The Medical Mystery That is Molly

Miss Molly has been a puzzle from day one.  First, she broke up the whole girl, boy, girl, boy pattern.  Then there was the medical drama of her first day, and she hasn’t quit trying to keep us on our toes ever since.

She began as one of those run of the mill fussy babies.  Screamy might define her a bit better.  From birth she could be heard across the house even without a baby monitor.  She is a zero-to-sixty crier.  She is either content or screaming.  There is no middle ground.  Her cry is something between a fire alarm and the screeching of a Ringwraith.

Around 2 months old she added coughing to her repertoire.  Her cough was dry, breathy, and most troubling of all – constant.  I have heard that cough before in asthma kids after running or jumping around.  I asked around to see if she could have environmental allergies, but was assured by many people that it takes 2-3 seasons of exposure before those kinds of allergies can develop.  We waited a bit to see if it was just a mild cold , but after a couple months we caved in and took her to see an allergist.

During a grueling two hour appointment, Molly was tested for both environmental and food allergies.  Many of the environmental ones came up strongly positive. (One of the allergists later told me she had the worst environmental allergies of any baby she has seen.)  And the big surprise was that she tested strongly positive for several foods as well.  She was 4 months old at the time.  We left the allergist office with several prescriptions including asthma medications and an Epipen Jr. and one very shocked mommy.  Around the same time we also began (with great success) treating her for GERD, which reduced her fussiness.

Over the last couple of months we have dealt with two major asthma attacks, some asthma misinformation from a well-meaning pediatrician (which caused the second attack) and muddled conclusions with regards to the food allergies. 

So for now we have established an asthma baseline for Molly’s maintenance medications, and her GI doctor and Allergist both agree that she should remain Top 8 Free with regards to foods for at least her first year, if not longer.  (The Top 8 Food Allergens are: milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish, plus apples and chicken, which she has tested positive to, and pears which she seems to have failed on trial.)  It has been hard to get used to having to give daily medications to a child who looks so well, but we have seen the repercussions of taking her off the medications.  The truth is that she is well because of those meds.

Other than that, Molly is doing amazing!  She is nearly 9 months old now, completely uninterested in solid food, crawling fast, and determined to figure out how to walk.  She waves Bye-bye and says Mama, Dada, Buhbuh, and Nana – which may or may not mean anything depending on what she is pointing at and who she is talking to.  She is a serious baby and saves her smiles for those who really earn them, and she LOVES to swim.  When we put her on the top step in the pool she will scooch her butt off the step and into the water and “swim” to us.  It’s very cute!

It’s a Random Post Kind of Wednesday

Today you get to look in our windows and see what is up at the Groft house.

Currently the kids are scattered far and wide – Posy is in Kentucky visiting relatives, Tessa is shopping with Nana, and who knows what Paisley is up to.  Last I heard she was planning a day trip to Flagstaff.  The rest of them are home in varying stages of undress.

This morning’s plans were interrupted by an appointment for me, so I am now contemplating at 2pm the chores I would otherwise have done at 9am.  But such is the flexibility of a family.  I had intended to to them before leaving this morning, but the night was interrupted by reflux, asthma, teething, or all of the above and so I had a lazy morning instead.

Lily (2) is supposed to be going to sleep in her bed, Max (5) has just had a complete meltdown over Super Monkey Ball or some video game and Ben is holding Molly so I can get this started.  James is hoping he is off the hook now since he babysat this morning.  So here we go, starting again at 2pm – this post is for the random thoughts that occur to me along the way.

1. I am going to tidy my bedroom.  Because then, when I melt down later today I can come in here and pretend the house is clean.  I fully realize that I may not accomplish any other quantifiable task today.
2. Flashlights show up in interesting places.  This one was in the cloth diapers.
3. I am trying to reconfigure my blog and it’s not going so well.  So far today I have made it so it doesn’t show up at all and then I collapsed as well.  One call to tech support and I can see why I messed it up so badly.  It seems you have to stand on your head and click through seventy-two screens, then back through four to actually make the changes I as going for.  Whew!  At least I was confused for a reason.  Anyway, it looks as if this post, and all the rest will be viewable in the next 24 hours (give or take…).  Ah, Technology, you make our lives so much easier!
4. Lily took a nap, Tessa came home, and now everyone has popsicles.  Yay!
5. I finally, after 8 months, finished Molly’s birth story and posted it.
6. I did a bunch of loads of laundry.  Like 5 or 6, and didn’t fold a lick of it.  But I am pretty sure that it won’t go anywhere without me, so I can do it tomorrow.
7.  We visited Nana’s and Papa’s house, where we had some nice conversation and Max was attacked by ants. A dip in the pool and some benadryl and I am pretty sure he will live, if I don’t kill him for all the whining.
8. Stopped at Carl’s Jr to pick up dinner and realized that aside from ketchup, I haven’t fed my kids any real vegetables today.  And since I don’t really count ketchup…
9. Paisley stopped by – she wants her dresser back, which is currently holding all of Molly’s clothes.  So now I have to find a dresser for Molly.  But in all fairness, I offered it to Paisley.
10.  And eventually, with much help from James (who cleaned the kitchen) and Ben (who read a book to the littles) we got the younger bunch in bed and then suddenly it was 11pm and I have no idea how that happened.  I didn’t even finish watching the TV show I started earlier.

So this Wednesday is over, and Boy Howdy, has it been random.  The whole point of this has been to stretch my posting muscles again and get the writing juices flowing. It felt good.  Maybe the next one won’t be just boring randomness and will be more funny and interesting.  Until then… Goodnight.

Molly’s First Day

Sort of a continuation of her birth story:

Once Molly was out and breathing well and we had all settled into bed, the midwife mentioned that she heard a heart arrhythmia.  She had heard it during my labor but had thought it was just Molly moving around.  So she hung around for quite a while – the whole rest of the night and checked up on Molly periodically.  She left sometime between 8 or 9am and told us to get Molly in to see the pediatrician that day to check out her heart sounds.

We took Molly to see one of the pediatricians in our practice (not one we usually see, our first mistake) and had him take a look.  He said she sounded fine, but didn’t specify if he heard the arrhythmia.  And we didn’t ask. (Our second mistake.)  So we went home thinking all was fine and tried to get some rest.  Carol (midwife) came to check up on us at 7pm and wasn’t at all satisfied with the pediatrician’s reaction.  She could still hear the arrhythmia (and so could we, it was pretty obvious) and really wanted Molly to have an EKG.  Apparently as babies switch from womb to outside, there can be a little trouble for some little hearts.  She was really concerned that Molly was headed for such trouble.

Off to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Urgent Care we went.  They did a 3 line EKG, but weren’t satisfied that Molly was out of the woods.  They called ahead to get Molly a spot in the PCH NICU and sent us there so that Molly could have a 12 line EKG and see a cardiologist.  By this point I had been awake for over 42 hours with just a few snoozes and had given birth besides.  To say I was beside myself is such and understatement.  I SOBBED the whole way to the hospital.  I had no tissues and had to use my sling to wipe my face.  I was worried about Molly and I was so tired I couldn’t even think straight anymore.

We arrived at PCH a little after 11pm.  We were ushered through the flu-infested ER straight to the NICU and to a cozy little corner to call our own.  I had a recliner to sit in and a little barrier to provide some privacy.  Molly’s little isolette was right in our area and her nurse had a desk right there as well.  The lovely nurse-practitioner did her best to calm me down and answer all of our questions.  We decided that Jay should go home and get some sleep and come back to the hospital after getting the other kids off to school in the morning.

Molly was hooked up to all sorts of monitors and we settled in for a breastfeeding marathon and the long night began to tick by moment by moment.  I was informed that I could not sleep in the recliner while holding Molly.  But every time I set her down in the isolette she would cry.  So I held her through the night and caught 10 minutes of sleep when the nurse wasn’t looking.

Getting a 12 line EKG on a newborn is no easy task.  Her skin had not been washed yet and so the adhesives didn’t stick to her well and the probes would fall right off.  Then she was moving around and not wanting to be put down, so they couldn’t get a good read on her.  We tried three separate times (about 2 hours apart) before we finally got her still enough, and we still had to hold each and every probe on her.  She also got a rash from the contact with the adhesive.  Great.  But we finally got enough of a read on her and then I just waited for morning and for the cardiologist.  It was a very, very long night.

The cardiologist came through early in the morning, 6am I think, and talked with me and cleared her.  He said the arrhythmia was just a little hiccup in the top part of her heart and that she could have it her whole life and never suffer any ill effects.  But if it had been in the lower part then it would have been a concern and could be serious, so it was good that we brought her in.

Around 8:30 Jay came in.  I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see him in my life.  Finally I changed clothes and told him all about my night.  By 9:30 we were on our way home with our healthy little girl, ready to finally get some sleep.

Molly’s Birth Story

Well, she’s 8 months old now, it’s about time I got this posted.

November 3rd – I woke up and noticed throughout the morning that my usual braxton hicks contractions were different. They had a sharper, more painful quality to them.  They didn’t seem to be coming any closer, and I didn’t feel like timing them to see it they were.  I figured that if they really started to grab my attention I would start timing them.  But the contractions were persistent, even if they weren’t all that painful, so in the early afternoon I called Carol, my midwife, to let her know what was going on – that the contractions had changed, and I really thought that labor would begin in earnest in the middle of the night.  She told me to keep her posted and I went about my day.

I picked the kids up from school as usual and found that being in the car made the contractions not only stronger, but settle into a timeable pattern.  While I was driving they were about 6-7 minutes apart, still light enough to talk through.  At about 4pm I told Posy that things were probably started and I canceled our dinner plans.  Jay was already home from work and had started getting the pool set up.  I called a friend and asked if the kids could come to their house for dinner to give us some down time and see how things developed.  By 5:30pm, when we were supposed to have friends over for dinner, the contractions were good and strong and I knew for sure we were on our way.

But my labors have a way of hesitating, so I wasn’t sure I wanted Carol to come over just yet.  But since she had missed Lily’s birth, she convinced me to let her come over then and check me and just be there with us for a while.

My labor built very slowly through the evening.  At some point the kids came back home and were put to bed in their own rooms.  I labored on the birth ball a lot and paced when I felt like it.  Around 9:30pm, Carol siad she would like me to try laying on my left side for a while to see if that helped the labor or at least let me get some rest.  I had wanted to keep moving to keep the power in the contractions, but I agreed with her that some rest would be a good idea.

Wow.  Once I was on my left side there was no rest to be had.  Jay laid down with me and dozed, but my contractions took off like crazy.  They immediately went to about 3 minutes apart and took all my concentration.  Sometime around 11, I decided that if I had this lovely pool all ready to go to help ease my pain, I might as well use it.

I got into the pool and Jay supported me from outside of it. I labored in there until past midnight and eventually started pushing. But the water was on the hotter end of birth pool temperatures (probably 101-102) and I was working hard, so I got very hot and uncomfortable.  It finally started to make me a bit dizzy.  Jay said that seemed to alarm Carol when I said I was dizzy. She told me to get out of the pool and finish pushing the baby out on the floor or bed.  But as soon as I turned over to move and get out, Molly moved down a bunch.  It was too late to go anywhere.

So I knelt, facing the wall of the pool and pushed like crazy.  I kind of roared as she came out.  The position I was in made it very hard for the the midwife to catch her, so Molly popped out, almost all at once, just into the water.  As soon as she was out the midwife could reach her and she pulled her up out of the water while I turned over.  Pushing had only lasted about 15 minutes once I got serious about it.  She was born a little after midnight on November 4th.

Molly was retracting some and snorting, so we moved out of the pool right away and they cut the cord and gave her some oxygen.  Immediately upon receiving the oxygen though she recovered and started to breath properly.  She was a teeny little thing at only 6 lbs, 12 oz, 19 inches long.

Summer Update 2010

Well, I promised again that I would start to keep things up to date and it never happened.  Time to write has been non-existent the whole year!  But it is summer now, and I am taking a deep breath and sitting down for at least a few moments before I take the kids for a swim.  I am not going to attempt to rewind and get you all caught up, this update is strictly where we are now and what is going on this week.  I don’t want to overwhelm either you as a reader or myself as a writer by trying to catch up on all the doings not recently chronicled.

So here we are, 3rd week of July and in the very thick of summer.  And BOY is it summer.  Today was honestly the first day that even walking outside made me just want to turn around and run for A/C.  But it did.  Standing around and talking after mass nearly made me melt, and then we still had to go to the store on the way home.  That made me downright grouchy.  But we made it.

So this week is a big week for us, we celebrate our 20th anniversary!  We went out to dinner last night and even left the baby (big first there!) and had a nice time reminiscing and list our favorite and not-so-favorite moments of the last 20 years.  Only God could have brought us through all the garbage we have lived through and still stayed together.  Overall, it has been a very happy 20 years.  🙂

The kids are enjoying their summer.  I deliberately underscheduled us for summer and am so glad I did.  We needed this down time and the summer provided its own busyness.  If I had scheduled stuff too we would have been on the go all the time.  Ben, Max, and Tessa have been seeing a friend or two when they can and swimming the rest of the time.  I can’t tell you how much I love having a swimming pool during the summer.  It is just heaven to always have something for the kids to do.

We haven’t done any official swimming lessons but I have worked with the kids myself.  That is going well.  Lily can swim and is learning how to come up for a breath,  Max is a complete fish now and only uses a floatie to jump off the diving board.  Even Molly is in on the action.  When we sit her on the top step she will scooch her butt to the edge, take a deep breath and lean/fall in and kick her way to me or Jay.  She loves the pool and gets excited just seeing it.

Paisley has moved out again, after living at home the last 7 months.  James has graduated and is preparing to start community college and is working part time.  Posy is busy as a bee with her little circle of friends.

All in all, summer has been just what we needed – a slowing down from the incredibly hectic pace of the last school year.

We are gearing up to start again, but with two fewer schools to deal with, things should be at least a little calmer.

At least a girl can hope…