Failure to Thrive

Are you familiar with those useless, boring, obligatory doctor visits? I always hated them and felt that they were a complete waste of time. For the most part with the previous two children the visit was basically about getting vaccinations. Since I’m not especially thrilled with the vaccination process, but go along with it anyway, doctor visits take on somewhat of a negative view. I know that the idea is that if you see a doctor when you’re well, he might actually catch something BEFORE it becomes a big deal. I know that they aren’t there to evaluate my parenting style and choices and judge me. I know that it can be valuable, but in my experience, it’s been nothing but a waste of several hours waiting in a waiting room, then stripping your child bare to measure them, more waiting in a cold office (with your now undressed baby), and then a visit with a nurse, and a quick minute or two with the doctor, and the shots.

I have to say though, Andrew’s doctor has been completely pleasant. It’s still largely about waiting around, but I can easily blame that on our modern medical system rather than the doctor himself. Dr. Davidson is a soft-spoken man and, unlike other doctors I’ve seen, not prone to overly alarmist speeches. He makes a funny face when I’ve said something I think he disagrees with, but he calmly states his counterpoint or ignores it. I like that. He has reassured me a number of times that Andrew seems to be progressing fine developmentally, but starting around the six month mark, he began to express some concern about the lack of growth for both height and weight in Andrew. Still, he reassured me that he looked completely healthy. He brought us back in for a 7 month weight check and ran some standard lead tests seeing as we lived in an older home that had verifiable amounts of lead. Andrew made some progress for his weight check and the lead test came back normal.

Which is why I understood that he was really concerned when we discussed failure-to-thrive at Andrew’s 12 month check-up. Andrew still hasn’t gained weight. What used to be a healthy 50-75% baby has now dropped to 1%. He’s energetic and healthy, not prone to diarrhea or vomiting, has a good appetite, sleeps fine, walks, and screams to communicate a point. But he’s small and that is a concern. Really, seeing his growth chart really does it. So here it is:

Of course, like any parent, they begin to do research the minute they’re out of the doctor’s office. What I found is that failure to thrive (FTT) is really a symptom, not a disease. The causes are usually obvious: you’ve got a sick baby. In Andrew’s case that doesn’t apply which means that the odds are that his FTT is caused by… me. At least, that’s what the research seems to indicate to me. Sure, there are rare issues of growth hormone disorders and other endocrinological issues. There are many things that can still be causing it, but the research says that the odds are high that some “inorganic” reasons are to blame. As in, the parents are putting their child on a diet or some other form of abuse. Now I know that I’m not abusing my child nor withholding food from him. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking that the doctor might be thinking it.

The good news is this has helped me view my parenting and habits from the outside in. You know how when you are having company come over, you suddenly see all the things that aren’t clean in your house that you’ve been living with anyway? (Please tell me that it’s not just me!) I decided to begin to track Andrew’s habits- everything from sleeping and eating, pooping and playing. Though I was almost done weaning him, I (thankfully) was able to get my milk supply going again and have been feeding him (more or less) on demand. He nurses three to five times a day and again once or twice at night. I began to weigh and measure his food intake and how he behaves after a meal. Just like using a food journal for yourself helps you to identify food patterns and weaknesses, tracking Andrew’s diet has helped me see where I’ve become lazy (from having older children) and respond accordingly.

The other good that has come of this is that I’ve had to look very carefully at what I’ve been eating. For one thing, Andrew almost always refuses food if we aren’t eating the same thing with him. The other big deal for me is that I feel judged because of my weight. I’m embarrassed by it and this leads me to feel like other people are judging me using my own yardstick. I feel like, in this case, the doctor must assume that Andrew eats nothing but junk, since clearly his mother has over-indulged regularly. Out of my deep desire to lose this weight (AGAIN!), I’m going back to my couch-to-5K workouts and then from there into a half-marathon training program (with an adjustment period to build my weekly mileage in between) Ideally, I’ll get pregnant in there somewhere (yes, we’re praying for more children), but developing good work-out habits is good for every pregnant woman. In addition, I’m planning on juicing/juice fasting to include some nutrients that I know I’m not eating enough of. I would really like to have some crazy-fast weight loss just so that I can look better and feel better right away but I know that I only have enough discipline for the minutest of changes.

I’m still praying that the doctor’s up at Children’s Hospital in Denver will find out that there’s nothing wrong with my little one, but I’m still determined to be thankful in all things. After all, Andrew was created in the image of the Father and is perfect just as he is.

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New Goal

I FINALLY GOT MY VITAMINS TODAY!!! Which really is the side note here, I got the vitamins which include Garden of Life’s new product called Diet 360 which has been shown (in a tiny almost inconsequential test study) to increase weight loss by 50%.

But, no matter. What I decided to do is commit to a 90 day or 12 week diet and exercise plan. There are a million different reasons why I want to do this, health and happiness reaching the top. I am going to be 29 in under a month and it occurs to me (a lot) that I am not living at the peak that my body is designed to live at. My children aren’t receiving a good example and my husband isn’t getting me at my best. I think this is going to be hard, and I’m confident I’ll fall off the wagon once or twice (or more) during these 90 days, but I will get back on. And in the meantime, I’ll be posting updates, so check the “FISH” tab at the top. (Edited to add: I posted, and will continue to post, my updates in the FISH section, scroll to the bottom to a link called “updates”. You will also find my current weigh-ins, photos, for women viewers only, and my diet strategy.)

My Choice Diet: Perfect Weight America

It always has been my choice, but I don’t really know why, exactly, but I know that I love it when I do it well! For the first month, I will be doing what I always start out trying to do, avoid white foods and avoid starches. (Notice that I did not say carbs, as fruits and vegetables are allowed and recommended for snacking.) As we get into spring, I would like to eat about 50% raw foods, which means a simple, yummy, fruit and yogurt smoothie in the morning, followed by a large veggie salad (I will still likely put eggs or another protein on here, even though it’s not raw) and then a sensible, veggie-friendly dinner. My kids still need starches, but we don’t need that many! I’m trying to not make too big a deal out of the food, focusing on buying real foods and eating the way that I know how. At this point for me, I think it is pretty obvious when I am eating to live and thrive or just shoving food in my mouth because I’m bored or tired or … you get the picture.

My Choice Workout: Your First Triathlon

Yup, you read that right! I have always wanted to do a triathlon and I purchased a book with the name Your First Triathlon by Joe Friel that gives you plans for how to go from couch to triathlon in 12 weeks and I decided that I wanted to do it. Modesty issues are a concern for me at this point and I don’t know exactly how I will handle them, but the first step is going to be purchasing a one piece black swimsuit somewhere and I will find a long pair of black shorts to go over that. At least that keeps my skin covered, but not my form. For now, I’m okay with that, because I will be in the pool most of the time, not lounging on a chair and jumping around, but actively swimming. As for the actual race day, I’m not sure how I will keep up my modesty standards yet, but I know that I’ll figure something out.

So, what am I going to do? I am running a Sprint Distance Triathlon, which is a 1/2 mile swim, followed by a 13 mile bike, followed by a 3 mile run. The race that I want to participate in is the Without Limits Summer Splash Triathlon in Longmont, Colorado on May 23, 2010. That gives me a few extra weeks after I complete the 12 week program to continue to work on my skills. The only downside is that I need to register soon, and the registration costs $65. I think it’s worth it to have a goal to train for and therefore, a deadline.

My Choice Goals:

*To lose weight- my goal is to lose 30 pounds in these 90 days. If the Diet 360 works as well as it says it does, I “could” in theory, lose up to 48 pounds, but we’ll see.

*To exercise 5 times a week.

*To choose the food I eat and when I eat it, not eating on impulse or unplanned splurge.

*To finish the triathlon with a smile on my face.

A New Strategy

Still mourning my pregnancy loss, but I am looking forward to the future too. As soon as my “miscarriage process” stops, I am adding some exercise. I wanted something easy that wouldn’t require I spend tons of money on either the workout, or the working out. So, I bought two different “Biggest Loser” workout DVDs. I don’t watch the show, but I know that in general, their products are great for beginners because they are geared for people who are trying to lose weight, but aren’t there yet. The other thing I like is that they aren’t cast with the most beautiful, fit people; instead, they are cast from the contestants on the show, which means a variety of shapes, sizes, and abilities. I like that. The first movie is called “Boot Camp” and it is a cardio-weight lifting routine (circuits) and the other is the Weight Loss Yoga. I chose the Biggest Loser title because I thought it would be less “spiritual” than some of the others. The thing is, I have tried a little bit of yoga from a rented movie and I loved it! It was a great, no-impact workout that I could do in my living room with only a yoga mat (which I already had from trying pilates). The other advantage to these titles is that they are $9.00 each at Wal-Mart (or you could pay $20.00 at Target) which makes them very affordable.

[A word about yoga. Yoga is simply a series of positions or stretches that you hold while focusing on your breathing. It can be an awesome workout, or a relaxation time. However, it doesn’t need to be spiritual, at least for me, it doesn’t. I know who I worship and it is not my “self” or “spirit” and it’s not “nature” or any of the other false deities out there. I am not going to chant different mantras because that is idol worship and I will worship no idols. I worship the one true God, creator of heaven and earth. He gifted me with an amazing body, capable of doing amazing things. Stretches and poses are two of the ways that I am attempting to strengthen my body. No, I have not studied the origins of yoga, but I am guessing that it comes from a form of worship, with the deep-breathing and chanting. If I am comfortable (or at least only slightly uneasy) about celebrating Halloween and even Christmas, I think I can manage my “Christian” version of yoga. Topic is up for debate, but not maliciously so.]

So, all in all, I had to find (or purchase) the two DVDs, which both have customizable routines and varying levels, a yoga mat, a water ball or medicine ball (which I don’t have yet), a set of smallish weights (I’ve had for a while), and exercise straps (also something I don’t have). At this point in my exercise routine, I think the exercises without the added tools are still going to be plenty effectual, but I am planning on trying to purchase a few of those items as they go on sale or I find myself with spare cash or a desperate need.

Outside of that, not changing my diet too terribly much. I want to be prepared to get pregnant, so I am trying to stick to the pregnancy diet, more or less. I think that it is well-rounded enough, I just want to watch my calories and workout daily. Or twice daily. My plan is to do one workout first thing in the morning (alternating until I find a favorite) and then every other day doing the other workout at naptime. We’ll see. The beginner workout are only about 35 minutes, start to finish but I don’t like getting all sweaty after I’ve showered, so I don’t know how well I will like doing another workout in the middle of the day.

I’ll keep you posted, and hopefully you can watch my slider there on the right move down as it counts away my extra pounds. Every pound I lose now is another pound I don’t need while pregnant!

Hope for the Future

I am now about 95% sure that I have miscarried and I have cried and entertained the thought of grieving the loss, but find that I have hope instead of grief.

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us,and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. -2 Thessalonians 2:16 & 17

I really wanted to be pregnant, moreover, I thought that it was right and good for me to get/be pregnant. We did, against the odds and I think that God was sovereign in allowing conception. It gave us hope for the future. We were all excited and were already picking out names. I felt ready and I couldn’t wait, even the 40 weeks would be long enough. But something wasn’t right. Only God knows what was going on in my body and only God has the power to change it. So I take comfort and look to my future and my hope.

…for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. – Jeremiah 31:13

So what does my future hold? Only God knows, but I am planning on waiting a few months to get pregnant again. I am looking forward to trying to lose some more weight (which I should have done first anyway) and taking it from there. I will still be taking vitamins and trying to live like I am pregnant (less coffee, no medications, focus on good nutrition) until it just becomes my lifestyle. I am also looking forward to adding some new workouts to my routine.

And I am always remembering two of my favorite verses:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. -Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. -Philippians 4:4

Diet, Health, and Pregnancy

Two days ago, my sister called me up to tell me that she is pregnant. Of course, I’m thrilled because Kelly and Jared are great parents, but I was a little sad because Kelly and I had been talking about being pregnant together for a pretty long time now. It hit me that I was no closer to getting pregnant that I was several months ago. Discouraging and disappointing. However, the good news was that my husband has agreed that we should have more children.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. -Psalm 127: 3-5

So, the other day, I made an appointment with the public health doctor’s office to have my evil Mirena IUD removed. I have hated it from the day I got it, though I was persuaded that it was okay, that it was hormonal and therefore I wouldn’t be ovulating. After more research, I find that is absolutely not true and I have been desperate to remove it ever since, even venturing to see if my husband could do it (which he couldn’t). My appointment is scheduled for November 19, 2009 and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Because it is “public health” I had to accept a different form of birth control and I chose condoms, which we will likely never use.

Eric has already been suggesting dates to try to get pregnant at or around Christmas, and I whole-heartedly accept that idea…BUT, I am still overweight- obese even. I would love to have a natural childbirth and give birth at home. In order to do that, you need to have a healthy pregnancy. I am sure that I could have a healthy pregnancy, but I am at a significant risk for high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. In addition, heavy mothers tend to have heavy babies and those babies don’t always come out so well, which leads to an increase in the likelihood of a C-Section. Not at all natural.

I decided that it was HIGH TIME that I get my act in gear. When I thought of a healthy lifestyle, the first thing I thought of was Perfect Weight America. The book is fantastic and though it is really challenging, I would love to be healthy for my baby. So, my goal is to follow the plan for two months, which takes me all the way to the end of December. Perfect timing. I anticipate that I will lose weight during this process, however, that is not my main goal. My goal is to get healthy. That means that I want both my diet and my activity level to reflect a healthy lifestyle. If my weight hasn’t caught up in two months (which it likely won’t), then I will either keep on losing weight on the diet or I will get pregnant and continue with healthy lifestyle choices.

It may be simple, but it is definitely NOT easy. If you notice on the top, I added another category, called FISH, where I will post notes about my diet strategy, food choices, and progress reports. Expect to see plenty of information on the main page as well. For example:

Today was the first day of my diet and I chose to start with a 10 day cleanse. For more information about Perfect Weight America and the 10 Day Cleanse, see my FISH link on top.

My weight is 191 (YIKES!!!)

My planned meals were pineapple, apple, chicken soup, chicken soup, and finally a large vegetable salad with 1/2 an avocado and 2 tablespoons of dressing. Water consumption about 140 ounces (3/4 oz per pound of weight)

What I really ate was: small serving of pineapple (not enough), whole apple (I didn’t eat the seeds 🙂 ), small serving of chicken soup puree, and a large salad. I drank over 100 ounces of water.

I felt…like junk. My sister made coffee for breakfast (which is my standard breakfast fare) and my mom finished her day with cookies (of which the smell kept wafting up the stairs to torment me- she may have done it on purpose…I’ll never know. 🙂 ). Truly, I was hungry for much of the day, but I didn’t eat enough according to the plan and it was the first day, so it is to be expected. I was craving whatever was in front of me, but I didn’t splurge…except with the dressing on my salad. Tomorrow, fewer ingredients will go into my salad and I will try a new healthy dressing. I am excited about tomorrow.

I will post pictures and measurements in the FISH section tomorrow.

A New Report

Along with many other changing conditions in my life right now, my weight is also changing! My sister’s wedding has come and gone and now I look to my other goal of getting into a safe range from which to get pregnant. I am becoming a big fan of this “standard American” diet because it’s easy, even though I know it’s not healthy. I don’t have to read much past the fancy labels claiming that it is “healthy” or “low-fat” or “high-fiber” and I don’t ever have to worry about the manufacturing process or the ingredient list. How pathetic! To know what’s right and not do it because it is different and difficult is wrong. However, with my current financial situation (that is, rely on my mother for 100% of the grocery bill) really does preclude me from adopting a different lifestyle.

Plus, it’s working…I am now at 188.5!!! It’s hard to believe because I really haven’t been diligent about my exercise routine. I have, however, cut out 99% of my fast food intake and I have severely limited the snacks (mostly because they are not in the house). Having my mother constantly around really is trying at best but I am learning to appreciate the accountability, but don’t tell her that… 🙂 I know that I would not have come this far without my mom’s help.
So my goal? I am still aiming at 165 to “remove the goalie” so to speak because I think that it is a pretty safe weight. I want to begin taking pre-natal vitamins because of that all-important folic acid. My vitamin really is a good one to take and I like it! Outside of that, I want to start feeling good again. Lately, I have been really low on energy and I think that it is a lack of water, so that is also a goal, I think that 84 ounces of water should be easy to consume and with practice, I’ll get there! We have been teaching the kids about nutrition and why they should eat their vegetables and proteins and so on, so that has been entertaining.
Yeah, all in all, I think we are doing well and though I am not losing weight fast enough to set any records, nor am I even losing at a “healthy” rate, I am satisfied when I see progress and lack only the motivation to kick it up a notch (or two).
So how are you doing???

Evening Snacking?

I was on SparkPeople tonight and one of the message boards asked what you do about night-time snacking. Here is my answer:

I have two different strategies. The first is to plan ahead; if I have done this successfully, I will grab one of those (ridiculously expensive but very convenient) 100 calorie packs of my favorite junk food. I eat them very slowly, savoring each flavor in my mouth and I always eat at the table. Drinking a full glass of water before I do that is even better. The other snack I have are the 100 calorie popcorn bags. I always seem to crave junk food at night (which is when I did all my binge eating…kids are in bed and I don’t have to share or explain myself) so eating a banana or something so “healthy” doesn’t always work. Even still, often times, I don’t plan well enough and am left with no free calories for snacking.

In THAT case, I drink a large glass of cold water, brush my teeth (try varying your toothpaste flavors…even including the “sweet” kids versions) and go to bed! I plan to eat my snack in the morning, after breakfast. Most of the time, I have already planned on a sweet breakfast (lots of fruit and yogurt for breakfast) and I forget about the extra snack. This works well during the day too. Just promise yourself to wait an extra hour before snacking, drink a large glass of water and distract yourself with a hobby or some entertainment. Don’t make a point of remembering to snack, but allow it if you remember. I always like to keep controlled quantities of snacks, so I don’t have to do any thinking.

Being hungry for a short period of time isn’t the worst thing in the world- I know I am going to eat the next day, so when I am feeling REALLY low, I begin to pray for the people who are hungry and DON’T KNOW if they will eat in the morning. That usually puts my cravings into perspective.

So, I am using options two and three right now, going to bed hungry praising the Lord that I don’t have to hear my kids crying because they are hungry and I have no food, thankful that I can wake up (God-willing) and eat more food to nourish and sustain my body.

What do you do?