Monday, July 21, 2014

Clubfoot Files: 2 Year Checkup

Welcome back to another riveting edition of the Clubfoot Files!

I've had a few people stop by this blog who are also on the clubfoot journey with their little one (hi!), so I'm writing these Clubfoot Files to share what we are going through and what we are learning.  I know I like reading other parents' blogs about it - the more info you can arm yourself with, the better!  It helps to hear what real people are going through.  

Harper had her 2 year check up with the orthopaedist recently (spoiler: her feet look great!), and I wanted to update on where we stand at this point in the treatment process.  

The last time Harper went to the ortho was when she was about 16 months ish maybe?  I can't even remember now!  I do know that she wasn't walking yet at the time (**FYI - Harper took her first steps when she was 16 months, and wasn't truly "walking" until well into 17 months.  And guess what?  She's FINE!  She runs like a champ now!  If your little one is delayed with these movement milestones too - relax, it will happen!**).  But her foot looked so good, the doctor said not to come back until she was 2.  

So, we made our appointment and I wasn't too worried, even though it had been so long.  As she learned to walk (and then sprint - everywhere...) I watched for any warning signs and all looked good.  Sure enough, at her appointment, the doctor wasted no time in telling me that her feet looked perfect.  She said she wouldn't have been able to tell she even had clubfoot without looking at her chart.  She watched her walk and run around the room and was really positive about her movement.  Harper's feet are even roughly the same size, which the doctor said is not common by this point.

Such welcome news!  It's crazy that something that is such a Big Deal when the baby is first born turns into no big thing as they quickly get older.  Like I've said before, we are very diligent about the time she spends in the brace and I know this has helped.

We are ready to move up into the next size shoe (luckily she's slowed down some on growing and it's been awhile!), so I ordered a pair in size 4.  This time, we decided to buy directly through MD Orthopaedics again, instead of through insurance/Children's, since Harper hasn't gotten anywhere close to meeting her deductible and it's a much better deal to pay the $237 upfront than pay her full deductible, since buying the shoes through the doctor is ridiculously pricey.  I'm hoping this pair will last her through the end of the year. 

Currently, Harper's heels have red spots, and they pretty much have all summer.  I know it's from wearing sandals (even though I get the expensive stride rite ones!) and crocs that get wet and rub (cheap, but I didn't know what else to get for water table play, etc).  They never get worse, so I just keep an eye on them and hope they stay just minor irritations.  The spots don't seem to bother her, so I just chalk it up to life with clubfoot.

I haven't gotten the new shoes in yet, but I always dread a new pair a little bit.  No matter what, she always has some sort of issue with any new pair she gets.  Breaking them in, I suppose.  By this stage, I'm much more knowledgeable about how to correct issues that come up - and I'm armed with sheets of sticky foam to line problem areas of the shoes.  But like most aspects of parenting, it's trial and error until we find what works.

That's pretty much all there is to update on right now.  Life stays much the same - shoes on at night, check ups every 6 months.  Rinse repeat until she's 4 years old. 

Our next big hurdle is "big girl bed."  So far, she can't climb out of her crib during naps (when she's not wearing the brace).  Of course she won't be able to climb out with her brace on, but once the naps are escapable, we are going to have to commit to a real bed anyway.  I need to do more research on how to make this happen safely.  I've heard lots of people just use a mattress on the floor, that way if the kid falls out with the brace on, there's not far to go and they don't hurt themselves.  But that kind of weirds me out for some reason.

Harper is so stubborn and even though she's a good sleeper, I'm worried about this transition already.  I can see her crawling around her room with the brace on, getting into trouble.  And don't even start me on worrying about what happens when they are potty trained and need to go at night... but there's time to sort that out.  And don't worry, I'll be sure to blog about it along the way! ;)
((If you have any good blogs/resources on how to transition to a bed with cf, do share!!))

One last thing:  I get emails weekly from parents who read these little posts and have found them helpful or comforting.  I always reply to their awesome emails that this is exactly why I write these posts.  Not just to chronicle our own process, but to help share some positivity and tips and let others know that it's going to be ok.  Clubfoot is a big pain, but certainly not much more than that.  Your baby will be healed, pretty easily and quickly, and be a totally normal kid in no time!  How awesome is that???  So, if you've emailed - thank you.  Your emails make my heart happy.  And if you haven't or want to - I'd love to talk to you! :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Snaps

Remember when I used to have a blog??  Oh yeah, those were the good ol days.  I would say life has been busy, and in a way, it has, but really I've just been depleted of energy and motivation.  And that's ok.  But I don't want a big gap in our digital history, so here's a snippet of life this summer.  In photos.  And commentary. 

This kid.   She's 2 in one week and it's been amazing to me to see her grow up before our very eyes.  (Look for sappy, long post coming soon).  This is her to a T - always in motion, cheeser grin, snack in hand.

She will kiss my belly sometimes.  Usually she blows kisses, like she's doing here.  It's perfect.  Pretty sure she has no idea why I request it, but she knows it makes mama happy.

Such old news, I know... but 4th of July happened and Harper had a BLAST at our local parade.  Seriously, it was like her best day ever.  I worried she would be restless and want to run in the street or would fuss and we'd have to lock her in the stroller.  But instead, she was fascinated and sat/bounced excitedly in our laps the entire hour plus.  (side note: I'm never going to be able to break the finger sucking habit...not that I've tried yet or anything....)

She's big on trucks ("chaRUCK") these days, so when the fire truck came through AND sounded it's siren, she about died.  And honestly, I was glad I had sunglasses on because I shed a few tears.  I know it's hormones and whatnot, but seeing her so excited and so grown up was more than I could take.

With her Mimi

Just chilling in her little tiny person chair.

Papou and Mimi


She's very patriotic. 

We've spent some summer pool days with her cousins Ava and Isaac too.  Harper is meh about the pool.  She wants in but doesn't want to be in a float and doesn't want to be held but can't hold herself up in the life vest.  So she whines and wants to run around the pool on the burning concrete and risk falling in every five seconds.  Basically, it's exhausting.  Definitely not "fun" - but we're MAKING MEMORIES! 

She's so into copying these days.  She sees us do something once, and she's all about doing it herself. 

She's the muscle of this operation.

It's certainly been a task to keep her entertained and busy every day this summer.  I'm just huge and hot and going outside is not what I want to do - but of course that's all she wants to do.  

Or read her books. they all get taken out like this.  I love that she's a bookworm!

Rare pool fun.

She loves to sniff flowers.  Dramatically.

I've been trying to soak up little moments with her, knowing this one-on-one time is short-lived.

We picked blueberries!

Well, mom and dad did. 

We went to a splash pad.  Much more ideal for pregnant mom that pool chasing.

She's alllll about helping.  

And laying in random places.

Summer is winding to a close, which is hard to believe.  Life's about to change for us big time.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Gestational Diabetes (Fun Stuff!)

(Warning, this is a long one!!)

I feel like I haven't talked about pregnancy #2 at all here, which is quite different from the first time around!  I feel bad for new baby, as if she's already getting neglected via second child syndrome and she's not even here yet!  The truth is, I think about her often, but it's just not the same with the second as it is with the first.  The important thing is that she is and will be tremendously loved, and that's all that really matters.

But I did want to write about one fun times part of this pregnancy so far:

A few weeks ago, I was bummed to find out I have gestational diabetes (found out at 30 weeks along).  Blergh.

Honestly, I was afraid from day 1 that I was going to have it.  With Harper, I failed the first screening test and had to take the longer (terrible) test, barely passing it.  Harper was born at 9lbs 3 ozs, so it's more than likely I did have it during that pregnancy, at least in some sense.  And since it tends to get worse with each pregnancy, I had low hopes this go round.  

However, that didn't stop me from being delusionally wishful.  I started this pregnancy on the heels of Whole30, weighing 20 full pounds less than I did before getting pregnant with Harper.  I was exercising frequently, whereas with Harper I was a grad student and did little more than sit in desks.  I had been eating so much better.  With Harper's pregnancy, I gained a total of 33 pounds, which wasn't bad considering she was over 9 of that!  I lost it all within a few weeks, save for a few lingering pounds that hung on (granted, I was the "same weight" but that looked totally different on a post-baby body than it did before.  Oh joys of pregnancy!).  This pregnancy, I'd only gained 19 pounds, which my doctor was very pleased with.  So knowing all of that, I thought - maybe I will trick the test this time!

Nope, didn't.  You can't trick genetic predisposition.  

At first, I felt guilty.  A little embarrassed   Yes, I was slightly overweight and yes, I didn't eat great during the first half of my pregnancy (but who can with near-constant morning sickness??).  

But I just kept thinking -- if every slightly overweight, not so great eater got gestational diabetes, there would be a lottttt more women with it.  Yes, the fact that I was slightly overweight, coupled with the fact that I'm over age 25 (the shame!) could have tipped the scales on me getting it.  But what my nutritionist explained to me was that what it boils down to is genetic predisposition.  I don't have a family history, but she explained that family can be carriers, and it can skip generations. It didn't matter that I ate too many carbs for weeks 1-20 or that I had a few pounds to lose.  The hormones in the placenta cause your body to be insulin resistant if you are predisposed to it. Simple as that.  

The issue with GD is that it can cause large babies, which can affect how they are birthed.  It also can cause their blood sugar levels to rise, which puts them at risk when they are born and for the rest of their lives.  But as long as I keep my numbers in line, hers will be too.

So, once I failed the long test I got to meet with a diabetes educator/nutritionist who was extremely helpful.  Tony went to the meeting too, since he's my chef and needed to know what to feed me.  :)  I was thinking it would be a low carb diet, but really, it isn't.  I actually get to eat a lot of carbs, just certain ones, at certain times, in small doses.

The basics are this:  I eat 6 times a day to keep my blood sugar levels consistent.  For my three meals I eat 45 grams of carbs, balanced with protein and healthy fats.  For my three snacks, I 
have 30 grams of carbs.  I have to take my blood sugar (stabbing myself 4 times a day is super fun) once in the morning for my fasting number, and then 2 hours after each meal.  I have to eat at certain times (every 2 1/2 - 3 hours), and I have to eat right before I go to sleep so my blood sugar remains stable overnight (if you don't have enough "fuel" overnight, your liver starts producing glucose which skyrockets your morning fasting levels).  

So, 45 grams of carbs equals about 3 slices of wheat bread.  That's a lot in a meal if you think about it that way!  Except good stuff, like say, a chocolate chip cookie, is roughly 60 grams of carbs.  And cereal, my go-to comfort food, is out.  So basically I just have to choose good carbs, making sure I get lots of fiber, protein, water, and fats to keep my numbers in range.

I've been doing great so far.  I've never once had a number that was out of range, which I'm really happy about!  It's important to try to keep your numbers diet-controlled.  Sometimes it's just not possible and you have to start insulin.  But I have high hopes and my doctor does too.  

I've been eating a lot of the same stuff, which only 2 weeks in has gotten kind of old.  I'm a little nervous to branch out when I know what I've been doing is working.  My day looks something like this:

- Breakfast:  Eggs and a whole wheat English muffin (I go lighter on carbs in the morning since it's a hard time to control your numbers)
- Snack:  Apple with peanut butter and a Wasa cracker (these were a great find - a good amt of carbs and they feel substantial to eat as opposed to Wheat Thins or something)
- Lunch:  A turkey wrap on a Flatout with cheese, hummus (a good source of healthy fat and carb), and veggies, and a serving of fruit (grapes and pineapple have been my faves)
- Snack: Cheese and crackers, a Southbeach protein bar with fruit, or whatever I can stomach.  I've had nachos on corn chips and popcorn with string cheese before too - so it's not like you can't have anything that feels like a cheat
- Dinner:  Not a crazy change here, I just have to watch and measure my portions and make sure I get enough, but not too much.  
- Snack:  A small fruit smoothie with yogurt and oat bran and a string cheese

Yeah, that's a lot of eating.  Sometimes I am SO not hungry, but I have to eat to keep on schedule.  And yes, there's a lot of cheese.  It's weird how stuff like peanut butter and cheese are good options for me.  They are "meat substitutes" that offer the protein I need when I just don't want actual meat.  

I have fit in a little bit of ice cream too. :)  It's not always easy, but it's doable.

Exercise helps keep your numbers low too, so we've been making sure to get in a nightly walk right after dinner.  Sometimes it's so stinking hot and I just don't want to - but my dinner numbers have been my highest ones, so I  know it's necessary.  

Many people have asked if I am feeling better.  I thought this was a weird question at first, but when I really thought about it, the answer is Yes, I'm feeling better. I didn't even know I was feeling bad!  But my nutritionist helped me see what low blood sugar really is.  I think I was having lots of low blood sugar swings.  I would all of the sudden get really weak and dizzy and tired.  I thought this was just pregnancy.  But I haven't had one of those episodes once since starting this diet.  I am eating a much more balanced diet, with more veggies and fruit.  I was walking before, but now I walk more regularly.  So, this is really a great thing for both baby and me - better food and better exercise.  I've even lost 2 pounds, making my total weight gain only 17 pounds.  (I know weight loss is NOT a goal in pregnancy, but it's reality and will help me be in better shape post-baby). 

The awesome part too - once my placenta is gone, my diabetes will be gone!  As long as I stay diet-controlled and not on medicine, I can eat whatever I want the minute she's out.   I will, however, have an increased risk of real deal diabetes later in life, since I clearly have a predisposition for it.  This is just good motivation to keep my weight down and continue exercising for the rest of my life.  I don't want bloody fingers forever!

I met with my doctor today and she was really pleased with my numbers.  I was glad to hear that she won't force NSTs or the like unless I have to get on meds.  The only thing that will be affected is how far they will let me go.  She told me they really prefer to induce at 39 weeks.  They will do ultrasounds to check the size of the baby to ensure she's not huge (although big babies don't really scare me!).  But even if she's not big, the doctor explained that GD babies tend to have bulky shoulders, risking them getting stuck, breaking bones, etc. during the delivery process.   Actually, with Harper I spent 2 hours pushing, and she was stuck for a while, requiring a vacuum assisted birth during the last few minutes.  She was absolutely fine during the process and her heart rate never dropped.  She was healthy and happy (ok, screaming) when she came out!  Her blood sugar numbers were great.  But then at our 2 month pediatrician visit, our doctor noticed a lump along her collarbone.  Turns out, Harper fractured her clavicle during birth, something which is subtle and not noticed generally until the bone begins to calcify around the spot, leaving a little lump.  It wasn't a big deal, but it's just proof to me that these types of issues are very real.  I don't want to risk something worse.  The doctor explained that one week can really make a difference in terms of her weight and the placenta's effect on my blood sugar.

Most of me hates the fact that I will get induced (unless I happen to go into labor early, but I doubt it).  I want to go into labor naturally when my body is ready.  However, I trust my doctor and the health of my baby comes first.  And when I think about it, it's not that crazy.  With Harper, my water broke naturally, but I didn't really progress.  My blood pressure started to go up so eventually they started me on Pitocin, which worked quickly and made it happen.  So, yes, I went into labor naturally, but I had a good taste of what would be done during an induction.  It's not the worst thing in the world.  

But the scary part - that's in 6.5 weeks!!  That number seems so small and having a real date makes it so real.  I have so much to do!

Also, can I just say how awesome Tony is?  I feel like I could say that every day, in every post.  He hit the ground running, helping me think of meal ideas (and executing many of them!), doing the math for me when I just was over it, and he makes sure to get dinner on the table at the time I need it.  He's even eating the same diet I am (for the most part) for solidarity.  I brought him cookies today because I felt bad he's been so deprived for no reason.  He's the best.  Such a true partner in life.

Anyway, if you read this far, congrats.  This was long and probably more than you ever cared to know about my blood sugar.  But I just wanted to share and whine just a little bit.  Luckily, even though it's a pain, I only have to do it for a few more weeks.  And then I will have a cuddly baby to hold.  So crazy to think we will have a newborn again.  The fun begins soon!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Beach Week 2014

Well, I promise I haven't been up to anything all that interesting in the last month, but somehow it's all kept me from blogging!  Slacker!

However, we did spend a lovely week at the beach with my family.  We went to Anna Maria Island, Florida, where we've been going for quite a few years. My sis even got married here in 2011! {20112012, 2013} It's so neat to see how our family grows and changes each time.  This year, Lucy was part of the mix!  Next year, there will be even one more baby. Crazy stuff!

We always rent a house, and this year, the house was super cute and remodeled recently.  It was very much beachy cottage feel, which I would totally do if I lived in Florida (not even at the beach, just in the state).  It was good weather and I love having that much quality time with all of my family.

Harper and Nonnie

My sisters and I - not sure how I got so short.

THE BEST doughnuts in the world.  Choose your own icing and toppings (this trip was pre-gestational diabetes, thank goodness).

A pod of stingrays off the pier:

So, I was concerned about how Harper would do at the beach.  Last year, she was crawling but not walking, which was a super pain.  This year, she's running full speed all of the time, but still not mature enough to understand danger and cleanliness.  

She did... ok.  We didn't spend a ton of time down at the beach, as the kids could only take short bursts.  She did have fun playing in the sand with Lyla and the dads.  She got some sunbathing time in too:

Also, this kid is Greek baby, through and through.  I slathered her with sunscreen, but she and her Greek dad were the only ones who didn't get sunburned at least somewhat.  Seriously, there were a few days when I slacked a bit on reapplication and she just got a little brown.  What a relief that at least this kid got her father's skin tone and not mine! 

She didn't really understand the whole - don't get sand all over you - part... she ate a lot of it.  Oh well.  She survived.

SO excited about the waves

We had a nice little pool at the house, where we spent a lot of time.  I got to wear maternity swimwear.  Fun stuff.

There were a lot of chubby, near-naked baby shots.  She is just too cute.  And scraggly. 

Light beach reading

This kid.  Almost 2.  So grown.

Beach family 

Lucy being adorable and looking just like her daddy

Lyla is like, full grown now.  It's so crazy.  I love getting to hang out with her.

The grandparents

The whole gang

It was a great week and a great way to kick off summer!
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