Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Newborn Cloth Diapering--What Didn't Work

My cloth diapering journey (read: addiction) started when we were desperate to find an overnight solution for Charlie when he was on TPN and tube feeds. That led me to "resort" to cloth diapering and, very quickly thereafter, using cloth on Teddy too. He was probably 6 mos or so at the time I started him in cloth. So, it was a no brainer to cloth diaper our newest addition (an opportunity to try out new fluff!), though newborn diapering was new to me.

As I am prone to do, I did a lot of research and confidently bought the following: Kissaluv size 0 fitteds and Sweet Pea and Rumparooz newborn covers and the following all-in-ones (AIOs): Bitty Bee Changed, Sweet Pea, Diaper Rite, Tots Bots, and Blueberry Simplex. I later added Tidy Tots Newborn AI2, Ragababe NB AIO, Lil Helper one size AI2, and Softbums one size AI2 to my stash. I'm going to share what DIDN'T work for me in this post.

A little background: my test subject for this was a petite, skinny legged 18 in, 6.5 lbs newborn when we brought him home from the hospital. At 2 mos, he was still petite at 10 lbs, still skinny legged.

Kissaluv Fitteds Size 0 v4: I used Kissaluv fitteds for overnight diapering with Charlie and they were great and I had read great reviews about their size 0 newborn fitteds and I honestly thought these would be my go-to newborn diaper. I only wound up using my two dozen of these one or two times--mostly because they were so dang fluffy on. There was nothing trim about this diaper, especially once you add a cover over them, which is a necessity with fitteds. If you don't mind the really, really fluffy bum look, these perform well. They are very absorbent and might fit better on a taller baby. I personally prefer a trimmer fit.
Pros: Very soft, fleecy material. Umbilical cord snap-down and adjustable rise. Fits a pretty wide range of weights and probably not quickly outgrown, especially given the superior absorbency. Would be good for a heavy wetter. No performance (leaking) issues.
Cons: Very, very fluffy and bulky. I wasn't easily able to fit any clothes over these and they just looked pretty silly because they were so bulky and the baby couldn't easily move his legs in them. Company, sadly, is no longer in business, so these are no longer easy to find new. Requires a cover, which further adds bulk. Although they are advertised to fit a wide weight range, and will technically fit from 5-15 lbs, the bulkiness results in a very, very fluffy, bubble bum. Available only in snaps--no hook and loop.

Rumparooz NB Covers: I read so many great reviews of these but ultimately, I really didn't like these. I used these in combination with the Kissaluv fitteds and a couple times alone with an insert laid inside.
Pros: Nice, sticky hook and loop closures, makes it easy to adjust the waist fit. They did not come loose in the wash. Dries quickly and can be wiped clean between changes, which means they don't require washing between each change. Double gussets are great for containing messes. No performance issues. Adjustable rise, generous weight range.
Cons: These have a very boxy shape and thus, had a lot of bulk between the legs. This added significant bulk to an otherwise already-bulky fitted diaper but was bulky even by itself. I think they would have fit more trimly if they had some hourglass shaping to them. No performance issues, but didn't like the fit on my petite baby. I found other covers provided a much nicer fit.

Bitty Bee Changed: I really, really wanted to love these diapers. They are itty-bitty, make your ovaries ache cute. Sadly, despite trying them again and again, these had performance (leak) issues every time.
Pros: Adorable. They are cute and tiny and come in super cute prints. They have an umbilical snap-down. These are a true newborn diaper and would fit a teeny baby. Trim fit, available in both a stay dry and a bamboo. The stay dry dried relatively quickly in the dryer. For every diaper purchased, the company gives a diaper to an orphan--I like the social consciousness of the company. Packaging had great presentation, as well, without being wasteful.
Cons: They leak. These were the first diapers I felt fit my fairly small baby but within an hour or two, they would leak. This was true of both the stay dry and the bamboo. Only available in snaps, which I find difficult on a newborn. The bamboo takes FOREVER to dry and is very nubby and rough feeling to the touch. Very small weight range for fitting. They claim these go to 12 lbs but I doubt I could fit my currently 11 lb 3 mo old in them. And certainly not without leaking. I think these are a first two week of life diaper. On the high price side for a diaper with such a limited fit.

Here is a picture of my test subject at 2 weeks old in a Bitty Bee:
Bitty Bees can be purchased here:

Diaper Rite:

Pros: Very affordable. These are an exclusive of Diaper Junction and are a very affordable option for newborn AIOs. They ethically made in China. They have a generous weight range. Performed okay, with some leaks. They have a good range of colors and prints. Snap down rise for adjustable fit.
Cons: These weren't bullet proof--we did have some leaks. I found the snaps difficult to get a good fit with and wonder if I would have had better performance with a hook and loop closure. These had a boxy shape to them, which made them not fit well between the legs and added quite a bit of bulk in that regard. These also would have benefited from some hourglass shaping. I could tell the difference in quality (PUL and microfiber) as compared some of the pricier diapers I bought.
Diaper Rite can be purchased here:

Next up...what did work!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Spring Re-Cap

"We're not doubting that God will do the best for us, we're wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." -CS Lewis

I came across this quote recently and I think it pretty much sums up how I feel about our life sometimes and certainly about our Spring. I am trying to remember, though, that our dark clouds always have some beautiful rainbows interspersed. January, our tenants in the house we own in Eugene reported some leaks around two windows. We had roofers out on a couple of occasions but the leaking continued whenever there was rain. Finally, the suggested that we probably needed a contractor out to evaluate as they felt the issue was with flashing missing around some windows. So, about two weeks after Teddy was born, we had a contractor out to the house. He concurred with the roofer's opinion and gave us a $2k estimate to fix the flashing and the caveat that he couldn't completely tell what was going on until he took the siding around the windows down. He agreed to start the next day. The next day, mid-day, I got a call from the contractor. I've since learned that calls from the contractor generally do not bring good news. When he took down the siding, he discovered that the house was built out of code (it was built in 2003, we are the second owners) and had no rain barrier (e.g., Tyvek) installed between the siding and the framing of the house. Consequently, the entire back door needed replacing and he had to install the rain barrier. And there was mold and rot. He couldn't tell us how bad that was until more siding came down. To make a very long story short, over the next two months, all of the siding for the entire house was removed, windows taken out, approximately 60% of the framing cut out and replaced, the back door had to be replaced entirely, the downstairs flooring and subflooring had to be replaced due to rot, the house completely repainted, and the window around the front door had to be replaced, as well as mold remediation efforts. It was a nightmare. And that $2k initial estimate? Well, that's pretty laughable now. So, now we are just in the beginning stages of trying to recover the costs from the builder, which, of course, involves legal fees. We also had to reduce rent for our tenants and put them in a hotel for 11 days during part of the construction. When we were living in that house Jared and I had always wanted to replace the flooring and repaint the house but didn't have the money. This is definitely NOT how I envisioned having to do it.

In the middle of all of this, my mother and I took Teddy and Charlie and headed to Cincinnati Children's Hospital to have some diagnostic testing done in hopes of getting some answers. We were there for a week, during which time Charlie had a surgical procedure and a 24-hr test and a surprise blood transfusion due to anemia. Cincinnati is ranked #1 in GI services. The primary test they did was a test to determine if he had an actual motility problem through his GI system. We knew going into it that if there was an actual underlying motility issue, there wasn't a whole lot that could be done. If there wasn't, there were some things that they could try. It was a good experience and we liked the doctor we saw and he spent a long time with us reviewing Charlie's history. He was very determined to get Charlie off of TPN and back to j-tube feeds. After all the testing was complete, we found out that, as we suspected, there was an underlying motility issue. So, we came away with some answers, but not a lot of new things to do for him. He had some suggestions for trying to wean him from TPN.

Less than a week after we returned from Cincinnati, we moved houses! Only about a mile but given everything else, it was a major effort. However, the payoff was great and we have a beautiful house that we are seriously considering buying at the end of our lease (we are a little gun shy after our situation with our other house). A lot of that will depend on whether we can sell the other house and other financial considerations. Our fingers are crossed as this is the PERFECT neighborhood and house for us.

The night we moved in, Jack tripped on the transition from the hardwood flooring to the carpeted family room. And broke his wrist. Seriously, at this point, I almost just laughed. Can one more thing really happen to us??? He was a trooper and got a glow in the dark cast to show for it. Let me tell you, I am now a PRO at bathing children who have various parts of their bodies that can't get wet. :)

Back to weaning off TPN...we came back from Cincinnati determined to get off TPN as quickly as possible. Now, I love TPN for what it is doing for Charlie's health but I hate it for what it does to my anxiety levels. He has gained 7 lbs since February and went from the 0 percentile to the 15th percentile. I, however, live in constant fear of infection, sepsis, blood clots, the line breaking, etc. I have all kinds of fears when it comes to this line that has given my son health and yet can result in a lot of harm very quickly. Well...a couple weeks in the new house and I started to notice some tissue around his j-tube. Granulation tissue is a benign tissue that can grow around a stoma, or the place where the tube enters the body. However, this didn't look like the granulation tissue I'm used to. I sent a picture to our doctor, who immediately referred us to surgery. We went in for an evaluation of the tissue and learned that his tube had prolapsed, meaning intestinal tissue was poking out, for lack of a better description. The "fix" was surgical and would be painful and not necessarily successful. If we left it as-is, it would likely result in some discomfort and leaking around the site but was not particularly dangerous. We opted to let it go until we absolutely needed to operate on it. And that's where we are today. Unfortunately, this has meant a greater reliance on TPN, so we aren't moving in the right direction there, and we've had one hospitalization due to skin breakdown but we are holding steady. I would just like Charlie not to have to undergo a surgery for at least a couple of months.

Right now, we are celebrating a week and a half with no trips to the hospital. Here's hoping for a few more weeks of that. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Teddy's Birth Story

This is long, long overdue. I am pretty sure this has been the most trying 6 months of my life. Already, so much of it seems so far away. I want to record this so I have it to look back on...and can wonder how we got through all of this!

At my last post, I was 36 weeks pregnant. A week later, during one of Charlie's regular nurse visits, the nurse was unable to pull blood off of his PICC line. This should be an easy proposition...the line goes right to his heart. Since we had some issues with the first PICC line getting pulled, I immediately thought that may have been the case, again, less than a week after having the second one placed. (Placement is a surgical procedure under anesthesia). After a call to our doctor, we made our way to the ER for evaluation of the line. Within that three hour window, Charlie's skin on his upper arm around the line had turned bright red and hot. The dreaded line infection. At the ER, they took labs, gave him some IV antibiotics and, because he wasn't running a fever, sent us home. The next morning, it was just as red and swollen and the skin had sloughed off under his arm and it was open and weeping. Back to the ER we went, this time we were admitted. This was a Tuesday and I was 37 weeks pregnant. My best friend was coming to visit the next day for a quick overnight trip since she was in the vicinity for a business trip. I spent that first night so ridiculously uncomfortable on the hospital daybed holding Charlie. Because we didn't know the nature of the infection, he was put on isolation. 2 year old + confinement to a small hospital room = not fun! The plan was to treat the infection by way of IV antibiotics and then have him go to surgery for a Hickman central line (a line in his chest instead of a peripheral central line (PICC)). On Wednesday, they did an ultrasound at surgery's request, just to see what we were dealing with before they went in and operated. They discovered he had a large blood clot in his arm where the PICC line was. Which meant starting him on a 3 month course of twice daily injections of a blood thinner. My best friend arrived and Jared took over so she and I could go to dinner and I could sleep in my own bed that night. We had a lovely, relaxing dinner at PF Changs, which was such an oasis for me. I hadn't seen her since December and it was so nice to just have a girls night out.

The next morning, I had my regular twice weekly non-stress test and then planned to head over to stay with Charlie so Jared could go to work. During the NST, the baby was not reactive and was having some decelerations with contractions. My doctor came in and told me they needed to deliver him that day! I was shocked, to say the least. A gazillion thoughts went through my head about how this was all going to work (did I mention Jared had JUST started a new job??) with Charlie in the hospital and facing surgery plus Jack to care for, etc., etc. My in-laws came up to care for Jack, Jared planned to take off work and stay with Charlie and I prepared to have a baby THAT DAY. Meanwhile, my mother tried to get the earliest flight to Portland. Since Jack was at school, my in-laws were able to come stay with Charlie so Jared could be present at the birth. Around 2 pm, we went into the OR for delivery...and our sweet Teddy was born shortly after. Weighing in at a whopping 5 lbs 7 ozs, he was perfect! Although we had planned all along to name him William, the week before his birth, my husband started having doubts. Jack suggested Teddy (not sure where he got it from) and we were debating between Henry and Teddy...right up until 15 minutes post-birth! I am a Type-A planner all the way, so this indecisiveness is very unusual for me! EVERYONE was pulling for Teddy as the name. He was so tiny...and Teddy just seemed to fit him. So, we went with Henry Theodore Scott for his full proper name and we call him Teddy. :-)

Since my mother couldn't get a flight until Sunday (this was Thursday), my friend Rachel came to stay with me overnight in the hospital. What a blessing she was! I had all kinds of fears going into the c-section but the thing that threw me for a loop was how nauseous I was post-surgery. I couldn't keep even the smallest sip of water down. So, Jared headed back to the Children's Hospital a couple hours after Teddy was born and Rachel came on duty. She was wonderful...she just came in and took over with Teddy when I needed her to, changing diapers, transferring him, and holding him when I was sick. We had some difficulty over the next couple days with feeding and I think she is the main reason we were able to conquer breastfeeding. A perfect blend of sympathetic and gently pushing to keep trying.

On Sunday morning at 6 am, I awoke to a text from Jared that a nurse had made a mistake and a peripheral IV they had placed in his arm to give him PPN (IV nutrition through a peripheral instead of central line) had been placed improperly and had been infusing in his arm. His arm was now very, very swollen and he may require plastic surgery. What?!?!?! I had been feeling pretty good the night before and so I had told Rachel I didn't need to have her stay. Well, I put Teddy in his bassinet, walked him to the nurse's station and asked them to keep him for a bit. I then walked over to the Children's Hospital (connected by a skybridge) to see Charlie. I needed to see him. I paid the price later in soreness but... Anyway, his poor arm was swollen to about 4 times its normal size. Apparently, whatever is in PPN can cause tissue damage and that was the reason plastic surgery might be needed. They said if his skin started to break down in the next 24 hours, he would need surgery. Otherwise, we would be in the clear. Thank God...his skin stayed okay although it took weeks to get that swelling down. Unfortunately, this meant that arm can't be used for IVs for a long time and neither can the other arm due to the blood clot. All of this postponed him having surgery AGAIN. This was one of the worst hospital stays we had ever had. The IV infusion issue came after they subjected him to several failed IV attempts and made Jared hold him down screaming. He is usually such a champ with getting IVs placed but they wouldn't listen to Jared when he said he does fine if he can just sit on one of our laps. Instead, they made him be pinned down. It was a rough, rough stay.

My mom arrived on Sunday and Teddy and I planned to discharge on Monday. The plan was for Charlie to have surgery on Tuesday. However, it got pushed back to Wednesday. It was very hard to leave the hospital and leave Charlie and Jared there. It was even harder to come home with the baby for the first time without Jared.

On Wednesday, Charlie has his Hickman surgery. It went well, he spent one additional night and was able to come home! We celebrated Easter at home the following weekend!

Well, this is long enough. I will update on the crazy months that followed Teddy's birth later. But, here is a picture of him shortly after birth...

And, going home!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Movin' on Up

We've been busy these past couple of weeks. First, very, very busy at work. Because we like to keep things spicy around here, Jared also took a position at a new company after being unexpectedly recruited. It was definitely the right decision for us, though. Funny how those things work. Some other news:

36 weeks! I hit 36 weeks this past Saturday, a point we never expected to see in this pregnancy! Praise God--it is a blessing to have made it to this point with no further pregnancy drama (well other than a host of new-to-me pregnancy symptoms such as sciatica, swelling, heartburn...). I'm pretty certain we will go right up until my scheduled c-section date after all the premature birth fears. As much as I am not enjoying the aforementioned by-products of pregnancy, I am not eager to have this pregnancy end. Probably in part because of how much stuff we have going on but mostly because I am aware this may be my last pregnancy and I know how much I will probably miss this just me and baby time. My absolute terror over the idea of this c-section (my first) probably also keeps me from getting to anxious about expelling this baby.

Kids: The kids are beyond excited to have a new brother to join them. Jack, even at 19 months when Charlie was born, was such a sweet, loving big brother. My guess is that Charlie will be a little scrappier than Jack insofar as his baby brother is concerned but Jack still has that same sweetness. He kisses my belly every morning and evening. I have no doubt he will be as gentle and loving as he was at 19 months. Probably even more so.

Charlie has been doing well on the TPN--he is gaining weight, which is an incredible thing to see. He has a lot more energy and, well, feisty-ness. We are adjusting to the TPN and hit our first hiccup today. Unfortunately, due to an error by our infusion company, we have to have his line replaced tomorrow. As much as the situation distresses me, we are lucky that nothing terrible happened (infection, etc.) as a result.

As brothers, these boys have been a hot mess lately. They are the closest of friends (with some squabbles mixed in) and have recently been getting into what seems to be a Sunday tradition of mischief. First it was a big mess in their bathroom, then it was a big mess in Charlie's hair (as a good friend reminded me, at least it didn't involve scissors). Here is a picture of some of their mischief (note the little boy hiding behind the toilet, knowing he is in trouble...):

New house!
We still own our house in Eugene and so we rent up here. Our lease is up at the end of May and we knew there was a possibility of the owner finding a job in the area and moving back. He did (which is great for he and his wife!) and so we have to move in May--just a month after having the baby. This has been stressing me out, especially because we didn't think we could really start looking for a place until April. Well, Jared had his eye on this one listing and 3 weeks ago, called on it even though we assumed no one would want to hold a rental for us until mid-May. The house was awesome, is in the neighborhood we would want to buy in and could possibly become a house we own in the future. The stars aligned and the owner was willing to hold it for us. So...we are excited for this new house (and long lease--no more moving for a while!). Less excited about moving. will work out.

May...well, May is going to be a very, very busy month. The baby is coming on or before April 9. We then have less than a month until I have to travel with Charlie and a newborn back to Cincinnati (while recovering from my first c-section) for a fun-filled week of invasive procedures. I am so hoping we get some answers and/or direction for Charlie out of this trip. We get back and 4 days later move to the new house. Woo-wee, it will be a crazy month. I'm just trying not to think too much about it.

That's about it going on around here (not that I really need anything more). As crazy and full as our lives are right now, it is not lost on me that we have had A LOT of prayers answered over the past couple of months. I read this quote recently and it really spoke to me:

"Never let go of hope. One day you will see that it all has finally come together. What you have always wished for has finally come to be. You will look back and laugh at what has passed and you will ask yourself "How did I get through all of that?"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Two weeks ago, we checked Charlie into the hospital to embark on our newest feeding adventure: TPN (total parenteral nutrition). This was the most difficult decision we have come to for him and one that is still causing me great anxiety. I did not anticipate the level of anxiety I would continue to have even after we learned the ins and outs and came home.

TPN is IV nutrition. Charlie is still receiving feeds through his jejunostomy tube but he is getting fed through an IV at night for supplementation. He wasn't getting enough calories through his j-tube and he when he was sick, it set him so far back that we were never able to make any progress and his nutritional status was suffering because of it (not to mention skin breakdown and pure misery for weeks surrounding any illness). TPN involves a central line. This can be placed in the chest or the arm but both go to the heart, versus a regular IV which is just in a vein. Charlie got a PICC line (in his arm) until we figure out whether this is going to be a long term solution or just a bridge. The primary risks with TPN are liver damage and, more importantly, sepsis and infection. Hence, my intense anxiety and paranoia surrounding this decision. Because the line is a direct connection to his heart, it must stay completely clean and dry. He has a dressing covering the site at all times, which is changed by a nurse once a week. We have to take a lot of precautions (forget living the "natural" life, we are now a household of alcohol swabs, Clorox wipes, and hand sanitizer) to ensure that we prepare his TPN bag in a sterile environment and fashion and minimize contamination when we hook up the IV at night. I've never been so paranoid about sterilization and hand sanitizing as I am now (I was never a mother who cleaned pacifiers after every fall on the floor). He gets labs taken every week and they monitor the formulation of the TPN carefully. This has certainly turned us upside down. One of us has to be here every night to prepare the TPN and hook him up, he can't be left with anyone other than us or a nurse (when TPN is running), fevers take on a whole new dimension, and we have to do all of this at a pretty specific time of night. So...basically, we are going to have to get creative with date nights at home. We are adjusting to our new normal and trying to take his cues instead of falling prey to our own insecurities and fears (one thing I've learned from parenting complex children is that we parents project a lot of our own issues on our are a lot more resilient than adults)--Charlie seems completely unbothered by this turn of events.

The good news? In 2 weeks, he has gained nearly 3 pounds! This is a major accomplishment for a guy who hadn't gained anything in 8 months.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Before I was a Parent...

Here is a short list of things I was never going let my kids do. No comment on how many (or all) of these happen in our house now that we actually have kids:

1. Watch TV, except maybe Sesame Street

2. Eat snacks before dinner

3. Co-sleep

4. Eat sugar cereal

5. Stay up past 8 pm

6. Have a DVD player in the car

7. Eat snacks in the car

8. Drink juice

9. Wear character-themed clothing

I used to be a super great parent. Then I had kids.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Feeding Tube Awareness Week and Other Stuff

This past week was Feeding Tube Awareness Week. Being a mother to two children with feedings tubes (and one of those children with two different feeding tubes at that!), feeding tube awareness is important to me. While a blessing that has allowed my children to thrive when their bodies couldn't otherwise, tube feeding has its hard days. It is hard to have holes, sometimes multiple holes, in your babies' bodies. It is hard to watch them be uncomfortable and suffer through infections and other complications that come with these tubes. It's hard to have your child want so badly to eat but not be able to. It's hard to not know what is around the corner or how long the tube will continue to work for your child. And, it is hard to have people stare. I've been abundantly lucky in this regard...mostly, people have been so good about asking us questions instead of staring (for the record, I never mind someone asking us about it...I am happy to educate. I do mind, however, when someone asks what is "wrong" with my kids). We've only had a few "ew grosses" from other kids. But there are those times when people say stupid (probably misguided and unintentional) things that sting. Like the time a woman said, well within earshot, what kind of mother makes her just-learning-to-walk baby wear a backpack. Those things are easy to let go when you have so many wonderful people, both real life friends and family and those I've become close with through internet groups and the like, support you so unfailingly. And show that support publicly through blog and Facebook posts. One of the biggest blessings that my childrens' disabilities is this entire world of friends that have opened up to me as a result of having kids with special needs. I've met some very dear friends in hospital playrooms and conferences and internet support groups. This week, I was especially humbled by the blog posts my sister and an internet friend wrote in support of Tube Feeding Awareness Week.

Anyway, in other news, things with the baby have been going well. Fetal monitoring has continued to show the baby is doing well. I hit 31 weeks today! Every Saturday that passes and he is still in is a success. However, today, we received some not-so-great news. It seems these days, it is just one thing after another. We own (and rent out) our house in Eugene and rent a home up here. The market is just too tough to sell our old house in and so we are just holding tight for now. Our lease here is up on June 1. We knew our landlord was looking for a job back in this area (they live several hours away) and that, upon lease expiration, would rent to us on a month-to-month basis. Well, he called today and told us that he found a job here and would be moving back into this house at our lease expiration. So...that means, this baby will be born sometime between now and the second week in April. I will, in all probability, be having a c-section due to the baby's position (which is highly unlikely to change). Then, since we had to put off our trip to Cincinnati for Charlie until May, we HAVE to go in May (putting off until then already was pushing it for Charlie). So...that means, c-section, baby born, trip to Cincinnnati for a week of invasive surgical procedures with a toddler and newborn in tow and then moving on top of all that. We can't begin to look for a house until about, it is going to be a VERY busy spring. I'm trying to not get overwhelmed and focus on the fact that I have 4 months to pack and organize in anticipation of this move. But...sheesh! Can we add anything more to our plates?