Thursday, December 31, 2009

Trip to NJ

As we had been planning, we decided to head to New Jersey to celebrate Micah's birthday, Chanukah, DH's brother's birthday, and his nephew's birthday with his family. On December 29th, we packed up and took off on our trip. Not surprisingly, traffic was a bit heavy, and we left later than originally planned.

I was driving, but the morning sickness was making the drive challenging for me. Micah was actually wide awake for the first 1 1/2 hours of the trip (we were hoping he would fall asleep quickly and nap for most of the trip). Luckily he was in a good mood, playing with his toys and enjoying the Elmo CD playing in the car.

About 1 hour or so into the trip, Micah started playing his new "game." You see, he thinks it is funny to stick his fingers so far down into his throat that it makes him gag. It is an awful sound (especially for someone like me who already feels nauseated), and I just think it is a terrible thing to do! He sticks his fingers down his throat, he gags, and then he laughs and does it again. I kept telling him no and told him to stop, but that just seemed to make him want to do it more. I tried to ask DH to give him some food or a bottle or another toy to distract him, but no such luck. I actually said to DH that if we didn't get him to stop, he would make himself throw up. No sooner than I said that...yup, you guessed it, Micah puked all over himself. And started laughing. He thought it was hysterical! All I could think about was the smell and wanting to throw up myself.

We pulled over to the side of the road in the middle of nowhere on the highway. DH did the best he could to wipe him down, but we decided in the cold weather and on the side of the road, it was too difficult to change Micah. So...we got back on the road. Micah quickly fell asleep asleep after this, but I kept smelling vomit the entire trip.

Micah woke up near a rest stop about 30 miles from our destination. We decided to pull over, change his diaper and clothing and give him a snack. He was really cooperative and enjoyed his break, but he was very unhappy to be returned to the car. The last part of the trip was awful - Micah was crying and the traffic was terrible.

We finally arrived around 5:30 pm. I was still so sick from the traveling that I immediately threw up. Micah spent some time with his cousins and aunt and uncle while I did my best to recover (and popped another Zofran). We headed out to dinner to celebrate our nephew's birthday at this cute little restaurant, but it was FREEZING cold there! We had these incredible potato chips (made fresh), but I couldn't get Micah to eat the macaroni and cheese or any other food. Micah started to melt down towards the end of dinner, so we headed back to the house and quickly put him down to sleep. He was not thrilled to be sleeping in a new environment, unfortunately, so it took him a while to fall asleep - he needed Mommy to stay in the room and hold his hand for a while.

DH and I stayed awake until about 2:45 talking to our nieces and nephews. We finally went up to bed, got settled in, and I even got into bed without waking Micah who was sound asleep in the pack 'n play next to the bed. Until DH made a ton of noise in the hallway and woke him up!! Micah was crying and would not stop, so I had to pull him into bed with us. Naturally, DH passed out a few minutes later, and I was awake for the next 1 1/2 hrs with a very perky Micah who wanted nothing more than to cuddle with Mommy and bounce on the bed. Finally, Micah fell asleep around 4:30. I woke DH up to help me move Micah back to the pack 'n play so I could get some sleep.

Around 6:00 am, the room started to get very hot. By 7:00, it was almost unbearable, and Micah woke up crying. I knew we were in for a long day!! We opened up the door to the bedroom and got Micah's bottle. He drank his milk and fell asleep again for another hour. By 9:00, I took him downstairs and gave him breakfast. I think he threw most of it on the floor, but he was having fun. After breakfast, he kept using the chair as a "walker" and he made circles around the first floor. We managed to get him down for a nap, and he woke up in time for the family to start arriving.

Micah's other aunt, uncle and cousin arrived first. The kids all played together while we waited for their grandparents to arrive. We also learned that Micah is quite musical - he was enjoying playing the piano with his cousin. He was actually pretty good. I do think he has a musical sense - he loves to bang on things like drums, and in music class, he loves to dance and shake the egg shakers to the music, and he loves both real pianos and his toy piano. Grandma and Grandpa arrived around 1:00, and we had a wonderful lunch of latkes. We exchanged gifts, and then had birthday cake.

Most of the family left by 4:00. We stayed a few hours longer to feed Micah dinner. We put him to sleep in the car around 7:30, and we had an easy ride home (except for my nausea). We stopped to pick up the dog, then went straight back to our house. It was a very nice visit!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

Every year, DH and I volunteer together at a local pancake house on Christmas morning, which serves hot breakfast to the homeless. DH spends his time cooking, and I have taken charge of the "gift" table - we give out a bag of toiletries to every person who comes in, along with warm clothing - gloves, hats, jackets when we have them, sweaters, sweatshirts, thermal socks. Through lots of hard work, DH and I managed to get the toiletries together and bagged for over 400 people. I sit on the board of a youth group, and the board there really helped us gather some supplies, and one of the chapters bagged about 150 or more bags for us. DH managed to get a vendor to provide us with some extra toiletries, and my cousin, who works at a Marriott hotel, managed to get us 300 bars of soap and 300 shampoos. We also used cash to buy gloves, socks, and sweatshirts, and we got about 6 boxes of sweatshirts and jackets donated from a vendor. Here were all the goodies DH & I brought that morning:

We distributed EVERYTHING, and the recipients were so thankful. It was a fantastic way to spend our Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Update on Twoey

Morning sickness has been a constant for me - as long as I remember to take 2 Zofran every 8 hours, though, I can function. I hope this lets up soon! In the meantime, I am not exactly certain when I took this test, but we decided to do Intelligender again. From what I have read, it is about as accurate as flipping a coin, but hey, it's fun, right? So, the results, once again....

Yup, it says Twoey is a boy. I can't help but think Twoey is a girl, but it could be wishful thinking :). I've always thought the "perfect" family is one boy and one girl, so it probably means I'll be a mom to 2 boys instead. As long as he/she is healthy and happy, right? We have to go back for another ultrasound on January 8. My fibroid is growing at a nice rapid rate, so I definitely need to be monitored again. At the NT scan a few weeks ago, the fibroid was still bigger than Twoey. So, we'll be going back on January 8, and there is a good chance they'll be able to tell us the gender at that point!

I've been feeling some movement from Twoey for a while now. It is very different this time around. With Micah, it started very softly, almost like bubbles or a flutter. I think I started to become aware of it around 13 or 14 weeks. With Twoey, the movement feels stronger, but I've almost been second guessing it because it seems too strong a feeling for so early. I guess we'll see what happens with time!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Playing Catch

Today was one of those days that just melted my heart - Micah played catch with me all day!! We were stuck at home, again, post-blizzard. Micah grabbed one of the little ping-pong like balls from one of his toys, and he threw it to me. I said "yay" and clapped, and he laughed and clapped with me. I rolled it back to him, and he grabbed the ball and sent it back to me. We played on and off all day long! He just laughed and clapped and giggled, and he kept chasing down the ball and sending it right back to me. Sometimes he rolled it, sometimes he actually threw it. Sometimes, when he threw the ball, it accidentally flew backwards! No matter - he chased it down and tried again. It was such fun to sit and play with him, watch him learn, and pass a wonderful lazy day with my beautiful son.

One year appointment

We took Micah in for his one year checkup today. We had to postpone it from last week because he was sick (and they won't vaccinate when the baby is sick). Micah weighed in at 18 lbs 15 ounces, and about 31 inches. He is a tiny little thing - in the 3rd percentile for weight, but around the 75th for height. We gave him several vaccinations - the last one against meningitis and a flu vaccine. We opted not to do the chicken pox vaccination at this time. He is hitting all of his developmental milestones, and he showed off (and flirted) for the doctor. She told us he looks great, we were okayed to start him on whole milk, and we do not have to go back until he is 15 months old.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Blizzard and Morning Sickness

On December 18, two major storms hit me simultaneously - the Blizzard of 2009 and morning sickness. I have to say, it has been a crazy week. After Micah's birthday party tanked, he stayed sick all week. We did a little celebration at home in honor of his birthday, but then I actually left for Kansas for work from December 15-16. I flew home late on the 16th, not feeling so hot. I thought it was just my susceptibility to motion sickness while pregnant - the flight back did not make me feel too well. We woke up early on the 17th to make our doctor's appointment to have Micah's skull examined, and then had an insanely crazy day. I threw up on and off all day, and knew I was in for another round of morning sickness. I had a really rough night on Thursday (and Micah was not sleeping great all week because his cough kept waking him up), and I woke up early on Friday feeling sick.

That should have been my clue I was in for trouble. We were preparing for the blizzard and trying to get a whole bunch of things done. I started throwing up early that morning, and couldn't keep anything down. I tried eating, I tried not eating. I tried drinking water, I tried sleeping. Every couple of hours, I was throwing up again. They were having a potluck party at Micah's daycare at 5:00 pm, and I had to make something for the event. Luckily, we had a ton of leftover cupcakes from the birthday party that wasn't, so I was able to quickly ice those and bring them with us. I took a phenergan in the afternoon, hoping it would help with the nausea.

At Micah's daycare, I just felt worse and worse. I had to excuse myself to go throw up, and then I just did not think I would be able to function any more. We finally went home, and it just got worse. I threw up a few more times, and I knew I had nothing left in my system. I tried lying down while DH took Micah out to services, but that didn't help either. I threw up a few more times before they made it home. DH went upstairs to put Micah to bed, and he disappeared for a few more hours. I was very unhappy with him - I was just miserable as I was throwing up nonstop for the next few hours. He finally made it downstairs (my mom called and he brought me the phone), and he decided to run out before the weather was awful and pick up my phenergan. He disappeared for far too long, and I was a mess. When he finally came back, I took another pill...and promptly threw it up. We called the midwives, and they said that they'd normally tell me to go to the hospital, but the roads were already too dangerous to drive.

They directed me to take 2 phenergan rectally. Oh yes, I said rectally. THAT was not pleasant. Those darn pills burned, and even worse, after about 30 minutes, it caused a new problem - horrible diarrhea. I'm not sure which was worse, especially since it didn't stop the puking either. I had to do ANOTHER double dose rectally, and finally around 1:00 in the morning I stopped throwing up. I was able to take my next dose of medicine orally (thankfully) and keep that down. I tried drinking water around 4:00 am, but threw that up. Saturday, the snow was going strong all day, so I just pretty much lay low, took my pills, and couldn't eat or drink anything. On Sunday, we called the midwives again, and they called in a prescription for Zofran. Sunday was actually a miserable day for me. DH went down to volunteer at the soup kitchen where we normally cook and serve hot meals the Sunday before Christmas, but I was too sick to go and we had no babysitter for Micah because of the weather. DH went anyway, and left me home, by myself, to take care of an infant while I was throwing up. It was an AWFUL day. At least he picked up the prescription for Zofran on the way home, but he was gone from 11-6. I was not a happy camper. Finally, a few hours after I took the 2 Zofran, I started feeling some better. By 10:00 pm, I was able to drink water!! I quickly graduated to vegetable broth, and for breakfast on Monday morning, I got quite bold and ate rice. I managed to keep most everything down, but it has been miserable. Not exactly what I had in mind.

Despite my complete misery, we did manage to take Micah out for some fun in the snow. I took him out by myself on Sunday (for about 10 minutes). Poor little guy - I think it took us 30 minutes to get ready, and he really didn't feel like staying and playing too long! Here are our snow pictures:

Snow videos:

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I think I mentioned before that we have been concerned about Micah's skull. Back in October, DH noticed that Micah had a "bump" on his head. I felt it, and quickly realized it wasn't just a bump. One of my best friends' child had a problem with her skull - it fused too early, and she required major brain/skull surgery to fix the problem. I remembered her describing the issue as a ridge on her forehead, and the minute I felt Micah's bump, I *knew* it was a ridge. I did a bit of research online, and I quickly realized that there are different "sutures" (spaces) on the skull that can fuse too early, and Micah's ridge was along the metopic suture (it runs from the nose vertically back to the softspot). DH & I decided to wait a bit and talk to the pediatrician at our next appointment.

Our next appointment came up in November - I think it was a sick visit for Micah (we've had so many the past few months)! We showed the doctor the ridge, and he said we did not need to worry about it unless his head "started to look really deformed." Immediately, warning bells went off in my head. I knew from talking to my friend that even mild craniosynostosis can cause swelling and pressure in the brain and can result in developmental problems. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I immediately started researching specialists in this area, and tried to call and make an appointment. Not so easy to do! We were given the run around at the hospital, and it was incredibly frustrating. I called my friend and asked for her advice. She immediately put me in touch with her doctor's office just before Thanksgiving.

I called up to the cranio-facial specialist in New York, but waited almost 2 weeks before I heard back. I was getting very anxious and frustrated. When they called back, they asked me to send photos of Micah's head, and told me to make an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist to check his intracranial pressure and eye sockets. I found a pediatric ophthalmologist and made the appointment, but I still heard nothing from the specialist in New York. I asked around and spoke to a few other friends, and they gave me the direct email of the head cranio-facial team in charge of pediatrics in our area. I sent him an email, and he immediately responded and told me to come in for an appointment.

On December 11, we had our appointment with the ophthalmologist. They dilated Micah's eyes, and did a funduscopic exam. We learned that there was no obvious intracranial pressure (great news) but that Micah's eyes are very close together (although within the range of normal), and he has a fairly big difference in the vision between his right and left eyes. We will have to bring him in for more follow-up in 6 months, and regularly for the next few years.

On December 17, we had our appointment with the cranio-facial specialist. He did an initial exam and told us that Micah definitely has a ridge. He said that while craniosynostosis can only be formally diagnosed by CT scan, he felt that it was fairly obvious that Micah has it, but a mild case. He felt that Micah's skull had fused a bit early, but late enough that it should not cause any real problems, just "cosmetic" issues. He said that the ridge was fairly small and Micah showed no other signs of developmental delays or other skull deformities. He suggested that we did not need to put Micah through additional testing, but we should come back again in 6 months if things worsen, and sooner if Micah exhibits any developmental problems (such as not walking by 15 months).

Along this journey, we noticed that my niece also has a ridge on her head, but she has no developmental delays or other skull issues. While discussing this with the doctor, he said it puts Twoey at an increased risk for having this issue, so he suggested that we might want to bring Twoey in for an evaluation visit around the 6 month mark.

I can't even tell you the relief we have - we are so thrilled that we do not have to put Micah through surgery! I've been so worried for the past two months, that this news really was an incredible relief for us. Now, if I can just convince DH to stop telling everyone that Micah is part Klingon, I'd be thrilled!

So ... just a touch of advice for new parents - watch your children's skulls. Apparently, this is NOT an uncommon problem, and it can be far more severe. If you feel ridges developing on their skulls, or think their heads appear misshapen or if you think there are developmental delays, PLEASE don't be afraid to seek out a pediatric specialist - pediatricians tend to wait until the problem is really bad/obvious so as not to be alarmists. Micah is still at fairly high risk for some vision issues, and his intracranial pressure will need to be monitored a couple times every year until he is at least two years old. Small price to pay to be sure the problem is really benign.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy First Birthday, Micah!

It is hard to imagine that a full year has passed. One year ago today, I became a mommy. That was perhaps the happiest moment of my life. Each day since then, my love for my little man has grown bigger and stronger. I've loved getting to know him and watching him grow, and I'm so filled with hope and excitement for the years to come. It is hard to imagine that my tiny little baby has grown so big. He has two teeth already through, and 2 others that have been sitting on the edge of his gums waiting to pop through. Micah has gone from being unable to take a bottle to downing regular grownup food. He stands and cruises and is on the verge of walking. He has an amazing sense of humor, and he loves to laugh and play. I love watching him learn, and I even enjoy dealing with his growing opinions, pickiness, and even occasional temper tantrum.

He has been such a good baby, and I hope I don't ever forget a second of this time. I love how he still loves to suck his thumb and cuddle with me. When I hold him and give him a bottle, he plays with my fingers. He laughs a big giant laugh when I tickle his belly. When he is sad, he still cries out "mama!" I remember my heart stopping the first time he fell and cut himself - I think I physically felt pain at the sight of blood dripping from his mouth. I love how he adores the dog, and screeches with joy when he sees her. He loves it even more when she kisses him or touches him. I love watching him push to a stand on his own, and pick up his toys while he is standing. I love holding my breath in anticipation of that moment when I finally see him take off walking. I love watching him hug his stuffed animals and figure out how to work his toys.

Everyday, I'm just so amazed by my little boy, and so thankful he has forever changed my life. So, happy first birthday, baby boy!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Birthday Party that Wasn't

Last week was an insanely busy week. We spent a lot of it prepping for Micah's birthday party - buying supplies and decorations, planning and purchasing food for the menu, making the birthday cake, etc. We were expecting about 15-20 people for Micah's "playgroup" party, and then another 30-40 people for our Chanukah/birthday party. I purchased tuna fish and egg salad, we had over 20 lbs of potatoes for making potato latkes, and enough cake baked to feed an army! Our plan was to have cupcakes (decorated like Elmo) for the playgroup party. We baked about 3 dozen cupcakes for that. We also had a huge 2 layer cake for the "main event." My nieces were in town for a few days before the party, so we were a bit crazy all week. We took them to a few music classes and had a great time with them. Anyway, Saturday morning rolled around...and Micah woke up with a 102 degree fever. And a cough. The cough started to get worse as the day went along, so we decided to take him to the hospital. We were actually hoping that he had an ear infection - a couple doses of antibiotics and we thought things would be back on track!

Unfortunately, we learned Micah had a viral case of bronchitis, and would likely be contagious to children. When we came home from the hospital, we sent out a note and canceled the playgroup party. We then sent out a note to all of our other friends and family, letting them know that Micah had a virus and could possibly be contagious. On Sunday, Micah woke up fever-free, but still coughing. We decided to go ahead with the afternoon party, but naturally, nearly everyone declined to come. My parents, my brother, sister-in-law and my two nieces (who had already been around Micah while he was sick), my cousin and her two children, and one of my best friends were the only people in attendance. Despite the poor turnout, we still had a great time!

Here are some pictures and video from the event:

Micah also got SOOO many wonderful presents. My parents bought him a play gym - it has a slide, a ladder and a basketball hoop. My brother and SIL bought him an outfit, a dump truck, and a tool bench toy. My cousin brought him a mega blocks set, and my best friend bought him some clothing, some books, and this adorable singing donkey (it sings "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch"), and another friend dropped off a baseball toy, and another friend gave him a singing Chanukah bear. My parents' friends also sent him a wonderful storage bench before his birthday. We were so lucky to have such wonderful presents!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NT Scan & random stories

We had our 12 week nuchal tanslucency scan on December 8. After everything we went through Thanksgiving week, we were quite nervous about this visit. We got there and the tech started things up...and we were SOOO relieved when we heard there was still a heartbeat. As the ultrasound went on, the news got better and better. The baby was moving well, the neck measurements were perfect, all the parts were in place...hands, feet, arms, legs and nasal bone. Here are the two pictures of our beautiful little bean, (who we are calling Twoey), that we were able to take home.

Random Story Time

I adore Micah, but he is becoming quite a challenge to handle in so many ways. First, let's start with diapering. Diaper changing is really and truly an exercise in baby wrangling - Micah twists, turns, stands, flips, dances, squirms, crawls, and hollers. We hand him a toy - sometimes it appeases him and he'll play. Other times, he'll throw it on the floor and return to insanity. We've tried remote controls, books, digital thermometers, the blue nose squeegey - at different times, each of these "toys" enthralls him, but some days, nothing but freedom will do!

Now that we've covered diapering challenges, let's talk about eating. Micah does not like to drink much milk, and he refuses to take a sippy cup. He should still be drinking 20-24 ozs of formula a day, but I'm lucky most days if he drinks 10-14. In the morning, he likes to go play. In theory, that alone would be fine if he did a great job of eating. And some meals, Micah is a GREAT eater. He loves veggie burgers, hamburgers, turkey burgers, cheese sandwiches, pizza, cheerios and kidney beans. He also loves bananas and pears. Just about anything else, however, is a crap shoot. He appears to hate pasta, although he was willing to eat pesto-coated tortellini the other day. He will sometimes eat yogurt and cottage cheese, and he will sometimes let me feed him applesauce or oatmeal. Other times, he grabs the spoon and smears it in his hair while dumping the bowl on the floor. He will not eat white potatoes (can you imagine?), peas, green beans or carrots anymore. I can actually handle this newly found pickiness, but what is driving me crazy is his need to "share" the food with our dog! He drops at least half of everything he touches on the floor for her! And if we say "no," he smiles and tries to "sneak" and drop the food on the floor. I mean, seriously, is deviousness an instinct or a learned trait? The worst part is my dog is supposed to be on a grain-free diet because of her allergies. We finally had her skin doing better and her hair re-growing, and all this recent influx of waffles and Cheerios and bread and crackers has her skin back to being a mess again, her bald spot is back with a vengeance, and her nose irritation returned. How do you explain that to a 1 year old? I think I'm going to have to put MICAH on a grain-free diet for the sake of the dog!!

By the way - did you notice I said 1 year old? That is right - Monday is Micah's first birthday! We are having a party for him on Sunday (well, two). It is also Chanukah for us (the "festival of lights"), when we celebrate Judah and the Maccabees' (the Jewish makeshift "army") victory over the Syrian King, Antiochus, who tried to kill us. After our victory, Judah and the Maccabees sought to rededicate the Temple, and there was only a small amount of oil left to light the eternal flame. Once lit, the eternal flame should never be extinguished. The miracle is that the little tiny bit of oil managed to last for eight days. To commemorate the miracle, we light candles every night for 8 days. Each night, we add one more candle to the lighting, and on the last night, the entire menorah is lit - all 8 candles (plus the one we use to light the other candles - known as the shamas). Because Chanukah falls around Christmas time, in the US, Jews also celebrate Chanukah with gift-giving.

In honor of both Micah's birthday and the holiday, we are having a Chanukah party for Micah's birthday! At 12, his playgroup friends will join us, and we'll serve traditional Chanukah food (like latkes - potato pancakes). Micah will then take his afternoon nap, and around 3:30 or 4, we'll have some other friends and family join us for Chanukah party, take 2. We'll continue eating traditional food, playing Chanukah games, and we'll have Chanukah music playing. We'll light the candles, exchange gifts and watch Micah destroy a birthday cake. What could be more fun?