Thursday, July 28, 2011

Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

Dear Delilah,

A couple of weeks ago, you gave us quite a scare. I must pause to say that to make up for it, you have also been more hilarious than usual lately. Case in point, as I started typing this while you eat lunch at the table next to me, you rubbed some beans together in your little hands and then smoothed them through your hair, as though bean hair gel is the latest craze!

Anyway...from early on, your occasional tantrums have included you briefly holding your breath, as though you're saving it up for the HUGE scream that you're about to let out. Because this has been par for the course when you express displeasure, I didn't think much of it when you threw yourself on your play mat and drew in your breath when you got upset that I made you come in from playing on the front porch. I calmly rubbed your back and said "Okay, let it out." and waited for the inevitable scream. Only the scream didn't come. Instead, you flopped over and your eyes rolled back in your head.

I scooped you up and screamed for your father, who was in the basement painting the walls. My scream stirred you, and you were "out" for less than 10 seconds, but your father and I were horrified. My first thought was that you'd had a seizure. I took your temperature while I dialed the Nurse Advisor. No fever. The very patient Nurse Advisor calmly walked me through the triage questions, and when I got upset that I couldn't remember whether you had cried out before you passed out, she assured me that I was doing a great job recounting what had happened.

She explained to me what breath holding spells are and reassured me that as scary as they are, they are not harmful and there was need to rush you in to the emergency room. She recommended that I follow-up with an appointment with your regular doctor just to be on the safe side and to put my mind at ease. I immediately started reading everything I could find on breath holding spells and turned to various online communities that I participate in for support and experiences of parents who have witnessed the same thing in their children.

The most common advice I found was to blow in your face when you start holding your breath; that doing so would kick-start your breathing again before you passed out. I was also advised to try not to react to the spells, which is easier said than done, and not to give in to your every whim in hopes of avoiding a tantrum and breath holding spell. The appointment with your doctor went well; he gave you a thorough checking over and determined that it was indeed the scary but harmless breath holding spells we were dealing with, and nothing more ominous.

Armed with all of this knowledge and advice, I felt prepared the other night when you got upset because you were asking to nurse, and I told you that you could, as soon as I finished eating. When you drew in your breath, I tried to remain calm, and started blowing in your face. This had the opposite of the anticipated effect. Instead of kick-starting your breathing, it seemed to make you pull your breath in even harder and longer, and sure enough, you passed out again, this time as your father was lifting you up to try to calm you.

Even though we now knew that this was a harmless episode that is relatively common among toddlers, it was no less upsetting. Holding your child limp in your arms is a difficult thing to remain calm through, even when you logically know that it's "no big deal".

If anyone reading this has experience with children who have breath holding spells and has suggestions for preventing them or staying calm during and after them, I am all ears! In the mean time, I will try to do as I wish you would when you get upset. Inhale, exhale, repeat. The literature says that most children who have breath holding spells grow out of them by the time they are 5. Please grow out of it long before then, or you'll be dealing with a nervous wreck for a mother!



Dear Readers,

If you enjoy my blog, please consider voting for 'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs. Just click that link, scroll down to Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair, and click on the "Thumbs up" symbol. I'm currently at # 49 and about to fall out of the top 50. Your support means the world to me!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Tale of a Token of Pregnancy

Dear Delilah,

Since I submitted a photo of my belly cast from my pregnancy with you to Natural Parents Network's pregnancy-themed Wordless Wednesday post for today, I figured there is no time like the present to share the story of how the belly cast came to be!

Relatively early in my pregnancy with you, I ordered a belly cast kit and looked forward to what was sure to be a messy but memorable project. I planned to hold off as long as possible, aiming for the 38 week mark, so that the keepsake that resulted would reflect the full extent to which my body nourished and made room for you. Of course, one of the most important lessons I've learned from pregnancy and motherhood is that it's good to have plans, but it's vital to be adaptable and roll with the punches when things change.

The story of your belly cast starts with your anatomy scan, the first ultrasound we had. In addition to learning that you were a girl, we learned that there were some minor abnormalities detected with your kidneys and stomach. We declined more invasive testing, but agreed to have a follow up ultrasound and scheduled it for 33 weeks gestation. When the time for the follow up arrived, there was some good news and some bad news. The good news what that the abnormalities from your anatomy scan had resolved, as the doctor told us they were likely to. The bad news was that you were very comfortably breech, and that you had unusually low levels of amniotic fluid.

The low AFI (amniotic fluid index) meant more follow up ultrasounds and non-stress tests (NST). At 35 weeks pregnant, ultrasound revealed that the AFI had dipped to what was considered a "dangerously low" level, and I was admitted to the hospital where I spent the most traumatic 4 days of my life. I was given a battery of tests to try and determine if there was reason to take you from the womb prematurely. Thankfully, in the end, it was determined that you were best off staying put and cooking a while longer, and I fought tooth and nail against suggestions to schedule a cesarean and allowed you to choose your own birthday.

That weekend was filled with ups and downs. I was prepared for the possibility of a surgical birth of a premature baby. I was warned of the chance that you might have to spend a considerable amount of time in NICU and need a lot of special care after you were born. I was shown videos of what to expect in various scenarios, and they were heartbreaking to watch.

Despite our fear and concern, your father and I tried to make the best of it. He stayed with me each night in the uncomfortable hospital bed. He brought me favorite foods, we watched movies, he rubbed my feet, he held me when I cried, he told the nurses to back off when they were coming on too strong. He was not only a strong and supportive partner, he was an amazing advocate and stood up for me and my wishes.

When we found out that you might be coming earlier than we expected, I was desperate to do the belly cast. I was optimistic that you'd make it to full term, but I didn't want to risk missing the opportunity to create the keepsake I'd been so looking forward to. The second day of our hospital stay, when your father made a trip home and returned with a suitcase for me, he had packed the belly cast kit, along with an eclectic mix of items that included a variety of bras; even a strapless one!

We nervously asked the nurses if we could do the belly cast in the hospital room, promising we wouldn't make too big of a mess. They graciously obliged our request, and didn't even complain when the mess got MUCH bigger than we'd anticipated.

Creating that belly cast was certainly memorable, and was the brightest splash of sunshine in an otherwise bleak experience. Your father had far too much fun covering me in plaster, and the nurses were impressed with the cast while it dried in the corner of the room. We contemplated a number of ways to finish and decorate the cast, and 9 months after you were born, we finally got around to completing it.

Today, it hangs in our front porch, just above and to the left of my desk. When I sit here and write these letters to you, I often glance up at it and smile, remembering how much I loved being pregnant with you, and how in awe of my own body I was as you grew inside of it.




Dear readers,

I have dropped to number 48 on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs, and would be exceedingly grateful if you could take a moment to vote for me. Just click here, scroll down to Dear Delilah Fine and Fair (currently #48) and click on the thumbs up. Thanks for your support!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A River Rat is Born

Dear Delilah,

Earlier this year, your Aunt Janelle and Uncle Jamie bought a boat. Since then, they've been spending as much time using it as possible, and were eager to get you out for your first river experience. Finally, on the weekend of the 4th of July, our schedules worked out so that we were able to spend the afternoon with them on the river!

When I bought your life jacket, the woman who helped me warned me that most babies aren't very happy to wear life jackets. I smugly thought that MY easy-going baby would LOVE her life jacket! The first time I put you in it to try it on, you were not happy. I figured it would go better when your father was there to help. When we tried it on you again the morning of the big day, it did go better getting you into the life jacket, but you still were not happy with actually wearing it.

When we met up with your Aunt and Uncle at the boat landing, we made a big production of how cool and fun and exciting your life jacket was. You didn't buy it. The combination of the big bulky jacket, the wind, and the water made for a boat ride that wasn't that much fun for you. Uncle Jamie drove the boat very slowly and ee moved you around to various position on the boat to try to minimize the wind, but you just weren't having it. Uncle Jamie even let you help drive, but you remained un-amused.

When we arrived at the sandbar that they and their friends had been camping at, and you were freed from you life jacket, your demeanor turned around immediately. You loved playing in the sand, and after you got used to the water, you had a blast splashing around in the river with the other babies.

Our afternoon came to an end much too quickly, but alas, it was time to brave the boat again for the ride back. The other mothers assured me that after the first few boat rides, their babies found their life jackets much more tolerable. We're looking forward to many more river adventures with your Aunt and Uncle! Hopefully by the end of the summer, you'll enjoy the boat ride as much as you enjoy the sand, sun, and splashing!



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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Fourth

Dear Delilah,

This past holiday weekend was one to remember. It's rare that your father has an entire weekend off work, much less a three-day weekend, and we savored every moment! The weekend was filled with long walks, good food, friends and family, fun and relaxation. Saturday we attended a wedding and reception, and while you didn't stay perfectly quiet or sit perfectly still, your interruptions were few and were adorable at that. You garnered a few giggles when you delightfully squealed "Oooooooohh!" when you caught sight of the bride coming down the aisle. A woman sitting behind us was happy to wave back and forth with you as you said "Hi!" a few times, and the couple in front of us welcomed you enthusiastically when you wandered up to the pew they were sitting in. You handled the crowded reception marvelously, even as it inched closer and closer to your bed time.

Sunday we spent the afternoon on the river, but I'll say more about that (with pictures!) later this week.

After a busy weekend, we opted to spend Monday, Independence Day, at home, just the three of us. I took my time cooking breakfast, we had a nice walk around the neighborhood, and then had an easy lunch and put you down for a nap. While you were napping, we filled your new kiddie pool to give the sun time to warm the water, then your father and I lounged outside in the sun until you awoke.

At first, you wanted nothing to do with the tiny little pool. It took me getting into it to warm you up to the idea, and let me tell you, the image of your mama in that tiny 3' by 3' pool was a sight to see! When you got used to it, you happily splashed and played until we noticed your feet getting pruny just in time for Daddy to fire up the grill and get dinner going.

We spent the rest of the late afternoon and early evening playing and eating outside. You found two little twigs which you used as makeshift drumsticks, the sidewalk serving as the drum while you bobbed your head to the beat you were creating. We walked around the yard appreciating the beautiful colors and fragrance of all the lilies in bloom. We enjoyed our grilled meal outside, and you even managed to eat more of it than you threw on the ground or fed to Sadie! When all was said and done, you pleasantly surprised by sleeping soundly through the constant barrage of blasts and booms as fireworks went off all around the neighborhood.

It was the epitome of the perfect summer day, and I hope we get to enjoy many more before the seasons change all too soon!



If you like this blog, and haven't done so lately, 
please vote for 
'Dear Delilah, Fine and Fair' on 
Click here:  Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs
I'm currently at # 43. Thanks for your support!

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