Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Joys of Parenting No. 1

Two weeks ago we traveled to Ohio for Spring Break and for my annual girls weekend. The husband, daughter, and dog got some quality time with the in-laws/grandparents. It is never long enough and always jam packed with activities and comings and going but always enjoyable.

Girls weekend took place two hours away from my parents and began on Friday afternoon. Early evening on Saturday I get a call from my husband. "When is the last time Sophie pooped?" Hmmm. Let me set down my glass of wine and think about this. I think back and respond "I haven't changed a dirty diaper since we got to town, have you? You were home with her Monday and Tuesday, did you change a dirty diaper then?" We both came to the conclusion that she had indeed not soiled a diaper in many days.

I was both relieved and concerned. Relived that her uber crankiness for a lot of the visit was not because she was homesick, didn't like her aunts and grandparents, or because she didn't like all the space at my parent's home. Concerned that she was uber cranky, uncomfortable and constipated.

She did this when she was nursing-not poop for days-and it freaked me out. It was unnatural. But my doctor reassured me that some kids just process the breastmilk so efficiently that there is nothing to eliminate. This was not the case now. Feeling helpless I spoke with Sophie's doctor and relayed the message to my husband. He went to get some medication from CVS and spend a lot of the night holding and snuggling a cranky baby and meanwhile not getting much sleep.

The drive home was not easy. Sophie was still stopped up and sitting for 7 hours in a car seat was not fun. Once we arrived home we made a pit stop at the CVS. We had to take action into our own hands-liquid suppositories. Ewww, yuck.

"Have child lay on left side with knees pulled gently to chest."....there was nothing gentle about this throw down. I had to go for the "let's get this done and over approach."

Less than 5 minutes later, relief.

We have added even more whole grains and greens to her diet. I never want to do that again.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Human Condition

What is it about the human condition that makes us so vulnerable? So willing to believe or hope or feel something that is really so abstract? As you have read I have been following the story of Layla Grace the past few weeks and since I discovered her website I have been hooked. Not because I like to cry or need to know about the awful cancer she has (neuroblastoma) but something deep inside me poked at my brain and heart everyday and I had to check the Twitter feed or blog to see if there was new news. I tried to "forget" I had ever found the website but I found myself thinking about her and her family all the time. I have known several people that have had cancer and subsequently died and as awful as it was I was able to make some sense of it. I guess because all the people I know that have died because of cancer have been adults.

As I sat at my desk working on Wednesday and I checked Twitter late in the afternoon there was finally an update from Layla Grace. It said she had "gone to play with the angels early that morning." My heart sank and rejoyced at the same time. I was suddenly very distracted from my work-deeply sad that this little girl had not overcome her demons and she left behind her two sisters and parents and a world full of supporters. Glad that she was no longer in pain and her parents didn't have to see her in pain any more.

Her life will be celebrated this Saturday. I know a lot of her followers will go by the wayside and the family will be left to deal with their grief in private. I think I will always think back on Layla Grace. Her story has moved me so much. I hug Sophie a little tighter, let her play a little longer and try not to let the little things get in the way. I made a gift to St. Jude today as part of the WMZQ/Country Cares St. Jude Radiothon and a gift to LaylaGrace.org. Hopefully one day I won't get wound up in such a sad story because there won't be a sad story to tell.

Have fun playing with the angels Layla Grace.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Praying for Layla Grace

About two weeks ago I was on The Bump and came across a post. What intrigued me wasn't the subject necessarily but that fact that 200+ people had read the post. I can't even recall what the subject was but once I too read the post, the cryptic "have you heard from Shanna" or "I can't believe it" replies I had to dig deeper to figure out what they were talking about. I eventually found the original thread and link to Layla Grace. Ever since then I can't turn away, can't read enough, and can't say enough prayers.

I don't know Layla Grace and her family. I will never know them personally but I have been praying for this little girl and her family everyday since I found her website. Layla Grace is nearly 2 (she must be an April baby b/c somewhere recently I read she was 22 mos. old-same as my Sophie) and she has stage 4 Neuroblastoma. An incredibly common form of childhood cancer and one that will most likely take Layla from this Earth.

What I find most compelling about her story is how Social Media has allowed her parents to share her story with the world. They don't share this extremely difficult situation for pity or empathy but to educate other parents about the warning signs and early detection. They started their Twitter feed as an easy way to communicate about Layla's progress because always having to actually talk about it was so difficult. Layla's mom, Shanna, was recently on Ryan Seacrest's afternoon radio program and her dad, Ryan, spoke on a local Houston radio station this week. A boutique store by the same name but spelled differently, Layla Grayce, is donating $1 to Layla Grace for every new Facebook fan they get today. By the way, this morning they had 5,000+ fans, when I became a fan around 12:30 p.m. they had over 8,000! This is the power of social media.

Shanna recently wrote in a post:
"I take comfort in a few things. First, I know there are angels watching over her. I know they are sitting right beside her; that she is never alone. Her angels will usher her into heaven. Second, I know her death will not be in vain. She has done what God sent her here to do. She has gone above and beyond. I receive hundreds and hundreds of emails every day from people telling me their faith is stronger because of her. She has managed to do more Godly works in her short 2 years on earth than most people do in 80."
Because Layla's story has been all over the intenet and other news outlets literally People all over the world are praying for this sweet girl and her family.

I feel so selfish when I post things about Sophie not sleeping or throwing a fit over Elmo when this family wishes their daughter wouldn't sleep most of the day, wants to be awake watching Elmo and playing with her sisters, getting in her parents way as they clean the house. I'm not perfect-far from it-and I do get frustrated at the smallest inconveniences-but I have reflected a lot on Layla's story and I am trying to remember not to sweat the small stuff and enjoy everyday because you never know what tomorrow may bring.

Shhh She's sleeping

Due to the rotation of the Earth and Daylight Saving Time not yet upon us the sun woke me up naturally at 7 am this morning. I love 7 am. It is the most perfect hour in which to wake-not too early, not too late. Too bad it will be all wonky next weekend. But while Sophie sleeps a little more I'm going to indulge in the quiet, the internet and my coffee.
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Sleep Update: She is still having fits when we put her down at night. I've done a lot of what everyone has suggested: lavender room spray, staying out of our room as much as possible, a little more reading and cuddling right before putting her down, you name it-I've tried it. The fits are getting shorter but they break my heart nonetheless. She also wakes at least once a night but I have just let her cry it out and go back to sleep. We did compromise on a "big girl bed" in which we put a pillow in the bed with her. She seems to like that a lot. I'm not ready for the full transition-I don't want her to be staring at me at the foot of my bed at 2am just yet!
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I would walk 10,000 miles. Since the weather is finally moving from blizzard conditions to bearable we took a walk yesterday afternoon. I had dinner in the oven andwaiting on Comcast to check out our intermittent at a best signal so we could only walk to the end of the street. This was the first "real" walk Sophie has ever been on (sans stroller.) It is about 1/4 mile in distance. We got to the end of the street and turned around to come back and Sophie had a melt down. She wanted to keep walking but definitely not back towards home. She kept pointing across the street for more. I eventually had to just pick her up kicking and screaming and carry her back. All I could do was laugh. I pictured the opposite happening the whole time...not wanting to go on the walk at all. When we returned home we let Phillip go check on dinner and Sophie and I meandered up a different street. When the turn around came she had a temper tantrum again. I guess the endurance is good...maybe our next walk will be enough to make her go right to sleep!
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Time out. After the walk and before dinner she was in a foul mood. She was begging for Elmo.We sometimes watch all Sesame Street has to offer on YouTube and yesterday she wasn't content with my selections and then I had to get dinner on the table. So when we turned the computer off she was NOT a happy camper. Phillip decided it was time for a time out. (Mommy had time out too, Cab/Shiraz by Jacob's Creek.) And you know what-it worked. She sat in her chair in the corner of the kitchen and didn't move. She cried, she settled down, we all felt better.
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I want another kid after all this?
Phillip and I have been talking about when we will have another bun in the oven. After dealing with Sophie's melt downs over Elmo or learning not to throw and her bed time fits I sometimes find myself questioning why? Why do this all over again? Can I handle a toddler and an infant both crying, both needing completely different things? On top of being exhausted during and after pregnancy? Then I think of my parents who did this FIVE times! And I realize why they both like to drink wine and cocktails! Or my brother and sister-in-law who have three kids and have worked through some very difficult times or hell people who have had twins! So, tell me...how do you get through the hard spots to be delirious enough to go for two?