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Monday, August 31, 2015

Post of Shame

Similar to the walk of shame - this post is an embarrassing realization of my mistake; failing to post on a regular basis. My blog community will see my return "home" and be insulted by my inappropriate blogging tendencies. I am ashamed as I return but it must be done!  Let's be honest here folks, time is of the essence. I'm extremely lacking in the time department. However, I want to take a few short minutes each day and remember the adorable things my toddler says. Or the silly things my baby (yes she is still a baby at 14 months) does! So I here I sit on the latrine putting my new goal into effect. 

This morning as I lay Gwen down for her morning nap - I gave her a kiss and started to leave the room as usual. Nora stopped me and said "Mom, we need to sing to Sissy!" We always sing I am a Child of God at bedtime and Nora always likes to help but we don't usually sing for naps. She then sang I am a Child of God perfectly by herself. I just stared because I didn't know she had picked up so many of the words. She usually stumbles along side me as I sing. But today she knew every word (toddler versions of the words of course). It made my heart smile. And I may have had some sweat leaking from my eyeballs. It's such a joy to be a mother. To watch your child develop and grow and become people. It's humbling. 

I love my girls more than words can say, cliché  right? But it's so true. Every day brings new joys. I'm really addicted to this motherhood thing. My life would be a big nothing without my family. 

"Family, isn't it about .... Time?" 😉

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chapter 2

Things have been well for us.  We are so blessed that Gwen is happy and seemingly healthy.  While she still hasn't gained an ounce, she is active and bubbly.

Gwen went in for an Upper GI a few weeks ago.  It broke my heart to see someone so small wear a hospital gown and my heart breaks for all of the Mommas out there who see their little ones living in hospital gowns.

 Still sporting her bow of course

They were looking for possibly an obstruction anywhere along her gastrointestinal tract that may be the reason for her GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) or possibly a blockage.  They didn't find anything of that nature but they did find that she has significantly slowed emptying from her stomach to her intestines.  Although this test isn't designed to diagnose this - the doctors seemed concerned about it.

When we returned to the specialists office to discuss the results, we got bad news.  The drugs previously used in cases of slowed emptying have been taken off the market due to negative side effects.  The new course of action would be a prolonged course of azithromycin.  However, it is not safe for patients who have a family medical history of heart arrhythmia.  Unfortunately for Gwen, that is very prevalent in her family history.  Stefan was diagnosed with Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome, a type of SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia).  And her grandpa also suffers from heart arrhythmia.  So, the specialist suggested we rule out heart arrhythmia in Gwen and then maybe she could be deemed a candidate for the azithromycin.

Now, even though the upper GI turned back some results.  They still are not the reason she is "failing to thrive".

We took Gwen back to her pediatrician on Friday for a weigh-in.  They put Gwen on the scale and my heart sunk when I saw that in 4 weeks not only had she not gained an ounce but she had in fact lost weight.  Despite eating more than any other 8 month old on the planet - she had lost 200 grams.  Half a pound.  It may not seem like much but on an emaciated infant - it is significant.

After that, the tests began.  Gwen's pediatrician ordered several blood tests, an EKG and urine samples. Since Gwen only weighs 5 kg they can only take 5 cc's of blood every couple of days.  Gwen also has very tiny superficial veins which are very hard to draw blood from.  They had to poke her twice the first day and they fished around in her arm for what seemed like hours and they were only able to get 4 cc's.  She was exhausted and very upset.  I was having a hard time watching them hold her down and listening to her scream.  Though I'm trying to remind myself to be strong for Gwen.

 Being a good sport

It'll be a long couple weeks trying to get all this blood drawn for tests, but we are anxious to start ruling out serious conditions and hopefully find the reason our sweet baby is staying so tiny.  I can't help but worry about her. I don't know how to stop scary thoughts from entering my mind but deep down I know that it's all in the Lord's hands and he will take care of all of us.  Right now I am just snuggling her extra tight and even breaking the rules and rocking her to sleep sometimes.  We're praying that whatever they find can be easily treated/managed and if not we pray for the strength to handle any diagnosis we may receive.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Update on Gwen

I should be punished for my lack of blogging.  And that's all I have to say about that.

Gwen Avery Ericksen.  The world's most chipper, lively, little nugget.  I love this baby to the moon and back.  She has further defined the word "Mother" to me.  We have a special bond and I thank my Father in Heaven everyday for sending her to me.  Between her and my amazing, tom-boy toddler - I couldn't be more blessed.

Gwen had a rough beginning to her life.  She suffered from gas and acid reflux.  My hearts broke to see her in pain and sit by feeling helpless.  They prescribed her Zantac which seemed to help about as much as a prescription for chapstick would have helped the situation.  My poor baby was always uncomfortable and/or in pain.  She would wake up from a deep sleep screaming and covered in puke.  She never seemed content during the day.  It was a hard road.  And in all honesty, I wasn't sad for myself.  I never thought "I wish she was an easier baby" for me.  I always felt for her sake.  I wanted her to be happy for herself.  It's a terrible feeling to watch an infant in distress and not be able to do anything for her. What kind of a mother did that make me?  This question plagued me frequently.  But I always felt love and compassion toward Gwen.  I never resented her.  I only wished health and happiness upon her.

Thankfully Gwen was a good sleeper and always has been.  The persistence of sleep training has always paid off for me and I am so grateful to have 2 beautiful babes who sleep 12 hours through the night and have since they were 12 weeks old.

Gwen was born very small.  At 5 lbs. 12 oz. she looked like a toy doll.  Preemie clothes were all that fit her.  I loved having a tiny baby.  She was so beautiful and perfect.  I couldn't have loved her anymore.  Soon, babies that were Gwen's same age started growing.  At first I thought it was cute how she weighed less at 3 months than most full term babies weighed.  I thought nothing more of it.  She was born small - thus she'd be a little behind in gaining weight.  Soon, however, it seemed odd.  At 5 months, Gwen was still wearing newborn diapers and newborn clothes comfortably.  Strangers constantly commented on her size and I grew self conscious.  We made an appointment to see Gwen's new doctor after moving to Florida.  Her doctor was abrupt.  Although I appreciate her aggressive nature as a doctor, I felt embarrassed as a mother.  How could I not have seen the issue at an earlier age?  Why hadn't I expressed concern about her size previously?  More importantly; what had I done wrong?  Thoughts raced through my head and almost demoralized me.  Being a mother is my greatest calling in life.  To feel as though I had done it all wrong shamed me.  I felt like everyone was staring at me and quietly thinking I was a bad Mom.

After some suggestions, referrals, and follow-up appointments, Gwen's doctor diagnosed her with Failure to Thrive noting that she was malnourished.  I know there are worst things to hear as a parent.  But to me, this was heart breaking.  It was an F on my Motherhood report card.  Someone was insinuating that I had starved my child.  That I didn't offer her the right care that a responsible mother should.

Gwen is still being tested to see "why" she has a failure to thrive.  And I have tried to accept that it's not my fault.  But those negative thoughts still seem to be part of my though processes.  At this point I just snuggle my little baby even more and pray that she is alright inside and out.  She's perfect to me.  But I hope that her health and size can soon be "perfected" as it pertains to medical standards.  She brings so much joy to my life and to our family.  We couldn't imagine a better piece to our family puzzle.  Gwen puts a smile on every persons face.  I can't express how perfectly she completes me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Well That's a First

Tonight I feel like I deserve the worst mother award! Gwen is on Zantac for her reflux. Today I left the bottle on our remote control tray on the couch. Tonight  Nora was watching a movie and I was making dinner when she brought me the bottle and said "all gone". I immediately panicked! Had she drank it all or spilled it somewhere?? I examined the spot where she had been sitting and found no wet spots. However her favorite blanket surely had some of the medicine on it and so did her pants. I tried smelling her breath and didn't seem to smell the medicine but how official could my smell test really be? So I had to do something I've never had to do before and never want to do again. I had to call poison control and explain the situation. Although I am very grateful for the help on the line and how effective the call was I feel TERRIBLE! She had to get all my personal information. I'm sure it has to be reported unless it need be a case for CPS. I almost started crying when she was asking for my address and such. What kind of mom leaves a bottle of prescription medicine out where a toddler could easily get to it!? Although the situation wasn't serious it certainly could have been had it been something more dangerous. My poor baby Nora! This was such a reminder of just how careful I need to be as a toddler'a mother! I hope I never have to contact poison control again! .... Please lie to me and tell me you other moms have had similar situations. Thanks in advance. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nutella and Poop

This doesn't need much elaboration. Turns out the kid loves Nutella. 

She's not evil .. She's saying "Cheese!"

I had my little heart broken today. Stefan was performing a "routine diaper change" post nap. It turned out to be a lot more than he bargained for. It was the award-winning "weekly-stink" (the stinkiest diaper of the week). He kept gagging and coughing and talking about how bad and how messy it was. All of the sudden Nora broke into tears. And of course, I, like an emotional baby, started crying too. It must have really embarrassed her and I just couldn't stop thinking about how sad that situation was. Her parents, the people that she depends on for love and encouragement just reduced her to tears over a stinky diaper. My heart seriously hurt for her. I immediately did all I could to try and help her feel beautiful and happy. And I made a vow to not say anything that would make her feel inferior or embarrassed. Even at a young age children are sensitive to the things we say and the things they hear about themselves. I need to be better about making sure that the ONLY things she hears about herself are positive. The world is going to be hard enough on her as it is (stupid world). She needs to know that she is absolutely loved and appreciated at home and that she is an amazing daughter of god! .. Even if she has stinky diapers (;

Toddler Files

We've introduced a new form of punishment in our house ... This kid though .. She just giggled and babbled to me the whole time all the while using adult hand gestures as if we were having an actual conversation. She cracks me up. And even though she was in time out - I couldn't help but smile at how big she is getting and how darn sweet she is. 

Had to post this. Only because it rarely happens anymore. And sleeping toddlers are just the sweetest thing ever. 

I love my little big girl. She makes me smile more than I knew was possible. ... But what I love more is BOTH my girls together

That'll melt your heart right there. I'm so glad that Nora loves her "sissy" Gwen. Thank goodness we can keep her (;

Monday, July 28, 2014

Pioneer Day Celebrations

We had a lot of fun this weekend! And lucky for us, Pioneer Day lasted all weekend! Our first trip was to Spanish Fork for their Fiesta Days carnival and craft fair. I absolutely love carnivals and fairs. Nothing says summer to me more than funnel cakes and carnies! It is so fun to share holidays with Nora now that she is getting older and she'll start to have memories of these fun experiences. I loved carnivals growing up and my dad always made sure we had plenty of tickets to enjoy all the rides. He was great in that way. We got to take Nora on the few rides she was tall enough for!

On Friday we went on a family date to the Movies! We saw How to Train Your Dragon 2! I'm not much into kid's movies but watching Nora enjoy a movie at the theaters like a big kid is so fun. I can't put a price on these experiences. She's growing up so fast and although it's sad to see my baby grow up, it is so fun to watch her learn and experience and enjoy. She does pretty well in the theater ... Until her daddy eats all her popcorn and then she gets a little antsy (;

On Saturday we played with the Sage family down in Mona. We are glad they like us so much because they host one mean BBQ! Nora has so much fun with their teenagers .. Haha! They had a celebration in the park and then we did BBQing and fireworks in the evening. Nora also enjoyed running through the sprinklers and tormenting the alpacas haha. She also learned the hard way that the hot end of the sparkler WILL burn you. :( I absolutely hate seeing her get hurt. Obviously injury is inevitable but I so wish that I could keep her safe from all harm and pain. I could lose my mind worrying about all the things that might hurt her. I think that's one of the hardest things as a parent, knowing you can not keep your kids 100% safe. Even the little bumps and scratches make me sad. But I know it's all a part of this earthly experience and I can only do my best and have faith that everything else is in the Lord's hands!