Hi Teacher, My Son has Special Needs

Hi Teacher, My Son has Special Needs.

C is starting 3k on January 5! He’ll be in school three mornings per week. Those mornings conflict with the group therapies he has attended since February, adding to my anxiety about his transition. We’re excited for him and nervous about the new environment. I think he will *love* school. I think. I hope.

Continue Reading...

5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Moving in the Winter

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them. I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Moving in the Winter

Winter can get long and dreary, especially for our kids who are usually stuck indoors. We need to get creative to expend that energy we so easily use outdoors in warmer weather. It’s so much easier to go for a walk or a trip to the park in the summer! Exercise is great for our bodies and our minds. Here are five ways to keep your kids moving in the winter:

Continue Reading...

5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays with a Tubie

Disclosure: I received product from Orgain for sampling purposes. I am also an affiliate for Real Food Blends. I’m including these products below because C has used them and I believe in the mission of both of these companies.

5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays with a Tubie #LittleMamaJama

Stress runs high during the holidays! When you have a child with special needs, packing, traveling and attending holiday events can be even more stressful. When I’m packing my tubie’s supplies, I will admit to thinking that it would be easier to just stay at home! Here are five tips to avoid that feeling this season:

Continue Reading...

The Holidays Then & Now

The Holidays Then & Now

There was something about the holidays that was magical. The snow falling softly. The warm cup of coffee in hand as we critiqued neighborhood Christmas lights. The gatherings of friends and family.

I have to say, the holidays no longer feel magical. I think a lot of the “magic” of life is gone now. These days, my world revolves primarily around C’s health, therapy and feedings. Everything else just kind of…happens.

Continue Reading...

C’s Organic Blended G-Tube Diet

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links and I would make a little money if you made a purchase after clicking on them. C has this organic blended diet habit that I need to support!

C has always had difficulties with food, and I wanted what little food he would eat to be the best food I could afford to offer him. I started buying organic snacks for him when he was little. When he had his g-tube placed at age 2, he was put on Pediasure. Four bottles of Pediasure per day through his tube. I was mortified by how much sugar he was getting, but I felt helpless because he needed those calories to gain weight and catch up on growth.

Continue Reading...

A Little Grace

Friends, I need a little grace right now.

I may look at your message, only to be interrupted before I am able to reply.

I may not be able to answer your call, because C is acting out.

I may forget something that you asked me to do, because my mind is racing with therapy ideas and tasks.

Continue Reading...

SPD, Boundaries and Sleep

SPD, Boundaries and Sleep #LittleMamaJama

It’s often said that children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) have difficulty with boundaries. They may seek input and, not knowing exactly where their bodies are in space, not be aware of that “personal bubble” that most people respect. They also struggle with sleep issues. Sleep problems combined with boundary issues make for a lot of long nights!

Continue Reading...

Challenge: 100 ounces of water daily. Drink mixes help me do it! #PlatinumPoints #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Challenging myself to go grain-free until Thanksgiving was one thing, but drinking 100 ounces of water daily? That has been my real challenge. As much as I love water, I get bored. Drink mixes have helped me keep things interesting while still achieving my health goals.

Continue Reading...

4 Reasons I am Happier After Surviving Mental Illness

4 Reasons I am Happier After Surviving Mental Illness #LittleMamaJama

It was eight months after I had my first child before I realized that the “new” me was actually sick. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD). Antidepressants and talk therapy brought me back from the abyss. I later realized that I also suffered from postpartum anxiety (PPA) and postpartum OCD (PPOCD). When we decided we wanted a second child, I talked to a therapist and a psychiatrist about it. We had a plan. It’s a good thing we did, because at 34 weeks I was dealing with intrusive thoughts that were increasing in severity. I went back on antidepressants and this time I was able to function and enjoy my baby when she arrived.

Continue Reading...

C’s Big News

It was a typical day at C’s weekly therapy for sensory processing disorder. We saw his occupational therapist and speech therapist today. The only difference was Hubster joining me on his day off. Oh, and C’s therapists think he can go down to one appointment per month instead of one per week.

Continue Reading...

Baby Jo wants to help tube feed her big brother.

My Baby Jo is tender-hearted, always thinking about the people she loves. C mentions that he’s thirsty and she runs to find his water. I say it’s time to go and she gets everyone’s shoes out of the closet.

For as long as she can remember, she has witnessed us tube feeding C. Three or four times each day, we gather his syringes and medications, hook up the extension and start pouring his blended food into the syringe. My sweet 17-month-old daughter wanted to help me tube feed her big brother tonight.

Continue Reading...

My son, we’ve come so far.

As you reached over and pulled me into a tight hug at bedtime, I held you close and realized how well you are doing. I no longer hug you tightly and only feel bones. Your hands have a little more padding to them. There’s a layer – albeit tiny – of body fat between my hand and your ribs. You are growing taller every day, reaching new heights and forcing us to put certain items higher to keep them out of reach.

Continue Reading...

The Day I Became a Fierce Half-Marathoner

I signed up for my first half marathon when I completed my first 10k in June. After completing that race and crossing it off my 30 Before 30 list, I felt on top of the world. I wanted to give myself a new challenge – something I never imagined I’d be able to do. Hubster required a little convincing, but we signed up together and the date was set.

Continue Reading...

C Gets an MRI

When the EEG with video monitoring revealed abnormal activity in two parts of his brain last month, C’s neurologist ordered an MRI to check for structural abnormalities. He came down with the cold that wouldn’t stop and we rescheduled twice, but he finally had that MRI on Monday morning! As usual, he handled it like a champ.

Continue Reading...

The Clarity of Bedtime

Bedtime provides clarity on difficult days with our #spd toddler #specialneeds #LittleMamaJama

The tension in his little body is visible. I know it is going to be a difficult day. Today, he will be aggressive. It will be difficult for him to follow direction, because auditory processing will not be easy. Motor planning will be harder today so I expect him to run into his sister, body slam me, and roll around on the floor in frustration.

Continue Reading...

Abnormal EEG without seizures

I sat here staring at the blinking cursor for several minutes, realizing that even after a nap I am having a difficult time processing all of this. I barely slept last night as I kept vigil over C’s bedside. Every time he spasmed or twitched, I pressed that little button that they told me to press. I was nervous about going to sleep and missing anything. C’s pediatric neurologist came in this morning and gave us the report: it was an abnormal EEG without seizures.

Continue Reading...

Another August, Another Hospitalization

Disclosure: This post includes an affiliate link. Any proceeds made from this link goes to our son’s continued medical care.

This time last year, C had been in the hospital for a few days to receive a NG tube. Then he went back two weeks later for surgical G-tube placement.

Continue Reading...

Tubie Hack: Make Syringes Last Longer

#Tubie Pro Tip getting most use out of syringes

When C got his tube, I was shocked by the cost of home medical supplies. Our medical supplier recently changed the types of syringes they use and instead of being able to stretch one 60 mL syringe out for 3-4 days, they were only lasting 1-2 days. I was a little desperate to come up with a hack.

Continue Reading...

Traveling Down the Neurology Path

Toddler with Cars suitcase

It took me by surprise when they found abnormal brain activity during C’s sleep study in March. We were there to see why he wasn’t sleeping at night, thinking that it was related to tonsils or adenoids. The tonsils and adenoids were okay, but the abnormal brain activity was alarming. Apparently, it’s the type that is normal in 20 percent of people who experience it. I had a gut feeling that my C wasn’t in that 20 percent. We proceeded with an EEG in April. Those results were normal. Despite capturing some of his staring episodes on video, his pediatrician instructed us to wait and see. Should the episodes become more frequent, we would pursue further testing.

Continue Reading...

Real Food Blends for my Tubie!

Disclosure: I received product from Real Food Blends in exchange for this review. The links in this post are affiliate links. The thoughts and opinions below are entirely my own.

Real Food Blends for Tubies

“One option is going to be a tube.”

Those words from C’s pediatric GI doctor took me by surprise. I knew my two-year-old was small. I knew he had severe feeding problems. I never imagined what life would have in store for us. Last year, C had a g-tube surgically placed and we started giving him four bottles of formula each day. His behavior was erratic. I noticed sugar highs and lows. I knew there had to be a better way to nourish him than to make him go through sugar crashes and fill him with artificial ingredients.

Continue Reading...

The first anniversary of the feeding tube approaches

It was this time last year when we first met with a pediatric GI doctor. They broke the news to us that C had fallen off the bottom of the BMI chart. Feeding therapy was the plan, a g-tube was only mentioned as the worst case scenario. The thought of a feeding tube for my toddler was terrifying.

Continue Reading...

Wondering what the future holds for my special needs child

What does the future hold for my special needs son?

I know that I spend too much time thinking about the future. I just can’t help but wonder what the future holds for my special needs son.

When C has difficulty listening to directions, I wonder how things will go for him in school. Language and auditory processing is difficult for him with his sensory processing disorder. I wonder how he will handle the pace of a classroom. What extracurricular activities will he be involved in? Will he be able to keep up with directions? Will he process language and turn it into a motor plan quickly enough to participate in his favorite sports? I pray that he won’t be bullied for being slower with processing. The thought of it alone shatters my heart into a million pieces.

Continue Reading...

(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Vacation Prep Starts Early! #tubie #gtube

We’re 10 months into this g-tube life, and I’m getting smarter about everything. I’ve started preparing now for our vacation that starts on Sunday! So far I’ve made 8 of the 18 feeds that C will need while Hubster and I are away. Doing a little at a time takes the pressure off instead of food prep turning into a 4-hour affair the night before vacation!

Continue Reading...

My Son is Different

My son is different #sensoryprocessingdisorder

Today I had the crushing realization that my son is different.

No, I’m not delusional. I’m reminded that he is different 3-4 times each day when I administer his tube feedings, every week at his OT and speech therapy for sensory processing disorder, whenever I schedule his listening therapy into our day, and when I glance at the counter and see the stacks of syringes and extensions.

Continue Reading...

The moment during my son’s therapy that I realized I also have SPD.

C has been having individual occupational therapy sessions for his SPD for two weeks with the same therapist that led his group sensorimotor therapy that he enjoyed since February. His speech therapy was finally approved, too, so we can address his language processing and feeding needs. He had his first session with both of them together this week. Things went quite well. They pushed him and he rose to the challenge. He was close to going over the edge at one point.

Continue Reading...

My 10k Training Post-Run Routine Includes Iced Tea #BrewItUp #BrewOverIce #shop

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.  I am also participating in a contest as an additional aspect of this campaign. #BrewItUp #BrewOverIce #CollectiveBias

Continue Reading...

Checking In: C’s Health

Toddler C gets his EEG
The last detailed update that I gave you all about C’s health was when he had an EEG done to look further into the brain activity that was picked up during his sleep study. I didn’t update you on the results because I was a little confused by them. The EEG was normal; however, I showed a few videos of C’s episodes to his pediatrician. The pediatrician said that if he didn’t have a normal EEG, he would order one based on the videos. He recommended waiting to see if these episodes continued or started to occur more frequently. If so, then we’d look into a longer-term EEG and he’d have to stay in the hospital for it. If not, then we can just move forward. I haven’t noticed any changes in the past month.

Continue Reading...

I’m Starting a Juice Fast

Why would you juice fast? That’s kind of crazy! Well…I used to think it was a little crazy. Then I watched documentaries like Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, realized how much better I was feeling as I increased my vegetable intake, and remembered how much juicing aided in my healing process when I was very ill with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) as a teen. The influx of vitamins readily absorbed by your body, the cleansing process on a cellular level, the detoxification of every part of your body – I decided it was worth it. I want a fresh start!

Continue Reading...

Checking In: 10k Training

I started writing this post early this morning. I was halfway done and naturally I didn’t save it before my site went down. Because it’s Monday, so of course right?! ;) Let’s try this again, Monday!

Even with three weeks off of 10k training, I picked it right back up last week and things have been going well. My long run last week was 4.5 miles. I had a power snack when I was done, lots of water and some Arnica tablets. I was very sore that day and quite sore the next day, too. This week’s long run was 5 miles and it went much better than I expected. I battled major soreness during the first mile and thought, “There’s no WAY I’m going to make it five miles!”

Continue Reading...

I’m Never Giving Up on the She Sweats Transformation

It’s been six weeks since I told you I was starting the She Sweats 12-Week Transformation. I should be giving you a six-week update, but instead I’m looking at my calendar that only has the first two weeks checked off.

I could tell you that I failed. I could make excuses about why I missed four weeks of workouts. The truth? Life happened. C got a stomach bug that lasted over a week and turned into getting IV hydration. He had an EEG. We moved. The kids had their first joint birthday party just two weeks after we moved into our new apartment. The daily grind of special needs parenting continued.

Continue Reading...

Let’s support the Body Image Movement. How “Embrace” documentary will create global change. #IHaveEmbraced

Taryn Brumfitt is a woman with a mission. You may have seen her atypical “before” and “after” images circulating the web. Her Body Image Movement perpetuates her message of love and acceptance. It’s time for women to love and accept themselves for who they are. She asked 100 women to describe their bodies in one word. Many of them replied with a negative word and several of them said, “Disgusting.” You’ll see in this video that the women who are calling themselves “fat” or “disgusting” are beautiful, unique individuals. I cringed hearing them talk about themselves that way. Then I realized that I think those same things about myself. Do you?

Continue Reading...

Natural, DIY Borax-Free Laundry Detergent

Borax-Free Homemade Laundry Soap #DIY #natural #nontoxic

You all may have thought I boarded the crazy train when I made my own natural toothpaste. Maybe this is even “crunchier” for you, maybe less so. I made my own natural, DIY borax-free laundry detergent this week! I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but I kept putting it off because I thought it would be a lot of hard work. Making my own laundry soap was actually really easy.

Continue Reading...

5 Ways to Prepare Your Body for Allergy Season #NaturalProbiotic #shop

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. This post is not a healthcare professional’s opinion. All opinions are my own. #NaturalProbiotic

Continue Reading...

It’s Time to Let Go of the Fear

On Biloxi, MS beach

My whole life was ahead of me in 2008. I owe it to her to let go of my fears and really live to my fullest potential.

There’s something that I am afraid of. I’m not talking about roller coasters or spiders (*flails wildly*), I’m talking about failure.

Continue Reading...

(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Weekend Visits to the ER

Things are never dull at the Novotny household. Sometimes I wish things were a little less interesting, actually. Last Saturday, C was up vomiting every 20 minutes throughout the night. The entire week last week was a saga (aka very long story that I don’t care to dive into!) of trying to get him hydrated just for him to start vomiting again so we could start at square one. On Friday night we ended up at the ER. That visit was a gigantic waste of time and we ended up back on Saturday night, when he got an IV. Here’s my brave little trooper and our silly baby who is very happy to be in Daddy’s arms. :)

Continue Reading...

What I Haven’t Told You: C’s Sleep Study Results

Three weeks have passed since C had his sleep study done at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. It doesn’t feel like it could have been that long ago, yet this time has been filled with shock, stress and uncertainty. I haven’t told you about C’s sleep study results because I’ve been having a difficult time processing it.

Continue Reading...

Climb Out of the Darkness for Postpartum Progress with Team Green Bay!


Each year, 1 in 7 women face maternal mental illness. That is a staggering statistic. In my personal experience, I’ve learned that once you face maternal mental illness once, you’re more likely to experience it again. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression nearly eight months after C was born. I fell through the cracks the first time. My OBGYN only asked me if I was “feeling depressed” at my 6-week appointment. There is so much more to depression than feeling depressed.

Continue Reading...

Non-Toxic DIY Toothpaste

Ever since all of C’s medical issues began, I’ve been on a mission to eradicate toxins in our household. Food, laundry, household and personal products…chemicals and toxins are hidden everywhere. Recently, upon C’s seventh request to brush his teeth that day, I realized that there are probably a lot of unwanted ingredients in our toothpastes.

Continue Reading...

I’m Taking the She Sweats Summer Challenge!

After many months of fighting a postpartum mood disorder and having my antidepressant turn me into a human inflatable, I am very excited to announce that I am starting the She Sweats Summer Challenge through He and She Eat Clean! The Summer Challenge is 16 weeks long. I’ll start with the She Sweats 12-Week Transformation and follow it with the Extreme 4-Week Shred.

Continue Reading...

C finally had his sleep study!

Ready for C's Sleep Study

In the waiting room, ready to be called in for the sleep study!

This sleep study was originally scheduled for January, was denied by our insurance company, we took it through the grievance process, won, and rescheduled a couple times because C kept getting sick. It finally happened earlier this week! I was pretty anxious about it. With C’s sensory processing disorder, he hates having anything on his face or head. Well…they had to stick a ton of monitors and electrodes all over his face, head and body.

Continue Reading...

C’s Blended Diet is Changing His Life

I belong to a few Facebook groups for parents of tubies, kids with severe feeding challenges and blended diets. One mother posted a picture of her son’s new Blendtec blender with hope that a new blended diet will benefit her son. I commented that the blended diet is changing my son’s life. Then I sat back for a moment and let those words really sink in.

Continue Reading...

Down to Zero: Round Two

Here we go, here we go! Down to zero!

After working with my psychiatrist to taper off of my antidepressant, I finally went down to zero again last week. I anticipated the withdrawal and am relieved to report that it has been much easier than last time, when I came off of Effexor. That doesn’t mean it has been easy.

Continue Reading...

Taking Control of my Children’s Diets

“Shake, Mommy? I drink shake!”

We’ve switched C’s diet from 3.5 cans of Pediasure each day through his gtube to a blended diet of mostly organic whole foods. He still asks me if he can drink a “shake” sometimes. I cringe every time, because now it’s even more apparent what that influx of sugar does to him. Within an hour, his behavior is completely out of control. He runs wild, unsure what to do with himself. It results in outbursts, hurting his sister and me, and throwing tantrums. The crazy thing – he used to be like that ALL THE TIME. It was all that Pediasure and sugar coursing through him. Eek.

Continue Reading...

It’s Amazing What Real Food Can Do

It's Amazing What Real Food Can Do for a #tubie

It’s been about a month now since C switched from Pediasure to a blenderized, whole foods diet. I’ve seen tremendous changes in him. Cognitively, behaviorally and physically, he is truly thriving.

  • His nails are growing faster than I can keep up with trimming.
  • His hair seems to get thicker every day.
  • His muscle tone has improved and he is more willing to utilize his core muscles by crawling on the floor with his sister.
  • I’ve had to let out his adjustable waistband a few times.
  • When I pick him up, he feels more solid than before.
  • He is no longer experiencing sugar crashes shortly after every tube feed.
  • He throws fewer tantrums.
  • He is more willing to approach new foods, sometimes even putting them in his mouth.
  • His vocabulary expands daily. His ability to put multiple sentences together is blowing me away!

I could not be happier with these improvements. I finally feel like I’m giving my boy the best nutritional advantage that I can; and honestly, it’s the first time in his life that I’m feeling that way. Before the tube, it was exasperation and stress that he was not eating. After the tube, I was uncomfortable with the amount of sugar calories he was receiving but worried about his progress on the growth charts. Now I am relaxed, pleased with the quality food that he is getting, and able to focus on his therapy and progress.

Continue Reading...

The Time I Left My Psychiatrist’s Office More Depressed Than When I Went In

I finally, finally had an appointment with my psychiatrist today. The office kept scheduling me for days he had off. I was originally supposed to see him in October. Ha! Anyway, I’ve been wanting to get off of Zoloft. Baby Jo is nearly 10 months old and I’m feeling like I’d be perfectly stable without the meds I started when I was 34 weeks pregnant with her. It’s also been making me gain weight like none other and I am DONE with that business.

Continue Reading...

The Blenderized Diet

It’s been about two weeks now since we started C on a blenderized diet of whole foods through his g-tube. He had previously been on 3.5 cans of Pediasure each day, which meant he was getting 63 grams of sugar poured directly into his body daily. That didn’t sit well with me for multiple reasons and now that he wasn’t in a dangerous place with his body weight, we made the decision to take control of his diet.

Continue Reading...

Celebrating Feeding Tube Awareness Week with my Tubie!

Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2014

One year ago, I never would have considered the possibility that C would have a feeding tube. I was mortified when it was mentioned as a possibility in July 2013. The thought that my child had such severe feeding challenges that he would require a tube to be surgically placed in order to sustain him…it was overwhelming.

Continue Reading...

Our Decisions for C After Birth to Three

C researching therapy options

The last few months have been filled with SO MANY DECISIONS. Yes, sometimes I felt like life was screaming at me to make all of them. I was stressed about doing the right thing, making the right choices, putting C on the right path. I was feeling a lot of pressure on my shoulders.

Continue Reading...

It’s Never Too Late to Start!

One of my goals for 2014 is to run 500 miles, either outdoors (when this Wisconsin weather warms up!) or on my elliptical. Yesterday, I found myself turning the calendar over to February and realized that I was still at 0/500. It was time to get on it!

Continue Reading...

Taking a Natural Probiotic as Part of a Healthy Routine #shop #cbias

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

Taking a Natural Probiotic as part of a healthy routine #NaturalProbiotic #shop #cbias

We’ve been on a gradual quest for a healthy lifestyle, and the start of a new year is always a great time to make small corrections and set new goals. In the past, I’ve put a large emphasis on exercise. That’s fantastic, but there’s more to wellness than just working out. This year I’m focusing on internal health and wellness, too. We went to Hy-Vee and picked up a doctor recommended natural probiotic to promote digestive system balance.

Continue Reading...

The Feeding Clinic, Sensory Processing Disorder, and the Blenderized Diet

Take C to the feeding clinic, they said. It’s the best place for him, they said.

If he doesn’t sit at the table, don’t give him food at all, the feeding clinic said. He must not leave the table until he touches the food to his lips, they said.

Continue Reading...

Sometimes You Just Need to Cry

The kids have been sick all week. Baby Jo had her cold for so long that C and I came down with it again. When they’re sick, they are super whiny, clingy and jealous of each other. If I’m holding one, the other is crying. They pull at me all day long. C’s SPD is out of control when he’s sick. It makes for very long, very loud, very stressful days.

Continue Reading...

The G-Tube Life: Our Little Pharmacy

Sometimes I look at our kitchen countertop, littered with syringes and medicines, and think it looks like we’re running a little pharmacy around here. Erythromycin for gastroparesis, cyproheptadine for appetite stimulant, ranitidine for reflux, and inhalers to experiment with his nighttime cough. It’s all for our sweet little tubie.

Continue Reading...

Weight Gain From Antidepressants and Adjusting to the Body Image Consequences

I make no secret of the fact that I took antidepressants for PPD/PPA/PPOCD when C was a baby, and I chose to start them again at the end of my pregnancy with Baby Jo. There’s a dark side to my experience with them that I haven’t shared before, because it’s caused me much frustration and embarrassment. This second time around, one of my side effects has been weight gain.

Continue Reading...

The G-Tube Catch 22

When C had his g-tube placed in August, survival and necessity were at the forefront of my mind. It has certainly been a blessing. He is now safely on the charts for BMI, head circumference, height and weight. He’s wearing clothes two sizes bigger, his hair is thicker and I need to trim his nails often. I have no doubt that he needed the g-tube; but like anything, there are drawbacks to having a feeding tube.

Continue Reading...

HMOs are great unless you’re sick.

Hubster works for the state and we have some pretty awesome insurance benefits…or so I thought. All of our preventative care is covered, we have a pretty low deductible, and a great coinsurance rate. I’ve discovered that not everything is rainbows and butterflies – we just got a heaping dose of that stuff that hits the fan.

Continue Reading...

Monday Inspiration: Don’t Be Discouraged

Ever have one of those mantras that you really need to take to heart? Here’s one of mine.

Dont be discouraged

Words that shouldn’t be in my 2-year-old’s vocabulary: medicine, doctors, and tubes.

Tuesday marked another day spent at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. We started the morning in ENT, where we discussed the neck x-ray that had revealed enlarged tonsils and adenoids. The second appointment involved a GI nurse burning off granulation tissue around C’s g-tube. He’s been through that process more times than I can remember but, as you might imagine, having your skin burned off is highly unpleasant. I’m pretty sure every child in the waiting room was thinking, “DON’T TAKE ME IN THERE!” Our day ended with the feeding team psychologist. We were given more suggestions and tips about how to encourage C’s exploration of different varieties of food.

Continue Reading...

“Tummy Hurt.”

I think this may have all been a little easier before C was able to articulate things. Last night I noticed that there was fluid leaking around his g-tube button, which meant that I needed to add 1-2 ml of water to the balloon for a tighter fit. He squirmed and whined as I tightened the fit of the g-tube button.

Continue Reading...

Weaning off of Zoloft

Here we go again! I’ve decided to wean off of my SSRI that I’ve been taking for postpartum depression. I started taking Zoloft when I was about 34 weeks pregnant with Baby Jo, because I was experiencing intrusive thoughts and anxiety reminiscent of the PPD I experienced with C. I was put on 100mg, and it helped a lot but it also gave me weird side effects. It makes me sweat, randomly and profusely. Night sweats, day sweats, all the time.

Continue Reading...

It’s Day One!

I started the She Sweats 12-Week Transformation (At-Home) today! I’m excited to get this program started. It’s broken down into five phases to promote muscle growth. In addition to that, I’ve started another Whole 30 journey!

So really, it’s Day One for a couple of life-changing things. After realizing that I’ve been floundering under a mountain of stress and haven’t been taking time to take care of myself, I decided that it’s time. It’s time to make the time for myself.

Continue Reading...

GMO Labeling is Important for Consumers

In only a few weeks, voters in the state of Washington will be deciding the fate of the GMO labeling initiative in their state. If I lived in Washington, I’d be emphatically voting yes on I-522.

I tend to think that an educated consumer is a healthier consumer. While my refrigerator is admittedly not stocked with all organic items, I do care strongly about what is going into my family’s mouths. I seek out the best snacks for C. He is primarily tube fed now, but my aim is that what he does put in his mouth is free of pesticides and GMOs. Personally, GMO labeling would make my goal much easier.

Continue Reading...

We Have a Diagnosis!

C gastric emptying study

On Tuesday, C had a gastric emptying test done at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Delayed gastric emptying is something that several of you mentioned to me as a possibility. I did some research, pushed to switch doctors, insisted on the test, and – lo and behold – C has delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis)!

Continue Reading...

Small Bumps in the Road: C’s Latest GI Appointment

C had a follow-up appointment yesterday at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin GI Clinic. Thankfully, we were able to transfer back to his original GI doctor. I am so glad. In about one hour yesterday, I learned more about C’s g-tube care than I did in an entire month from the other GI doctor and his nurses. They actually explained things to us and didn’t just expect that we already knew all about g-tube care. I feel like there are a lot of components that were covered in this appointment, so I’ll break it down into sections.

Continue Reading...

Gotta Have Faith

This is the chorus I’m singing!

C’s staph infection is slowly clearing up, though we’ve been fighting during some of his feeds. He likes to throw things and then tries to whine, cry, get away from his feed. He hasn’t vomited a feed in a couple days, so that is a big win.

Continue Reading...

Bath Time With a Staph Infection

The last few days were highly stressful. I always keep my cool, but there were times when I didn’t think I could handle it. C was tested for a staph infection on Thursday morning and it came back positive midday Friday. There were a few hours when we didn’t know if it was the dangerous MRSA (the kind of resistant staph that you hear horror stories about on the news) or a type of staph that was sensitive to the antibiotic that C had started.

Continue Reading...

More Complications

Another day, another problem. Yesterday I made an appointment to have the pediatrician switch out the G-tube attachment that I received in the mail. C started developing a rash around his G-tube site after I made the appointment. It continued to spread over the next 24 hours.

Continue Reading...

We Did It!

To all who retweeted my inquiry to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, THANK YOU! You helped me to be heard. I cannot thank you enough for helping me to get help for my son.

I’m not sure why I didn’t think of taking to Twitter earlier. I mean, social media is what I do, right?! Sometimes the most obvious thing evades me when I’m stressed. I took to Twitter over the weekend with this plea and requested RTs from family, friends and readers. Fifteen of you happened to see it and decided to take a moment to help me out.

Continue Reading...

Stress…my greatest hurdle to health.

Does anyone here stress eat? *raises hand timidly*

I’ve noticed a pattern in my adult life. When major stressors are thrown my way, I get exhausted. I feel too tired to exercise, so it’s easier not to do it even though I know that it would give me more energy. I feel bad about not exercising, which makes me feel a bit depressed. When I feel tired and depressed, I’d like to sit around. When I just sit around, snacking seems like the natural thing to do.

Continue Reading...

The post in which I rant about C’s GI care.

A friend of mine posted these words for me today as I prepared for C’s follow-up appointment with the GI doctor:

Just remember there is no more powerful force in the world than a mother fighting for their kid. You might feel defeated or like there are no other options, but you’ve gotten this far. Keep pushing!

Continue Reading...

Thank God for the SSRI

I know that some people don’t believe in psychotropic medication, and some may believe stigma about the people that take them. I really hate stigma and that’s why I’m an open book about my mental health. Quite frankly, I would be lost right now without antidepressants.

Continue Reading...

It’s Not Fair

I’m sure every mother whose child goes through health issues comes to this crossroads. The “It’s Not Fair” crossroads is inevitable when you’re seeing your child in numerous doctor’s offices, hospital rooms and coming out of anesthesia. Because it’s not fair. No child should have to visit a hospital. My child should not need a tube surgically placed into his stomach in order to receive nourishment.

Continue Reading...

C’s G-Tube Surgery

This update will be mostly in pictures again. I’m exhausted and he’s just so darn cute. ;)

We checked in at Day Surgery on Wednesday and were ushered into a room right away. C put on a teeny tiny hospital gown and we looked out the window at all of the cars, trucks and vans in the parking lot.

Continue Reading...

Occupational Therapy and G-Tube Surgery

It’s a big, stressful week. Sometimes I feel like I should just set up camp in a medical clinic. We traveled to the Milwaukee area to stay with family yesterday, but not before making yet another trip to our pediatrician’s office at home. C was jumping on the bed and, despite being moved away from Baby Jo, managed to fall on top of her face. She screamed and cried inconsolably for 15 minutes. I called the pedi’s office and they said they could see her and make sure she was okay. It was a hard hit and she was just screaming so hard.

Continue Reading...

Back to the Hospital We Go…

It’s been increasingly difficult to get C to cooperate for his tube feedings. Today, I was unable to administer one of his feedings because he cried, screamed and fought us. It’s not like we can hold him down for it, either, because the Pediasure won’t run through the tube when he’s upset.

Continue Reading...

And then the tears came.

I don’t know if it was my son’s tears or his screams, “No, no!” But my own tears finally came. They poured in streams down my cheeks. I didn’t want C to see me breaking down, so I hid in the bathroom. I sobbed so hard that my abdomen started to cramp. Thoughts raced through my mind.

Continue Reading...

Our Latest Update on C (Mostly in Pictures)

Running in Healing Garden

Tuesday, our final day at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, seemed to pass very slowly. C had a barium test of his upper GI tract in the morning so that if they need to put a feeding tube directly into his stomach (G-tube), they will know the exact location of his organs. While we were waiting around for discharge papers, we took him to the healing garden located off of the lobby. That was the first time he had gone outside since he was admitted on Friday and he really enjoyed running around outside.

Continue Reading...

A Nap and the Last Night in the Hospital

Tonight is our final night in the hospital! C gets to go home mid-day tomorrow. He will be getting a barium test in the morning – he’ll get barium via his feeding tube and they will take x-rays to get the location of his stomach. It sounds like he will be getting a G-tube in about two weeks. That’s the kind that will go directly into his stomach, so it will be more comfortable and more convenient for all of us.

Continue Reading...

C’s Running Off All Those New Calories

I can’t even express how awesome it is to see my boy’s personality returning. He was still my sweet, funny C, but he had lost that wide-eyed, adventurous fierceness that he’s had since birth. Well, my little boy is regaining that part of himself. He’s been running through the hallways so much that I’m sure all of the nursing staff knows who he is. :)

Continue Reading...

Calories are a Kid’s Best Friend

C day 2 hospitalNow, that’s my boy. That mischievous, adventurous, joyful spark has returned to his eyes. Today was quite a positive day. After receiving two 4-ounce tube feedings yesterday, he woke up with a little more energy. He ate his usual graham cracker, but also ate a cup of peaches! We were happily surprised. That was a precursor for how the day would go.

Continue Reading...

Hospital Admittance, Doctors, Feeding Tube, Oh My!

C Hospital Day 1

Day one of our stay in Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is in the books. C fell asleep a few minutes ago while playing a game on his iPhone (side note – yes, he has his own iPhone only because it’s my old one and, no, it doesn’t have cell service on it.)

Continue Reading...

C is Being Admitted to Children’s Hospital

The feeding saga continues…

Yesterday, I heard back from the Children’s Hospital GI clinic that they were unable to get C in to the feeding clinic for evaluation before October 30. The plan was to bring him in to his pediatrician’s office every two weeks for a weight check, to be called in to the GI clinic for monitoring. If his weight dropped to an unsatisfactory level he would be admitted to Children’s Hospital as an inpatient and receive a feeding tube.

Continue Reading...

#Mamavation Monday: Paleo, Baby!

Mamavation Mondays Graphic

We went camping with Hubster’s family for several days last week, and it was simply impossible to eat paleo. We ate fast food, camping food, snacks, etc. Wow, did I feel it, too!

My abdomen became so bloated that I couldn’t button my jeans. It was insane. I had less energy, didn’t sleep as well and my seasonal allergies were worse. If I needed any further proof that paleo was the right lifestyle for me, that was it.

Continue Reading...

C’s Appointment with the Children’s GI Doctor

We were on the road at 7:12am, slightly behind schedule. I was nervous that we were cutting it close to the appointment time considering we might run into traffic, but it is just so darn hard to get out on time with two children. Thankfully, traffic was moving nicely the entire way there and we arrived at the Children’s Hospital gastroenterology clinic with time to spare.

Continue Reading...

#Mamavation Monday: Whole 30 Update

Mamavation Mondays Graphic

I had every intention of completing Whole 30. I really did.

But then, without thinking, I ate the half of granola bar that C had left on the couch. Chocolate chips and grains – decidedly not Whole 30 approved. After that slip, it was like I’d ruined my Whole 30 dedication and I couldn’t go on to complete it while honestly being able to say I did it. So, I’m going to be honest. I didn’t complete Whole 30. I completed Whole 17.

Continue Reading...

C’s Feeding Disturbances

C at 10 months, giving the stink face while eating

C at 10 months, giving the stink face while eating

Many of you know that C has never had much interest in eating. He’s almost always been in the 5th percentile for weight, and I’ve often stressed over getting him to eat enough food during the day. Even as a baby, he wasn’t all that interested in his bottles and would often eat just an ounce or two at a time. I didn’t start to get real concerned about things until the past year or so, and the stress just intensified for me with each passing month.

Continue Reading...

10 Low-Cost Mood Boosters by Pauline Wiles {Guest Post}

PaulineWilesToday, I’m happy to introduce you to author Pauline Wiles! Pauline writes articles on lifestyle and organizing and when she offered to write a post about low-cost mood boosters, I was excited to read her ideas. Enjoy!

For the days when you’re feeling just a little bit blue, taking action before your mood sinks further can be really helpful. But that doesn’t mean buying shoes or feasting on chocolate cake. Below are some calorie-free, low-cost options for lifting your spirits.

Continue Reading...

Hubster’s Stay at the Hospital

On Monday, I quickly mentioned that Hubster was in the hospital.  It kind of turned into a long, emotionally exhausting week.  I wanted to share it with you all, since I didn’t post this morning like I normally do.  Also, because I’ve been through the ringer this week emotionally and I survived – and I’m so proud to say that I have.

Continue Reading...

21 Weeks: The Face of Hyperemesis

Family pic at Christmas

Kristin and Hubster.jpg

At 21 weeks, this is the face of hyperemesis.  That’s right – you can’t even tell.

You can’t tell that when this picture was taken, I was on day two of barely eating anything because I’d been so nauseous and had so many aversions.  You can’t tell that I was having a hard time getting enough fluids in me.

Continue Reading...

Our…Memorable Christmas

We had grand plans for the weekend before Christmas, including visiting both of our families and seeing our niece’s baptism.  We made it to the celebration with Hubster’s extended family, and C had a great time with his cousins.

C kept wanting his 4-year-old cousin to pick him up. :)

C kept wanting his 4-year-old cousin to pick him up. :)

Continue Reading...

Hyperemesis – Surviving it Twice is as Much as I Can Handle

I’ve been thinking a lot about hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), pregnancy and the size of our family over the past few months.  With all of the media attention surrounding Kate Middleton’s pregnancy announcement and struggle with HG, it’s been on my mind almost non-stop.

Continue Reading...

A Couple News Stories About HG

I usually like to leave things at one post per day, but I came across a couple news stories tonight about hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) that I just needed to share.  I think it’s so important that people become aware of this problem.

This is my second HG pregnancy, and I can’t tell you how many times people have suggested common morning sickness “cures” to me, thought that I was exaggerating, or looked at me like I was crazy.  In fact, I now realize that my medical clinic did not treat me properly during my first pregnancy.  They didn’t recognize my HG until I was 12 weeks along, even though I kept calling and asking for help.  After experiencing this again, I know that I should have been given IV hydration multiple times during that first pregnancy.  I’m sure that I was dangerously dehydrated.  They continually told me to try things such as ginger ale, B6, etc.

Continue Reading...

The Duchess is Expecting, and She Has Hyperemesis Gravidarum

The internet has been buzzing today with the news of Prince William and Catherine’s news that they’re expecting a baby.  It’s also been reported that Catherine was admitted to the hospital for treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).

Continue Reading...

And…He’s “Underweight” Again

C turned 18 months this week (update on that to come!), and that means he had to go to the doctor for his 18-month well-child visit.  It went…okay.

He’s weighing in at just under 20 pounds and has dropped back into the 5th percentile for weight.  The doctor recommended we see a nutritionist to talk about strategies to get him to eat more calories and/or types of food.

Continue Reading...

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) Awareness Month

October is Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) Awareness Month!

The founder of the Ayden Rae Foundation, Vanessa Pack, reached out to me on Facebook after reading my blog post about my struggle with HG.  After joining the Ayden Rae Foundation’s closed Facebook group, I’ve been truly humbled by how severe HG can be for some women.

Continue Reading...

Dear Hyperemesis, I’m Angry With You

I wrote this post before I was able to publicly share my pregnancy.  I’ve since started what I call a “drug cocktail” – a mix of Zofran, Unisom and vitamin B6.  It’s helped make my days tolerable, though I do still experience days that feel impossible.

Continue Reading...

#Mamavation Monday: My Seat on the Struggle Bus

I skipped writing a #Mamavation Monday post last week, because I had run out of things to say without revealing my secret.  I wasn’t going to lie, but now that I’ve outed myself – we’re expecting Baby Deuce! – I can finally tell you all what’s really been going on in the past month or so.

Continue Reading...

Bullied News Anchor Responds

This video from a news station in my home state has gone viral this week, making its way across the world.  Jennifer Livingston’s strength and self-confidence in standing up to bullying brings tears to my eyes.  If only we all had that kind of strength to speak out against bullying.

Continue Reading...

The Challenge of Mealtime

Sometimes I find myself jealous of parents whose kids eat whatever they put in front of them; or, in general, parents whose kids eat.  Mealtime in our home is a challenge, to say the least.

C has always been very picky.  He has always been more interested in playing than in eating.  Now that he’s a toddler and can run, throw, writhe and yell…

Continue Reading...

Mamavation Monday: I’m Halfway to My Goal!

If you’ve been visiting me here for a while, you know that I’ve had a major struggle to lose weight in the past 5-ish years since I’ve had PCOS.  But today I am SO happy to report that I am now halfway to my weight loss goal!


Continue Reading...