Monday, April 4, 2011

A Reflux Tale

Josie had horrible reflux. It was our first big parenting lesson when she was about a month old. Trust your instincts - when something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. We didn't know much as new parents, but we really felt like our little girl was in pain.  After a couple of weeks of watching her writhe in agony after she ate and after cleaning up lots and lots of projectile baby-spew (sorry), we finally got a diagnosis of acid reflux from our doctor and started her on zantac.  A year later, when we found out that Josie had a peanut allergy, we deduced that all that vomiting and agony was an allergic reaction to the peanut proteins Josie was getting through my breastmilk. (Peanut butter and trail mix were almost daily staples.) 
We hoped and hoped that Bea wouldn't have to go through the same thing.  But... pretty quickly after we got home from the hospital little Bea started to show the telltale signs of reflux. At first we weren't sure if it was just a leftover problem from all the suctioning and stomach-pumping after her birth. But, it wasn't long until there was no denying it. This time, we intervened right away.  By Day 11, Beatrice was on zantac.  It definitely helped, but (like Josie) didn't eliminate the problem all together.  We did loads of research and talked to lots of people and (this just in) we think the problem with Bea is dairy!  Three days without dairy and her symptoms are almost completely gone! Note this doesn't mean Bea will have a milk allergy. Most infants have trouble tolerating cow's milk. In fact, it was the first thing we tried with Josie as well. I cut back then eliminated dairy for several weeks but it made no difference for her - likely because I kept pounding peanuts.
Sooo... to wrap this whole reflux tale up... no more dairy for Carri!  That's the bad news.
The good news is that 1) Bea is in less pain and much happier, 2) We figured out the reflux much sooner this time - before she grew to hate sleeping as much as her big sister did, 3) Having gone through all of this before, we know all the tricks and they come naturally. 
Speaking of all the tricks - don't put Bea on her back.  She hates it. If you ever get a chance to hold this little darling, she likes to stay vertical and get the super-fun over-the-shoulder view of the world.  It makes for some great cuddling!

So, let it be known - we have learned a few things in the 3 1/2 years as Josie's parents.  And that feels really good! :)

First bath

(Another "catch-up" post...)
 Giving Miss Bea her first bath was unbelievably different from Josie's.  Lou and I had no freaking clue what we were doing with Josie and I think she almost froze to death. With Bea, it was much less scary and we had Josie's help to wash and entertain her.  No doubt this was just the first of many "sister baths". Josie really wanted Bea right in the big bath tub with her but she settled for having her bath first and then quick following up with bathing Bea.
first bath, one week old

First zoo trip as four

(The catch-up posts continue...)
The weather was beautiful the second weekend that we had Beatrice home and I couldn't wait to get out and enjoy our new family of four.  (You'll remember that November was the last time I could get out and get anything even remotely approaching exercise.)  So, the zoo sounded like a great idea. Truth told, it was waaaaay too ambitious.  Bea was well over her carseat after spending the whole morning in there (Josie had ballet and then we went to Whole Food for lunch) so she fussed about 90% of the time.  I somehow forgot how hilly the zoo is and was pretty quickly in a decent amount of pain.  Josie and Lou, however, had a lovely time! So lovely in fact that they think I'm nuts when I reflect back on the trip with anything less than absolute joy.  Here are a couple of pictures.  I took a total of six the whole time we were there - which says a lot!
"Elephants, I like Elephants"


Still Posing, (Um check out that attitude)

More interested in the playground than animals today

Proof Bea was there and Proof Josie was ready to go home

Best Big Sister

Josie's generous spirit made the transition into big sister an easy one for her. She's always loved helping others and now there are lots of ways she can be helpful.  No kidding - this was a scene I happened upon a couple of weeks ago. I had set aside the basket of Josie's dirty clothes in the laundry room and then went into our bedroom to fold and put away some other clothes. I come back to find Josie putting her clothes into the washing machine. She had gotten her own stool and had just finished loading up the machine with all of her clothes. Sweetest little girl in the world.
 Here she is with her own Moby Wrap. (Thanks Kelly!)  Bea is a regular traveler in my Moby (as was Josie in fact) and our biggest problem around here is trying to convince Josie that it really is unsafe for her to carry Bea herself. She wants to so badly, but knows she can't. So for now she's content to "practice" helping by carrying Baby Stella around. 

Here's another scene I came upon one afternoon after our friend Missy brought over a delicious dinner and these adorable sister dolls for the girls. (Each one has their name embroidered and they are so cute!) Josie carefully buckled both sisters into the swing. She loves to go visit Roly when she's in the swing, give her kisses and change her music. (Thanks to the Austins for the sweet hand-me-down swing and to Grandma & DD for getting it back into peak condition.)

Here is Josie helping out in the kitchen. Let me just give a shout-out to Montessori Education and the "practical life" lessons that have created a very talented dish washer.  (And get this, she thinks it is fun!) Here is actually washing the breast pump and bottles.

 And while helping out with all the baby-related chores is certainly appreciated, some times the best thing Josie does is just relax, step away and keep herself entertained while we take care of Bea's needs. Here she is looking rather grown-up in the TV-watching pose.  (BTW- There's a post brewing about how big she has gotten but I'm just not ready to face those emotions yet. I will say that there these little moments when I look at her and she just looks so grown-up and this one was definitely one of them.) 

All told, Little Josephine is now Big Sister Josephine and couldn't be more proud.  Four weeks later, she still proudly declares "Roly is HERE! I have a baby sister!!" whenever she meets someone new or sees someone she hasn't seen for awhile.  She randomly tells anyone who will listen how much she loves her little sister and how happy she is that she is "finally here."   And, she really has been such a big help.  (Consider this our official endorsement for spacing out your kids three years, although you all know that certainly wasn't our original plan.) Thank you Josie for being the best daughter and best big sister a family could ever want! Love you Bug!

*And I think the photos are fixed now. Thanks for the tips.*