Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

His Michael Jordan face...possibly my new favorite?

 Playing with his "Big Al" from Aunt Thia 



The approach...

Attack!


Still looking a little manic about Big Al here...

Pee-bye...


boo!






He chews his paci and thumb...and sucks his toes.  Go figure.


This face is his "Wordless Wednesday" way of telling me to put the camera away.  Please :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Taking the "Lunge"

Carter is starting to lunge toward the things he'd like...which invariably ends up with a faceplant, a scoot toward the desired object, or a lean that is just enough for him to grab the treasure.





One thing he will always lean toward...he loves water in his sippy cup!

Asssorted faces associated with playtime on the mat:

Bemused...(and I love the bedhead!)

Bewildered

Chipper

Ecstatic

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dr. Mom

I wrote a little last week about our experiment with bottle feeding my pumped milk to Carter and how it seemed to be making a difference.  Well...wow.  It's made a HUGE difference.  Most of you know how much Carter spit up in an average day.  It was just normal for him to go through several outfits, at LEAST five or six bibs, and to get me at least once.  Wanna know how many times he's spit up today?

Twice.  Both times while lunging for a toy beyond his reach.

What?!?

If you've been around us much, you also have probably seen me treating one of his outfits after he blew out yet another diaper.  Again.  Every day.

Wanna know how many diapers have blown out in the past week?

Zero.

Now...I don't claim to be the brightest bulb in the closet.  But I also have enough common sense to keep from walking myself into a corner and not knowing how to get out.  I know Carter is going to blow out some diapers and spit up all over everything sometimes.  He's a baby.  BUT...there is a definitive change that directly correlates with changes I made in his daily life.  I was dairy and soy free for more than 50 days.  I was free of everything tasty for almost 40 with minimal, if any, change or improvement.  I bottle fed Carter my milk for two days and saw massive change. I think we've found our problem.

After I realized that Carter seemed a lot better when I pumped, a lot of things started really making sense about the past few months.  I won't bore you with every detail, but it was enough that I realized it was time to test my diet.  It was super scary to come off the restrictions.  Yes, it was freeing.  Yet, it was exciting.  But...what if I put something in my system that was going to hurt him and have to work it's way out...AGAIN?  What would it do to my heart to get the taste of good food again...only to have to go back to the restrictions?

But..you have to start somewhere.  So I did.  Slowly at first...and now, I'm eating everything!  So far, there is absolutely no change in Carter...YAY!  I am having to be much more careful than I like though....I can eat far less than I could before all of this without my stomach getting queasy.  If nothing else, this diet has made me a healthier eater just by reducing my tolerance for "bad" food!

We called Dr. Greene and she suggested cancelling our appointments with the specialists for now but still coming to see her with some diaper samples in April.  That way she can test for blood and have some real evidence one way or the other about the change I am seeing.  If we still need to cut something out, I am totally willing, but the evidence seems to point toward hyperlactation being the culprit.

Is pumping for every feeding the easiest thing?

No.

Is it better than eating squash and zucchini all day, every day....absolutely.

Is it better than Carter's tummy hurting.  Of course.

For the curious among you, hyperlactation is normally not solved by bottle feeding your pumped milk.  Normally, you try to reduce your supply.  However, if my supply hasn't regulated to meet Carter's needs in these six months...I'm kinda doubtful that is magically going to happen for us at this point.  And I am SO okay with that.

Now we're tackling these bad, bad sleep habits he's formed while he was dealing with all the gas and tummy pain he was having to handle every night.  It's not easy, but we are making definite progress.  We are both getting just a little more sleep each night, and it feels ohhhhh so good :)

I hope this is the close of this particular chapter of the blog...but, as always, I'll keep you updated :)  Thank you so much for the prayers, encouragement, advice, help, and special meals cooked during this process.  We couldn't have done this alone.

And a special thanks to Google...a mother's best friend in diagnostics.  If I've learned anything in this process it is that I am Carter's doctor.  His pediatrician and others are specialists that can help me along the way...but at the end of the day, I am the one researching, charting, observing, trialing and advocating.

The job comes without a white coat, office, or M.D. following my name.  It does come with the long hours, uncertainty, and hard work.  But at the end of the work day, I don't settle up with bills sent to patients...I get a  cuddle with a little, round baby boy.  As Charlie would say..."Winning"
:)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kudos and Updates

I am related to some pretty awesome people.  I mean, I know everyone thinks that their family is pretty great, but mine have some serious skills.  Take my parents for example.  They are really remarkable people...in a lot of ways.  They've been married for 29 years, give and help others with more generosity than I know how to describe, and are phenomenal parents and grandparents...just to get started.

Lately, they've decided to add a new hobby to be the very best at:  running.

Remember the Couch to 5K training program I followed to start running again after Carter was born?  Mama decided she'd like to do that too...and Daddy decided to support her and run with her.  But they couldn't settle for just running a 5K like I did.  No...even though Mama had never run more than 8 consecutive minutes IN HER  LIFE...they are now more than runners.  They are...racers:

At a St. Patrick's Day 5K in Hilton Head...where Mama ran a 26:42 and came in 2nd place in her age division, and Daddy ran a 24:01 and came in 3rd place in his.  WHAT!?!?  This was their second race.  Their first race was the weekend before.  Can I just say that I can only seriously dream of running that fast?  I'm half their age!  And I would be remiss if I did not also comment on their fun and clearly dedicated commitment to thematic fashion.

They would never brag on themselves...but as their daughter...I felt like people should know.  And perhaps pray that some of that greatness is genetic...and that I'm not secretly adopted.  

On the other side of the family, the talent is all in the arts.  Music and art is NOT hard to come by at the casa de Castillo.  They're all pretty amazing.  Gabby, the youngest and only daughter (aka princess of the aforementioned casa de Castillo) is quite the accomplished violinist...and is a brilliant artist.  She was selected to be part of an art show at the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg along with other students in Spartanburg Country schools.  In her specific part of the show, she was one of five pieces of "freshman art"...the rest were mostly junior and senior pieces.  It was a huge, huge honor to be selected...and another great thing to add to her college application!

Gabby with her piece.  She created it with plastic bags and oil pastels...how cool!

 Carter liked it so much...he tried to eat it.  

 Tia G. loves him anyway :)

 "Mama, how long are these awards going to take anyway?"

 Gabby's, "You're my older brother and I already told you to stop taking pictures of me or I'm going to sock your face" look.  Imagine the, "You're my sister-in-law and I told you not to post pictures of me you dork!" face I'm going to get.  I'm so not scared.

 Chewing his thumb off.

Just so he didn't feel left out...I gave Carter an award for being the cuddliest, cutest, funniest, most precious little boy I've ever met award.  He was quite gracious during the ceremony of kisses and raspberries on his belly.

Short Carter update:
  • We have an appointment with the GI doctor at 9 am on March 29th and with an allergist at 2 pm on the same day.  It's going to be an intense day that way, but I wanted to take them up on it since it can be hard to get an appointment.  Also, Steven will be able to just take one full day off work to go with me.  The allergist is in Greenwood, so hopefully Carter can get a nice, long nap on the way there.
  • I stopped giving Carter the Prevacid (which his pediatrician told me could be making his stomach hurt...what!?! I thought that was what it should be helping....ergh) and haven't noticed any definitive change either way.  So...good that he doesn't have to take it anymore.  Bad that he took it at all in the first place.
  • I kept reading about hyperlactation...and decided to do another experiment while we're hanging around waiting to see the specialists.  I mean...he's up 7-8 times each night...and I'm sleeping an average of 3-4 hours per night anyway...why not experiment?  What could happen?  Things get worse?  Doubtful.  (knocking on wood...)  So...while we were in Alabama, I gave him all my milk in a bottle to see if it made a difference.  I didn't think it did.  Until we got home and I went back to regular breastfeeding.  Oh. My. Gosh.  The spit-up was out of control.  I continued for a few days to see if it might just be a really spitty kind of day...and the crazy puke continued.....so...I went back to pumping and bottle-feeding...and the spitting-up is improving again.  Whoa.  Huge breakthrough?  Maybe?  His nights are still rough, rough.  But a lot of that is probably habit-related at this point.  He really does feel bad and wakes up a lot...but that leads to him learning to not sleep through the night.  He eats for comfort...and that leads to learned hunger at 3 am...you get the picture.  So...last night was rough...but I only noticed him passing gas once.  Hmm.  So my plan is to continue pumping and bottle-feeding for now...and see if his tummy continues to improve.  If it does, I am going to try to start really breaking some of these bad sleep habits and see if I can get the nights any better.  (It can only improve, right?)
  • PS: I only offered him Neocate, the highly hypoallergenic formula that he doesn't particularly like, when he acted hungry last night...and he ate one ounce. All night.  So...that tells me that the child is not dying from hunger any more...and hopefully he will eat more today to make up for not eating his "normal" last night, making him not as hungry at night...and start breaking this night-eating cycle.  
  • I called the Lactation Consultants at St. Francis who are AMAZING....and talked them through all this...and she really felt like hyperlactation sounded like at least a portion of the problem.  She recommended pumping and bottle feeding at least until the appointments with the specialists.  Maybe he has problems with my milk supply plus some allergies...maybe hyperlactation is a big part of the problem...maybe he has problems with the milk AND huge allergy problems.  Either way, it is encouraging to feel like I might be making some headway.
So there's a hugely wordy update.  I vote for scientists figuring out a test for everything.  "Hmm Mrs. Castillo...looks like Carter tested positive for hyperlactation and allergy to squash and zucchini.  That should take care of things...have a great day!"

That would be brilliant.

Maybe I should hunt down my remarkably talented family and get them on that.

:)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Turning 25

Mama and Daddy make my diet look good :)  Except the shrimp...those were for Susanna :)

What's not to love about this birthday?  A precious family, a husband that loves me just right, and a sweet baby boy whose smile melts my heart.  And of course squash and zucchini.  Who can have enough of that?

Sweet potatoes with Andi

Excuse me?  Can we get those sweet potatoes rolling again?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Alabama

Steven, Carter, and I got to go to Alabama this weekend.

The high was 74, the sun was out, grill warm, and love abounding.

Carter's new favorite thing is outside.  Or maybe I just love him being outside.  Either way.

Carter spent a lot of time buzzing like a bee with Pa, snuggling with Grandma and Aunt Thia who came for lunch and an afternoon, and climbing all over Aunt Tammie and Uncle Billy Wayne.  He was in heaven.  I don't think he cried for more than a second all weekend.  In all seriousness, he really did seem happy this weekend.  His nights were so, so.  It's hard to know what I've let become bad habits...and what's related to tummy pain.  My observation skills are less than amazing in the middle of the night, but he still has an unbelievable amount of gas at night...and during the day for that matter.  I'm working hard to not develop a ton of bad sleeping habits...but it sure is hard when we're getting up 7-8 times a night.  I'm really going to try to be re-committed to good sleep habits this week and see if I can help things a little coming from that direction.

This is the look he gives me when I talk to him about figuring out what's wrong with his tummy.

We gave him pumped milk all weekend to try to rule out a foremilk imbalance/overactive letdown.  We didn't really see a big change.  We're going to continue for a few days to be sure...but it doesn't seem to be the culprit.  Oh well.  I think Pa enjoyed getting to feed him a little.  I know Carter did!

Carter loves practicing his standing!

We got to walk Carter down to Pa's pond...and down the dock.  Pa's house and pond were such a special part of my childhood...I had so many wonderful times down there, I was almost giddy to show Carter this beautiful spot.  I know he doesn't really understand or appreciate it yet...but he will.  He sure is going to have some fun times running around down there.  I can't wait for him to get to go fishing with Pa!  




I've said this before, but Carter is such a blessed baby.  There are so many generations of love...so many arms that love holding him.  We got to take him to the church Pa grew up in, Mama and Daddy met at, and where we went before our family moved to South Carolina.  There were many, many kisses to be had there!  Carter really loved it.

He sure loves playing with Pa!

He was telling Pa ALL about it!

This gives me the warm fuzzies.

Two happy fellas.

Pa grilled some pretty amazing chicken and vegetables for me.  How blessed am I to have family that cooks especially for my diet every time I visit?  If you know anything about Pa's house...you'll know how great it is to get something off Pa's grill.  MMMMMmmmmmm.  He is the master of the grill for sure.  I'm telling you, I ate more grilled chicken than you would believe.  So yummy!  It was so warm, Carter was able to just sit outside with us by the grill in a t-shirt and a diaper.  Those chunky little legs LOVED being out in the fresh air...and ending up getting lots of kisses :)  We all had that sweet charcoaled smell on us when we came in to eat.  

This weekend was a huge ray of sunshine for all of us.  We rested, walked in the sunshine, and snuggled with grandparents...can you think of anything better?

I can't.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Splish Splash

video
Carter LOVES bathtime now that he has a little tub to play in the water.  He generally has a huge fascination with water in any form.  He gets totally still and studies it anytime he sees some running.  He swivels himself around if he hears water in the room.  He LOVES to try to drink water from his sippy cup or from any other source he can find!  The tub is like the culmination of all of his fascinations.  He is in it, splashing it, hearing it, seeing it fly...and yes, probably drinking some.  I try to just pull the curtain in front of me during the initial splash fest, but the fury sometimes never calms down and I just have to get in there and do the best I can to scrub him down without getting drenched.

It's probably my favorite thing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: 1/2 Birthday


Welcome to the world little one!

1 month old

2 months

3 months

4 months

 5 months

6 months


For the ornery among you...these are not taken on the exact day he turned each month.  Just close to those days.  Be okay with that :)

What a precious 1/2 year this has been :)