Monday, February 23, 2009

The Evil Tomato

It's been a little over a week since I started the Elimination diet. It looks like we have found the main culprit for Abby's extremely horrible reflux flareups- it's the tomato. Apparently, any dish where tomato is a significant ingredient is a BIG no-no for me right now. I have to admit that many foods I enjoy do include tomatoes- spaghetti, lasagna, chicken parmigiana, vegetable beef soup, shrimp etoufee, pizza, and the list goes on. I will be eliminating them until I stop breastfeeding her or until she outgrows her reflux enough for me to eat more normally again.

How did we finally narrow it down you might ask? Well, we were already suspicious that tomatoes were a problem in my diet. It seems to take about a week for all traces of a problem food to completely leave my breastmilk supply. Yesterday had been a little over a week since I had eaten any "suspicious" food, and we had an AMAZING day. Abby woke up happier than she has been since we brought her home from the hospital. She had a little bit of reflux but none of the painful, crying episodes we are so used to all day long. She was just a happy, playful cutie- it was incredible! The difference was remarkable.

We were invited over to eat lunch with a church member, and we had vegetable beef soup. A few hours later when Abby nursed again, her tummy started to flare up slowly. By night time, we were having the full out flareups again Suspecting that my breastmilk was the problem, we tried her on a previously pumped bottle of milk from the day before. Abby drank it down without any difficulty and finally fell asleep content around 12:30 a.m. (which is a huge difference from the 10:30 p.m. nights we were getting used to).

So, there you have it... no more tomatoes.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Confession of a Covetous Woman Now Humbled Twice

The beginning of this week was somewhat challenging with our sweet little Abby Bean (as I like to call her). By midweek, I was tired and spiritually slouchy. During our Wednesday night Bible study, I was convicted as we went over the 10 Commandments that I was indeed covetous. Not of someone else's house, husband, or any material possession- I coveted an easier life. I know this probably seems as ridiculous to those of you reading this as it does to me as I type this now (I do have a very easy life). For a few days, I was wallowing in self-pity that I have had to care for a baby with acid reflux. No, I didn't want another baby- just for Miss Abby to be healthy and happy like some other babies I have met. The Holy Spirit pierced my heart and reminded me once again that my life is not my own. I was bought by a price, and I must glorify Christ with the life that He has predestined me to live... I was chosen for this purpose. I have been called out to live this life- not someone else's. What a blessing it is! I just need to repent, look around, and see- God has been so good to me.

I have the best husband- he leads our family faithfully and lovingly closer to Jesus every day. He cherishes me and cares for me diligently and faithfully. He's already teaching Abby to love Jesus every day by the way he loves me and loves her.

I have the most beautiful little girl. She is blossoming into such a cutie pie! One day, she will outgrow acid reflux! Time passes too fast to wish for life to pass any more quickly. I will choose to cherish each day as it is. Life is such a gift!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cowardice Equated With Murder

Today, I was writing a sympathy card for a church member who lost her mother last night... I've been thinking about death a lot lately. Not to be morbid- just to avoid regrets one day. I've been evaluating my life and where I am now- am I happy and satisfied about where my life has taken me? Where do I want to be in the future? How do I want people to remember me? How will Abby remember me?

I was meditating on the scriptures in Revelation chapter 21 about how beautiful heaven will be and how glorious it will be to bask in the presence of God Most High day and night. These verses captured my attention...

"The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be His God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." Rev. 21:7-9

I was convicted about how often I fear man and am cowardly in my walk with Christ. Until I read this passage, I have never placed my cowardice on the same level as murdering someone. Yet, it is just as shameful and sinful in the sight of God. As many times as God commands us not to fear in the Bible, it does make sense for wrongly placed fear to be a sin. May God purge me from any cowardice and replace it with a boldness that only the fire of His Spirit can ignite. May I only fear God and God alone. How much that would change my life's journey to truly fear only my God!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Last Ditch Effort

Yesterday, our little Abby had a pretty rough day. She was absolutely miserable with her acid reflux from afternoon on, and she is still uncomfortable. Since it started storming heavily last night, I ended up putting her in the bed with us because she was scared by the heavy thundering outside. I felt her thrash and jerk from pain all night long, and she vomited almost everything she ate. Adding rice cereal to a few pumped bottles of breast milk every day has helped a lot, but it still has not gotten her reflux under control.

So, the last possible thing we can try is the one I have avoided the most. It's called an elimination diet. Since it is possible that Abby's stomach is just overly sensitive at this point, certain foods can trigger the reflux and make it worse. For the next two weeks, I am going to try to avoid all of the foods on the "trigger list" and keep a food diary of what I eat. We'll monitor Abby every day and see if her reflux improves any. For the next 2 weeks, I am giving up chocolate, caffeine, tea, coffee, apples, bananas, citrus fruits, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, peppers, dairy products, fried foods, fatty foods, tomatoes, and many others... No fun. This basically describes 95% of my diet.

Bryan and I are wondering if there is correlation to my diet and really bad reflux days with Abby. For example, yesterday's diet included: Honeynut cheerios for breakfast, shrimp etoufee (mild but did have rotel and green peppers in it) and rice for lunch, Starbucks frappucino in the afternoon, pepperoni calzone for supper, and chocolate covered apple slices for dessert.

Everything I mentioned, except for the rice and cheerios, are potential offenders. Maybe, my diet had something to do with yesterday being a really horrible day. At the very worst, I'll just eat very mildly for 2 weeks and miss chocolate and coffee terribly. At the very best, we'll get Abby's reflux under control and eliminate miserable days altogether. Say a prayer!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wubbanub Love At First Sight

Abby received her Wubbanub- a ducky that holds a soothie pacifier in its beak- for Valentine's Day from us. As you can see, she is enjoying her new friend and is clinging tightly to it. Cute!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I filmed Abby trying to crawl on our bed yesterday. I love watching her face as she tries something new. I suggest you mute the video so you don't have to listen to my voice in the background- I hate hearing myself recorded. =c)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We Love the Woombie

What is a woombie you may ask? It is the new face of the swaddling blanket movement. It's a lightweight, stretchy cocoon that zips up over your baby to make them feel "hugged" and "snuggled" while they sleep. It keeps Abby's hands from hitting herself in the face and startling herself awake while she sleeps. My favorite part is that unlike blankets- this keeps Abby warm and cozy without the risk of suffocation. Abby loves it and makes quite the cute glow worm in it if I may so myself.
(Abby napping peacefully)

(Abby awake and content after naptime)

Why should babies be swaddled?
Much research has been done on the method of swaddling babies in recent years- ALL sleep experts highly recommend it. Here are just a few reasons.
  • Swaddling can be a great way to soothe and calm a fussy baby. It is thought that being tightly enwrapped gives a feeling of security.
  • The newborn cannot regulate his temperature as well as an adult, so swaddling keeps his body warm.
  • Swaddling often helps a young baby sleep longer because it prevents the sudden movements (sleep reflex) that can cause her to wake up.
  • Swaddling can help a baby focus on breastfeeding, helping to keep his arms and legs out of the way.
  • Swaddling prevents a newborn baby, who can’t quite control his movements yet, from scratching himself with his nails.
  • Swaddling reduces your risk of SIDS- it helps babies to sleep on their back more comfortably.
  • Swaddling assists baby's transition from the womb.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Desperation Experiment

The last 4 days Abby has been quite unhappy for most hours of the night and day. The doctor increased her old med and added her on a new one, but we were still dealing with frequent tummy problems. Last night at church, Abby's stomach flared up and led to a very long and tiring screaming fit induced by her pain. By the time I got home, I was worn out and desperate to try ANYTHING to make her stop hurting and quiet down. I pumped 4 oz of milk then added a tsp of rice cereal just to see if that would help at all. Amazingly, as she began to suck down the bottle, she began to calm down more and more. By the time we finished the bottle, Abby was content and peaceful. For the next 30 minutes or so, she played in her crib happily while the mobile was spinning overhead... she didn't vomit once (which is a big deal if you have spent any time with Abby). I am not sure if this is a coincidence or if thickening her milk helped a little when her tummy was upset. All I know is that Abby was happy for the rest of the night and was able to nurse normally again without any difficulty until she woke up this morning. This morning when Abby's tummy started flaring up again, I pumped 4 oz again and added the rice cereal. She sucked down a little then went to sleep in my arms.
(Abby watching her mobile in the crib content after getting her rice cereal last night)

There are so many opinions out there in medicine on what is good or bad for babies, and honestly, medical advice changes almost as constantly as it is given. What are your opinions on giving rice cereal to babies under 6 months of age?

On a side note: I've read for hours on the argument of whether or not to introduce rice cereal to babies this young. I know it is not recommended by most doctors due to the fear of the babies developing food allergies. However, I also know that giving GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) babies rice cereal is considered an exception to the "wait until they are 4-6 months old" rule if medication doesn't work.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Joy of the LORD is My Strength

The last 2 days have been hard days with Abby. Thursday, her tummy gave her fits all day and night long, and yesterday, we had her 2 month vaccinations. No fun. Cranky baby= Tired Mom.
However, on a bright note, the doctor increased her dose of Zantac and put her on Reglan to try to help her tummy problems settle down. Since the last 2 days have been so hectic with Abby, I am exhausted in every way. I almost skipped my quiet time this morning to catch up on chores once I got Abby settled down for her nap (her first "real" nap in 2 days), but I am so glad I didn't. Here are some verses that I found that speak to the weary- just in case you are weary too.

  • Isaiah 40:31 "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
  • Galatians 6:9 "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
  • Psalm 68:35 "Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!"
  • Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
  • Psalm 84:5 "Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion."
  • Psalm 96:6 "Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary."
  • Psalm 105:4 "Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!"
  • 1 Peter 5:10 "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."
  • Revelation 21:5-7 "And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Amby Bed Night Report #3

When I decided to do the Amby bed nightly reports, it was because I thought it would take at least a week to make any progress getting Abby out of our bed. We tried unsuccessfully to get her to sleep in her crib, bassinet, car seat, swing, and bouncer chair. I am happy (might I add ecstatically happy) that Abby slept very well in the Amby bed again and only woke up twice to nurse and get a diaper change from the time we put her down until the time she woke up again this morning (around 9:30 a.m.). She even went down for nap time smiling after she played hard this morning during her tummy time. Yay for Amby beds and sleeping babies!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Amby Bed Night #2 Report Plus a Nap Time Special

How shall I describe Night #2 with Abby's new Amby bed?

(Abby sleeping last night right after we put her in the Amby)

Our little princess slept happily and peacefully throughout the whole night until 11:45 this morning... incredible! She only woke up 3 times for feedings/diaper changes (one of which I woke her up for) and settled back down quickly.

What We Learned: Bryan discovered last night that the people we had bought the bed from had set up the spring incorrectly. When he fixed the error, the Amby bed bounced 10x better and more smoothly, which Abby LOVED. Also, Bryan elevated the head of the Amby bed a little more to help her have less problems during the night with reflux. Since Abby hates being swaddled and is talented at finding ways to get out of a blanket, we tried a SwaddleMe velcro blanket that kept her tightly bundled all night long and used the Amby infant positioner to keep her stationary, so she wouldn't startle herself awake or toss her pacifier being difficult. All of these changes made a HUGE difference- we plan on implementing them from now on. Most of all, we are happier, because we FINALLY got a good night's sleep. Abby has been happier and more playful today, because SHE has finally gotten a good night's sleep.

Naptime Bliss--- sweet serenity!

Abby now loves her Amby bed so much that she has been SMILING when I have put her down to sleep again in it.. In fact, I just put her down for her afternoon nap, and she is peacefully snoozing away. Praise God for answered prayers!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Amby Bed Night 1 Report

Bryan brought Abby's new baby bed home last night- Amby Baby Hammock. This is my report on her first night out of our bed (well, mostly).

Abby started the night content like this. She fell asleep for about 30 beautiful minutes.

One outfit, many tears, and three solid hours of screaming later, she ended up in bed with us again like this...

However, whilst she was sound asleep in the morning hours, I transferred her back to her Amby bed, and she slept serenely until it was time to get ready for church.

The moral of the story: Mom always wins in the end- not baby (not even really cute baby).

What I learned: Abby can sleep happily and safely in her new bed- she just would rather sleep with me. However, I think she can be "re-trained" to sleep in her new space with perseverance, patience, and tough love. Say a prayer for us- we're shortly entering into Night #2.

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