Monday, January 31, 2011

As our boy continues to grow...:)

New hat + new gloves = unhappy Kaleb. But our temps are going to get down in the teens and maybe lower...what's a momma to do?
Sportin our Holden Uganda t-shirts. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Kaleb's new onesie!
He HATES tummy time.

But he's making some progress so we suffer through it together! :)
New hair = happy momma! :)

Wow what to say. I always get on here and write when I'm tired, and knowing I should probably be doing something else. But I can't resist, because each moment I have these days is so precious with our new little guy that I want to capture them in some way, shape or form.
I can't believe how much he's grown in the last month or two since we've started him on formula. I am still breastfeeding, but not nearly as much as I was. I was pretty much exhausting myself - every two hours, and he'd feed for like an hour if I let him! It was unproductive because he was not gaining weight. that we are doing both, both momma and Kaleb are happier! And he's almost to 13 pounds. Praise the Lord!
So now he seems a bit happier. I think that he is almost finished with colic. He still has some unhappy moments - some unhappy days, really - but it's much, much better than it was. He seems more satisfied, more content, and less unsettled. He is not hungry anymore! It makes me sad thinking that I could have been starving him and that was the only reason he was so upset all the time, but I can't let myself dwell on that too much. That would make me entirely too sad! I really honestly do think it was colic and acid reflux combined. Poor little guy. I hope that this is not the start to a hard life for him! But anyway, we are now feeding him about 6 - 8 ounces of formula each feeding every three or four hours, and then giving him Tagamet as well. I had to check on the Prevacid because it seemed to be making him have diarrhea! The nurse said it would be okay to change to Tagamet, so that's what we are doing. (Crossing my fingers!) I think that his acid reflux seems to be getting better. He still spits up a lot, me, it seems to be gradually tapering off. Oh I so hope so!
So there ya go. We are getting better!
We are also learning to grasp things really well. He is more and more curious about his surroundings as each day goes by. He has started having favorite toys - all of them rattles of course! :) He has a little ball that is his favorite to hold, because it's pretty easy to grasp - it has little openings all over it, and a ball inside that rattles. He will play with it for a good ten minutes, picking it up, and putting it down, and examining it! :) Oh how momma loves to watch him learn!
He also has started this thing with blowing raspberries. It's very cute - I was going to post a video of it but it didn't upload right. So I will later. :)
It's my favorite thing to do in the world - to sit and listen to him do this all day long! I get nothing accomplished of course except for the pleasant smile on my face. Lol!
He has started his own routine at night, too, which is awesome.
We have dinner, then take a bath, then after bathtime he eats. Then he usually plays for a bit, then we breastfeed, then he's out for the night around 8:30 almost every night. I am trying, trying, trying to get him on a schedule, so that he'll be used to schedules! :) It'll be easier on everyone!
Being a mom is the best thing in the world, and I say that from the bottom of my heart. I read a verse shortly after he was born that I knew before, but really sank in. I just opened my bible one night to it - one particularly hard night - I think the Lord knew I needed to hear it. It's been a verse that sticks with me since, and I'm sure always will - and one that the Lord keeps instilling in me recently. It's very common - and basic - "Children too, are a gift from the Lord."
They are a "gift".
They aren't a "burden," like some would argue.
Each one is a treasure - unique and beautiful. And Kaleb was made just for us - just perfect for Justin and me.
Sometimes I'm overwhelmed - I won't lie! Sometimes I am tired, and cranky and just want to cry - especially if Kaleb is! Funny how that works huh...
Times are hard after having a little one. One example - we have Kaleb's bassinet in our room, and as I said, he goes down around 8:30. Well, I had had to wash our sheets on our bed that day because had slept in them earlier, and had had an accident and his diaper leaked all over them. But I didn't have a chance to get them out of the dryer til after he went down that night, and, in order not to wake him, I had to put the sheets on the bed as quietly as possible in the dark! It was no easy task, because our bed is next to the wall, and I also have to climb on top of it while putting the sheets on! And try putting sheets on a bed with a baby in your arms. Lol! I have learned how to do LOTS of things one handed. It's a big learning experience!
And these days, since he's getting heavier, I have stopped wearing heels so much. Because carrying his carrier is like...really, really heavy. And when he was two months old I dropped him on the cement (in his carrier, of course!) while wearing heels and trying to carry him and other things at the same time. Yeah, a terrible lesson to learn! Almost sprained my ankle too. Thank the Lord Kaleb was okay though.
It's not super easy, this mom stuff, though.
But it's so worth it. Even during the hardest moments, I love him so much I don't know what I would do without him now.
I may regret saying this, but I really wouldn't mind having another sweet one soon! Staying at home with Kaleb has been one of the best times I've ever experienced in my life. One more might just add to the joy...
But anyway! I really better watch what I say.
I can't wait to see how he grows more. Each day is an adventure.
Our house is paying for it, but I don't care. When you walk in, it looks like a tornado ran through - and Kaleb's not even walking yet. Lol. I can only imagine what it will look like a year from now.
I can't wait! :)
Maybe I can...People say that I should stop and just enjoy each moment. I am!
But I look forward to all of his firsts too, so much. I can't wait to see him stand, say his first word, his first sentence, and eat his first birthday cake.
It's all an adventure. :) SO fun.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just more photos :)

I know, he needed the sunglasses on his trip to see the wind turbines! But....the trip helped us realized this! :0)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wonderful news!!! ;)

This is so beautiful to us! As mentioned in a previous blog, our sweet friends Sarah and Chet lost their baby in August. They started a beautiful well project in his name to help provide clean water to the far they have 13 wells and they'd only planned on having NINE by next September! :) God is GOOD! See if you see any sweet name on here...;) We are so honored!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And the verdict is....

Wonderful day! I just have to share!
We had another doc appointment today. I was a bit nervous because I wasn't sure what was going to happen.
We had been advised by the doc to schedule an appointment within one week after the last one according to our doctor. But due to circumstance, we had to wait two weeks.
Well, after two weeks of trying the new "regimen" Dr. Mclatchy gave us, I still had many questions. My main concern was that Kaleb wasn't getting enough of the meds the doctor had suggested. I say suggested, because the meds we were giving him were not prescription - the prescription she'd prescribed was too high, even on our insurance. So she had told the nurse to tell us to try Prevacid instead - the 14 day treatment that comes in a capsule form with time release beads. It says on the back of the package that it's for 18 years or older, but she assured me when I called the nurse back to check that it was okay to give it to my three month old in the full dose.
So we were giving Kaleb Prevacid, meanwhile also putting a tablespoon of rice cereal in every four ounces of formula he drank. All of this was to help him gain weight and help the doctor to know whether his problem of spitting up so much in one sitting was because of acid reflux, or a more serious problem some babies have - an intestinal obstruction, which might require surgery.
After this two week time frame, I still wasn't sure if anything was really helping. The main problem I was having was that the time release beads that I emptied into Kaleb's bottle every morning didnt' seem to be getting into his system - at least not all of them. Every time I'd give him a bottle, I'd see them still at the bottom after he was done, and it was almost impossible to get them all out and into something he could swallow. And the bottles I was using were specially made to help with bigger quantities. And after trying several different kinds of bottles, nothing seemed to work to get those little guys down my baby's throat! :)
Plus, I wasn't really sure if the amount of spitting up he was doing was changing at all. He was still kind of fussy after eating, and still spitting up.
So, I went to the doc with all of this in my head, and prepared to share with her my concerns.
Well, the first bit of good news - and the biggest news - was the scale.
We put him on it and he weighed a whopping 12 pounds and 2 ounces - which means he gained a POUND and 2 ounces in a two week time frame!
He was also in a much better mood than he was last time. (crossing my fingers here) He has been in an overall better mood over the last few days. He wasn't screaming, and writhing around like he has been so much. :)
These two things really pleased Dr. Mclatchy as soon as she saw him. She immediately wrote off the intestinal obstruction. I knew she would - she said that she'd just had no way of knowing before, but because he's gained so much weight in such a short time frame, that's the biggest sign he does NOT have an obstruction. Babies with an obstruction do not grow - she said they are like emaciated. .That is not his case! Praise the LORD!!! He is good ALL the time! :)
So....she assured me that it is acid reflux. Her opinion on that means a lot to me, because it is one) the second opinion I've gotten, and two) the affirmation I was looking for as far as what the problem is. mommie's heart is much more at peace! :) Yay!!!
As far as the Prevacid is concerned, she suggested giving it to him in a syringe, or a medicine dropper instead of his bottle, mixed with a bit of formula to make it taste better. I think that will solve the problem of knowing whether he's getting it all or not. Also, she said that we should continue with the "treatment," and not stop after the 14 days. She said it will be an ongoing treatment for him, until he gets better and stops the spitting. Oh well. I guess there are worse things!
She also said that we could start giving him solids! She recommended starting on basic sweet things - like carrots, and sweet potatoes, and bananas, then going from there. :) I am excited!
She said she recommends this for babies with acid reflux - an earlier start to solids will help things stay down better too, therefore he will get more nutrients. :)
As strange as it sounds to me, because I've always heard and read everywhere that starting babies on solids is good after SIX months (besides the rice cereal), I am excited about it. I can't wait to see how he reacts to different foods. I want to start small, of course. She said just one meal a day should do right now. :) Hehe. I'm super excited about it actually! I cant' wait to see his face! I am thinking about making my own baby food - which I've heard is really fun too. We have a nice blender that I think may double as a food processor (do all blenders do that???). We'll see what we can do with it. :)
SO, with all of that said, we are on the road to recovery. Oh, and one last wonderful tidbit of info. - she said most all babies with acid reflux outgrow it within the first year, and they don't even end up with sensitive tummies. Yayee! I was worried about that too.
Oh yeah - and this time my mother in law went with me and she didn't have to dumpster dive. Haha.

So praise Jesus. He is SO good, all the time!

Here's to a kind of rough start...but all is well. I have been informed by many a person recently that "difficult" babies in the beginning usually turn out to be the best people. Lol.

I just know that's the case with our boy!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Transition phase...narrowing down the possibilities!

Well, we're narrowing things down!

I know I've mentioned before that we have had some "cranky" issues with Kaleb. We were pretty certain it's colic, but he's also seemed pretty upset about spitting up too this whole time during his short little life.

As the doc says, he's an "unhappy spitter."

Well, since he'd not been getting any "happier," and babies are supposed to outgrow the cranky stage beginning around three or four months, I decided to take him to a pediatrician to see what they said.

Just you make mom feel better!

Well, I have a sweet friend Ashley who decided to go with me, and she is a wonderful person. Besides being awesome and prompting and helping me to go, she did something amazing for me...she dumpster dove.

Lol. Will share with you the details about that in a sec...

Anyway, as I was saying, I decided to get a "second opinion" on my precious boy because I am sort of concerned for him.

The pediatrician, Dr. Mclatchy, is in Abilene, and kind of a drive, but she's worth it. She was more than helpful. I felt so at ease with her, and she was VERY thorough with us, asking so many helpful questions.

She asked about his feeding habits, and his pooping, and his spitting up.

I explained to her my concerns, which are several...

He spits up A LOT.

And he doesn't seem happy about it.

And recently, he's had trouble breastfeeding!

And he is pretty fussy most of the time, still. And always seems hungry!

And it's because every time he eats, he pretty much spits up everything he eats again, so he feels like starting all over...but he can't! So...I was breastfeeding him like every two hours, then, after that, feeding him a bottle, and he'd always take like at least four ounces. It was hard for me to tell when he was full...because after he'd take it, he'd be satisfied (after spitting most of it up again) for about 20 minutes, then fussy all over again. I am always constantly guessing what's wrong...and never quite sure!

Now, being a new mom, I really have not been sure what's "right" and what's "wrong" for a new little one. I didn't know that the amount of spitting up Kaleb's been doing is abnormal...I'd always heard that babies just spit up, and that's what they do.

So I kind of just decided to deal with it for a while.

But he really wasn't gaining weight either.

So, after the previous trip to the doc, what I'd decided to do (after doc's orders) was to breastfeed every two hours, then give him formula. It was kind of exhausting!

But anyway, through this doc's visit, I realized that Kaleb's symptoms were not normal. So, after Dr. Mclatchy's visit, and after Ashley's dumpster dive, we eliminated some issues it could be...and came up with new ones.

Lol. (Ashley had to go get a dirty diaper out of the dumpster we'd thrown in there a few minutes before our doctor's visit....she said it was at the very bottom amongst many other dirty was a "God thing" though...because the only way she was able to determine which one was ours was that we'd thrown Kaleb's into an old coffee cup because we had to carry it so far to the dumpster!..Ashley deserves an award or something! I think she ranks higher on my friends scale today! Lol!)

After checking Kaleb's poopy dumpster diaper for blood (doc did it - she said that it would eliminate a milk allergy - good to know!) and coming up with none, our elimination process ended with the doctor saying she thought it was one of two things.

She said the first, which she's pretty sure it's not, could be Pyloric Stenosis, which is a fancy way of saying an "intestinal obstruction". She said most of the time, with this, babies projectile vomit starting from like the second week on, and really don't gain weight at all, no matter what you do. She said this doesn't look like the case, because he is gaining a bit, finally. (After a weight check today, he weighs 11 pounds...thanks to all that formula!:)

The second, she said, is most likely what it is - acid reflux. That's originally what we had thought (from the last doc's visit). But the second opinion really helped me to nail it down.

Plus, she had more suggestions for us. She said that she was going to prescribe a different med than my previous doctor because the first (Tagamet) didn't seem to work. She prescribed Prevacid. However, she did say that it might be a little expensive, but just to let her know if that was the case, because she'd call in something else if so. (which ended up being the case when we went to the they are in the process of changing it and we'll check on it tomorrow) She also said that she would recommend a different bottle to use - the Avent bottle, with a variable nipple. It's a nipple that has three settings - the first being the strongest setting at preventing too much formula to get through it at one time. She said this, combined with a tablespoon of rice cereal to the amount of formula he already takes, should help with the problem too. Rice cereal stays down easier because it's heavier. She said she only prescribes this for babies with acid reflux.

She mentioned with the breastfeeding issues I'm having, that maybe we should just try to do formula, and "supplement" with breastfeeding...pretty much just what she calls, "comfort feeding," - giving him one good breastfeeding at night. She said more than likely my milk will adjust to it. Hopefully. That still kind of makes me think that we may not be breastfeeding anymore. I have wanted so badly to give him the best start possible to his life. And I know that through all the breastfeeding I've done so far, I have....but three months? Makes me think that we would stop now. But...if that is what it takes to keep him healthy, that's what it takes. :)

Dr. Mclatchy also saw Kaleb spit up while she was there, and that was a big help too. She was like, " that how much he usually spits up?"
I was like, "Yes..."
And she said, "Yeah, we'll want to see him back here soon. Set up an appointment for next week sometime and we'll see how he's doing."
She said if he hadn't gained any weight by then, she'd possibly do an ultrasound on his tummy for an intestinal obstruction...which, of course, is NOT what a mommie wants to hear!

So...we are praying that it is the acid reflux. I would hate, I mean...I would CRY if I knew my sweet little boy had to have surgery right now....The thought scares me.
I know it would be safe, as I've read about it, but still.
No one wants their three month old to go through surgery.

But we'll be finding out real soon what is wrong with him. I can't wait for him to just be a normal, happy little guy...his happy times are like nothing I've ever experienced before in life...His happy times are SO much fun.

Oh, and as for Ashley - she is doing much better after her dumpster diving experience. She escaped unharmed and relatively clean. She did decide she needed to use hand sanitizer after the ordeal, though.

What a friend.



So we are in the elimination phase.

Pray it's a smooth transition into a new one!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Precious moments....

So...I think I heard the most beautiful noise I've ever heard in my entire life the other day.

Kaleb laughed.

For the first time.

In his life.

Oh my.

It was so cute.

You see, he's been trying to laugh the last week or so.

And he finally succeeded!

It started as just an "Agh," and a smile.Like usual.

But I was changing him on his changing table the other day, and he finished his laugh. And he decided, for whatever reason that me pulling his shirt over his head was hilarious.
As soon as I'd pull it over, he'd just giggle and giggle like it was the funniest thing ever!
And then, he wouldn't stop giggling!

Since then, other things are making him laugh...

He also giggles when I throw him up in the air, and of course, being tickled tickles him! :) I tickle his feet, and his tummy, and he just giggles and giggles!

Oh he is the light of my life!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In this pic: Sarah Erwin, middle, in green, and me, on far right in black.

Precious water, precious people

The last few days have been wonderful, life changing days for our family. :)
Let me explain.

As I previously mentioned, some dear friends of ours had a stillborn at the end of this last August.

It was devastating to us.

My friend, Sarah and I had been pregnancy buddies throughout our whole pregnancies. Our due dates were just two weeks apart.
Needless to say, we got pretty close, because pregnancy will do that to you! If you're not talking about how wonderful it is, you are lamenting about your nausea, or emptying the cookie jar! :)

So when I pulled up Sarah's Facebook page that fateful day in August after finding out she was in labor, I was so excited to find out just how cute and sweet her new little bundle was.

The words still haunt me.

They were not the words I had looked forward to seeing.

Instead, she was thanking everyone for their prayers and concern.

Justin and I drove to Sunday School that morning in tears, to find everyone else in tears too. Sarah and Chet are part of our Sunday School class and everyone had found out the devastating news...

Her sweet Holden went to be with Jesus before he was born, while Sarah was still in labor.

The funeral was held the next Tuesday, and that afternoon a beautiful rainbow filled the was like the Lord was reminding us there was hope.

Well, as scheduled, about 3 weeks later, I gave birth to our beautiful, precious Kaleb Lee.

The girls from Sunday School visited us, and poured out their love on us and our sweet bundle - I'm sure it was bittersweet for Sarah, who, out of the sweetness of her heart, came to see him too.

I still ask myself sometimes, "Why?"

Why was it Sarah and Chet, wonderful servants of the Lord, who were chosen to have this awful thing happen to them?

Well I know one answer to that question.

It's because the Lord knew their hearts - he knew they would help him make beauty out of the ashes.

Over the next few months, Sarah and Chet would astound us with their faith.

As I write this, I tear up just thinking about it.

They have turned a devastating event into a beautiful thing.

Now, because their son died in her womb, 8,000 people in Uganda will be drinking safe water. Through their son's death, nine wells will be built, and already, wells five and six are in the process of being taken care of. This is because they allowed Jesus to work miracles through a dire situation. Whoa. We are in awe.

Chet works for an insurance company, and was able to work on all of the non profit stuff. Their friends, Kara and J.D. initially helped them get the project started, and it has really begun to take off.

They originally wanted to have nine wells built by Holden's first birthday, representing the nine months he spent here on earth.

But the Lord is providing a little faster than they had plans per usual, he is knocking our socks off! :)

Please check out their web site and the video:

Holden from Jim Shuffield on Vimeo.

Needless to say (again!), that Sarah and Chet have helped the Lord make beauty out of the ashes.

And Justin and I have been saving for quite a while. As some know, we became completely debt free last year in November. We view this as an extreme blessing from the Lord. He has been too good to us.

We have been saving for a house.

Yes, it's quite a daunting task. It takes forever!

But through our saving, we know that the Lord tends to work in mysterious ways.

Well, since this has happened, Justin and I were so moved. We wanted, in some way, to help - to give some small part of ourselves to our dear friends, and their cause.

So we decided to purchase a well, and have it be from Kaleb to Holden.

From cousin to cousin! Kaleb's auntie is Sarah, and what a sweet auntie she is.

And we know that Kaleb and Holden will be good friends one day. It's only fitting that Kaleb would give a bit of his money to his friend.

Plus - funny side note - Justin and I call ourselves "water snobs." Everywhere we go in our small town, we don't like drinking the water. It's disgusting! (Sorry, but it is!) I'm from Seattle, where water was abundant, and not to mention, pretty good. And I've kind of turned Justin into a Culligan fanatic. So...we kind of are particular about our water.

Anyway, through this, Justin and I have discussed how good it makes you feel. It's amazing how giving is such a blessing! And to know that our money will be used for something that is so dear to us in so many ways, is something you just can't put into words.

So, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, Erwin family for allowing us to give. You are SO dear to us, and your Holden is SO precious.

Verse to be on our well -
"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let the one who hears say, 'Come!' Let the one who is thirsty come, and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life."

The inscription on our well will read something like (with the suggestion from Chet and Sarah):

"This well is dedicated to Jarod and Paige Thomas, and big sister Callyn Joy, from Holden's cousin, Kaleb Lee Englert."

Each of the wells is dedicated to a family who lost their baby. Here is the Thomas family web site :

This family will forever be special to us. They lost a little one, Tatum Cate, on May 15, 2008.

This has been a life changing time for us.

Thank you, sweet cousin Holden, for allowing us to help others.

Your life, no matter how brief it may have been, is changing so many lives, including ours.