I’m a Moron (eczema update #2)

So I’m doing this whole elimination diet right? Because I listened to my inner mom voice which suspected Sweetness had a dairy allergy, right?  So why on earth did I feel the need to introduce her to baby yogurt today?  Let me tell you the aftermath was scary.  She only took three bites and decided it wasn’t for her.  Ok, fine.  About 10 minutes later I noticed the two fingers she enjoys sucking and put in her mouth immediately after the yogurt had tiny welts on them. I immediately rinsed them under the faucet and thought ok, that isn’t good.

I held her in my arms and walked over to the slider door as she loves to look outside and I hear this phlegmy rattling sound.  I look at her face and her lips are swollen up like balloons and she has small welts around her mouth.  I’m in panic mode now.  I frantically dial the pediatricians emergency line and I get a nurse.  Is she in respiratory distress? she asked.  Um, I don’t think so I respond.  Her color looked good and she was mostly herself aside from her licking her fat lips as I’m sure they felt funny to her. Get to the store now and give her benadryl were my orders.

Thank God I live literally five minutes to the nearest store to which I drove no less than 60 mph.  I had Sweetness with me still in her jammies and I ran down the aisles of Walmart frantically looking for the anti-histamine.  She was really sounding wheezy at this point (later the nurse told me her tongue was probably swelling, can you say horrifying?).  Sweetness isn’t the best medicine taker so it wasn’t pretty trying to get the meds down the hatch but I did it quickly and within a few minutes she was sounding and looking better.

The rest of the day she was her normal self completely unfazed by the mornings events although I do have to say that after the second dose of medicine she was bouncing off the walls and bucked her afternoon nap. I, however, was an utter mess all day.  My heart was pounding in my chest for a better portion of the morning and I had to take Sweetness out for a 30 minute walk to burn off the adrenaline pumping through me.

I just feel like SUCH AN IDIOT.  I mean, sure, I didn’t know for 100% certainty that she was allergic to dairy or anything else for that matter as she’s never been formally diagnosed.  I thought the worst thing would be she’d have an eczema flare up (and boy did it flare up yesterday).  Jeez that was really naive of me.

We’re off to see an allergist next month at the request of her pediatrician so we’ll know more then and I will definitely post an update. In the meantime, I’m carrying benadryl with me everywhere and continuing the elimination diet and trying to slow down my racing heart.

Visit With Family

Last weekend we drove 3 hours to visit my side of the family for a toddler birthday party.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from Sweetness because I just never know what I am going to get from her in terms of sleep, mood, eating habits, anything!  She generally is very slow to warm up to new people and she typically cries if someone other than myself or her Daddy hold her so I was a bit nervous.  Not to mention that our last trip to visit family turned into a nightmare car ride home and a few sleepless nights.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I observed Sweetness having a gay ‘ol time with her cousins.  Our first stop was my sister’s house to see the birthday boy and Sweetness was in awe of her cousin.  She couldn’t get enough of him and she was giggling all afternoon.  They were like peas and carrots. It was a heart warming experience.  I’d never really seen her like that and I was just so happy for her.  She was truly enjoying herself.

My joy quickly turned to self doubt as I can be quite hard on myself in general and specifically as a new mom.  Why wasn’t she this giddy at home? Was I depriving her of socialization with other kids?  Am I stimulating her enough?  Is there something MORE I could be doing?????  Why do I always have to second guess myself? UGH. Is there ever a time where you feel confident as a mother?

At the risk of continuing to go down a negative path I decided that I am going to look for new things for Sweetness and I to do outside of the house.  I’m really going to make an effort to connect with new mom friends.  I can tend to be shy meeting new people especially in a group setting but after this recent family visit and spending most of the winter cooped up I realize that it is healthy to get out and explore new things with Sweetness.  Even today at the grocery store I noticed that she got excited to look at new people and she actually tried to get a random stranger’s attention by “hee hee’ing” at them.  It was adorable.  She’s always surprising me!

Anyway I’ll leave you with a picture of my baby girl in her party dress:

I Love Her

I said this pretty much daily during my 3rd trimester with Sweetness.  I couldn’t wait to meet her, I couldn’t wait to hold her and I couldn’t wait to see her.  I was already in love with her on the inside and couldn’t wait to fall in love with her on the outside. Today I was really feeling it.  I just love everything about her.  Her smile, her laugh, her smell, her snuggles, her yelling, her piggy toes, her beautiful long fingers. EVERYTHING.

Lately she seems like she is really growing up.  She is only 8 months but she seems so mature or something.  Even my husband commented last night, she’s getting so grown up.  I remember in the early newborn days I couldn’t wait until she was 3 months.  Everyone said they are so fun at 3 months.  I really couldn’t see much beyond the 3 month mark so how did we get to 8 months already?

She lookes like she is at least 5 here, maybe 10:

Days like this I just want to hold on to every little second.  I worry that time is passing too quickly and then I think (God willing) I have my whole life to be with her so enjoy.  As corny as what I am about to say sounds, it’s true. The day she was born I felt complete.  I had never had that feeling before and didn’t know it until that day. She was the missing piece to my puzzle.  I felt so content.  I tried so long to have her, prayed so hard that she would come into my life and when she did I felt whole.  I’ve heard people say that you should already be a complete person on your own and anything or anyone else that comes into your life should be the icing on your cake.  If that is the case, then she is everything that makes my cake good.

Hello, Me!

I am licensed in the field that I took a hiatus from and in order to keep that license (which I worked WAY too hard to give up) I need continuing education credits.  So yesterday I went to a fantastic workshop and had time away from Sweetness while my husband stayed home with her.  I rarely leave Sweetness so after my initial anxiety of “I can’t go, I will miss her!” it was kind of exciting.  I woke up and took a shower, actually styled my hair, put on nice clothes and even make-up!  My husband looked at me and said “wow, you look good”.  Thanks, I think?  I could feel the sense of sweet freedom starting to build as I put on my jacket and kissed her goodbye.

It was actually fun to be among the hustle and bustle of the morning commute and it immediately brought me back to my working out of the home days.  When my life was career driven and achievement focused.  Life before Sweetness.  Sometimes I forget I had one before her.  It is so easy to cast yourself aside when you have a baby.  Their needs are so paramount to yours that you get caught up in the everyday routine and forget about you. Suddenly you notice that you haven’t changed your sweatpants or taken a moment for yourself in 3 days (or at least that is what happens to me).

I am beginning to realized how important it is for me to take time for myself.  It helps to recharge my batteries and I think it makes me a better mother.  Even sitting in a library (I love libraries) or in a bookstore for an hour and enjoying a hot cup of tea can be good for my soul.  I find that when I come home after being away from Sweetness I have a huge smile on my face when I walk up the stairs toward the door knowing I’m going to see her and give her a big hug.  So I’m going to make the effort to reconnect with myself.  True, I won’t ever be that same person before I had Sweetness but I will have fun rediscovering who I am and doing things that make my soul happy.  Like……….   🙂

Missing You

Before I had Sweetness, I got pregnant four times.  I lost every pregnancy in the first trimester. Five babies total.  My third pregnancy was twins.  Twins!  I will always remember the day my OB told me.  I was very early on in the pregnancy, about 6ish weeks.  He was doing an internal ultrasound and easily found the heartbeat on the baby.  I was so excited he found it right away and thought it was a sure sign that THIS pregnancy was going to work out.  He kept looking at the screen and I got a little nervous but after a minute he said excitedly I see another heartbeat! I stared at him dumbfounded and said are you sure?! Inside my heart was pounding and I was turned toward the ultrasound monitor frantically searching for this other heartbeat. He pointed it out to me and sure enough, there it was, a beautiful flickering heart! It was then I saw them together, two teeny tiny babies nestled right next to one another.  It was the cutest thing I had ever seen in my life.

I left the Dr. office and went bouncing off to my car, I couldn’t believe the utter joy I felt at seeing my twins.  I decided that I had to tell my husband in person so I pulled out of the parking lot and headed to his office my hands shaking at the wheel.  I called my Mom on the way to tell her the good news.  You see, twins run in our family and I have fraternal twin brothers so I knew my Mom would be ecstatic. She didn’t disappoint.  My Mom was beside herself with joy.  We were practically talking over one another with excitement at these new miracles.  My Mom said my third pregnancy was twins too! How awesome.

Sadly, the twins left us much too soon for unknown reasons.

Recently, I had my yearly visit with my OB, a man I adore, and as I was driving toward home I hit the spot.  The spot where I called my Mom to tell her the news. And without permission it all came flooding back to me.  The happiness I felt, the phone call to my Mom, the ultrasound pictures, the visit to my husband to tell him about our twins.  So fresh, so raw, so sad.

That is the thing about grief, it can get you when you least expect it.  You’re driving along and it hits you hard and brings you right back to the pain instantaneously.  And it hurts but you honor it and have a good cry or at least that is what I do.

I have Sweetness in my life now and the gut wrenching pain of losing my twins (and all of my babies for that matter) has subsided but the feeling of missing them has never fully left me and I don’t think it ever will.  There is a hole there. A longing. An emptiness.

Someday when the time is appropriate, Sweetness will know about her siblings who have gone onto heaven.  And someday our family will all be together again.

Eczema Update

So it’s been 14 days since I eliminated wheat, dairy, soy, nuts, eggs and fish from my diet to see if it would improve Sweetness’ eczema.  Here is part one if you missed it.  It hasn’t been as difficult as I first imagined.  I am learning all about baking my own wheat free breads with tapioca, teff and quinoa flours.  I even found a great recipe for blondies here that are quite tasty.  Did you know there are chocolate chips that are dairy and soy free? I don’t know about you but I can’t live without chocolate. As a result of all of this baking I think I’m the only person on the planet who has managed to gain weight during an elimination diet.  But now onto the more important stuff, Sweetness!  I think I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  The first one is her face during a flare up in January before the elimination diet:

8 days into the elimination diet:

12 days into the elimination diet:

The last one isn’t as close up as I’d like but it’s all I have at the moment.  None of these photos have been altered or touched up.  What do you think?  I am amazed at the difference in her skin.  AMAZED.  I cannot believe this is working.  I really can’t. As wonderful as it is, it also means that she is allergic or sensitive to one of the foods I have cut out of my diet.  I am going to wait another couple weeks and then slowly introduce one food at a time back into my diet to see which one(s) could be the culprit. I can’t help but wonder if what was in my breastmilk contributed to her fussiness as a newborn.  Sweetness cried for hours as an infant.  Sure it could have been the normal fussy period that is common in those early weeks so I guess I’ll never really know.  I could be imagining it but I swear she is happier and that makes me happy.

Serious Sally

Back when I was good about sending pictures of Sweetness in mass emails to friends and family, rarely were there any of her smiling.  A good friend dubbed her Serious Sally and the nickname has stuck.  Want to try to make her smile? Forget it. She will stare you down and bore holes through you.  We recently took a trip to city hall to run an errand and there was this really sweet grandmotherly type with bright red lipstick processing my paperwork.  Her voice was all high-pitched and sing-song trying to get Sweetness to smile and she couldn’t have given this woman the time of day.  This is the look she gave her:

serious sally

The grandmother tried even harder and Sally looked even more seriously at her.  No thanks, lady, you don’t impress me. She really does smile though, I assure you.  It’s just she makes you work for it.  Really hard.  Yet another thing I love about her.

In other news, I cut off all my hair.  I am so mad at myself.  I spent the last year growing out my hair only to do what?  Chop it off?  I promised myself that I wouldn’t be one of those moms that cuts off all her hair after she has a baby.  It only took 7 months to break that promise.  Jeez.  I realized when I came home from the salon that I have the same hairstyle I did last year at this time.  The more things change the more they stay the same.