Posts Tagged ‘ Reflux ’

Gluten-Free? Help Me.

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

I don’t know if I’ve ever actually written about this here before, but Caroline has some serious GI issues.  I know I’ve written about her reflux in the past because it nearly killed both of us (her from aspiration pneumonia and me from pure stress), but I’ve probably never mentioned her extreme constipation because a) I keep forgetting to and b) talking about poop on the internet is super gross, you guys.

But here we are because, as in the past, I need your help.  Ready?  Caroline’s dermatologist suggested that her combination of severe eczema and constipation might be due to a wheat sensitivity, so she recommended we try going gluten-free.  When I was a kid, I technically tested positive for a wheat allergy (which I have ignored completely and proceeded to eat carbs like it is my job), and she’s seen kids with these issues have them completely clear up when gluten is removed from their diet, so… we’re giving it a shot.

I have to admit I’m not exactly thrilled at the prospect.  Caroline, like most three-year-olds, is already an extremely picky eater.  I’m not sure how I’m going to get her to eat a balanced diet without gluten, since I have to put wheat products in most things in order to get her to eat them without a huge battle (i.e. macaroni and cheese with peas, blueberry pancakes, broccoli nuggets with bread crumbs, chicken nuggets, etc.)

In summary, here are the things she likes to eat: things with gluten in them.  Here are the things she doesn’t like to eat: things without gluten in them.

You see my dilemma.  She might starve and I might lose my mind.  (And yes, I am being dramatic.  I’ve been told I have a flair for it.  I don’t think it was a compliment.)

Despite the difficulties, I guess it can’t hurt to try, right?  Going gluten-free could be good for me, too.  I mean, I do technically have an allergy, and at the risk of sounding like a 14 year old teeny-bopper, I heard Miley Cyrus recently went gluten-free and have you seen girlfriend’s abs lately?  I’m just sayin’.  (I know she’s like 19, tops, and has never had a child that we know of but please just let me live in my fantasy world, okay?)

So, gluten-free parents out there, what’s a girl and very picky preschooler to do?  Any recommendations for recipes, websites, blogs, and/or gluten-free substitutes for wheat products?  How do you handle a child who has to go gluten-free when all they ever want to eat is carbs?

 

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Start Here: My Story

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Mom and toddler

Hi!  I’m Julia, single mom to Caroline, age two, who I adore but did not plan for.  I got pregnant with her unexpectedly about halfway through dental school.  I was married at the time.  I continued with school until I went into preterm labor around 28 weeks, at which point I took a year off.  I went back to dental school in January 2010, when Caroline was 11 months old.  That summer, I filed for divorce from my husband, and our divorce was finalized this past February.  I finally graduated from dental school just last week.  My blog is about the challenges and joys of being a single mother and a dental student… and now that I’m done with school, a brand-new dentist.

I’ve been blogging for about three years and just moved all my old posts here to Parents (after much effort and HTML editing and breaking and fixing of tags, which probably would have been no big deal if I actually knew what a tag was, which I don’t). Since most of you reading this are probably new to my blog, I thought I’d put together a list of the posts that summarize my story the best. For the rest of you who already know me and followed me here… a little walk down memory lane. Or skip this post and wait for the new stuff!

Pick and choose and skip at will!

Shock: The day I found out I was pregnant.

The perils of unplanned pregnancy: The start of the troubles between me and Tyler.

Preterm WHAT??: Preterm labor begins at 28 weeks.

Suddenly a stay-at-home mom: Temporarily leaving school and going on bedrest.

It’s a girl!: Caroline is born at 36 weeks!

My birth story will have to wait: NICU trials and tribulations.

Birth story: This one’s self-explanatory.

A paper cut on the eye: Struggles with breastfeeding and pumping.

My “I-will-never’s”: It’s so much easier to parent before you actually become a parent.

See you in 10 minutes!”: I was so not a newborn kind of person.

Life is good: Just kidding, I was so totally a newborn kind of person. That day.

Whose leg do I have to hump to get a referral around here?: Issues with reflux.

Diagnosis: I am diagnosed with postpartum depression and PTSD.

Quitting time: I quit pumping in order to save my sanity.

Single mom’ing it: Tyler’s long and frequent absences take their toll.

I can do this: I return to dental school after my year at home.

Milestone anxiety: Caroline’s gross motor delay and resulting physical therapy.

May 16, 2010: Was once supposed to be my graduation day… but was still a good one.

Overly personal statement: Thoughts on having a baby during dental school.

I think I need to clarify: Explanation of my decision to file for divorce.

Empty: Tyler officially moves out.

Dear Caroline: A letter to my daughter about why I left her father.

“I don’t think she smiles like that”: Finding my happy place.

Off-limits: Struggles with dating after divorce.

Same team: My roller coaster plunges down again, and stories of divorce counseling.

Irretrievable breakdown: Our divorce is finalized.

“How do you do it all?”: Well, as it turns out, I really don’t.

That which angers you, controls you: I struggle with Tyler introducing his new girlfriend to Caroline.

Control freak: Continued struggles and introspection.

Alone: Thoughts on being single.

Prayer for my daughter: Reflections on what I want for my daughter, based on my own trainwreck of a personal life.

DMD… finally: My graduation from dental school… at last.

Whew. Long list. But it’s way shorter than reading all of my past posts. And if the past three years of my life have been anything, they’ve been eventful. Enjoy, and welcome to my blog!

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“Mama”

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

I have a lot of things to report, mostly because I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks. I was thinking today that I fear for my blog when I go back to school, because I’ve hardly found the time to write while I’ve been staying at home. And then I thought that I actually blogged more while I was in school, so maybe it won’t die out after all. And then I thought that I should probably just go write a post since I am wasting all this time thinking about blogging.

First: Caroline’s 9 month appointment. It wasn’t fantastic. (Someday, I will be able to come on here and brag that we had an amazing appointment and it went perfectly and I did not have to spend the entire rest of the day on the phone trying to get specialist appointments. Unfortunately, that day was not last Friday.) The pediatrician decided that since she hasn’t been at least trying to sit up, creep, crawl, or pull up to stand, she has a slight gross motor delay that we needed to get evaluated. She also is still making this loud raspy noise when she inhales due to her laryngomalacia (floppy airway– common in preemies). She really should have outgrown this and her snoring by now, but since she hasn’t, we need to get her in to see a pediatric ear/nose/throat specialist.

So, last week a teacher and a physical therapist from a Birth to Three program came to our apartment to check out Caroline’s skillz. They said that she was fine in all areas except gross motor, in which she falls into the 16th percentile (for an 8 month old, her adjusted age). She didn’t qualify for services, which was great news, but we need to really push the tummy time and call back if she isn’t crawling in a couple more months.

I also set up an appointment with an ENT at the children’s hospital for December 22. Sigh… we were just about to get released from the GI there and I was really looking forward to not going back. Oh well– I will try not to complain as long as she doesn’t need surgery, which is really the only treatment for laryngomalacia other than time. They’ll do a scope to see what the problem is and to decide whether or not surgery will be necessary. I am trying very hard not to imagine my little baby knocked out on an operating table… or even sedated for a scope. Poor thing. And poor me, a little bit, because I am going to be a freaking basket case and no one needs to deal with that insanity.

Moving on.

Even though she may not be crawling, my baby has awesome communication skills!  She now signs “more”, “milk”, and “drink”, and says “done”, “all done”, “dada”, and… my favorite… “mama”!! Prepare yourself for extreme sappiness because this was seriously one of the highlights of my entire life. (Is that sad? I think it might be, a little, but nonetheless–)

This past weekend, Caroline was sitting in her highchair and eating while Tyler and I ate our lunches and talked to her. She was looking at him saying “da da da” and smiling, and I got jealous and said “Caroline, why don’t you ever say ‘mama’ to me??” She looked right at me, reached out her arms, and said “ma ma ma!” I teared up and gave her a big hug. It was so sweet. Tyler said, “No, get her to say it again, she’s going to get confused because you’re crying!”

Sigh. Just thinking about it makes me smile. I am so in love with this chubby little thing and her silly parted hair.

(Edited) I forgot to add that yesterday was National Prematurity Awareness Day. Here’s a link from the March of Dimes if you are interested in becoming more informed about prematurity and how to prevent preterm birth. Even late pretermers like Caroline can deal with health consequences months down the road. Hopefully soon, researchers will be able to determine more about the causes for premature birth, and more effective ways to prevent it.

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Single-Mom’ing it

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

That’s pretty much what I’ve been up to since we got back from North Dakota.

I love my husband, but I hate his job. I’ve complained about this before, long ago, but I think it’s time for another round. I used to dread him leaving even before we had Caroline, but now that she is here, it’s a whole different ballgame.

He’s been away for most of the time we’ve been back… usually internationally, so I can’t even call him. I’m so tired and lonely. I start to forget what it was like to do anything other than take care of Caroline, because that is literally all I do. I wonder all the time how single or military parents do it– I cannot even imagine doing this as a permanent thing!

That said, I am grateful for two things…

  1. The internet. My mom friends are always here to keep me company! And I actually relate far better to these people who I’ve (mostly) never met than I do to my old friends, who have no idea what my life is like now and who are too busy for me anyway.
  2. That I’ve been able to stay home with Caroline all this time– it allowed us to go to North Dakota with Tyler so that we wouldn’t be here alone all summer, and it’s probably saved my sanity… because if I had to go to school all day and then come home and single-mom it, I might die.

I feel badly for Tyler because I know it’s hard on him not to see Caroline that much, but it’s hard on me too. When we got married, we decided not to have kids until he would be able to spend more time at home, but… that didn’t go as planned. I knew he would be traveling a lot these next few years. It was one of the reasons I was so worked up about being pregnant– not just because I didn’t feel ready for the experience, but because I knew I would be going it alone for a lot of the time.

But, hey, life goes on. I feel really competent and confident when it comes to taking care of her now, because I’ve done it alone so much. (Tyler, on the other hand, I would worry about– he has literally never been alone with her for more than an hour or two at a time!) And now that my return to school is rapidly approaching, I try to remind myself every day to just soak up the time with her. That is usually enough to snap me out of my self-pity.

New topic: Caroline is 36 weeks old today– so she has been alive outside me for as long as she was alive inside me. So strange… it went by so quickly, but it seems like I have known her forever. I went through her closet today, which is always an experience that brings out the crazy in me: “this is probably too small, I should put it away. Oh my God… I remember when she wore this and we did X. I can’t believe she’s never going to wear this again. She’s growing up so fast. Too fast. I can’t believe she used to be this small AHHHH MY BABY IS GOING TO LEEEEAVE ME!!!” Annnd, repeat. With every single article of clothing. I told you I was crazy. I used to be afraid that I had no maternal instincts, but it turns out I do have them, and they are on crack.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t really miss the newborn stages. I don’t miss her seeming so breakable and sick… and she is so much more interactive now. I think I have more and more fun with her every day, and I am so excited for all the milestones ahead (she still isn’t mobile)! And now that she is over 17 pounds and has continued to gain well, the GI says we are officially out of the woods as far as her reflux goes. We’re down to one medication and we don’t have to go back until she is one year old! It’s all good news– but I’m still allowed to be a little sad about my baby growing up, right? ;)

(Photo courtesy of the lovely eris1995, with whom we had a wonderful get-together last week! Her son Mason is adorable.)

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Top 10 Things That Happened This Summer

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Since we were gone for about two months, I’d bore you to death if I went into everything in detail. So, here’s a rundown on what we were up to in the great state of North Dakota:

  1. I lived only two blocks away from my in-laws… and survived! I really do love them and I know I’m lucky to have them, because they don’t even compare to some of the in-law horror stories I’ve heard. However. My mother-in-law can be a tad bit overbearing when it comes to her grandkids, especially one who normally lives 2,000 miles away. And by overbearing, I don’t mean the “oh give me the baby again” type… I mean the “if you don’t come over by noon I will drive by your house repeatedly and peer in the windows to see what is taking you so long” type. Yeeeeah.
  2. I fell head over heels in love with the rural-ness of it all. For reals. By the end of the summer we were looking at land to buy and someday build a house on. It probably won’t happen because Tyler would like to be a professor or museum curator, but the beautiful badlands in the summertime had me dreaming of packing up our apartment and never looking back.
  3. My sister-in-law and I became great friends. She is my first and only “mommy friend” so far… none of my friends here in Connecticut are even close to thinking about having kids. I never knew how important it is to have a mommy friend until I actually had one– it makes such a big difference. We hung out almost every day, talked about everything, and played with our babies. It was heaven. We even had a half-birthday party for Caroline and her cousin, since they share a birthday but we are never together in February. I really enjoyed finally getting to know my nieces, too, since we live so far apart. My 2 1/2-year old niece sobbed when we left (“I– don’t– want– Joo-ah– to– GO!!!!”)… and so did I.
  4. Caroline started solid food (avocado!) and learned to tripod and then sit on her own. I felt like I took a teeny baby out there who was content to be carried around all day, and returned with a much bigger baby who is now squirming to get out of my arms so she can wriggle around on the floor. Sniff.

  5. Speaking of baby food, making it for Caroline is so much fun and saves tons of cash. I made sweet potatoes for one of her first foods, but they gave her a rash. Since I didn’t want to waste them, I gave the rest of them to Tyler at dinner one night. He loved them. After he ate it, I remembered that I made it using my breastmilk. I didn’t tell him. (If you’re reading this… love you, honey! Sorry!)
  6. In case you can’t tell by everything I’ve already said, my post-partum depression really seemed to lift out there. I was technically in the middle of nowhere, but I was much less isolated than I am here in the middle of civilization, because Tyler’s family was all around. The constant sunlight streaming into our big, gorgeous rental house helped me a lot too. Even though I was sad to leave North Dakota, I still feel about a million times happier than I did when we left Connecticut. Here’s our bright and sunny living room:
  7. I quit pumping entirely a few weeks after we got there, and just nursed twice a day until my milk supply ran out. I was so, so upset to stop nursing… but at the same time, it was such a relief to have the whole drama finally be over with. Caroline is formula-fed now, and even though I never wanted that for her, I can’t deny that it has made me a better mother on the whole– now that I am not torturing myself with a plastic pump eight times a day.
  8. I cheated on my husband with a cowboy. WHAT THE WHAT?! Just kidding. Wanted to see if you were still paying attention. Bet that caught Tyler’s eye, if he’s reading. (Between this and #5, he might be initiating a come-to-Jesus chat with me tonight. Wish me luck.)
  9. Caroline’s reflux has definitely improved, although she does still have occasional choking episodes where solids come out her nose and we both freak the freak out. Sometimes I still feel frustrated with all her spitting up, but I try to put it in perspective– it can be measured in terms of tablespoons now, rather than square feet of couch. And, at her six-month appointment she weighed 15 pounds 10 ounces, which is almost in the 50th percentile! I have never, ever in my life been so happy to achieve average-ness.
  10. On the plane trip back, Caroline and I sat next to an elderly man who was not interested in babies and didn’t give Caroline the attention she thought she deserved. When I woke up after dozing off for a minute, she was leaning over and stroking his arm. He was not amused. I was.

So, that’s about it! As you can see, we had a fantastic time overall. It’s too bad Caroline won’t remember this summer, because I will always look back on it with fond memories as one of the best summers of my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better two months.

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