Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Confessions of a new mom

I'm feeling lame again, so here are my confessions.

1. Apparently I have forgotten about zippers. 9 months in prego panel/faux waist pants have totally erased 23 years of zipper pant experience. (Okay, not so much 9 months, as I was that girl who stupidly REFUSED to surrender to maternity well into second trimester I kicked myself in the ass when I realized how misguided I was. And when my OB told me to stop suffocating my fetus and to bench the Rock N Republics) Anyways, I've been out in public too many times when I've realized oops XYZ, the gates are open, gone fly fishing, airing the little lady. To make matters more humiliating, about 9 out of 10 times someone has had to tell me. I've been at dinner, the mall, the Autism conference with my pants undone.

2. The zipper dilemma doesn't end at my fly. Yesterday I was at the mall with my mom and Cade, feeling way cute in my short plaid dress (v. Taylor Swift, ruffles + plaid = rockin'). I'm in a store reaching for some designer hair product and my mom mumbles, laughs and zips me up. Turns out the dress had a side zipper from the armpit down to the waist. My left side (bra, ribs, love handle) was totally exposed. wtf? I have no explanation.

3. As I mentioned earlier, I was so anti-maternity clothes my first trimester. Now I can't get enough. Of course I'd love to be able to wear my same little cotton tees, but they're just not quite right yet. So I've been buying more in bigger sizes (mostly due to these HUGE nursing boobs, also for the remainder of my kangaroo pouch that refuses to shrink away. Rascally last 8 pounds, grr) On my weekly spree to Target I notice good ol' Liz Lange has some way cute shirts out for summer. So yes, I bought one. It fits kind of cute, kind of awkward. Oh well, can never have too many sleep shirts, right?

4. I'm obsessed with my baby. If I weren't his mother I might be arrested for the amount of time I spend obsessing about him. I carry around my camera even when he's not around so I can show off pics. The nail ladies today asked about him, bam! here are my favorite 16 pics ladies, you like? One lady asked "How is your baby?" My response: He's holding up his head, rolling over, can sit supported in his Bumbo, doing great with tummy time, doing this cute thing with his tongue... Obnoxious. Even more shameful, Nick will come home from work and I'll be on the laptop looking at pics of Cade on Picasa. THE KID IS SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO ME! And here I am, looking at his image on the computer. It's sick. I'm working on it.

5. I know nothing of the penis. Nothing. My parents told me not to whore around in college, but I'm thinking maybe I should have so I would have enough reference points to know what is normal. Diaper changes and bath time sometimes leave me a little worried. The penis likes to change appearance from day to day, hour to hour, I've found. A little tepid bath water can confuse a mommy. Gonna have to make this area Daddy Duty, I just can't be expected to deal with this. Nick thinks it's weird to have a man-to-man penis check with his son. I told him I'd be happy to take the job, but if we have a little girl one day that means he has to explain tampons.

Gotta do wardrobe checks and gather props for tomorrow's first family portrait day. Psycho mommy has been so busy ironing her own wardrobe she can't locate baby's little white polo.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

DOC band date!

Yesterday was awesome! Cade and I went to Northpark Mall (our favorite!) to have a lunch and stroller date with our friend Amy and her gorgeous baby girl, Audrey. It was so fun to catch up and chat about everything from marriage, to pregnancy, to DOC bands. I'm pretty sure other parents of infants want to know what secret they're missing out on with the helmets. The kids just looked so precious together. If only Cade had stayed awake for more than 5 minutes to enjoy his first date! Typical guy, making the girl do all the work.

Cade wanted to share his pink and purple star stickers with Audrey. (Going to have to work on those date social skills, Cade! Hello negative body language.)
Fighting sleep to check out the hottie in the next stroller.
It was a fun date, with mommies reminiscing about our first job together at Island's Burgers (head to southern Cali if you want to try some badass burgers, cheese fries, onion rings, & yaki tacos:) So funny that our memories all involved the sexy yet oh-so skanky brothers who worked with us and partying. Oh, how times have changed!

Cade had a fun night going out with Mommy & Crystal to Mi Cocina Legacy Village in the evening. I put on my heels and tried to look pretty as I pushed his stroller in to the fabulous west Plano crowd. Definitely got some strange looks. Howev, I'm not sure if it's b/c of the DOC band or because I had my stroller in the bar area as we waited for our table. Thankfully people moved and we got to sit in the proper lobby. I did decide not to push my stroller up to the bar to get my Corona Light while we waited. I thought it would be funny, but the popped-collar douchebags prob wouldn't want me taking up so much bar space with my Chicco travel system. Bygones. I will say that the stroller's cup holders did come in handy so I had a mini-table for my Corona as we waited for our table to be ready. (white trash?? naaah, not when you've got your bling heels on!)
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Can I get a what what!

Rockin' his stars, little rockstar!
I used clear backed scrapbooking stickers...never a fan of commitment, I know...
but it gives me flexibility to coordinate with his outfits.

Success!!! First time in the Bumbo today, all by himself! Could I be any prouder?
Why yes, yes I can be prouder... I was filling out his baby milestones calendar, supervising some tummy time whilst on the phone with a friend...and little man has pushed/crawled himself off of his lambie playmat. Fantastic developments today, buddy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We got the band today!

Today was our big day! We went to Cranial Tech and met our clinician and got the DOC band. I knew it would be lightweight, hello---it's a helmet for a baby!-- but I was so surprised at just how light it is. It feels like you're holding an egg. Literally my car keys outweigh it. I really like our clinician, he was so friendly and his own daughter had to wear a DOC band too. He answered all my questions and made me feel completely at ease and was so baby-friendly and sweet with Cade.

Cade didn't even notice he had the band on. He was a wee bit sweaty...okay, the kid's hair was totally wet when we took it off after just 10 minutes, but whatev. (No, he's not completely bald, but thanks for thinking it, jerkface!) Um, I'm totally in mommy advocate mode. I just HOPE some stranger makes a rude comment about my baby. I'm kind of excited about getting the chance to go off on them. Hey-- it's the special ed teacher in me. Always an advocate, but at school I have to keep it profesh. And usually the jerks making comments are 8 years old, so that puts the brakes on the whole "going off on their punk ass" thing.

Anyways, proof that Cade's personality has not been affected from 3 hours in the DOC band.

Izzy, however, is pretty protective of her little brother and this strange white plastic taking over his head. She would not leave his side tonight as he tried to get in some play time. Sniffing his whole head, kissing his head, cheeks, hands, toes... It was presh. She circled him all night: during feeding, playtime, cuddle time, and during our bedtime routine. I'm loving her maternal instincts, (about that--- sorry we got you fixed Izzer)! I'm so proud of you, sweet sweet fluffernut!

I did stop off at Hobby Lobby and invest in $30 worth of stickers and Modge Podge. Will keep you posted on how the decor goes. I don't want to crap it up, but just can't live with the plain white institutional look. You crafty Marthas out there, feel free to send me your ideas!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Mix Tape

I'm clearly in love. You know when you're infatuated with someone when they consume your every thought, every breath you take is for them, and when you want to make them a mix tape. (No, I'm not actually talking cassettes here, but mix tape is what it is, mix CD just doesn't sound the same or give it that innocent '80s appeal). If you don't know what I'm talking about, get thee to Blockbuster and rent High Fidelity. It's Nick & I's movie. I even watched it while in labor, and it was when I discovered the greatness of Jack Black AND was at the height of my crush with John Cusak. Go see it. Great little rom com.

To quote Rob (John Cusak's character): Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do's and don'ts. First of all you're using someone else's poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.

So when I was pregnant I started a list of songs that made me think of Cade, and after the first few months of knowing my little man and falling deeper in love, here it is. Mommy's Mix Tape for Cade.

1. Tim McGraw - It's your love - Sang this to him as his first lullaby his first night home from the hospital. Nick and I danced and cried by his crib and said "I can't believe we did it!"

2. Kenny Chesney - You Save Me - I love me some Kenny. I loved this song when were first talking about trying for a baby. It's for both my boys.

3. Darius Rucker - It Won't Be like this for longItalic - I first heard this song on my first solo outing with Cade, driving to Target. Cried all the way there, horomonal nightmare that I was. But I have to listen to it, and I love it because I can't take one second with him for granted.

4. - Feels like home to me - Nick put this on a mix tape for me when we were dating.

5. Aerosmith - Don't wanna miss a thing - I heard this song in the car right after the dr appointment where we heard Cade's heartbeat for the first time. The part of the song "Lying close to you, Feeling your heart beating, And I'm wondering what you're dreaming, Wondering if it's me you're seeing" was playing at that moment. I felt so connected to my baby, it was an awesome moment.

6. Rascal Flatts - My Wish - I wouldn't be a good mom if I didn't identify with this song. Reminds me of my mother in law, she's such a good mom.

7. Trace Adkins - You're Gonna miss this.

8. Elton John - Blessed - Nick and I danced to this as our last song at our wedding. Back then it symbolized the next step in our lives, starting our family. Now we're making that dream come true. (God, I'm a HUGE sap. HUGE)

9. Plain White Tees - 1, 2, 3, 4 - During early morning and middle of the night feedings I would watch this on VH1, it felt meant to be. Those quiet times when it felt like only the 2 of us were awake in this world was such a bonding moment... just me and Cade, and this sweet song.

10. Steve Holy - Good Morning Beautiful - Another song I heard when Cade and I were on one of our first outings together. I was grieving for my grandmother, this song came on, and I realized that I had a beautiful boy and a beautiful reason to keep on and appreciate life. Every day waking up to him is a beautiful day.

In my mind Cade will take these songs with him on his first campout, to college, and maybe we'll dance to one of them at his wedding one day. Just so long as he knows that his mommy loves him. Lesson: You're never too old to make a mix tape.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Aw, man!

It sucks to wake up at home the first day after you've gotten back from a vacation. Today however, I was so glad to be at home and have all my usual baby equipment around me. Crib, changing table, Boppy pillow, swing, bouncer, play gym, ahhh! The feeling didn't last long.

I realized we had double dr appoinments today. First stop, pediatrician for part 2 of 2 month old vaccinations. I don't truly buy into the philosophy that vaccinations cause Autism, but I chose to break them up because I do believe that my newborn doesn't need 6 vaccinations at once. Cade is hilarious, by the way, when he gets a shot. He has Binks in his mouth every time to soothe himself. He is cool when he is getting the shot, then 2 second later his face turns red and he scrunches into frown-mode, and starts with a little cry. When I tell him he's got a cool band-aid he immediately stops. This strategy has only been tested once, but it's 2 for 2:) Hims proud of his Tweety Bird daisy band-aid!

Dr. Appt #2 was at Cranial Technologies for his DOC band fitting. I was pretty pumped to see the cool digital imaging stocking they'd put on his head to capture measurements and make the cast of his head. I got Cade down to his diaper, played with him while we waited for the clinicians to come get us, then my bubble was officially burst. The kind lady showed me the stocking, which looks like a white pair of women's hose, and she explained that it literally would go over his whole head and face. WTF?! Over his face?! She said he could have his binky in his mouth while he was in the stocking, thank God! But that did not prepare me for seeing my child mummified. They took him away from me and put him on a stool (propping him up of course) and sang to him and talked to him while a huge horseshoe apparatus of digital cameras snapped away various angles of his head.

It was all over soon and Cade did awesome, totally nowhere near as disturbed, distressed, or otherwise as tramautized as I was. All he wanted was lunch! Like Mommy like son, give us food and we're happy campers.

Now we've got to wait one week for the helmet to come in custom-made from Arizona. In the meantime I'm loving seeing his new downy-soft blonde hair and- finally!- cradle cap free head.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mama Bitch

(Original title: Mama Bear, but listening to "soothing" music while on hold with insurance company facilitated my edit)

You know some days you wake up, read the horoscope, and wonder to yourself "WTF is that supposed to mean?" You make some predictions in your head and you go about your day. Then, like Matt Lauer hitting the deer, BAM! It hits you and you think "Right on, Google horoscope guru!" (This hold music is taking forever...hence my long intro)

I was informed today by Cranial Technologies that my insurance, Cigna, has a fancy little EXCLUSION on it that allows them to deny coverage for Cade's $3,600 Dynamic Orthotic Cranioplasty (DOC band). I was warned by parent groups online that insurance carriers have a tendency to dub plagiocephaly/brachycephaly (yup, Cade's got a dual diagnosis) as a cosmetic procedure. I haven't heard those 2 words uttered by Cigna reps on the phone yet (again, still holding). Instead they are saying that they will only cover the DOC band and therapy AFTER my newborn has skull surgery. Um, wtf?

One would think that a $3,600 head mold and weekly therapy (included in cost at Cranial Technologies, making it stand out as the better choice among every plagio support group online) would be cheaper for the insurance company. As one parent on a support site puts it, "It seems my insurance company would allow me to break my child's skull, then they'd cover the therapy. It's criminal and illogical."

Putting aside the whole "cosmetic" argument (obviously you don't want your baby to have a deformed head, assymetrical eyes and cheek bones, ears, and ears that protrude), how can they say it's not medically necessary? I don't need to convince you, my online friends, but the clinicians and multiple sites I've researched state that untreated plagiocephaly can lead to migraines, ear infections, sinus infections, TMJ, and for sporting helmets to not fit in later childhood and adulthood. It's crystal clear to this Mama Bear!

(Finally off hold, the fine lady at Cigna acted like she's never heard of this before, when the first rep I talked to completely knew the cranial

My next step is to get my pediatrician to call in a pre-authorization and send a letter of medical necessity. Turns out the nurse just told me that they already have these form letters ready to go for the various insurance agencies that turn it down. Positional plagiocephaly (caused by external forces such as crib beds putting pressure on the skull causing it to flatten in places) is on the rise 60% since the Back to Sleep campaign to put babies to sleep on their backs to avoid SIDS. The pediatricians are aware and mine was on her game when she started giving me repositioning tips to avoid flattening from month 1...If only the insurance groups would catch on. It's sick and horrible that insurance companies make you jump through hoops to get this coverage, when other parents may not take the time to fight for it and their child doesn't get the orthotic and therapy.

** You know, one parent online said that she'd rather pay the $3600 for the DOC band than buy a headstone for another child she could have lost to SIDS. ** It breaks my heart that you try your best to do right by your child and people have to stand in the way.

Here's the horoscope I referenced at the beginning of this entry.

"You might feel as if you are the only one who can clearly see what's happening today. This may encourage your stubbornness as you attempt to navigate yourself and others through a complex minefield of obstacles, some real and others imagined. But you could make a crucial error in your thinking if you start out with the assumption that everyone else is wrong. Incorporating multiple points of view into your perspective will strengthen the foundations you are now building."

As always, when faced with a tough situation I'm going to do my research, get it all organized, color-coded, whatever I need to do and be my own lawyer and fight for what's right. Watch out, world....Mama Bitch is ON!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Plagio Baby

Well, well, well.... the day no Momma wants to experience came and I managed to keep living.

Back story: About 3 weeks old, I had crazy freak out day way back, when I was feeding Cade and saw that one ear looked different than the other. I drove him up to my mom's school and had her nurse and coworkers check him out. At the time I thought maybe there was an ear infection. At his month check up I asked the dr about one side of his head that seemed a little flatter. The pediatrician recommended switching sides of the crib when I put him down at night. At his second month check-up she was a bit more concerned about his head shape and recommended being more aggressive about his positioning when laying down or sitting to keep him off his right side. I moved his swing, bought a special Boppy Noggin Nest pillow, and used a rolled receiving blanket to position his head in his crib.

Back to present. On Wednesday we had a consultation appt at Cranial Technologies. They took several pictures from various angles of his head and face. They measured his head and did some neck stretches and diagnosed him with plagiocephaly. Definition: "a malformation of the head marked by an oblique slant to the main axis of the skull." AKA "Flat head syndrome"........Um, did someone use "syndrome" and my baby's name in the same sentence??

It's Greek to me! Plagio = oblique,cephale = head..Check out this image from According to the site & experts, external forces put pressure on the soft plates in an infant's head, causing them to flatten out on the preferred side.

I've seen babies in helmets before. And no, for the record, I'm not an asshole who thinks the baby is clumsy, the mom drops her kid, or whatev else ignorant fools must think. Okay, I was semi-ignorant and thought the helmet was for a cosmetic issue. I understood. Nobody wants a baby conehead. I went to school with some coneheads and while we didn't tease them, we noticed Oblong Ollie and Elliptical Eddie. kidding.

Turns out plagiocephaly/flat head occurs during utero OR (as my pediatrician says) happy, big headed babies have a preference for one side. Yep, that would be my kid. 90th percentile in head size and happy as hell. The kid knows what he wants, and it's to look at the world over his right shoulder.

I'm camo-ing my feelings by being blase. It's because I want to cry at the irrational mommy thoughts "Does his flat head hurt him? Will the helmet be hot? Will people stop complimenting my gorgeous sweet angel baby? How long will he actually need to be in it? I hope Nick doesn't make it into a Nebraska helmet! Will insurance pay? Arggh!" This is a problem though... Medically having a flat side to your head means that the other side of your head is pushed out. It can result in malformation of the ear tubes, sinuses, jaw, etc. The pictures of him show that the round side of his head is stretching one eye, causing it to be more slanted than the other. (Mommy didn't cheat with the Asian milkman either!...okay, sick joke..I do that when I'm uncomfortable)

So, the clinician predicts that Cade will need to be in a band-style helmet about 8-12 weeks. DOC band, to be precise... there are several types out there. DOC is pretty well rated by parents, and FDA approved as a Class II orthotic. It's a 6 oz plastic shell lined with foam that is custom-fit to each baby. To get fitted apparently Cade gets to be pretty high-tech. There's a head stocking that stretches over his head, takes measurements, and sends it digitally to a printer that prints a 3-D "headsicle" (head on a stick) by which his orthotic will be molded. (imagine the technology Angelina used to get digitized for TombRaider). Hopefully digital Cade is just as cute as real Cade.
Right now we're waiting to see what craptastic teacher insurance will pay for. It's $3,600 for the helmet and the weekly, yes weekly, therapy appointments. (Cade will be evaluated for torticollis-- basically a tight, malformed neck muscle that makes it more comfy for babies to have their chin angled towards one shoulder) After the fitting it will take 2 more weeks for the helmet to made in fabulous Arizona, then he begins his journey towards round head mecca.
I'm hoping the journey is short & sweet & successful! I'm currently searching for cool ways to decorate the helmet. Again, we must not leave it to Daddy lest we have an Aggie baby in a Nebraska helmet. And everyone knows, red and marroon are just wrooonggg.

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