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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Photo Thursday

I sort of fibbed last time when I said that we had no new pictures. The issue was that I had forgotten to upload the ones we do have...

So, for your visual pleasure, (and to spare you my verbose prose for a bit), I'll start this post with a long photo retrospective of the past week or so.

First, we decided that Hallie cannot possibly really have a 13 week long cold and that the issue must be something else. Since the quarantine hadn't really (who am I the least is more like it) improved the congestion situation, we decided that for the sake of Hallie's development and her mommies' sanity, we'd lift it a bit and allow some interaction with friends and family. If things get better with our new regimen (more on this later), we'll lift the quarantine further. However, we're going to be vigilant about making sure we spray down toys, purell everything in sight, etc etc.

So about ten days ago, we brought Hallie over to see Karina. The kids obviously missed each other desperately and spent the first ten minutes hugging. No exaggeration on this, either. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to capture this session (the camera was over in our house, next door). But we did manage to get one cute shot of Karina doing Hallie's hair:

Hallie also enjoyed playing with Karina's toys, and especially with the excellent music table that Karina got from one of her Hong Kong relatives. Here's DJ Jazzy Hallie mixing it up:

And here's a great shot of Hallie's strong legs and lack of butt. Seriously, this kiddo has no hips and no tushy. Unless she gets a belly somehow, I think we're going to start looking for toddler suspenders for her (I am sure she'll enjoy chewing on them):

Then, last Saturday, despite the vomiting and congestion, Hallie and Mommy went off to the shore (I stayed home to get some stuff done) to visit Grammy, Aunt Laura and the cousins. Hallie loved playing in the pool (her favorite activities are water-related. She loves her floaty device, all wading pool experiences, and lots of splashing. In the bath at night these days, she likes to stand up and then let go and splash hard on her butt and then stick her face in the water and blow bubbles. She does this over and over and it's really cute, even if it is a bit odd. Alas, we haven't yet captured that on video but will try to do so before she gives up this practice for some other antic). Hallie was less sure of what to make of the carousel on the boardwalk at Ocean City:

She eventually settled in for the ride, which (along with the chock-full day, the sun, and all the activities with her cousins) began to put our little one to sleep:

Hallie had a great time as usual hanging out with the family. Here's a picture of Hallie smiling at Hannah, who is doing a very nice supermodel impression:

Hannah always makes Hallie smile!

And here's Hallie with Grammy, Aunt Laura, and the cousins:

Later on, Hallie was taken on a visit to all of the great food emporia on Ocean City's boardwalk and tasted many new things.

Here she's staring adoringly at Mack and Manco's pizza (like Mommy, like Hallie!):

And here she's tucking into a cone of soft ice cream. Yummy!

And here she's having her very first experience with cotton candy, which went quite well. What could be better: it's melt in your mouth and chock full of calories. Now if they could only make it loaded with vitamins and fat, we'd have the perfect food for her. Any budding culinary chemists out there, here's your challenge: come up with a healthy, fattening, avocado flavored spun food that melts in your mouth, and you will have hundreds of micropreemie mommies as your loyal customers!

Then, on Tuesday, Hallie got to spend time (FINALLY!) with her friend Maya (and Maya's lovely parents, Rachel and Dan). Loyal blog readers will remember that Maya and her sister Elana were 25 and a half weekers born at the same hospital as Hallie and Olivia a month earlier. They were the people we always looked for when we were in the hospital (which was pretty much always, and their family was pretty much there constantly too) and we've gotten to know them very well over the past year. Unfortunately, our concerns about Hallie's health have kept the girls apart much more than we would have liked, but we NEEDED to see them on Tuesday since they are leaving for California this weekend. So we bit the bullet, sprayed everything down very carefully and had them over to dinner. Karina and Vanessa (her mom) also joined us, and the three girls had a blast together.

Maya, you were supposed to call!

Kiddle conference around the coffee table:

Karina having a good time petting Maya:

Anyway, the kids had a great time together, the parents had fun, and we will miss Maya, Rachel, and Dan A LOT. We hope they'll be back on this coast soon to visit Rachel's family and that we can make play dates with them here or in NJ (since Rachel's family lives very close to Sharon's, that should be fairly easy to arrange). Maya is such a beautiful baby with such a winning personality and it's going to be fun watching our girls grow into toddlers together.

Very very briefly on the Feeding Clinic at St. Joseph's: we had a good day, even if it was a long one. First, it was nice to know that Hallie has put on weight in spite of the problems with food and vomiting---according to their scale, she was...get ready for this...18 lbs. 4.5 ounces. We don't know if the scale was accurate (it was one of those really old-fashioned ones; you can really tell the difference in funding between CHOP and St. Joe's, which is in a very depressed area of Northern New Jersey). Anyway, even if the scale is off by a bit, Hallie has still put on upwards of 3/4 of a pound in the past week and is now very VERY close to being on the actual chart for weight (in other words, for 13.5 months). She definitely has more leg chub and a few extra chins.

But more importantly, even if they don't have the high tech bells and whistles that they did at CHOP, we found that the Feeding and Swallowing Clinic at St. Joe's was much more thorough and much more sympathetic to what is going on with us and more willing to try to figure out how to solve it. They did a more thorough observation of Hallie's eating (instead of the 1.4 seconds of me shoving the bottle in the baby's mouth before the CHOP doc came back in and said, 'she's got an uncoordinated suck, is aspirating, and probably needs a G-Tube). In fact, the word 'G-Tube' NEVER came up today. Nonetheless, they noticed from Hallie's posture, the way she crawled, etc that she was uncomfortable, that the posture looked a lot like her compensating for reflux that is not really under control, and they raised the question of whether the vomiting and congestion could be related to a milk intolerance that isn't as horrible as some kids' but is still causing her a lot of discomfort. This might make some sense since this all began when Hallie came off of breast milk, which had been diluting her Enfamil AR, and began to drink AR straight and then the very hard to digest Pediasure. First, we're going to try a new regimen with Prilosec that helps her system use it more effectively (moving from the bicarb solution to capsules, the beads of which we will mix with a little applesauce and feed to her an hour before dinner to make sure that her stomach is a lot less full). If that doesn't help, we'll move from Pediasure to Peptamen. And if that doesn't work, we'll see. But it was heartening to hear someone say something other than "live with it" or "tube her." I know that our Ped. has been trying to help (and he got us to St. Joe's to begin with, which is very good), but it's been a very frustrating two-three months and the frustration has pretty much persisted unabated. The very idea of having a reasonable sounding treatment plan and sympathetic people who are trying to really help us is calming. Hopefully some of this will work, because if we can get this under control, we can begin to teach Hallie how to deal with textures, subdue her gag reflex a bit, etc. Without getting the congestion and the pain that she must be feeling under control (not to mention begin to heal some of the damage that is being done to her esophagous), we can't really deal with the behavioral issues. Anyway, I'll post updates on this as we progress; meanwhile, keep your fingers crossed for us!


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23wktwinsmommy said...

What a great post! I'm happy to hear you found some people who are willing to look outside the box...(some are so quick to mention G-Tube.) It is amazing to see how well she is progressing developmentall, and she seems like a real joy!