Monday, September 30, 2013

Plugging away.

I am still avoiding grading, but it has to get done by tomorrow afternoon, so I will get some done this morning, and if I have to work in the afternoon today, then I will. I assume the Magpie will be asleep because she slept for hours after the last time she got blood drawn, so I hope she sleeps again after that this afternoon.

Here's an update on her. Horrible horrible days Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday. The pediatrician met us at her office on Saturday to give us all the specialty/prescription formula she had so we could get her started on it right away. And she's responding well. Still some problems. I think we were hoping for a miracle because all the things I read about babies being on the specialty formulas or the hypoallergenic formulas involve changes overnight. I think it's going to be two weeks before we really see the what what here. But overall, she seems to be improving. Today, we start allergy testing. The pediatrician suspects corn, soy, and milk. If it turns out to be a those three, then we have a long road ahead of us simply because I produce milk and formulas are filled with corn syrup. There's one that's non-GMO corn and soy oil free, it's just a matter of getting it. But we'll wait and see. Anyway, this means that the little girl has to get blood drawn again (today I believe--I think we'll get the order today and then just go right to the hospital), and they take the blood from her head, so it's painful to watch, and then that's why she sleeps like she does. She usually passes out from the pain. Or she did last time. I think I'm getting more sleep, but she wouldn't sleep on her back last night--her reflux was too bad, so she had to sleep upright on the J. I hated getting frustrated with her because I could hear the reflux, so I know she was uncomfortable, but le sigh. I guess that's enough for now. I'm going to start grading.

I hope we can get this resolved soon. We all, including the Magpie, need some consistency here. She is so tired and miserable. But we've had some much better waking moments since starting the prescription formula. We even got our first sustained giggle on Sunday! My dad just makes her laugh. It's too precious.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Can't shake the blues

It's Friday. I have a ton of grading from Monday that I haven't even looked at yet. I have a stack coming in Tuesday and another coming in Wednesday. I just can't focus this week on all of that. It's been a really long week. I'm exhausted. It's been a struggle just to get the reading done, let alone think about grading. At some point though it's going to have to happen. Maybe I can take a nap after lunch and then get a few graded this afternoon, although honestly, more likely what's going to happen is I'm going to start working on the Monday while the freshmen are working on their drafts. I just can't get organized or focus enough to start grading when I know I only have one office hour. I'm sure I could accomplish quite a bit, but I just don't want to and don't care right now. I know that sounds horrible, but truth be told, I'm terribly depressed this week, and it's hard to get anything going right now. I just can't focus. And I don't want to do anything resembling work this weekend. I want to hang out with the J and Magpie. I'm just so tired and so emotionally drained right now.

I feel like I'm starting to get really depressed. I think it will get better with some sleep, like if I got a couple of good nights my mood would dramatically improve, but I don't know when that will be. I'm really hoping that we have the formula by next Wednesday. The J and I are both very optimistic that the formula is going to fix a lot of her issues. It just can't get here soon enough for us to give it a shot. But even that takes two full weeks before it really starts working on the gas problem, but I guess it takes that long probably for her body to fully adjust to it and really get all of the milk proteins out.

Also, completely unrelated, but I don't really like my hair. I need to change it, but I don't know what to do with it. And since I haven't been to CF in a week, I'm just feeling blah and such.

So there we are. I'm going to go home, eat, and nap hopefully. Also, I think I am really very much more upset about this probably being the end of breastfeeding than I was letting on. When I think about it, I tear up. So enough of that.

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sigh. I hope that there are better things on the horizon.

The Magpie's test results came back negative, so yay, no surgery required for blockage or anything like that.

Something odd happened yesterday--with the forced fast and being starving, little girl had one of the best days she's ever had. In the absence of breastmilk and hypoallergenic (still milk protein based, although the proteins are broken down) formula, her skin cleared up--no eczema flares yesterday and no gas. This indicates to me that all of her problems are milk protein related and that it's time for the prescription formula. The doctor and the nurse said that it was very odd for babies to have good days with that kind of test. But it's so sad that the poor girl was happier with that stuff out of her system and starving than she is with a full belly. So we have begun the process of getting the prescription formula. It takes about a week, and there's a lot of paperwork apparently involved on the doctor's part in order to get the insurance company to pay for it. Both the J and I feel so strongly that it is the milk protein and that the hypoallergenic formula is not cutting it that we are willing to pay for two weeks worth of the formula (about $300) out of pocket to prove our point. I don't think the pediatrician is unwilling to go this route, for whatever reason, but I think she has a lot of hoops to jump through in order to get the insurance to cover it, which getting the insurance to cover it, even in part, makes it cheaper than the hypoallergenic non-prescription formula. And our insurance will ship it right to us.

If the prescription stuff doesn't bring her relief like it should, then we start allergy testing, which involves drawing more blood and doing it several times (she's too young for the skin test). But that is the last resort. According to the prescription formula website, Magpie more than meets the qualifications for being put on the formula and for having the insurance company reimburse us. She has GERD. She is gaining weight at half the rate she should, and it's decreasing in amount each week--we've gone from 30 grams to 28 to holding steady for a while at 23 to 21 to a plummet to 15grams a day. She went from gaining at least 10 oz a week to 5 oz a week to only 4 oz this past week. Not to mention the intense, painful gas pain. And I'm worried she's getting closer and closer to the "failure to thrive" category, just based on her weight issues. But even when the paperwork goes through, it will be at least a week before we get the formula.

The J and I have decided that if for whatever reason the doc insists she stays on her current formula, then I'm going to continue to nurse her as well. If she's going to be subjected to milk protein, then I'm not going to deny her the benefits and it doesn't make a difference, that the J and I can tell, in her gas issues and skin. And if we do get the prescription formula, I will continue to pump for the two weeks until we know where we are, and if the prescription formula "cures" her, then I will finally call it quits on the breastfeeding.

Even though I told the doc I was okay with quitting today, I'm totally not. I can't explain how much of a failure I feel. I couldn't get my baby out the right way and I can't feed her the right way. I feel like I've been robbed of something, and it's not fair at all. And that's all I say because I don't want to start crying in *$ right now.

So there's that.

I didn't meet my grading or reading goals yesterday. I'm depressed, sleep deprived, and because of the lack of sleep, I'm not letting myself go to CF because I'd rather not get injured lifting while tired and unrested. I've been taking walks, but it's not cutting it. So it's been a shitty week. And that means that I've got to spend a large part of tomorrow afternoon grading, which, in the words of Bartlby, "I'd prefer not to."

I've got to come up with some paper topics for the freshpeoples that I need to go over tomorrow. I've got to finish their readings for tomorrow. At least I'm giving them time in class on Monday, the whole class period, to work on those essays. So I can get some grading done then. I've got to try to get a handle on my schedule here.

I guess without further ado, I will get their paper topics done, and read for tomorrow. And maybe I'll try to get some grading done later. Sigh. I hope that soon I can redeem myself. Nothing has gone to plan since this time last year (except getting pregnant), but nothing is how it's supposed to be. And I've got to deal with that and work within the life I have right now. For now though, I'm glad that Magpie does not need surgery.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I am so worried about the possibility that Magpie is going to need surgery--I mean, there's no need to worry until there's a need to worry--so I need to keep my mind off of this.

I hate being away from her. This is in part why I just have trouble working during the week.

But, she will soon be old enough for us to be able to start taking her to do things on the weekends, like going to the park or I'm looking forward to finding a pumpkin patch around here, so I need to rethink the way that I work so that I am free on the weekends to spend time with Magpie and the J. Before I was reading everything on a Saturday and/or Sunday morning for the week. That doesn't work for me anymore. I don't want to spend my weekend time away from her or the J any more. But I don't want to work all week either. And I regret the schedule I gave myself for the fall. Under different circumstances it would be ideal, but given life as it is, it doesn't. So we're trying something different next quarter, but for now, I think it might be worth working a couple of hours every day at this point rather than spending entire weekends working and not getting any time with the pumpkin.

Ideally I'd like to be able to hit the 7:30 CF class then hit the coffee shop for a few hours on TR rather than the 4 pm class, but it depends on sleep. And I'm trying to make the most of Monday afternoons in my office.

Here's the plan for the week: This week's readings for both classes and next week's readings so that starting next Monday I can spend Monday's office hours prepping for the following week so I'm always a week ahead. Then use the remaining office hours for grading and maybe an hour or two on TR for grading. Then perhaps an hour or two on TR working on research. I think if I can schedule at least 2 hours a week for research I'll feel better about myself. And if I'm only gone for 3 hours on TR in the mornings and have the afternoons with Magpie, then I won't feel like a deadbeat mom.

Today's plan:
  • Finish reading for Friday's classes & start next week's readings.
  • Grade for one hour. 
  • CF 4pm class.
I think I might be able to handle this modest list. I hope. I'm also trying to gear up for a long night tonight. Magpie's GI exam is tomorrow morning, and we cannot feed her after midnight tonight, so it's going to be a loooooooong night, especially since the last two nights she's been getting up every 1.5-2 hours to eat during the night. We'll see.

Okay, after I answer an email, I'm off to try to accomplish something. 

    Monday, September 23, 2013

    Really struggling with balance right now.

    Though I have very little time to be spending blogging, I feel like I really right now need this space. I am stressed, suffering from a mild to moderate case of PPD (I think; the hubs agrees, and it's just more pronounced when I'm not getting any sleep), worried about the Magpie, and worried about myself. Like today it's hard sitting in my office and not just breaking down into tears. It's taking all the energy I have right now not to. But I need this space to work through stuff and to clear my head.

    First, update on Miss Magpie: Blood tests came back negative except for some elevated lymph stuff which the doc expected because of the eczema. However, poor girl is still, even with some more dietary limitations on my part, and experimenting with hypoallergenic formula for a week, suffering from gas pain and some sort of distress. So now on Wednesday we go back to the hospital to have an Upper GI test done to see if there's blockage causing the problem, if there's a curvature in the esophagus causing it, if there's an artery in the way or what. I'm worried about the potential need for surgery. And while I should be grading right now, I need to clear my head so that I can focus and get through the grading in a timely manner. And there are too many things running through my brain right now for me to really focus.

    On top of all of this is RESEARCH looming in the background. As in, I've not done anything. This summer (including up to this coming Monday), I have had three opportunities for possible publication opportunities that I've not been able to put anything together for. I thought I'd be able to cram for this last one because it seemed like the Magpie was getting better and sleeping more, but that lasted all of a week. And when it comes to the choice between doing something that takes care of my health or spending that hour researching, I actually choose exercise more often than not. It's really the only thing keeping me sane, and I need the stress release, and I feel like if I'm more stressed and not taking care of myself, then that is going to be much worse. And any time I do get to work, it's in trying to keep up with my classes, and I'm really trying to be focused on the Magpie when I'm at home because I want to enjoy every moment I can with her. It's obnoxious how much I adore that kid.

    So right now I'm really struggling with guilt--guilt over worrying about my research, which is non-existent at this point when I'm with her and then worrying about Magpie when I'm trying to think about research. My worry is whether I'm going to be able to get anything done this quarter, and it may be that I need to just not think about that until we get some answers for the Magpie. But I have my course release this quarter, so I'm just really struggling with trying to hold everything together. I imagine it would be different if I had an infant who didn't have problems, who responded to routine, but I don't, and this wasn't how it was supposed to be. But I have to work on accepting what it is rather than what it should have been. I have a book on 8 minute meditation. I need to finish that. Perhaps that might help.

    I think I need to not think about research for a month, focus on the kid and myself and staying ahead of my classes and then re-evaluate where I am and where the Magpie is on November 1, unless we figure out sooner what's up with her. I'm hoping that even if things are figured out until the first of the year that I can still pull an article together by summer.

    I'm trying so hard to remain optimistic.

    Would you like to see a picture or two of her? I just realized I've never introduced her to you bloggy world.  I mean, look at that face! Is she not just so painfully freaking adorable?? God I just love this baby!

    And now, I'm going to grade some freshman comp essays. I think I'll set a goal of grading for an hour, and then I'm going to read for Friday's classes for an hour.

    Sunday, September 15, 2013

    Waving, Not Drowning, at least not yet...

    I'm so far behind in all of your lives since google reader went away. Anybody have any suggestions for a good blog reader?

    I cannot believe it has been almost 2 months since my last post. It's been a rough summer, yo. I mean, I love my Wee Bit to death and wouldn't train her for the world, but she's had a rough go of it her first three months on this earth. Baby girl had been suffering with these horrible gas pains and digestive issues--she has GERD--gastro-esophogal reflux disorder and is on baby Zantac that she has to take 2x a day. She is also allergic to breast milk--She is actually allergic to the milk proteins. I don't consume any dairy at all, so it's the lactose in the breast milk. We've eliminated a lot of foods* from my diet to try to pin point the continuing gas issues for the poor girl, but not much makes a difference. We go to the pediatrician every week or two for weight checks because as much as she eats, she still isn't gaining weight as fast as the pediatrician wants her to. She consistently gains weight; she is just wee.

    Baby girl also has eczema. And, she has several swollen lymph nodes, so Friday we had to have blood drawn. Unbeknownst to me, blood is taken from the veins in the head on infants. As awful as this sounds, and as absolutely horrible as it was for me to witness this, the J assured me that a) this is standard (we had the blood drawn in the NICU) and b) the BEST way to get lots of blood in the least traumatic way. Our nurse was amazing, and it was all over in less than 2 minutes. Poor girl passed out from the pain as soon as the needle came out and slept for a little over 3 hours in her carseat, but she's been such a trooper. So the last two months have been particularly rough for the baby.

    My parents are here now for at least until February, which has been WONDERFUL. We are so lucky that they can do this for us and that they're not assholes. It's crowded in here, but this poor little girl really does need to have two people to watch her working in tandem until we get all her little issues figured out. So right now, as we continue to try to figure out what's going on with her and how severe the milk allergy is, we are to feed her only hypoallergenic formula (we're on our second type here), and I can't nurse her at all (this is heart breaking). I spend my days now pumping and storing the milk. The pediatrician is hoping that we don't have to permanently eliminate the boob, but depending on the level of the allergy, we're hoping that worst case scenario is boob time is limited so she can still benefit from the breast milk in a way that totally doesn't aggravate her little stomach. We've got a freezer full of breast milk right now. Pumping is totally exhausting, btw.

    Because she's had so many issues, sleep has been a struggle, as well as her comfort--the reflux makes it hard for her to sleep flat (we have wedges for the crib and the co-sleeper for nighttime), but during the day, she would only sleep upright on me and we just took turns at night sleeping upright with her. So even with a bookstand for hands free reading, I've not been able to accomplish anything. I've missed 2 potential publication opportunities this summer because I just could not get the reading done for them, even just for the abstract. And it looks like I'll miss the opportunity for one at the end of this month because there is no time to do the extensive reading. It's not like I can stay up or go sequester myself somewhere. I regret not getting this done last year, but oh well. I knew it would be difficult to get stuff done with an infant, but I think it would have been easier without a sick child and just an infant who took naps, you know? I mean, I wasn't even able to eat let alone think about research.

    I do have my course release this fall, so I do have to figure out how to negotiate research and a baby here. At least I have child care and can basically leave at any time (I can only pump every four hours--I don't make enough for every two hours, which has been part of her weight gain issue we think, but we've got plenty of formula and breast milk for my absence). I'm hoping that in the next week, I can figure something out and put some sort of plan together both in terms of keeping up with my schoolwork and research.

    In other news, three weeks ago, when the parents got here, I was able to start working out again. The official first week of school was a bit rough with the workouts--I got two days in I think--but this last week has been good. All of us, the J, the parents, and myself, we are all participating in the Whole Life Challenge (as is our CF box). We are entering week 2 here, at it's really helped a lot in terms of making sure that we are taking care of ourselves. If I weren't so competitive, and we didn't have this, I would have been eating pizza all week and not working out and probably feeling a whole helluva a lot more miserable. But the parents have really embraced CrossFit; I'm especially proud of my dad. It's great seeing him trying to get healthy and really pushing himself (safely) in CrossFit and enjoying it. I have made some major gains in my strength just this week, which has been great given that I was stressed with school (already), stressed about the baby, and behind in my work, and worried about this new deadline, but seriously, realistically, I cannot read for nor pull a 20 page paper for a fancy journal out of my ass in the next 15 days. Maybe if I could work around the clock, but realistically I can't, so I may just have to let it go and figure something else out. If my parents weren't here though, I certainly wouldn't be able to cook healthy food or work out, so I think things would be a bit more dicey, maternity leave or not.

    And that's the other thing. I was talking with my mom, and we decided that for our family (the immediate family on my side) that I didn't get the maternity leave for the fall has turned out to be positive because my dad would not be making these changes in his health right now (it might have happened in February, but he may have gained 30 more pounds by then!), and this is all very positive indeed. So if not having maternity leave means that we get to take care of my dad's health sooner, then I'm okay with that trade off. However, for the next kid though, I'm not attempting to go back to work until that kid is at least 6 months old, so we're planning for the next one to come at the beginning of Spring Quarter so there will be no question about my being able to take mat leave and then having the summer off, too.

    I have missed this space. I need this space. I hope I'm able to be here more regularly.

    *No soy, dairy, corn, gluten, grains, peanuts, beans. And now, no eggs, no nuts of any kind, no cabbage, no oranges. Ironically, the first month of her life when my diet was awful--Wendy's and donuts, fast food, pizza--she did much better from the gas standpoint for Magpie. I had eliminated caffeine, but now that school has started back up, the doctor said my half caff coffee is ok because I have, usually only one cup, sometimes two.