Monday, May 7, 2012

Best Baby Stuff....

If you are a big planner like me, you want to know in advance the things you will need the most to make a situation easier. I did a lot of blog reading before Keaton was born trying to see where I should spend or save money. The following is a list of items that have really come in handy so far while rearing our mini human...
1. The Boppy Lounger - this thing gets hands down the most use in our house. We place Keat in it sometimes for feedings, to nap in our bed so we don't squash him, and we take it on the patio or balcony to prop him up in a regular human sized chair. Love this never loses shape. Only complaint is that the cover is not removable and we all know how many bodily baby fluids can be excreted.
2. Graco Sound Machine - this specific sound machine is so awesome. It not only plays lullabys, classical tunes, white noise, womb noises, but it also has an ipod jack to play a personalized playlist or pandora off your cell phone. Love it. Oh, and it is a nightlight in a non annoying blue hue.
3. Aden and Anais swaddle blankets - got these as a gift. These are the perfect lightweight softness. Large so you can use to swaddle wrap your baby, or double up if baby is chilly. I use these every day during anytime, and in Keatons car seat to cover his casts.
4. Soothie Pacifiers - forget all the fancy ergonomics and oral stimulating Pacifiers. This is the one they give your newborn in the hospital. Made by Avent you can buy more at Target. This is the only pacifier Keaton LOVES so we stocked up early on.
5. Playtex Ventaire Bottles - we bought a ton of different bottles, but these are by far our favorites. Durable, awesome shape, and the venting system keeps Keaton less gassy. We tried Avents, Similac bottles, and these. These were hands down our favorite.
6. Swaddleme Swaddle wraps - a necessity if your baby likes to be swaddled. We ended up buying four of these and Keaton wears one every single night. So much easier with the velcro then crying to blanket wrap tightly at 3am.
7. Baby Einstein play mat - best activity mat on the market. Comes with so many entertaining add ons. keaton enjoys everyday and used for tummy time too.
8. Rock n Play Sleeper - this was a lifesaver for his first two weeks home. Kept him close at bedtime when we were doing the every two hour feeding nonsense. It also allowed us to get used to his nighttime noises and made the transition to his crib less painful. It's also very light and portable.

Aden and Anais Blankets


Graco Sound Machine

Rock n Play Sleeper

Boppy Lounger

Baby Einstein Play Mat

Playtex Ventaire Bottles

Mommyhood Madness

I have entered a whole new life. An occupation of sorts....a clique, a sorority, a dimension of unknown! The whole Mommyhood thing is still a work in progress. I still have moments at night when Keaton cries and I roll over and think in my head....jeez, whose baby is that? Shhh. Oh wait, that's my baby and he isn't going to be silenced unless I do something. It's still unfamiliar at times. Still overwhelming occasionally. Still a work in progress.
What I have found in talking to other mommy friends is that its kinda taboo to vocalize any weakness. That this should be viewed as a walk in the park to outsiders. I mean, we are women, we were made to be moms right? So this should all be a breeze, RIGHT?!?! well, I'm strong enough to admit it ain't easy. Far from it. We have mini humans to rear and we are accountable for their outcome. That's a pressure I have never felt before in my life. I have no one else to blame if my child turns out a demon, or if his first word is fuck, or if he thinks its hilarious to fart in public. Me! It's only my burden. Shit.
Anyway, I just never knew how this process was going to change me. I knew the minute it happened though. Keaton was whipped up on my chest on 7:36pm on February 29th...he crapped all over me and started screaming. I just stared at him in disbelief. Kinda the same way I do everyday when he pees on me or does something outlandish. My random leap year baby. Keaton likes to hoot when he's excited...not hiccup, not laugh, not grunt....its a hoot. Just like an owl. Our baby is very special. Those hoots never get old, and I know he will out grow those hoots soon, so I cherish them immensely.
Anyway, there he is....pooping all over the place and screaming. My life was changed forever. This was my new life, my new identity. I am now officially a mother. It would not be ling before I had to exert my new role. My identity and possessiveness for my mini human came quickly. The next day, a big burly nurse attempted to inform me that Keaton would not be discharged due to have jaundice. I could leave but my baby could not? Something snapped internally at the thought of being removed from my mini humans presence. I asked big burly nurse to step outside the hospital room to speak about the issue. Minus the details, we were discharged together that evening. Big burly understood that mama bear wasn't having it.
Days are rough sometimes, and I know this is all a work in progress. I just have to slow down sometimes and just enjoy the hoots. I know one day those hoots are going to be replaced with vocabulary, and I'm just not ready for that stage yet!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Clubfeet Treatment....

I was so afraid that Keaton's feet were going to scare me when he was born. It consumed my thoughts. Were they going to make him ugly? The answer is no....I hardly even noticed them when he was born! We had arranged for him to be seen by a highly recommended orthopedic in the area, Dr. Neustadt with All Children's hospital, just 5 days after his birth. Through our research, we determined that the sooner we began treating his clubfeet the better. Dr neustadt follows a treatment schedule called The Ponseti Method.  It is a series of casts done for approximately 6 to 8 weeks, and the cast is changed once weekly. At the end of those casting, there was a possibility that a surgery would be performed to lengthen the Achilles tendons. In Keatons situation we had to have surgery on both feet, followed by a cast for four weeks that did not get changed at all.
We got recasted every Tuesday for seven weeks. Each morning before the appointment with Dr Neustadt we would remove Keaton's casts at home. There would be some crying involved due to discomfort. Mom of course cried more than baby. Go figure!

This is the location that we decided to take Keaton to to be treated by Dr.Neustadt

And here is a link to our patient testimonial, at bottom of page

After Keaton's 6th cast, we were told by the doctor that there would need to be a surgery to ensure that Keaton's feet would not return to his original position. Even though after each casting we could tell an amazing difference in his feet, we could also tell that his heel was not falling into the correct position. Keaton had an achilles tendon release surgery on both feet on April 25th, 2012 at All Children's Hospital in St. Pete. It was successful, and we are now in the recovery phase. He has a final set of casts on his feet until May 22nd. At that time, we will have those casts removed and he will start wearing a set of boots with a brace. They will look something like this....
Ponseti boots and brace that Keaton will recieve at the end of May.

Here is Keaton at one of his appointments at Chortho....they have warm rags on his legs to loosen up the adhesive left from the previous weeks casts.
This is Keaton on his playmat during week four of you can see, these casts did not hinder his fun in the least.
This is Keatons left foot prior to being casted. Day four of life. Note the severe inturning of the foot.
This is Keatons left foot one day prior to surgery. Major change from the picture above!
Week two of casting
We nicknamed Keaton "Wooly Bear" on the days of recasting. After we removed his casts there was still some left over cotton each time. This was week six.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

And So We Begin...

I knew all along that I would eventually want to blog about all the changes occurring in my life, I just didn't know when to start, or how to start, or what to I guess I'm just going to put it all out there! The primary focus of this blog will be to talk about what we went through having our son, Keaton. 

Keaton was born on February 29th, 2012 and it was a fairly routine delivery. Prior to his arrival we were informed in our 12th week of pregnancy that Keaton would be born with what is called bilateral clubfeet. Hearing that news so early on we were both taken aback and did not know what to expect...I had never heard of clubfeet in my life and it sounded so scary. I cried my eyes out in that doctors office. I immediately envisioned my baby being deformed and in pain.We were reassured by our obgyn that it was actually a very common birth defect and that it was also very treatable. There were no clues as to what causes it and there was nothing we could do until he was born.

And so we waited...we did all the research we could to prepare for his arrival. We had a multitude of sonograms verifying his disorder, we prayed that it was a misdiagnosis, and we interviewed (interrogated) a number of doctors and orthopedics to be prepared for his treatment once he arrived.

What we found out about clubfeet was all very elusive...its an anomoly, there is no rhyme or reason to which baby gets it and which ones don't. It may be partially genetic. Your chances of having a second baby with clubfeet is higher if your first have it. Boys are born with it much more often than girls. I wanted to talk to other parents who have gone through this, but it was so hard to find any. This is why I am starting this blog....I know it will lead into other topics, but hopefully if a parent is searching for some guidance first hand from another mom they will come across this blog.

We decided collectively not to focus primarily on the clubfeet that Keaton was to be born with. We felt that sharing the news of the clubfeet made it more real, and that it would be focused upon more so than the excitement we wanted to feel about our baby coming. It was something that we kept to ourselves mainly, and quietly prepared for. I am so glad that we chose to do this. Your pregnancy needs to be a time of happiness and excitement, especially towards the end when you are feeling huge and anxious!

In the following posts, I will discuss Keaton's life with clubfeet and the decisions we made along the way for his treatment. I will also share pictures of his development and how we dealt with it all.