Category Archives: health

where else would i celebrate poop?

Because fecal discourse has taken up residence on this blog since Baby Genius’ early months, I feel that I should provide an update on the happenings in my son’s diapers. I hope it’s one of the last of this sort.

Yesterday, for the first time since Baby Genius was born, he pooped just once. One time. It was shocking.

One of the symptoms of BG’s allergies have been these really frequent bowel movements, and he’s had them usually 5-8 times a day. When all of the books told us he would start having fewer, that he might even develop constipation, J and I looked at each other confused because the frequency never changed for our son. And constipation? That seemed like it would be a godsend. It turns out that for BG, constipation means going a mere 3-4 times in a day.

It seems, though, that our boy’s digestive system is finally maturing. I attribute this in part to normal development and in part to those expensive enzymes I’ve been taking. I was able to get about seven weeks worth of the pancreatic enzymes covered on my postpartum insurance (which I didn’t know I had this long) before the insurance gave me the boot. Because the doctor prescribed 300 pills a month, and I was to take two at each meal, this has been an ample supply so far. In an effort to conserve the pills, I only take them when I am eating foods that are potentially allergenic (i.e. dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, fish, nuts). When I’m eating “clean,” I don’t take them at all. This seems to work very well, especially because I have eliminated most dairy again. I did this because the enzymes weren’t helping at all with things like cow’s milk cheese. On the other hand, yogurt and kefir seem to be okay, even without the enzymes thanks to the wonders of probiotics.

Since the implementation of this new system, Baby Genius has had no flare-ups. None. It’s remarkable. In fact, there have been a few days when I failed to take the enzymes much at all, and we saw no flare-ups then either. What I’m saying is that I think–and I may be wrong–that we may be coming to the end of this chapter. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to be writing that, but this has been a long and frustrating road.

And now, as a reward for hanging in there through the poop talk, I present to you a couple of doses of cute:


Filed under Baby Genius, health

we’ll take door #2

We had our exciting visit to the big children’s hospital in yesterday. We arrived a little early after getting only a little bit lost. I had sniped at my mom, the navigator, a couple of times, and J and I were snappy with one another. I think we were all a bit nervous.

Upon entering the outpatient building we were positively mesmerized by how gorgeous this place was. In the huge lobby, there was a jungle play area with enormous paper mache palm trees. There were huge butterflies and suns and such hanging from the ceiling. There was natural light everywhere. It was magical-looking, even a bit serene.

Three different lovely people helped us find our way to the gastroenterology area. We soon checked in, and before I could get BG’s birthdate down on the forms, we were called back. I filled out forms while J took him to get his vitals (he’s 18 pounds 3 oz. now and 27 inches tall!), and then we sat in the exam room while I nursed him. For our first visit, we were to see a nurse practitioner who would complete a full physical. I guess this was to determine which doctor he would then need to see. We weren’t really prepared to come back, and I honestly didn’t expect to get much out of this except for a mandate for further appointments and tests, which we had planned to ignore.

I’m so glad I was wrong.

A woman peaked into our room while we were waiting and said, “Oops. Wrong room, ” and left. We thought nothing of it and continued to wait, singing to BG to drown out the crying of a child in the room next door. Soon there was a knock at the door, and in came the same woman, whom I assumed was our nurse practitioner. She was in her mid- fifties with razor-cut blonde hair just past her chin. She was wearing a long, likely-handmade funky dress and she wore a small olive canvas bag across her.

She introduced herself to me: “I’m the doctor. I stole you from my nurse. You must be the mom.”

“One of them. I’m the birth mom. She’s his other mom,” I said, referring to J.

“Oh, okay,” she replied, as though we had told her BG’s eyes are blue. She jotted down a note, and then said emphatically, “This baby is the picture of health. He’s fine. But let’s talk about this. What brings you here today?” We told her about the blood and the mucous, about my partial elimination diet. She wrote down her notes, and said, “We see this a lot, and while it’s possible to do a biopsy on his digestive tract to make sure it’s really an allergy, we don’t need to. There’s also hypoallergenic formula. But in my experience, those options aren’t necessary. Unless you’re interested in those measures, let’s talk about some other things we can do.”

Immediately she dismissed the two options we didn’t want to hear about. We were, of course, delighted to hear that we didn’t need to do any invasive tests, that I wasn’t going to be asked to stop breastfeeding (because I wouldn’t). She did tell us the other ailments this could be, but she also explained why she was ruling those out. She also informed us that there are no allergy tests–no blood tests or skin tests–that can be done at this point for food sensitivities of this nature. With all of this information under our hats, she gave us our options for treatment:

1. I could continue with an elimination diet, but I would have to eliminate all the big potential allergens: dairy, soy, eggs, fish, nuts, and wheat.

2. She could prescribe for me pancreatic enzymes to take when I eat. These are meant to break down the proteins of all of the potential allergens when I consume them so that when they pass into the breastmilk, they’re much easier for BG to digest.

3. Do nothing and wait for him to outgrow it.

She really encouraged us to try the enzymes, noting that the true elimination diet doesn’t leave much for me to eat and that it might still not work. We both loved the idea that I might be able to eat what I want and help our baby get better, so we took her up on the offer for a prescription, and I’m filling it today.

Before she left, she told us she didn’t need to see us again but that we could email with any questions. We may have another visit if this hasn’t resolved within his first year, but otherwise, Baby Genius has been declared a perfectly healthy baby who happens to have bloody stools. We walked out of that office feeling so cared for, so much lighter, so relieved that we can move on and put this behind us.

Today I am having cream in my coffee for the first time in months. It’s so very good. So good.

Tomorrow is our baby’s six month birthday. Half a year this boy has been with us. He will be eating avocado for the first time because avocado is the food of the gods, and what better food  than the food of the gods for celebrating one’s half birthday?

P.S.  The diapering post is in the works–expect it by early next week.


Filed under Baby Genius, health, health care


Our boy’s diaper issues continue. I have sworn off dairy in all its forms, and the problem continued; however, I had replaced said dairy with a good deal of soy. When at my parents’ house, I didn’t consume any soy products, and miraculously, our son started to have some normal diapers for the first time in what seems like eons. Once I came home and was back on the soy, however, the blood and off consistency came back.

BG’s doctor called yesterday to let us know that all of his tests came back normal. Blood is normal; stool is normal. He thinks I should keep up the nondairy diet, and once I told him about the soy matter, he agreed that I ought to cut that out too. We’ll see in a few days if this makes any difference. He won’t go back to the doctor until his four month checkup, and at that time, if we don’t see any improvement, the doctor is sending our Baby Genius to a pediatric gastroenterologist.

Honestly, I’m willing to eliminate whatever it takes, although I know that in some rare cases, even that doesn’t help. In all honesty, I never imagined that I would one day be so obsessed with the color and consistency of diaper substances. Normal poop is suddenly the holy grail, and I feel very much initiated into motherhood.


Filed under Baby Genius, health

we made it

We are home, and we survived. Baby Genius experienced more family than he knew what to do with, and we’re all suffering from over-stimulation. It all went fairly well–as well as a crazy family holiday can–but we’re so, so happy to be home. When we walked in, our boy was immediately smiley, and when we took him into his room for a change, and he finally saw his elephants again, the boy was positively elated. Despite the exhaustion we’re all feeling, I am left with a lovely image of my 88-year-old grandmother–BG’s great-grandma–holding the baby in front of her as he babbled, cooed, smiled, and eventually giggled at her. She was overcome with joy and I was very proud of my son for giving her such a gift.


When we took BG to the doctor on Wednesday, they still didn’t have test results, so we’re still waiting to find out if he has any sort of infection.  He still has the occasional bit of blood in his stools, which is continuing to freak us out. Other than needing to recover from the trip, he doesn’t necessarily seem ill or in pain, so we just don’t know what to think. It’s not just the blood though. The boy’s poo is dark green and mucusy, and it’s frankly rather freaky. Again, he doesn’t seem uncomfortable, but the stuff just doesn’t look right. BG’s doctor is in tomorrow, so we’re hoping to hear some results then. He did assure us Wednesday that BG is otherwise doing very well, and  while he wants to determine the origins of this, he is also fairly reassuring thus far. I will certainly update here on the matter when we know anything.


This week has marked some great advancements for our Baby Genius. He has started to grab things. He has this great firefly by Lamaze, and it has crinkly wings. Today he was hitting the wings for awhile, and then he grabbed the whole thing and held it against his face. It has all kinds of textures, so he kept rubbing his face and hands over the different textures. It was such a remarkable sight to see! This is such a simple thing, but our son is becoming so much more present in the world. He interacts more with objects and with us. Also today, he noticed for the first time one of our cats. He followed her with his eyes as she walked the length of the back of the sofa and sat down again. I have a feeling we’re heading into some fun times.

I’ll write something more coherent tomorrow, but with just three days left in NaBloPoMo, I simply couldn’t not post, even if I can write little more than gibberish.


Filed under Baby Genius, family, health

this and that: disjointed ramblings of a newlywed with PMS

First things first: There is a new baby in the world, born to the lovely ohchicken. Welcome to the world, Sparky, and congratulations, Moms!

Thank you so much for all of your congratulatory comments. J and I have been overwhelmed with pride as we have watched and read news story after news story about couples being married and communities celebrating with them. This has been a great moment to be a part of, and we feel really lucky.

For the past couple of days, we have been putting together a scrapbook, cutting out articles from the paper, and sending out announcements. This weekend we’re going to my parents’ house to celebrate with them. It’s quite possible the celebration will be interrupted by the birth of my niece. I certainly won’t complain if that’s the case.

Otherwise, there isn’t much going on with us. I’m looking for a new donor, but I’m increasingly convinced that we just need to save up for frozen sperm. I’m just so tired of trying to sort out weird men.

For now, I’m going to tackle tasks that I can actually do something about:

1. I’m trying to find a new hairstyle that will ease me through this really awkward transition from short to longer-short hair. It was just my luck that I had tons of photos taken and appeared on the front page of a moderately significant newspaper with the hair from hell. Ack.

2. I’m working to find my motivation to lose weight again. Yes, I know, I’ve got all the motivation in the world if I think of having a baby. Blah, blah, blah. I used that in the months leading up to our first insemination, and it worked out well. For some reason, that doesn’t work anymore though, and maybe this is because it’s becoming harder and harder to imagine a baby in our future. I was having a hell of a time even remembering to take prenatal vitamins for the past few months. Anyway, this is something I’ll be working at again, and I’ll write more about this life-long struggle when it’s not triggering some crazy, cranky PMS hormones.

3. I’m going to plan my class for the fall. This can be a fun task, especially with the break I’ve had from teaching and with the prospects of new students, new colleagues, and new experiences. I may actually be prepared when the fall semester begins. That would be impressive.

I’m sure there’s more, but I think I’m done jumping from topic to topic for now. I’m confusing myself–one minute I’m joyous, another I’m bitter. Oh how I hate my hormones, especially when there’s not a chance in hell that these “symptoms” have anything to do with pregnancy. Ugh.

But I don’t want to end on a negative note, damnit. I started off talking about new babies and weddings and wonderful readers, so I’ll end with one of my favorite photographs from this week. It appeared in the SF Chronicle:

And if you’re interested in seeing more photos–and there are lots of tear jerkers–take a look here. Don’t miss the wedding album on the right of that page. I guarantee wet eyes all around.

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Filed under celebrations, craftiness, dear readers, diversions, family, Hair, health, marriage, Ramblings, The Great Sperm Search, The Long Break