Thursday, February 18, 2016

Those Aren't "SEQUENCE" on Your Dress

And something else that drives me insane. 

If I had a dollar for every time I have seen someone use the word "sequence" to describe something sparkly attached to an item of clothing instead of SEQUINS, I would have enough to take to the bank and get a benjamin, for sure. 

But on to the bigger thing....

Last week, I was browsing some social media and saw a link to an article on a magazine site about breastfeeding.  Specifically, breastfeeding past 12 months of age.  And I took the bait.  I clicked on the comments.  #why

Both of my children were EXCLUSIVELY breastfeed for the first six months of life.  No formula.  No solid foods.  #nosleepformama  It worked for us.  I was staying home.  My mother nursed me so I didn't have some weird stigma about it.  I knew breastmilk was, by all accounts, superior to formula.  And I could do it; so I did.  And then we introduced food, but they still nursed.  And Nolan was so unwillingly weaned when he was twenty months old because I wanted to get pregnant but wasn't having any luck because my prolactin levels were through the roof.  I don't know how much longer he would have nursed.  But I know, one day, just like that he would have stopped.  Because that's what kids do.  They stop nursing when they are ready. 

Now, little girl is a different story.  Allyn is three and a half.  And guess what?  She still nurses.  Usually once a day.  Maybe twice.  While she was in the hospital for open heart surgery she didn't breastfeed one time.  Not one.  And I thought we were done.  (Can I get an amen?)  But when we got home the second night she asked to nurse.  Fortunately, there was still milk to be had.  And now she just nurses at night.  And sometimes in the morning. 

Moving back to that story with all of those comments. 

So many people said breastfeeding past 12 months is unnatural or gross.  Once your child can ask for food, he should be eating food and not at the boob.  All of that breastfeeding hate made me stabby.  I still nurse my daughter and my son nursed well past twelve months.  And nothing about it was gross.  It's not like at 12 months they suddenly passed some built-in requirement that they didn't need breastmilk anymore.  And those times when they could ask for it and they would settle into your arms are by far some of the sweetest memories of my children. 

 So there's my view of my three-year old nursing.  I can't see one thing about that gross or inappropriate.  And you can't even see my nipple. 

What's crazy about nursing is that it can be discreetly.  You never have to see a woman's breast.  Most breastfeeding mom's don't want you do. 

But then jerks go and make a big stink about people nursing in public.  And honestly, that just pisses us off.  News flash.  We aren't going to stop nursing our kids.  We know it's good and right.  And the real extremists will stage a nurse in.  And then everyone is up in arms. 

Then the whole should you past 12 months? I say yes.  If you want to.  And if being a human milk factory isn't your jam past that first year of life, then stop.  It's cool.  People will chime in that if your child asked for chocolate cake, would you give it to him? So why nurse him when he is older when he asks; when he CAN ask?  No I would not give my child cake every time he asked.  (Probably just 70% of the time.)  But here's the difference.  Breastmilk is like a superpacked vitamin fortified totally organic (I think) tailored to your kid drink.  I hear it's better than kale.  Manmade foods are not.  And let's be honest.  Neither one of my kids is asking for a whole lot of veggies.  So for as long as they are benefiting from breastfeeding and still want to, I will continue to nurse.  Because one day they will stop.  If you have a healthy breastfeeding relationship with your child, one day (one sad sad day) she will stop. 

I have a very good friend who never nursed her baby.  Like ever.  So we are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to breastfeeding.  We didn't make the same choice for our babies, but we both did what was right for us.  And we kept it a judgement free zone.  Do I wish she would have tried nursing her son?  YES.  Because I know nutritionally breastmilk is better.  Does she probably think I'm a little crazy for nursing a preschooler?  Probably yes.  Most people do.  But we have never picked apart the decision that we each made.  Our children are loved and thriving and healthy(ish). 

So while I didn't comment on that thread, I did get my peace here.  Nurse on mamas.  Or don't.  It's up to you.

And for the love of all things, everywhere...,.,IT'S SEQUINS!

Monday, February 8, 2016

One in One Hundred

This week, February 7 through 14, we observe Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.  Did you know that 1 of 100 children is born with a congenital heart defect.  That is a staggering number, but I feel like you really don't hear a lot about congenital heart defects.  Why? Who knows?

Congenital defects can involve the walls of the heart, the valves inside the heart or the arteries and veins around the heart.  Sometimes multiple things are affected.  Sometimes they are simple, they have no symptoms and require no treatment.  Sometimes they are life-threatening and require immediate intervention.
Allyn's heart defects were not discovered until she was two and a half years old.  And we kind of discovered them on a fluke.  She had suspected mitochondrial disease and we did an echocardiogram of her heart as a baseline.  She also had a radiologist reading an x-ray for her scoliosis and he noted an enlarged heart on his report.  Upon review of her echo, it was determined that she had an atrial septal defect (ASD), a hole between the top chambers of her heart, and a patent ductus arteriosis (PDA), a hole that should have closed shortly after birth when her body started pumping more blood to her lungs.

We did multiple echos and MRIs to determine where the holes where, how big they were, if they were causing other problems and what we could do to fix them.  Her ASD was a large and her PDA was small to moderate.  They were causing complications.  Her right side of her heart was very enlarged and because of the extra blood going to her lungs she had developed pulmonary hypertension.  She had a catheterization during which we attempted to close the holes.  Her ASD was too large.  We also discovered some issues with her mitral valve.

On December 16, 2015 my warrior had open heart surgery and became an official member of the Zipper Club.

She is doing so well now.  Her heart was definitely holding her back developmentally.  She is even gaining weight now.  Having something wrong with your baby is scary, but I am so glad this is something we were able to fix.

Looking back, she had symptoms that should have not been overlooked.  By all of her doctors,  And we have seen a lot.  I think because no one heard the classic murmur, the thought of checking her heart was overlooked.  But an ASD the size of her's does not generate the classic murmur sound due to the volume of blood going through.

Some of her symptoms were:

  • Failure to thrive.  She was not gaining weight.  In her first year of life she gained 6 lbs.  Most baby's triple their birth weight.  She did not even double her's.  She ate okay and we did volume transfer studies to see if she was getting enough milk.  She was.  
  • Difficulty feeding.  She would tire while nursing.  Nolan had always nursed like a champion and he would drink until there was no more.  She almost always fell asleep after 10-15 minutes of nursing. 
  • Sweating.  She was sweating all of the time.  When she nursed and when she slept, she would be drenched.  
  • Additionally, she had scoliosis and preauricular pits.  It's not uncommon for children with spinal or ear or kidney abnormalities have heart abnormalities.  
I mentioned all of these things to her doctors.  All of her doctors.  So it really was just gross oversight (and maybe a little negligent) that not until her geneticist in Chicago saw some issues on a muscle biopsy that an ultrasound of her heart was ordered.  

But now I know.  And I can tell you.  If your baby has any of these symptoms.  Or issues with pulse ox readings or rapid breathing or anything else, discuss with your doctor ordering an echocardiogram.  It's easy and a non-invasive.

If you want more information on congenital heart defects you can visit Mended Little Hearts.  And from my heart warrior to you, Happy Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.