Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 2011

Wow...I'm really bad at finding time to blog.  I keep thinking of all of these things that I want to say, but finding the time to do it is proving to be very difficult.  Needless to say, I hope to get better at this whole blogging thing!  :)

Tate is now four months old and a lot has happened this month.  Tate was seen by the developmental pediatric clinic at MUSC as a follow-up for being a NICU baby.  The nurses took her measurements and then a resident and student came in to begin working with Tate.  Before they started, I asked for Tate's percentiles, and they told me she was in the 90th percentile for everything.  I knew that couldn't be right for my baby, so after questioning that, we realized they had plotted Tate's measurements at 2 months instead of 4 and that brought her to the 40th for length and 25th for weight.  :)  The resident then started examining Tate and her development.  They held out a red ring to see how her tracking was; they put her on her belly to see if she could lift her head and chest; they put her on her back to see what she would do; they stood her on the bed to see if she would put weight on her legs; they tested her stepping reflex by putting her legs near the edge of the bed to see if Tate would step up; and they pulled her up from a lying position to see if she could keep her head in alignment with her body.  She was able to do everything!  The doctor then came in and worked with Tate as well and they said she is great!  They will see her again in January for another follow-up appointment, but they assured me that she is developing perfectly.  I am extremely thankful and feel very blessed that Tate is developing so well...I think about our days in the NICU often and all that others have done for our family.  I keep telling Tate that she is destined to become a doctor! 

She had a good four month check up (Oct. 18th) with Dr. Davis - she is 13 pounds 4 ounces (50th percentile) and 24 1/2 inches long (50th percentile).  Her head circumference is also in the 50th percentile, so as Dr. Davis says - "She's perfect!"  He also said that he is pretty certain that she will keep her blue eyes, which I am happy about! The not-so-good news from the appointment is that she is battling her second double ear infection and that she has two fissures on her bottom that won't heal.  We go to the pediatric gastroenterologist on Wednesday, October 26th, so we will discuss the fissure problem with them.

Tate is rolling from back to front like a champ!  In fact, she's hardly ever on her back anymore.  She pretty much rolls onto her belly immediately when you put her down.  Tate has been sleeping on her belly for a few weeks now - and sometimes with her bottom in the air.  It's so peaceful and comforting to watch her sleep.  She generally goes to bed around 7 and will sleep until 5 or 5:30.  With the ear infections and teething going on, she will wake up in the middle of the night, usually around 2, but quickly puts herself back to sleep.  She does a great job putting herself to sleep at night....we put her down, turn on her lamb sound machine and the humidifier, and she is usually out in a few minutes.

Tate still loves bath time!  She is starting to kick and splash a little...but for the most part I think she loves how relaxing it is.  We give her a bath every night before her bottle to calm her down and get her ready to go to sleep.  She has had quite a bad case of cradle cap but thankfully friends have shared their secrets, and we think it is clearing up!

This month we took Tate to the beach for the first time.  The summer was hard to get her there because it was so hot and Tate was so small.  So on October 15, we took Tate to the Isle of Palms beach for her first outing.  We had a great time and got some great pictures of her.

We also took Tate to the pumpkin patch and met up with Teresa and Boris.  We had a nice time finding a perfect pumpkin for Tate and taking pictures of her.

We had our first professional photo shoot done with Tate on the College of Charleston's campus.  We haven't gotten the pictures back, but I will be sure to add them when we do!  The photographer is a teacher at Teresa's school, and we saw some of the pictures as she was taking them, and they looked really good.  I hope to do professional pictures every three months.

Tonight was a milestone night for us as Tate gave us her first little laugh as I was kissing her neck.  Sweetest sound in the world!  I can't wait for her to laugh more!!

We are anxiously counting down the days to our trip to New York for Thanksgiving and Tate's baptism.  We just ordered the invitations and hope to send them out in the next few days.  We can't wait for everyone to meet Tate! 

Love to all! 

August and September 2011

August brought a new set of medical issues to Tate.  On August 1st, I noticed Tate had blood in her stool.  I took a picture with my cell phone and emailed it to my mom and Aunt Melissa.  They both said I should call the doctor, which I was planning on doing anyway.  Dr. Davis' nurse wasn't too alarmed, but said that if she had it again, that we should bring her in for Dr. Davis to check.  Well, she did have more blood in her stool, and so off we went to the pediatrician's office.  Little did we realize this was the beginning of a very close relationship with Dr. Davis, and that we would be at the doctor's office regularly for the next month and a half.

Dr. Davis explained that the blood could be caused by a few different reasons, one of which being a fissure on her bottom.  When he checked her bottom, that is exactly what he found.  He was happy with this finding, as he figured this was the answer to the blood and that it would heal nicely and all would be well in the world!  :)

Well, things are not that easy with Tate!  A few days later, Tate had more blood in her stool that looked red and jelly-like.  We took to the Internet (worst thing you can do) and were freaked out about what might be wrong with Tate.  We went back to the doctor's office and started talking about how it might be a milk protein allergy.  Dr. Davis put me on an elemental diet (no dairy, nuts, shellfish....anything that could be a potential allergen) and he put Tate on a specialty formula.  Tate refused the formula and so I put her on the elemental diet breast milk.  Everything seemed really good for a few days, but then the blood came back.  Dr. Davis had spoken to a pediatric gastroenterologist who suggested that Tate go on a highly specialized (and VERY expensive formula) and that I would be taken out of the equation.  I was NOT happy about this, but I wanted to do what was best for Tate, and if she needed this special formula, then I was going to give her what she needed.  Well, we changed formula cold turkey, and Tate would not take the new kind at all.  We had even gotten our insurance company to cover it - but Tate would not drink it.  We ended up going back to the Similac Sensitive - the only formula Tate really liked taking - for a while. 

We were in and out of Dr. Davis' office all of August.  Towards the end of the month, he referred us to an allergist who did blood work to check for a milk, soy, or shellfish allergy.  The blood work all came back negative, so we felt good about that.  In the meantime, Dr. Davis got us an appointment with the pediatric gastroenterologist to see about the GI problem Tate was having.

We met with Dr. Carter-Kent, a pediatric gastroenterologist at MUSC, at the beginning of September.  Her diagnosis was that Tate did have a milk protein allergy, and that blood work for allergies is not accurate in a baby under the age of one.  She prescribed another highly specialized and even MORE expensive formula for Tate to take.  When I called the prescription in to CVS they let me know that a month's worth supply would cost $1,000.  WHAT!!  I had to sit down and let this all sink in.  I told them not to order it yet.  We went through the hoops of seeing if we could get our insurance company to cover it.  They initially said no, but we wrote a letter of appeal for the first specialized formula and they agreed, so we did the same again.  We continued to stress that this formula is a medical necessity and that I wanted Tate on breast milk exclusively for six months, but obviously this was not happening.  We are fairly certain that Tricare is going to cover it, but we haven't gotten it in writing yet.....hmmm

We weened Tate onto the new formula and she started taking it really well.  We hope that her medical issues with her belly and bottom will clear up soon.

On a developmental note, Tate was doing really well.  She was sleeping about 8-9 hours a night in a row.  She was tracking with her eyes and smiling at us.  Life is great....even with the medical issues!

Love to all!

June and July 2011

My parents were down for the month of June, which was a lifesaver.  They would drive me to and from the NICU.  Mike had his two week annual training for the National Guard when Tate was born.  He was supposed to do his training out in Columbia, but they let him stay and do his training in Summerville until the baby was born.  Once Tate was born and there were complications, they let him finish it out in Summerville so that he could come home at night. 

My parents and I (and Meghan, when she was in town) would visit Tate in the NICU during the morning.  We would go home during the early afternoon and then Mike and I would visit in the evenings.  Many days, Mike's parents would go and visit in the afternoon.  The NICU was always closed to visitors from 7-8 in the morning and evening for the shift change, so we had to work around that schedule.  Even though I wanted to be with Tate all day long, I couldn't.  I didn't have anywhere to sleep and the nurses encouraged me to go home and get some rest during the day.  It was great advice! 

Every morning, my parents and I would attend rounds on Tate.  This is when all of the doctors and nurses would get together and discuss the progress each baby was making and the plan for the day for the baby.  When they would discuss Tate, my parents, Meghan, and I would go into the office and hear about how she was doing.  It was one of the highlights of my day each and every day!  They continued to be amazed by Tate's progress, and they were so caring and loving towards her.  I will forever be grateful for Dr. Southgate, Nurse Practitioner Margaret, and her nurses: Jan, Gail, Jessica, Angela, and Nicole.

After a week of being in the NICU, Tate was able to come home on June 17, 2011.  This was such a great day!  This was Mike's last day of National Guard training, so we waited for him to finish and then he met us at the hospital to take Tate home.  I was so glad that Tate would be home for Father's Day!  We were so elated to be taking her home - and terrified at the same time!!

It was wonderful having Tate home from the NICU.  She was sleeping pretty well; about 3-4 hours at a time during the night.  At four weeks of age, Tate's umbilical cord fell off.  I had changed her and knew that it was going to fall off soon.  The next time I went to change her diaper, the umbilical cord was off, but no where to be found.  It was somewhere in the house!  GROSS!!

July was the first time that we were alone to figure out life as 3 and a dog.  I think we adjusted fairly well.  Obviously I was still off from work, so that made it easier.  There were many days though, where a fussy baby and a whining dog made for a difficult situation.  I would pass over the baby once Mike got home so I could relax a little!  :)  Looking back on the month of July, I think it's pretty safe to say that Tate was a little colicky!

Tate celebrated her first Fourth of July with Mike's family.  We went up to his parents house and Tate was able to meet her great-grandparents for the first time.  She slept through most of the visit, but when she was awake she was happy!

The first two months of Tate's life, as crazy as they were, have been two of the best of my life!!

Love to all!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

a complicated and scary beginning

I went into labor with Tate on Friday, June 10th around one in the morning.  By 8 a.m. my contractions were fairly regular and pretty strong.  I went to the doctor's office around 10 and she admitted me to the hospital.  It was twelve hours later that Tate was born; however the celebration had to wait.  Tate had a very scary and complicated beginning.  Below is a letter I typed to family and friends a few days after Tate's birth.

Hi Everyone!

I'm sorry that I have not written sooner, but I wanted to let all of you know that Mike and I are now the proud parents of a baby girl!  Her name is Tate Suzanne Wallace and she was born Friday, June 10th at 10:08 PM.  I am doing well physically, however Tate had a very difficult start.  Sometime during delivery, Tate had a bowel movement inside of me and when she was finally delivered she was not breathing and had a very weak heartbeat.  The doctors infomed us that she had ingested some of the meconium during delivery and this was causing her breathing problems.  They began doing chest compressions and giving her bagged air in the delivery room to help her along.  It was a very frightening time, and Mike and I have never been so concerned in our lives.  They rushed her out to the nursery and we received updates about her health throughout the night and early morning.  They put her on a breathing tube to help with her breathing, and her heartbeat came up to a good pulse.  After a few hours we were able to see her and she looked much better.  Immediately at birth, the team of doctors and nurses informed us that Tate would need to be transferred to another hospital where she could receive the necessary care she needed.  She stayed at the initial hospital for about 5 hours and then was transported via ambulance to MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina in downtown Charleston) which has an amazing children's hospital.  Upon arrival there, they didn't like how tight and tense she was, or that she was arching her back.  Fearing that there may have been brain or neurological damage, they made a decision to treat her with a cooling process.  This meant that Tate was not wrapped or covered and she was lying on a blanket over water that would cool her body temperature down to near 90 degrees.  This hypothermic state was to help prevent an attack on her system from the stress she experienced at birth.  She was in the cooling bed for 48 hours and Monday morning at 5:45 they began to rewarm her.  By 6 o'clock that evening she was warmed up to a normal temperature of 98 degrees and I was then able to hold my baby for the first time!!!  It was amazing!  Mike and I didn't want to put her down.  She was so content being warm and was quite a turnaround from where she had started.

Tate's nurses and doctor's are AMAZING and I couldn't be happier with the care she is receiving.  She is one strong, tough little girl and a true fighter.  The doctors are very optimistic about the progress she is making.  While on the cooling bed, they liked her suck (she was given a pacifier) and grip and gag reflex.  They said that these are all really good signs.  Her muscle tone (the tenseness and tightness) have already decreased now that she is warmer, and she is obviously much more comfortable.  A neurologist looked at her yesterday and said that everything looks great and they don't have any need to see her again.  They also did an EEG on her to look at her brain activity, and that all came back positive as well.  She will have an MRI done today or tomorrow, with the results coming back by the end of the week.  The doctors told us today that she will be coming home this Friday or Saturday.  We obviously couldn't be happier!!

I appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers you have been sending.  Please continue to pray for us.  She is the most amazing little girl EVER and I couldn't love being a mother any more than I do.  We feel so incredibly blessed to have this little girl in our lives, and we can't wait for her to meet all of you. 

I will update as I find the time, but please know that I appreciate all of the love and support you give.  I also have to thank my parents, Mike's parents, and my amazing sisters for everything they have done for me, Mike and Tate in the last three days.  Even though it has been a difficult beginning, I couldn't feel any luckier!  Thank you again and I love you all so much.


To update some of those tests, her MRI and MRS came back normal.  In fact, we took her home Friday, June 17th with the doctors telling us she was a normal, healthy baby.  We are so thankful and blessed and appreciate every moment with Tate.

nine months of bliss

I LOVED being pregnant.  I felt great and had no complications.  There was one scary moment during those nine months when I was out walking the dog and I fell flat on my stomach.  It was the scariest moment of my life, and it was then that I realized a lifetime of worrying was about to begin.  I was 25 weeks along and therefore needed to go to the hospital to be monitored for four hours.  I remember the nurse coming in about halfway through and telling me and Mike that our baby was "amazing".  She said that what she was seeing on the monitor was what she would see in a full term baby.  Of course we were already proud of "baby W"!

Mike and I had decided not to find out what we were having.  It is one of the few surprises in life and it made the nine months that much more exciting.  This being said, EVERYONE had an opinion of what we were having, and almost all of them guessed boy.  One woman on Kiawah Island's beach told me she was certain I was having a boy and that I better have a boy name picked out.  Well, I'd like to find that woman now and tell her she was wrong.

It was a girl!!