Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We switched baby formula

Our doctor suggested we try a new formula for the baby, since she was still spitting up after almost every bottle and because her poop was ... not pleasant. (She got poop in her own armpit on Easter.)

My reactions to the new formula, in order:
1. HOLY GOD IN HEAVEN this shit is expensive. So glad the county pays for it.
2. Oh, hey, it's white instead of tan. Maybe I won't have to spray the living hell out of the neckline of everything the baby's ever worn now, because she eats so enthusiastically she drools out the sides of her mouth.
3. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK HOW DOES IT SMELL EVEN WORSE THAN THE OLD STUFF. (If you haven't smelled baby formula lately, I am very seriously jealous. Shit's nasty.)
4. What? Why the hell is the second ingredient corn syrup solids? How the fuck is that a good thing to be giving to a baby in large quantities? THANKS, AMERICA. (And no, the county doesn't cover the similar-but-not-corn-syrup-laden other kind.)

Also, our county gives us the option of getting the powdered formula or the concentrated kind in cans, which is amazing and if I ever have a child I'm responsible for feeding and breastfeeding isn't an option, I'll sell a kidney before going back to the powder. Anyway, my grocery store only keeps, like, six cans of this new shit in stock, but with WIC you have to use the whole check (which for us is 12 cans) in one go, or you lose the rest of it. So we had to drive around to four different grocery stores to find one that stocked enough of this for us to use a full check. That was a nice way to spend several hours.

However. The baby is spitting up WAY less, almost down to none, and her poop stinks way more but is at least staying where poop is supposed to go. Because this is my blog and I can talk about how the baby's poop smells if I want.

Speaking of which: I am holding her while she is napping, and she just pooped in her sleep. I don't want to wake her up to change her, but it's seriously making my eyes water. My life is not exactly what I envisioned it would be, is what I'm saying here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Diagnosis confirmed. Again.


Since I was working from home anyway, I moved up my WIC appointment (that I was so happy to have been able to push back a month) because the pediatricians want us to try a hypoallergenic formula to see if it helps with the baby's spitting up and apparent reflux. So I got to sit in the WIC office with an itchy, fussy baby for an hour. That was cool.

I called and left a message yesterday for the baby's pediatrician to see what power they have to override the dermatologist. The pediatrician and worker agree that the baby is showing the exact same symptoms, etc., and that the dermatologist was probably wrong.

They called back this afternoon and asked me to bring the baby in to see how things were progressing, and to confirm that I was now showing symptoms. The worker met me there (again, because she is seriously busting her ass on this case - I already called her supervisor to praise her). The doctors saw whatever it was that they needed to in order to confirm it. They also called in their head doctor to consult, and she's putting it in writing that visits must be stopped until further notice. This is both a huge relief and another reason for me to worry, because the grandma is not going to take this well and will likely feel like we're trying to keep the baby from her.

Ugh. I've been going nonstop since the baby woke up (early and fussy), and I have nine million more things to do to disinfect the house again. But I'm beat and I haven't used the treatment cream yet, so vacuuming the couches wouldn't be useful if I was planning to sit on them again tonight, so I made brownies (stress baking for the win!) and am having a Pimm's Cup and am catching up with my Google Reader.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Well, the baby had a visit

with her grandma on Friday.

And Friday night she was really squirmy. Like she was when she was infected. I made Andy come in from another room to confirm it.

Saturday morning we saw telltale spots.

On Sunday we noted that they were worse. And the poor kid was off all weekend - in a cheerful mood then suddenly inconsolable. We tried to tell ourselves maybe she was teething, but the fussiness is the only sign of that, and it matches how she was when she was infected.

Yesterday I took the day off to take her to the doctor. The dermatologist who finally diagnosed her correctly told me he wanted her to be seen by his facility (even though I only trust him there) if she was symptomatic again, so I called them and got the run-around for three hours, and then when I was sort of a pushy bitch (which I HATE doing) they fit us in in the afternoon. With one of the doctors who misdiagnosed her.

Guess what she said.

It's not the skin condition. Even though it looks the same as it did the last three times. Even though Dr. Idiot agreed that it was the skin condition the first time, when it looked just like this. Even though it cleared up immediately after using the prescription all three times (Dr. Idiot: Oh, the cream's a moisturizer. Me, incredulous: I lotion the child twice a day. Dr. Idiot: Oh, okay. [long pause]). When pressed for some sort of diagnosis, she said maybe it's related to the baby's eczema. Which we have almost completely eradicated. And even though it only shows up immediately after a visit. The worker attended the visit with me, and agrees that the doctor is incompetent, but doesn't know what we can do because they are just about the only dermatologists in our county who take Medicaid.

So we didn't get treated, and naturally the baby is miserable. My plan is to wait until Andy and I are showing symptoms and then insist on being seen by the doctor who diagnosed her, or to just say "fuck it" and take the baby to our doctor and pay out of pocket for her. Because this is ridiculous. (I'm really grateful to be able to work from home for a few days while this is getting sorted out, because I'm not infecting the other kids at the baby's daycare on Dr. Idiot's word.)

Oh, and the worker told me that the grandma's planning to file for custody. It's really unlikely that she'll be successful, since the county isn't even trying to place the kid there at all right now, but still. Did we really need another complication here? Christ.

I'm fucking discouraged right now, you guys. I just want to help this baby, who I love like my own, and the goddamn red tape is making that really fucking hard.

P.S. I was going to go through and hyperlink to all the shit about her appointments and misdiagnoses and shit, but I'm fucking tired from trying to work from home while holding an uncomfortable baby who also wanted to help me type. So, you know, check the archives (try the "gross gross gross" tag) and sorry I'm not bothering.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Home visit

We had this month's home visit with the worker today. In our county, the worker is supposed to see the child in the home every month, which for us means one-on-one face time with the worker, where she answers my ten million questions.

This week, we learned that the worker is postponing the conversation with the mom about the mom voluntarily surrendering her rights, because the mom isn't making very good choices right now, so it would be sort of hard to have that conversation without it feeling coercive (I think this is the right decision, even though it's hard for us).

The worker also told us that the grandma flat-out asked, at her attorney's urging, if the county wanted to place the baby with the grandma, and the worker told her no. This is not a surprise, but it's interesting to hear it like that in black-and-white, or whatever the auditory version of black-and-white is. (This doesn't mean the baby won't end up with the grandma, because that's up to the judge, not the worker.) The worker now wants to get us involved in a "family teaming" program the county runs, to help us build a relationship with the grandma. The ideal outcome would be that the grandma sees that the baby is well cared for and learns that she can trust us to keep our word about keeping her involved in the baby's life, and thus agree that the baby is in the right place. If that works, then the idea will be to add the mom in, and have our relationship with the grandma help the mom see that surrendering her rights would be okay.

We'll see if any of this happens. I know the grandma feels strongly about family staying together, so it's possible she won't be interested. She has not had any problems with us so far, and has been friendly and grateful for what we've done for the baby, but that might be because she's seen it as temporary.

Andy is very good at maintaining a level head and knowing it's still not likely we'll get to raise this precious awesome baby. I'm not very good at that, and I'm having a hard time stamping down the seed of hope that keeps poking up in my chest.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Not baby-related, but very awkward.

Know what's a really uncomfortable three minutes? The three minutes between when you remove all of your clothes, don a paper tablecloth, and sit and wait for your new gynecologist to enter the room. Especially if the exam room doesn't have magazines.

My usual gynecologist's office is closing, so I decided to find a practice closer to my house for my yearly checkup. The place I settled on was highly rated on the internets, and it's literally on my way to work (the old office is 40 minutes away). My new doctor is a very nice Indian man who told me my cervix looked great. I'm considering putting that on my business cards, but I don't really want people asking to see it to confirm it on their own. Andy suggested getting an x-ray of it and using that as the back of the business card, which I think is a really workable idea.

The doctor also told me not to worry about inaccurate results, because he does a pap smear like he really means it. So that's ... reassuring. I guess.

Hey, look! I'm making it awkward!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Work and temporary single momming

I've been in my new position at work for almost a month now, and I had my first monthly review meeting with my boss today. She said she's gotten good reports from the trainer and I'm doing really well. Yay! I even asked if she had any concerns or things I needed to work on and she said she didn't. So that's cool. It's nice to hear that I'm doing well.

Andy's been on a business trip since early Wednesday morning, so I have gained even more respect for single moms - and I already thought they were incredible, so that's saying something. The baby has a cold and wants her pacifier in all the time but frequently spits it out with coughing, so I got up seven times between 1:00 and 2:30 in the morning to put it back in for her. That sucked. It's been weird having to take care of every single thing that needed doing around here - dogs and baby and self and food and not destroying the home. He gets back in very late tonight and I can't wait to see him.

I think in the morning we'll go to the farmer's market to get fresh local strawberries and asparagus (hooray! things are growing!) and see if we can find something decent for our moms for Mother's Day, because I totally forgot that was this weekend. Oops.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

An even briefer baby update

So the baby's mom didn't show for a visit on Tuesday. The worker talked to her yesterday and told the mom she could have her visit today (the mom used to have two scheduled visits a week, but that hasn't happened since February).

The mom didn't show again today.

The worker talked to her this morning and the mom said she was coming.  It makes me really sad for the mom that she's in such a bad place that she can't get herself to a visit with a baby she has seen once in two and a half months. She also told the worker today that she wants to move into a halfway house, but if she can't follow through with a visit, I have my doubts that she'll be able to make it happen.

Because the baby is so young and the mom has missed two visits in a row, the worker will now require her to either be at the visitation center before they pick the baby up from daycare, or to call that morning to confirm she's coming. I don't know which would be better - the phone call is easier for scheduling (so I don't have to wait until the last minute to hear if she showed and call daycare to let them know), but she told the worker she was coming to both of the last two, so even if she says she's coming we can't believe her.

Oh, and the grandma canceled her visit for tomorrow because of a scheduling thing that could have probably been worked out pretty easily. So that's interesting.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A brief baby update

The mom didn't show for her visit today.

The worker talked to her yesterday, reminded her what she needed to bring, and they ended the conversation with, "See you tomorrow." She knew about the visit and what time it was and everything. She just didn't show. And the worker says her phone is off (but she is following someone new on Facebook since this morning, so hmmmm) so she didn't call to cancel or anything. The baby got to sit and hang out with the worker for an hour.

The worker also said that the grandma told her that the mom says she doesn't want the grandma to get custody anymore, because she (the mom) wants to get the baby back herself. She told the grandma that last week, then didn't show for a visit today. Huh. (And yeah, the first sentence of this paragraph is really convoluted. The case is like that.)

The mom could absolutely tell the court that she doesn't want the grandma to get custody, but I actually think that would be worse for my anxiety because she could change her mind at any point and start the whole process with the grandma over again.

So, you know, nothing changes and I manage to worry about everything all the time.

Monday, May 7, 2012


We got back into town yesterday evening from being out of state for three days for my great-aunt's funeral. The baby did incredibly well, all things considered, and slept about 90% of the time we were in the car (eight hours each way) and still slept through the night, so the few minor freak-outs are totally fine by me.

She did well with the bizillion people she met this weekend. (For background, my mom is one of 23 first cousins, and I'm one of 114 descendants from my grandmother and her four siblings.) The baby did well with people wanting to be all up in her five-month-old face and grinned adorably pretty much on cue. She even let a few people hold her for more than two minutes, which is awesome. Every once in a while she'd get overwhelmed and need some extra love, but really, the trip was pretty smooth. The funeral was lovely, as these things go, and the one time I came close to really losing it (during Amazing Grace, natch) the baby grinned up at me and farted quietly, which made me laugh instead of sob and which I'm certain my great-aunt would have appreciated. And events with that side of the family are a lot like family reunions and it was very nice to see some people I haven't seen in a while and love dearly. 

So we got in around 8 last night and did our best to get back into routine right away, but this morning, for the first time ever, she freaked out at daycare and they had to call me to see what they should do or if I should come get her since she had been crying FOR AN HOUR. I told them to call me sooner next time and to try swaddling her, which worked in about four minutes. The poor thing. I'm pretty sure she's just trying to get back on track and needed some extra love in the form of a nice tight blanket. She was fine after she woke up from her nap and is grinning gummily at a dog right now.

The baby has a visit scheduled with her mom tomorrow. The worker is meeting the mom before the visit to go through the letter from the dermatologist and do her best to ascertain whether or not the mom has completed everything she needs to do. The worker is pretty no-nonsense about these things and the mom's not a great liar, so I'm not-so-secretly hoping the worker doesn't let her have the visit. If she does have the visit and the baby gets infected AGAIN, it looks really bad for the mom in court, so hopefully the worker can get that through to her.

What did I miss on the internets while I was gone?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On parenting

It has surprised me how natural parenting has been for me and Andy. I'm not sure if that's human nature or the fact that we're both very nurturing people or what, but there hasn't been too much of a learning curve - even for Andy, who had a lot less experience with babies than I did.

I posted early on in the placement that any time the baby fussed at night, I woke up immediately and completely. I still wake up whenever she makes a noise, but sort of doze while I wait to hear if she actually needs something or if she'll go back to sleep on her own (which is most of the time). (This baby is very awesome and has been sleeping through the night since she was about two months old. She does occasionally need her pacifier stuck back in, but we haven't fed her in the middle of the night in months.) I do have to occasionally remind myself (and Andy) that even if picking her up is enough to get her to stop fussing, it's a good idea to check her diaper anyway, but other than that things are pretty smooth.

I still get a little defensive about people's opinions of how we should handle the baby's attachment issues. She is okay with being held by me and by Andy and by two out of five ladies at daycare, and that's pretty much the end of the list. If she were a "normal" baby who hadn't spent a month learning that adults couldn't be counted on, I would let her fuss more with other people, but she needs to know that Andy and I will take care of her, so we take her when she starts to cry. The funeral we'll be attending soon will mean introducing the baby to dozens of family members, many of whom will want to hold her, which will mean a crying baby, and me taking her back from confused people who want to tell me what I should do instead. I'm working on repeating "This is what's working for our family" (via k8t in this metafilter thread) often enough that it comes naturally.

In the past three-plus months, I have also developed WAY more respect for single parents, who I already thought were pretty awesome. Seriously, I don't get how single parents with infants manage to keep themselves clothed and showered without someone to tag-team with. And yes, I am saying this as someone who has recently had to poop while holding a baby who decided that sleeping in her carseat was a totally unacceptable situation. (Fun story to tell her prom date?)

What awesome parenting tips do you have with your kids or remember your parents using?