Friday, January 2, 2015

Cute as a G-Tube Button

This morning while cleaning and doing laundry Christina was crawling (more like moving yoga poses) around on the floor. While she was playing her shirt lifted a little and revealed her button, her **Mic-Key button. It has been one year since she got her feeding tube. As her mother, I think it's a cute little accessory, just like her earrings. I have a hard time even remembering her without her button! Besides being cute, as a reflect, I see that her feeding tube has been such a blessing.

In utero, Christina was attached to the best "feeding tube" and even then she was still diagnosed as failure to thrive. When she entered this world she still struggled and struggled to gain weight.When she was in the NICU and after she was discharged, I pushed back against her getting a g-tube. We worked so hard with her to be able to eat from a bottle, but that ultimately became the issue, it was too much work for her and she began losing weight. So we decided for her to have surgery (which was scary all on its own since she only weighed six pounds!) to put in a g-tube. In the beginning, I was not a fan of her having a feeding tube. In the hospital they train you in a very medical way of how to administer a feeding. I am a quick learner and got it right away, but it was awkward and annoying and sooo impractical in the settings and ways I was taught. There was no teaching about how to do this if you are at the store and you need to feed your baby, or when your three year old wants to help, or what clothes your baby should wear, etc. It took some ironing out and just figuring out how to actually tube feed your baby in the real world. Now that we have a great handle on her tube feeding and now that Christina is thriving, I am able to see her g-tube as a blessing. Without it, I am certain she would not have made it. She would have withered away and ultimately died. Modern medicine is a blessing!

The reason why today I am especially grateful when I caught a glimpse of her button poking out is that this week our family came down with a sever cold/flu or something equally horrible. Christina went a 24-hour period where she was unable to keep any food or liquid down. At close to a year and half old she only weighs 12 pounds and every calorie we give her is measured and she cannot afford to ever have a deficit and especially not to be dehydrated as she was. She ultimately had to be hospitalized in order for her to get an IV and anti-nausea medication into her system. Even though I hate hospitals, I once again was so grateful for modern medicine in our lives. With help from the IV to give her fluids and the anti-nausea medicine, I was able to administer much needed fluids and food through her feeding tube. She was so weak and sick that without the feeding tube, I am scared to know how she would have been. Her feeding tube enables me (and Brian) to give her needed nourishment, which we were unable to do prior to her button placement.

Such a cute girl! And look at her opening her eyes in the daylight! Look at that sunshine pouring in! Very impressive for our nocturnal baby girl!

** For clarification, feeding tube, g-tube, button, Mic-Key button, gastronomy tube, etc. are all essentially interchangeable since I bounce around and call it different things at different times.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cuddling Sisters

I think it's too soon to say that Christina and Claire are bosom buddies, but at this point they are at least aware of each other.

On Christmas afternoon James was playing with all his Christmas spoils while the girls were cuddling with Brian and me on our bed. Christina was with Brian and Claire was next to me. Christina left Brian and purposefully inched her way over next Claire. It started off very sweet with the girls cuddling with their heads together. As time passed Christina got more "affectionate" with Claire, putting her hand on her face and then soon after her leg and then she tried to climb on her at which point they were separated! 

It's fun to see Christina interact affectionately with her sister. She interacts with James but in a more playful and laughing kind of way, and James is usually the instigator. So to see Christina actively interact with Claire is so sweet. I think they will be close little girls and it will be interesting to see the roles reverse as Claire grows up. For me, the hardest part about caring for Christina is that I always worry about her. It's not the long nights, or the around the clock feedings, or the constant medications. Her physical care just needs to be done, and while it can be tiring and seem difficult at times, I look at these tasks like the Nike slogan, "just do it". What really keeps me up at night (so to speak, because it is her feedings that do!) is wondering and worrying if she is happy and if she will be happy. And I often ponder how James and Claire will be with sweet little Christina when they are all grown up. At such a young age, James has already shown great kindness and patience with Christina that is beyond his years. So I hope that Christina will have forever friends in her siblings, at this point Claire and James. And seeing their kindness to her gives me hope that she will be happy and that helps me to worry less. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Claire's Blessing Day

We blessed sweet little (actually quite chubby) Claire this past Sunday at church. Claire's blessing day was a wonderful day that we spent with Brian's parents. We tried to snap a family picture before church since we were all in our "Sunday Best" because we haven't taken a family photo with Claire yet. But oh man, they did not turn out! For starters, we are not photographers and we don't have a great camera. And then to get all five of us cooperating and looking at the camera at the same time is nearly impossible! And none of us are patient enough to get a "perfect" picture. Brian and I have only a 5 minute limit of patience and the kids only have a 4 minute limit!

This is a complete tangent and I could probably do an entire blog post on the subject, but I think people get so caught up in trying to be and appear perfect all the time (and especially in social media). People make such a fuss trying to impress others they don't even know or often even like! I'm not saying that putting your best foot forward doesn't have any merit, but all the filters, Photoshop, angles, and taking 1,000 selfies to get one photo seems so silly and self-absorbed. I say just embrace the crazy and imperfection and additionally, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" I'm thinking of just framing one of our bad pictures we snapped because that best captures our reality. Okay, ranty side-note done. If you want more on the subject just let me know!

I love this picture the best (the one above)! It just says it all. James looking at the wrong camera, mom not paying attention, Christina screaming, Brian screaming in his head but trying to smile, and Claire just sleeping through it all. This is what life is really like!

This past week Claire had her baby blessing which was given by my husband. In the Mormon Church a baby blessing is given to a new baby to announce their name and to bless them with spiritual and other temporal attributes. Brian felt especially inspired to bless her with a love of service and especially service in her own home.

As much as I could remember, this was Claire's blessing:

Our dear Heavenly Father, by the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood which we hold, and in the name of Jesus Christ, we take this infant in our arms to give  her a name and blessing. The name which she will be known on the records of the church and throughout her life is Claire Eleanor Nelson. 

Claire, we bless you to understand the gospel and learn of it. We bless you to grow from your life experiences. We bless you to have the desire to covenant with our Heavenly Father. When you are able, be baptized and take Jesus's name upon you. Act as our Savior did.

We bless you to have charity and a love of service. Strive to be a righteous woman. Strive to keep the commandments and have the spirit in your life to guide you.

We bless you to seek to be like Christ which is possible through the Atonement. Strive to be like him.

We bless you to have a love of service. There will be many opportunities for service in your life. We bless you to love your siblings. You will be blessed as you serve within your own household. 

We give you this blessing, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our Night Owl

Our sweet Christina is so fun between 7 pm and midnight. Our little night owl is in her element because it's finally dark. At nighttime her playful personalty really shines through! 

During the day she would be happy to just sleep most of the day in her dark and cozy crib. She certainly naps more than most toddlers do (she sleeps about as much as three week old Claire) and we don't totally fight against her natural tendency to want to roll up and nap, but we do encourage her to be awake for some of the day. She has her eating schedule that she's awake for (or at least out of bed! Sometimes she will fall asleep!) We will have cuddle and playtime during the day and then whatever outings we go on she is forced awake. 

But it is just so fun to see her interactions in the evening. She has the widest grin with double dimples that just melt your heart! And if you get her laughing you can often get her in a laugh attack where she is cackling and sometimes even snorts (like her momma!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Claire Eleanor

Claire Eleanor was born on November 6th, weighing 7 lbs., 8 oz. and 19 inches long. She has surprisingly dark hair for how Scandinavian we are! And at first we thought her "tan" was just mild jaundice, but her darker complexion (relative to James and Christina who are porcelain white) is looking to be more permanent. 

She is a professional little nurser and now she seems to always be hungry even just 20 minutes after eating, so it seems she wants to nurse for sport and entertainment and not just nourishment. And with the Christmas season approaching I just keep thinking of the Jim Carey Grinch when he says, "Am I eating because I'm bored?!" as he stuffs screws in his mouth. Anyone else know the reference? Anyhow, at first I was pushing back against giving her a pacifier because of nipple confusion. (Which when I said this Brian thought I was joking and he couldn't believe that is a real thing!) But she does very well with a pacifier to soothe her and she has none of this mythical nipple confusion! 

The toughest part so far has been scheduling the baby girls' feedings. Christina has her tube feeding every three hours and Claire breastfeeds every three hours. Luckily my parents came to town to help out and they basically took care of most of Christina's care and tube feeding so I could rest and focus on baby Claire for the first couple weeks. It was so helpful having them here and very fun since all we did was feed babies, feed ourselves, watch HGTV and play lots of pinochle. Brian must have gotten particularity close to my parents during this trip because on their last night he asked my mom if she still ovulates. Yes, there may be some context to help explain this question, but still I found it a bold question to ask a mother-in-law!

But with them gone my life will be a bit trickier, especially when both babies want me at the same time. But I figure for the next couple weeks (or months) I will just stay in my bathrobe and occasionally venture out into the world! When Christina was born she had so many doctor appointments that forced me to get out of the house nearly every day of the week for the first couple of months. And I figured if I was getting out of the house I might as well shower, put on real clothes, do my hair and makeup since that makes me feel better anyway. I may need something like this again to force me not to be a hermit. But I'm okay being a hermit for the short-term. But if you see me in pajamas out and about come springtime, tell me this is not acceptable! The old Christina would not be impressed! 

Christina has taken some notice to Claire, especially when they are put in close proximity. Christina will crawl over to her and either kick at her or put her hand on her or sort of smack her in the face! I'm sure these are all love touches! So at this point Christina is bigger than Claire and we are mostly keeping them apart so Christina doesn't maul her sister. But soon enough Claire will be the bigger sister in size and we will have to reverse the protecting! 

James just adores Claire and can't keep away from her. He always wants to kiss her and play with her. Which is very sweet! And thankfully James hasn't had any jealousy issues since Claire was born. He is actually quite helpful to me! Some ways he helps is by fetching things for me, singing to one of the crying babies, and putting a pacy back in Claire's mouth. Without James my day would be much harder and much more boring!

Welcome to our family little Claire!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pumpkin Patching

Today is the first day since about March that it has been in the 70's and even some overcast too! And since its starting to feel a little bit like fall, we thought it would be a fun and relatively cool day to go to a local orchard and pumpkin patch. I am a New York girl at heart and I love my fall season. And I especially love a pumpkin patch since my family owns one in upstate New York! 

I've been able to keep sporting the Baby Bjorn throughout this pregnancy to carry Christina but being 37 weeks it's starting to be a pretty tight fit with one baby inside and another on top! 

James had a hard time deciding on a pumpkin. I guess he has not developed his mother's severe decisiveness! His aimless wandering from pumpkin to pumpkin reminded me of my brother Douglas and something he used to say. It's like being a mosquito in a nudist colony. He knew what he wanted, he just didn't know where to start!

Brian and his Mini-Me!

The kids and me enjoying the hayride while Brian bought the goods (pumpkins, cider, and doughnuts). I am most excited for the cider! Baby Christina seemed to really like the hayride. I think she enjoyed the movement and bouncing around. She had been crabby most of the outing since she hates to be in natural lighting, but he are mean parents and make her be outside sometimes! When we got on the hayride she finally calmed down and stopped fidgeting and whining. It was a fun family outing and fun to finally enjoy some cooler weather. And probably one of our last family outings before Brian and I are outnumbered!