From Baby to Big Boy…

It took me 22 months but I finally caved and we had Kade’s hair cut over the weekend.

I was very anxious about it and I know it’s totally silly but I just knew that the first official haircut would mark the transformation from him being my baby and him becoming a big boy.  And I was totally right… This was him right before the big cut (sorry cannot get the bloody image to rotate correctly) all gorgeous curls and delicious baby face…

Kade before big boy cut

And this is him as he is now… a big boy who melts my heart.  Those eyes.  Those lips.  Could a person be more perfect?

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I still find myself doing a double take when I look at him.  He just looks so very different.  That said I am loving the new look and am left wondering what all the fuss I made about it was about… My delicious gorgeous big boy. ❤

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Surviving a Spica Cast

So we’ve survived our ordeal with the hip spica cast and we’re now well on the road to recovery.  That being said, the 3.5 weeks that Kade was in his cast were NOT easy.  They were really, really hard and both Cliff and I did quite a bit of research on how to deal with and survive what we were going through… well guess what… there is not a whole load of information out there on how to PRACTICALLY get through the time your child spends in a spica cast.

In light of that fact, I thought I would post some of my tips and some advise in case anyone should ever find this blog as a result of them researching spica cast survival as well so first things first : what is a spica cast?  This pretty much says it better than I ever could.  Cliff and I also found this link to be very helpful.

That said there are some things that these links don’t tell you.  Hopefully my post here can better prepare you for the reality of living with a hip spica.

GENERAL TIPS

  • That cast is heavy.  Bend knee’s when lifting your child cos you will do serious damage to your back if you don’t.  You carry your child A LOT when they’re in a spica.  You need to take care of your body whilst doing it.
  • The spica can have some “rough” edges that can chaff and rub into your child’s skin.  Check for chafing sores DAILY.  The quicker you treat them the better.  We padded the chafing area’s with maternity pads or neck brace padding.  The one spot we didn’t’ think would chafe was the bottom of the cast on the back – just above the bum opening.  K got quite bad sores there.  We used a combination of bed sore cream called “miracle ointment” and bee’s wax to treat his sores which worked really well once we’d discovered them.
  • Check if your child can still be put into this car chair/booster seat so you can get around and OUT THE HOUSE.  We waited WAY too long to do this and nearly drove ourselves crazy with cabin fever.
  • Old items that you’d packed away (like your pram) suddenly become life savers – that cast is HEAVY – not having to carry your child around becomes a really, really GOOD thing.  Dig those items out of storage.

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SLEEP TIPS

  • Your kid is going to be uncomfortable.  Their sleep will be disrupted.  This is a FACT.
  • Try prop pillows under and around your child to help them be as comfortable as possible.

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  • If baby/child is edgy during sleep it could be due to cramp – gently massage the foot and rotate the ankles round – this helped with K quite a bit
  • Don’t be scared to let your child roll around and change sleeping position.  Lying in one spot all night is HORRID for them and the cast starts cutting into them.
  • Take turns being the one who sleeps with/near to the child.  Both of you don’t need to be tired.  (This can be difficult to do if the child gets attached to only one of you as happened with us – K would not allow Cliff near him most of the time but try to get this right, it really helps!)
  • USE the medication you are given every 4 – 5 hours if you have to.  I promise your child will not get addicted and the relief it gives EVERYONE is HUGE.

ENTERTAINMENT TIPS

  • Get out the house as much as you can.  Cabin fever mixed with sleep deprivation is not a good combination.
  • We used a table and chair set we had a lot so do stuff like drawing, puzzles, sticker books, magic colour pages etc.  Find something you have at home that you can use to prop your child up with to do activities on.

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  • Don’t be scared to put your child on the floor to figure out how to move on his/her own.  Again this is something we waited too long to do – doing it earlier would’ve saved us many a grey hair!
  • Use stuff like lego and money boxes with money to keep your child occupied.  Lego and money boxes were a GREAT source of entertainment for Kade.

CAST CLEANLINESS & MAINTENANCE

  • Keeping the cast clean is IMPOSSIBLE.  Really.  Don’t even try.  Just try keep the edges as neat and padded as you can.  Also try keep it as dry as you can as this helps prevent chafing.
  • Kade had a REALLY runny tummy so his cast was “christened” really early.  Don’t stress about it.  Clean it as best you can and I promise you will learn to live with the smell that the cast gets.  It is never as bad as you think it is.  Cliff and I always apologised to visitors and family who never even noticed the smell…
  • We padded the following area’s to try keep K as comfy as we could:
  1. around the legs
  2. the top of the cast along his back
  3. the bottom of the cast along his bottom
  • This Mom had a fantastic idea to keep smells at bay.  I didn’t personally use them but the vanilla essence trick helps.

Most of all I think I can say just keep focusing on the end goal.  It seems like that cast will NEVER come off and it does eventually.  Take it one day at a time and you WILL get through it.

Oh.  Keep your sense of humour handy too.  Cos humour keeps you sane.  Well mostly.

My tough little dude…

So life has been speeding past at breakneck speed and we’re now already nearly 2 weeks post spica cast removal. 

Getting through the 3 weeks of the spica cast was not easy.  In fact it was hell.  There was so much happening all at once that there were a few moments when I just cracked.  It was not always pretty.  But we found ways to deal with the situation and managed to cope and survive it all relatively sane.  I will do a post soon on how to survive the spica cast days, in case someone ever finds this blog and needs some help as we did, but today I want to focus on how amazing my little boy is.

When the cast was first fitted we were told that once it came off, that little people “get on with it very quickly” and “don’t need much help” so I guess I was expecting him to do just that and get up and walk very soon once the cast came off.  The reality is actually very different to what you expect and build up in your head.  I think part of the process is that you are so damn focused on getting to the point of having the cast removed that you forget that there is still work to do once the blimming thing comes off.

Last pic of K in his spica - about 5 mins before removal

Last pic of K in his spica – about 5 mins before removal

There were two things that I was not prepared for.  How LIGHT my boy would be after the removal (one gets used to lugging close to 23kg’s around all day) and how THIN he was.  I expected his legs to be thinner but I was really shocked to see how his total body mass had deteriorated in those 3 weeks.

Skinny body

skinny body

That said my little warrior would put slight pressure on his leg when you would make him stand from about an hour after spica removal and was sitting on his own beautifully.  I had read (God bless Google) that often children coming out of spica cast’s need to regain muscle strength to sit on their own and would need support but thankfully Kade was fine immediately in that department.

Off we went home where it was heaven to BATH him properly for the first time in 3 weeks.  His chafing sores had healed well under the cast from the bed sore cream we had been using and his chafing on his legs was not as severe as I had seen in my research.  It took 2 days for my warrior to find the confidence to stand supporting himself on the coffee table and was soon rolling around on the floor like a monkey.  But still not ready to put pressure on that leg or to even attempt to walk.

Standing for the first time sans spica cast

Standing for the first time sans spica cast

I am happy to say that with each passing day this little dude has managed to surprise and impress me with his tenacity.  From figuring out how to leopard bum shuffle to get around to pulling himself up to walking tentatively whilst holding our hands to slowly, slowly walking on his own.  He is pretty much walking on his own now.  He still has balance wobblies every now and then and sometimes has a slight limp when he walks (mostly when Mom or Dad are watching) but we are so very proud with how well our son has dealt with his recovery. 

His smile makes the whole ordeal worth it.  The pride we feel when we can see how proud he is that he’s doing something “big” again is just amazing.

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Tomorrow we see our orthopedic surgeon for a follow up appointment to ensure that Kade’s progress is where it should be after spica removal and we will be told whether he needs any physio. 

It’s funny you know, with all that life has thrown at me of late, my tough little dude has taught me that with a smile and a good heart, anything can be overcome.  Whether it be a broken femur or a broken heart, life goes on and we just need to tackle it with as much joy and fervour as we can muster. 

It won’t always be fun and easy (I’ve only posted the good pics, there are many with moany faces) but it’s worth it in the end…

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Pottery, Willow and Leather…

Traditionally I should be presenting you with something made out of pottery or willow.  As a modern wife I should present you with something leather.  Traditionally I suck.  Modernistically I suck too.  Cos honestly life has knocked the stuffing out of me in the last 6 weeks and between trying to balance work and home life and helping our son recover from his broken leg, honestly our ninth wedding anniversary has been the LAST thing on my mind.

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I mean I knew it was coming up.  I know we’ve been hitched for nine whole years.  It’s just that it seems like such a non milestone kinda number doesn’t it?   It doesn’t have the double didgit flash of ten years and lets be frank a pottery gift sounds kinda sucky to me.  I guess I’ll have to just try my best to tell you with my words how much the last nine years have meant to me.  Cos they have meant a hell of a lot.

Way more than a pottery mug could ever convey.

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I am blessed to have a man who stands by my side through not only the good times, but the bad as well.  Good times are easy.  Bad times?  Not so much… the bad times take a lot of work and effort and you have out in the effort, put in the work and have got through plenty bad times with me… our battle with infertility, lost friendships, the death of my father, our son’s recent injury and most recently the loss of our little Stowaway…

Yes, we have our moments where we want to kill each other cos we’re both too stubborn to give in, but I know that above all I have a partner who stands WITH me when the going gets tough.  A partner who compliments my weaknesses with his strengths.  A partner who challenges me, stimulates me and a partner who tackles this thing called life with me.

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Thank you for helping me get the best thing that has ever happened in my life.  Thank you for being brave enough to not give up on our dream of parenthood.  Thank you for being such a great father to that gift.  For stepping in when my mind is close to shattering cos he’s being so demanding of my time.  For helping to clean up those emotional vomits even though you are gagging through it all.  For teaching him how to respect and love his mommy.  For laughing with him.  For monkeying around with him.  You are a way better father than I ever imagine you would be – and I have to say I always imagined you to be a pretty damn good Dad…

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Babe.  You are a true blessing in my life.  I know I should say it more.  Show it more.  Not allow life to get in the way of me showing you every day that you are so very precious to me.  I will try do my job in that department better from now on.  So let me start right now.  I am privileged to be your wife.  Thank you for being desperate enough to choose me to share your life.

The last nine years have been a ride.  A wild, crazy, wonderful ride.

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I cannot wait to see what the next  nine hold for us… Happy 9th Anniversary.

I love you more than that.

xxx

Stowaway…

You know it’s funny how life goes on while you’re making plans.

We had hoped that having a live birth I would be “cured” of my PCOS and that a conception would take place naturally for us when the time came for a sibling for Kade.  Well after nearly two years of non protective sex we decided that we would make plans to go and see our fertility specialist when we got back from our Plett holiday.

Stephan was pleased to see the weight loss and felt it boded well for a future conception.  We talked about plans for the future and how we were to proceed.  He did a scan, everything looked good and he confirmed that he saw a corpeus luteum cyst on my left ovary and that the lining was nicely progestonised indicating an ovulation of my own at some point.  Then he found what looked like an endometrioma on my right ovary and the plan was to go do my blood work, and wait for my period to start so we could scan again on day 2 to check if the suspected endometrioma was still there or not.  In its absence I would have an office hysteroscopy to ensure uteran readiness for pregnancy and if it was still there I would need to book a laparoscopy.  Once my period started I would go on the pill to prepare myself for our future IVF.

Well imagine my surprise when after a business trip to the mother city which involved hectic gastro and feeling incredibly tired and off colour for a week or so when a thought popped into my head.  A thought so unthinkable that it actually made me laugh out loud at myself.  My period was still missing in action but that is not unusual – me of 157 day cycles.  The thought that popped into my head was that maybe… just maybe I might be pregnant.  So I did what any self-respecting infertile does.  I went and bought a pee stick and peed on it.  I really don’t know what I was thinking, but I do know I wasn’t expecting to see this:

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And then this:

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I called Cliff and told him that I thought I was pregnant and his reaction was classic.  “How??”

We were elated and so very happy shocked.  I mean what are the chances of lightning striking?  The irony of the situation was not lost on me either.  I was THAT girl.  The one that I had disliked most intensely on my infertility journey.  You know the one.  The one who went on HOLIDAY and RELAXED and fell pregnant.

I immediately rushed out for a beta and it came back beautifully – 2285.  I emailed Stephan who congratulated me and told me to see my gynae for my 8 week appointment.

We lived in a cloud of happiness and told our families that we had been given an amazing little gift.  A stowaway from our time in Plett.  Then Kade broke his leg. It was a time of super stress.  Everyone kept telling me to take care of myself and the miracle growing inside me.  I figured that all was fine with the baby on the inside, I was feeling and having that first trimester tiredness and the fact was that my baby on the outside needed me more.  He had to be my focus.  Still I believed that this pregnancy would be just fine.  That our Stowaway was growing as it should.

Time came for our first scan.  We were excited and so chuffed to have dodged the IVF bullet.

U know what happens when you’re on cloud 9 right?  When you fall off that cloud you fall damn hard.  There was no heartbeat at that scan.  A fetus and a yolk sac but no heartbeat.  I think a part of me knew at that moment it was all over.  That our little Stowaway was not meant to be.  Our doctor told us to go through the Easter weekend and to have a beta done on the Monday and again on the following Wednesday and to rescan a week later in case we had our dates wrong and it was just too early to have seen that little beating heart.

There was no way I was waiting an entire Easter weekend to know what I already knew in my heart of hearts.  I did a beta on the Thursday – 32 954 – perfectly in range for a 6 week pregnancy.  I breathed a sigh of relief but did not allow myself to believe that it was going to be ok.  The next beta on Saturday showed me in stark black and white what my heart and body already knew.   The numbers dropped.   30 500.  The death knoll of hope.  Fucking 30 500.

Having your gynae away for a long weekend when all you want is a scan to confirm what the numbers, your body and heart are already telling is a special kind of torture.  Having your niece tell you that she still has hope and will pray that God saves your miracle baby is a special kind of hell.

I went in on Wednesday for an emergency scan to have the miscarriage confirmed.  I was admitted straight away for a d&c.  I lay in that hospital bed cramping and bleeding from the medication that was given to soften my cervix to make the evacuation easier and felt completely numb.  Cliff needed to be at home to care for our injured son.  I have never felt so alone in my life.

Its been two days since Stowaway was scraped from my womb.  I feel all manner of things.  I’m heartbroken, pissed off, confused, upset, sad, stupid… the list goes on and on.  I know I’ll never understand why Stowaway could not go all the way.  I’ll never understand why I was allowed to fall in love with the idea of being a family of four.  I’ll never understand why we had to say goodbye.

What I will say is that for a short time Stowaway made me believe that things could be different for us.  Stowaway gave me a glimpse of what could be.  And honestly, whilst I am supremely pissed off right now, I do cling to the fact that God is faithful.  That He loves me and that He only wants what is best for me.  I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but I know this is true.

Our little Stowaway, our ray of hope and sunshine, you are missed.  I will always wonder what you could have become.  I will always love you.

Thank you for being mine even if it was for such a short time.