Sofia at One Month

This will have less detailed explanation than I'd prefer, but beggars can't be choosers and I'm on the begging side of time these days.

She weighs 10 lbs. 3 oz. She really hasn't grown much since she was born. She eats just enough to get by.

Sofia has reflux. She gags and chokes after every meal. She does not barf, though. But, the reflux does go up into her throat, and even sinus. Her boogers are formula boogers. Meaning, her boogers are made of the formula that comes up her throat and into her sinus area and it makes these bright white boogers that I have to suck out.

She is on Prilosec. Long story about how we arrived to our current medication destination, but currently, I take one 20 mg capsule OTC of omeprazole, poke a hole in the top, empty it onto a plate and divide it into three servings. I put 5 mL of water into a syringe and add the beads. Then, I put it in her cheek one little squirt at a time. She gets 1/3 of a capsule three times a day. This is the MARCI-kids dose.

Like little lines of coke, only it's omeprazole. And, no, I've never done coke.
She has a bit of colic. From 8-10 p.m., she cries. In fact, if her eyes are open, she's usually crying.  She is cranky as most 5 week olds are. In the next week or so, she'll start to become more human-ish (hopefully).

She also has a lot of gas. She burps and farts like a grown man. This makes her super grumpy. Gripe water (Mommy's bliss brand) seems to help a lot so she gets that a few times a day.

She is the only child I've ever had that can suck, swallow, and breathe. Meaning: she can eat. It takes a lot of coordination for these little ones to eat properly. It seems like a no brainer - until you've had a kid that can't. We've always had to thicken the formula with rice cereal so they wouldn't aspirate their food. Sofia, however, can eat liquid fairly well. She has a little trouble, but not bad enough we need to treat it.

She has MSPI (milk soy protein intolerance). She is on elemental formula. We have been using Neocate. When I called our old GI doctor the other day, she recommended Elecare. It's almost the exact same thing, but she says some babies tolerate it better. Funny thing is, I'd had the thought cross my mind a few times in the last week that maybe we should try it, too. I'd even done some research online to see what people were saying and how the two formulas differed. She gave me a bunch of cans to "sample" (8 cans - at $50 a can that's a pretty generous amount of sampling) and we started that just today. So far, she's been a much happier baby and eaten much better. We'll see if it's a fluke or if it really does make a difference for her.

Oh, and she is a tight ass. No, I'm serious. Addie had the same issue. Her little bum is too tight so she has trouble pooping. I'll include a link to the post I did about it when Addie had her diagnosis. If you're truly interested in how to treat the problem, you can read here. If not, just know that being a parent often involves doing things that are highly inappropriate and should be considered shameful on many levels.

She looks a lot like Lexi did at that age. At times, we see a lot of Addie in her, too, though. Personality wise, she reminds me of Lexi. She is sensitive to changes in temperature likes to be really warm. She is easily rattled. She is a cuddle bug. We call her the Tiny Wonder (Aunt Marti started calling her that and it's stuck), and we think she's awesome even though she's cranky and fussy right now.

Right now, I've got her on a pretty great schedule. I've had some people tell me you can't get a baby on a schedule before 6 weeks, but I beg to differ. Because I've had so much help, I've been able to protect her naps and feeds to establish some sense of order.  Right now, she eats every 3 hours. Her wake time between feeds is 50-60 minutes. Then, she takes a 80-90 minute nap. She takes a dream feed at 11 p.m., wakes to eat at 3 a.m., and sleeps again until 7 a.m. It took a lot of work to get here, some long nights, and it's still not without it's glitches, but at a month old, I'll take waking once in the night. I like knowing when I'll have time to play with the other kids, shower, do chores, go to the bathroom, or if I'm really lucky, sneak in nap. I'm too uptight to do it any other way.

This month has just flown by. I know it's in part because I've been super spoiled and had my mom and sister here to basically raise my other three kids. Allen has adjusted his schedule a bunch to help in the mornings. Allen's mom has brought us dinner and taken the kids multiple times, too.

I'm also way more realistic about what it feels like to have a baby. You're tired. You're flabby. You're uncomfortable. You are most likely carrying a baby around a lot of the time. The baby is going to cry. Your other kids are going to cry. You will probably yell more than usual. Your house will not be very clean. You will not shower every day. You will not go to the bathroom, eat lunch, check email, sneeze or fart when you want to. Rather, you will wait until the baby gives you 30 seconds, and you'll do it then.

And it's ok. The best way to make it through is to wake up every day and put one foot in front of the other. That's the only way to get them grown. As every mother knows, "The days are long, but the years are short". This time truly is fleeting, and after four kids, I finally have the wisdom to see beyond the minor inconveniences and enjoy the good things this phase of life has to offer.

Tiny Wonder.



Alexis, when given the opportunity, often writes about her spiritual beliefs for her school assignments. Her teacher calls her "The Evangelist".

Can I get a "Hallelujah!"?


Our Life In Pictures

Aunt Marti (my sister) came to stay for 10 days!
Grandpa Tweet with Sofia.
Grandpa Bob came to the hospital to see us. This was the first time we've ever had a baby near family. We had lots of visitors and loved every minute of it!
Grandma and Papa Riddle came too.
And brought the girls with them.
Addie has been SO excited to be a big sister again.

Holy swelling, Batman.
And is just kept getting worse!
Allen celebrated his 37th birthday. Gpa Bob brought us lunch, a cake, and made sure we remembered to celebrate even though we'd just had a baby.
Aunt Marti loving open gym and the foam pit. 
Uncle Brian (Marti's husband) even made time to come down and help out. 
Then, we had a dance party.
It was a killa, thrilla night!
Marti and Brian had to go home. There were tears all around.
After getting a prescription, my ankles finally came out of hiding.
The classic reflux arch. Gosh, how I HATE reflux and the way it's addressed by the medical community for children under 1. Oh, I have a post being authored in my mind as we speak. The advocate in me just can't stand it. Knowledge is power, and there's so much I wish I'd known as a new mom. Here I am with number 4, and I'm still learning. 
Aaah. A moment of happiness. 
Well, hello there.


And We Had a Baby Part IV

I'm going to give you all a heads up about this particular post. It's gory. Lots of talk about blood and loss of said blood and womanly like things. If that's not your idea of a good time, skip on ahead to the next best thing on your agenda. Otherwise, please proceed.

While in recovery, I got to do something I've never done with any of my kids.

Alexis went straight to the NICU. Addie went straight to the NICU. I hemorrhaged with Emily within 15 minutes of getting out of surgery.

But with Sofia, all was well. I got to have my newborn baby on my chest for the first. time. ever. I'm not sure how long we got to hang out, but it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Shortly after I arrived in recovery, the nurses started doing their "thing". "Thing" meaning massage the uterus from the outside. This is normal for every woman who has a baby. Lest I remind you, I'd just had abdominal surgery. Now, I've endured this type of thing without having had surgery (with Addie, if you'll recall), and it's tortuous then. But, I've done it three times after a c-section and I can state, without any doubt, that it's almost unbearable - even with the pain reducing left overs from the spinal. It's enough to make even the toughest woman want to jump off that table and punch a nurse in the neck.

So, they were doing their "thing". They are pretty firm about it all, too. They say it's to help the uterus clamp down and stop bleeding. They take the responsibility pretty seriously. They massage with some gusto. On your poor uterus that's been stretched to smithereens over the last nine months. And on your stomach that's just been cut in half.

When they pushed down to help with the clamping, a liter and a half of blood came out. I, of course, saw none of this. Allen did and he remembers the flurry of activity that commenced after this started.

They pushed down and there was a huge gush of blood. It was enough they decided to weigh it (hence the 1.5 liter remark). Within minutes, I had 4 nurses and the surgeon at my bedside. The nurses kept doing their thing and the doctor started doing her own thing. The surgeon's "thing" is much more invasive and embarrassing to write about than the nurses. To be extremely graphic, they did tell me there were "baby sized clots" involved. How they got those out, I'll leave that up to you to figure out. All I can say is nothing is sacred after you've had a baby. They don't care if you've been cut in two. They take no regard for privacy or dignity.They did whatever it was going to take to shut my uterus down. And boy howdy, they did.

At this point, the pain was immense. I remember not caring how foolish I sounded. I cried out in pain. I was writhing around like a big baby. I kept asking them to stop. They were coming at me from all sides and I was miserable.

The bleeding was bad; they were not backing down. Because of the pain, they were giving me mega doses of many different types of narcotics. I don't remember any of them working to reduce the pain. But, my memory is really fragmented of that night so I know the drugs were doing something.

The view from my bed in recovery. See the big feet over the bed? That'd be Allen sleeping.

I have no idea how long this went on. The next thing I remember was being scolded by the nurse, "BREATHE, Traci! BREATHE!" I took a deep breath. Then, what seemed like 10 seconds later, "BREATHE, Traci! BREATHE!" I took another breath. Ten seconds later. Over and over and over. All through the night.

I was so tired all I wanted to do was sleep. But, every time I'd fall asleep, I'd stop breathing. One of the side effects of narcotics is that they depress the respiratory system. I'd had a lot of narcotics in the last few hours. If I was awake and focused, I would remember to breathe. But, I was neither awake nor focused (again, due to the excessive amount of narcotics). Thus, I was not breathing regularly. They had an oxygen cannula in my nose to help, but that wasn't really doing the trick.

I remember looking up and seeing Allen passed out on a gurney across the room. The nurses said they'd sent the baby to the NICU hours ago so she would be taken care of because I was out of commission. They told me they were giving me blood to help replenish what I'd lost during the hemorrhage.

Finally, after 6 hours in recovery, they decided to put me on an a different form of oxygen so it would breathe for me.

I think it was just after 4 a.m. (Sofia was born at 8:55 p.m. the night before), they took me to my room to get some much needed rest.

Around 7 a.m., a nurse came in to my room. I looked around, noticed I was alone, and asked, "Um, has anyone seen my husband?" She said, "Um, I don't think anyone has, as a matter of fact." I told her I bet he was asleep in the NICU with the baby. She did some checking around and sure enough, Allen had gone down to be with Sofia and fallen asleep with her there.

All told, I lost about 2.5 - 3 liters of blood during the ordeal. They gave me two bags of blood during the night to help replenish what I'd lost.

Because I don't remember the whole incident very well, I don't have a sense of how serious it was. Allen, however, remembers all of it. He was scared. This was the second time I'd responded to a c-section with a hemorrhage. I'm sure in the far reaches of his mind, he wondered if he'd be raising 4 daughters alone. It never got that bad, but when an emergency like that happens, those fears are quick to cross our minds.

This type of thing slows down the recovery process a bit, too. I mean this in terms of the level of soreness one will experience. I'd literally been beat up inside and out. I had physical bruising on my body from all of the efforts that were made to stop the bleeding. Two weeks later, I still have bruising and am really body sore. Part of this is just the adjustment after having been stretched out during pregnancy, but some of it is due to the measures that were taken to stop the bleeding.

A bruise from one of the needles they put in my arm.
I will say, however, that getting that much needed blood helped my recovery in many ways. After my hemorrhage with Emily, I declined a transfusion even though I was severely anemic. And it was a poor choice. I was so depleted after that delivery, I felt horrible for weeks.

This time, I felt much better in matter of days. Even though I'd lost a lot more blood and it had been much more serious than with Emily, I had a lot more energy after I got those transfusions. I could walk earlier and farther. I wasn't falling asleep mid sentence. One doctor pointed out that my body probably had a better chance at healing because blood is essential to a scar healing properly with major surgery like a c-section.

While in the hospital, I made a pretty fast recovery. In fact, they let me decide if I wanted to come home after being there only 2 days. Typically, a c-section is 3-5 days. I figured with a hemorrhage, I'd be there at least 4. However, I was doing really well, moving around, and walking the halls. I was pretty ready to leave - I was having to remind the nurses to give me my meds or they were sometimes hours late, the food was mediocre at best, and I wanted to take a real shower (not to mention get Sofia her proper medication - yes, reflux had already set in while we were at the hospital and the pediatrician there told me I was crazy and refused to help us. Yes, I'm serious. In fact, the head nurse came in and told us point blank, "We're not going to help you here so just stop arguing." Don't even get me started about that interaction.) Needless to say, I felt it was time for me to take control of our care so when they offered, I accepted, and packed my bags.


And We Had A Baby, Part 3

We were having a baby!

Knowing I was c-section, they asked about the last time I had eaten. I confessed I'd eaten an orange at 1 p.m. Sometimes, eating can help stop false labor so I'd figured I should try to stop it on my own before going all the way to the hospital. Because of that orange, they would have to wait until after 8 p.m. to do the surgery.

I was incredibly nervous about the spinal. I'd had really bad experiences with my last two sections during that part of prep. I knew that two difficult spinals probably meant it was my body and not the anesthesiologist who was the problem. I fully anticipated another horrible time with it. The doctor came in, tried to assure me he would walk me through the whole process, take his time and make sure I was really numbed up, and do his best to keep me comfortable.

The surgeon came in to discuss the procedure. She also asked me about my last section and the hemorrhage I'd had. They called the blood bank to be sure they could get blood quickly if anything went wrong during the procedure.

Finally, 8 o'clock rolled around. I walked down to the OR. Allen was shown to a waiting room while they prepped me.

Dr. Harris (the anesthesiologist) started to prep my back for the spinal. I was shaking, trying so hard to be still, and round my back so that he had the best chance of doing it right the first time. He talked me through the numbing process. Then, he said he was waiting for the surgeon to arrive to finish. Meanwhile, he did some more numbing and poked around back there. At one point, I asked him, "Is that the spinal?" He assured me it wasn't, that we were still waiting. He said he would do more numbing action and then move forward. I had some quick nerve pain and he said, "Lay down fast!" He was done. He hadn't told me a single thing he was doing. It was the least painful and fastest spinal ever. I started crying with relief and exclaimed, "You lied to me! Bless you my child!"

After some other prepping, they brought Allen into the room. A c-section is kind of surreal. You know they are cutting you open, but you can't really feel a thing, it's a little hard to breathe because the spinal creeps into your chest but you are completely aware of it so it takes some concentration and focus not to freak out (think snorkeling), your body is being jerked around and tugged on but there's no pain, suddenly, there's an elephant sitting on your chest and then TA!DA! you're a new mommy!

The baby came out just a hollering like a wild cat. I mean the minute they took her out, she was screaming!

Even though you've done almost nothing to help with her entrance into the world during a c-section, the relief after delivery still comes washing over your entire being. And the love for this little person rises up into your bosom and is completely overwhelming. Tears streamed down the sides of my face while I let out some silent sobs of gratitude and satisfaction knowing we'd gotten her here safe and sound.

Allen rushed over to help with the weighing, cleaning, and other fatherly duties. The nurses are all a flutter with excitement with this new life in the room. They were throwing out the different weights they thought she would be: 8.11, 9 lbs. and then finally - 9 lbs. 13 oz! And two weeks early!

As they were closing, the doctor told me that everything looked great. There was no excessive blood loss. We would be done shortly.

While they were doing their work, I started to feel really nauseous. Dr. Harris offered to give me some Zofran in the IV to help. Allen came back over, holding the baby, ready to introduce us for the first time.

About that time, I started having a hard time breathing through my nose. I figured it was just part of the surgery and started breathing through my mouth. Then, I couldn't take a full breath. With each breath, I was taking in less and less air. I tried to ask for help and remember saying to Allen, "I...gasp...can't...gasp...breathe..." and then I started sucking air and wheezing. Sharp sounds replaced what should have been inhaling and exhaling. The nurse grabbed the baby from Allen and got out of the way. Dr. Harris started injecting all sorts of things into my left arm, then my right, then my IV. I kept fighting for air. I wondered if I was going to pass out right there. I'd never had a response like that to anything in my life and it was scary. He kept injecting me with medicines. And then, with deep relief, I could suddenly breathe again.

After I took some deep breaths, I wondered out loud if I'd just had my first anxiety attack. I'm not one to have much anxiety and when I do, I usually deal with it internally. Sometimes, though, our bodies just take over. Dr. Harris was doubtful about that and told me he thought it was a classic case of anaphylaxis caused by an allergic reaction to medication. He figured the Zofran was the culprit and made sure it was noted on my charts.

With the dramatics over, the doctors finished up with their part of the surgery, gave us the thumbs up, and the three of us went to recovery.


And We Had A Baby, Part Duex

We got home at 11:30 a.m. I called Allen to let him know that I'd had these regular contractions for a couple of hours, and would be calling labor and delivery if they lasted until 1:30, two hours later.

Because of the whole VBAC risk of rupture thing, we were deliberately trying to avoid labor. The whole point of a scheduled c-section is to prevent labor because the risk is that the uterus will rupture during contractions.

Yet here I am, two weeks early, having lots of strong contractions. I felt silly calling and was pretty sure I'd do the walk of shame (that's when you are convinced you're in labor, but when you get there you're not, and you have to leave with no baby) and come back home if I did go in. But, I certainly didn't want to labor all day just to have a c-section.

I mean, really, what are the odds that the ONE time I'm not supposed to go into labor, my body goes willingly, on its own, and early?!? I swear I have the dumbest uterus ever.

And now I find myself with lunch to be made, piles of laundry waiting to be done, three kids to pack for, a baby to pack for, me to pack for, a car seat to put together, and schedules to type up for those who might be caring for our kids since I could very possibly be having a baby today. And I hadn't even gotten my pre-baby pedicure. That was supposed to happen on urgent care Monday. I know that may sound trite, but who wants to have ugly feet when they are having a new baby? The rest of you feels so gross after, and you don't get a minute for yourself for months on end; a pre-baby pedicure is mandatory in my book. But, alas, I digress.

I have to say, when I need my girls on board because timing is tight, they always respond willingly. I told them exactly what was going on, that I needed their help in packing, that I would need them to play nicely while I did all the chores, and that they would be going to Grandma's shortly. We worked as a team, did all we needed to, and even got everyone lunch.

I called labor and delivery, explaining my situation. Of course, they wanted me to go in to be checked. Allen came home, we dropped off the girls with Grandma, and joked about how we loved to do the "walk of shame", would treat ourselves to dinner on the way home, and call the whole thing date night.

When we arrived at 3 p.m., they stuck us in triage and started me on fluids. If a pregnant person gets dehydrated, contractions can start, but as soon as you get hydrated, they will stop. This is one way to find out if you're in true labor or not. The little monitor showed I was having regular contractions every 3-5 minutes.

After the fluids, the contractions only got stronger. The doctor came in and confirmed: I was in labor.


And Then We Had a Baby

Thursday the 14th, our dryer died. Allen figured we should try to fix it before we went out and bought a new one.  I mean, really, the week before the poopinist and barfininst person on the planet is going to show up, the dryer dies. And like I'm going to be schlepping laundry around just after a c-section. I started to freak out a bit about getting us all ready, too. I needed to do wash for 5 people in order to get us all packed and prepped and totally prepared for when baby came. Thankfully, the part came two days later. Not thankfully, it was the wrong part. We placed an order for the right part. Of course, it showed up the afternoon of the 20th.

Thankfully Gma was willing to let us do our drying at her place. Our next door neighbor took pity on us and we did some drying at her place, too. But, I was only doing the essentials, figuring I'd have time to get us all packed, prepped, organized, and totally ready for the baby to come on the 26th.

On Sunday, the 17th, Lexi came down with a wicked case of the hives, accompanied by joint swelling.

Monday was a school holiday and was to be a day spent at Fairyland with Gpa Bob, her sisters and Dad. Rather, she spent the day at the urgent care with mom. The doctor referred us to the allergist and they got us an appointment for Wednesday, the 20th. Lexi was still fighting the rash and swelling so I was glad to have a chance to see the doctor.

So, Monday was spent at the urgent care. Tuesday was school as usual. Wednesday, the 20th, Lexi stayed home from school so we could go to her appointment in Modesto. Emily also has speech in Modesto on Wednesdays. All three girls and I piled into the Mamma Mobile and made our way to spend a long morning in Modesto for both appointments.

On the drive over, I had regular contractions every five minutes. I noticed them, but we had stuff to do so I figured I deal with them later if they continued. As we pulled into the parking lot, I saw that during our 20 minute drive, Lexi's hives had gotten much worse. I decided to go straight to the allergist and get in early if we could.

Poor girl. She was so miserable.

While we waited to see her doctor, the contractions continued. While we were in with the doctor, they continued. On the drive home, they continued.
I took these pictures quick as we ran out the door to make our appointments. 

I'm so glad I captured the last day of the pregnancy!

After 2 hours of consistent contractions, I decided a call to the labor and delivery floor would be necessary.

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.