Charlotte's Journey Home

Just a Regular Kid, Sort Of

Today’s Tally

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I hear so often how Team Charlotte admires our courage, grace and gratitude. And I thank you all for those comments and warm thoughts. The comments that really make me giggle, however, are when you tell me how positive I am. If you only knew….(Philippe will kindly keep his mouth shut at this moment in time).

Anyway, the following will be a bit of the stuff I don’t frequently talk about, namely our day-to-day battle with reflux and feeding. Now, if you remember, when Team Charlotte got the first email back in February 2005, the problem was that Baby Sprout had a heart defect. She still does and we’ll see her cardiologist next week. But the immediate daily issues are feeding and reflux.

So, what’s it like? Today has been day fairly typical of a “teething day.”

6:20 a.m.: I heard Charlotte gag and cough. I ran upstairs to find that she had vomited a big chunk of mucus. I’ll try not to be too graphic, but imagine that it was about the size of 2 silver dollars and I could see that a) it was mucus and b) she still had some food in her tummy from her 11 pm feed.

6:30 a.m.: I give Charlotte her medications, Pepcid, Digoxin and Lasix. She hasn’t taken meds by mouth since November, so I give them by tube. We get dressed and head downstairs where I get her ready for breakfast.

7:30 a.m.: Charlotte is in her high chair, sucking her thumb, indicating that she is hungry. She eats about 25 ml (not quite an ounce) and then quits. She refuses all solid food. This takes 15 minutes. I don’t hook up the pump because we’re enroute to the doctor for a shot and I don’t want her to have too full a belly if the shot upsets her.

8:00 a.m.: We stop at Caribou where Charlotte looks longingly at my coffee (her father’s daughter) but refuses her bottle with a big smile.

8:30 a.m.: Lakeview Pediatrics. For the first time, Charlotte starts screaming as the nurse wipes her leg with the alcohol before the shot. She screams for 10 minutes after the shot. I use thumb sucking to try to get the bottle in her. She takes 15 ml and quits. I hook up the pump. After about 10 minutes (we have to wait 20 minutes after the shot before we can leave), she vomits. Maybe an ounce. Requires that I use the emergency outfit in my diaper bag and bathe her, sort of, in the sink. I manage not get hit.

9:00 a.m.: Charlotte falls asleep in the stroller on the way home. I get very lucky and she makes the transfer into her crib still sleeping. She sleeps until 11:20 a.m.–a very long nap. Not surprising since she’d slept restlessly last night.

11:40 a.m.: Charlotte and I gear up and walk to Whole Foods and the Library. She’s very happy in her Baby Bjorn, wearing a pink hat from Ruth and Maddie. The butcher says she looks like a tulip and everyone smiles at her. By the time we get home she’s sucking her thumb hard and whining for lunch.

12:40 p.m.: Back in her high chair, Charlotte grabs an arrowroot cookie and starts munching, usually a good sign. She eventually eats about 1.5 ounces of formula, in spurts with 5-8 minutes of rest in between. She flings her food, refuses solid food, and indicates she’s done. We hook up the pump. After a little while, we move, pump and all, to the living room floor to play. Charlotte is really happy and giggly.

1:30 p.m.: Charlotte and I are in the armchair. She’s standing on my legs, looking over my shoulder out the window, playing with my hair, and playing with Esther. Yes, Esther is letting Charlotte pet her! We play “lift the baby over mommy’s head.” Baby gags. Mommy moves fast. Get baby to wood floor just in time for a major vomit, probably 2-3 ounces. Comes out her nose. Really upsets her. And, she’s ready for a nap.

2:00 -2:40 p.m.: Ready for a nap, but won’t sleep. Charlotte fusses and finally sleeps around 3.

3:15- 4:00 p.m.: I try to nap. Dream that I hear the baby crying. Maybe I really did. Who knows.

4:15 p.m.: Charlotte gets up from her nap. We were going to go to the park, but I want to get dinner and a bath before bedtime, so we nix that.

5:00 p.m.: Back in the high chair. Over 30 minutes, Charlotte takes almost 3 ounces of formula, 1.5 teaspoons of solid food (peas, carrots mixes with couscous and chicken), 3 or 4 cheese puffs and half of an arrowroot cookie. Keep in mind she’s 11 months old. Most kids her age eat about .25 cups of solid food at a sitting.

5:30 p.m.: With the pump going, we play in the living room. I realize we haven’t done physical therapy all day, but can’t do it with pump going. I put on the Sesame Street DVD we got at the library. She loves it and sits in my lap or dances to about 3 songs.

5:45 p.m.: Bathtime!

6:15 p.m.: Bedtime.

7:45 p.m.: Charlotte has been sleeping a bit fitfully, groaning, turning. I go upstairs to find that she’s turned 180 degrees in her crib. I flip her and plug in the pump.

8:30 p.m.: She’s ootzing again so I go to check. The med port of her tube has opened. This means that some portion of her feed is dripping into the bed rather than going into her. Poor thing has had her sleep interrupted because of a tube malfunction. I think it happened when she rolled over. Usually, it’s a mommy or daddy error when this happens and we feel soooooooooo guilty. So, I have to wake the baby, change her, change her bed. This pretty much guarantees me a bedtime vomit. I take my time, hoping that she’ll give it to me before I put her back in bed.

8:45 p.m.: I start writing this entry. I can hear Charlotte sucking her thumb, rolling around. And I’m just wondering “When?”

9:05 p.m.: Charlotte gags, coughs. I’m up the stairs in a flash to find her screaming hysterically, face and neck and hands covered in vomit. I’m relieved that I put an extra towel on the crib because I hate changing the crib twice in one night. I do change Charlotte. I try to suction her nose because she’s very congested. Nothing comes out.

9:20 p.m.: Get Charlotte back in bed. Fingers crossed.

So, it is now 9:40 p.m. She’s still ootzing. I’ve sprinted up the stairs for one gag to find her thumb in mouth, sleeping. She’s asleep but still groaning and grunting. I’m just waiting and trying to decide whether I should skip her last feed, shorting her about 5 ounces for the day.

All this with Philippe in NY for business. When he’s here, we can get baby and bed changed in half the time with less disruption to her. And all this on about 2.5 hours sleep and a fitful nap.

The tally: 4 vomits and 2 emergency bedtime changes.
My little happiest baby in the world has to suffer so much. Sometimes I feel so guilty about that.

Reflux sucks.

Well, I tried to give you photo to reward you reading all the way down here, but Blogger is being finicky. Tomorrow….

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Author: Culture Bean

I am a mother, a pre-published children's author, and a published academic. I am also a "mommy blogger," though I hate the term. My passions are reading and writing. As a professor, I strive to help my students think critically about the media and culture with which they engage. I've started this blog because it's time I put my money where my mouth is!

One thought on “Today’s Tally

  1. Oy is about all I can say. That and John always manages to be out of town when mine tag team me all night with some foul illness or another. Not the same, I know. Good thing she’s so damn cute…

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