Fitz


Posted by Fitz

This morning, CNN announced that Robert G. Edwards won the Nobel Prize for medicine.   Dr. Edwards is known as the “father of the test tube baby”: he is credited for pioneering in vitro fertilization and delivering the first baby conceived through IVF on July 25, 1978.  He is credited for the birth of over four million babies, although it’s too difficult to measure the sheer happiness that he has brought to at least as many sets of parents.

My husband and I are one of those sets of parents whose lives have been so profoundly impacted by Dr. Edwards.  My two beautiful girls are just a tiny part of his life’s work, but they are a huge part of mine.  So on this special day, I congratulate Dr. Edwards and thank him for having the foresight, the perseverence, and the intelligence to make IVF a possibility for families like ours.  The Nobel Prize is well deserved.

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Posted by Fitz

At Sweet Pea’s 2-week well visit, her pediatrician noticed a tiny red pinprick over her right eyebrow.  “It’s probably nothing,” she said.  “Likely just an offshoot of the stork bite on her eye.  But we’ll keep an eye on it just in case.”

From that moment on, I kept my eye on it, all right.  It was impossible not to.  That miniscule little dot blossomed, angrily, into a small, violent red, veiny mountain of blood vessels clustered under Sweetie’s skin.  It is a hemangioma, and as another pediatrician so aptly noted, “unfortunately placed”.  They are different on every child, and you don’t really know how it will grow.

Everyone we spoke to and all of the research we did told us the same thing: unless the hemangioma is very, very close to the eye or infiltrating into other organs, there is no treatment.  They are birthmarks quite common in fair skinned babies, and they go away on their own…sometime between 2-7 years depending on the case.  I’ve seen them before in other kids, have watched them go away over time, and never in a million years thought they diminished a child’s beauty. 

But…as you all know, it’s different when the child is your own.  It’s different knowing it will go away, but seeing the fierce and volcanic-looking growth on your gorgeous child’s face – Sweetie’s was getting more prominent and protruding by the hour, it seemed.  It’s different when an average of 4.2 people ask you “What happened to the baby?” every single time you’re out and about with her.  It’s different wondering if it really will go away by age 2 or 3 or 7, or if your little girl will be the subject of cruel childhood taunts. 

Early on, we got to the point where we were resigned that there was nothing we could do, and stopped even seeing it when we looked at our happy, super content Sweetie.  She’s all blue eyes and gummy smiles to me, and I had made peace with the fact that we’d have to answer the same annoying question over and over to annoying strangers.  One day, though, something magical happened.

My pediatrician took another look at the hemangioma during Sweetie’s 2.5 month well visit, and recommended that we make an appointment with a specialist at Yale.  “He’s the god of hemangiomas,” she said.  “He might not be able to do anything, but at least you know you’ll have exhausted your options.”  It took awhile to get an appointment, understandably, but we found ourselves in his office late last week when he said the words that I didn’t dare to dream: “We can fix this.”

While the “no treatment is best” is really the rule for hemangiomas, our Sweet Pea’s was still in a major growth mode and beginning to stretch the skin – he was worried that, left untreated, she would need cosmetic surgery to fix it.  So he recommended a course of blood pressure medication that required a 24-hour sojurn at Yale New Haven Hospital and about 7-9 months of treatment.  We packed our bags, headed to the pediatric ward that evening, and spent the next day waiting to see how Sweetie tolerated the meds.  She charmed every last doctor, nurse, and orderly in the hospital, laughing through her exams and cooing when being observed.  The meds didn’t phase her, and lo and behold…we noticed a difference in the hemangioma after just one dose of the good stuff.  Now it’s three days later, and I’d say it is reduced by at least 30, if not 40 percent.  It’s going to go away completely…and much faster than we thought.

Now, I know that we were the luckiest people in that pediatrics ward – no one was sick, in danger, or threatened in any way.  I know that Sweets would be fine if we hadn’t found this treatment at all, and that the hemangioma would have gone away on it’s own.  But I didn’t know that this treatment existed (it has only been around for 2-3 years, and we are the 11th patient that the specialist has used it on).  So I share this with you all in case you know someone who is experiencing something similar, who might benefit from the same treatment that is helping my little girl. 

I would love my Sweets no matter what she looked like, and in fact have been madly in love with her since the second I knew she was on her way.  I would do anything for her, and will always strive to minimize anything that might cause her distress.  I’m thankful for the specialist and for a pediatrician who knows when to refer you to someone else – and am grateful for all of their help.

Posted by Fitz

In the words of the great Diana Ross (and of course, Beyonce), it’s just emotions taking me over.  I’m not completely caught up in sorrow with tears on my pillow, but I’m the equivalent of a teenager in a hormone crisis when it comes to my feelings right now.  After sixteen weeks (!!) of maternity leave, I’m headed back to work next week.

I have so many things running through my head.  First and foremost, how will my 3-month old Sweet Pea do in daycare?  I didn’t go back to work after having The Bean until her first birthday, so this is unchartered territory.  Will the teachers know how to soothe her?  Can they (please) regulate her nap schedule?  Will she still know how much I love her?  These questions course through my mind on an hourly basis.  I have a strong feeling – after visiting her class and spending time with the wonderful caregivers – that she’ll be fine.  So how will I do with it all?  That remains to be seen, but I’ve bought some waterproof mascara.  I’m positive I’ll need it.

My second biggest concern is about our routine.  We had it down pat when it was just our Bean in daycare, but now we’ll have two – and as luck would have it, the Bean’s new preschool-oriented class is in a different building a half mile away from Sweetie’s infant room.  There will be no easy way to drop them off and pick them up, and it will require leaving the house much earlier than before.  We’ll settle into some kind of pattern, I’m sure, but how long will it take?   My husband and I have resolved to MAKE SURE everything is 100% ready the night before and to not turn into The Bickersons, but we’ll see how it goes.

Third, I’m excited.  I’m heading back to a great team with a bigger role, and am really looking forward to having extended adult interaction again.  I did a brief conference call this week and was really into it – probably more than my colleagues expected/wanted.  It will be nice to get validation and see measurable results, bring home some bacon, and wear clothes that don’t include khaki shorts and a white t-shirt.  Bring.it.on.

The more I think about it, the more ready I am to be heading back to the daily grind.  My choice to be a work-outside-the-home mom continues to be a difficult, yet ultimately rewarding one. I know beyond a doubt that the daycare we have chosen is the right one for us, and trust the teachers there with my most valuable commodities.  While I’m a bit anxious and know that tears will be part of the next few weeks, I know that this is the right thing for our family…and that we’ll get used to it eventually.  Wish us luck.

Posted by Fitz

People tell you so many things when you’re pregnant with your second child, and none have rang more true to me than how the arrival of a tiny infant will make your first born seem so grown up.  I will admit that I put no stock in these comments, thinking it would be difficult to change my perspective of my Bean, who I kissed goodbye through tears right before my delivery and kissed again just several hours after.  What could change in such a short amount of time?  At first nothing seemed to be different – she was my Bean, plain and simple.  Five weeks later, however, that all has changed.

My perspective on my beloved Bean has grown slowly.  First, it was a quick comparison to how grown up her painted toenails seem in comparison to Sweet Pea’s barely visible ones.  Then, I found myself staring at her feet and hands, wondering when they got so…substantial.  Kids’ hands, not baby hands…made for running and creating and trying to give me very painful, yet so-called bootiful, ponytails after dinner every night. 

What really changed my lens about my Bean, though, just happened last night.  Sweet Pea has fussy time at night, and the three of us who aren’t fussy have a tendency to look at each other like, “What do we do now?”  The Bean is always careful to make sure her little sister has her paci (and tells her to “Be nice!” when the baby spits it out), but last night she turned my heart into mush.  She took her giraffey, the buddy that she prizes above all other things, and laid it next to her sister for comfort so “she’d feel all better with a friend”.  Add that poignant moment to my peak hormonal state and I’m not ashamed to say it took a good fifteen minutes for me to stop crying.  In that time, my Bean grew from my little baby to my best big girl.  It was one of the most wonderful, touching moments of my life.

Oh, and Sweet Pea stopped crying immediately once she had the giraffe.  She must have been blown away, too.

Posted by Fitz

 

My cousin Caitlin is super cool and hip, so when she and her husband showed up to visit my girls with gifts in hand, I’m not going to lie – I was excited.   Along with a much needed bottle of champagne and an adorable Melissa & Doug toy for the Bean, she brought us this little music box that I think is the coolest thing since sliced bread. 

Made by Tree by Kerri Lee, the music box is simple perfection.  It is only 4 inches wide and 8 inches tall, but packs a lot of style and craft into its small package.  Ours is a lovely, soft sage green and plays Hush Little Babv…turn the knob to hear the song, and read the back to make sure you get the lyrics right. 

This is such a creative gift for a new baby, and one that we’ll treasure for years and years to come.  Cait, this is a public thank you for your generosity and thoughtfulness – we love you!

Posted by Fitz

Silly me, I forgot about all of the clueless things that people say when you have a new baby. It’s almost like their brains vacate their body, and they feel it is their DUTY to bring up things that are at best inappropriate and at worst, plain rude. I’m compiling this list in the hopes that you’ll add to it so we can circulate it around the world and get one step closer to world peace.

In no particular order, here are some of the things I’ve heard in the aftermath of both The Bean and Sweet Pea’s arrivals:

1. “Oh, another girl! So when will you try for that boy?”

2. “Isn’t that a really popular name? I guess you’ll have to think of a nickname so she’s not one of a million in school.”

3. “Are you breastfeeding?”

4. “How much weight do you have to lose now? It will take a while, right?”

5. “Why did you spell her name that way?”

6. “Won’t those painkillers hurt the baby?”

7. “I don’t care if holding her all day interrupts her night sleep, because I get to go home!”

8. “Are you breastfeeding?” (Yes, it’s on the list twice. For a reason.)

9. “Are you disappointed that you didn’t have a boy this time?”

10. “Girls’ soccer is good too, I guess.”

What gems have you heard? Share them below!

Posted by Fitz

Photo credit: blog.ganconference.com

I had an Oprah “Aha!” moment last night, and have to share it with you: my main purpose in life is to feed people. My day at home goes something like this:

1. Feed Sweet Pea shortly after midnight, then again before anyone else is awake
2. Make coffee for my husband so he can stay awake at work
3. Try to wrangle a few bites of a healthy breakfast into The Bean before she starts her merry day
4. Feed Sweet Pea again
5. Find something for myself to eat
6. Figure out what’s for dinner, then prep
7. Feed Sweet Pea again
8. Cook dinner, bargain with The Bean to have more veggie bites, manage to eat a few bites myself
9. Pack lunches for The Bean and the husband for the next day
10. Feed Sweet Pea again

Before you wonder why I’m doing all of this myself, this is a job I like. Food is love in many ways to me, and I enjoy preparing meals for my family…I just didn’t realize how much of my day is consumed by it! At least I have some evidence to show to myself that I am busy, even when I’m feeling less than productive. And I have a happy, healthy family to prove it.

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