Saturday, May 15, 2010

strong, little violet

violet has been such a blessing in our lives. we love her to pieces and it has been so fun to watch her grow. over the past few months, she has taught us so much about gratitude and happiness. we recently had a scary yet faith-building experience with her and in the spirit of gratitude, i am writing it all down.

when vi was about a month old, she started having symptoms of digestive problems. she was a generally happy baby to start with, but after a few weeks she began to be a little cranky and her diapers started to be bloody. it really concerned me so we went to the doctor asap who let us know that vi was suffering from a common milk allergy. he explained that sometimes babies can pick up on cow's milk protein in their mother's milk and it causes irritation to the baby's bowels. the solution was simple- i could either switch to a special formula or i could completely eliminate milk from my diet. as much as i love my cheese, i felt it was important to breastfeed so i decided to get rid of dairy. it was crazy trying to plan meals without any sort of milk product- MUCH harder than i ever anticipated- but i knew that this would help little vi feel better.

the doctors said that it would take about a week to clear my system and start seeing results; however, the long week passed and vi wasn't getting any better. the doctors recommended another week to see if that would help. that week came and went with no improvement. at the 2 1/2 week mark, i took her back in and they evaluated again saying that this was a typical milk allergy and it would pass with time. cade and i listened to the doctors but felt that there really was something we were missing. vi was only getting worse and my diet was 100% milk free. we prayed and our families prayed, hoping that we could solve this mystery.

at her 2 month check up, i told the doctor that after 5 weeks, her condition was only getting worse and i really felt that it was not a milk allergy. he was skeptical- but luckily right at that moment, violet had a messy diaper and we were able to show the doctor what we were dealing with. he quickly realized that this was no milk allergy and violet needed to see a specialist. we were referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist with a waiting list of 2 months. i was really worried she couldn't wait that long, but our pediatrician took some samples from vi and sent them over saying that maybe they would see her sooner if the results proved necessary. as soon as the results came back, the specialist called us and told us to come in the next day. she needed to see violet immediately.

cade was unable to leave work so i took my mom for moral support and we went to the gastroenterologist. at the appointment, the doctor walked in and the first words out of her mouth were, "your baby is a medical miracle." my mom and i both dropped our jaws and asked her to explain. turns out, violet has been really sick. she somehow picked up 3 very dangerous bacteria- including gangrene- that were quickly wreaking havoc on her insides. they have not seen results like this in a baby and the instances that something like this has been seen in an adult were horrific. the doctor told us she was expecting to see a lifeless baby who was emaciated and terribly ill- but instead she was greeted with little violet who was rosy and thriving. she was strong enough to put up a valiant fight against the bacteria despite the obvious pain they were causing her- but had this been left untreated, we couldn't expect the fight to last for much longer. the doctor explained that had i switched to formula with this baby, she would not have survived. by this point my mom and i were both in tears and i stared at little violet in disbelief and overwhelming gratitude for this doctor. dr harnsberger then quizzed my mom and i for an hour to try and figure out where she could have picked up such dangerous bacteria. the conversation went something like this:

doc: are you meth users?
me: no!
doc: do you live in a meth house:
me: no!
doc: have you or cade ever worked in an aids clinic?
me: no!
doc: was your home built on an old hospital site?
me: no, it was a farm.
doc: did you take violet to a third world country?
me: she hasn't been out of the state!
doc: have you been exposed to gamma rays?
me: not that i know of...
doc: are you and cade sick?
me: i don't think so...

the questioning went on and on and finally the doctor said, "well, i don't have any idea where this poor baby picked this up. it is just REALLY bad luck....but we need to get her all better."

the good news is, violet is going to make a full and speedy recovery. her antibiotics are already showing strong results and she is suddenly a different baby. now that she is on the mend, she is taking naps, smiling more and cooing all day long. i feel so bad she had such a rough, painful start but i am eternally grateful we were able to catch this in time. cade and i are thankful for the prayers and thoughts of our friends and family on violet's behalf. we are further thankful to our Father in Heaven who gave us violet and has let us keep her. she is one strong, little girl.

no kids night

being the youngest of six kids, cade's family is an ever-growing phenomenon. since i met cade, there has not been a time when someone wasn't pregnant... the result? 25 nieces and nephews. whenever we get together, the kids run wild and love every minute of it- but every once in a while all the mommies and daddies want some time away. thus, cade's oldest sister, sadie, proposed a quarterly "no kids night."
for our first event, we gathered at sadie's, split into groups and made dinner together. each small group was in charge of one portion of the meal. for not knowing what the other groups were preparing- i think we did a great job!
after the meal, we played celebrity- the game where you all write well-known people's names down and pass the bowl around to guess. the game got wild when the only names left were those of cade's mom's visiting teachers and cade's dad's old sports icons from byu basketball in the 70s. it was great.
cade made a little movie to remember the night and you can see it by clicking here: no kids night

Thursday, May 13, 2010

the cloth diaper revolution

a while back, cade's cousin, laina, told me she was planning on using cloth diapers with her upcoming baby. at first, i was intrigued that anyone would choose to go back to cloth after all the advances of disposable diapers; however, i knew that laina was perfectly sane and intelligent so i didn't throw the idea out as ridiculous immediately. instead, i went home and started to research the benefits and options in cloth diapering. it was amazing to see how far they have come from the plastic pants and safety pins... and further amazing to see how friendly reusable diapers can be to both my wallet and the environment. needless to say, i questioned laina more and watched as she had such success diapering her little boy. so when little violet became a part of our lives, we too decided to use reusable diapers.
while cade and i do appreciate the green revolution taking place in this country, our main reason for going cloth was to help us financially. the diapers have an upfront cost- but the payoff is huge. the diapers we chose will fit a baby weighing between 8 and 30 pounds, so they'll last vi until she is ready to potty train. they snap close and expand every-which-way to fit a baby best. plus, most diapers will last for more than one child... cha ching!
so far, we have been very pleased with our decision. they are easy to clean, diaper rash is nil (knock on wood) and oh-so-soft. check out this faq sheet on the pros of reusables.

laina, our inspiration, was so excited about her change that she decided to open her own business selling diapers with her sister. it would be crazy to do a whole post chatting about how much we love these diapers without pointing you to her site the uncommon bottom. she blogs about all the types of diapers and meets with people one-on-one to help them chose the diapers that are best for them.
vi has an uncommon bottom and we love it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

bringing easter back

easter traditions and celebrations run deep in the bullough family. every year for as long as i can remember, we have kept our traditions strong: egg dyeing party with the cousins, easter morning egg hunt at nana's, fluffy easter dresses and easter brunch with the whole family at grammy's. it is the perfect way to celebrate and i have so many fond memories of sugar highs, egg hunts and family fun from over the years. this year, i was excited to have violet join in all the excitement. sure, she is only a few months old and will not remember a minute of any of this- but fluffy easter dresses come in all sizes and the easter bunny is no baby-hater. thus, we celebrated.

egg dyeing:
owen and addy had a great time getting all the eggs colored.
grammy is always sure to buy all sorts of whacky egg kits for us to try out every year. this year's hits: the sand kit and neon eggs.

easter morning:
the easter bunny brought spoils to addy, owen and violet this year. even with all the fun, however, it was hard to wake up. this little boy is not really a fan of morning time.
while owen was deciding if waking up was really worth it, addy ran throughout the house grabbing egg after egg and giving it to baby vi.
cade was in charge of hiding a few eggs for the kids; however, cade is not so fond of mornings either so his eggs were easy to find.
violet gathered the eggs her cousins found for her and was soon buried in a pile of easter surprises.

fluffy easter dresses:
violet's easter dress this year was violet, of course!

we tried to get a good shot of the kids all together all gussied up for the day- but this was the best one we could get.

we love easter!