Monday, January 10, 2011

I don't think I'll be making that for dinner

Valerie often asks for food she sees in a TV show. If it's something we have on hand, and is a reasonable request, I will sometimes oblige her. It's not like I can point any fingers. I have been known to drive several miles to a 24-hour donut shop in the middle of the night to satisfy a TV-induced craving for a chocolate glazed donut.

She just asked for a "sandwich like Buttons" while we were watching Wakko's Wish. I hadn't really been paying attention, but I thought a sandwich was probably something I could manage. I was trying to decide what to make for dinner anyway, and sandwiches seemed like a reasonable alternative to cooking. So I grabbed the remote and rewound the movie to see what kind of sandwich Buttons had, hoping it was something that I could pull off with peanut butter and/or cheese.

It was a a stack of seven raw steaks.

Consignment Sales - Spring 2011

I've started assembling the list of local consignment sales for spring 2011. A lot of sales haven't listed their spring dates yet, so check back every week or so for updates. Happy shopping!
Last update: 3/03/11

Kids Kloset Swap
January 28-30
Doylestown, PA

Little Peeps Consignments
January 27-30
Willingboro, NJ

Spring Chicken Sale
February 25-26
Havertown, PA

Cozy Tots
March 4-6
Bryn Athyn, PA

Mom2Mom Consignment Sale
March 5, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Branch Creek Community Church, 100 Main Street
Harleysville, PA

Mainline MOMs
March 5
Springfield, PA

St. Luke's UCC MOPS
March 11-12
Trappe, PA

Spring-Ford Area School District March of Dimes Consignment Sale
March 12
Royersford, PA

Kool Kids
March 11-13
Feasterville, PA

The Clothing Tree
March 17-21
Allentown, PA

All Children's Sale
March 18-19
Wayne, PA

Chester County MOMs
March 19
Exton, PA

Buttons and Bows Children’s Consignment Sale
March 19, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (half price 1-2 p.m.)
Towamencin Fire Hall

Mother's Market
March 19
Calvary Church, Souderton, PA

Kids Weecycle
March 19
Ambler, PA

The Clothing Tree
March 24-28
Quakertown, PA

Simply Kids
March 25-26
Pottstown, PA

Bucks-Mont MOMs
March 26
Lansdale, PA

Just 4 Kids
March 25-27
Maple Shade, NJ

As Kids Grow
April 1-3
Langhorne, PA

L'il Angels
April 2-3
Bensalem, PA

Just Between Friends - West Chester/Media
April 2-3
Glen Mills, PA

Smart Moms Sale
April 2-3
Eagleville, PA

Best Dressed for Less
April 8-10
Burlington, NJ

Kids Weecycle
April 9
East Norriton, PA

The Clothing Tree
April 14-18
Hellertown, PA

Just Between Friends - Reading
April 14-16
Reading, PA

Valley Forge MOTTC
April 16
Oaks, PA

Just Between Friends - Western Main Line
April 28-30
Oaks, PA

WeeUsables Children's Consignment Event
April 28-30
Lancaster, PA

Bitty Bee's
May 14-15
Kimberton, PA

Just Kids Stuff Yard Sale
Eagleville, PA

Saturday, January 08, 2011

On losing confidence in medical professionals

So, when I first heard that Dorothy was going to need surgery to repair the cleft in her lip, I really wasn't worried at all. The cleft team at CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) would be taking care of her. She would be in the hands of the best Children's hospital in the country. What more could I ask for?

Last month, when I met with the surgeon, I was still pretty confident. She told me what the surgery would be like, and walked me through the process. It seemed fairly straightforward. Then she told me that I had to stop feeding Dorothy six hours before the surgery, and could give her clear liquids, like Pedialyte, until two hours before the surgery. I said, "Breastmilk is a clear liquid, right?" And she said it wasn't, and I had to stop breastfeeding six hours before. That didn't seem quite right, and sure enough, when my pre-op packet came in the mail, it said that I could breastfeed until three hours before the surgery (six hours was the standard for formula feeding). I was a little disappointed to have been given false information at a hospital touted as breastfeeding-friendly, but not entirely surprised, and since the correct information came in the packet, it didn't really shake my confidence too much.

Then the time came for the pre-op anesthesia consult. A few days beforehand, I received a call from the ENT (ear, nose, throat) department. They said I had to bring her in so they could take a quick look in her ears to make sure there was no fluid, which could cause complications with the anesthesia. My anesthesia appointment was at 2:15, so they scheduled me for 12:15. I wasn't sure why a quick look in her ears would take 2 hours, but I figured I could at least get lunch between the appointments.

I arrived at ENT at 12:15, then sat in the waiting room for almost an hour. When they finally called me back to a room, the nurse practitioner seemed to have no idea why I was there. I said we just needed someone to look in her ears to make sure there was no fluid before the surgery. The NP looked in Dorothy's ears, said they were fine, then fumbled to find the right words to put into the computer. It seemed to me like she had never heard of a healthy baby having her ears checked before surgery before. She left, and said the doctor would be right in.

Then I waited another hour. I called ahead to the anesthesia department at 2:15 to let them know I was here, but still waiting to see the ENT doctor. At about 2:30, I went back to the front desk to see if we had been forgotten. They said the doctor had our chart, so he knew we were there. I went back to the exam room and fell asleep in the chair while Dorothy slept in the Ergo.

The doctor finally came a little before 3:00. He seemed to have no idea what to do with a healthy baby. He looked in her ears, said there was no fluid, so she wouldn't need tubes, but maybe she would need tubes later. I was really confused as to why she would need tubes later, since there was nothing wrong, and I asked what I should look for to know if there was fluid in her ears, and he gave me a less than helpful answer about things getting worse. Which didn't make any sense, since there was NOTHING WRONG WITH HER EARS. I just chalked it up to a medical professional who only ever sees sick babies just assuming that all babies need tubes, and rushed upstairs to anesthesia.

I didn't have to wait quite as long there. I guess it pays to be 45 minutes late? They weighed and measured Dorothy, then I waited in another exam room for a while. A NP came in and she seemed to be very knowledgeable about anesthesia and the procedures for surgery. She seemed not to know much about babies, though. She took my pre-op hand-out to write in the date of surgery, and, reading off the sheet, told me I could breastfeed as much as I wanted until three hours before the surgery, then I could give clear fluids, like water, until two hours before. Water? Did a medical professional really just tell me I could give a three-month-old baby water? (Experts fairly universally recommend against giving water to babies under the age of six months.) She then got a thoughtful look on her face, and asked me whether I would be able to breastfeed after surgery, because it was on her lip, and I told her yes, they actually encourage it because it helps the mouth find its correct shape. She asked me if I needed my parking validated, and I said, "No, I took the train. But I know I'm supposed to drive on the day of surgery." She responded, "Oh? Did they tell you that?" Yes, it was in the pamphlet YOU GAVE ME!

At this point, it was 4:00, and I was tired, hungry, and fairly disillusioned. I finally got to change Dorothy's diaper-balloon, then we headed over to the lab for a blood draw. The lady who took her blood was really sweet, and she was about to become a Grandma, so she was very interested in the Ergo carrier. She told me that Dorothy was hungry, but I reassured her that she was just tired from a long day of interrupted naps. She insisted, and I said she had nursed five times in the four hours we had been there, so I was pretty sure she wasn't hungry. She then got this surprised look on her face and asked me how you can tell a breastfed baby was getting enough, and I found myself explaining the basics of breastfeeding to her. Ultimately, I guess it doesn't really matter if a phlebotomist knows anything about breastfeeding, but I was just surprised that someone who works at a "breastfeeding-friendly" children's hospital would ask me a question like that.

All in all, I was fairly unimpressed with my whole experience. Everyone was nice, and very knowledgeable about their specific aspect of the surgery, but no one seemed to know the whole picture. It seemed like the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing, which is all well and good when you're giving to charity, but somewhat upsetting when my daughter's life is in your hands. Maybe I'm just not used to this hyper-specialized model of medical care. My dad was a nurse, and he always seemed to know something (usually a lot) about everything. I'm sure everyone coordinates better on the actual day of the surgery, but it's awfully easy to imagine something going wrong after an experience like this.

When I got home, I looked at the website again, and discovered that Dorothy's surgeon was appointed in 2010. I'm sure she's still an excellent surgeon, and I have nothing to worry about, but it does explain why she seemed to not be very familiar with certain aspects of the process.

And now that the surgery is two weeks away, it's become much more frighteningly real to me. I keep closing my eyes and picturing my sweet little baby with a red, puffy face and stitches and elbow restraints. I picture her whimpering because it hurts to nurse, and struggling in frustration to get her hands to her mouth to suck on her fingers. I feel terrible that I have to put her through this, but I know the sooner the better. I just want it to be over with now, but I worry about that little cough of hers, and that she won't be healthy enough for the surgery and we'll have to reschedule and wait that much longer. Or I worry that I'll think she is better, but then the cough will come back during surgery and cause the surgeon's knife to slip. I'm trying not to worry, and I was doing so successfully until my whole pre-op experience left a bad taste in my mouth. Which is awfully ironic because the point of the pre-op appointments was, at least in part, to make me feel more comfortable.

I know everything will be fine. I know all the information I need to know is in the pamphlets and on the website, so it doesn't really matter if I was told the wrong thing at the appointments. I know everything that happens the day of surgery will have to go on her chart, so coordination of care will be much more thorough than coordination of pre-op information delivery. I knew this time would come, when the surgery would go from being just "this thing that has to happen sometime" to being a Big Deal. I don't like to admit it, but I'm scared. I just want it to be over.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Two Months Old!


Dear Dorothy,

You are two months old, now! Well, to be honest, you have been two months old for almost three weeks, now, but I'm only just getting around to posting this today. I've had it pretty much written in my head the whole time, though.

I started your one month letter by saying I couldn't believe it had been a whole month. Now, I can't believe it's only been two months. It feels like you've been part of this family forever.

This month was relatively uneventful. I had a pretty nasty flu bug at the beginning of the month, and I think you caught a touch of it, too. Even with a gassy, grumbly tummy, though, you were still a sweet, happy girl. You've been smiling more and more, and you readily recognize your Mommy, Daddy, and sister, greeting us with wide grins.


You pretty much spent this entire month growing. At your two-month checkup, you were almost 12 pounds (75th %) and 24.5 inches long (>97th %). Some of your 3-6 month clothes were already tight on you by the time I dug them out of storage for you. Yeah, I'm pretty sure you'll be taller than me before you're 12.


You didn't reach a lot of milestones this month. You're not quite laughing yet, but you coo a lot, and you have this squawky little quack that is almost a laugh. It's absolutely adorable. I think the biggest milestone was that, after weeks of chewing on your hands, you finally managed to isolate your thumb. You still don't get it in there consistently, but I think you're going to be a thumb-sucker like your sister and your Mama.


You're a pretty good sleeper, usually giving me a 4-6 hour stretch of sleep at the beginning of each night. Once or twice, you've even slept for a mind-boggling 8 hours. Of course, if you're taking requests, I wouldn't mind getting more sleep, but I really can't complain. Being up in the middle of the night is tiring, but it's really the only one-on-one time we get together, and you take full advantage by smiling at me and cooing and grabbing my fingers or hair. It's nice to have that little bubble of quiet, baby-love time.

I love you very much, and even though the logistics of having two kids are sometimes complicated, I already can't imagine life without you. You really are a blessing.



A Tale of Two Cities: The Poop Edition

So, sometime between birth and the Christmas holidays, Dorothy went from a happy, frequent pooper to an "I think I'll hold it in for three days even though it makes me uncomfortable" kind of kid. Takes after her mom, I suppose. Her MO is generally to poop several times on Pooping Day, with the last poop of the day being a massive poop volcano that just seems to keep going and going while you are attempting to change her. The day we left for Rochester was a Pooping Day, and just as we were about to load everybody into the car, the Poop Volcano came. I thought, "How convenient, no more pooping for the first few days of vacation!"

Then we got to Keith and Sharon's house, and someone else was holding Dorothy, and they told me they thought she had pooped. I said, "No, she pooped before we left, she probably won't poop for several days. It's probably just gas." It wasn't just gas. She pooped three more times that day, and continued to poop, and poop, and poop, for the rest of our visit. She had one last, big, farewell poop just as we were getting ready to leave. I almost thought, "Great, no pooping in the car!" but I remembered how dramatically she had proven me wrong the last time I thought something like that.

That was Sunday. Today is Friday. Would anyone care to guess how many times she has pooped since we got home? If you said zero, you win!

It can't be the weather, because it was cold and snowy in Philly when we left, and it got warm and all the snow melted while we were in Rochester. It can't be something she ate, since she has had nothing but breast milk the entire time. I wondered if it might have been something in my diet, but the change came on too instantaneously for that. And the only real difference in my diet was that I was eating a lot more Christmas cookies while I was there. Especially my aunt's peanut butter M&M bars. Hmmm... Maybe I SHOULD blame my diet. Obviously, peanut butter M&M bars are the key to infant regularity. I guess I'll have to make some myself. You know, for the baby. This is her health we're talking about, after all.