Sunday, March 31, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Am I A Bad Mom?

Last Friday we went and saw the Neurosurgeon at the medical center for Giovanni's consult. The whole idea of this appointment was to rule out craniostenosis and determine whether or not a helmet was needed to help correct his plagiocephaly. The Neurosurgeon that we met with was wonderful. He was very personable and was great with Giovanni. I always get nervous seeing doctors "of that caliber" as I am convinced that they are intelligent freaks with absolutely no bedside manner as they just cannot comprehend normal human behavior. While keeping Giovanni entertained with his iPhone, the Neurosurgeon suggested that we do an x-ray to look at his skull. He did offer us a CT scan but I really didn't want to expose him to that much radiation if it was not necessary. He also agreed that if there was no sign of craniostenosis, which he suspected there wouldn't be, that it was time for a helmet as there has been a plateau in the progress we are seeing in physical therapy. Tuesday afternoon I got the call that the x-ray was all clear so we met with the place that does the helmets the next day.

His appointment with Hanger on Wednesday was pretty simple. All they did was take measurements of his head and explain the banding process. They said it would probably take 1-2 weeks to get insurance approval at which time they would bring us back to get his head scanned. Much to my surprise I got a call the next day letting me know that the insurance has decided to cover 90% of the helmet...which isn't too shabby. Today Giovanni had to go back to get his skull scanned so that they can have his helmet made.

He was such a little trooper! They had to do three different scans so it took about 10-15 minutes to complete them. I thought with the bonnet that he had to wear for the scan would absolutely freak him out but he was such a good boy! The technician even commented that he has never had a baby be so calm and relaxed during this procedure. That's my boy!

On top of all this, a few other issues have popped up. The first thing is that his physical therapist thinks that he needs to go be evaluated by a Neurologist. She is a bit concerned that his movements are a bit rigid for his age, and that he seems to favor his right side. I have been concerned about his jerky movements and the lag in his left arm since birth but his Pediatrician assured me that it was just because his nervous system was slow to develop. I have been complaining to my husband that Giovanni seems to shake a lot so my heart sank when his therapist mentioned this to us. She sent a letter to his Pediatrician suggesting that he be seen by a Pediatric Neurologist. The Pediatrician's office called me today to let me know that his doctor would like to discuss it further with us when we come in for his follow up in a couple of weeks. Now, I do like his Pediatrician, but she has a way of making me feel like a piece of shit mother. For example, when we went for his 6 month appointment she asked me if he was eating cereal twice I day. When I told her no, she snapped at me and told me that he needs to I should have known this. I really wanted to limit his solids prior to 6 months as I didn't want to risk him weaning from breastfeeding, so I really wasn't pushing solids...and no one told me that I needed to. I can now only imagine what she is going to say when we go in and not only are we discussing a referral for the Neurologist, but he will also have his helmet...something she was convinced that he would never need. I guess I will have to put on my big girl panties and stick to my guns. Giovanni is my son, and while I am not a physician, I do think I know what is best for him.

To top of that drama, his Gastroenterology office called this week to check in on him. I quickly weighed him only to discover that he is losing weight! He dropped from 15lbs. 11oz. down to 15lbs. 1/2oz. This kid is eating 10oz. of amino acid formula a day which is fortified with oatmeal (total of 5tbsp), 15oz. of breast milk, 2tbsp of oatmeal mixed with 1.25oz. of breast milk and 2oz. of fruit, 2oz. of veggies, puffs, fresh banana, 1/2 slice of toast, and 4oz. of diluted apple juice (1:3 ratio)! I can't get him to take in anymore formula or breast milk, so that is why I am giving him all of those other things. If I don't give him all of the extras, he still won't take anymore formula or breast milk so this is the best way that I know how to get more calories into him. The nurse called me back after speaking with the doctor and the only advice she had to offer was to add cereal to his breast milk as well. Ugh! This poor kid shits out the top and sides of his diaper three times a day as it is and I can't even imagine what will happen to his poor little system if I up his cereal intake. I have to reweigh him next Friday and report back in for further instructions. If anyone has any experience with this and would like to offer support or would like to share their baby's menu with me, I would be very appreciative!

Friday, March 22, 2013

7 Months!

I cannot believe that my peanut is already 7 months old! Time is really flying. Just for fun, I got out some of his newborn clothes for comparison and it is absolutely amazing to see how much he has grown in such a short period of time. So much has happened since my last update. Where should I start...

Last week Giovanni had his follow up with the Gastroenterologist to see how the changes to his diet were going. Things are going quite well and he has officially broken the 15lb. mark. Although he is barely on the growth chart, he is maintaining his growth curve and the doctor said that is what we want. If you remember, I ended up going dairy free so I could continue to breastfeed, and we switched his once daily formula bottle to Elecare, which is a (very expensive) amino acid based formula...and apparently insurance doesn't pay for "prescription" formula, even when it is necessary. If he was getting the Elecare exclusively, it would be around $500 a month. Talk about motivation to keep breastfeeding! Speaking of which, I cannot believe that I have officially made it 7 months! While I pump the majority of the time, Giovanni is able to get 4 feedings from breast milk and only one from formula. Not only is it good for him, it is saving us a ton of money as well!

The other bit of news that I will share is that Giovanni was referred to a Neurosurgeon. He has been going to physical therapy for 4 months now for his torticollis and plagiocephaly, however, we are seeing only a slight improvement. While we have time for PT to help the torticollis, we are running out of time for his head to improve. Today we met with the Neurosurgeon at the medical center. He agreed the Giovanni's head was pretty severe and immediately advised us that a cranial helmet was needed. He also wanted to get a picture of his skull to rule out craniostenosis as that would require surgery. I wasn't too keen on putting him through a CT scan so the doctor agreed that we could just get a x-ray to start, and if the pictures are questionable, then we would have no choice but to have the CT scan. I am hoping to hear back on Monday. If the x-rays looked good, Giovanni is going on Wednesday for his consultation for the helmet. Apparently they have to get approval from the insurance company for the helmet, and then once it is approved he goes back in so his skull can be scanned and mapped out so the the helmet can be made. Once he has the helmet it has to be worn 23 hours a day, with an hour to wash his hair and clean the helmet. He will have to wear it for 3-6 months or until they determine that his head has reshaped appropriately. While I obviously wish this wasn't necessary, I am glad that they are able to fix the problem so that he doesn't have problems when he gets older.

So that is pretty much all that has been going on. Who am I kidding, that is enough! Now I will end with some recent pictures! Enjoy!

 (His first haircut)

 (Just chillin')

 (My little mobile guy!)

(Mr. Smiley)

(One cool dude)

Friday, March 1, 2013

10 Baby Items That I Can't Live Without

A while back I put together a post with the top 10 baby items that I thought would be necessary. While the majority of them are fabulous, I thought that I would do an updated version to reflect the items that I found most helpful and absolutely impossible to live without.

1. Bloom Fresco Chrome High Chair
Yes, this was a TOTAL splurge on my part ($550) but it is an amazing little high chair. It is the only high chair that extends up to counter height, and given that our table is at counter height, this was a must. The other great thing about this chair is that we have been able to use it since day one. For a newborn, the chair reclines completely back into a "nest" and obviously the tray and foot rest are removed. For a baby the size of Giovanni, there is an insert that keeps his little body in position so that he can sit and have his two solid meals a day. It is also great as we can remove the tray and recline him back so he can have his bottle. Once he outgrows the insert, the high chair will be configured as shown above. Even after the child outgrows the tray (there are actually two trays; a play tray and a food tray) it converts to a toddle seat with a weight limit of 75lbs. Love this chair!

2. Motorola Digital Baby Monitor with 3.5" Screen
I absolutely love this monitor. The image is very crisp, even when in night mode. The picture is so clear that we can actually see Giovanni breathing!

3. Snuza Halo
After all of the loss that we experienced, I knew that I would be a nervous wreck once Giovanni came home, especially when he would be sleeping. I have read horror stories of parents going to wake their baby up in the morning only to find that their baby had passed away during the night. Now I am probably more paranoid than most, but this has really given us peace of mind. We were actually looking into the Angel monitor that many people have, but I did some research and found that things like a breeze from an open window or a fan was enough to keep sensing as though the baby is breathing. This is not the case with this monitor as it clips right onto their diaper. It has gone off twice during the night (which made me almost s**t myself) but I am thankful he had it on. One time that it went off he was actually choking on vomit!

4. Rainforest Jumperoo
Giovanni started using this right around 10 weeks and it has quickly become one of his most favorite toys. This thing can honestly keep him entertained for a long time. It is great for when I need to make dinner or wash bottles.

5. Storagepalooza
This is a must have once your baby gets to the age where they are playing with multiple toys throughout the day. It is great for sorting out toys/books/stuffed animals, and it also makes picking up a cinch as you can just throw toys into their designated bin...and you feel somewhat organized doing so. This piece is from Land of Nod.

6. American Baby Company 100% Organic Cotton Pack N Play Sheet
This may seem like a trivial item but if you have ever tried to get a snug fit using a sheet for the pack n play, you know how rewarding it is when you find one that actually fits. All I can say is that the sheets that are made by Graco for the pack n play suck! So do all the other ones that they sell in stores such as Buy Buy Baby and BRU. All of those sheets fit very loosely and last time I checked babies were not supposed to sleep with loose bedding (note the sarcasm). These sheets are great. They wash well and you get a nice tight fit.

7. Cloud b On the Go Sleep Sheep
We love this thing so much we actually have two of them; one for the house and one for the car. This fuzzy creature is a little sound machine that plays 4 soothing sounds; rain, gentle stream, whale sounds, and ocean waves. It is approximately 8 inches tall and has a convenient Velcro strap on the back so it can securely fasten to a crib or even a car seat. It has a volume control knob and two timer options. We use this CONSTANTLY. Giovanni uses the ocean wave noise every night to go to sleep.

8. Babies R Us Deluxe Diaper Pail
Until purchasing this product on a whim, I always thought diaper pails were stupid. They were a pain in the butt to use, stunk, and required expensive refills. And then I found this. First of all, this thing is cheap ($25) and can use standard 13 gallon garbage bags. It is extremely sturdy and easy to use. You simply flip the handle up, throw the diaper into the hole, and flip the handle back down...and when you open it, this little bowl-like contraption appears which blocks the odors from the contents inside.Obviously when you open it to change the bag it does stink a little, but poop stinks...period.

9. Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit
Best. Invention. Ever. Giovanni has had a pretty prominent startle reflex since birth. Because of this we had to swaddle him from day one. Once he was able to roll over we had to stop swaddling as he would either break out of it or get stuck after rolling on his belly. We tried leaving him unswaddled but every time his arms would fall off of his chest, he would wake up. He had always been a great sleeper (6-8 hours at a time) but the very first night we put him in this he slept for 12 hours straight. He still averages 10-12 hours every night now.

10. Chicco Lil Piano Splash Walker
I very reluctantly purchased this for Giovanni after seeing how much he enjoyed his jumper. Out pediatrician said that 25,000 accidents happen each year as the result of walkers, but we are not idiots. We would NEVER leave Giovanni unattended in this, and there aren't any stairs that he can access. What I like about this is that the height is adjustable which is great for shorter babies like mine, it folds flat for storage, and there are many activities with lights and sounds on the activity tray. I also like that this unit is a bit wider which reduces the likelihood of pinched finger.