8 Months Old

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My baby boy is growing up! When I look at photos of him now, I see a boy and I see less of the baby I once knew. How do we stop time?! It’s absolutely amazing to watch him transform. I hardly remember the newborn Owen. I know I’m going to miss having a baby around so I am trying to soak it all in.

Milestones: Owen is sitting unassisted. I still have to place pillows behind him for the odd time he falls backward however, he’s doing so well. We worked on this little by little each day and it impresses me how one day he just caught on. It actually amazes me with all his milestones and new learned skills how much it really his him waking up one morning and just getting it.

Words: In addition to Baba, Dada & Didi he now says Mama!!!! But only when he’s unhappy. He’s recently added Nana, also when he’s unhappy.

Overall Health & Sleep: I’ve been so happy that Owen has been a healthy little boy overall. He’s only had one virus (a cold) and other than having a little battle with Eczema, he has been doing so well. He’s still taking fish oil, probiotics (infinitely for general health) & his Unda drops (holistic) and we will be going for a follow up with my naturopath in two months time. I haven’t seen any progress yet but with supplements, you cannot expect to see results fully until at least three months have passed.

I am thrilled with is negative nut allergy results and have given Owen peanut butter twice now. I will continue to feed it to him on. A regular along with other typical allergen foods.

Owen has been doing well with sleep and naps. He’s still bouncing between 2-3 naps a day depending on when his first nap commence. I am working on weaning him off the night feed still. I decided to try the method of reducing the formula to water ratio in his bottle until it is just water. Now if he wakes and won’t soothe back he is offered no more than two ounces of water and usually will only drink one. We have had two nights this week where he slept 12 hours strait. I am hoping this trend continues until he issued ping right through every night. I am currently writing this update after waking to offer him water and waiting for him to fall back to sleep.

Eating solids for the past month has been majorly challenging. He refuses a lot of his meals and meal times have turned stressful for both of us. I’ve had to take a step back and really let him dictate how meal times go and fight everything in me that says he hasn’t eaten enough. Some meals he will eat lots and then the next few he will eat a few spoonfuls or bites and he won’t want anymore food. Apparently this is a phase that he will get through. It has improved most recently and I just hope it continues to. I’ve been feeding him purée but more and more finger foods and he seems to do so well with that. I also really would like to steer away from the purée but for now it’s how I can ensure he eats the most so we combine the two.

Owen loves to play independently and with me. He’s at a great age now for this. He loves playing with the Fisher Price blocks that you place shapes in the holes on the lid of the box. He has his V-Tech sit to stand that he’s obsessed about. He loves to jump around in his bouncer still. And ultimately still loves to stand. A lot. I think it’s his favourite activity. He doesn’t show any interest in crawling so we are convinced he will go strait to walking. He’s already started to walk assisted a little. Since the weather is still so nice, we go on many walks and outings. Once it cools down I’m going to have to find more things to keep this boy busy. We may need to go to more drop in centres. Both him and I get really bored if we are stuck inside all day. In fact I need to start reading up on activity ideas for his age so if any of you have any ideas, please let me know.

And to end this post on a sweet note: Baby Eye Candy!!

   
    
 

Allergy Test Update

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As I wrote on a previous blog, I had concerns that Owen may have an allergy to peanuts. My husband convinced me to test the PB on his skin before eating it and sure enough, he developed hives. So of course we decided not to go further and book an appointment with his GP.

After 5-6 skin retests (at home, spreading PB on my baby lol) he continued to break out into hives and I was convinced, my baby has allergies to Peanuts. Owen’s allergist appointment was a few days away and the urge took over to spread the PB on my baby’s skin again. And, no hives….???    I was left confused. First time, I tested mid back. Second time, behind each ear. The next day, one more time. No hive.

Fast forward a few days to yesterday’s Allergist appointment.
I’m happy to say with great relief that his tests for peanut allergies came back NEGATIVE!!!!
They were kind enough to also test for mixed tree nuts and also Strawberries which were also negative. The allergist did urge me strongly to start feeding him peanuts and tree nuts and to make sure he’s had regular amounts of the typical allergen foods by the time he reached One. Studies have now shown that the longer you wait, the odds of developing an allergy increases. Especially babies with Eczema, like Owen. In fact he urged me even more so to have it part of his regular diet to further ensure he doesn’t develop it. He said it was also important not to feed him allergen foods and then let a big gap go before giving it to him again since that can also increase his odds for an allergy.

So I did what I’ve been fearing – I fed Owen some peanut butter. Did he like it? Absolutely! Did he have any reactions? None!!! The allergist said if by half a dozen times he hasn’t reacted, the odds of him having any issues are slim to none. I’m so relieved. I know we’re not in the 100% clear – there’s no 100% gaurantees – but for now, I will take this little victory!

I didn’t know what to expect at the appointment. I read online some doctors will take blood to run tests and others get pricked by little needles on a board with different allergens. None of these things happened to Owen. The doctor simply used a lancet & pricked his skin where the tests needed to be done on his arms. He didn’t cry or react in any way – brave boy!

Here is a photo of the test. They have to do a Positive/Negative test along with the allergens to be sure that the test is working on the child’s skin. The + sign is Histamine which always turns positive. The – sign is Saline water so it will always be negative. And then the Arrow is the peanut. On the other arm, he put one for Strawberry & one for Tree nuts. As you can see, the one with the Histamine is the only one that developed hives & got red.


 They told me they don’t routinely test for all allergens because they usually use this method to confirm one way or another after a child has already ingested foods that have given them issues. While this form of testing is accurate, it’s not as accurate as actually eating the foods. So, the Allergist urged me to stop rubbing food on my baby’s body and start feeding it to him!

Happy Birthday, Aida

Today is my baby girls fourth birthday. Four years that I had to live without her. Emotionally so far it’s been a roller coaster ride. In some ways, Owen makes it easier and in other way’s harder. I think about all these moments I’ve had with Owen & how much I missed with Aida. While my arms would ache, empty – Owen has filled them. I’m so lucky I have him.

My little girl would be getting ready to start JK this September. I think about what she would look like. I presume as a female version of Owen. They looked so much alike as babies that I can’t imagine she’d look so much different. I think about how different my life would have been over the past 4 years. All the grief I wouldn’t have had to go through and the years of infertility. I would have been spared so much pain. And then I think, I wouldn’t have Owen.
In my ideal world I would have them both with me, right here. Life would have turned out completely different but it would have been a better life.  For the rest of my life, I will wish I had my baby girl. I will imagine what she will be, what she would look like. Would she get married and have a family of her own? How many children would she have?

For now I live in a world where all of my memories swirl around 5 days that she lived. Two of those days were marred with fear and sadness, hope that she would survive NEC. I think a lot more about the last day of her life and after she died than the moments when she was alive. It pains me to think about either one but I think mostly about the moments after she passed. I wonder why that is? I wonder why I don’t think about the 3 lovely days we had with her when we believed nothing more than she would be home with us three weeks later. Every so often when the pain hits me very hard I have thoughts of what I wish I did different. How I can’t believe I was able to walk out of that hospital, leaving her body knowing I’d never hold her again. I think about if I could go back in time & hold her one more time I would take her away with me and never return with her. I wish I could have brought her home with me and had her sleep in my arms. I wish we had more time. And yet on that day, August 24th when we left the hospital knowing it was the last time we would see her, it felt like the right time. I just get so overwhelmingly surprised at my impulsive emotions at times. How strongly I desire to hold her one more time. If I could have one more moment that I could hold my baby girl and kiss her endlessly on the face, it would be one of the best days ever.

I miss you baby girl, I think about you every single day. Not a day will go by that I won’t think about you. You would be so proud of your baby brother. I will make sure he will always know who you are, too. I love you forever.

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xoxox

Gratitude.

I’ve been feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude this past week. Every time I look at my baby boy I feel such tremendous amount of love that I can’t contain it. And I am so incredibly thankful that he’s here with me. This past week has reminded me of all my struggles to get to where we are. The loss that I had to endure to have Owen in my life. And the fertility struggles we had to over come.

My pregnancy was far from easy on me emotionally, physically, mentally. Having a newborn was tougher than I ever had imagined. Struggling through breast feeding, coping with little to no sleep. All that hard work amounting to one perfect little being. My son.

I still constantly worry about him. I know that all parents worry from the moment they conceive and I was always told how the worry never ends once you have a child. But my worry comes from a dark place. One that knows what it feels like to loose a child. Some times I find myself thinking of the ways he could die. How he could slip from my fingers. How if I don’t die before he does it will kill me to try and live on without both of my children. He’s here in my life now, doing so well. Healthy, happy and perfect in every way I could imagine. But, I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve been waiting ever since that pregnancy test turned positive. And while that dark feeling isn’t with me every day, all the time, there are moments I stop and think how much pain it would bring me if I lost him too. I didn’t think I could live without Aida when she passed. I truly didn’t want to do anything that kept me alive. I didn’t want to eat, to take care of myself post partem – I didn’t care about my own body. I only cared about hers. I wanted my pain to go away and for the whole world to just swallow me up. I survived. I lived on, I moved forward, I had another baby.

Owen’s been doing so well, no reason for me to think that anything bad will happen. Yet, I think about it all the time. When he had Jaundice, I was convinced he could die.
When we first concluded he may have a peanut allergy, I was convinced that’s how he’s going to die. And I still kind of am. How easy would it be now for him to be taken away from me but a deadly allergy?

But right now, more than anything I am thankful. I’m thankful for Owen in my life. I am thankful that my husband stood by me through IVF even though he never wanted to go that far. I’m so incredibly lucky to have a second chance at being a mom. And I am going to strive more than anything to be the best mom and to protect him the best that I can.

xo

August. Aida. 

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It’s that time of year again. 4 years ago in August, Aida was born. And she died. I’ve been thinking of her a lot the last few weeks. And sadness has been creeping up on me. I wonder to myself how it will be this year when the 19th rolls around with Owen in my life. Some times I believe he will get me through it.

I dread August. It’s the worst month of the year for me. I wish some times it would be a month like January or February when the weather is cold and grey. But August is beautiful & warm. I don’t know how to commemorate her birthday this year. I’ve struggled every year what was appropriate. I think I’ll just continue asking for donations to Sick Kids in name of her. Let her legend give back to sick babies.

I miss her each and every day. I wish she could be here with Owen. I imagine her being a proud big sister. Helping me take care of him. Giving him kisses on his beautiful cheeks. I imagine all the things we are missing.

This year my heart allowed me to have a photo of her on our wall. My heart broke too badly to ever do it before. And so for the first time, I also share with you a photo of my little girl. It amazes me how much her and Owen look alike. It pains me and yet mostly comforts me.

xo

Seven Months Old!

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I can’t believe now how the time has gone! This kid is really growing fast. Owen’s been doing great. He’s more animated than he has been before. Lots of energy. His favourite thing to do is stand. Preferably on me! And bounce. Lots of bouncing and jumping. Preferably on me. :)

He’s finally learned to roll from his back to his stomach. He’s tolerating tummy time more but it’s not his favourite thing to do yet. He’s decided to forget how to roll from tummy to back so, when he gets stuck he screams. 

He spends a lot of time saying “dada” & “baba” and variations of it but no “mama” yet. As much as I try and teach him every day ☺️ he does how ever say “mam” every so often so I’m sure that is soon to come.

He learned to clap last week. Spent about two days clapping but hasn’t done it since. I notice that happens when he learns some thing new. He stops for a while and picks it back up again. 

Aunt Flo! Yup – she came back, that bitch. Had my first cycle near end of July. It was heavy but to my surprise not too bad. I almost had no cramps. After my first pregnancy, I had horrible periods for almost a year. I bled heavily, lots of clots and horrible cramps. I was expecting the same. Not that I’m complaining.  

We have just been hanging out lots and spending time outdoors. We just came back from a trip to Ottawa. A trip with a baby is soooo different to when it was just my husband and I but we enjoyed it none the less. It was so good to get away from the house for a little while. The walls end up closing in on you day in & day out. 

He’s been doing great health wise and everything. We are waiting for his allergist appointment on the 25th of this month. Im nervous for it & although unlikely I have a sliver of hope that he doesn’t actually have a peanut allergy. Odds are not in his favour based on his topical reaction. 

Nothing much else to update but some cute photos!
Xo

    
    

Sleep Regression & Peanut Allergy

Two major things have developed over the past two weeks. One of them is that we believe Owen has developed a peanut allergy. The other is he’s sleep regressed.

We decided based on the new guidelines of introducing peanuts around 6 months to try it out on Owen. We hemmed and hawed when to and how and I’m glad we decided to test on his skin first. Within about 5 minutes, he developed hives. We were both really surprised. I tested it on his neck again the following day and he broke out in hives, again. Neither one of us have a history of peanut allergies in our families and we’ve been eating peanuts around him with reckless abandon and he’s never reacted. And we were never that careful. After doing some reading online, it seems that contact reaction indicates a possibility of a high allergy to peanuts. For now, we eliminate the use of peanuts in our house until we have him tested on August 25th with a pediatric allergist to find out it’s severity and to also check for other allergies.

Turns out, children who have Eczema as babies (which Owen has a mild case of), they are at high risk for food allergies. And of those children with both eczema and food allergy, 75% of them develop asthma later in childhood. I can’t describe how upsetting this all is for me. I know it’s not the end of the world and we have an epi pen now just incase but I want to protect this little boy as much as I can. He’s my precious cargo. I can’t loose another child in my life time. It scares me to think that I could loose him to exposure to peanuts! Or perhaps some other foods as well. I know the odds are very low but the odds are there and as far as odds are concerned, we were never very lucky. So, it scares me. I know that the results with the allergist will be an allergy so I’m going to start accepting it. What worries me is what other allergies could he have? I have a friend whos’ son has severe Eczema and he has allergies to peanuts, sesame seeds, eggs, and the list goes on. I just hope that won’t be our little Owen.

 

Aaaaaand the dreaded sleep regression we didn’t think would happen to our little boy. Owen has gone from waking once in a 11-12 hour night to twice a night and most often screaming his face off at bed time. Yup. A big part of this is that he started waking around 10pm and I thought it was a few one offs so I fed him. Maybe a growth spurt. But this has been going on for weeks. And on cue, he wakes around 10-10:30 and pretty much wakes every 4 hours. My step daughter has also been here every day since July 1st as part of our two weeks vacation with her and so we are running into his room (they share a room) so that he wont wake her. Usually we’d let him squirm and chatter and fuss in his crib to put himself back to sleep. But since she’s been here we’ve been running in to grab him and he has spent every morning from about 4am in our bed until 6-6:30. Not good. She will be leaving tomorrow for all of the summer and that’s when we start the dreaded Sleep Training! He’s great with his naps (which he’s down to twice a day now – yay!) and bed time is all over the map in terms of how he goes down. Whether he cries to sleep or just passes out peacefully after his bottle. This also is decided on when his second nap ends. The longer he stays awake before bed the easier it’s been to get him down. The shorter, he freaks OUT.

The method we’ve decided on based on a friend’s recent success is based on CIO. It’s for 3 nights. First night you put them down wide awake and let them CIO…stay in his room, sleeping on the floor so he doesn’t see us and “shhhhhhhh” him to sleep. This goes on all night and by night 3 he should be able to get himself to sleep and back to sleep through out the night. My friend has had major success after her sister-in-law did with her two kids too so, we’ve decided to try the same. I really hope it works out for Owen too. I’ll be sure to update!

xo

Mourning my Boobs

Owen took his last bottle of breast milk today. I kept counting down the frozen bags in the freezer and I felt a little bit better about the situation knowing I still had some breast milk to give to him. I built up a lot of anticipation for the final bottle, a true end to me providing my son with the best nutrition possible but in the end, I didn’t feel anything much about it.
Owen drank about 2 out of 4 ounces. He has been really fussy with the bottle and not always finishing them this past week so we poured half of the final bottle of breast milk down the sink. There was a part of me that mourned that too – as I always did if we ever wasted breast milk – but it was fleeting. I stopped pumping, that was my choice. I have so much more time now to enjoy with Owen and to take care of myself and spend time with my family and take Owen out into the world. So for that, I don’t regret.

I still have pangs of sadness that breast feeding didn’t work out. It’s some thing that I was so passionate about and that held so much importance to me. I’m envious of those who can nurse their babies and every once in a while I get this urge to nurse and then remember that I left that behind.

It took about until the second week until my breast didn’t feel full of milk or sore and could still express a few drops of milk. My breast feel more squishy and more jiggly than they were before. At least this is what I believe. Perhaps I’m used to full, round breast from the past six months or more but I swear, they’re different.

My next step is to get back into shape. I am about 18lbs heavier than I was before my first pregnancy some 4 years ago. I don’t feel comfortable or attractive in my skin. I don’t feel attractive anymore in general. I’ve lost what feels like half of my hair. My skin has broken out and I produce more oils than I did even before. I look like I’ve aged. And the weight adds another element of I feel ugly. I need to find time to start working on me again.

xo

Six Months!

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My baby boy is half a year old! The time has felt both slow and fast at different times. I can’t believe my Maternity leave is half over and someone else is going to take care of my baby while I go back to work. I haven’t spent more than a few moments pondering that so I don’t know how I feel about it. A part of me is looking forward to going back to my job and the other half wishes I could stay home with him. If I could swing a part time job and daycare, it would be pretty awesome. But at this point in time, I need my full salary back and I like where I work. 

Owen has been doing great! He’s been working on how to sit up on his own. For a while he kept folding over in half but this week he seems to be getting it and he can sit unassisted for 5-10 seconds and sit pretty well. He’s working very hard on not toppling over but he always does and it’s so funny! 

He’s been babbling lots lately. He is saying “dada dada” and ” didi didi” every chance he gets. My husband is tickled pink of course that he’s saying Dada. Even if it’s not directly to him.

He’s weaned off the fourth nap and napping three times a day now. One morning, one over lunch and one mid afternoon. His bed time has moved up to 6pm from 7-7:30 and sleeps 12 hours still waking up once to feed. Some nights twice. He has been having some shitty nights where he gets up a few times within the first couple of hours. He now sobs to sleep nearly every night and he needs to be rocked to sleep. My hubby suggests we need to let him CIO to soothe himself as its a learned behaviour now. So we will try that. It’s exhausting and now only I can calm him down quickly. That leaves me with bed times and wondering what will happen when I am not home in the evening. 

He’s doing great on formula. I switched him to the Step 2 Enfamil and believe it’s making him constipated so I think Inshould go back to step 1 and maybe we stay there. He can get his additional nutrients through solids. But I need to consult with either his Doctor or Enfamil if it’s absolutely necessary to have him on Stage 2. It’s more calcium and iron…which are culprits. 

He hasn’t had the greatest appetite with solids lately. I’m lucky to get two meals in him in a day. Not sure if that’s from constipation, teething or just a phase?

He’s otherwise doing great! We have lots of fun and laugh lots. He’s entertaining and cute as hell!

I’d like to touch on Breast Feeding & Parenting with a new Baby after a loss. I have these random thoughts and want to share with you guys but then life takes over. I hope to get back to blogging more regular soon. There is so much more going on deep inside that Id like to share. 

Ok until next time!

Xo 

    
 

The Last Drop

pumpYesterday, I put my pump away. I expressed my last few drops of milk yesterday afternoon & then based on how my breast were feeling, decided it was a good time to put my pump away for good. I spent 4.5 months wishing for this day to arrive.

It was a very difficult decision to make as I weaned off each and every pump and at the same time, I felt relief. I hated pumping. Loathed. I loved what I was doing for Owen but I hated how pumping made me feel. Bitter sweet is the best way to describe how I’m feeling today. I am deeply saddened that breast feeding failed and that my dream of getting him back onto the breast ended. I grieve for taking away the best thing Owen could have but I knew I couldn’t pump for a year. I couldn’t be tied to my pump every three hours and not enjoy my time with my boy. I say to myself nearly every day…if I could go back in time, knowing what I know now about breast feeding, I’d do it all over again. I’d go back to the day he was born and do it all again. That’s how strong and important it was for me to be able to breast feed him.

Infertility was such a struggle for me and I just thought some thing as natural as breast feeding would just work. Nothing comes easy for me. I don’t know why I’m ever surprised that I keep on struggling in life.

 I have bags of milk in the freezer to use up so in the end I’ll have fed him breast milk through to six months, which I’m proud of. I am proud of myself for what I’ve done. I would do it all over again, just as I did. I wanted the best I could give to him as long as I possibly could feel happy with.

He’s on formula now and I am so happy to say that we finally found a formula that he will happily eat. We went through numerous tubs of formula, wasting so much money! Enfamil A+ in concentrate liquid. I urge anyone who’s baby is having a hard time with formula taste to try the liquid stuff. I didn’t bother trying thinking it would be the same but had a coupon for a free pack and I’m so glad I got it. It tastes like sweetened heavy milk with out that strange stale cardboard aftertaste and smell that the powder stuff has. Powder is the most economical followed by the concentrate. The premixed stuff is twice as expensive as the concentrate so I wouldn’t recommend that unless you need it for odd times for convenience factor. This came at the best time, right before I started to wean off the last two pumps. I was really stressed about Owen eating only formula. Owen’s thriving and doing so well. I’ll be updating on his progress in my 6 month post next week. Until then! XO