9 month checkup and other things

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I’m exhausted right now. We went to the zoo today (well, technically yesterday!) and though we had fun we wore ourselves out! We were at the zoo last week too, and this week I think Savannah noticed the animals a lot more! She got really hot, though. Note to self: put her in a lightweight ONESIE for the zoo! :-)

She seems to be doing fine. Every time she’s fussy I get really nervous and paranoid, but fortunately we haven’t had a repeat intussusception. Which is really good in my book!

Last Monday, we had her 9 month well visit at the pediatrician. I know, I know, she’s over 10 months old… I actually called to schedule an appointment, and accidentally got one for while we were going to be in Indiana. So, I had to call and cancel. And I tried to make a new one, but the receptionist hung up on me before I got a chance to make the appointment. I really like my pediatrician, but not a fan of her receptionist. Anyways, so I finally got an appointment for Monday which is good.

There were two things the doctor was concerned about. One of them I’ve written about here before – Savannah’s lack of moving. I’m not talking about her lack of walking, but rather her desire just to sit all day and play, instead of scootching or crawling like most babies who are much younger than her seem to enjoy. When it’s just me and her alone at home, we have a great time playing, and I forget that anything’s “wrong”. Then when I talk to other people I’m reminded about what she is – or isn’t – doing.

The pediatrician gave us a referral to get Savannah evaluated by a physical therapist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. We haven’t quite decided what to do yet. If all they’re going to tell me is what I already know – put her on her tummy and make her scream – then I already know that and am (trying) to do that.

The other concerning thing is apparently Savannah has fallen from the 50th percentile in weight to the 20th or something really low like that. I’m a little confused about that, because when we were at the hospital last Thursday she weighed 17 something pounds, and she weighed the same on Friday when we took her to the pediatrician. Then on Monday she lost a whole pound. But I guess even at 17lbs she’s still dropped a lot of weight. I was told I needed to give her more baby food. Sigh.

I’m exhausted. I need to go to bed.

word of the day: intussusception

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Yesterday, Savannah was really fussy all day. I thought it was teething – I can see her second tooth coming in – but when she refused to nurse or eat, I got concerned. She would be really fussy, and then she was fine. Then she would zone out and rub her eyes as if she was tired. I was somewhat concerned all day – I know the dangers of attributing any abnormality to teething without further scrutiny, because sometimes it’s something more serious.

At dinner last night, Savannah kept zoning out in her high chair. Both of us thought it was unusual behavior for her. It was 7:30 – an hour and a half before her bedtime. She was rubbing her eyes so I thought maybe she was just tired. I changed her diaper and put her to bed, and she fell asleep instantly. Meanwhile, Paul and I inspected the diaper – it was very odd. It looked like strawberry jelly. What did she eat today? Paul asked. I racked my brain but I couldn’t think of anything red that either she or I ate. Paul googled it, and the websites were the same – for a red diaper, combined with the other symptoms we’d noticed throughout the day, call your doctor immediately.

It was close to 8pm when I called our pediatrician. She said she suspected Savannah had an intussusception, and to get to the emergency room. An intussusception is when the colon folds in on itself, and basically blocks the waste from getting out (hence the diaper, which was actually bloody mucus and not strawberry jelly). I woke Savannah up and we left right away. Fortunately, the children’s hospital’s emergency room is fairly close to our house, so we were able to get there in no time. We got checked in, and before too long we were being seen by the nurse practitioner. We explained the symptoms and she agreed with my pediatrician and moved us to the emergency room doctor.

Everything happened fairly quickly (better than when we were at the ER in Massachusetts!) but the night felt long. We were taken into a room where Paul and I had to hold her arms and feet and they got an x-ray of her abdomen. (The nurse says, when she went to take off Savannah’s diaper and found a Baby Kanga: “Um, that’s a complicated diaper… Could you take it off for me?”) Savannah was NOT a fan of all this poking and prodding, and basically cried the whole time we were in the ER.

After the x-ray we were moved to a different room where they handed us a remote and showed us how to work the TV, and then left. I was thinking, does this mean we’re going to be here for a long time? But it was nice to have the distraction; we watched about 20 minutes of 30 Rock and then 2 other nurses came in. They put an IV in Savannah’s hand (can you imagine trying to put an IV in the hand of a little baby? Wow, I was amazed at his ease of finding the vein.) Savannah, meanwhile, screamed the whole time. They hooked the IV up to something – saline, I think? – and left. Paul and I were able to calm Savannah down enough that she fell asleep. She looked so tiny on the hospital gurney, her hand all bandaged with the IV. It broke both of our hearts.

After a bit, the doctor returned and said that they were concerned by what they saw on the x-ray. It looked like it was intussusception and the next step was an air enema, which would pop the colon back into place. The doctor left, and we nervously waited and sang to Savannah trying to comfort her. Another nurse came in and hooked Savannah up to those monitors that measure heartrate and blood pressure, etc. She started crying again. Then they wheeled her through the halls to the room where the air enema would be.

There, we transferred her to the x-ray table and they put a tube up her rectum. Poor Savannah! So invasive! This was part wasn’t painful as much as discomfort, and she was so tired as well. Paul and I then stood to the side and watched while the radiologist used the x-ray to blow air into the colon and pop it back into its correct shape. It was actually a fairly quick procedure, and I expected Savannah to scream a lot more than she did. I think perhaps she was just tired at this point!

The radiologist told us it was an intussusception (up until this point, there was still question) and that the procedure was effective. We were so relieved! She would have had to have surgery if it hadn’t been successful. Savannah was wheeled back to the room and we waited there to make sure everything was okay. She was almost immediately like her old self. Her eyes were completely swollen from crying, but she had stopped and was even smiling! I was able to hold her, finally, and so I sat on the gurney and cradled her. She perked up and started playing with all the wires attached to her. After a bit, the doctor returned and said that he was going to discharge us, and to make sure to keep an eye on her. There’s a 10% chance that it could happen again, and we should not hesitate to bring her back if we see any of the same symptoms. He gave us some Pedialyte to give to Savannah, and said to make sure she’s getting plenty of liquid. He also said to take Savannah to the pediatrician in the morning to make sure everything was okay.

The nurse came back and took out the IV, and we got our discharge papers and left. It was about 12:30am. We decided to stop at Kroger and pick up some disposable diapers, because I was out and they said that we might see a little more blood in her stool, and I didn’t want to deal with that in my cloth diapers. :-) At Kroger, Paul stayed in the car while I ran in. When I came back out, Paul tried to start the car, but couldn’t. Argh! Who do you call at 1am? Fortunately a guy was walking by at that moment and offered to jump the battery for us. That was successful, but then we had to drive around for a while to recharge the battery. It was about 1:30am when we finally got home. Thank goodness!

This morning, I took Savannah to our pediatrician and she said that Savannah looks great! She has definitely returned to her old self, playing and talking to herself. She hates being poked and prodded, though, and seems very wary of any stranger touching her. I hope she gets over that soon! In the meantime, I’m keeping an eye on her. I feel comfortable with how everything happened, though. I noticed that something was wrong, we acted as soon as we saw the bloody diaper. You know how you second guess yourself a lot as a mommy? Well I’m glad that my instincts that something was wrong were not lying to me. :-) Without proper treatment, this disorder is fatal in 2-5 days. So grateful we had a good hospital to go to, and doctors who knew what they were doing! She should be fine now, and doesn’t need surgery.

In the hospital

Slowly recovering from the intussusception

Swollen eyes from crying

dear savannah: ten months

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Amy and Savannah

Dear Savannah,

Today you are 10 months old. You are getting SO big! You’re stretching out and every day you look more and more like a little girl.

A month ago today you attended your first graduation! Your Aunt Amy graduated from college and we drove up to North Carolina to see her. You slept in Daddy’s arms through the whole graduation. You attended a graduation party and got to see a lot of your relatives! You certainly capture everyone’s hearts. Also this month you slept in a college dorm for the first time. You seemed to enjoy hanging out with everyone at the Gerig Reunion, and seeing Timmy again! While we were there, you swam in a lake for the first time – you had a blast playing in the water! I think this covers all the major bodies of water – ocean, lake, river, pool. And of course there is the fun of water coming from a garden hose! You certainly love to splash around! Also, all this time in the sun is making your skin get a beautiful brown tan despite all the sunscreen I put on you. I love it! I am so jealous, but I’m happy that you got your Daddy’s skin!

Savannah loves splashing!

You have gotten a lot more interactive this past month. You’re starting to understand what we’re trying to tell you. You will scrunch up your nose and flare your nostrils if you are angry or don’t like something. You will act shy, and give secret grins to strangers because that always makes people squeal with delight. You still don’t like other people to hold you, but if you can’t see me then you’re usually okay.

We are working on tummy time more. You have figured out how to flip to your back, so it’s difficult to get you to stay on your tummy for any length of time! I think when no one is looking you are more likely to stretch farther to reach a toy or Cheerio or your paci. You also have figured out that you can twirl around while you’re sitting, like a little top. It’s really cute! Good thing you have so much padding on your bottom from those cloth diapers. :-)

You are eating a lot of solid food now! I usually give you at least one container of pureed baby food a day, and then you munch on Cheerios or goldfish for snack. You will also eat small bites of regular food too. You prefer to feed yourself, and if I’m feeding you with a spoon then you tend to get distracted easily and I have to wave my arms to get your attention again.

Feet help with the eating process

We got a mattress for your crib and you have been sleeping there for naptimes. You seem to like it! I need to get something for the sides because you keep losing your paci through the slats! I have been spending more time in your room since you are sleeping there. I put a radio in there because I’ve noticed you sleep longer if music is playing. I got you an mp3 player and have loaded it with some sleepy-time songs for your naps. Look at you, 10 months old and you already have your own mp3 player! So spoiled. :-)

This month we celebrated Father’s Day. You took your daddy out to eat for lunch at his favorite Mexican restaurant. While we were there, there was another little baby the next table over and the two of you exchanged laughs and giggles! It was really cute. Afterward you surprised Daddy and took him to a paint-your-own pottery place, and you and Daddy painted a plate. You both put your handprints on the plate. It was fun trying to get your handprint on that plate! You got blue paint ALL over you! I am glad I took off your dress first. :-) Daddy really enjoyed it I think.

I have loved seeing you open up as you have, and I am starting to teach you some baby signs so we can know what you’re saying. I look forward to enjoying you all summer, and am already thinking of your first birthday party! It’s going to be so much fun!

Love, Mommy

In her Sunday dress

on camping

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I’m pretty addicted to the internet. That’s one thing I like about camping – forced unplugging. I think it’s good for all of us to get away from technology (or, most of it anyways) for a little bit. Some people have the self control to do it while staying at home, but I need to completely remove myself from the temptation.

I read this in an REI newsletter today:

“Most of us live tethered to modern conveniences that make life pleasant. When camping, certainly do all you can to ensure your comfort, but also realize that for a few nights you have the opportunity to experience the world around you from a new, outdoor perspective. Keep your focus on what’s new, not on the momentary departures from your plugged-in life.”

I thought that was pretty good advice! You can read all their camping tips for urbanites and first time campers here.

tummy time

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Savannah hates being on her tummy. This doesn’t make sense to me, because I can’t sleep unless I’m on my tummy. :-) She’s also incredibly content, and will sit forever entertaining herself if you left her.

However, she’s now almost 10 months old and doesn’t really move or scootch around at all like other babies her age. I really try not to compare, but whenever my friends talk about their kids crawling around – especially kids younger than Savannah! – I feel a little sad and wonder if something is wrong with my baby. Fortunately, one of my friends is a physical therapist for children, and she and I have been getting together weekly for play dates since last fall. She assures me that nothing is wrong with Savannah, that she just doesn’t have that desire to move around. Her arm muscles are underdeveloped because of this.

My friend gave me a few exercises to work with Savannah and encourage her to use her arms more. The intent is not necessarily to get her crawling, but just encourage her to move and explore on her own. So far, she has learned that she can spin around while sitting so she’ll do that which is kinda cute. And we’re making some very small progress with getting her to like tummy time. I’m supposed to put her on her tummy 4 times a day for 15 minutes each.

These pictures make me laugh because they’re so pathetic.
I hate my tummy!!

Crying, she gives up holding her head up

She gives up and just lets her head sink to the floor as she cries mournfully. I’m a terribly mean mommy!

Today I put her on her tummy for tummy time, and she flipped over to her back. I put her back, and she immediately turned to her back. I couldn’t get her to stay on her tummy! Smart girl. :-) So I’ll have to try some of the other exercises my friend gave me. Maybe Savannah will figure out she can roll from place to place?

She will reach really far to get something. She even gets her butt off the ground as she’s stretching! One of these days she’s going to start crawling, I just know it.
Reaching so far!

To close on a sweet note, when we were driving back from Indiana, I looked in the back seat to see if Savannah had fallen asleep. We had a toy mirror that was sitting on the seat, and the angle was just perfect that I could see her face in the reflection! Awww I just had to take a picture.
I could see her reflection in the mirror and it looked so cute!