Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sarah v. yeast - the neverending battle

Ugh. When Cooper was a month or so old I started having a lot of pain when I was breastfeeding, except I'd already been having pain, so I didn't realize there was a problem right away. Over the next couple weeks I started dreading showers because the water felt like razors, crying every time he latched on, and having shooting pains through my whole breast after each feeding. It was a yeast infection & by the time I got medication for it I was putting ice on my breast before & after each feeding just to tolerate the pain. Cooper didn't show any signs of thrush (a yeast infection in his mouth), but he was treated too, of course. Within a couple days he had thrush & even had to be put oral medication instead of topical because he managed to spread it to his hand by sucking on his fingers (because he had blisters from clenching his fists all the time). It was really one of the worst experiences of my life. We finally got over it, but then a month later it was back again. Fortunately, I knew what it was right away so it didn't get nearly as bad the second time around.
A while ago, Cooper had an ear infection & had to be put on antibiotics. I happened to be on antibiotics at the same time, so I was sure the yeast would be back again, but I didn' t get it & Cooper didn't get thrush. Cooper did get a terrible diaper rash that became a yeast infection though. I felt so bad for him & I wished I had gotten it instead of him. We got medication for him, started using disposable diapers instead of cloth for a while, & it went away pretty quickly. I washed his cloth diapers in hot water & vinegar several times to get rid of the yeast, but when we started using the cloth again it came back! I felt awful! There wasn't a whole lot I could have done the first time, but I felt terrible that the diapers I put on him caused it to come back. We went back to disposables & it went away without medication.
I researched on the internet & found several suggestions on how to rid diapers of yeast, so I chose the most complicated & thorough one I could find. It involved several separate hot washes with vinegar, Oxiclean, and baking soda, tons of cold rinses, sunning the diapers, & drying them on high in the dryer. So I did all the washes, all the rinses, & hung the diapers out in the backyard.

But, Cooper's still in disposables. I just can't bring myself to put a cloth diaper on him - I'm terrified I'm going to infect him again! I think I'm going to have to do all the washes, rinses, hanging, & drying again, maybe several times, & then maybe I'll feel okay with tyring them out again. So if anyone has any suggestions for getting yeast out of cloth diapers, let me know!

Look out!

Hop in - I'm driving!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Justin's homecoming

I promised to post more about Justin's return, so here it is.
The homecoming ceremony was at the Allstate Arena, but the Marines were flying into Midway & there was a motorcade from the airport to the arena. The motorcade was starting only 2 blocks from our house so I was tempted to go late to the ceremony to watch it, but I didn't want to miss Justin's release. As we left the house, we could see all the motorcycles & police cars gathering for the motorcade. We took some pictures (none came out very good), thanked them, & I cried, of course.
We all arrived at the arena at about 9:30 am. They announced the guys would be there by 11:00, but probably closer to 10:30! We all sat in the seating area for a while, then Dayna, my parents, & Adam headed to the floor (only 4 family members were allowed on the floor) while me, John, Cooper, & Dayna's sister Jayci waited in the seats. Justin and Dayna decided to keep Zak & Caycee at home so their reunion could be a little calmer & the kids wouldn't be all crabby & overwhelmed by the time Justin got there.

So we waited. And waited. Then they told us one of their busses broke down on 294, but not to worry because they were loading onto the remaining busses & heading to us. So we waited. And waited. It was 10:45, 11:00, 11:15. Rumors were flying around. People were getting calls & texts from the guys. The announcement said they were almost there, then we heard they were still stuck, but not far from the arena, then they were on their way, then they were still stranded. So we tried to come up with our own rumors to start... they stopped at the riverboat casino before the ceremony, they were protecting Joe Biden until the Secret Service could step in, they couldn't take how cold it was here and stopped to buy parkas, or, my personal favorite, they were off fighting a dragon like in the Marine commercials.
Finally, Dayna got a call from Justin that they were on their way. John, Cooper, & I headed outside to watch the motorcade coming in. It was awesome! So many motorcycles & police cars... I cried, of course. I texted Justin we were out there & we didn't see him, but he saw us. We took a video of it on our camera, but I couldn't get it to upload here. If you want to see it, John has it on his Facebook page.
We hussled back inside & waited again. Finally, they marched them out. We were pretty far away, but I could see Justin. This is a picture Adam took from much closer. They all look the same, but Justin's in the front, third from the left.

There was a very short speech (or something, I don't really remember & I wasn't paying attention) & then they released them. Even from as far away as we were (too far for any decent pictures), I could see Justin grab Dayna. I think he was the first Marine to his family!
Adam took this picture outside by the cars:

Justin was anxious to get home & we all piled in the cars & headed back to see the kids. When we got to Dayna's, everyone else went in first & Justin held back for a while so he could surprise the kids so we waited for him to come in.

Finally Zak got to hug his Daddy! He was very excited, & a little in shock.

Justin brought gifts for Zak & Caycee.

This is the house for Justin's homecoming. Dayna's dad & his firefighter/paramedic friends stopped by to welcome Justin home. Zak loved it - he had his mom & dad, two papas, two nanas, & two "papa cars" (firetruck & ambulnce).

Here's Justin with Zak & Caycee with her papa (Dayna's dad)...
Finally, the family is reunited.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Justin's home!

Thank God! I'm so exhausted so I'll have to post more about our day later, but I'll include this one picture. Zak & Caycee didn't come to the Allstate Arena with us to pick up Justin (too overwhelming for them), so when we got home Justin waited until we were all inside to surprise Zak & Caycee. Zak's expression kind of shows how we all felt.

Friday, August 22, 2008

So big!

Attack of the black beans

More black beans please!

I need a bath!

Come here Mommy! Give me a kiss!
Happy birthday Justin!

Visiting with Grandma, Grandpa, & the cousins

Two weeks ago we went to spend the weekend with my parents while they were babysitting Zak & Caycee. We outnumbered the kids, but it sure didn't feel like it! I don't know how my mom (or Dayna!) does it. As you can tell, we got pretty worn out!


A few weeks ago John, Cooper, & I went for a picnic at the forest preserve in Willow Springs. It was about 80 degrees - absolutely perfect in the shade. Cooper loved crawling around on the blanket, nibbling at food, exploring our food & bags, and eating the occasional piece of grass or leaf when we couldn't wrestle it out of his mouth in time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Visiting Uncle Adam

Hanging out with Adam & a stuffed monkey

Cooper doing his best Zoolander face

How to feed your dad...

1. Offer the food with one hand.

2. As soon as he gets close, insert several fingers from the other hand into his mouth like a fish hook. Be sure nails are very sharp (do whatever you can to prevent mom from trimming them; if she manages to trim them while you're sleeping or something, don't worry because within about 24 hours they should be as sharp as razors again). Dig your nails into the bottom of his mouth. He may fight it, or try to pull away, so you have to really dig those nails in hard. Once you have a good grip & his mouth is wide open, use the other hand to place the food in his mouth.

3. Press the food down hard. Use your nails again to be sure the food is in his mouth & on his tongue securely.

4. Check to be sure the food is in there. Make sure he holds it out on his tongue for your inspection.

Fun with the family

These are pictures from Colleen's house.. the kids had so much fun playing together & loved the bouncy house.

Caycee with her mom

Cooper & his dad napping

Dayna, Caycee, & a very brave grandma (look at those dangly earrings!)

Zak, Dayna, Caycee, Cooper, & me in the bouncy house

I'm back!

Our computer is working! Finally! I have tons of stuff to catch up on so I'll probably post several times when I get the chance.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Justin's in the United States!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Keep your fingers crossed...

The Geek Squad will be back tomorrow morning & I have a hard drive and recovery cd sitting here waiting. I'm dying to have a real computer again, so hopefully tomorrow I will be using a real computer again & I'll be able to actually start to catch up on here and post some pictures.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New blog & homecoming

Well, the Geek Squad was here and is gone and my computer is still not working. Crap! We have to find out start up cd or order a new one because our hard drive was wiped out. So I'm still using this old computer - it's only about a step up from a pencil & paper. Everything else decided to go on the fritz at the same time too, of course. Last week I had repairmen here to fix the phone and our dryer (dryer is now working, the phone is not), and then the computer guy this week. I also had to get a new cell phone so I'm still working on reprogramming that; as of right now all my phone book is missing so hopefully John can find it. Ugh.
So it finally happened - my friend Becca finally caved and started her own blog.
I'm almost afraid to post about this here (because I might jinx it), but my brother Justin is due back from Iraq very soon. The tentative date is in a few weeks, so keep your fingers crossed. I think I've dealt with the deployment pretty well (I can't imagine what's it's been like for my sister-in-law Dayna and my parents!), and definitely better than John thought I would. I was a disaster before Justin left and even that was an improvement over how I reacted in after September 11, 2001 when Justin first started talking about enlisting; I actually had a plan to hit him in the knee with a bat if he was going to be deployed then (I know, I know, no one that knew Justin & I when we were kids is surprised by this, but I actually was thinking about doing it to help him) so it's probably a good thing he held off several years and gave me some time to calm down. Anyway, I cried a ton before he left, but I've been pretty okay most of the time he's been gone. I deal with stress through either complete denial or absolute obsession; I chose denial for this so I just have been trying not to think about it any more than I had to. Now that it's getting close to his return date I'm a mess - crying every time I think about it. I just can't wait for him to be back with his wife and kids, and be able to spend time with the family, and get to know Cooper. He left for training in California before Cooper was born and he met him over Christmas when he was home for a week or so, but that's it.
Alright, I'm babbling. I'm not even sure if it's coherent, so I'm just gonna hit publish and head to bed.

Monday, August 4, 2008

9 months

Cooper is over 9 months old now. I can't believe it's been that long already! Time really did fly by (although, I can't really remember what life was like without him either!). John says this means he's been outside longer than he was inside. Weird. Kinda makes me miss being pregnant.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Weirdest breastfeeding experience ever

Two months ago Cooper had just started really eating solid food & started nursing less often. My milk supply took a while to catch up to the change & I wound up getting a really bad clogged duct. The clog was very close to my nipple & the whole side of my breast felt like a rock from my nipple almost to my armpit. It was pretty awful & Cooper worked & worked at it & then started refusing to nurse on that side. He's never refused to nurse & I'm pretty sure he wasn't getting anything, or was getting very little. It seemed to be getting worse & worse & I got a fever. In the middle of the night I became convinced that it was not going to get better & I'd have to have it dealt with surgically or something (yeah, I get a little dramatic in the middle of the night when I'm not feeling well & deprived of sleep; things always seem a little better the next morning).
Anyway, I finally got Cooper back on the job, & I pumped to try to dislodge the clog too. While I was pumping, a milk blister appeared. The clog eventually improved; it came & went for a couple weeks, but eventually it was gone completely. But the milk blister stayed.
I tried everything - a warm compress before nursing, olive oil on a cotton ball in my bra, antibiotic ointment, & eventually oral antibiotics. Everything seemed to help & the blister would disappear for a few hours or a day, but then come right back. There were even several times when I would see breastmilk coming from the blister (sometimes when Cooper was nursing, or when I expressed afterward, and it even leaked a couple times). Once there was even a touch of blood. Every time I'd see milk, or the blister would seem to disappear I'd be relieved, but then it would be right there again. That went on for at least two months.
Then one day I was nursing Cooper on that side & I suddenly felt light-headed. It came on very suddenly & I immediately thought I must be dehydrated. I was afraid for a couple seconds that it might lead to me fainting, but after 30 seconds the feeling just disappeared & I felt fine. Then I got a sharp pain in the nipple & Cooper pulled off. I saw milk & a little blood coming from the blister & it hurt a lot. Cooper went back to nursing again for a few minutes & then was done. I thought it was really odd & wondered if the light-headed feeling was somehow related to the blister. It seems kind of crazy that it would be, but the timing made me think they must be related. Then a couple days later the blister was gone. Just gone. And it hasn't come back. I can't even tell where it was.
Very odd, but I'm relieved that it's gone.