Saturday, September 19, 2015

How I Got Started on This Path - Part 1

From here
I grew up like most of us did. We ate colored cereal, drank chocolate milk, and had school lunches served on little plastic trays 5 days a week. Food was just something we put in our mouths, utensils, cooking items, and household cleaners were just tools to use in our home and our world. We didn't think about it. In fact, the stronger the scent or brighter the color, the more we wanted it and used it.

I don't blame my Mom, grandparents, or anyone else for this. They didn't know. They just lived life with the things they had in the stores and thought very little about it. I know I did for a long time. They also had it a lot harder than I did because they had no internet and far fewer choices during that time. No one was out there asking, "what if".

And this is how I was living, that is until we heard we would be having our first baby. It all started innocently enough. I was online researching and learned about cloth diapers. My first response was "yuck, why would you ever deal with that". Then I saw one and it was, quite honestly, adorable. I started to look into them and discovered they were a huge money saver. I knew my husband would think I was nuts, but when I approached him with the words "will save us a lot of money", he was on board.

We rocked on with our oh so hippie cloth diapers (yeah, they were very much not hippie, but I was feeling quite tree huggerish) for about 2 years and had another baby. When we learned we would become parents again, something happened. Right about the same time we got the news, our older son had his 2 year old well child visit. We got such a glowing report. He was doing great. He was meeting all his milestones, developing wonderfully, advanced on his speech, growing like a weed, and had a smile that lit up a room. A few hours later that all changed.

We went home, I called Daddy to tell him how wonderful his big boy was doing, put our son down for a nap, and, when he woke up, something was wrong. He had gone from a speaking, laughing, happy toddler to a child who wasn't speaking. He started to do odd things like run for hours and hours a day. He would only stop when his body physically ran into something that made him stop (doors, walls, large furniture, etc). He would bang his head, run into windows so hard we put baby gates up afraid he would pop them out of their frames or break the glass, and wasn't speaking still. We were scared.

We took him to the doctor and he told us this was normal, he was upset about our new baby coming. I told the doctor, in utter confusion, "he doesn't know about the baby. I am not showing, we haven't bought anything for the new baby yet, we haven't told him, he has no clue." He smiled that "oh, you poor deluded woman" smile and told me it would go away soon.

It didn't.

That was life. I was pregnant, I had a toddler that had something wrong with him, and no one was helping me figure this out. I was tired, sad, and scared. My husband was tired, sad, and scared.

My pregnancy wasn't easy either. Our growing baby boy wasn't moving. I don't mean he only moved when I drank juice, ate sugar, or laid on my side. I mean he wasn't moving. We had scans, tests, and more. He was growing fine (in fact, like his big brother, growing like a weed), but he was not moving from the position he was in, ever. But, eventually he was born a nice big healthy boy and we couldn't wait to go home with our new bigger family. Day 2 of life changed everything for him. He went from sleeping awesomely, nursing like a pro, and just being a baby to screaming all the time and never sleeping. Our LLC said that coming to our room to help us with nursing was like a 30 minute break for her because he just knew what to do and did it well. She walked in right after he came back from the nursery that fateful day and was confused. She asked what had happened. We didn't know. We never did get him to nurse much after that. No matter what she tried, what we tried, what breastfeeding advocates tried, he was just screaming, unable to nurse, and rarely slept. I kid you not on the sleep. It would take us a good hour of work (hard work) to get him to finally pass out and, then, he would sleep for 30 minutes before waking up screaming again. He was refluxing like mad, spitting up his bottles everywhere. Because life was exhausting with all of this, I moved to disposable diapers and the most horrible rashes started. His skin would break down it so badly it looked like someone had used a potato peeler on his bum. Then, that would become infected with various things and we would be at the doctor begging for help. They had us change everything from soap, to kinds of diapers, to everything. None of it worked.

Finally, in desperation, I pulled out his cloth diapers, changed pediatricians, and asked her to help me heal his bottom. She knew what it was and was able to heal his sores. The cloth diapers took care of them ever coming back. Oh, he still wasn't sleeping, was crying all the time, and refluxed every meal, but at least his rear end could be touched to change a diaper, water could touch it without his screaming, and pressure could be put on it while he was held.

I will leave this story here and continue with part 2 in the next post.


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