Friday, October 16, 2009

Butt Mud

Lizzie STINKS!
Her. Little butt. Reeks of the Damned.

I don't understand. We started out with constant odorless anal leakage. She pooped more than she peed. Many many dry diapers were tossed in the laundry hamper with only neon yellow butt smudges. She pooped when she laughed. She pooped when she sneezed or coughed. She pooped when she slept. There seemed to be no rules or cause and effect. It was poop chaos.

Soft baby butt cheeks marinating all day in acidic butt juice is a bad thing.
Diaper Rash City!
We fought it every way possible. Butt paste and petroleum jelly and prescription ointment. Fleece liners. Nakey butt time. Frequent changes. Powder. Prayer. I even caved in and went to disposables for a week so I could strip all the dipes (boiling the cotton pieces and using Dawn on the synthetics followed by 716254 rinses in cold water to rid them of residue.) Nothing seemed to help. I cringed every time I opened her diaper to third degree chemical burns and setting my alarm for every 90 minutes to change her at night was starting to turn me into an evil bitch wear me down. We had to somehow keep the liquid ass off her skin but every time you wiped her crack, more squirted out.

Perpetual poop producing predicament!
Holy poop bottoms Batman!
Nine weeks of this hot mess...

If you look at her butt now, it's perfectly smooth and blemish free. Just as baby skin should be.
What happened? How did we fix it? What sort of butt paste-ing concoction worked? Or advanced diaper wrapping technique? Blood sacrifice?

Nope... She just... stopped pooping as often.
Therefore less poop per time, less poop damage, more cute baby butt!

It happened over night. The pooping pause. At first I was doubtful. A few hours went by with no butt water and then a few more. I dared to breathe a sigh of relief. Her poor hiney started looking better in less than 12 hours. Yes, Relief. Maybe we were somehow back on the right track?

Relief turned into eyebrow raising the next morning. Where was the poop?! I was changing sopping wet diaper after diaper. No yellow seedy nuthin! Not even so much as a mini skid mark or a tiny baby shart. By that evening, I was a wee bit worried. Where was the poop?!?! I know I had wished it away but that couldn't possibly be good for her. "Better out than in" as Shrek would say. I slept fitfully, had bad baby poop nightmares and woke up with the overwhelming need to rip open the diaper like a Christmas gift and see if the "prize" was there. Nope. No poop!

And a third morning. Still no feces. So I did what I always do and I googled. I googled "2 month old" and "no poop". And I got an answer I forgot about: some exclusively breast fed babies don't poop for up to eleven days and they are ok. I remembered scoffing at these articles. Not my serial pooper!

But now? Possible?

I thought surely, I guess, that could be the situation here. I starting counting on my fingers and doing the mental math to calculate what that meant. A teaspoon or so of goo every, say, four minutes. The minutes to hours, to days. How much poop was in there? A quarter cup? A cup?

And then it happened. The poop. I was still ticking off fingers and visualizing wet measurements when Lizzie stared at me with that deer-in-the-headlights look and farted. Not a toot or a pfffffttt. It came from her rear end growling in a low pitch, like a pissed off grizzly bear, and it was wet sounding. Atomized poop mixed with air mixed with liquid SHIT. I was afraid. Now we were both staring at each other with deer-in-the-headlights looks. Time slowed to a halt.

Eventually I flipped her around in my lap and hooked a finger in her waistband to take a gander at the damage. At first I didn't see anything. No poop. And then.... I saw it.... a rising bubble, slowly blooping out the diaper and up her back. It looked like a sludgy hot tar pool bubble. Only yellow. It came up and out, and popped.

The smell !!!
Chaos reigned. Hell on earth.

It popped in the general direction of my closely-inspecting face so fecal matter got in my mouth and in my hair. Fecal Matter people!
The dog came over and licked a splatter from the arm of the recliner and I puked in my mouth.
OMG WTF Chewie! Get in Chewie's House NOW!

I grabbed a dish towel from the floor near my chair (it's a mess here, folks) and wrapped her little ass up into a baby origami shit eggroll and stumbled to the changing station. As I lifted the tabs on her diaper cover, I slowly realized that double gussets and high quality elastic had fully contained the Hiroshima of baby poop-splotions. Goo had spread north, south, east and west and coated every inch of cloth diaper and cover. Even between the two and in between the folds of the prefold. My calculations were off! This was three cups at least! I was this close to taking her to the trash can and shaking the diaper off into the bag, but I didn't.
(Patting myself on the back)

It was so indescribably disgusting. It wasn't even watery like usual. It was... thick... pasty.... butt mud.
I just grabbed wipe after wife, scraping each one up her tush to scoop up a handful of butt mud and tossing it in the trash. And the next. And the next.

She was laughing, I was laughing, it was hilarious! But gross. Funny. But disgusting.
Nothing was salvageable. Not baby gown nor diaper cover nor socks nor changing pad nor my nursing top.

And her poops have been like that ever since. Every three days. Two days of farts and the third day: gratuitous butt mud. Like clockwork. It's a whole new era of diaper changing but the prefolds have stood their ground and continue to contain it. Unlike the disposables. Don't even get me started on that!

But the farts...
My God, the farts...
Paint peeling from the walls, burn your nostril hairs, blame your husband because it had to be him, farts.
They will bring you to your knees and stain your upholstery.
They do not meet EPA guidelines.

But that's ok. Whatever it takes to keep her sweet baby butt cheeks free of shit chemical burns. I'd rather have it this way. But then again, I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing the farts or the poo-splotions in public.
Ask me after my first "Oh-My-God-stone-me-now fart, fart, BOOM!" diaper.
I'm sure I'll feel differently.

OMG more cute Halloween sox!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bible Study for Moms

Before I had a baby, before I was married, when I was in college, I had a life group. We met once a week, swapped stories of our shenanigans and tried to encourage each other to live better lives. It was awesome and I miss those guys so much!

Now that I have a baby and a husband and a dog and a kitchen that magically creates its own dirty dishes, I need a life group more than ever. Why? Because it's nice to feel like part of a group. A group of like minded individuals with the same goals and views. A group of other adults even. Creatures who also pay bills and try to clean house and sometimes swear when angry. Humans I can converse with and have long intelligent talks with. Two-sides talks with knowledge to be gained for all involved. This is in stark contrast to the one-way grunting communication I have with Lizzie all day every day.

She cries or screams or coos or gurgles or squeals incoherently.....
And I desperately rattle off a string of possibilities to her that she can neither confirm nor deny, yet I continue to ask them anyway...
Knowing she can't answer...
Isn't it weird that we do that to babies? Talk to them like they both understand AND will retort...

Are you tired?
Are you hungry?
Do you feel good?
Why won't you sleep?
Are you dirty?
Did you just poop?
Do you wanna bath?
Do you wanna read a book?
Please be quiet.
Please sleep.
Are you trying to drive me crazy?
Do you want to be an orphan? (I kid I kid ;P)

Sometimes a smile. Usually a stare.

"Seriously? I'm an infant. No speakezah language yet, Mom."

So yeah. When Rhiannon called and said "wanna go to Bible study with me?" I nearly choked on my coffee. Yes. YES! YES!!! My God, I want to go so badly I don't even think I can wait until Wednesday. Gimmie the study book and I will go RIGHT NOW to camp outside the building until then. It sounded like the most perfect idea since someone decided that vodka and OJ went tastily together. Sign me up!

Since Lizzie has been born, I don't get out much.
Like ever.
I know, right?!?! 
It's just too hard to get out the house. Hauling around that kid and all her crap is a daunting task no matter where we are trying to get to. Picking up bread and milk from the Food Lion less than a mile away is equal to doctor's appointments in the next town is equal to walking on the moon. They all require the same planning and time and gear.

So I'm off and running, having finally accumulated the child and her stuff in one place. We're seated in the car and I'm putting that puppy in reverse to leave the driveway. Going to Bible Study. No shower and no matchy matchy clothes but on my way nonetheless. She's quiet and I'm relaxed. Music beebopping and head clearing. I'm so happy and excited and proud to be going that I am out of the car, laboriously crossing the parking lot and shuffled into a seat at a group table before my mind comes to a SCREECHING HALT and my palms melt into a cool gummy mess.

New. People.

Ugh. So not cool feeling. Kinda nerve racking. Making irrevocable first impressions with greasy hair and postpartum baby belly still stuffed into maternity jeans. Super win. Oh well...

Eventually I settled in and then got Lizzie tucked away into the Moby Wrap. The leader quieted the group and we all opened our books and took out our #2 pencils. Every thing after that was uplifting and relaxing. It was wonderful! I talked to other grown-ups. 
About SAHM junk.
It's a Stay At Home Mom's group!
I even made it there, on time, with all my cookies in one basket. I learned some things. Lizzie was good. Success all around. Very stoked :)

I can't wait to go back to the next meeting. I will try to read ahead and do the "homework" questions so my book isn't empty when we get to "share" time. Hell, I may even shower! You know, if she lets me...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Into the mouth

Let's review....

We found our hand/arm area to be quite tasty when they found their way into the mouth.

Some days later, we discovered that we had hands AND we could control them! Well, sort of.
Before, we had to wait for the hand to "find it's way" into the mouth.
Now, we have mastered the "stop and stare" move.

Mommy is very proud...

And next on the motor skills development to-do-list?

Lifting said hand to mouth and chewing on it.

Super super yay!

(*remember that pacifier?*)

Look what I can do!

I know this ushers in a whole new era of baby chasing but I don't care right now.

I know I will be dropping everything in the future to rush to her stuffing pennies or Chewie fur-tumbleweeds or whatever choking hazards she can get her paws onto.

I know I will run around grabbing her face and hooking a finger in her mouth whilst begging her "What's in your mouth?!? Did you eat it?!? What did you eat?!? Spit it out! Spit it out now!!"

I know I will have mini panic attacks every time I turn around and see her little jaws a'chompin and wondering what she is eating.

I know.

But for now, her hand to mouth success means she is growing and developing in a healthy linear fashion as she is supposed to be. It means she survived child birth and I've been feeding and changing and entertaining her in the manner that is required for her to grow into a bigger little person and then a bigger big person and drive and graduate and give me GRANDBABIES! And it also means I haven't dropped her or shook her or damaged her in some other way. I've scored a C or better so far, every day, raising her. I haven't royally effed up yet :)

Go me :)
10 weeks down. Eleventeen thousand more to go...

Random Pictures

Sometimes I catch her staring at her bears mobile in the pack n play SO HARD that she has been temporarily mesmerized and can't make proper eye contact. That makes me laugh.

If we had smell-o-vision then you might fully get the wonderfullness of this pic (yeah, it's a word ;P)
She reeks of deliciousness with her freshly bathed skin and lavendar lotion-y-ness. YUM!

When she is all clean and has just a fresh diaper on, she is so happy. She burns the last of her energy on the changing table so she's nice and sleepy for nite nite time. She is so sweet looking.

Sometimes I put her in front of the TV. I don't want to make it a habit, but it's nice in a pinch. Especially with Chewie babysitting :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tummy Time Updates

Tummy time, on the Boppy only, is going very smoothly now. No more meltdowns and no more tears (for her OR me :) There are still times when she gives me the "How could you do this to me?!?!" face, but we talk through it and no one gets hurt.

I read somewhere online that babies love mirrors and looking at other babies' faces. That's a little fact I never knew. I guess it makes sense, evolution-wise. Babies seek out other faces to engage their interest and making eye contact warms the mother's heart to be more loving toward the infant. I get it. I remember when Lizzie first started looking AT me instead of all around like Stevie Wonder. It did melt my heart after all those insane weeks of her just CONSUMING my life force without so much as a thank you very much.

Now she LOVES looking at herself in the mirror. She must also realize how effin adorable she is. Katy bar the door and WATCH OUT world!

I just can't get over how CUTE she is! I am reminded of that Family Guy episode where the guy can't stop showing his wallet full of pictures to anyone who will acknowledge him. "Wanna see my kids?!?!" and he's thrusting them in people faces. He gets so worked up he's smashing them into their faces. BAM BAM BAM!

Yup. That's me. On this blog.


Even Chewie loves her. He is always right by her side, no matter where she is. You can see him sometimes in the pictures. Blatant or stalker-like, he is always there. And if you can't see him, look closer. You will probably be able to see a smallish patch of golden fur. If it's on the floor, it's a Chewie tumblewed but if not, then it's him. Stalking her.

So yeah, tummy time is much better. 15 minutes a day, twice a day is what we are doing now. Unless Daddy does it. And then it's for as long as she will be quiet whilst he is PSP-ing. Which, amazingly enough, is WAAAYYYY longer than what I can get her to do. She is SUCH a Daddy's girl...

Gearing up for Halloween!

So I couldn't resist some dollar socks and a warm Halloween sleeper. It happens. You say you aren't going to succumb to the hype and hoopla and spend your hard earned cash on faddish crap they won't use again (well, Stephen's hard earned cash anyway). But it's so hard!

Lizzie is just so darn cute! My precious muse :)

How can you say no to that face?!?!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Under Construction...

Please excuse the mess :)

A sleepin baby is a gorgeous baby :)

Sometimes I feel bad that most of her pictures are all of her asleep. I go back later and think hot damn she looks like we keep her drugged out most of the time. But that's just not true. The TRUTH is that she is so effin' adorable when she is asleep. She just looks angelic. I run to get the camera and snap this "extra special" beautiful rendition of my sleeping babe and I mention to Stephen "my GOD she is precious and I HAVE to get this on film". I do this at least once a day and every one I snap is OHMYGOD the CUTEST picture yet, you can almost see her halo.

And then I go through a week's worth of pictures and say "Jeez, do I really have 34 pics of her asleep? Did we do anything else?" And then I post them for you anyway because, I mean, they ARE cute still. They just ain't as cute as seeing it first hand.

So without further ado....



Sleepin' on Daddy


Sleepin' on Daddy


(see a theme running here?)

Lizzie's New Obsession

... is the ceiling fan.

Where there was once a huge gaping hole in the ceiling, now there is an adult-sized spinning ceiling mobile.

And she is mesmerized by it.

Score for us! 
It really is true that you spend oodles and oodles of money on kiddie toys and all they really want is the crap you already had. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

2 Month Dr Appt

Two months already?!

So it's that time again; time to get on up to the hospital and measure my heathen. Now my guess was like 13 or 14 pounds and 100 inches long because Lizzie seems bigger. Bigger and rounder and fuller and longer. All those adjectives. And more mature. More alert and vocal and squirmy and delicious. All those adjectives too....

We didn't get to go back for our 11:20 appt until 11:45 so of course the Milk Monster was on edge. Were we gonna feed her and put her to sleep or play with her? She doesn't like to wait while decisions are being made around her. It makes her antsy and impatient. She gets that from me.
By the time we got her on the scale, she was visibly angry, but she kept her composure as we weighed her and then stretched her out for her height too (which I find funny that they call height as it's really length but, meh, semantics)

Here's the raw data:
Height: 21.5 inches
Weight: 12 lb 2 oz

Ok... Height?... 21.5 inches? Like, barely an inch longer than at birth? Not. Possible. She is VISIBLY longer. Her feetsies reach down farther on the changing table and the pack n play. They wrap farther around me when I nurse. Sometimes when I take her for around for sunshine in the backyard, I have to tie her legs up in a bow to keep them from dragging the ground and getting dirty. I thought she was getting some "holy shazoly she's tall" from Daddy but I guess instead she is getting the "I feel taller than I look" from her Mommy. Sorry honey. And weight... NO WAY she only weighs barely over 12 pounds. She's borrowing my clothes practically!

All her bodily pieces and parts are where they are supposed to be and her development is actually a month or so further than she's supposed to be at. She's a baby genius I believe the technical term is. Must be her vastly superior milk supply....
That'd be THESE boys (pointing to my chesticles)...
And I'm sure a double dose of smart pants genes must help too :)

I'll talk about it more in detail later, but the doctor diagnosed her funny just-won't-go-away bruise on her nose as a strawberry birthmark. A what?!? Yeah, gimmie a minute... I'll get there...

Off we were to immunizations, which I think is crazy. Peds can't give shots? Correct. The idiot E-nothings running around aimlessly in droves have to have a job too. Which is exactly what we got. An E-2, been in the Navy 3 months; Hospitalman Apprentice Nahinanajad or whatever, No-Speaky-English-Well, thick accent, don't-know-what-you're-doing, shaky hand idiot E-nothing.

First of all, I ask him if I can nurse while she gets her shots (research shows babies feel less pain while nursing)
(confused look) (long pause) you can't....

Then he starts listing the shots she is getting and, get this....

Like, standardized 2 month shots. Holy Shit! I knew what they were and had to fill in the blank for him. And the last thing you want to do is play Mad Libs with a medical "professional" about to inject fluids containing dead viruses into your baby you just spent 9 months cooking in your belly with the best of intention and healthy habits. I was so angry I started sweating and my mouth filled with that sickeningly sweet saliva that means throwing up is imminent. As he is squirting the rota virus syrup into her mouth, his hands are SHAKING.
Not trembling. Not shuddering. SHAKING.
As in Parkinson's quality, 5.0 on the Richter scale, expensive vibrator fervor SHAKING.

He injected the first of 3 needles into her leg in a stabbing motion. Stabbing. She flipped out.
Second needle. Stabbing. And she was flailing so there was blood.
Third needle. He stabbed down as her leg went up and he wrestled with it until the syringe was empty. Leg spasm and needling gouging in all directions. More blood.
It was like a really bad horror movie with shitty acting and gratuitous bloodletting. I glared at him, told Stephen WTF and tried to calm Lizzie by popping her on the boob. I almost lost it but Stephen had tears in his eyes so I held back.

Out in the lobby, I had a mini meltdown where I cursed the hospital and that fucktard idiot. I couldn't keep my rage inside. I said we were changing doctors and I wanted to speak to someone, ANYONE, higher up than him and by God that was probably a janitor or a security guide but I didn't care, get his ass in here. I might have threatened to burn the hospital down too, I can't quite remember. Lizzie was still screaming and that Neanderthal corpsman had excused himself out of his room and across the wing. I was tossing F-Bombs like cheap beaded necklaces at Mardi Gras. Not loudly. Just continuously.

And I was being GOOD. I wanted to flip out into a Tasmanian Devil spiral and flatten the entire ward while telekenetically destroying them a;; with mind conjured fire ala Carrie style, but I couldn't because Stephen was in uniform and I didn't want HIM to look bad. A very horrible experience indeed. Oh, and apparently there is a numbing spray they have that he conveniently forgot to use. Yeah... seriously...

Now, to make myself clear, I do not begrudge junior personnel. I know everyone has to start out somewhere. And I don't even begrudge menial jobs because someone has to pump your gas and someone has to ask you if you want fries with that. Please God, just match people to jobs that are within their skill level!

There is a reason doctors make more than burger flippers. Every time I go to the drive thru at a fast food joint, they mess up mine or Stephen's food. And always is not an exaggerated word.
ALWAYS. 100%.
Whether it's something stupid like putting cheese on my burger, or tomatoes on Stephen's anything, or forgetting straws or sauce, whatever. Like the other day when Sonic messed up and put tomatoes on Stephen wrap and I sent it back and the Sprite was out so when they brought his new wrap I sent our Limeaids back along with my fries, which were supposed to be tater tots, and they came back with the drinks and HOLY FUCK another side of fries, which is where I gave up and screamed "And THAT'S why you will never make more than minimum wage!" as loud as I could with the windows rolled up. True story... So yeah...

If I am paying $4.99 for a shitty fake-food meal then I expect a few mistakes because adding cheese when I don't want it is what I consider a non-life-altering mistake, while stabbing my child during a botched round of normal immunizations is what I consider an unacceptable possibly-traumatizing medical mistake. They make A&E specials and really juicy lawsuits out of that shit. OMG Navy Corpsman, get your shit together!


K, Well I don't want to make this blog into a place to rant and be negative so on to the happy stuff :)

The doc put us in for a referral to a ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) specialist, which I thought was nice since I didn't know anything about strawberry birthmarks and an expert opinion is always welcomed. When I got home, I went straight to the laptop and did my usual Google research that is necessary after I come across something I don't understand. Google is both my friend and enemy.

The medical term for this thingy is a hemangioma.
Hers is the kind that is deep in the skin (cavernous) and not the kind that is raised and really red. As I did more research, I started to get more and more worried as two facts really stood out:
Most doctors want you to "wait it out" as they grow and then recede on their own (over years)
And the nose is the highest risk for permanent disfigurement. Disfigurement?! WTF?!?

My blood ran cold and I almost cried. There are experimental treatments and specialists who no longer believe in the "let it grow and when it goes away we can always do cosmetic surgery" method, but we have TRICARE for God's sake. They farm out stabbing babies to 18 year old kids and prescribe just 800mg ibuprofen to cancer patients (yup, she died, true story, girl I went to boot camp with, 2 bunks over). They scared me away with their decades old solution to my pilonidal too: carving out a few pounds of my ass and leaving an open wound with a vacuum pack. Scary. They don't even do that anymore. There are updated, less intensive, less invasive methods out there for pilonidal. They are so full of procedure and micromanaging that technology is 30 years old before being implemented in the Navy. It's true for medical and legal and even engineering on our boats. Normally it doesn't bother me. Today it did. We're talking about my beautiful baby girl's face she has to have forever and forever.

I started researching what I could do to demand a second opinion or request to be seen out of my network of providers to see a civilian "civilized" doctor. I started compiling a letter to my primary care physician and researching studies done on current therapies. I also added four specialists in the state of Virginia to my dream list, all are not only ENT doctors, but specialists in vascular anomalies and hemangiomas in particular. Another in Texas if I had to go there. I wanted the BIG GUNS! The best there was to decide what we would do and how we would spare Lizzie from any discomfort she didn't 100% have to experience. I knew TRICARE wouldn't pay for me to go to an expensive specialist off base when they had hundreds of experience-hungry newbies running around at Portsmouth wielding scalpels and eager to hone their chopping skills.

But I was prepared to FIGHT and BITCH and SET FIRES as appropriate. I dusted off my prayin' hands and started praying. Hard.

I waited 48 hours to call the appointment line so the referral could go through the system. When I asked the lady to please schedule me asap, she said she couldn't.
Why not?!?
Oh, because the clinic on base is FULL and there is no room for new appointments for at least two months and the referral has to be within 30 days of being referred and blah blah blah they had to farm me out to a civilian provider and I had to wait for 7-9 days to get the referral letter in the mail and....
I almost screamed into the phone and burst her ear drums I was so mad. UGH!!!!!
a CIVILIAN provider?
out in town?

and YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How often do you get referred out to a doc in town? Like NEVER! I was filled with a feeling of hope that literally felt like being filled with the light of happiness. A big grin broke out on my face and anxiety melted away from my body. Let's do this. While I was waiting for the letter could I get the doctor's name and office please?

David H. Darrow, MD
EVMS Center for Hemangiomas and Vascular Birthmarks
Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters

Wow, that name sounds familiar! Thanks Mrs. Phone Appointment Maker Lady, have a good day :)

...and wouldn't you know....

That doctor is one of the four on my specialist list! Put that in your pipe and smoke it! I started dancing around like a leprechaun who'd found his (a mix between River Dance and Hammer Time I think.)
I experienced pure joy and I was so happy for Lizzie!

I could feel God in the room.
For a split second, I thought if I spun around he would be right there behind me. He wasn't, literally speaking, but yeah...

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"
 Mathew 7:7-11

Such a long post but such a good story!
I cannot put into words how grateful I am.
I will keep everyone posted as we learn more!