Sunday, December 21, 2014

Two Months and a Bump in the Road

Carter is now 10 weeks old.  The past several weeks have been pretty rough and difficult for both of us.  When she was about 7 weeks, right around Thanksgiving, she started getting fussy when she would nurse.  She would cry, arch, and pull away. I thought it was her reflux getting worse.  The behavior gradually got worse.  After about a week of this, we had our scheduled 2 month check up so we of course talked to our Nurse Practitioner (who happens to be a friend of ours) about it and she too thought it sounded like reflux behavior and suggested that we add another reflux medication, Prevacid.  She also suggested I give up dairy for 2 weeks to see if that helped her symptoms, thinking it could be a milk allergy or intolerance.  Well that night, and for about the next 48 hours, things were awful.  She was refusing to nurse all together and would scream when I even attempted to feed her.  I was just as distraught  as she was.  The only way I could get her to eat was putting the bottle in her mouth when she was asleep or trying to nurse when she was asleep.  By the second day, I frantically called our pediatrician and demanded an appointment.  It had only been 48 hours since her 2 month check up but she was a totally different baby. She was extremely lethargic and I could tell was starting to get dehydrated. When they weighed her, she had lost 2 ounces since our appointment.  When I saw that on the scale, I lost it.  I tearfully explained everything that had transpired since 2 days earlier.  At that point, the nurse practitioner really thought that it was severe reflux and that her throat and esophagus were raw and inflammed.  She added another medicine to help soothe and coat her throat and made a referral to the pediatric GI specialist.   She also wanted to get an ultrasound to rule out something called Pyloric Stenosis, which would require surgery.  We had the ultrasound that afternoon and it was negative fortunately.  This past Monday we saw the GI doctor.  She had not gained any weight since the appointment on Wednesday the previous week which was concerning.  Their thinking also was reflux and possibly a milk allergy.  They recommended doing 2 days of hypoallergenic formula to see how she did and give my milk time to clear the milk proteins.  Apparently even though I thought I had been "dairy free" for a week, I had been consuming a couple things with dairy in them my "non dairy" coffee creamer which still contained a milk protein called Casein in it. Who knew?  They also recommended I give up soy as well since a lot of babies with milk allergies or intolerances also have a problem with soy.  So as of Monday, I am off all dairy and soy.  I am reading all labels and double checking everything I put in my mouth.  We went back for a follow up on Wednesday and she had gained 3 ounces!  Thank the Lord.  I was thrilled.  As of Wednesday afternoon, we are nursing again but also supplementing with some formula.  Nursing is getting better ever so slowly.  She doesn't seem to be fighting it as much and doesn't seem as miserable after she eats.  I am hoping and praying that we are over the hump and that things will continue to get better.

I realized the past few weeks how easy of a baby Carter was the first 7 weeks.  She ate great, slept great and was generally very happy and content unless she was hungry or tired.  I hope that with these changes of medications and my dietary changes that my sweet girl will feel more like herself again.  This parenting stuff is hard, y'all.  When she would not eat and was so pitiful and lethargic, I have never felt more helpless in my life and it was an absolutely horrible feeling.  I must have cried just as much as she did and I would have given anything to take away her pain and discomfort.  I am so blessed to have so much support from Harrison and my family.  I don't know how people do this alone.

Starting to give tiny, purposeful smiles! 
Before her "Sip and See," wearing a smocked dress her grandmother made her and her first time wearing shoes! 

Carter's first Thanksgiving!

Another thing we are struggling with are naps.  We are very fortunate that she does great at night and has started sleeping through the night some or just waking up once around 3-4 AM to eat.  I feed her around 7 or so and she goes to bed right after and then I wake her up (or sometimes she wakes on her own) around 9:30 or 10 to eat and then goes right back down.  Naps on the other hand are a different story.  We have not sleep trained her yet. I tried around 6 weeks and I just don't think she was ready (or maybe I wasn't).  Then about a week later, all the reflux stuff started so there has just been too much going on.  We are still swaddling, rocking, and patting (girl likes a firm butt pat!) to go to sleep.  Once asleep, we put her in the rock and play and she sleeps 20-30 minutes but then wakes up.  She doesn't wake up crying or anything.  I've heard of the "45 minute intruder" where in a baby's sleep cycle, they arouse after about 45 minutes.  I let her lay in her rock and play without going in, but she never falls back asleep.  After about 20 minutes, she will start to fuss.  By this time, its usually pretty close to time for her to eat again.  We try to stick to the Baby Wise routine of eat, play, sleep but its hard when after she's eaten, she's usually been awake for close to 2 hours and falls asleep eating.  I'm just not sure what to do.  I don't know if she's just needing to be sleep trained so that she will learn to soothe herself back to sleep once she wakes up in the middle of a nap or what.  Any advice from moms out there?  When did you sleep train and how did you do it?  Did you let them cry it out?

Stats:  Weight- 9 lbs 8 oz on 12/8 (20th percentile), then lost 2 oz on 12/10.  Was 9lb 9oz on 12/17.
           Height- 22.1 inches (50th percentile)
           Head Circumference- 39 cm (60th percentile)

Likes:  Still likes all types of motion. We discovered in doing bottles that she likes white noise, mostly the sound of running water when she eats.  And yes, we have tried all kinds of apps. We even recorded the sound of the facet on my phone but girl knows the difference and prefers the real thing!

Dislikes:  Sadly our biggest dislike right now is eating, nursing or bottle. I wish at least one way was easy.  If she would take a bottle easily without a fight I would probably just go that route and give up breastfeeding.  Right now, both forms are a pretty frustrating, stressful and hard 30-45 minutes.  What's harder is that I'm the only one that can do it.  She hasn't taken a bottle from Harrison or my mom...just me. Its exhausting.  Its heartbreaking knowing that her most basic and essential need right now is causing her pain, discomfort, and making life pretty hard.  I can only hope and pray that this is just a phase and that it will get easier with some time.

Friends, please be praying for us that things start to get better and that we can get all this stuff with eating figured out.