PHANEROO \fan-er-o-oo\Greek: to manifest in word or deed.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baby 4 Update

I had an OB appointment yesterday with Dr. B's nurse practitioner, Leslie. Apparently Dr. B is out of the office until after New Year's. My appointment went as well as I had expected. Charlotte is still a very active little girl and her heart rate was going pitter-patter at 150 bpm. I'm measuring 34 weeks, which is exactly how far along I am. I've had a difficult week of contractions and pain. Leslie checked my cervix because of all the contractions. She said I was definitely more thinned, probably about 50% effaced, but not dilated. That's good news! I have been given permission to stop taking Brethine next week. This medication has done a good job of slowing down the contractions with the occasional help of some prescribed narcotics. Leslie explained that Dr. B would not do much to stop labor past 35 weeks - that's next week! I've also been given permission to begin walking next week too. I've missed being able to go outside for a stroll and get some fresh air. I've definitely felt the cabin fever recently.

Unfortunately my blood glucose levels are getting tougher to manage. I've had 5-6 elevated readings over the past week. Leslie explained that Dr. B would want to put me on medication if I've had over 5 elevated readings in a week. I begged to not be put on more meds and I asked if I could try to eliminate even more carbs out of my diet for the remainder of this week and see if I can do it with diet alone. Leslie gave me permission but she made me promise to call their office next week if I've had no luck getting the glucose levels down. Leslie had some concern that I had lost some weight over the past few weeks, most likely due to the strict diabetes diet, but she was willing to let me try tweaking my diet this week before prescribing yet another pill. Of course, what really stinks, is that she was aware that being able to walk and exercise once a day would solve the problem completely. But for fear of me going into labor too soon, Leslie has ordered no walking or exercising until I'm at least 35 weeks. She said that having a premature baby would be a worse situation than me having to take a pill for the diabetes. Alas, she is right...

We are scheduled to have an ultrasound on Jan. 10, when I'm 36 weeks, to see how Charlotte is growing and to estimate her weight. Leslie explained that this is a routine ultrasound for moms with gestational diabetes to make sure the baby is not growing too large too quickly. And then she followed that up by explaining that my measurement was an indicator of Charlotte growing exactly the way she needed to be.

Now it's just time to ride out the discomforts of the remainder of this pregnancy, eat just meat and vegetables, and wait to see how long before the contractions get close enough to check into my suite at the luxurious St. Mary's Hospital.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Let the Christmas Festivities Begin!

Christmas festivities are starting early for us this year. Tonight we celebrate with my family. Tomorrow night we celebrate with BJ's family. Christmas day we celebrate at home with our kids and then back to my parents' house for a big breakfast! I love Christmastime!

Merry Christmas to everyone! Hope your holidays are filled with joy as you celebrate the birth of our Saviour. A baby changed everything...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

That Kind of Mom

BJ was bringing to my attention the other day that I've turned into that kind of mom. You know, the mom who drives a mini van, home schools her kids, has lots of babies, exclusively breastfeeds them till at least 12 months, diapers them in cloth, and sometimes makes my own natural beauty products from food ingredients. Yikes! I guess I have turned into that kind of mom. But then he reminded me that I'm also that kind of mom who carries a Coach bag, wears Versace sunglasses, and carries a Droid. Perhaps I am that kind of mom, too. I guess I'll always be my own kind of mom...and a bit superficial.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Traumatic Weekend

Our weekend ended up being a little scary and a lot exhausting. On Saturday evening, as we were all heading out the door to grab drive-thru dinner and to go see the light show at the Smokies Stadium, Lily tripped over BJ's foot and landed hard on the living room floor. When she sat up I could immediately tell that there was something terribly wrong with her left arm. Her arm dangled from her elbow like a cooked noodle. I started saying, "She has to go to the ER right now!" BJ examined her arm and asked her if she could move it. I knew she could not by the looks of it. I just kept repeating, "She needs to go to the ER! Put her in the van and I'll grab her stuff." BJ soon realized what I had seen and he moved quickly to load her into her car seat in his car. He insisted that he take her. He saw I was in no condition to drive and handle the emergency situation. He was absolutely right. I was panicking.

Soon BJ started giving me text updates while they were at Children's Hospital. First it was "Saw the doctor. L is getting morphine. Getting ready to do xray" I was relieved they took her in so quickly and was able to give her pain relief right away. The next text that came said, "They are keeping her tonight. Surgery at 8 a.m. tomorrow." That's when I called BJ and asked what was going on and why this didn't just involve setting the break, a putting on a cast, and coming home a few hours later. Turns out she fractured her arm just above her elbow joint. The on-call orthopedic surgeon explained that because of the location of the break, the muscles and ligaments there were very strong, and in order to keep the bones in place she would need two pins placed in the bones. That's when I packed my bags and made arrangements to go to the hospital to stay with Lily and BJ overnight. Thanks to my brother who came and kept the boys overnight and the whole next day.

When I got to the hospital Lily was already in a room hooked up to IV and monitors and her arm was in a splint. She looked pitiful. She was clearly drugged, but she still experienced a lot of pain in her arm. She especially had pain when she needed to get up to go to the bathroom, or when she needed to get adjusted in the bed. Her little body shook all over from the pain and she cried every time she moved. Luckily, she was able to rest fairly well once she got comfortable in her bed, and 8 a.m. came very quickly. The surgeon was right on time and his assisting staff was excellent. The surgery only lasted about 20 minutes, and afterward, the surgeon said her arm was fixed. The cast would need to stay on for about 4 weeks. After that time he would evaluate her arm and then both the cast would come off and the pins would come out.

We were able to come home at 2 p.m. on Sunday. We all took a three hour nap before my brother returned with the boys. Lily is doing very well now. Her pain is lessened a lot since Saturday night. She has only needed Advil or Tylenol instead of the other pain meds the doctor prescribed. Lily is doing great with her cast. She complains that it itches underneath and that it begins to hurt if she's up playing for awhile. That's when she lays down on the couch or on her bed and we prop up her arm with pillows. She has been a real trooper through all of this.

And then tonight we had another little scare. Schaeffer has seen us giving Lily Advil and Tylenol. When we got everyone in bed, we had left the Advil on the bathroom counter upstairs knowing Lily may need a dose in the middle of the night. Schaeffer sneaked out of his bedroom and we heard him making noises upstairs. BJ went up to check on him and caught him with the Advil bottle open with the measuring spoon used. I immediately called Walgreens and talked with the pharmacist. We think he only drank about 2 1/2 teaspoons because that's how much one measuring spoon holds and based on what was left in the Advil bottle. Schaeffer's dosage would only be about 1 1/2 teaspoons. The pharmacist reassured me that Advil is not toxic even at the dosage he took. The only side effect he may experience is an upset stomach. Whew! I sure was praying that we weren't taking another trip to the ER tonight!

Some days it's awfully exhausting being a parent...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cloth Diapering Review

I think I'm finally getting adjusted to the idea of cloth diapering. Thanks to everyone who left me a comment on my first post about cloth diapering. You gave great feedback and you boosted my confidence. I've visited the recommended websites and have a learned a great deal.

It's been a week now since beginning this experiment and I think its worth sticking with. Griffin's eczema on his hips and bottom are much improved. In fact, I haven't seen him scratch in those areas since we began using cloth. It has been a very quick improvement in his skin condition in those areas which were the worst spots on his entire body. He still struggles with eczema everywhere and he does seem to be extra sensitive to wetness on his bottom and boy parts but that would be the same with disposables or cloth. His hips and little "cheekies" are vastly improved. I know he would thank me if he knew how.

(Side note: CeraVe Cream has been awesome for his all-over eczema. This is hands-down the best moisturizing cream for his severely dry itchy skin. The stuff is not cheap - about $16/bottle - but much cheaper and better than dermatology appointments and medications).

I have been using Gerber prefolds as inserts in his diaper covers. I currently have a Happy Heinys cover, a Tweedle Bug cover, and two gDiaper covers. I'm a little disappointed in the Happy Heinys cover because the velcro has already weakened with only two washes (line drying) and the snaps that make it adjustable for one-size don't hold well. The Tweedle Bug and gDiaper covers are my favorites. I like that the gDiaper is less bulky and easy to adjust. The waistband is elastic all the way around which keeps the insert in place better. And because the fabric on the outside is a soft stretchy cotton like exercise clothing, it moves well with Griffin keeping the diaper from gaping and allowing leaks. Other perks: gDiapers can be purchased at our local Babies R Us in two-packs which are cheaper than buying them online; the waterproof lining snaps in and out so you can just change the liner if it gets soiled; and they offer disposable, non-plastic, flushable inserts which would be perfect for when we are away from the house. I may try the gCloth reusable inserts next and see how they compare to the cotton Gerber prefolds that I have been using. They are made of two layers of microfleece and two layers of hemp/cotton for maximum absorbency which may work well for nighttime and naps. If all goes well with cloth diapering, Charlotte will be in cloth too so I can avoid purchasing disposable diapers for the next three years. That could mean we'd save about $2,000 per year! School tuition anyone?

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Think We Have a Name...Maybe?

Picking a name for Baby 4 has been a big challenge. We've gone through quite an extensive list, flip-flopping from one to another, changing our minds from week-to-week. But I think we've finally settled on a name that BJ and I both like and feel will suit Baby 4. Drum roll please...Charlotte Gray. Other names that we considered include Violet (picked by Lily and Schaeffer), Gillian, Norah, and Lachlan.

I've been busy the past 2 weeks getting Charlotte's clothing, blankets, and bedding ready for her arrival. I haven't had to purchase a single outfit so far since I kept all of Lily's clothes. I've kept them packed away in storage totes. These past 2 weeks have kept me (read: BJ) busy with pulling out totes, sorting, and washing. Lily was a little munchkin - born 6 lb 2 oz and got down to 5 lb 2 oz in the first week after birth. She wore preemie sizes for the first few weeks. So I have preemie, newborn and up.

We are setting up a temporary nursery in our bedroom with a crib, changing table and rocker. I just have to figure out how to make it all fit. The plan is to eventually move Griffin into Schaeffer's room and give Charlotte Griffin's room with the crib, changing table combo dresser, large dresser and rocker. But for now Griffin needs to stay in his crib in his own room since he has been such a light sleeper. We definitely don't want to disrupt his sleep patterns knowing we'll be having a newborn waking us up every 2-3 hours.

Getting ready and excited to meet Charlotte Gray!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cloth Diapering

Looks like I'm about to jump into the world of cloth diapering. I've been putting this off for many reasons as you probably already know what those are. But my poor little Griffin has such horrible eczema, especially during the cold months, that I'm now willing to try just about anything to help him get relief. Eczema covers him from head to toe, but it is much worse around his diaper area on his lower back and bottom. He will scratch and dig into his skin until he bleeds. I haven't found any magical cure - creams, lotions, potions, or meds - to help clear up this problem. His dermatologist has prescribed a slew of prescription creams and oils, all of which work temporarily. So...I'm going to try using cloth diapers for a while to see if it helps control the eczema around his back and bottom.

I know cloth diapering is as old as the hills, but to me its a bit intimidating. Have you seen the selection of cloth diapering options lately? Good grief! There are all-in-ones, flat fold, prefolds, inserts in cotton, fleece or hemp, one-size-fits-all diaper covers, sized diaper covers, velcro or buttons, and the list goes on. My hope is to get the most practical, easiest to clean and use, and cost effective. Prices for these things can range from $3.00 all the way up to over $20 for a diaper cover. Wow! Just to contain poop and pee?! For my trial run, I've opted for Happy Heiney's one-size cover (which can be handed down to Baby 4), a sized Tweedle Bug cover and some Thirsties duo inserts for naptime and overnight. It seems to me that the covers are the most expensive part and I'm hoping I can use cotton prefold diapers as inserts that can be purchased fairly inexpensively from Walmart or Target.

I've also read that you shouldn't use Desitin or other zinc or petroleum based creams with cloth diapers. And the recommendation is to not use bleach on the inserts. Sheesh! Really?! No one is making this cloth diapering thing easy. I just won't feel like the inserts are getting clean without a good dose of bleach. I may do it anyway and break away from all the "green" rules for cloth diapering. My neighborhood has restrictions against having clothes lines so we won't be able to hang them outside to benefit from the sun's natural bleaching and sanitizing qualities.

Does anyone have any experience with cloth diapering? Any advice for a mom starting out in this area?

Monday, December 6, 2010

In My Mommy Tool Belt

I was just thinking through my favorite mommy "tools." Do you have any tried-and-true favorite things? I'd love to hear about them.

Here are mine:

1) Aquaphor ointment - I have this stuff in all my kids' rooms, in the diaper bag, in my bathroom, and in the kitchen cabinet. It can be used on dry skin, chaffed skin, chapped lips, diaper-rashed booties, irritated skin from moisture (on mouth around pacifier or in rolls of neck after a drooling session), and the list goes on. It is completely safe for newborns. Honestly I think they could eat the stuff and it wouldn't hurt them (disclaimer: don't try it). I couldn't live without this stuff.

2) Nuk pacifiers - These have been the paci of choice around here 2 out of 3 times. What I like about them: they are cheap and readily available. If you lose one on a road trip, you can swing into a Walgreens - and some gas stations - and pick up a pack. I know this from experience.

3) Flannel receiving blankets - Oh the things you can do with them: swaddle baby, lay under baby's head in her bassinet or crib as a Sheet Saver to catch spit-up and drool, burp cloths (those little burp cloths sometimes don't cut it), and nursing cover-up . Afterwards when they are stained and not suitable for baby, you can use them to dust your house and even to wipe off sweat after a good workout. They are absorbent and soft. Lots of uses.

4) Baby washcloths - I cannot have enough of these things. Ours get worn out after a year or two I guess because our kids are filthy little crumb critters. I've used them as baby wipes when they've had major diaper rash and regular baby wipes are irritating. You just have to wet them, wipe, then toss into the laundry. These little washcloths also work well for removing makeup because they are soft and the perfect size. Again, these can double as dusting rags once they become unsuitable to wipe little Angel's face and hiney.

5) Bounty paper towels - Talk about a hardworking mommy tool, what would I do without Bounty paper towels? I can seriously use a roll a day and that's why we buy them in bulk. The list is endless for their uses: cleaning up mega messes, wiping off faces and hands (much cheaper and less irritating than using baby wipes), and I also use this paper towel brand to make my own baby wipes (currently made with just water because of Griffin's sensitive skin).

6) Droid Pro - This is a newbie for me. BJ got me an early Christmas present this year because my Blackberry was failing me. I'm a much more efficient person with my SmartPhone. I can stay connected without being on the PC and neglecting my children. In addition to it's many capabilities such as phone, email, web, camera, video, etc. the Droid has some very cool mommy apps available: baby monitor; weather; Google shopper (compares prices when shopping by recognizing barcodes, label art, etc. and helps you find reviews, specs and more); Attention Grabber (get your kids' attention by pressing a key and your phone will sound off an air horn, fog horn, referee whistle, party horn, train whistle or machine gun); and so much more. So far I've only scraped the tip of the iceberg with this handy tool. I'm excited to learn all about it's capabilities!

Please leave a comment and share about your favorite mommy tools.

(Photo: The HippMama Belt at
The HippMama)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

We've Made it to 30 Weeks

Now that I've made it to 30 with my pregnancy, I'm feeling much more relieved. I'm not sure why that brings me comfort. Maybe because I know we are in the last stretches - just seven more weeks to be considered full term. Seven weeks is not that far away, although, it's still too early for her to arrive. On a good note, contractions have seemed to slow down this week. I haven't had to take medication at all this week. I'm still having 1-2 contractions per hour, but I rarely have had more than that (one exception: every evening when I'm tired I experience more like 4-6 an hour but that's my cue to go to bed and then they subside for the night). My cervix has not changed since 3 weeks ago, which probably means the contractions haven't been frequent enough nor strong enough to make big changes. Because I've had a good week, Dr. B is letting me go two weeks before seeing him again.

But just as one thing begins going well with my pregnancy, I know something else will go wrong...I learned yesterday that I have gestational diabetes. This comes as no surprise since I've had it with my 2 previous pregnancies. Fortunately, my body managed to process glucose well for the first 30 weeks. Since I'm at risk for GD, Dr. B has tested me early at 12 weeks then again at 24 weeks. I was pleasantly surprised when I passed those earlier screenings knowing full well I could've failed them. So, for the last 7-10 weeks of this pregnancy I'll be focusing on my diet more closely (less carbs and more protein), pricking my finger 4 times a day, and hoping to manage the diabetes with diet without the need for meds. The good news about GD is that the diet makes it very difficult to gain excess weight. I need all the help I can get in that area!

With all of my pregnancies when I went into labor, I labored for several hours, requested an epidural to ease pain, and then completely pain-free delivered healthy, happy babies shortly after. Labor with Lily was 5 hours. Labor with Schaeffer (after my water broke fully) was 4 hours. Labor with Griffin was 3 hours. I'm thinking this time labor should be 2 hours. Ha ha ha! Maybe wishful thinking, but not impossible. With Griffin, I received an epidural just 20 minutes before time to push because I felt fine up until then. In the last minutes, the contractions really intensified, were 1 minute apart, and did not relax until Griff was born. I discussed several options with Dr. B about managing the pain if I did the same thing this time. I have a few options: 1) get an epidural from the very beginning and not worry about timing, 2) receive IV pain meds when needed, 3) go completely natural, 4) use a birthing tub full of warm water for labor and delivery (Dr. B is the only OB at St. Mary's to do water births). Option 4 requires about 30 minutes notification to give the hospital staff time to set up the inflatable tub and fill it with water. Thirty minutes sounds like a lot of time if I'm only in labor 2-3 hours. But, I'm thinking through all of these options. It's so hard to know because each labor is different and I don't know exactly what to expect this time.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lily Won Best in Show

I am SOOOOO PROUD of my little girl! Today was her school's Art Fair. She submitted an acrylic painting on canvas based on her inspiration of a Bible verse. Since she has been all about eagles and hawks lately, we thought a verse that included eagles would be perfect. This is what she created and this is what earned her Best in Show...

"...but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).

Lily pictured here with her painting and a few of her classmates. She won a gift bag full of art supplies and a big purple ribbon.

I am so proud of her! I didn't get the chance to go to the Art Fair today because Griffin had speech therapy, but BJ took Lily this morning to Panera Bread for breakfast and then to the Art Fair to join her classmates. When he called to tell me the news I started crying. Silly, I know. Maybe its the pregnancy hormones or maybe its the overwhelming joy of watching my little girl create something beautiful and then seeing her be recognized for her hard work and creativity.

A Country Farmhouse...Indeed!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this blog, A Country Farmhouse*. If I had a farmhouse, this is how I imagine I'd decorate mine. It would be simple with white walls and lots of things I love, such as original artwork, antique quilts, and antique furniture. I love her style and it's really fun that she is expecting twins this month so you can watch the progression of her nursery design and her selection of antique baby quilts and consigned baby clothes. So fun!

*This blog will have a permenant space on my sidebar under {dream} because this blog inspires me to dream.