March for Babies

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back to Work

We had a quiet and lovely Thanksgiving.  It turned out to be just us at our house.  T's mother was supposed to join us but came down with a sinus infection and didn't want to get Azure sick.  Have I mentioned how considerate people are about that?  I have had more people offer to reschedule things when they or their children are/have been sick.  I am amazed at the thought others put into our meetings and it just makes me so happy that they are thinking of her that way.  (Thanks Beth!!!)
Saturday we enjoyed a nice anniversary but waited until last night to toast our 6 years of marriage with champagne.  Things turned sour after that.
Let's just say that between T, Azure and Maggie-The-Dog, I am the only one who has not puked in my house in the past three days.  Maggie gets sick when she doesn't eat and gets too much bile built up in her stomach.  Azure is still dealing with reflux and, well, she is a baby.  They spit up!  T on the other hand has been praying to the Porcelain God every hour or so since last evening.  We are not sure whether it is food poisoning or a virus of some sort.   I am leaning towards a virus since our receptionist at work said she had the same thing on Thursday. 
I am washing my hands constantly!
I had some simple bloodwork done with my annual visit to the GYN.  My Alkaline Phosphotase came back high.  I have to be tested again.  If you just said, "What the Hell is that?" then you know my exact response when I got the call.  It is a liver function screen they do.  There is no way to study for this test and no way to make it go down.  I just have to repeat it and see if it is still high.  I am currently off all drugs except for my Thyroid supplement and haven't even been drinking alcohol since I have been trying to lose weight.  I am not sure what could be stressing my liver out but it seems like an odd time for it.  I guess we'll see what the repeat test shows.
Hoping to keep my head out of the toilet in the next few days and I might actually get a chance to post again.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I had a visit with the OB/GYN yesterday. T and I spent last evening discussing the pros and cons of attempting another pregnancy. I believe we decided we would like to have a consultation with the maternal fetal specialists at the local bigwig hospital and see what they have to say. We learned there was an infection in the placenta when Azure was born (why did I not know about this before?) and upon examination, my cervix felt short. I have an appointment with the dildocam on Sunday morning to have it measured. I didn't know one could measure the non-pregnant cervix and declare it either competent or not, but I guess that is the purpose of this fun little exercise so we shall see what the radiologist has to say in the matter. I don't know whether the knowledge of the infection will help us since my doctor said there was no way to tell if the infection started the labor or the other way round. Once upon a time there was a chicken and also an egg.
We want another baby. We would prefer sooner rather than later. We do not want another preemie. Another premature birth would effect not only ourselves, which is bad enough, but also Azure, our poor Maggie-dog who has been so starved for attention, the people we would have to rely on to watch Azure if I were placed on bedrest, hospitalized or if the baby did require a stay in the NICU. We cannot just think of ourselves, there are far too many others to take into consideration. We did not ask for a premature birth the first time round. If we chance another pregnancy we would be deliberately gambling on just such an outcome. Keep your fingers crossed all you want that it lasts longer next time around, but those crossed fingers will only get you so far.
All of this is on my mind today, Prematurity Awareness Day.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Annie, Annie, Are you Ok?*

Maggie requested I post the steps for reviving a baby who has stopped breathing. She is concerned about her one month old and SIDS. First of all, Congratulations Maggie! Secondly, I am not comfortable at all with attempting to teach these methods on this blog. The responsibility and liability involved is just too great a weight for my weary shoulders. That being said, I didn’t want to ignore the issue entirely. I thought that I could write about what we did for Azure and suggest a couple options for learning more.

Before Azure was released from the hospital we were required to watch a video on infant and child CPR and then demonstrate the techniques on a doll. We are not technically certified but we know enough to get us by in an emergency.

What we did when the alarm went off:
Check her color. Is she pale, blueish around the lips? This is an indicator that she needs oxygen. We would call her name and place a hand on her chest and gently but firmly wiggle her side to side as if to wake her from sleep. (I hesitate to use the work "shake" because of the implications of Shaken Baby Syndrome. I can very easily see someone panic and over-do-it in an attempt to stimulate a non-responsive baby. The irony in the possible tragedy is chilling.) We sometimes would turn her on her side and vigorously rub her back. Most of the time, this was enough to wake her and nothing else needed to be done. We would then spend a few moments calming down our own racing hearts. We usually gave her extra hugs and kisses at this point and told her that we don’t require much from her but the breathing and heartbeat thing were not optional.

If the jiggling was not enough to bring her around, we would try lifting and wiggling her arms by the hands. One nurse showed us how to pinch her big toe. Pinch it enough so that it hurts. Pinch the toe while lifting the foot into the air and then drop it letting the leg fall back onto the bed. It sounds mean, but the pain in her toe should be enough to make her upset and draw her attention to that, which will probably make her mad and possibly cry. When you are trying to save the baby’s life, a little pinch on the toe seems like a necessary evil. I thought that I could never do that to my child, but when I was there alone with her and she needed stimulating, I was pinching that toe and instructing her to get mad at me, cry, yell at me!

You do whatever you have to do to get a response while keeping in mind you do not want to injure her in the process. It is this cool under extreme pressure thinking that scared T out of watching her on his own. He saw that I could handle these situations and do what needed to be done without panic. He did not trust himself to be calm enough to remember what to do.

I would recommend:
#1 Go to an infant and child CPR training class put on by the Red Cross. This will ensure you are given the correct information and instructors can watch you practice the techniques and give you hints or corrections on ways you can improve. This should give you some peace of mind, knowing you did everything you could to educate yourself on these lifesaving steps.

#2 Get a training video and watch it a few times to get familiar with the steps to take. Practice on a doll or teddybear. Watch the video again every couple of months to refresh your memory. We were told this was the best way to keep our up our skills.

#3 You can find a quick and easy to follow guide online here. This is no substitute for a class, but it is better to have some information rather than none. The class is still the best way to go.

Finally, I would like to make the distinction between Azure’s case and SIDS. Azure, being a preemie was in a period of frequent Apnea and Bradycardia and occasional irregular breathing. This is a stage that many preemies go through and eventually outgrow. It is a matter of brain development. They need to "learn" to continue the involuntary actions of breathing and keeping their hearts going. Once the brain "gets it" they do it automatically just like anyone else. I also believe that reflux played at least a partial role in the incident in June when she turned blue. There was milk oozing slowly out of her mouth when I turned her on her side rather than the quick stream of spit up one would expect. I am not an expert on SIDS. I follow the "rules" of back-to-sleep and keep her sleeping area clear of blankets and stuffed toys. She goes to sleep with a pacifier but not a bottle. She is still getting mostly breastmilk from the freezer and we do not smoke (nor does the nanny or my parents who watch her while we are at work). She sleeps in a bedside bassinet right next to me rather than in our bed. (Does that count as co-sleeping? People ask about co-sleeping and I feel very wishy-washy with my answer.) You can find more information on SIDS here and here.

Maggie, I wish you luck and thank you for bringing up this important discussion.

*If you have ever taken a CPR class from the Red Cross you will recognize this as the first step in adult medical intervention with the practice doll named Annie.


I've got no strings
To hold me down
To make me fret,
or make me frown
I had strings
But now I'm free
There are no strings on me

Hi-ho the me-ri-o
That's the only way to go
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me

Hi-ho the me-ri-o
I'm as happy as can be
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me

I've got no strings
So I have fun
I'm not tied up to anyone
They've got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me

The monitor is officially FINALLY a thing of the past. The last two reports showed that she has gone two full months with "no patient events". This means that even though the alarms sounded off, she was actually fine, they were false alarms.

The irony of the monitor: It was there to keep her safe, to alert us when/if things went wrong with her heart or her breathing. All the experts will tell you that a baby’s crib should be free from loose blankets, stuffed animals and anything with a cord or ribbon longer than six inches to prevent strangulation or suffocation. Then they go and attach a ten-foot cord to her 24/7.

The bad part of the monitor: It is a ball and chain in the most obvious sense. You must drag it everywhere. It comes in a handy little shoulder bag but that is just one more thing. When it is plugged into the wall, you are stuck. When you are pacing with a crying baby you must be careful not to turn in circles or you will tie up your own feet. You must hold onto the cord so that the weight of the cord itself is not pulling on the leads which must be taped to the baby’s skin since the adhesive does not stick on its own. The skin will develop sores from being covered in tape all the time. No chance to breathe since the only time it is not covered by tape and leads is when the child is actually in the bathtub. You cannot lotion the skin or apply healing ointments because then the leads and tape will not stick next time. You will accidentally unplug the leads or let the battery run out setting off the alarm and scaring both the child and you. The monitor alarm sounds just like other noises in your daily life, which will scare the crap out of you. The smoke detector, a truck backing up, the microwave going off, that ringing in the pipes when you are in the shower and noises on TV will all make you jump in panic. You will suck in your breath and look for the baby each and every time you hear such a noise, even when the baby is not there.

The good part about the monitor: When the baby’s heart rate decelerates and she stops breathing and turns blue the alarm will go off to alert you that the baby needs help. Without that alarm you would not know until it was too late to intervene and you could lose her. That one instance in June has made these past five months of lugging that thing around worth it. The false alarms have done more psychological damage to T and me than anything else could have, but it was there when we really needed it.

What do we do now? We check her every few minutes and feel her chest rise and fall and listen to her sigh in her sleep and must reassure ourselves that she is Ok. She is free from her strings and she is a real live normal kid, just like Pinocchio.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hey You!

Thank you,
Blue :0)

Sunday, November 05, 2006


When you actually take an afternoon to yourself and go visit your friend who lives about an hour away, do not drink even a small cup of coffee to keep yourself awake for the drive home since you will find yourself sitting at the computer at midnight typing lame blog entries such as this while listening to your husband and daughter slumbering upstairs on the baby monitor.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Things are crazy busy 'round here!

I KNOW I haven't posted in a while. I am working on a good one but it just isn't ready yet.

For now:

My right eye is bloodshot. It has been this way for two days now. I think I have a "cold" in it. It has happened before. I dumped about a gallon of eye drops into it yesterday before I remembered the last time this happened and the doctor said that the eye drops were bad because they constricted the blood vessels more and so defeated the purpose. So, I am walking around looking all funky in the one eye. I might wink at you once in a while just so as not to freak you out.

My office has started our own version of The Biggest Loser. Do you watch that show? I am addicted. T and I watch it religiously. Anyway, yesterday was the big weigh in at work. We have two teams of four people each. Each person kicked in $20, the winner gets the pot. We will weigh in twice a month from now until February 7 (yes, the competition runs over the holidays!). The losing team each weigh in has to vote off one member of the team to be replaced by a member of the winning team. I need to do this. I am the same weight now as I was six months pregnant. I have gained 20 pounds since returning to work! Not good. I am really watching what I eat and have started walking around the park on my lunch hour. I need to get back to the gym. I haven't been since February. I want to go, it is just a matter of childcare. They have a nursery at the gym but I don't want to pick her up after working all day and drop her off there for a couple hours while I work out and then go home and put her to bed. That just sucks the big one. T thinks we could alternate days, one watch her while the other goes to the gym but then we have a car/carseat issue to deal with. It will all work out in the end. (Get it? Workout? Ha!)

I am waiting for a call back from the pediatrician about getting a second opinion on Azure's scar surgery. It shouldn't be a problem. Oh, and she had her first Synagis shot yesterday. Poor thing looked completely offended by the poke. She looked shocked and then sad in a way I cannot even describe, like she was thinking, "Why would you do that to me?" To keep you safe and healthy Sweetie.

Azure had a wonderful Halloween with one slight exception. She was a pumpkin! I had decided that I wasn't going to spend money to buy her a costume this year but my mom's friend gave us the costume with some other beautiful clothes as a baby gift and she was just so incredibly cute in it I can hardly stand it. The exception came about 12:30am when the child who has been sleeping through the night for a few months suddenly awoke crying which lead to screaming and her usual comforts did not comfort this time. We walked and bounced and shushed and offered the pacifier and she was just not having it. It occured to me as I was bouncing and rocking and swinging my poor destraught child that it was officially Halloween. It is said that the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest on Halloween. I wondered if she was being visited by some unhappy spirits. It actually came into my tired mind that maybe she was being visited by the spirits of the babies in the NICU that did not go home. How is that for creepy? I was finally able to settle her again. I do know that she dreams and it could have just been a bad dream that scared her, then again...