur more and more frequently. The nurse practitioner we saw at the neurology office last time said it may be a movement disorder of some sort.)
  • Set up an appointment to get Kayla state disability checks. I don’t know why I didn’t do this when she was first born, I guess I wanted to prove so badly that we didn’t need any ones help to take care of our daughter. But with the medications, occupational, speech and possibly physical therapy she is starting now we just can’t afford it. The co-pays alone are $15 dollars per doctors visit with our insurance. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but factor in the fact that she will have a MINIMUM of 3-4 visits a week, we will be paying $45 + plus a week for her treatment. And I don’t work so I can stay at home and take care of her. And we live in San Diego (holy cow it costs an arm and a leg to live here!)  We barely make it by most months, so any help we get will be heavenly.
  • Set up Kayla’s occupational therapy appointments. Every Monday, for the next 24 weeks, we will be doing occupational therapy. I am extremely excited to see how much progress she makes! I can’t wait!
  • Talked to my psychiatrist about the medication he prescribed. I was supposed to have an appointment today with him so he could find out how the medication was working for me buu-uut I hadn’t actually been taking it. He told me what all he other doctors had pretty much told me, about how there aren’t a lot of other options out there for breastfeeding mother’s with Bipolar disorder. He decided to prescribe Lexapro to at least help with the depression and anxiety, but he wanted me to double check with Ava’s pediatrician to make sure he thought it was safe enough to take. Her pediatrician told me it was not recommended because it hadn’t been studied enough. So I didn’t take it. But I forgot to call the psychiatrist for a week to let him know. When I did call him, he stressed the importance of me taking the Lexapro. He told me discontinuing the nursing would probably set off hormones to spiral me into a deeper depression and that wouldn’t be good for me or the kids. His recommendation; don’t stop breastfeeding, take the Lexapro in an extremely low dose. He also told me he had consulted with two other doctors about it. He told me that her pediatrician was covering his butt, that he doesn’t know the benefits to risk factor, and told me that the studies had only found high doses of the medication to cause drowsiness in infants. So my low dose should not affect her, and if it does, he told me to discontinue it.
  • So I started taking it on Friday and I swear, I feel better already. I know, it has to take a couple of weeks to build up in your system but I think it’s working already. Maybe it’s just that I want it to work so badly that I’m working it up in my head with kind of a placebo effect, but I don’t care. Whatever it is, it’s working. Although side effect wise, it makes me feel like I’ve had six cups of coffee, a little shaky, but I’ll deal. Ava seems to not be affected at all by it. She seems they same as she did all week before I started taking it. She was teething before I started, though, so it’s hard to judge.
  • I got car insurance…YAY!
  • I also paid the gas and electric and the cable bill. Blah.

Saturday we went to visit my parents and we played some guitar hero and Wii bowling. The mood is pretty heavy over there (understandably) due to the fact that my Great Aunt decided to evict them from their house. I kind of want to kick some butt over that. Oh! I also got to feel the baby belly of my little future niece or nephew. I have a feeling he’s a boy. But, of course, I thought both of MY girls were boys.

Sunday we relaxed around the house a bit, went to Sears Essentials and bought new car seats for the kids. Kayla had outgrown her car seat and was ready to move to a booster type seat. We bought a bright pink one and it’s so cute! We decided Ava needed one to match, also hers was dirty beyond belief. I figure car seats are not really one of those frivolous things. They are kind of a necessity. So no splurge there.

This has turned out to be quite a long post an I still have a bunch more stuff I was going to type but I guess I will get to that later. I probably lost most of you by bullet three, but the caffeine overdose effect these pills are giving me is kind of making it hard to write, or stay on subject for that matter.

Off to take a nap (I hope!), I finally got the kids to go down at the same time and I am going to take full advantage of it.

    My little baby isn’t a baby anymore. When did that happen?? I demand someone bring back all he time that has somehow disappeared! Right now!

    Kayla will be three year old in April and this month is finally starting to act like kids her age. Today I was making egg salad sandwiches for lunch and I decided she should come help me. I set her up on the counter and she cracked the first egg, poured in the salt, pepper, and milk and stirred. When she was finished she ran over to daddy and said “I help Momma wif the eggss! I did iiit!” Back in August she couldn’t put two words together, she could barely speak,  she has come so far so fast thanks to the seizure meds. I just can’t believe how fast she is going from a child severely behind her age group to a child just like any other!

    When we met with her Neurologist on the 9th, she decided it was time to get her into some occupational therapy. She wants me to continue the speech therapy as well even though she is doing so well, but the occupational therapy is to catch her up in other areas. I guess kids her age are supposed to be able to remove their own clothes (the only things she can remove is socks) and be able to partially dress themselves which isn’t even close to happening with her. She can’t zip or unzip her zippers or button or unbutton her pants (which I guess her age group should at least be attempting by this age). But she said they should definitely be able to pull up their pants by now, or at least pull them down. Which she can not. It’s not that she lacks the physical capability to do these things, she has never been behind in her motor skills or physical abilities (she can run, jump, climb, hop, crawl like the best of them!), she simply seems like she doesn’t understand why anyone would want to do these things. She just seems to lack the ability to grasp the concept as a whole even after I show her over and over.

    So I am really looking forward to what this occupational therapy will do for her and SUPER excited to see all the new things that she will be able to do. I am a little scared now, though, because my little girl is going to grow up a lot faster than she has been which has already been too fast for me!

    Ava is getting bigger. Not in weight but surely in height. She is 12 lbs 10oz. and she will be five months old on the 23rd. She is in the 75th percentile in height [at 28 inches] and in the 9th percentile in her weight. Sounds scary, huh? Well, doc assured us she is okay, actually almost exactly like her sister and just like her dad; tall and skinny. If she was below the 5th percentile in her weight we would have to worry, but at the moment I am not. She nurses 6-7 times a day not counting at night (although she did sleep through the night one random night last week, but after that she resumed previous schedule of waking mom up at night to eat) and she eats rice cereal once a day and baby food (right now we are only doing squash and bananas) once a day. So I know she is getting PLENTY to eat, if not more than she is supposed to especially since now they are recommending once again to hold off feeding babies anything but breast milk until 6 months (rubbish, my child would starve to death) and I have no clue when they will make up their minds. 

    It’s bizarre to have a baby that is so completely aware and interactive with her surroundings. I guess I always assumed the way Kayla was was normal compared to other babies but that was just because she was my first baby and I didn’t know what things were supposed to be like. Now that Ava is here I always assume she is some sort of genius because at four months old she can hold her teething keys and shake and investigate them like it’s nothing. Turns out that is normal baby stuff. I’m just used to everything happening at least 6 months late because of Kayla. I think I am getting the hang of it though.

    Not too much longer and I know Kayla will be completely caught up with other children her age. She just needs a little extra push. I am so proud of her! I already think she is the smartest baby little girl in the world and it will always be that way, no matter what! ♥ ♥

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I am a mother to two girls; one is my little miracle "baby" and the other is brand new. This is life with a special needs child and a newborn...>> >>More...