Friday, August 24, 2012

A Year Ago Today Series: Day 1

I'm planning to do a series of posts about things that happened exactly one year before and how completely different my life is now.  I hope for these posts to be inspiring to those of you still in the trenches and will try and give some good insight into where I was mentally then and where I am now...

A Year Ago Today, August 24th 2011, was our egg retrieval.  The day that little Marek started cooking up in his petri dish...

One Year Ago Today
I just went back and read my post from that day, I was feeling extreme relief.  Relief that things were no longer in my hands (ha, like they ever were!)

When we came to Vegas we were expecting to have a very disappointing response to the stims, Dr. Sher had warned us that we may not get to transfer because we'd need to do another round of retrieval in order to get enough viable embryos to freeze some.  Dr. Sher told us his goal was 8 mature eggs to work with and miraculously that is what we got.

I have to take a break here and plug Dr. Sher.  I really don't believe it was a miracle that we had 8 eggs, I think it was because we had the best Dr. in the world.  He knew exactly what we needed to make the most and highest quality embryos we could get.  I put all my trust in him and it was the best choice I could have made.

I need to be honest too, most of me was really excited that we got 8 eggs but the rest of me was disappointed because statistically it meant that we'd only have 1 or 2 to transfer and none to freeze... I tried to focus on the positive, that we would have at least 1 embryo to transfer and that we were blessed to have that, but I would be lying if I didn't admit there was a little bit of disappointment in my withered old ovaries.

A year ago today the bitter wall that I built up to protect myself during my years of infertility started to crumble... I didn't want to hope too hard incase our babies didn't make it but I knew I needed to keep positive for them, so I let hope creep in, and I got lucky.

I got this incredible face to stare at...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cloth Diapering

I fell in love with the idea of cloth diapering (CD) long before we started trying to get pregnant.  Some friends of ours CDed and made it look so easy!

They used Bum.genius so I was already partial to them.  I researched diligently until we actually had M and everything I read pointed to Bum.Genius.4.0.s.  I convinced my sister to use them first, she and her son were awesome product testers!  Her son is 22 months, still wears his, and they're in great shape, plenty of use left for baby #2.
Rainbow of Diapers Drying
CD is a great option for lots of reasons.  Most important, it is so cheap!  Even though we bought brand new, pricey diapers ($18/diaper) they've almost paid for themselves and he's only 3.5 months old!  We have 24 diapers which is perfect (but it was a little tight when he was a brand newborn).  It was a little bit of an investment but well worth it, we put him in them when he was 10 days old since that is when he reached 8 lbs.  At that point we had already bought about 60 dollars worth of newborn diapers since he was pooping and peeing so much.

I feel good about using them since they're good for the environment and great for diaper rash.  He had diaper rash the first 10 days of life and we had to use tons of butt cream but since then he hasn't had diaper rash once.

Here is how they work...  They are a pocket style diaper, which means they have a water proof outer layer with a wicking material attached that pulls the moisture away from their bum and inside of that cover you stuff an absorbent liner (or two depending on how much they pee).  They have all sorts of snaps so that you can make them what ever size the baby needs at that point and change them as they get bigger.

Showing the pocket where you stuff the liner in.

See how white the insides still are after 3 months!

The liner, it can be snapped to 3 different lengths.

A blue diaper.  The two rows of buttons on top are for cinching in the waist. The next row is for making the crotch size smaller/bigger.  

We have only had 4 or 5 leaks in the 3 months we've used the diapers and they were usually from soaking through the liners because he peed a lot or stayed in them a long time.  We have only had 1 poop-splotion and that was inevitable, it was a monster poop that no diaper could have contained.

Here is our system...  When I change the diaper I pull out the liner, drop it in the wet bag (water proof bag that lines our diaper pail) and spray the poo off into the toilet with a diaper sprayer (spray nozzle attached to the toilet water supply line.)  We do laundry every two days.  When its time I just dump the whole bag into the washing machine.  He uses about 8 diapers a day so we wash about 16 at a time and have 8 to use while the rest are washing/drying.  They say you can tumble dry the covers but that they last better and stay nicer if you line dry them so we do.  You do one wash with no detergent on cold, then a hot water wash with a second rinse and special diaper detergent.  Then we dry the liners and hang the covers.  At first I stuffed them all as they came out of the wash, now I stuff them as I need them.  I have one bin in his changing table for covers and one for liners.

Changing table

Bin for liners

The reason I like pocket diapers better than all in ones (basically pre-stuffed) is that you have more flexibility, you can stuff them with more/less depending on how much absorbency you need then, i.e. night time.  Also you have to tumble dry all in ones which means they don't hold up as well as the line-dried covers of pocket diapers.  Plus, (this is probably all in my head) they seem cleaner some how... like separating the parts lets the soap get to everything better... make sense?

Does this diaper make my butt look big?
Downfalls... they're not great for traveling more than 1 day.  For daily trips we just put the dirty diaper in a plastic sack and spray the poo off when we get home, but for weekend/longer trips it is hard with out a washer dryer and diaper sprayer.  But one weekend of disposables is pretty cheap, so that works for us.  They also are pretty big and make the baby's butt look big, this is a personal preference, I think it looks cute, and the bigger they get the less disproportionate the butt to baby ratio is.

Plus, in the words of Blue, when he wears them "he just looks more comfortable..."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Corn is the devil

Well, I promised you guys a post on M's allergies, especially Leisel, so here it goes!

Marek was the happiest baby ever until about 2 weeks old, then things started to change.  He started crying a lot more, especially when he was pooping.  And he had significant amounts of mucous in his poo, like giant stringy loogies (sorry, gross I know.)

Luckily my sister had been though this a year and a half before.  She went to the doc and was told to start by cutting out dairy and eventually had him allergy tested and his symptoms completely resolved when she cut out all of his trigger foods.

I started by cutting out dairy and eggs.  Things were going pretty well.

At this point I started to get my endo pain back (thats right, breast feeding only kept me in remission until 1 month PP) I had to go back to gluten free to save myself (and my liver since I was pounding advil like nobody's business.)

I didn't understand how but for some reason going GF made M's symptoms 10 times worse... He was inconsolably crying, crying when he ate, and throwing up (which until then he'd only done about 3 times in his whole life.)  We found out after testing this is because I was eating so much more corn and he is SEVERELY allergic to corn.

We finally got him in to see his pediatrician and demanded allergy testing.  At that appointment they tested his stool and there was blood in it.  Unfortunately they couldn't get us in to see the allergist for 2 weeks.  The pediatrician recommended during that time that we do a 24 hr test on hypo allergenic formula and keep all dairy, gluten, egg, corn and rice out of my diet.

The allergist started by doing prick tests for type one allergens (the type that cause you throat to swell up).  They tested him for 20 different allergens and then came back 15 minutes later to read the test.  He tested positive for peanuts...  Ouch.  So no more peanuts or anything processed in a facility that processes peanuts in our house.  We also got an epi pen junior and lessons on how to use it.

At this point they started the process for testing for gastrointestinal allergens.  The way the doctor described these was like a reaction to poison ivy on all your mucosal membranes, he thinks Marek has something called eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorder (but they can only confirm the dx with a colon biopsy which we hope he never needs).  They test by putting on a big sticker with tiny discs full of foods stuck to it.  They put the patches on Monday, remove them Wednesday and then read the results on Thursday.

Here he is getting ready in his precious tiny hospital gown

This is right after they put the patches on.  The purple dots are where all the type 1 allergy pokes were.

This is on Wednesday when they first took the patch off.  The one that is allready bloody is corn.  They marked underneath were each patch was so they knew where to read the results.

This is Thursday when they read the results.  I want to cry for his poor back.  

Of the 20 patches they put on M reacted to 15.  The worst one, the one just above the 10 on the last picture is his reaction to corn.  He is also allergic to wheat, barley, rye, oats, potatoes, soy, eggs, pork, peanuts, green beans, peas, carrots and garlic.

He didn't test positive for milk but apparently that is the one food with a high false negative rate.  My plan with milk is to completely avoid it for the first few weeks and then try it back and see how he does.

As for everything else... I can't eat any of it.  And corn hides in everything.  I'm still going to try and breastfeed for as long as possible because there is only 1 type of formula he can have and its incredibly expensive.  I really didn't realize how badly I wanted to BF until it looked like I might not be able to.

We met with a dietician right after they read the results and it made me feel more confident about being able to eat this way.  I think I'll start posting some allergy free recipes on here too.  Its definitely possible to eat well from whole foods only and as an added positive I have a feeling the baby/infertility weight is going to be pouring off!

Its been a week since they read the results and he is a different baby.  So much happier, healthy looking poop and you can just tell he feels better.  It is totally worth it!