Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The wrong person is super skinny

Elijah has his 8 month well-baby check up tomorrow.  I'm dreading it just a little...because they will tell me how little he's gained... It always starts out the same way: The nurse measures and weighs him, and says, "Good job, Mommy- he weighs 12.8 lbs!!" Then I groan and say, "Oh no! He only gained 6 ounces??"  She looks back at her notes..."Oh... yeah... Well, he grew 1/2 an inch!"  She's a lovely, positive, smiley nurse. And I'm pretty sure that she has stopped writing down how far off the typical weight chart Elijah has fallen.  She just writes 3% with a little pointing down arrow drawn next to it.  It is so frustrating. It is so beyond my control.  His head circumference is the same as his weight percentage, so it's not like he's anorexic, with that lollipop head syndrome (Note: You may be familiar with this look made famous by a few under-fed Hollywood actresses. Their bodies are emaciated, but their heads are normally sized.)   He's eating.  He's actually eating a good amount: He nurses 5-6 times a day and has been taking 2 solid meals, which I just upped to 3.  He eats a full 4 oz. at each solid feed.  I just don't know where he puts it.  I've requested a thyroid check at tomorrow's visit just to make sure there isn't a thyroid issue at the heart of it. (Apparently thyroid problems can be quite common in people with Down syndrome.)   My pediatrician is awesome.  He's very calm about the whole thing.  When I asked him at the last visit if it was okay that Eli was so small, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "What are you gonna do?  He's happy...He's healthy."  (I liked his response to my same question the time before too: "What?  Do you want him to be carrying you in here next time?")  Most people have an image in their heads about what people with Down syndrome look like, and overweight is usually one of the characteristics associated.  The fact is, that people with Down syndrome have low muscle tone, also called hypotonia, and the low tone carries with it a lower metabolism.  It all becomes about balancing diet and exercise.  Hmm, I've heard that somewhere before...Oh yeah!  Everyone has to balance diet and exercise or risk becoming overweight.  What is also very common with babies who have Down syndrome, is a slower growth rate.  In fact, they have their own growth charts.  Even so, Elijah is low on that weight chart too.  We'll see what he weighs in at tomorrow, and then I can truly panic.  He looks so skinny to me now.  But, he also looks like he's grown in length.  In this equation, he is not the one who I had hopes for "thinning out".  Hello New year's resolution: Operation Pre-baby body?  Not going so well... (Until today.  I've mostly eaten soup....  And I'm starving!)

This part of the post comes with a warning: If you are in any way, someone who shies away from "Too Much Information" - abort reading now.  If you are someone who is nauseous at the thought of #2s, BMs or any such nick-name for taking a dump - abort reading now.  (Laura F., This is where you turn off your computer...) Otherwise, here we go...
Elijah is constipated.  He was call-the-doctor-in-the-middle-of-the-night-on-Sunday, constipated.  I had flash backs to my one and only (Thank you Lord!!) bout with true constipation shortly after Christian was born.  The memory of that agony was a large part of why I decided to forego all drugs during and after my labor and delivery with Elijah...but I digress. Elijah is constipated and it was awful and painful for him on Sunday night.  He cried, I cried.  I was desperate. He was desperate.  There are things I did and was willing to do that I never would have dreamed of before becoming a Mother.  I'll leave it at that.  All of you Mothers out there know what I mean.   He finally managed to pass these Gigantor rocks that were in his system, but we have been fighting it since then.  It does seem to be getting a little better each day.  It should...he has been on a diet of breast milk, prunes, and pears and any combination of the three for the last 3 days.  Charles said that last night while I was at work, Elijah passed one more harder stool, but then it was softer.  I questioned: How soft? What did it look like?  How big was it?  Was it little? Was it a lot?  Was he in pain?  How did he act afterward?  Needless to say, Charles did not have the answers or detailed descriptions I was looking for, so until I witness another BM, I have no idea where were at with this stuff.  But, I will tell you this: Despite my baby boy's difficulty and pain in having a BM, once he got one out and had a little break, he looked right up at me and gave me a big grin.  Trooper, I tell you.  The definition of Trooper, really.  God, I love this boy.

On the home front, we managed to get back from our trip back east a few days ago, but not without one last hurrah of drama.  We landed safely at LAX, got our bags (this time!) and then lugged the bags and the boys out to the shuttle stop to pick up our car.  Then, we got the bags and boys into the car, took a deep breath and said, "Okay everybody.  We're almost home!!"  Cue the bad news, as the car won't start. Dead Battery. 
So, then we called Triple A, who came out 20 minutes later, confirmed that it was the battery that was dead and replaced it for us at only 4 times what the general cost of a car battery is.  Whatever.  We wanted to get home and he warned us that if he just jumped it for us to take home, we could be risking the health of the alternator.  With my car luck, I said, Nope.  We'll go ahead and have you replace it.  THEN, we got home.  It was home sweet, filthy home.  There is no such thing possible as leaving a house clean the day after Christmas when you're preparing to travel with two small children.  I dare you to say otherwise. However, the filth was a huge motivator.  By the next day, I had the Christmas tree down, all lights and ornaments packed up, the boxes put back into the garage and even the outside lights down all by myself (which is not really saying all that much, considering our dazzling display of Christmas lights included about a 20 ft stretch that surrounded our front porch.  Yeah kids, we aim to please. My husband clearly is not trying to keep up with the Jones'. Ha!)   So we're de-Christmased and the house is clean-ish. Christian walked in after I finished the living room and said, "Wow.  It looks good in here!"  Why, thank you my little man.  I do appreciate the compliment.

Yesterday, Christian came into the office where I was fiddling with my emails, sat down on the couch, took a deep breath and said, "We're home, Mom.  We're home."   It is always sweet to be able to travel and visit family and friends, but there is something very comforting about arriving home.  Plus, we get the best of both worlds: we're back home and we only have to wait a few weeks until Grandma takes a trip out here!! This was lucky timing as she happened to have a trip planned to visit a cousin in San Diego and is taking the train up after that to stay with us a few days.  I think more than any of us, Christian will be thrilled!

Now, I'm off to stuff my face, because soup is just not cutting it and my pre-baby body will have to wait another day.  If only I could trade places with Elijah: I could be the one who was super skinny.  I'd probably be okay with that...


Galit said...

Jen..what a great blog! I feel you on quiet a few issue..we too have delt and have been dealing with constipation and weight issues since Natalie was months old! It can be so heart breaking to watch your little one in pain and just plain uncomfortable. I have a great pediatric GI that has helped us so much, in case you are ever in need of one. And oh the weight..these kids just do all sort of things to make s age!! You should see me watching the clock and stuffing Natalie every 2 hrs!! Unfortunately she's not the only one who is starting to put on a little pudge!
Anyway, just wanted to say's been so long since I've seen you guys! Big hugs to your beautiful boys!!

Hannah said...

Thanks for sharing so much in this post. It's encouraging that Elijah is such a trooper, and hopefully he's growing at exactly the rate he should be (even if it's slower than the charts say!).

Sublime Dream said...

I feel you a bit on all this. K kept having trouble gaining weight for a while, although he was, gratefully, still at a healthy weight. I saw you gave him prunes, have you tried prune juice? That's worked great for us...??? Asking all the poop questions- holy cow my husband gives me such a hard time about that! I ask When? How much? what color? Soft? Hard? Was there stuff in it? Did it pour out the sides?! lol!!!! Good luck! And welcome home! Oh and PS- K would back up whenever we flew anywhere- could that be anything to do with the most recent bout?

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