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More baby news: The great digestive mystery of 2009 continues…
Sadly, my blog posting is taking a hit lately. It isn’t that I don’t want to, or that I have nothing to say; it’s just that all my free time is taken up either with taking care of Jamieson, working, sleeping, doing chores, or spending quality time with Doc. It’s hard to find an hour or two where I’m actually in the mood to write, AND have the time to do it.
I hope to be able to find more time and energy to write as the weeks go on.
Anyway, here is what’s been going on during the last month.
The last part of May and first part of June pretty much sucked. Doc was sick with a bad chest and head cold, then I was sick with the stomach flu and exhaustion, then Jamie got the cold, then I got the cold. Luckily, Jamie had gotten the stomach bug earlier in the month, and Doc didn’t get it at all. I went to Kathryn and Brett’s Memorial Day cookout, but probably shouldn’t have, and we missed Valerie’s birthday dinner altogether. My doctor tried me on several different medications in an attempt to alleviate my exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious, but the side effects made me feel even MORE sick to my stomach and also plagued me with insomnia, both at night and while trying to nap. Shortly thereafter, I came to the conclusion that actually getting sleep would make me feel better a lot faster than trying to fool my brain into being happy, so I stopped taking it.
The weeks since have kind of been a blur. I definitely have been feeling better, probably largely due to the fact that I’ve been sleeping for one long stretch most nights. When I think back to just a few months ago, when I was lucky to get 3 or 4 hours of sleep in a row, this seems like an impossible dream!
We changed up our night feeding schedule. Doc does the first feeding (usually; if I’m still up I will do it sometimes) and the second feeding, and then I get up in the morning with Jamie. He’s usually up some time between 5 and 6:30 a.m., usually closer to 5. Although recently he’s taken to not really going back to sleep after his second feeding, which is kinda messing things up. We hope that he’s just starting to change up his own nocturnal schedule towards sleeping through the night.
Jamie turned six months old on June 8. Doc and I bought him some presents, and Grandma sent some too. We had some pretty intense storms blow through in early June, including some tornadoes nearby. Our power went out about 10 a.m. one morning after massive amounts of rain, and was out until nearly 11 that night. The house heated up quickly; Doc and Jamie went to the mall to cool down in the afternoon, and then we went out to dinner and ran some errands in the evening. The power came back on as we washed baby bottles by candlelight. The stoplight at our corner blinked red for almost a week before they fixed it.
We continue to try to get Jamie’s digestive issues fixed. He’s been on Nutramigen AA formula for about a month now. It costs $155 for a week’s supply. No, that is not a typo. We’ve been lucky enough to get a few samples from our gastroenterologist’s office as well as a couple of shipments from Dr. Debbie. I’m not sure that it’s really making that much of a difference for him, to be honest. Doc has observed that when he’s relaxed, he seems more relaxed now but when he’s fussy, he seems more fussy. More peaks and valleys, in otherwords, whereas on the regular Nutramigen he seemed fairly consistent with a low-grade fussiness. He has learned to accept the taste of it but he really didn’t like it at first. We think it doesn’t stick to his ribs as well as regular formula. It does seem thinner and more watery, like skim milk. He certainly continues to put on weight, but he’s not as satisfied with it.
We are going to a new pediatrician now. Our first pedi just wasn’t a good fit. I don’t think she ever really believed that there was anything wrong with Jamie. She once called him “high strung,” as if it was a personality issue that was causing his constant activity, crying, pain, and crankiness. She suggested that we just run the vacuum cleaner in his room all night, since constant loud noise often was the only way we could get him to sleep. Her bottom line with us was that he was gaining weight and thriving, so he was fine (and she repeated this to us at every visit). I know she thought that we were overreacting and exaggerating. It was as if she would prefer that Jamie just outgrow whatever was going on with him, rather than work with us to try to get him help. He may be gaining weight and growing properly, but there’s a whole quality of life issue that she was completely ignoring.
In fact, we finally went to the gastroenterologist (Dr. Annette Whitney) completely on our own, not because of any suggestion of the pediatrician’s. And Dr. Whitney knew what was wrong immediately, since milk and soy protein sensitivity is one of the most common infant food allergies. You’d think that the pediatrician might have picked up on this and at least suggested it to us as a possibility, but she never did.
Anyway, we really like our new pediatrician, Dr. Michael Brown. He’s personable and seemed to truly understand what we’ve been going through with Jamie, and he wants to help us get him feeling better. We’ve only been in to see him once, but so far I am pleased.
Dr. Brown prescribed a steroid cream for Jamie’s torso rash/eczema, and within a week the rash was completely gone. Poor baby isn’t scratching at his own skin all night and day now. I think that has really helped him to feel better overall.
He’s drinking prune juice (mixed with water), which smells like ass (and Doc confirms that it tastes disgusting too). But Jamie seems to like it just fine! And it’s helping keep him regular.
We started him on rice cereal, AGAIN. This is the third time, and the third brand we’ve tried. And at last! Success!! Healthy Times Organic Brown Rice Cereal does not give him 48 hours of intestinal cramping like the previous brands we tried. It says “NO SOY” right on the box in big letters. I suspect soy may be a bigger issue for him than dairy, because of his reactions to the other cereals, both of which contained soy (one from Vitamin E in an undeclared form; Earth’s Best Organic Brown Rice Cereal, I’m talking to you! Please label your cereal as NOT SOY FREE!). And of course, it’s twice as expensive as regular rice cereal, and only available at Whole Foods. Sigh.
He’s really getting the hang of eating from a spoon, and he seems to like the cereal. He’s figured out (mostly) that the spoon goes on TOP of his tongue, not underneath. When he’s cooperative, he doesn’t really even make much of a mess. We are usually giving some to him in the morning and the evening. We’ll be able to try a pureed fruit or vegetable in another week or so, I think, with guidance from Dr. Whitney.
She had us bring Jamie in for a barium enema, which was about as fun as it sounds. They filled his lower intestine with barium liquid and took x-rays of his little guts, and although they didn’t see anything immediately wrong, they found it really interesting (and so did we) that it took him about 30 minutes and a feeding to “expel” the barium. Most babies get rid of it immediately and forcefully. Not so Jamieson. We heard today that the results came back normal. I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, I am really glad that there isn’t anything seriously wrong with him. On the other hand, if they had found something, it would have at least been an answer and we could have been on the road to getting it fixed. Mostly I’m thrilled that the tests were normal, though.
So now we wait, and keep searching for answers.
We had a nice father’s day. Jamie did a drawing for Doc with giant crayons — his first artwork! I framed it in a special frame that opens with a magnet and allows you to swap out artwork whenever you please. He also got another Bluebird of Happiness for the bedroom. Then we all went out to lunch at Picasso’s Pizza, and later went shopping at Fry’s. For dinner we grilled bacon-wrapped filet mignons (Mom’s gift to Doc) and had rice pilaf, salad, and wine. A good day.
We finally unplugged from spoon-fed entertainment… we cancelled our cable and Tivo service! I have had some form of cable television since I was about 11 years old, save for the three years I lived in the dorms at college. And you know what? I don’t miss it one bit. Since all stations are now required to provide local over-the-air programming for free in digital, we bought a converter box and antenna for the upstairs TV, and an eyeTV and antenna for the downstairs TV. Upstairs, I just watch whatever’s on if I am interested (which is rare), and downstairs, they eyeTV streams the over-the-air HD and digital content to the mac mini and into the TV. The mini works as a DVR, and we also are using Boxee (although now are moving to Plex, which just works better), Netflix instant streaming, Hulu desktop, iTunes, etc. etc. Almost anything that we used to get through cable and record on the Tivos, we either watch through the good ol’ Interwebs or record it using the eyeTV and the mini. There was an initial cost to get all the equipment, but the amount that we’ll save each month on cable and Tivo bills will make up for all that in just a little over a year. Doc did a ton of research and spent hours and hours trying to find the simplest and most elegant solution for us, and he really did a fantastic job!
I’ll have to post more later. I’m tired now and want to get this out to the teeming millions (a.k.a. my two readers, who may very well have given up on me now that I’m only posting once every few weeks)…