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October 15, 2014

{The Cure for Colic}

It's been quite a while since I have last posted.  As usual, my life keeps evolving to include new challenges, resolutions and revelelations.  As you may know, Millie has been suffering with colic for four months.  In its most severe state, it left her exhausted from crying, unable to have regular bowel movements (sometimes, for days at a time), unable to finish her feedings, suffering from constant spit ups and occasional projectile vomiting and, overall, entirely miserable.  Caring for Millie during this period left Tyler and myself sleepless, feeling helpless to comfort her and, sometimes, wondering whether our parenting was up to par. 

We had tried everything - pediatrician visits, chiropractic care, prescription medicine, drastic changes to my diet, and prescription formula. Nothing brought lasting relief for her.  My friend, Kasey, who knew of our dilemma and ongoing struggles begged me to visit her in Wichita, Kansas and offered to pay for a well-known colic specialist there.  For the longest time my skepticism kept me from accepting her offer.  It wasn't until a recent Saturday morning when Millie had been screaming for three solid hours that I decided to take a giant leap of faith and explore our last option.

I packed the car with everything Millie and I would need for several days and headed out with an anxious, but prayerful, heart.  I had been advised when I made the appointment that Millie would be receiving treatment twice a day for several days or weeks, depending upon her response to the sessions.  In addition to covering the costs involved with this treatment plan, Kasey, and her husband, Nate, took us both into their home and gave us immeasurable support for the duration of our stay.  For all of this, I am extremely grateful.  But let me share the real spirit of thankfulness and gratitude for our experience there.

Dr. Dennis Scharenberg has practiced chiropractic care for 40 years.  He has also earned post-graduate work in acupuncture, sports medicine, scoliosis, and other natural healing sciences.  Following lengthy and in-depth research on colic, he discovered a method of treating infants with this condition that prevents leakage from the ileocecal valve that connects the large intestine to the small intestine.  The treatment, which is painless, involves strengthening this valve in 45 minute sessions, twice a day, until the child has reached 100% improvement based upon the parents' feedback.
Dr. Scharenberg's theory implies that most babies do not have milk protein allergies, but rather are suffering from colic.  He has treated babies from all over the United States, as well as abroad, and is devoted to bringing an awareness of this cure to parents, and other medical professionals.  If you or someone you know has a baby suffering with colic, I highly recommend Dr. Scharenberg and his excellent staff. By visiting his website you can learn more about his colic treatment and make an appointment.

Now, for an update on Millie's response to treatment.  My husband and I have found a new joy in our daughter as she smiles and snuggles her way into our hearts.  The baby who screamed consistently, winced in pain and was unable to be soothed is now calm, happy and making leaps and bounds developmentally in her new healthy state.   My husband and I are rested, less stressed and able to face the demands of work, family and other obligations in a more peaceful frame of mind.  On top of that, Millie is now able to drink all of my frozen breast milk that I once thought I would have to throw away! I am currently pumping as much as I can to get my supply back up and am hoping I can nurse again soon to satisfy her needs. She now has multiple bowel movements daily as opposed to the one every 3 days induced by suppositories.  She never cries…only fusses when tired or hungry, like a normal baby should.  Additionally, Millie sleeps all night long - 9-12 hours!

Millie's therapist visited this morning and was blown away by her physical and developmental advances. Millie is 6 months old (3 months adjusted) and is demonstrating growth patterns consistent with a 5 1/2 month old baby. Millie is only supposed to be 3 months old and is rolling over both ways (back to stomach and stomach to back), grasping objects and pulling them to her mouth, almost sitting up on her own and tracking people and objects that she sees.

We are so proud of her. What a Miracle Millie!

September 23, 2014

{Turning Over a New Leaf…}

You see what I did there in my title? 

I have been dreading writing this post.  I am not sure if it's because my last blog was so raw and somewhat depressing or if that I am finally shy about being so open. But then again, when have I not been so open about my life these past 6 months? It's The Taylor Diary, that's for sure. 

It's Fall. And I could not be happier. 
For some reason, this time of year makes me feel so inspired. The colors, the smells and the sounds it brings makes me want to completely re-invent myself. 

I have gone back and re-read my last post countless times and finally came to the conclusion that it was time for some changes. I have always felt that if I am unhappy with how things are going,  I should try like heck to change them.  So, that's what I did.

I quit my job last week. Before there is any judgement, know that there was deep thought and consideration that went into this decision. Because my mother broke her hand and she was graciously watching Millie until we could come up with another option, we no longer had child care. After crunching the numbers, all of my paycheck (and then some) was going to go to either paying a nanny or day care costs. This just didn't make sense to us. Why would I pay someone else my entire paycheck to watch my child when I could do it myself? My current unemployment is only temporary until 
A) I can find something that I can do from home or 
B) I can find something that justifies me working out of the house, covers childcare and brings in additional income on top of that.

We started Millie on rice cereal. I realize some people don't agree with this, but my baby was hungry and by golly, I'm going to feed her if she's hungry. She gets one tablespoon of rice cereal every night before bed and she is FINALLY sleeping through the night after 5.5 months. She is so happy now! Her pediatrician suggested we start this over a month ago and I was so ignorant and adamant that she be exclusively breastfed, that I didn't listen. I am so happy with this decision because she is LOVING it.

My last day of breastfeeding will be October 8th. Millie will be 6 months old on this exact date. 
Why wait until October 8th? 
Well, she is already beginning to ween naturally. This will give my body and her body a good month to get used to this huge change. I did not want to quit cold turkey. It's very addictive you see…that breast feeding! In addition to the natural ween, it will give Millie a good month to get used to the taste of her new formula and bottles.

Speaking of formula. We have finally found one that her body agrees with. She is on a prescription formula for babies with severe milk protein allergies and other allergies in addition. This formula is completely broken down and already digested for her so all she has to do is drink it. 
And she likes the taste! 
(It is called PurAmino DHA & ARA for anyone that is curious and might be going through the same thing we are.)

So, let me share my menu for October 8th with you:

Breakfast: Biscuits and Gravy
Mid-morning snack: Yogurt
Lunch: Big, FAT double cheeseburger
Mid-Afternoon Snack: Ben and Jerry's
Dinner: Domino's cheese pizza with extra cheese and some ranch dressing for dipping
Bedtime snack: Chocolate chip cookies and a HUGE glass of 1% milk

That's right.
After being on this strict, Dairy free-no processed food diet for 4 months, I am going ALL OUT.

The Dog: He is going to a behavioral veterinarian/therapist and we will be working with him in the anxiety department. We will NOT be giving him away for those that suggested. He has been a part of my life for 8 years and I am not about to give him away just because we brought a baby home. We love him and he is a GOOD dog. He is just having an extremely hard time coping with a colicky infant. Heck, so were we! It's understandable.

This blog was just an update to my last diary entry. Now, onto Fall clothes, pretty makeup and home decor. 

"There's the kind of support you ask for and the kind of support you don't ask for. And then there's the kind that just shows up."
-Carrie Bradshaw

As always, thank you so much for the never-ending support. 
I love you all.

September 7, 2014

{When It Rains, It Pours}

This is not a "poor me" post. However, I do have to say, this has been one of the worst weeks since Millie came home from the hospital. 

We were doing really well and starting to get a groove down. I'm back to work 3 days a week while my mom watches Millie. Because Millie came so early, we were not prepared for any other child care options and we weren't about to send her to a day-care with her being so small and susceptible to illness. My mom graciously offered to watch her three days a week until I go back full-time. Back to this subject in a bit.

I have completely given up dairy. This includes anything that has milk on the label of the product. If I was to continue breastfeeding, this is the only way I could make her comfortable because of her dairy intolerance. However, this past week everything changed again. My supply hasn't been that great. I am not sure if it is due to the fact that I can't eat much and am not consuming enough calories, I am stressed, I am not getting enough sleep or that I am away from Millie during the day at work. I pump at work, it just isn't the same and my body isn't reacting the way it should to keep my supply up.  We have had to supplement and tried a special allergen-free formula, but she wouldn't eat it. So, the doctor gave us a soy formula to try. This apparently opened up another can of worms because it turns out she is allergic to soy as well. I spent the entire week trying to console an inconsolable baby who hadn't gone to the bathroom in 4 days.  She wouldn't smile, wouldn't eat, wouldn't sleep and just screamed. On top of that, it was basically just me taking care of her because Tyler works all day and also worked Tuesday and Wednesday night. I thought I was going to have a mental breakdown. In fact, I am pretty sure I did. It got to the point where my cries were matching hers. 

In addition, Cooper, our anxiety ridden dog, cannot function in this type of environment. The screaming makes him so nervous that he begins to act out and bark uncontrollably. He also has extreme separation anxiety. I left the house to grab something to eat with Millie, came home, and he had jumped up on the counter and knocked everything off that he could find. There was glass everywhere and blood all over the floors because Cooper cut himself on the glass he knocked off.  At this point, Millie was screaming (of course) and I literally just wanted to close myself in a closet and never come out. If you have ever been in an overwhelming situation, you know this feeling I am talking about. You can't seem to get yourself out of this deep hole and everything seems so bad and not fixable. 

Thankfully, my parents knew that I simply could not deal with the dog anymore. They came to get him to give me a break and let me focus on my sick baby. 

But it gets worse. Friday, my mom was letting Cooper out in the front yard at their house on a leash and he saw another dog being walked across the street. He drug her off the porch, across the yard, into the drive way on her stomach. She now has a sprained ankle, a beat up knee (which was just replaced) and a broken hand. 

How can I live with this guilt? Because of my DUMB, uncontrollable dog, my mom now has a broken hand that might require surgery.

In addition, we now have no childcare. 

Oh, and I went to the doctor Saturday morning and I have bronchitis and a touch of pneumonia. 

Now, I know. It could be worse. But at what point does it end? At what point does life get easier? At what point does God say, "Okay, you've had enough. You have proved that you are faithful and have conquered every trial that has come your way, with dignity no less." 

At what point do you throw your hands in the air and give up breastfeeding? I have lost so much weight because of my diet restrictions. I am so overwhelmed with stress and have so little time to focus on myself. I have given it everything I have. I pumped every three hours for months after she was born. When she finally learned to latch, we watched her suffer not knowing of her allergies. I adjusted my diet to to witness her finally be able to eat in comfort, but now, I am noticing that I can't keep weight on.  I didn't think it was supposed to be this hard.  Is it really worth all this stress and worry?

I am sorry if this particular post has been negative. I really try to stay positive on here but I do know one thing. Writing has always helped me get things off my chest and it relieves stress. Maybe in turn, I will touch one person struggling with something similar and in reading this, they won't feel alone. Being a mom is so hard. Your mind and body are not your own anymore. I am so thankful yet so overwhelmed. 

They say it gets easier.  I am praying it gets easier. 

Hopefully, my next post will be more "cheery".

This too shall pass.

August 30, 2014

A Labor of Love {Millie's Nursery}

Our baby's room was really a labor of love.  Everyone pitched in. Tyler's mom painted the room while I was still in the hospital recovering from a C-Section. Tyler built wall hanging shelves with his bare hands (and some of the hands of several friends).  Tyler and I painted artwork for above her rocker. My aunts hung curtains and wall art and my parents gifted some of the furniture items.  So, thank you to everyone who helped make Millie's room a special place.

When designing Millie's nursery in my head, I knew I wanted something white with some pops of color thrown in from toys, books and art. The idea was for it to be calm, serene, natural and simplistic. The design has a Scandinavian, Mid-Century Modern feel. I hope you enjoy this peek into our little girl's room.

Wall color: Martha Stewart // Lamb
Rug // West Elm
Curtains // Pottery Barn Kids

 Book // Plant: TJ Maxx

Wooly Plush Bunny // Pink Bunny: Pottery Barn Kids Similar // Wooly Plush Elephant

 Books Top to Bottom:

 Artwork by Mommy and Daddy

Thanks for reading. :)

PS. I hope to do more posts like this as we slowly move from room-to-room decorating our new house. Let me know if you want to see more interior decorating posts.