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Five Months and updates

Oster Visit July 2010

Five Months!

Lillian turned five months old last Sunday! How crazy is that? It is crazy. She’s outgrowing clothes and keeping her parents on their toes (and shoving her fingers up her nose). Yes, parenthood brings on spontaneous rhyming.

Lillian is a great sitter these days, with very few faceplants. She can stand with just a little support. She’s starting to work up to her hands and knees, rocking a bit, and scooting backwards. She’s sleeping on her tummy now in a sleep sack instead of a swaddle. She’s eating rice cereal once a day. It’s all very strange.

Her personality is more fabulous all the time. She loves dancing, giggling, squawking, and banging things.

She got to meet her Nana Nancy, Grampa Dave, Uncle Shaun, Aunt Kris, and Cousin Saraphina last weekend. She looooooved all the attention. Uncle Shaun had her in stitches:

Uncle Shaun is Magic

Oster Austin visit July 10

Lillian wants the sippy cup.

Oster Austin visit July 10

With Nana Nancy

Oster Visit July 2010

Lillian and Saraphina

Oster Visit July 2010

With Grampa George

She got to spend lots of time with her grandparents, go swimming, and generally be the belle of the ball.

Lillian bellydances with Uncle Shaun

How I don't lose my mind

Cara, Lillian, Nimue, Lola, Leighton, Isabel, Stella, and Charlie at Cristina's playgroup

It’s all about playgroup.

When I was going to prenatal yoga several times a week towards the end of my pregnancy, a few of the other regulars and I started to get to know each other. In prenatal yoga you check in at the beginning of class, and instead of just saying you have a sore back, you can bitch about your husband, talk about your latest ultrasound, or ask the group if they know any cures for nausea or edema or whatever. It’s very bonding, and it really helped me not lose my mind, during the last trimester especially.

Just as we were starting to make some social plans outside of class we all started having our babies. A few weeks later we reconnected on Facebook and tentatively began to talk about some of the struggles we were having with our drastically new lives. When I was about 5 weeks postpartum we had our first meetup at Izzos Tacos. I remember mostly being in a sleep-deprived haze. We were all deep in the trenches at that point and just kind of getting by. Some of us were getting out and about, and some were hiding at home shaking (that would be me). Soon after that I hosted my first playgroup, and we each started inviting other new mamas we knew into our informal group (Tiffany, for example, is my bellydance pregnancy buddy and she drags her butt from north to south Austin weekly to playgroup). At some point we realized that Facebook wasn’t going to work for our ongoing chats because we couldn’t easily invite new mamas in, so I set up a group on BigTent.com and we were in business!

So from those early days of posting our woes on Facebook in the middle of the night to now – we have 15 mamas and babies in our group and at least one playdate a week, usually more. We go swimming, go to movies, go to yoga, and mostly just hang out, bitch, and eat. We have a ton of forums on our website and we lean on each other to give advice, commiserate, celebrate, and just plain keep us company at all hours.

The first year of mamahood is wicked isolating, and I totally would have lost my shit by now if I didn’t have these fine ladies to talk to. Lillian seems to enjoy our activities, and it’s fun to watch all the babies develop and change, and see their individual personalities emerging. I also feel this group is an incredible gift to the new mamas who are joining – it’s so hard in the beginning and it seems like the more we understand we’re not alone, the easier and more fun it gets. Inviting a stressed-out mama to join our group feels like a huge mitzvah to me.

Please enjoy some photos of our babies and mamas:

Playgroup!

The early days: Lillian, Charley, Isabel and Cara at my house

Playdate!

Cristina and Stella working on tummy time

Playgroup at Cristina's

Tiffany and Cara at Cristina's playdate

6/16 Playgroup

Tori and Nimue

Potluck at Heather's

Daddies Mike and Sean with Nico and Cara at Heather's Potluck

Playgroup at Susan's

Babies: Isabel, Lillian Lola, Atticus, Stella, and Cara Mamas: Jamie, Susan's feet, Addie, Cristina, and Tiffany at Susan's weekend Playgroup

June 30 Playgroup at Andria's

Lillian and my feet attending playgroup at Andria's

June 30 Playgroup at Andria's

Heather with Charley and Arely with Nico

The Neverending Poopstory

16 Weeks

A whole entry about my poop? Seriously?

Here, as promised, is an entire entry dedicated to poop. There will be no pictures of poop, however, just graphic descriptions.

When Lillian was around seven weeks I noticed some little specs of blood in her diaper. Of course, I freaked out and called the pediatrician who said it could be a reaction to cow’s milk and to maybe scale back on it a bit. Being the freakazoid I am, I decided to cut dairy out completely and I got every soy product I could get my hands on and ate them all weekend. Then it got really weird and icky. Mucusy, sort of seaweedy dark brown and stinky as hell. There were also occasional specs of blood, and other poop was really green. I called the pediatrician and asked what I should do. I mentioned that the week before I cut out dairy I had actually started subbing in soy milk for my cereal because I was worried I’d been overdoing it. So follow along  – I actually upped my soy intake right before this whole mess started. Then I upped it a lot more, and the poop got way worse. I asked the pediatrician if she thought it was possible that Lillian had issues with soy, but not dairy. She said it was possible, but told me to keep drinking soy milk and cut out all dairy.

Lillian was really fussy during this time so I decided that was crap advice and I was going to cut out both diary and soy – Lillian started feeling better pretty quickly. When we saw the pediatrician about a week later for her two month appointment, she recommended I take a probiotic called Florastor that was safe for people who were dairy intolerant, and she gave us 5 vials for collecting poop to have it tested. She claimed that mucusy, green poop was actually a sign of intestinal bleeding (rilly?) and I shouldn’t try to reintroduce dairy or soy until she had yellow poop again.

I’m generally not squeamish about changing the poopy diaper, but collecting it was no fun at all. The vials had liquid in them and the tops had these tiny spoons attached that you were supposed to use to scoop the poop. The vast amounts I had to get into each vial was totally incompatible with these teeny tiny spoons, so I just ended up trying to scrape it into the vial from the diaper. Much ickiness ensued. Bleah.

The tests came back negative, and the doctor told me to stay off everything with any soy or dairy additives and take the Florastor until things were normal again. I became a poopologist. I looked at every diaper, scanning it for blood, consistency, color, and smell. The state of Lillian’s poop became the barometer for my state of mind. Good poop – good day. Bad poop – bad, bad day. Depression. Anxiety. Fear.

The poop stayed green but stopped showing any blood (and mind you, the blood was always in such small amounts that David couldn’t even see it) until Mother’s Day when we went out for dinner. The pediatrician had said goat and sheep cheese should be safe, so I had me a goat’s cheese fest and a great dinner. 36 hours later Lillian’s poop got nasty again. I felt like a horrible mother. It took about 5 days to cycle back, and in the meantime I’d run out of Florastor so I was off it for a few days. Magically, we had yellow poop again for the first time in about six weeks! Hallelujah!

Then I went back on Florastor and it got weird again. So I went off. Florastor, it turns out, has lactose in it. The theory was that Lillian has an intolerance to either soy protein, dairy protein, or both. So lactose from cows shouldn’t have an effect. But then again, the doctor told me to avoid all dairy and soy additives, many of which don’t contain protein. Huh?

I called our local blended holistic-conventional pharmacy and asked a pharmacist about Florastor. She said as a probiotic it’s virtually useless because it only contains one bug. She suggested a broad spectrum, dairy and soy free probiotic and an enzyme to help with digestion.

Several things have happened since then. Lillian’s poop is much better overall. When something seems to disturb her digestion, she bounces back quickly. I think the supplements help, and I also think her system is getting better at processing stuff.

I’ve talked to other mothers about the situation, and come to the conclusion that we blew the whole thing way out of proportion, partly thanks to our pediatrician. She even had me worrying every time I could hear Lillian’s stomach grumbling. Yes, blood in the poop means something is bugging her intestines, but monitoring every single quality of her poop is crazy and crazy-making. It turns out lots of my friends have babies with green, mucusy, dark, light, yellow, brown, whatever poop. They’re all fine. Baby poop is not standard, and it’s no big deal when it changes. Even blood is not a big deal if you can isolate the cause and cut it out until they outgrow the intolerance.

It should be mentioned that Lillian has never seemed to have any discomfort since that first week. She’s perfectly happy, active, healthy, and has a good appetite. We rarely notice any discomfort that could be attributed to her digestion.

So after making myself nuts for two months, I decided that was enough. No more obsessing about every change in Lillian’s poop. We would start reintroducing soy and dairy separately and determine if either or both was the culprit, and any poop that didn’t have significant blood was good poop as far as we were concerned.

The pediatrician quizzed us about it at Lillian’s four-month appointment last week and we gave her the basic story. I asked her about the Florastor and she claimed it was perfectly safe. Again, her party line without any real consideration for my observations, or my individual kid. So. Fired.

It’s way more fun to not be obsessive. And now we know she is actually quite sensitive to soy. I tried some stuff that had soy additives and lo and behold, she had a clear, but short-lived reaction. Hopefully she’ll outgrow it, but I’m not going to try again until she’s six months old. I’ll try a small amount of dairy in a week or so and see what happens. I suspect with dairy it may be a threshold thing and if I enjoy it in moderation she’ll be just fine. Either way we’ll know before we start solids, so we’ll know what to avoid. In the meantime, I’m turning in my poopologist badge and just going back to being Mama.

And that’s the poopstory. I’m going to get in so much trouble for this when she’s a teenager.