Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

For anyone who has met or held Nella, you probably got a burp cloth put over your shoulder and a warning from Jimmy or I saying “she tends to spit up…a lot.” We buy shout in bulk and, and when Nella was younger, would go through a bottle in a week. Let’s just say that our poor baby girl has spent the majority of her life covered in…well..throw up.

Her GI issues began when she was in the NICU. She had reflux, but that is expected with a preemie and we were told that she was still gaining weight appropriately. One of our favorite nurses whispered in my ear that Nella would definitely require medication, but the neonatologists and nurse practitioners assured us it was all normal. Her reflux  tended to be much worse after her bottles of pumped milk that were fortified with a tiny bit of high calorie formula. We thought the formula may be upsetting her stomach, but after awhile it was hard to ascertain what it was…and well…we were so very uninformed at the time. (Sorry Nella!)

When Nella was 2 months old I tried eliminating dairy from my diet, but we didn’t see any difference in her mood or spitting up so we assumed it wasn’t dairy and requested a prescription for Zantac. Nella quickly (and continuously) outgrew her Zantac dosage so at 4 months we moved up to Prevacid and never looked back. She was certainly more comfortable when she was spitting up, but she was still a little fountain. We were told, though, that the purpose of the medicine was to prevent damage to the esophagus and make Nella more comfortable.

At 5.5 months we had some pretty “bad” spit ups and I tried eliminating dairy again. We saw a HUGE difference in Nella’s mood and sleeping patterns, so we decided that we would continue to avoid all dairy products and anything that contains dairy until Nella was a bit older.

At 9 months our pediatrician (who I adore, by the way) said I really need to get Nella on three solid meals a day. I was reluctant to put more food into her system, because, honestly,  it felt like the more food she ate the more food she threw up. Since most babies who just have reflux tend to do better with solid foods, we were referred to a GI specialist. Our specialist confirmed it was atypical for a baby to throw up whole pieces of food continuously…who knew?! Nella was diagnosed with delayed gastric emptying and within a month on new meds and a milk protein free probiotic she. wasn’t. throwing. up.

It was amazing. The angels were singing and we were leaving the house without 4 extra bibs and 10 burp cloths. I started doing a lot more playing and a lot less laundry. Amen.

At a year, our GI specialists recommended that I add a very little bit of dairy into my diet to see if Nella could tolerate the milk proteins that come through breast milk. Research shows that a majority of children who are milk protein intolerant will outgrow the intolerance by a year. I cautiously ate a peice of cheese, some pastries, and even took a few sips of a cappuccino. Sadly, Nella’s spitting up and gas and discomfort returned and our doctors recommended a visit to a peds allergist.

About a week ago we visited the peds allergist…with no idea what to expect. Our allergist really believed that Nella was simply “intolerant” to the milk proteins rather than “allergic.” A true allergy will cause an immune-system response and often the babies have experiences hives, wheezing, respiratory distress, etc. She administered a skin prick test and we all hoped for a negative result…much to her surprise and our dismay the skin test was positive. Our doctor wasn’t convinced and said that the skin prick tests have a high false positive rate, so we were sent to the lab for a blood draw….and again we received a positive result. The blood work came back with a level of .48 and anything over .1 is considered an “allergy.” However, the allergy levels in the blood tests can go up to 100…so it’s still pretty low.

We were all left scratching our heads…is she allergic? Will I ever have to administer this epipen? What will happen if she picks up her friend’s sippy cup and starts to drink it? What will happen if the nursery accidentally gives her a snack with milk?

At our doctors’ (yup…all three…I called them all) recommendation we’re going to go in next week to administer an oral food challenge. This means that we will give Nella 6-8 oz. of whole cow’s milk or yogurt…eek. They will start with a drop and slowly work their way up to a more significant dose. Her vitals will be closely monitored in the allergist office for 2 – 3 hours after the test begins. Sounds fun right? Don’t get toooo jealous.

It’s certainly unnerving giving Nella the exact item that I’ve been avoiding with such vigilance for over 7 months (who knew that Tostitos Hint of Lime chips contain dairy?!). I’m pretty convinced her stomach isn’t going to handle the milk proteins well, but we’re praying that we can rule out a life threatening allergy. That’s the whole point of the exercise since her test results and history don’t really match up…and I’d rather test this out with trained medical professionals and next door to the children’s hospital.

Please be praying that the oral challenge goes well and that Nella will actually ingest the cow’s milk or yogurt and tolerate the milk proteins. Please pray that she will not have a severe allergic reaction. Please pray that I will remain calm for my daughter.

If you made it through this novella…congrats. Here’s some cute pictures of Nella as a reward.

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Sweet Face

Playing with her favorite toy!

Playing with her favorite toy!

Our Little Pumpkin

Our Little Pumpkin

 

 

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Go Deacs!

It’s been a while since we’ve put anything on here and that needs to change.  There was a landmark occasion in our family in the past week.  If it weren’t for the title you’d probably be thinking one of the following:

  • Nella said “I love you” to her parents
  • Nella is going to have a sibling
  • Jimmy hit with 170lb mark
  • Kate finally understands how good a mom she is

Well none of the above is true.  An accomplishment of larger significance took place.  Nella went to her first Wake Forest game!  Even more surprising….we won!  Wake Forest holds a very dear place in our hearts and we were very excited to bring Nella up for a game and a quick tour of campus.  Although everything didn’t go quite as planned (thank you Dixie Classic Fair and Parent’s weekend) we had a great time and more importantly Nella seemed to enjoy herself.  At the very least she didn’t break down and lose it.  Some highlights of the trip:

  • Walking around campus – We just missed the leaves changing but it was nice to walk around the quad and see some of the new buildings.  A lot has changed in the 2 years since we’ve been on campus.
  • Bookstore – The deacon shop was a bust (where were the cheerleading outfits?!!?!) but we were able to pick up a little WF camping chair for Nella and a big blanket for the hill. Both of which were more expensive than they should have been.  Oh well.

    Wake Hill

    Livin’ the Dream during the 3rd quarter

  • Tailgating – Didn’t go super awesome because it took a while to park.  We still got some beer and chicken in.  Don’t worry DSS, Nella had neither.  We were also able to catch up with some friends from Charleston for a little bit (we were able to past the fact that Mrs. Hall is an NC State alum).
  • The game – The hill was a new experience.  In the stands you watching a football game.  On the hill you’re more watching an event (and trying to keep track of your daughter).  It was definitely a good time though.
  • The 3rd Quarter – Most of which was spent like this       —————————————>

We left a little early and listened to the Deacs win in the car so we didn’t get home too late and Nella was a trooper the whole way.  We can’t wait to do it again in November!

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Kate and Nella on the Quad

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3 Years!

Is it really three years ago?  Unbelievable.  Three years ago yesterday Kate and I made it official that we would spend the rest of our lives together.  What a great decision (for me) that was.  I had conned her long enough to agree to it so I was in.  I can honestly say the last three years of my life have been the best and the last year ranks up there as the best.  So far each year of marriage has been very different from the next.

  • Year 1 we were newly weds living in a condo in Charleston.  We transitioned from “single life” to “married life” pretty well and very much enjoyed our last year in Charleston.
  • Year 2 was up and down but ended very well.  It started with a move to Charlotte and house ownership.  It was basically the beginning of the expansion of our family, we wanted to be ready to expand.  Well we thought we were going to grow a little early but things did not go as planned and we were down for quite a while.  The year ended up well though as we found out we were pregnant with our baby girl.  So pumped
  • Year 3 started off not as planned with us living out of the pregnancy wing of the hospital for a month but it was all more than worth for September 22 when Nella Lenore entered this world.  She changed our life and our marriage forever, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Kate is by far the best thing that has happened to me in this life and I am so blessed to have her by my side.  I couldn’t have asked for a better wife, it’s amazing how much more God knows what is right for me than what I think I know.  He placed each other in our lives  at exactly the right time for our relationship to grow.  So not only do I “hope” the next 3, 30, 60 years of our life together will be blessed as much as the first three, I know it will be.  It may not always be easy or fun, but it will be great…and I can’t wait.

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Growing like a weed…or like a Nella!

I (Kate) can’t  get over how much Nella has grown. I know everyone says they grow up so quickly..well…they really do! Everyday I’m taken aback by how blessed we are to have a healthy, growing, and (mostly) happy daughter. I just can’t believe God chose Nella for us to parent…it certainly shows His grace and love. She’s such a precious blessing and I just can’t believe that I get to be here Mom and be married to her Dad…whoa…

To celebrate Nella’s FIVE MONTH birthday, I thought I would take you on a trip down memory lane and post her growth pictures with Harry the Harrods (yes, from London) Teddy Bear:

One week old

One week old (5 lbs 5 Oz…I think… those days are a blur)

One month old. HUGE Mom fail...I never got a picture with her bear.

One month old  (6 Lbs 13 Oz). HUGE Mom fail…I never got a picture with her bear.

Two Months Old

Two Months Old (9 lb 13 oz)

Three Months Old

Three Months Old

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Four Months Old (14 pounds 3 Oz)

Five Months Old

Five Months Old

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My Favorite Things

So I often sing “My Favorite Things” from “Sound of Music” to Nella. She seems to enjoy the song and I try to switch up the lyrics…instead of “when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad” I usually say “when you spit up, when you won’t nap, and when you cry….I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel sooooo bad.” That song got me to thinking about my favorite things and I realized that they do really brighten my days. So here is a list of the things I love:

  • I love four o’clock in the afternoon, because it means Jimmy will likely be leaving work within the hour and I just love having him around. 
  • I love the mornings (after I wake up…which is the hard part!). I love having an hour to drink coffee, watch the Today show, and get dressed. Then I LOVE when Nella wakes up because she is typically super, super happy. Seeing her big smiles as soon I walk into the room is just the perfect way to start the day.
  • Nella’s smiles – Enough said. 
  • I love Starbucks. I just do. If we had a local coffee shop near us, I’m sure that I would be a loyal patron…but we don’t. So Starbucks it is! I love their Chai Tea Latte on a gray winter day and the fact that there is a drive through near us doesn’t hurt either. I sometimes pack Nella up at nap time, go get an overpriced drink, and drive around while she peacefully sleeps in the backseat. It’s a nice break from the usual nap routine – I think she likes it as much as I do!
  • Downton Abby…oh how I love this show. I love the wit, the dry humor, the propriety, and the never ending, ever so delicately discussed scandals. I also feel like my loyalty to this show somehow erases the shame of my other shows…Real Housewives, Bachelor, Kardashians, Fashion Police, etc.
  • My phone –  Two of my best girlfriends and I have a running iChat – our babies are each one  month apart…I love that those two women are only a text away. It’s like having friends around all the time! Sometimes being home with a baby can feel a little isolating (especially during flu season when going out is limited), but my phone has kept me very much connected!
  • Harris Teeter Express Lane. A friend told me about this awesome service and boy does it make me happy! No more grocery store runs with the baby – just place my order online and pick it up! What a treat!!!
  • Fresh flowers – don’t they just brighten up a room? I think these also remind me of my Mom who loves flowers just as much as I do. 
  • My family – I’m so lucky to have an amazing family who I actually LOVE to be around. Now…that’s a blessing. 
Nella 1

What blog post is complete without an adorable picture of Nella?

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Nap Time at the Dyksterhouse…Or lack thereof…

Man, it has been a while since I’ve written a blog post (this is Jimmy). Seeing as I am currently quarantined to the bedroom with some form of the stomach flu I might as well get back on the blogging bandwagon. Kate and I have wanted to write this post for awhile but just haven’t had the time to sit down and do it. The main reason behind this post is so that everyone doesn’t think having a baby is always smiles (like Facebook tends to depict) and that it’s OK if you’re baby isn’t perfect 100% of the time, others are going through the same thing they just tend not to open up and tell people about it.

Most of the time Nella is her happy self. She smiles at us, coo’s, and plays on her toy mat (which she loves). On the other hand there are times though where she is just plain unhappy. Usually this centers around her nap times and her lack of sleep. For some reason she can sleep for hours on end at night without an issue but cannot sleep for more than 30 minutes a time during the day. It’s like as soon as the sun is up she decided she can only doze for just a few minutes. This would be just fine if she was well rested but most of the time she wakes up from her nap cranky and crying…because she is tired. Then she can’t get back to sleep because she is so worked up about it. This can be very frustrating for mommy and daddy, especially when it gets around to the 6-7pm time frame and they just want to relax as well. There have been many prayers said, tears shed, and promises made during these sessions of unhappiness but for the most part it’s been to no avail. They last anywhere from 10-15 minutes to over an hour and provide very little fulfillment for us. So what to do?

  1. Have her take a nap in her crib at all times so she can get into a routine.
    • I don’t think this has hurt at all but I don’t see any distinct advantage yet.
  2. Keep her up a little longer after she eats to make sure she is “super tired”
    • No dice and I think this backfired once or twice because she got too tired and cranky.
  3. Elevate one end of her bed in case it was her re-flux waking her up
    • From Kate’s perspective the only thing this accomplished was making her room look ugly with 2 red bricks stuck under her bed.
  4. Swaddle with one arm in, both arms in, both arms out
    • You guessed it, no difference on how long she sleeps. Plus, she still manages to get at least one arm free at all times.

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    Co-sleeper in the closer, #5

  5. Make the room dark…or better yet move her co-sleeper into our closet so it’s pitch black.
    • We really had high hopes for this one but no luck. This did make it rather difficult for me to put her pacifier back in the first time though. I wasn’t prepared for how dark it was and had to essentially feel her face to find her mouth. That probably didn’t help her go back to sleep.
  6. Cry it out
    • Haha, we tried this one a few times and about lost our minds. We also found out from talking to our doctor that crying it out usually only works when the child can’t go to sleep. It doesn’t do much if she can go to sleep but wakes up.
  7. Buy a mobile for her crib.
    • Although this doesn’t make her sleep longer it’s been the most successful for us because it makes her happy. We bought one for like 20 bucks at target that projects onto the ceiling and she just watches it go around. If nothing else it distracts her and she doesn’t cry immediately when she wakes up.
  8. Wake her up before the 30 minute mark to try and preempt the crying.
    • This backfired about every time we tried and resulted in more fussiness than usual because we woke her up early.

As you can see we are willing to try most things but unfortunately have not much a positive impact so far. We are just trying to figure out what we’re doing as we go along. Does it stink when she is crying so hard that she has to take a second and catch her breath? You bet and it can get frustrating. In the end though it only takes one big smile to wash it all away and remind you why being a parent is so awesome.

Although we love her immensely on the left, we prefer the attitude on the right...:)

Although we love her immensely on the left, we prefer the attitude on the right…:)

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Recently…

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Love that smile!

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Nella LOVES watching the fan.

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Bundled up to pick out her first Christmas Tree

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Tummy time with Daddy

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Haha..I can’t get over that hat.

Smiles!

Smiles!

Nella's First Tree!

Nella’s First Tree!

Pink Camo Paci ...it's the only one the store had (face palm)

Pink Camo Paci …it’s the only one the store had (face palm)

 

 

 

 

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