Valentine's Babies

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Camping Out

Not many people would go camping when it is 14 degrees outside. But Adam and I did lastnight. In fact, we've been camping about once a week throughout January. However - we camp indoors.

Lily often sleeps with us. During the day, she naps alone - but she seems to sleep better, at night, in our drafty house, if she's in our bed. It was, actually, Adam's suggestion to have her co-sleep with us, so that I could get more sleep. And - I get a lot more sleep this way. I never thought we would let her sleep with us - but we do. For now, anyway. Once she stops nursing we will revisit the subject.
So - in order to have alone time - we've been camping out on our large couch. Lily typically goes to bed between 7:30 & 8pm. Then Adam and I get plenty of time to hang out together.
Lastnight, we cuddled up on the couch and played a board game together. Then we stayed up late and ended up falling asleep, on the couch, together. It was absolutely blissful. Sorta like we were dating again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Poultice


Well - it was a cold Wednesday, last week, when our Lily started coughing. Thursday the temperature was below zero - but the cough sounded pretty bad. So, I called Dr. Peg. Her office said they'd have her call me right away.

She called and advised me to keep Lily warm, at home, and then gave me some advice on how to get her healthy again. Among other things, she told me to crush some fresh garlic and mix it with a tiny bit of olive oil. Then put it on the bottom of Lily's left foot, wrap it, put a sock on it and leave it on overnight. So, we did. Next morning, Lily was still sick, but the congestion seemed to be breaking up quite a bit. We used the garlic poultice for three days and she was on the upswing. Her cold never progressed to a fever or anything worse. Pretty amazing.
Lily's doctor (also our family doctor) is fantastic. She is both a Nurse Practitioner and a naturopathic doctor - with more credentials after her name than anyone I know. She can write a script for us - or give us a homeopathic remedy, supplement or tincture. I am so very thankful that we had such a great resource when we needed it!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Mammiracle


So - I kept most of this on the down-low. But now I'm ready to process something that happened recently.

End of October, 2008: Had a large lump in my right breast. I was (and am) still nursing Lily, so I thought that a lump could be a clogged milk duct. I read some home remedies for working it out. Tried them for a couple of weeks. Didn't work. On a Tuesday morning, I went to see some lactation consultants at the hospital. Three of them felt me up and agreed that there was no way it was a clogged duct. They encouraged me to get it "checked out" right away. So - the next morning, I called my OB. She rearranged her morning schedule to see me. Back then, miss Lily was just around 4 mos. old. Adam left work and met us at the doctor's office. We both thought we'd be in and out for a quick exam.

My doctor palpated for a while and then stood up, walked out of the exam room and called a breast surgeon. He agreed to see me that afternoon - though he wasn't planning to see patients that day. So, Adam, Lily & I waited around for a while in his office. The surgeon did a couple of ultrasounds, then inserted a big, tubular needle to aspirate surrounding fluids, and see if he could drain what he thought could be a cyst. After the first needle, he deduced that it was a "mass", not a cyst. He decided to insert another (large, long) needle and use the ultrasound machine to watch as he poked around inside my right babyfeeder. It was uncomfortable - but also pretty neat to see it all on the screen in real time.

The doctor sent the cells away to a lab for testing, sent the surrounding fluid to the lab for cultures, and sent me, Adam and Lily home for the night. He had also set me up with another doctor friend of his, so that we could get a firm second opinion.

We wouldn't know much until the next week.

Early November, 2008: Lab cultures showed no evidence of infection. Adam, Lily and I went to a Radiologist for another opinion and I also had a routine mammogram (my first one ever). It would have all been quite easy - but I was lactating. So, I had to carry the big, bulky breast pump along on these appointments and pump, to empty my breast, before each procedure, for the most accurate results. It was a hassle. And Adam had to take off work to help me with Lily for every visit. The Radiologist wanted more tests and said she couldn't rule out cancer and that there was no way it was a cyst, a clogged duct - or anything that would just go away, over time. She sent me back to the surgeon.

Mid November, 2008: Back to the breast surgeon. This time - he used the ultrasound, then called in another (male) doctor for a third opinion. It was the head of his practice. An older man - who was a little rough with me. He looked down at me and said "you know, I'd like to knock you out for five minutes and squeeze that thing just as hard as I can." He was a little taken aback when I told him to forget the anesthesia and just do it. And - he did. But it was worth it to get another, very educated opinion. His was the same though. "Let's cut into that thing!"

Late November, 2008: Went in for the biopsy. Adam and Lily waited. The nurse and doctor came in, ready for the cut. I had declined anesthesia. The doctor felt the lump first and then he hesitated. He said - "does this feel smaller to you?" I shrugged - I really hadn't been feeling it much. (Due to the poking, squeezing and handling of the lump, my right breast was sore - and it was hard enough to feed my sweet baby with it). The doctor decided to use the ultrasound machine again. When he had enough pictures, he told me to get dressed and meet him in his office. The nurse told Adam and Lily to come too.

We went into the office and the doctor was all smiles. He had four pictures up on the lightscreen. They had been taken on four different dates. All of the previous pic's had been identical - but on this visit - the lump was HALF the size. The doctor told us to go home. He said "cancer does not get smaller". He scheduled a follow-up visit for several weeks later.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009: Lily and I went to see the surgeon this week. He wanted a full ultrasound to see all angles of the mass again. He felt around on the right breast and couldn't locate it. He used the ultrasound machine and found absolutely nothing. He checked the other breast (in case he had picked the wrong one, I guess). Still nothing.

The nurse looked. We all looked at the screen to see something - even just a little spot to confirm that something had been there. Nothing.

I asked the doctor if he had an explanation (because I needed to report something back to my husband that evening). The doctor had no explanation at all. He said he doesn't know what happened to the mass. He said that it was not common and that these types of lumps didn't normally just disappear. He also said that he wants me to come back to his office in six months for another check. (I think doctors always say "come back in six months" when they don't have any idea what to say). He was glad that I was well - but he seemed uneasy because he had no answers for me.

I think it was a small miracle.

I'm not the kind of person that would jump to the conclusion of "miracle" without cause. And I don't think that God has nothing better to do than keep track of my breast health. However, I have no other viable explanation. And the doctor hasn't either.

I have seen God do much bigger things than dissolve a mass in my breast. So I'm going to give Him full credit for this one.

(God, If you are reading this entry - Thanks :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Sweetest Sunday


Miss Lily's morning nap was interrupted by my phone ringing. It was the "centralized showing office" calling to let me know that a Realtor wanted to show our home in exactly one hour.

We've been trying to sell our beloved home for well over a year. We've recently re-listed it and we get pretty consistent traffic. So the house stays pretty-well clean. However. . . I had, sorta, fallen off the wagon a bit and let some dust-bunnies reproduce here and there. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's - people generally aren't house-hunting. So, we hadn't done the spit-shine in weeks.

I stammered on the phone, but agreed to the showing. I quickly carried the sleepy-eyed Lily to Adam and forced them both out the front door. I used my fifty-five minutes wisely and was able to make our house look like the inside pages of MetHome magazine. I walked out our back door just as the Realtor and his client were approaching our home.

I joined Adam and Lily, who had found shelter in a benevolent neighbor's bachelor-pad. We hung out there for about an hour. Then we walked back to our clean little home.

Once home, Adam and I realized that our weekend was ending and we hadn't really managed to spend any intentional time together - doing anything fun. In fact, we tried - and neither of us could remember the last time we had done something spontaneous and fun. So - we decided to have a family date. We packed some snacks, hopped in the car and headed downtown to the Children's Museum. We got there, parked the car and walked in - only to find that they had closed all the galleries for the day and would be closing the gift shop in 30 minutes. We were a bit chilly, and I asked the doorman if we could come in and warm-up in the gift shop for a few minutes before we walked all the way back to our car. He kindly welcomed us in, and we enjoyed some time browsing. Lily was happy to look around the shop from her stroller. The three of us had a great time checking out all of the developmental toys on display. Adam found a really nice teething toy for our girl. We bought it and walked back to the car.

We stopped at a coffee shop on the way home. Adam and I talked at a quiet table - while Lily slept in her carseat next to us. All of the sudden, we realized that we were on a grown-up date with the baby. It was really nice. We lingered there for a half-hour or so. Then we stopped at a natural food store on the way home. I needed some rice flour. All three of us went inside. When I tried to rush through the market, Adam reminded me that we were still on our date. I smiled - realizing (yet again) that I'd been blessed with a sweet and romantic husband. We found the rice flour, and purchased an additional $10 worth of natural junkfood impulse items (fancy potato chips, chocolate coated ricemilk "ice-cream" bars and a $4 designer protein shake). It was the perfect end to a perfect day. Together.

An Unexpected Gift

Saturday, I went to the office before 6am to catch up on some artwork. Adam and Lily slept in until 9:30am - and came to see me at lunch. When I made it home from work - at around 3pm, Lily, Adam and I snuggled in for a nap. We napped for a short while - then Adam got a phonecall and had to rush to the hospital to help someone in our family.
Lily and I stayed home, since babies aren't exactly comforting or helpful in medical emergencies. We cleaned the kitchen and had a low-key evening. Bedtime came, and Lily was ready for some shut-eye. I decided to put her down and wait up for Adam. I wasn't quite sure what a girl does when the house is clean, the husband is away and the baby is quietly sleeping. But it didn't take me long to figure it out. I baked some pumpkin scones for Sunday breakfast, cooled and iced them. Then I warmed up some leftovers for my dinner. I ate dinner, while I watched a funny show on our laptop. Then, I returned some email and did a little online research about the health benefits of coconut milk. Basically, I got a few hours to myself - without any chores to do, projects to tackle, bills to pay, bottoms to powder, errands to run - nothing. Had I been offered an evening alone - I probably would've declined. But that time alone - without pressure, obligation or expectation - was like a slice of moist chocolate cake to a frustrated dieter. It was just what I needed.

Merry Christmas!

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