i’m back with another gift guide, this time with ideas of what to buy for the young babies and toddlers that are both fun, but also strategic. i say strategic because they are fun enough that they won’t know they are actually working on their fine motor or gross motor development. most of these are based off of recommendations from our PT and OT…
fisher price laugh & learn piggy bank: i will start by saying, we do not have this (yet), but brady AND landon love to play with it when our OT comes to the house. there are two versions and this is the one she recommends most. the reason being is that this one is less complicated for the littlest of hands and minds, yet open ended enough that it will grow with your baby into toddlerhood. initially you are developing fine motor skills and an understanding of cause and effect. then as they master entering the coins into the piggy bank, you can work on counting, color matching, sorting, etc. see how it can work for years with your kids?
fisher price sit-me-up: we have this one in the owl theme for brady and it has been my new favorite seat. this seat isn’t as long lasting BUT it works early when you are working on head and neck control. ever have the baby that is sick of tummy time or lying on their back, yet can sit totally unsupported? we did! and i wish we had it with landon too. it’s more supportive, comfortable and entertaining for the babes!
kinetic sand: i love the idea of a sensory bin, yet hate the idea of the clean up and managing that comes with it until they learn the “rules.” if you want to start easy, this one is a good option. kinetic sand is a breeze to clean up, fun to play with, and provides tons of sensory input. landon can sit and roll balls or make shapes without much need for intervention. most of the time i plop a gathre mat under the bin just in case, but 99% of the time i can easily clean up the spilt chunks off the carpet.
peg board: this one is another OT favorite for fine motor development and open ended toy. this is a great tool for brady at the current moment in his development, but it’s a fun toy for landon too. he loves building the towers with the pegs and doesn’t know he is actually mastering some fine motor skills without knowing it.
the nugget: before i get started on this one, let me preface this with saying you will NOT have it in time for christmas. the demand is so high right now and they are completely out-of-stock. we are still waiting to snag one (i should have ordered it a month ago, but hesitated because i didn’t want to store it for that long and now i am kicking myself. as soon as it is back in stock, you better believe this is coming to our house. this is the big gift for both boys. why? for brady, he needs different surfaces to encourage crawling and to help with that gross motor development. for landon, he LOVES to crash and burn. now he can have a safe place to do it. this will grow with them for YEARS. forts, imaginative play, jungle gym, flips, etc. and when not in play time use, it’s a couch for reading, movies, homework and more. catch my drift here? we cannot wait to have this!
i distinctly remember my mom telling me this. i was in college and my grandparents had been in the hospital (separate occasions). i remember all the things she said about them missing medications, doctors and nurses not reading notes or the charts thoroughly. i remember her saying she (and my aunt) had to tell THEM what was going on and correct their mistakes. i kept thinking, “wow. can it really be that bad?” and “how scary? i am glad they have you to be there with them.”
fast forward to today and i can 100% understand the “you have to be your own doctor” sentiment. to the best of my ability, i have to the biggest advocate for my children. i know this. i do this already in a number of ways, but preparing for brady’s heart surgery was the first time i had to really “fight for him.”
the healthcare system is all kinds of messed up. not getting into politics here because it really doesn’t have much to do with that. but i really think a lot of people don’t understand that you have choices. you don’t have to take what the doctor, nurse, scheduler or insurance company says as “fact.” truthfully, you shouldn’t. you should question them, research things on your, present your findings if they differ from your doctor’s perspective, request second opinions, etc. when it makes sense.
you should feel 100% confident in your doctor’s plans, approach, care, etc. we were NOT feeling this way after meeting with brady’s cardiothoracic (CT) surgeon for our consult. i will get to why in little bit, but i want to ask you a few questions first:
if you, or your child, needed surgery, would you feel comfortable waiting until pre-op day to meet the surgeon? (note: pre-op is generally the day before surgery)
if while performing the surgery, the surgeon had to remove a part of your (or your child’s) anatomy considered “non-essential” to successfully complete the surgery, would you want to know? or do you need to know?
noodle on these questions as i tell you our story and experience advocating for what we believe is best for brady and his health as it pertains to his heart surgery.
our cardiologist gave us the heads up – brady’s case had been reviewed and deemed ready/necessary to have surgery. we should be hearing from the scheduler to get something on the books in the coming months (this was april). right on cue, the scheduler calls to get brady’s heart surgery scheduled. i had done some research on the 3 CT surgeons at CHOA and had my heart set on one of them, but would have been comfortable with 2 of the 3. of course, as our luck would have it, we can only be scheduled with the one CT surgeon i know least about – dr. shaw. here is how that conversation went:
“are all of the dates you offered to us with dr. shaw?”
“are dr. kanter or dr. subi available at all?”
“okay then. looks like we are going to have to go with dr. shaw.”
“great.” (lots of details said) “you will get to meet with dr. shaw on brady’s pre-op day to have any questions you might have answered. since brady’s surgery is on a monday, his pre-op day will be on the friday before. if his surgery date changes, his new pre-op will be the day before surgery.”
i’m sorry. HOLD THE PHONE. you want me to ask any questions i might have for the surgeon on the DAY BEFORE my son’s open heart surgery?? no. that’s not how this is going to work. it will NOT work for me. honestly, how could it work for anyone? if we are not comfortable with the surgeon, we need to have time to find one. the day before surgery does not give us enough time to adequately prepare and feel comfortable. back to the conversation.
“meeting with dr. shaw the day before surgery will not work for me. can we schedule a consultation with him as soon as possible?”
scheduler says, “oh yes of course! you can meet with him whenever you want. he does all consultations on tuesdays. let me pull up his schedule to see when we have his next available.”
why would they not offer this information to everyone? why do i have to ask? i can’t possibly be the only parent who feels this way, yet i bet most parents take the “day before” option because it’s the only thing mentioned or offered. this is one example of how the healthcare system is flawed.
side story: one of the many ways the down syndrome diagnosis network supports parents is with facebook groups specific to your child’s needs. enter in the most valuable group to date – DSDN heart heroes. this facebook support group is only for parents of children with down syndrome and a heart defect. i had just seen a post from another mom asking for good questions to ask your baby’s CT surgeon. i read the thread and hundreds of comments. one comment kept popping up on the post “ask the surgeon to keep the thymus.” i took anatomy in high school. i have no idea what the thymus is or what it does. so i google. here is what you need to know (Wikipedia explains it best:
the thymus is a specialized primary lymphoid organ of the immune system. Within the thymus, T cells mature. T cells are critical to the adaptive immune system, where the body adapts specifically to foreign invaders. … the thymus is largest and most active during the neonatal and pre-adolescent periods. by the early teens, the thymus begins to atrophy and thymic stroma is mostly replaced by adipose (fat) tissue.
sounds pretty important to me. especially with brady already having a weaker immune system. of course we want the surgeon to keep his thymus. duh! so glad i saw this and looked it up.
fast-forward a couple weeks later and we are at the consultation appointment with brady’s surgeon. i was armed with questions, but the most important question “can you leave his thymus?” dr. shaw plainly states, “i routinely remove it. in order for me to get the best view on the heart, i need to remove it.” we asked if he could leave part of it and he said he would “try.” red flag.
within 24 hours, we pretty much decided this guy was not going to be brady’s surgeon. i had read a hundred of parental anecdotes stating their child still has some or all of their thymus. they found surgeons who were skilled enough to keep it, so we would too. in the meantime, we had to do more research. we wanted to know if we were being crazy in wanting to fight for keeping his thymus. was there research to support its importance? do the other surgeons in atlanta practice the same way?
so it began. the research. the back-and-forth. the “fighting.” research will tell you just what wikipedia did. it will say that once removed, your body’s immune system basically compensates for the loss of the thymus (thus it being “non-essential”). however, there is no research on this topic specific to the down syndrome community. for us, if it is possible to be kept, then we want it kept. we called two different adult cardiologists for 2nd and 3rd opinions. called our own cardiologist and explained to him that we were not happy with dr. shaw’s answers or confident in his ability to perform the surgery the way we wanted it done. i explained to him that there were mothers in atlanta who had their child’s surgery done here and the thymus was left 100% intact. how could they have it done, but we couldn’t? someone was lying to us – the surgeon or these parents. we told our cardiologist, if it’s not done the way we want, then we are willing to travel to another facility to find a surgeon who can. end of rant.
our cardiologist is amazing. he came from boston children’s – the number 2 hospital in the US for pediatric cardiology & heart surgery. he called old colleagues, spoke to every surgeon in atlanta, reviewed cases claiming to have the thymus kept, reviewed research on the importance of the thymus and the immune system. within 48 hours of our complaint, we had all the answers.
it is standard practice to remove partial or all of the thymus during open heart surgery. this is what surgeons in boston, atlanta, texas, etc. all subscribe to.
it is important for immune development and should be kept intact as much as possible, especially for brady.
our surgeon is capable of performing a partial thymectomy and will do so. it is in his notes, it has been said face-to-face to us and our cardiologist. they understand we are not messing around about this.
at the end of all of this, we felt the confidence we needed to feel in dr. shaw to move forward as planned for brady’s surgery. we won our battle. but this brings me back to my second question:
if while performing the surgery, the surgeon had to remove a part of your (or your child’s) anatomy considered “non-essential” to successfully complete the surgery, would you want to know? or do you need to know?
the answer to this question should be yes. but what i have learned in my experience is that it is actually no.
if we didn’t specifically ask about the thymus, no one would have mentioned to us that they remove it. they don’t mention it even after surgery. the CT surgeon’s goal is to successfully repair the heart, so they don’t talk about the thymus. this is why parents think their child has their thymus. parents think that because the surgeon never mentioned the removal of anything, it must still be there. wrong.
after messaging with a few other moms, they were horrified to learn when they went back to the surgical notes and records that their child’s thymus was removed. they had NO idea. a few of these moms don’t have to worry about the immune issues because their kids don’t have down syndrome, but it would still haunt me knowing it was never discussed or seemed important enough to do so. another example of the flaws in our healthcare system.
advocating is hard work, but you have to stand firm in what you believe. “you have to be your own doctor.” (i am becoming my mother ha!)
hooray! today is the day our little brady bug turns THREE months old. how? i’m not really sure, but time is moving both at warp-speed and slow (hello long days). it has been a big month for brady and i am excited to share with you all where we are at!
new this month in terms of milestones – brady is SMILING! i pretty much spend all day trying to get those sweet little gummy smiles out of my little man. he spends more time awake during the day, which i love, and he has started to coo. my heart can’t handle it. these are little newborn things i never new i missed until now.
landon is still adjusting. most days he’s great with brady. he will want to help hold brady’s bottle and give him kisses. every morning, i can hear the pitter-patter of landon’s feet running to our room to find brady in his bassinet. sweetness. other days, however, it’s a smack to the face, poke in the eye, and whine kind of day. you win some and lose some. we are working on big brother skills, but happy to report we have mostly good days.
other things that are new this month have more to do with the medical side of life with brady. we had a slew of appointments and new doctors to visit. here’s the skinny on it all:
eyes: check. we are grateful we only have to go back for annual eye checks
ENT: check. ears look good, we will go back at 6 months for another hearing screen. we did do a scope to check on Laryngomalacia (aka floppy airway) which is very common in all babies. structurally all looks well, but we did see signs of irritation from reflux. this is something we are keeping an eye on.
swallow study/feeding therapy: we learned through a swallow study that brady has a risk of aspirating thin liquids 100% of his swallows. the barium test showed deep penetration into the airway with every swallow. when we moved to “nectar” consistency, we saw improvement with every swallow. currently, we are thickening feeds to nectar consistency and will re-test in 2-3 months. i’ll do a separate post on this process.
cardiology: this was the big one. brady has been doing so well and still is doing well. however, we have started to see all the signs and changes that we were warned about. brady is in the early stages of heart failure, but we are still able to manage it and schedule surgery “electively.” we started him on Lasix to help take some pressure off his lungs and heart. this should help with his feeding and overall well being. we also saw a small dip in his weight gain. he is still gaining, but not on his curve he had been on. we have 2 weeks until his next appointment to turn it around before we start talking about fortifying his feedings. i think we can do it! we are seeing some positive changes since thickening. his most recent echo showed everything exactly as it has been. the hole is still very large (almost 1 cm) and not getting any smaller. surgery is tentatively “scheduled” for July.
PT: brady started PT and we are working on neck control and range of motion. just in a few days of directed play and proper holding techniques, we have seen improvements. we are battling a flat head (his left side) because he favors looking left. odds are brady will need a helmet, but we are doing everything we can to fix it before we get to that point. he’s a strong little dude!
most importantly this month, he is still as cute as can be, sleeping like a champ (PRAISE), and stealing hearts everywhere!
y’all. brady is already TWO months old! that is so wild to me. it feels like yesterday we were coming home from the hospital. i know time flies, but man is it flying by faster this go around. i wanted to share a quick update on where we are with our little brady bug.
now that we are doing well in the weight gain department, we were given the clear to let him “sleep through the night.” AMEN. because brady is actually a pretty good sleeper. most nights we are doing a 10:30/11 PM dream feed and little man sleeps until we wake him up at 7:30 AM. i know, i know. we are very lucky with this. from my non-scientific research (and poll of other DS mommas) it seems to be a common characteristic of our babies. i think the combo of his diagnosis and VSD makes brady a champion sleeper.
bottle feeding continues to go well. i am still “exclusively pumping” with hopes that he will nurse. basically, we do a bottle, attempt to nurse, then i pump. he latched a couple times and stayed put for a good minute. it wasn’t long enough to transfer much milk, but it is progress and it keeps me hopeful that we might be able to get there and i can kick the pump. in the meantime, pumping it is.
we do have some concerns that he might have silent aspiration/reflux. when his bottles are not going well, he is usually exhibiting discomfort. his eyes water and get red blotches around them, he sneezes, he pulls off the bottle frequently and may spit up. because of these warning signs, we will have a swallow study done at the end of the month.
after our visit to the Down syndrome clinic at Emory, we added a few more specialists to the rotation. brady will see ENT and ophthalmology this month in addition to our regular pediatrician and cardiologist.
ENT will check his ears in more depth and also take a look at his breathing. brady frequenting makes “squeaky toy” sounds when he is flat on his back or sometimes while eating. this is pretty common with all babies, but sleep apnea is very common with Down syndrome. i am not at the point of requesting a sleep study yet, but we will see how the initial ENT visit goes.
he will also get his second RSV shot this month. the RSV shot will go on pause until “RSV season” picks up again in the fall.
brady had his initial evaluation with georgia’s early intervention program Babies Can’t Wait. this will definitely be a more in-depth post at a later date. sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. until then though, here is what we know. brady is delayed, which we expected. a case manager is assigned to us and will begin working on setting up the various therapies he qualifies for at this time. it will like be PT and OT to start, but we will see.
landon is adjusting to being a big brother pretty well. he thinks it is so much fun to “hold” brady and we get to watch some really sweet kisses exchanged and gentle pets/hugs. landon even likes to “help” me feed brady and change his diapers. however, i play defense 90% of day. landon will go from a sweet kiss to a swift slap on the face and poke in the eye. man. he is still learning and very much a toddler.
i intended to write this post for Brady’s one month, but here we are two weeks later and our little bug is 6 weeks old and NINE pounds! whoop, whoop! it’s crazy to think Landon was only few ounces smaller than this when he was born…woah.
i’ll kick off this post with all things medical for Brady. i have been getting a lot of questions about his appointments, so i figure i’ll clear that up and then move on into what has been on my mind and heart.
medical updates – Brady continues to do well with eating and gaining weight. his main specialist we see is his cardiologist to monitor his heart, breathing, and weight gain. surgery is still on the horizon, but as long as he is doing well, we will push it out as long as possible. that could mean 4-6 months, 9 months, 1 year, etc… this definitely drives my “planner” side a bit insane! the plan is no plan as of yet.
we are on a “typical” schedule with his pediatrician at this point. next appointment will be when he is 2 months. we graduated from heavy monitoring for now. we also are able to feed on demand at night, which means we are going 5 and 6 hour stretches now and feeling a little more human.
yesterday, Brady had an appointment with the director or the Emory Down syndrome clinic. it just so happens that the doctor is also the director of the new X and Y Chromosome clinic (side note: of all their patients, they have only one other little boy with both Klinefelters and Down syndrome). after her initial examination, we have been referred out to ENT, ophthalmology and swallow study. i had a feeling we were in a little calm before the storm.
we have our evaluation next week with Babies Can’t Wait and we will see which therapies Brady qualifies for. initially, we anticipate PT once per month, but depending on swallow study results, we could be seeing OT and feeding therapy more often. PHEW.
now on to what is really on my heart. it’s something that i had feared during my pregnancy, but never anticipated would be so different.
who does Brady look like?
with Landon, there was an overwhelming response of friends and family saying “he is a mini-Mike” or “he looks just like you!” or “i see so much of your family in him!” with Brady, there was hardly any of that.
our families, of course, made these comments and compared similarities between Brady’s features and our families/Landon. but from other friends? i can probably count on one hand the number of people who mentioned which one of us they think he looks like. when i think about that for too long, i get sad.
when i look at Brady, i don’t see Down syndrome. i know i am his mom and i am blinded by his adorableness and my love for him, but this was also something i feared while pregnant. will i look at him and only see Down syndrome? will i be able to see beyond his diagnosis?
it’s silly to me, now. so i do understand why it might not be as easy for others to see or talk about or feel comfortable mentioning to us. that is okay. i am here to educate, enlighten, and hopefully ease the discomfort so that your next interaction with someone in similar shoes as us might be easier.
here is what i can tell you about this topic: babies with Down syndrome do have some distinct facial features like almond-shaped eyes and a slightly flatter nose. however, babies with Down syndrome look more like their family member than they resemble one another. Brady WILL look like our family/his siblings. good thing i don’t have to worry about him inheriting a full blown DiLegge nose! HA!
if you need a little help seeing it, i encourage you to follow a few other mommas and kiddos on Instagram:
it’s hard to believe my last post was at 37 weeks. i planned to write one before Brady was born, but took some time off with Christmas. then, all on his own, Brady decided to enter our world at 38 weeks 4 days. here is how that day went.
sunday, december 30 : my in-laws had just come in town the day before and we planned to use this day to get some things done around the house before it was too late. this included hanging the art and mirror in the nursery, taking down Christmas decorations, doing a load or three of laundry, packing our hospital bag and installing the car seat (better late than never). i remember looking at Mike at the end of the busy day and saying, “i just need you to do one more thing for me tonight. i need you to go install the car seat.” and THANK GOD we did!
monday, december 31 : i was woken up at 2:30 AM by contractions. this was not unusual for me these last few weeks. i would get one or two throughout the night that woke me up, but nothing consistent. the only difference this night is that they were relatively frequent – one or two every hour – making sleep next to impossible. i had flashbacks to Landon’s labor and started to get really anxious we were about to go down that road again.
my in-laws grabbed Landon in the morning and kept him pretty distracted while i was laboring at home. by morning, they were pretty intense feeling, but very inconsistent. some would be 5 minutes apart, then the next 20 minutes, then 15, etc. mike nervously headed into work and promised he would be back as early as he could. i reassured him this was not real labor, that this was very reminiscent of how Landon’s labor began. i told him i was going to take a bath to calm them down.
back story – Landon’s labor, the semi-cliff’s notes version : we were out in Cali at the time and had no idea what to expect with labor or delivery since it was our first baby. i began to have contractions 72 hours before being admitted to the hospital for delivery. they were the kind of contractions i had to breath through and couldn’t talk through. i would be hunched over the sofa with my mom rubbing my back and praying that the baby would just come already. when those contractions became consistent enough for long enough, we headed into the hospital. the first time – “sorry, ma’am, you are not in labor. you are having contractions and pretty consistent, but nothing is happening to your cervix so it’s not considered labor.” ummmm excuse me, what?! they asked if i wanted some morphine sleep so i could at least get SOME rest (i hadn’t slept in 24 hours). i declined thinking that if this is not real, then i have some MAJOR pain ahead of me.
we headed home and i laid awake all night with contractions. day two came – same charade. my mom is begging me to go into the hospital and i am saying, they told me not to come back until they were more intense. that night, we went back to the hospital to get me some medication so i could at least sleep. after being sent home again, this time with the drugs, i was able to get a little rest (aka 3 hours) before it wore off and the contractions came back with a vengeance. by morning, i was at my wits end. i told mike we had to go back and i would force them to admit me. i could not go through another day/night without sleeping and contracting all day. we head back in and to our surprise they tested me to see if my water had broken, and thank G it did, because that was a sure way to get me admitted! it would be another 48 hours before I actually delivered Landon, but that part of the process is another story for another day…. or maybe not since it was so traumatic.
anyway, point of all this Landon back story – THIS felt like the same pre-labor, labor. not consistent enough, not intense enough. they call it prodromal labor.
back to Brady’s labor : i figured they would sent me back home and i could not handle that all over again, so i chose to ride it out at home for as long as possible. the bath helped, it soothed things a little, but not enough to try to nap. i distracted myself as much as possible, but the contractions kept coming. again, i was bent over the couch, on all fours, etc. trying to manage the pain. i finally caved and called our doctor office to reach the on-call doctor. keep in mind it’s a holiday, so i had to go through a different answering service to finally get to the doc. he called me back very quickly and i explained what was going on and what happened during my previous delivery.
he agreed with me that it was like pre-labor and to try to relax, drink more fluids, and even drink a glass of wine (off the record). at this point, i happily obliged with the wine and it seemed to push the contractions back to 15 min apart instead of the 5-7 minutes they were before. i decided a hot shower was in order to keep things calm, however, that did not work like the bath did…
by this point, it’s 4 PM and contractions were coming 2:30 – 4 minutes apart and i had enough. i call Mike up to our room in a panic and tell him to call the doctor back and tell him we are coming in regardless. if it wasn’t real, i needed something to let me rest for the big day. if it was real, well then i would rather have a baby in the hospital than our bathroom floor. after talking to the doctor for 2 minutes, we all agreed it was time to come in.
we grabbed our bags, called down to my in-laws we were leaving and were out the door. thank goodness we only live 10 minutes away from the hospital and could be in there quickly. i definitely felt like that woman in the movies though…we get to the hospital and i am contracting every 2-3 minutes. i have to sit through the admission process (even though i did all the pre-admission paperwork, so someone tell me the point here…) and between contractions give my information to the woman. after that, they sit me out in a waiting area for the nurse. i am sitting between two other pregnant woman who are more visibly pregnant than i am and they are just straight up chillin’. meanwhile, i am trying not to cause a scene in the hospital lobby and banging my head into Mike’s arms with every passing contraction.
FINALLY a nurse comes to get me and we are off to the room. immediately i tell them i want fentanyl to take the edge off so i can try to rest (or nap) for a little bit (jokes on me). problem was, there was still more paperwork for me to sign and they had to draw my blood and send it off to the lab before they could give me any medication. the nurse decides to check me in the process of waiting and, SURPRISE, i am 4 cm dilated.
this was it, folks. real freaking labor. hallelujah!!! still waiting for labs, and laboring with contractions every 2-3 minutes, when the on call doc comes in to check on me. i had never met him, but he was exactly who we needed to be there at that moment – good rapport, witty, compassionate, brilliant, and experienced. he promised me he would not let our baby get stuck and he was going to come out on his own most likely without need for a c-section.
thirty minutes passes and i am hooked up to the fluids in anticipation of an epidural, when WHAM, i am 7.5 cm dilated. i look at Mike and say, “if that anesthesiologist doesn’t get in here in 5 minutes, i am going to lose it!” my body was shaking uncontrollably and i was on the verge of vomiting from the contractions and pain. the doc tried to talk me out of the epidural since i had done “the hardest part,” but sorry, doc, no can do! in the knick-of-time i got my epidural and could finally relax for a brief moment.
mike and i were so in shock with how quickly things progressed. total opposite of my first labor and delivery. our moms had arrived to the hospital with dinner (for mike) around 7:45 PM. mike literally left to pick it up when the doc comes in to check on me. takes one look at my contraction strip and says, “yup, it’s time to have a baby.” so calm and nonchalant. in walks mike, 5 minutes later and i say “babe, we are about to have a baby!” this all cracks me up now. how relaxed, yet not, the whole scene was. they start calling to prep the room and when the doc says it’s time. the NICU team and prep nurse hadn’t even arrived yet. one and a half pushes later, Brady entered the world at 8:14 PM.
both Mike and i were overcome with emotion. for me, it was both tears of happiness and terror. i was excited to meet our second son, but now i could no longer keep him safe and healthy. i didn’t hear cries at first which intensified my fear. mike was with him and the NICU team examining him (they arrived 1 minute after birth). i couldn’t see much, but i was getting thumbs up that things looked okay. the neonatal team decided he was adjusting well on his own that we were able to avoid the NICU and headed up to our postpartum room all together that night. with five minutes to spare on the clock, we turned the TV on in time to watch the ball (and peach) drop for NYE. the perfect end to our 2018. good thing we installed that car seat, huh?
happy Tuesday, friends! i hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and survived the craziness of the shopping over the last few days.
our Thanksgiving was wonderful. Mike had the whole day off. like off, off. like did NOT have to go into the office for even just a couple of hours. it was very much needed and magical to spend the morning the three of us preparing to head up to my parents’ house for the DAY. because we can do that now. we can go spend a day, an afternoon, an evening, an hour with my family and i will never take that for granted.
this was the first Thanksgiving in 3 years that i did not have to cook a turkey, clean my house, and spend the week stressing about how we are going to fit everyone into our tiny little space. i still wouldn’t trade any of those Thanksgivings, but i was very grateful to show up, bring dessert, help with cooking and head home when we were ready. this was also the first Thanksgiving we were not planning the meal around a flight time because there was a road game the next day and Mike had to leave. BLESSINGS. it’s the small things in the irr household.
after all the calmness of Thanksgiving came the stress of black friday and cyber monday shopping. does this give anyone else major anxiety? i am a deal seeker. i hardly ever pay full price for something (unless i am shopping small) so this is when i like to get the majority of my Christmas shopping done. this year was more than just Christmas, it was all the baby gear we need to get, nursery items, home decor, etc. so i was feeling the pressure.
let me tell you…i failed miserably at the UppaBaby deal through Sam’s Club and this will haunt me forever. we need a double stroller and after much research and testing, we determined this is the best one for us. i had been waiting until black friday specifically to purchase it and BAM, i lost. no UppaBaby on sale for us. now i have to figure out how late i am willing to push this purchase because we have been spending machines lately with the house items and need to chill. i probably should buy newborn size diapers before i go buying a stroller. priorities.
other than the shopping over the weekend, if you follow me on IG and saw my stories, you have definitely seen the great green debate. i am starting to feel colorblind. what i see on screen, in store, on the swatch, is not what is coming out of the can. how can this be? after 5 samples, i am pretty sure i found the one. this week, on my never-ending list of to-dos, i need to paint and assemble little bug’s dresser. good news, my mom and i finished the wallpaper – HECK YES.
in all seriousness though, this week, we are facing a lot of tests. i will officially be 34 weeks pregnant and so begins my weekly testing. today starts with a biophysical profile (BPP) at the perinatologist and the week ends with a non-stress test (NST) with my OB. according to my OB, i should have my hospital bag packed now. praying that everything stays looking good and we have 5 more weeks until little bug makes his appearance. God knows i need all 5 of these weeks to prepare mentally and physically.
my in-laws get into town today and i couldn’t be happier to have the extra hands. i jam packed my week with appointments – so much so, that when the AV guy showed up yesterday to the house, i thought we might be getting robbed (because i totally forgot what day of the week it was and that i even made the appointment). only me. whoops.
on my list of to-dos: buy newborn diapers, a changing pad, figure out the stroller situation, finish the nursery, pack our hospital bag, paint and assemble the dresser.
next week to-dos: launder all of little bug’s clothes (aka Landon’s hand-me-downs), take out the bassinet, get the car seat ready, finish the nursery, finish the nursery, finish the nursery.
oh and at some point, i will decorate the house for Christmas and finish my Christmas shopping….
not my age. although, i am recently (ish) 30. i can’t believe it’s November. i can’t believe i am about to be 31 weeks pregnant. i can’t believe we are about to have another baby SO soon. between the holidays and many tasks left to get done around the house, we are going to blink and baby will be here.
in the last week or so, not a whole lot has happened pregnancy wise. i had two appointments, one with my regular OB and one with my perinatologist. i learned a lot of things from these two appointments – basically for the duration of my pregnancy, i will live at the doctor’s office. ugh.
there is a much greater risk of stillbirths with babies that have chromosomal abnormalities and they want to make sure they catch any signs of distress ASAP. so starting at 34 weeks, i will go to the OB once a week for non-stress tests and the perinatologist once a week for biophysical profiles. that’s two appointments a week until i deliver. at any point in time, they could be telling me i need to go in and have this baby. looks like i have to add packing my hospital bag to my list of to-dos in the coming weeks!
other things related to little bug and momming life – our part-time nanny started last week and it has been life changing. the first day went great! i was able to focus on things i needed to do around the house, get myself dressed without having to chase a toddler around while brushing my teeth and even got some work done (gasp!). the second day, Landon realized i wasn’t home and was overly tired which made for a tearful morning. i am hoping this phase will pass as he gets to know her more and by the time little bug is here, he’ll be excited to play with Ms. Mallory. we also picked a pediatrician and it feels great to have that sorted out. i hope my gut is right with this choice and we come to love him as the medical professional protecting our children.
life updates – our first halloween in the new house was a semi-success. i say “semi” because Landon was in a sour mood and was not at all interested in going house to house (i know he’s still young). instead, he just wanted to wander the street and stare at all the big kids in costumes. we also ran out of candy by 7:30 PM, soooooooooo now we know! our neighborhood closes off the street in front of our house so kids can roam safely. it turns into quite the crowd from neighboring streets and two costco size bags of candy just wasn’t going to cut it.
life lessons i have learned this week – i am not alone in my thoughts and feelings. the support from each of you has been incredible and i find comfort in knowing that we are going through a lot of this together. whether related to a baby/child or something totally different, there is a common thread between the struggles. i also learned that while your child is getting their molars, ALWAYS give Motrin at night even when you think they are doing better. the TWO nights i didn’t give L his Motrin, resulted in a 4 AM wake-up (the night before Halloween, so probably why he was cranky) and 3 AM wake-up just a couple nights ago. i am exhausted and definitely coming down with something from the lack of sleep. my goal, more Motrin and take naps 🙂
PS my friends from Cali are coming to visit this weekend to go to their first ever SEC football game. i couldn’t be more excited to visit with them, but also get back up to Athens to cheer on my Bulldogs!
i am currently writing this post from the couch, eating ice cream, watching real housewives of dallas and resting my back. no judgements please. man, being pregnant the second time around while trying to wrangle an almost 30 lb, 17 month old is physically draining. this time around, my back is not loving me, so here i am trying to take a break while i have a house with endless to-dos staring me in the face.
here’s an update on where we are at this week. nothing new to report medically as it relates to little bug. i am officially 27 weeks. woah. however, little bug and i got hit with a big whammy of a stomach bug.
we enjoyed a wonderful visit with Mike’s parents and just finished afternoon at a tip-off event for the new season, when WHAM!, i was hit with a stomach bug.
at first, i thought it was food poisoning (because where would i have picked up this bug), but then 48 hours later Mike got hit. then, the worst of it, Landon woke up Tuesday night after vomiting all over himself and his crib. major panic for me and my momma heart. the little guy didn’t understand what was going on and we could not get him to stop throwing up. with Mike down for the count, i called in my mom for reinforcements so i could at least put him down and clean up the mess. THESE ARE THE MOMENTS I AM GRATEFUL TO BE BACK HOME!!!
sparing you all the gory details, but we ended up in the ER with Landon late Tuesday night to get him some zofran. poor guy just could not stop the sickness. after a dose of the meds, my little man was back to his usual self flirting with the nurses and smiling.
it honestly took a week for our entire household to recover. i spent the next couple days sanitizing everything in sight. after both the physical and emotional exhaustion of the week, we decided to hop in the car with my parents and head to the beach for a couple days. a little fun in the sun is just what the doctor ordered! and the sweetest beach naps.
and just when we thought we were all recovered, WHAM!, my mom got hit with the bug. this dang bug. i pray y’all do not get hit with this thing!
other life things going on this week other than being taken out by the stomach bug – the house is still in shambles. there is not a single room that is complete, but i will say i have some visions and plans that i just need to execute. little bug is KICKING a lot. he’s just happy as clam in there. we have not made any progress on the name front (just haven’t had time to think about it), but did make progress with pediatrician research and information interviews. i will keep y’all posted about that. i know i will feel more at ease when i choose a pediatrician.
emotionally, this week really took it out of me. i don’t know if it’s the extra focus on down syndrome due to down syndrome awareness month (which is incredible, so please don’t misunderstand me), or the buddy walk that took place in Atlanta last weekend, or just the result of being overly tired and physically exhausted, but i ended the week in tears. i am in a valley again for the time being. feeling totally unprepared for life with two under two, unprepared for a baby with special needs, unprepared to become a “special needs mom.” just overall unprepared and feeling majorly guilty. so i am trying to give myself some grace and trying to remind myself that this too shall pass.
my goals for this week – take care of myself a little more, keep calling preschools/parents morning out programs for Landon (so far on 3 waitlists…ugh), and embrace this pregnancy a little more. i may even take a bump picture…
this week has been another crazy week here at the irr home. we are entering a new season in many ways – a new weather season, a new life season, a new professional season. and all the new seasons are colliding!
at home, we are in a new season of life and homeownership. it’s been a busy week of more appointments and phone calls – calling repairmen, reporting claims for property damage (very minor stuff), buying all the equipment and essentials, and trying to completely unpack a single room (still working on this). we love our home, but man, it’s tough to keep up with it all while simultaneously juggling a toddler and a career that takes a very important member of our team away from us for the majority of the week. oh, did i mention we also have squirrels in our attic? flying squirrels to be exact. and one that managed to find its way into our wall just in time to scare me while Mike was away. hello homeownership and goodbye money! and a big OH, we also have an owl in our backyard. pretty cool, unless you have seen the Michael Peterson Dateline….i’ll just leave it at that…
a new NBA season has officially begun and i am not ready. i am never really ready for the season to begin, but this year really feels like it popped up on us fast. i don’t feel like we really had a summer off (probably because we have been a little busy) and that is draining on us all. it’s also a very strange feeling to be entering a season as the newbies. it was always great to see familiar faces and our NBA family after a summer apart, but now we are those people entering a new team and not really feeling connected at the current moment. i know time will change all of this, but with so many other aspects of life being in transition, it’s tough feeling when we will be spending so much of our time together and away due to the team. i will say i am hopeful! i am grateful to have met a couple incredible women who i know will help ease this transition and also grateful for an organization that really puts a large emphasis on family and support.
a new season of life literally began this week for Mike. we celebrated our favorite guy’s birthday and were lucky to be able to do so with both of our families. in this next year for him, life is really changing and we are embracing the opportunity to get another year together to see what is in store. we checked in with little bug at the perinatologist this week and all is looking great! he is measuring right on target and, other than his heart defect, looking perfectly healthy. thank God. i am now being spaced out 5 weeks between visits unless something changes.
i have been asked several times how i am feeling. physically i am feeling pretty good. i am exhausted, but to be expected. otherwise, pregnancy symptoms are minimal and all is well physically. mentally, i am feeling a bit unsettled. i am feeling unprepared for a second child, any child, let alone a baby with special needs. i am feeling guilty that i have not focused as much on this pregnancy as i did with Landon. i keep putting things off because i have “time” with the pregnancy and these other life matters have been more pressing. it’s officially time for me to stop procrastinating and get focused.
on deck for me this week – call around for interview appointments with pediatricians, focus on the name search (we have one we love, but i want to be 100% certain), look into Gigi’s playhouse in Atlanta, start figuring out what we need for baby #2. i should also start thinking about a design for his nursery… but that might be another week or two before i can really focus on that.
things i am thankful for this week: a healthy toddler, a healthy husband, a healthy baby boy growing inside me. my family, who continuously help us through this transition. Mike’s family who gave me a much needed break this week and helped us with more house items. a roof over our head, even if it’s filled with squirrels. a loving home. and a God who continues to provide for us.