Archive for March, 2012

Nursery rhyme update: This little piggy

Friday, March 30th, 2012

I’m not crazy about the imagery in some nursery rhymes, and I’m feeling free to revise them for our babies. Today’s adaptation:

This little piggy went shopping
This little piggy stayed home
This little piggy ate roast beef
This little piggy’s vegetarian
And this little piggy exclaimed “Whee!” all the way home.

Not eating… again

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

We first learned our girls suffer from gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux) in December. Over a week or two, Catie became more selective about latching to nurse. After an initial spell, she would wiggle and dismount. Then she would open her mouth eagerly like she was hungry for more, but repeatedly let my nipple graze through her open mouth without latching. At the time, I couldn’t figure out why. Sometimes, she would nurse but not take her bottle.

Then by the end of December, Catie began resisting bottles altogether. After nursing, she would make hungry-looking fish mouths with protruding tongue, but when we presented a bottle, she would resist latching on to the nipple. We brainstormed possible causes and remedies: Does that nipple smell like dishwashing detergent? Do we have a bad batch of formula? Has she decided that she prefers breast milk?

Burping her and swapping out nipples only occasionally led to her taking the bottle. Catie’s total consumption decreased dramatically, and as a result, her rate of weight gain fell further behind her sister. As the problem worsened, we became increasingly concerned. Slowly, Sam developed some of the same issues, though to a lesser extent.

Finally, after a weekend in which Catie hardly ate, we called the pediatrician’s office. When we described the scenarios and issues, they concluded that our babies had gastroesophageal reflux, meaning milk/formula doesn’t stay down in their stomachs where it belongs. When milk and stomach acid return to their throats, it hurts, and they refuse to continue eating. Reflux is common among babies generally, and especially prevalent among preemies, though I’m not sure why.

Armed with a diagnosis, we started both girls on Prevacid twice a day and implemented procedural and mechanical improvements:

  • do Tummy Time and other lying-down activities before they eat,
  • change to a more-inclined tandem nursing position,
  • feed them smaller amounts at a time and burp them more often
  • keep them upright after eating and keep working on burping, and
  • offer them liquid antacid when they sound refluxy.

All of this makes feeding them even slower and more cumbersome. It often takes more than an hour of their limited awake time to finish. But they resumed eating and that’s important.

Now over the last two weeks, things are getting worse again. They had been eating almost 5 ounces of milk and/or formula 5 times a day, or about 25 ounces a day. But both girls have begun resisting/refusing their bottles again and we can’t figure out why. For example, Catie only took 19 ounces yesterday, and that’s typical this week. In fact, she’s taking so little formula that her bowel function resembles that of a breast-fed-only newborn for the first time in her life.

While Catie is clearly suffering more, Sam is suffering, too. Bill and I are struggling to figure out what, if anything, has changed in the last two weeks, and more importantly, what to do to solve the problem and keep them eating and sleeping. Hearing our babies whimper and cry and being unable to comfort them adequately is miserable.

Career in Transition, part 2

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

When I went back to work at the beginning of the year after taking a sabbatical for three months to help get Samantha and Catherine through their most vulnerable early months, I only had an agreement with my client in Raleigh for a couple of months of work to help them get funding for a major business transformation effort. The good news is that the funding came through, and my position is now set until April of 2013. The bad news is that Raleigh is not Houston, so that means a lot of travel ahead for me, and time away from Robin and the girls.

As a result, I’ve been continuing my job hunt since it would be imprudent to move to Raleigh without a permanent position and the implied job security that comes with it. I originally started looking outside of Houston back in the fall when I came across a job positing that was simply too perfectly tailored for me to pass up. The hitch: it was in Milwaukee. Having broken the mental and emotional barrier about looking beyond the Houston city limits, I’ve most recently interviewed in suburban Chicago at the beginning of March and in Atlanta this past Monday.

Chicago was a good company and a good role, but the position required a bit more experience on the quant side of what I do. While getting turned down is less frustrating than no market traction at all, a certain member of my family gets cold in Houston’s winters, so Chicago was going to be a Brave New World for all of us.

Atlanta, or Hotlanta, doesn’t have the same climatological questions hanging over it that Chicago does. Fittingly, the company in Atlanta isn’t a member of the Fortune 500. Actually, it has fewer than 500 employees. A LOT fewer, in fact. It’s a boutique consultancy whose focus is on the services and types of problems which I’ve done in one way, shape or another for most of my career.

I have shied away from getting back into consulting due to the travel requirements, so I was really intrigued when the Atlanta recruiter kept talking about how little travel they really did. After having gone through five interviews on Monday, either they are all talking from the same script or they really do manage to work out of their offices. Fairly nice offices, at that. While we’re not excited about the prospect of moving, this might turn into a legitimate option. We’ll see how it progresses over the next few weeks!

Field trip!

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Well technically, it was more of an earthen berm than a field. But it’s covered with bluebonnets again. And Nancy reminded us that we could take the girls out and snap some photos. Ask and you sometimes receive (click for larger):

ALL of the group bluebonnet photos include the girls looking at the flowers instead of the camera. But we really like these:

More hand-made hats!

Friday, March 16th, 2012

My aunt Ann (Chuck’s sister-in-law) sent along cute hats and booties she knitted for the girls. I finally remembered to take some pictures with them wearing them (click for larger):



I also have cute “action shots” of the booties; but alas, the girls just woke up and it’s bath time. I’ll add them when I’m able.

In addition, here’s a long-overdue photo from December of the cute hats their “Aunt” Amy knitted for them. I regret that I didn’t get them opened and on before the girls’ heads outgrew them, but they’re lovely hats nonetheless.

Spring family photos

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Three weeks ago, we stepped outside for some family photos in the fine spring sunshine. It was also the first time our girls ever wore skirts. Thanks to our friend, Barb Luksch, for the matching skirts and leggings! (click for larger)

Sam, Bill, and Cate

Thanks to our fantastic nanny, Claudia, for snapping this one!

Speed blogging: Good night

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Last night, Cate slept 6:38 and Sam slept 6:10, which allowed us grown-ups to sleep about 6 hours. That’s the first time since November that we’ve done that without paying for the privilege.

On a related note, we’ve incorporated reading The Going to Bed Book and Goodnight Moon into our bedtime routine.

Update: The following night was as bad as the prior night was good. 3 hours + 2-1/2 hours + 1 more holding a baby does not feel remotely like 6+ hours sleep. Ugh.

Wins and losses

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Last night, I got both girls to sleep, all by myself. It only lasted 35 and 40 minutes, respectively, but it felt like a victory.

This afternoon, I have succumbed to the same cold that’s afflicting the girls. What started as sniffles and sneezes last night now includes a fever and I feel pretty crappy.

The most frustrating is startling the baby who’s falling asleep in my arms when I have to cough or sneeze.

Speed blogging: two riddles

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Q: What’s more pathetic than a tired baby with reflux?

A: That same baby with her first cold.

Q: What’s more pathetic than that?

A: Two babies with reflux and their first colds.

Catie (and Sam)’s first cold

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Catie seemed tired yesterday and she ate a lot less than usual. Then around 9 pm, she succumbed to full-on runny nose, sniffling, sneezing, and choking on post-nasal drip. She sounds miserable.

In the bouncy seat, she was waking up choking every 5-8 minutes. So I spent last night propped up on the futon, holding her up to sleep on my chest. Then periodically, when she woke up drowning, I’d flush her nose with saline and suction out the goop. Together we got just 4 meaningful chunks of sleep totaling just over 3 hours.

This morning, our friends Tina and Caroline — via Facebook — both recommended the Frida snot sucker as more effective than a bulb syringe, so Bill picked one up at the store and we tried it out. Catie is now sleeping again, and with luck she’ll sleep for awhile.

Through a little diligence and a lot of luck, we managed to avoid contagion until the girls were past three months developmentally. I know it’s necessary and important, but building an immune system is hard work. I will be grateful if Sam doesn’t succumb this round.

UPDATE: Sam started up the runny nose around 4 pm Sunday, about 18 hours after her sister.