Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Video of Beth and Elliott

We have connected with youtube.com so that we can more easily share videos of Beth.

This one shows Beth and Elliott playing at home. Notice how intent Beth is on the stack of toy animals. She is very intent on any face placed in front of her. In fact, if you pull away something she is staring at, she will raise quite a fuss along with a high-pitched cry. We aren't sure if she is scared by the sudden change in her field of vision or if she is just mad at being removed from a visual object that pleases her.

By the way, she weighs 10 pounds and 12 ounces!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Good Health Abounds

I hope that I am not jinxing anything by saying that Beth has been very healthy of late. She is eating well and tolerating her medications and supplements. Her neck strength is very good. She can hold her head steady while upright and can lift her head to 45 degrees while lying prone.

She is such an easy baby to care for if you overlook the choking, hospital visits, bladder issues and such! Unlike Elliott, when you put Beth in the crib, she might fuss a little and give little waning cries but she will fall asleep completely on her own. Sometimes she will suck on the pacifier like mad for 2 minutes then calmly spit it out, stare at her reflection and drift off to sleep.

She still eats about every 3 hours during the day but frequently bumps that up to 2 hour intervals. This keeps me very busy because she nurses for 30 minutes, burps for 5 and then plays on her tummy or sleeps until she wants to eat again. Sometimes this routine spills over into the night. For example, a few nights ago our routine went like this:

8:30 p.m. - In the bassinet
9:00 p.m. - Elliott in bed
10:00 p.m. - Mom and Dad in bed
10:20 p.m. - Beth wakes up hungry
12:40 a.m. - Beth wakes up hungry
2:20 a.m. - Beth wakes up, REALLY hungry
4:00 a.m. - Beth wakes up hungry
5:50 a.m. - Elliott wakes Mommy and Daddy and Mommy begs him to go back to bed
6:00 a.m. -Daddy gives up and gets up to run
6:30 a.m. - Beth wakes up hungry
7:00 a.m. - Beth goes back to sleep for three hours while the rest of us try to get the day started

Now, not every night is like that. Just two nights ago, Beth woke up only two times: 2:10 a.m. and 5:50 a.m. She always goes right back to sleep after nursing and a good burp so while it is bothersome to get up and feed her, she is very cooperative about going back to bed. We are so fortunate in this respect.

When I tell others how lucky we are that Beth is such an easy and happy baby, nearly everyone says we deserve it. As I look back on the past year, I think they are right.

Six Months Coming Up
Beth will be officially six months old on July 31. Her adjusted age will be 10 weeks but we are going to celebrate anyway. If luck allows (and the doctor) we will be in Santa Cruz with a few members of our family. I can't often believe what we've been through to get to this joyous point. And yet, every day Daddy and I miss her sister. It will be a bittersweet celebration but I hope that both of them always know they are loved.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Ear Infections

We saw our doctor on Thursday morning and he immediately suspected that Beth had an ear infection. "Did they check her ears?" he asked when I told him of her symptoms. In fact, the doctors checked everything except her ears. I suppose I should have thought of this but was so focused on a possible UTI that I overlooked the obvious.

He cleaned the was from her ear canals so he "could get a good view". ... Now get this. Our pediatrician is hands down the best in Sacramento. He has a stellar reputation and thoroughly loves the kids. I was surprised, however, when he reached into his pants pocket, fished around and produced one of those loops they use to clean ears. "Do you always carry that around in your pocket?" I asked. Yes, he did clean it before cleaning her ears.

Anyway, he found two ear infections and gave us a 10-day does of Augmentin (http://www.drugs.com/augmentin.html). As of today, Friday, she has maintained a temperature below 99 degrees and appears to be doing just fine

The doctor said this is going to be a terrible winter for colds and flu. We discussed ways to keep Beth safe from further infections being that our son is sick every 4 weeks. He also gets ear infections very often and had tubes placed at 14 months. Beth probably will have similar issues. So, now we have to watch her for ear infections and urinary tract infections in addition to her greater suseptibility to colds and flu.

Makes me want to bar the doors and burrow inside a blanket with her.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Trip to the Emergency Room

Beth awoke from her nap yesterday afternoon and as soon as I picked her up, I knew something was wrong. I could feel the heat on the back of her neck and her body gave no resistance to being picked up. Sure enough, she registered a 100.3 degree temperature (with an ear thermometer). I double-checked this under her arm and found it to be 99.4 (adjusted to 100.4 degrees).

The doctors admitted us to the hospital the last time we registered such a temperature so I wasted no time calling a doctor. Twenty minutes passed and no return call. I checked her temperature again and it was 100.4 in her ear. I called again and still received no return call. I tried feeding her but she had little interest in nursing -- a strong indication that something was wrong. I was also very alarmed by the limp "ragdoll" feeling of holding her in my arms. By the time I checked again, her temperature had risen to 100.8 degrees. In the twenty minutes between temperature checks, I was already packing her bags and extra clothes for me for a hospital stay. By the time we registered this 100.8 degree temp, I was ready to put her in the car and drive to the ER.

An emergency room is the LAST place you want to take a sick infant but since I couldn't raise a doctor I wasn't going to take any chances. I could, however, be a she-bear and keep her as safe from other illnesses as possible. I immediately told the staff I couldn't wait in the lobby and fortunately they agreed. We were checked in and weighed (good news is that she is a whopping 4500 grams or 9 pounds and 15 ounces) and another temperature taken. They found her to be 100.8 degrees rectally (note to self-- the ear thermometers are pretty darn accurate). While the ER staff seemed nonplussed by her fever, I made sure they realized she was sick and needed immediate attention.

We checked in at 7:15 p.m. and had our first doctor check us at 8:00 p.m. We were moved to another room, a urine sample taken via catheter and then given a small dose of Tylenol. At 9:00 they took chest X-rays. Again, I pushed the personnel a bit and asked them to fit her kidneys in the shot. The tech looked at me incredulously so I started rattling off her reflux condition and that we checked kidneys with the last hospital visit. Whether or not he was trying to shut me up or realized I knew what I was talking about, he moved the plate down a little bit so we could see her kidneys in the image, too.

After we returned to our little room, Beth started to get sleepy and thankfully, nodded off. Another note...if you ever go to a hospital, take extra blankets for the baby and warm clothes for yourself. I always carry a fleece blanket (even in summer) for Beth because they are soft, warm, tactilely interesting and double as a cushion when changing diapers on a hard surface.

Beth's temperature dropped with the Tylenol and her urine culture came back clear although we will have to wait a few days for definitive results to grow out any bacterial cultures. At midnight, the doctor told me we were being discharged. I was stunned. I expected to be admitted given the last doctor visit for a fever. While I was concerned about taking her home, I was thankful to be leaving.

Now 12 hours later, Beth is keeping her temperature below 99 degrees and is eating very well. She is a little fussy but clearly feels much better than yesterday. Turns out that Beth has contracted yet another cold and she started sneezing this morning. She had a slight cough yesterday but not a consistent or "wet" cough to be concerned about.

The ER doctor was much more reasonable than some pediatricians we've had. When the ER doctor wanted to take blood samples, I told her they would never get any blood unless they pricked her heal. A heal prick isn't as reliable or sterile as an IV draw so they can't use it for many lab tests. I suppose the doctor considered our past experiences and agreed to hold off on drawing blood. She also listened to our past history and made a reasonable guess that she had a URI (upper respiratory infection or a cold) and we could safely take her home.

We have a follow up appointment with her pediatrician on Thursday (July 6) morning. In the meantime, she is sleeping and eating well but clearly wants to be held a bit more than usual.

A side note...Holidays are perfect for a trip the emergency room, especially on July 4. If you have a child who likes firecrackers, take them to the local ER on July 4 and they'll learn the lesson very quickly...