Saturday, January 25, 2014

Little Man is Eight Months Old!

Wow, eight months has flew by so fast and my little boy is getting so long and lean! It has been a struggle these last several months because of little brother's health issues and at the same time he has been a great blessing in our lives!  Having a baby with so many health problems is very frightening for me especially since I suffer with anxiety. He has definitely taught me patience!  For the last several months, my baby has been on feeding and nap strikes, which is very stressful for a Mother who is trying her best.  There were many dark moments when I was at my wits end or thought I was being pushed to my limit. I said many prayers to get through the most difficult days when my little man refused to drink his bottle (the days he only consumed 10 oz of breast milk in 24 hours, ack).  I recall he had feeding issues since he was two weeks old after we discovered his first hernia because he refused to nurse and didn't drink much bottle. So I have been diligently pumping six times a day so that my baby can benefit from the breast milk.  It has been difficult and time consuming to exclusively pump breast milk! I have suffered with mastitis, clogged ducts, blisters, and cracked sore nipples from the breast pump.  I groan or drift to sleep during my 5:00 AM pumping sessions, so that I can "sleep feed" my little one before he wakes up. Certainly, he has been in a lot of pain during his short precious life, which explains his horrible feeding behaviors.  The doctors and I believe he has developed a conditioned bottle aversion because it hurt so much to drink most of his life. I have been working with a dietitian and feeding therapist to address his feeding issues. We will be following up with a pediatric gastric-intestinal specialist next week. In the mean time, I am happy if he consumes 24 oz of breast milk a day while sleeping! The biggest fear for me is when he starts decreasing the number of naps during the day. Currently he takes three naps a day... As for his gross motor skills, I was referred to Kids on the Move, which is an early intervention program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays. Little brother was recently evaluated by a child developmental therapist. She determined that he needs physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. In the next few weeks, we will be very busy with those appointments, which will take place at home, thankfully. I love how Kids on the Move will come to me instead of me going to their clinic. Lastly, we met with a genetic specialist, which I will blog more later. Basically, my husband John, little sister, and little brother have Marks and Finlay Syndrome...
Six Months Old
Milestones: At six months old, little brother was failing to thrive. He was 13 lbs. 5 oz., 26. 1/4 inches long, and 44.5 cm for head circumference. The doctor encouraged me to calorie pack by fortifying my breast milk and introduce other table foods such as fruits and veggies. He hated drinking the fortified breast milk. In fact, he would flat out refuse the bottle if he tasted it!  So I just went back to regular breast milk and fortified his milk with his solids, which he didn't notice. Luckily, he likes the stage one veggies and fruits mixed in with cereal, which helps him receive some added nutrition in his diet.   As for his gross motor skills, he was sat up with assistance, banged toys together, and laughed when we threw a cup. Sadly, he stopped rolling over around 4.5 months, which I thought was due to wanting to do other things. After his second hernia surgery, a doctor in the hospital told me to have him checked out because a normal baby just won't stop rolling over especially after mastering the skill.  The doctors and I believe he was weak and uncomfortable from his diaphragmatic hernia, which I don't blame him. I cannot imagine how much pain he has been in for the last several months dealing with hernia pressure on his vital organs!
Seven Months Old
Milestones: He is slowly gaining weight and barely below 0 on the growth weight chart for his age. He was 14 lbs. and 7 oz. on December 26, 2013. He continues to eat fruits, veggies, and cereals. To our surprise, he is not a huge fan of pears and had a reaction to berries. His diet includes the following: custards, sweet potatoes, and avocados to help him gain weight.  The doctor prescribed him acid reflux medicine Zantac, which seems to help with the volume of feedings, however, he still continues to consume most of his liquids during a sleep state. He will sit up for a few minutes and then fall over due to weak core muscles.  At a post surgery check up appointment from our pediatrician Dr. Cox, we decided to get many other specialists involved such as a genetics, GI doctor, feeding therapist, Kids on the move, etc.
Eight Months Old

Milestones: On January 23, 2013, he was 14 lbs. 15 oz and 1% on the growth weight chart. He still struggles with his bottle feedings, however, he will drink a couple ounces while awake on his own. The doctor recommended that I fortify his milk again, which he is doing okay with it. I am crossing my fingers that he will continue to drink his milk with formula.  Every little bit that helps increase his calorie intake will make a huge difference!  Our happy little boy is rolling over again, yay!  Once he figured out it no longer hurts to roll over he is moving all over the place!  He still hates tummy time though, which we need to work on with physical therapy. Little brother isn't sitting up unsupported very well because he arches his back and falls over, which can be very scary or dangerous.  In due time, he will master sitting up. I started some simple sign language to help with his communication. As for fine motor skills, he is starting to grasp at small objects and clap his hands. Slowly, he is making some progress and definitely makes us smile every single day. We love our little man!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Princess School: Daddy Daughter Date

Princess and King Free

The beautiful invitation was made by little sister and her activity day leaders:
Once upon a time, little sister had a daddy date on September 27, 2013. It was held at a nearby church, which our daughter's activity day leaders put together. First, each princess were formally introduced to their "king" with a paragraph about their hobbies and interests while wearing a crown, tutu skirt, and sash, which they made during previous activity days.

On each table there were royal King and Princess name cards.

 They ate a lovely dinner (coconut chicken, mashed potatoes, beans, rolls). As for dessert, they ate pretty cupcakes and rainbow jello.  For the activities, they did Princess School, which included the following subjects:  fencing balloon pop, dancing, making caramel apples, building a castle out of gigantic Legos, and the Kings had to walk in Princesses shoes (large shoe sizes but nothing fit King Free).  It was evident that they had a marvelous time since they came home "happily ever after" with smiles on their faces! 
  What a fun enchanting activity for Dads and daughters, which they will never forget!