Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Baby Girls – Part 2

8 Years of Twins

My girls were born on a Saturday. Shannon and I came home on Tuesday. It was hard to leave Fiona by herself, but once Shannon was discharged, I couldn't keep her there with me while we waited for Fiona. They wouldn't let me. Luckily, it was only one more day for Fiona. We got her the next day.

The first week home was crazy. I was trying to breastfeed, but my milk hadn't come in yet, so we were supplementing with formula. I was also pumping to help the milk come in. It was a pain. I would breast feed, the bottle feed, and then pump. Then the process would start again. I couldn't keep up. It was decided that we would just use formula. To this day, I wish I could have continued. I don't beat myself up over it like I used, but I still wish I could have.

Five weeks after the girls were born, I went back to work. I was out of vacation time and we needed the money. That only lasted until the end of May. Daycare costs were just too much. I was working to pay daycare, which was just pointless.

There were some good times and rough times in there. I was lucky with the night time feedings. I was told that they would probably be on different schedules at first. Well they were, but it wasn't a bad one. One would wake up, I would change her and feed her. Just about the time I was done with the first, the second would wake. After changing and feeding that one, I would get 3 solid hours of sleep.

On Easter morning, Shannon had slept through the night. On Mother's Day, Fiona had. The best way to have my first Mother's Day.

The rough part was when Fiona developed a hemangioma. This was placed in a difficult place; right between her nose and mouth. This made eating painful for her. She lost a bit of weight. She also could no longer use her pacifier. That was hard. We went to see a specialist at Seattle Children's Hospital. Dr. Gruss was wonderful. He took a look at Fiona and told us our options. The first was steroids. This would, hopefully shrink the thing to the point of not being painful. The second was plastic surgery to remove it completely. Unfortunately, both of these options would have to wait. Fiona was too young and little for the steroids. He was worried about it causing harm. As for the surgery, the hemangioma was too big. They don't like to take more than half of lip and it took up at ¾ of her tiny mouth.

So we waited. The hardest month so far. We used Vaseline to help keep it soft so she could at least eat. When we went back, it looked so much better that it was decided to wait and see if it would shrink on it's own. Probably one of the hardest decisions I've had to make. I knew it was the right one, but I wanted it gone. It had already cause enough pain for my little one; I didn't want it causing more. It is now just scar tissue. Much smaller and not interfering with anything.

At the end of September, we had another scare. That day, Shannon was extremely cranky. By the afternoon, she was running a fever. I got out the thermometer and stuck it under her arm. By the time it got to 104, I took it out and called the doctor. No one should run a fever that high, but especially not a 9 month old baby.

At the doctor's office, everything was checked. Her throat, ears, belly, everything. Nothing was coming up. Then the doctor told me she might have a UTI. To test for that required a catheter. That was the hardest thing to have to watch. When the test came back positive, we were immediately admitted to the hospital. Once there, poor Shannon had to have an iv. I was in tears! My poor little girl was being tortured and there was nothing I could do about it.

The next four days were a blur. I remember sleeping fitfully. Between poor Shannon being very uncomfortable and the nurses checking on her, I was up constantly. During the day, she had ultrasounds and more blood tests. On the last day, before we could leave, we had to have VCUG. This was because a 9 month old should not have a UTI. Basically, they had to take x-rays while filling her little bladder up with contrast to see what would happen. Another catheter, and much pain and confusion for my little girl. It was confirmed that she had Stage 2 Urinary Reflux.

We were referred to a specialist. I was scared. Everything I had read so far said that surgery would be needed. Once again, however, we dodged the bullet on that one. Dr. Starr said that it wasn't bad enough to require surgery. I just had to give Shannon a prophylactic to keep the UTIs away. This meant she would take an antibiotic once a day for an indeterminate amount of time. As much as I didn't like that idea, surgery was scarier. By June 2007, we were able to take her off of it. Before she was potty trained, we dealt with a few more infections. Since the completion of potty training, we have had only one.

In the winter of 2007, both girls got the flu for the first time. The next day, Fiona was doing so much worse that I took her in to ER. A chest x-ray later, it was determined that she had pneumonia. You can bet I've done everything I can to keep her from getting the flu again.

In the summer of 2009, Fiona got strep throat. Now, her tonsils were big anyway. This caused them to swell so much that they were almost touching. Two weeks later, they still hadn't gone down. Her pediatrician made me wait four more weeks to see if they would shrink. When they didn't, we were referred to a specialist. They were huge. He decided they needed to come out. Up until this point, Fiona hadn't done much in the way of talking. One week after her surgery, I was ready for them to go back in. She was talking almost as much as Shannon! That saying of "only being quiet while sleeping", doesn't apply to Shannon; she talks in her sleep, too.

We have been through 2 cross country moves. The first one was hard. The girls and I went by Greyhound one month before their dad. That was a very rough 36 hours. Me with 2 toddlers on a bus. By the end we were both tired, cranky, and so done with being there. The second one was a bit easier. We actually drove this time. That meant we got to stretch our legs a bit. We also got to sleep in beds instead of on the bus. However, it also took longer. By the end of the trip, Shannon was throwing things at me. She was done and wanted out!

There have been some other changes since the move back. Travis and I divorced. This was hardest on Fiona. She has had some anger issues. I finally decided it was time to seek counseling. She was unofficially diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It was unofficial because the counselor didn't want to put that label on someone so young. We have been working with a counselor for awhile now and she has gotten so much better.

In the fall of 2010, Fiona had an accident at daycare. She and another little girl collided. Fiona being the smaller one, “bounced”. She had two black eyes by the end of the day, but otherwise was fine. Three days later, she woke up in the middle of the night, screaming that her head hurt! I gave her some Tylenol, hoping that would help. It did. She went back to sleep. Four hours later, however, she was screaming again. It was time for a trip to the ER. The doctor said that a concussion wasn't likely, but he wanted to do a quick CT scan, just in case. When he came back to our room, he said he had good news and a reason. The good news was that there was no concussion. The reason? Somehow, the accident had jarred Fiona's sinus cavities. This had caused a blockage which centered in the middle of her forehead. Basically, she had an injury induced sinus infection.

In April of 2011, I met a wonderful man. Ted has been my rock these last almost 3 years. He also came with 2 daughters of his own. Leora is a year and a half older than my girls and Abby is 4 months younger. What a crazy family we are!

Shannon has been my accident prone child. In the fall of 2011, she had a fall at daycare. She was climbing the steps to some play equipment, stepped on her shoe lace, and bit almost through her lip. We took her in to ER and she got three stitches. She calls them cat whiskers, since that is what the doctor told her they would feel like. She was a champ. She never moved while they were stitching her up.

The next fall, Shannon had another accident. This time, it was at home. All four girls were playing “Avoid the Lava” in the bedroom. This entailed hanging off the side of the bunk beds. Shannon proceeded to lose her balance, fall backwards, and land on her elbow. I got a call at work from Ted as she wouldn't straighten her arm and it was paining her greatly. I took her in for x-rays, which came back inconclusive. They couldn't see any break, but there was fluid around the joint. We decided to treat it as a break. She got a bright pink cast. When it came off 3 weeks later, a second x-ray was done. The break was confirmed by the bone growth that had happened over the break.

During the summer of 2013, Shannon had yet another bout of strep throat. I had had enough! I asked for a referral to an ENT. While her tonsils weren't huge, they were big. Considering her history of infections, we decided to take them out. Turns out it was a good thing. They took her adenoids out, too, as they often do with children. Her's were so big that they wore the doctor's instrument out! The recovery was rough. It was so much easier with Fiona. She had bounced back after just a couple of days. Shannon ate next to nothing for the next two weeks. Getting her to take her medicine was a fight every time. We finally told her she wasn't allowed to complain about the pain if she wouldn't take it. When the medicine was in her and working, she was almost her normal, bubbly self. When the medicine wore off, she was cranky, whiny, and clingy. That is not normal for her. I was so very glad when we got past all of that.

Back in December of 2013, I had both of my girls tested for ADHD. I had suspicions before and after reading the symptoms, decided it was time. While Fiona only showed symptoms at home, Shannon showed them at school as well. We haven't done medication yet since she is still doing very well in school. I didn't see the need for it yet. Her teacher has since told me that she has become a lot more distracted since Christmas, so it may be time to visit that option again.

During all of this, I was dealing with worsening migraines. In September of 2013, it was decided that I need to quit my job since I was missing more than I was working. We moved in with Ted's dad to help with expenses. As hard as it has been, I am glad we moved. The school here is very small. To give you an idea how small, the girls are in a 2nd and 3rd grade combined class and there are still only 12 students. The girls are doing very well in school. Shannon has gotten the extra challenge that she needs and Fiona has gotten the very firm pushing that she needs.

As you can see, the last 8 years have been very eventful. Today is their birthday. It's crazy to think how much they have grown. Fiona is going to be tall, I think. She almost reaches my shoulders already. She loves fashion and is obsessed with shoes. Shannon is about two inches shorter than Fiona, but still on the tall side for her age. She is curious about everything and will eat almost anything.

I love my baby girls with everything I am. I am so blessed to have them in my life. With all the ups and downs we've had, I wouldn't trade any of it.

Happy Birthday, Fiona!
Happy Birthday, Shannon!


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