Thursday, December 31, 2009

its always something

Christmas was wonderful. Lots of presents and good cheer and an actual 24 hour period without a fight between my two oldest girls. Who could ask for more?

The day after Christmas, we hit the road for Pittsburgh to visit Pat's side of the family for Christmas #2. An annual tradition while we are up there, is a family reunion of sorts, that Pat's cousin Dee started years ago. Usually she hosts any where from 25-30 family members at her home about 30 minutes outside of Pittsburgh (these are the same folks we went to the Outer Banks with this past summer). This year, her brother Dennis hosted the party since Dee's home is under some minor renovation.

We were really looking forward to this visit for a few reasons, 1- we have never been to Dennis' house and were anxious to see it. and 2- Dennis lives in the town where Pat went to college, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) in Indiana, PA. Sarah was so excited to see where Pat went to school. Unfortunately, the college was all shut for the winter break but we were able to drive around and check everything out. Pat and his brother Brian, reminisced and tried to recall where certain buildings from their past were. We heard lots of stories, it was fun.

The Steeler game was on, and ALL the cousins (there were a total of 14 1st and 2nd cousins ages 20 months to 2o years) were having a ball running around. Sarah, of course, was in the middle of the fray. The 4th quarter of the Steeler/Ravens game was on and it was a close game (I think it was tied up at this point). All of a sudden, Sarah comes bounding down the stairs and jumps off from about the 4th step up (she'd done this a few times already despite my telling her not to). she let out a yelp and hit the floor with a tremendous force, right on her tailbone. She shot back up off the floor, yelped again and flopped down on to her right side and rolls on her back. She immediately called for help saying she couldn't breathe. All of us in the room knew what it felt like to have the wind knocked out of you so there was no sense of urgency, we just needed to get her to calm down and breathe. Pat got to her before I did, and tried to get her to relax and take small breaths. It seemed to be taking a lot longer than it should for her to catch her breath. I got up to take a look and her face was bright red, except for around her mouth. She had a panicked look about her and I began to worry. My sister in law Shannon, a nurse, came over and did a quick once over. Sarah could move her legs but was complaining about her back and not being able to breathe. She could squeeze our hand and bend her left elbow, but could not move it from the shoulder. When Shannon moved aside the collar of Sarah's shirt, it was immediately evident what the problem was. There was definite bruising and swelling near her left clavicle. Without saying a word, Pat and I looked at each other and knew we were headed to the ER. He scooped her up and carried her to the car and we drove the short 3-4 miles to the Indiana Regional Medical Center.

We were seen fairly quickly and Sarah was pleased that her father chose to sit with her and wait, rather than go watch the end of the Steeler's game on the TV in the waiting room. We were brought back to our room and were soon surprised by my brother-in-law, Brian and his middle child, Colin. Sarah and Colin are like brother and sister, in that they can fight like cats and dogs, but get along really well too. Evidently, Colin was so worried about his cousin, that he asked Brian to take him to see her. They helped us pass the time while we waited for the results of the x-rays. They giggled with us as Sarah's pain medication kicked in and she was laughing at every silly thing Colin did.

We received the diagnosis of a broken clavicle and possible fractured scapula, given a sling and brace, 6 doses of happy juice and sent on our way. We arrived back at the party just 2.5 hours after we had left. Not too bad! Unfortunately, while we were gone, all the yummy food had been packed up and put away. Pat helped himself to a few Black and Tans, and I had a couple of cups of coffee & we headed back to Pittsburgh with a miserable little girl.

Sarah after the trip to the ER:

After a difficult night of sleep, Sarah was still feeling miserable. Once the happy juice (Lortab/Vicodin) kicked in, she was much better. I had to run out and fill her prescription as well as find some button down shirts that she could kind-of wear, despite the injury. I headed to CVS first, since their parent company runs my prescription plan. I gave them all the important info and just before I turned to leave, I asked "you do have the medication in stock right?" She hesitated and then decided to ask. Thank goodness I asked, because "NO, They were out of it" and "do you want us to check at another pharmacy for you". YES! The girl had to call to 2 other pharmacies before she found it in the right strength! Did I mention that it was snowing out? AND I'm in an unfamiliar area and have no idea where I'm going?

As I'm fuming about the whole prescription issue, I'm texting the situation to Pat as I'm walking out of the store. Stupid-ass me forgets that it is snowing and 22 degrees outside and I totally fall on my ass the minute I step out of the store. To make matters worse, I drop my phone and some young (college-aged) couple behind me say, "Ma'am are you ok?" I brush myself off and mutter something dumb about looking where I'm going, and try to look as if I didn't just bust my ass in the CVS parking lot. My ass hurts, but my ego hurts worse...Did he just call me "ma'am"? Am I really a "ma'am" now?!?!

Well, both Sarah and I survived our traumatic experiences. Thanks to some wonderful friends with connections at an Orthopaedic office, we got in to see the specialist yesterday and there really is no treatment, other than the sling and time. She should heal fast and be back to new within 6 weeks. We'll get new x-rays in 4 weeks, but for now, we just continue to do what we are doing. She is not pleased to be missing swimming and basketball, but there isn't a whole lot we can do about that.

I guess I was too quick to say we had a wonderful Christmas. But hey, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday update

This holiday season seemed to really sneak up on me. It seems that Christmas comes faster and faster every year. My shopping was not finished until Christmas Eve and my Christmas cards were finally mailed on the 23rd, but we did manage to finish things up just in the nick of time. Unfortunately, what really derailed me this year was the surprise snow storm last weekend.

I guess I can't really call it a surprise when all the news forecasts clearly called for snow. However, I had no clue it was coming until the day before it was scheduled. Snow is not out of the ordinary in the metro DC area, but a raging blizzard in December is. What started out as a forecast of probably 5-8 inches, became 8-12 and then 12-15 and then 18+. When all was said and done, it was 23 inches in my neck of the woods.

The kids loved it, but I knew it meant days and days of clean up. We shoveled twice during the day on Saturday, while it was snowing. I first went out around 10 am and there were probably 10 inches on the ground. By the time I finished, there were another 1.5-2 inches down again.

The girls had a great time, but the snow on Saturday led to schools being closed for Monday, then Tuesday, and then finally Wednesday. Great! I'm always up for a snow day. But, we now have used up 3 of our 4 allotted days off AND I was stuck with my kids for 5 whole days!!! I love em, but their fighting was driving me crazy!

Those days with the kids prevented me from finishing shopping, and wrapping gifts. I did manage to get some baking done...the last thing my waistline needed!

All the preparation that did, or didn't, get done no longer matters. The day is done and the kids were thrilled. Emma didn't know what to make of it all, but enjoyed playing with the toys that "Dinty Claus" brought. Sarah claimed that Band Hero and her Zhu Zhu pet were her favorite gifts. Megan loves her Pillow Pal, Zhu Zhu pet, and her Crayon Maker. I was thrilled to get a lovely cashmere scarf and some handmade gifts from the girls.

The BEST present of all...not a single fight all day long!

Monday, December 14, 2009


Did you know that warts come from a virus? Did you know that little kids can get them? Did you know they were painful?

I had absolutely no clue about any of that. Once again, parenting fail!

Sarah, my oldest, has had a boo boo on her pinkie toe for quite sometime. At the beginning, it looked as if she had scraped it right on the tip-as if she had stubbed it on cement. She often runs around outside without shoes on or is just wearing flip flops and the weather was still warm when we noticed it, so I thought nothing of it. It never seemed to heal and I just figured she was re-injuring it.

Well, on Thanksgiving, she tells me she has a black spot on her other foot. Off comes the shoes and socks and between my parent, my husband and I we deduce that both are warts. Nasty, disgusting, contagious warts. The toe wart has worsened and actually looks like a few warts clustered together and that they are under the toenail. Gross.

I had no idea that all warts are contagious. This girl has been showering in MY shower for years! Ewwww. Being that she is 8, we figured a round of compound W might not be the best solution and I made a call to the pediatrician. Pat adjusted his schedule to take her the next Friday for the appointment. The doctor barely even saw her before she declared that it was a job for a podiatrist. Don't get me started on the wasted appointment- they could have told me that on the phone when I made the appointment and I could have saved us a trip! Thankfully, the office didn't charge us a co-pay.

This past Friday, Pat to Sarah to his podiatrist. (They had a dual appointment so that he could get an ingrown toenail dealt with at the same time.) Well, the doctor whipped out some razor-like tool and got down to scraping away at the warts. Poor Sarah had no anesthesia, but evidently the doctor was pretty skilled and didn't cause her much discomfort. She came home with some distinct holes in her pinkie toe. The instructions were to get a freeze-away wart kit and NOT to use Compound-W. She is also supposed to wear shower shoes at the indoor pool. Gross.

Last night we broke out the wart remover kit. We are pretty sure that the first wart we tried to "freeze" didn't take. When we did the second wart and it turned the skin white and caused Sarah some discomfort (pain) we realized the first, that just tickled, probably didn't work. Tonight we are supposed to add the liquid remover. I'm not sure what we do if none of this works.

Things Pat learned about warts:

Each little tiny black dot is a wart. The roots of the wart are attached to the dot and are trying to get into the blood stream. When they do, the warts can pop up anywhere. Gross. All warts are viral and are contagious, but not everyone is susceptible to them (since I have never had one, I consider myself immune-same goes for poison ivy too).

Warts are gross (but we aren't supposed to say that to Sarah).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The end

[Disclaimer: I am truly a breastfeeding advocate, but do realize that it is not ideal for everyone. I pass no judgement on those who chose not to, or could not breastfeed. This is just my experience. One for which I am grateful for choosing.]

I've been formulating this post in my mind for months. It has been almost two full weeks since Emma nursed. Seeing that she is 19 months old, many would consider it well past due. There is a large part of me that weeps inside knowing that I will never get the opportunity to enjoy that wonderful bonding experience again. A few weeks ago, I read a wonderful post about another mother's experience with breastfeeding. Anymommy is most definitely a gifted writer and I am sure that my post will pale in comparison.

When I began the journey of breastfeeding almost 9 years ago with my first child, I had hoped that I would be able to nurse her for a while, but was so unsure of what that really would mean. I had no preconceived ideas of how long was the right amount and what I would do if I needed to formula feed. I just fed her and it worked. She had no difficulty latching on and even with a slight bout of jaundice, we were able to nurse with little fanfare. As she was born in February, it was so nice to just snuggle in and get cozy in bed or on the couch and spend uninterrupted time providing for my baby the way nature intended.

When I returned to work, I pumped. I felt like a cow and struggled mightily with supply problems. I took pills and drank teas and tried all I could do. It got to the point where I had no "freezer stash" and was living day to day hoping that nothing would happen. I can't tell you how painful it was to discover that I had forgotten to put my milk in the fridge one day and found it the next morning still in the cooler compartment of the breast pump. I'm sure I violated some tenet of breastfeeding when I poured that precious liquid gold right into a bottle and NOT down the drain. It smelled and tasted fine to me, so I just banked on the magical properties of breast milk to keep it safe. Thankfully, Sarah came out of that just fine and we were able to make it 12 months of nursing and pumping. She finally weaned herself around 15 months and I was fine with it. Part of me missed it as we snuggled at bedtime, but I also enjoyed having my body back.

When Sarah's younger sister Megan was born, we (my ta-ta's and I) were able to fall right back into the rhythm they learned a few years earlier. The time spent actually nursing her was wonderful, the time spent hooked up to a breast pump-not so much! The same supply issues I had with Sarah were still there. Megan always seemed to enjoy the nursing more than her sister and that was painfully evident in the almost 20 months we spent joined at the mouth/breast. I had to force Megan to wean and it was not a pretty sight. But, again part of me was a little sad to be done with it.

When Emma was born, my job situation had changed some and I knew I wasn't going to be able to nurse her in the morning when she woke. Which meant she was going to drink one more bottle a day than the other girls had, and knowing how my supply was with the other girls, I had a sinking suspicion that I would have some real problems keeping up. Emma was definitely a bigger eater than her sister, it didn't hurt she was born 1.5 lbs heavier. Nursing was not an issue, but of course, supply while pumping was. I posted last fall about my meltdown and my realization that Emma was going to be my first child to have formula. At the time, I felt like a failure. Thank God for friends and family who kept me from losing my mind and helped me to realize it was far more healthier for my child to have me sane, than to insist upon breast milk only.

Emma and I both made it to 12 months and lived to tell about it. When one of her first words was "nurse", I knew I had another addict on my hands. (It was adorable when she would walk up to me at bedtime saying "Nurse? Nurse? Peas, peas, nurse?") I knew it was time, but I couldn't bring myself to wean her. Over the past few months I had gotten her nursing down to just at bedtime and then the last few weeks, I've been slowly using other means of getting her to sleep. I would nurse her for a little and then take her up to her room to read Goodnight Moon and then down she would go. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I decided this would be a good time to try to wean. Her bedtime routine that night consisted of just the book and nothing else and no complaints. Thanksgiving night, the same. And now we are going on almost two full weeks. Now that doesn't mean she still doesn't ask, but after I tell her a few times that its "all gone" she seems to give up. That also doesn't mean that I don't miss it.

I miss the feel of a baby nestled in my arms and rooting for a familiar smell. I miss the tell-tale feel of the good latch of a hungry baby. I miss the sight of a sleeping baby drunk on mother's milk. I miss the warmth and bonding of skin on skin contact. I miss the sweet sweet smell of baby breath. I miss the joy of knowing that I was the sole source of food for my child. I miss the feeling of total contentment and an indescribable emotion when I would look into the eyes of my nursing child; a feeling only another nursing mother can fully understand.