Sunday, April 10, 2016

Evelyn and Olivia: Nine Months

- When we returned from our site visit to Baku, just a few days after you turned 8 months, soooo much changed. Grandma is no longer allowed to watch you. ;-) In the span of just a couple days you both took off crawling and are super fast.
- In addition to crawling both of you are pulling yourselves to stand up. If I take away your toy that's made for standing up on you just crawl to the toy box and stand up on that or crawl to me and pull up or to the TV stand or to the shelves. You get the idea? It's exhausting. Apparently you are trying to also walk before one like your sister. (Insert wide-eyed emoji)

- You are both still great with strangers, but you are starting to not like being left alone. I like to abandon you regularly to do selfish things like go to the bathroom, make your bottles, grab a diaper, etc. Sometimes you are okay with it, but other times you whine and take off after me. And this is both of you. So I stay busy.
- Liv is starting to play me. You will whine and cry like you are upset and the instant, I mean literally the instant, I pick you up you smile and coo and snuggle into my chest like you've just won the lottery. It's adorable and I secretly love it.

- I would say this month has started to be harder on me with the fact that there are two of you. There have been multiple times where I have picked up one of you and the other sister has started whining and crying to be held. Or one of you is in my lap and the other climbs right over to join us. I struggle with having to split my time and staying conscious to not play favorites and hold you both.
- I also feel like I have turned into a referee. If I'm not correcting you from electrocuting yourselves or climbing on things that are dangerous for you, then I am separating you two when you try to climb over each other, steal each other's pacifiers, grab the other's toys, and just beat each other up in general. You two can be brutal.

- You finally have teeth!!! Liv popped her bottom to teeth first, the week after we returned from Baku. Evy was just a week or so later, but with just the bottom right tooth. No more have made an appearance, but I'm thinking they will soon.
- Both of you have been eating lunch and dinner with us and are starting to enjoy food more and more. Evy is a serious carnevoire and loves her some steak (and repeatedly tosses the veggies to the ground once she realizes what they are!). Liv loves pretty much any food you put in front of her, but especially bananas, chicken, and carrots.

- You both love to laugh. You smile and laugh for me and Daddy, but oh goodness - no one can make you laugh and smile like that big sister Madi. She will get you both going at dinner time with the most precious laughs. She's a great helper to us and an amazing big sister to both of you. :-)
- We had quite the scare with Olivia just a few days ago when she had an allergic reaction to egg in meatballs I'd made for dinner. Fortunately she's doing well and we had huge support from our friends and great medical care.
- I did your weights on Tuesday of this past week and think you went through a growth spurt right after because both of you were dannnggg hungry and wanting more milk after your usual amounts. Guess I should have weighed you on Friday, but I'm glad I didn't wait until then since it was busy getting discharged from the hospital with Olivia.

Evelyn Grace

Height: 26.8 in
Weight: 16.3 lbs

Olivia Ann

Height: 25.2 in
Weight: 15.5 lbs

She naturally does this pose all. the. time. and I think it's absolutely hysterical and adorable!!


Friday, April 8, 2016

Olivia's Allergic Reaction

A few weeks ago Madi and I made a cake for Jason's birthday. I let Madi lick the spatula and noticed she kissed Olivia with her chocolate lips. When I wiped the chocolate off the side of Olivia's head I noticed it was red and splotchy. I showed Jason and we hypothesized that perhaps Olivia had an egg allergy since we read online a true cocoa allergy is rare.

Fast forward to yesterday and I don't know what was going through my head when I decided to make meatballs for dinner. What do you use to make meatballs hold their shape? Egg and breadcrumbs. Was it the two grumpy and whiny babies that kept my brain from connecting the dots to the incident a few weeks ago? Was it the fact that I was "single parenting" since Monday with another two weeks and just a lot on my plate? Was it the fact that lately my brain is just swamped with packing details and logistics for our upcoming move? Whatever the reason I didn't think twice about making the meatballs and giving the girls finger-sized pieces to try.

I sat down for dinner last and as everyone began to eat I snapped a picture of the girls enjoying their spaghetti and meatballs. As you can see there is none in front of Liv because she tore into it and loved it. Evy was caught off guard and Madi posed for her picture.

Shortly after these pictures were taken I noticed that Liv was starting to fuss a little bit and rub her eyes a lot. "Oh great," I thought, "She's going to get meatball in her eyes." That's when I also noticed she was really red and getting more red. That was when I recalled that conversation a few weeks prior about the possibility of an egg allergy.

I grabbed the phone and called my friend Kristy whose daughter is allergic to eggs. She advised calling the legevakt immediately (the equivalent to urgent care). After spending five minutes with the phone ringing and no answer I hung up and called 113 (our equivalent to 911). I told them what I suspected was happening and wanted advice on what to look for in case I needed to be concerned and take her to the doctor. She got my address and said an ambulance was on the way. That's when I started to panic - realizing the weight of the situation. The operator told me to call her immediately if her breathing changed at all and to go ahead and call a friend to come watch the girls.

I tried our friend Sandy twice and when there was no answer called another friend Kemi. Kemi dropped everything and headed straight to the house beating the ambulance by just a few minutes. The ambulance had arrived in less than 15 min with four paramedics, including a doctor. Madi had seen me in tears and knew something was happening. She watched as the doctor checked Olivia and then gave her an anti histamine injection in her thigh.

The paramedic drove our car to the hospital so I would have it and the car seat while the doctor rode in the back of the van next to Olivia monitoring her. I was told I would most likely have to stay the night so I called Sandy back and asked if she would be able to come over and stay with the girls. Without hesitation she headed over and Kemi stayed and helped get everyone to bed.

After we arrived at the hospital they hooked Olivia up to a vitals monitor and checked her breathing and skin. She was already started to respond well to the medications, but they told me they wanted to observe her for the next five hours and then later told me they think it would be better to plan to stay the night. (And man am I glad they advised that!) They also did a blood sample.

Once we got a room and got settled I gave Olivia a bottle and put her to bed. I had to move the car to a different parking garage so I went and did that and got some dinner. My friend Liza joined me at the hospital to give me some company and laughs to take my mind off of things. It took Olivia while to settle down and fall asleep - after all she was in a new place and needed to look around. :-)

Around 3/330 am Olivia started stirring and I wasn't able to get her to take the pacifier and calm down. The nurse came in and I could tell she needed a diaper change so I started on that and we realized Olivia was super warm and red all over her legs and abdomen. The nurse went to get the doctor and they decided to start the oral anti histamine then rather than wait until later in the morning.

I held Olivia in the chair in our room after that and snuggled with her. I'm not sure how much sleep I got throughout the night, but it wasn't a lot. However, I got some Liv snuggles and those were priceless.

She woke up happy and smiling in my arms. We spent the morning hanging out and waiting for the doctor to come by. She also snuck in a short nap and my friend Dora who is a nurse in the hospital stopped by during her breaks to keep me company.

Finally the doctor came by around 10:30 to check on Olivia. She had read our file and knew we were moving to Baku. She gave me extra prescriptions for epi pens and medication to give if Olivia has another allergic reaction. She showed me how to use the epi pen and had me practice on myself with the demo pen. She also listened to Olivia's breathing and decided to do a breathing treatment and dosage of steroids before releasing us. She's typing up our notes in English so that we have all the information to show our doctor in Baku or wherever we find adequate healthcare (most likely Dubai). She also ordered additional blood tests next week so that we can find out if Olivia has any other allergies we should be aware of before we move.

I packed us up and got the prescriptions filled before heading home. Sandy and Kemi had swapped places to watch Evy and our friend Annie, the mom of Madi's bff Gabriel at barnehage had picked Madi up for school and also brought her home after school so I wouldn't have to wake Olivia to make the trip. My friend Hilary and her SIL Charlotte were able to make a grocery store run for me so I wouldn't have to get out to the store with the girls this weekend and my friend Joy dropped off my favorite American cheese dip. Amazing support and help surrounded me.

Both the girls were a bit grumpy this afternoon and evening, but we had a good dinner and bath time before getting them ready for bed. After I put them to bed I just held Madi and we watched a movie. I couldn't help buy cry and she turned to me and hugged me and said "What in you need Mommy?". I just needed that hug sweet girl.

I am in tears thinking about the amazing friendships that we have here in Norway and all of the love and help that's been poured out to us during this challenge. Kemi and Sandy dropped everything to come and watch the girls and help them. Annie helped get Madi to and from school and took her home to play with Gabriel to give me a break multiple times this week. Friends visited me in the hospital, offered to bring me anything I needed, ran to the grocery store for me, checked in on me, and have been praying for me. I feel so incredibly blessed to have so much support and I hope I've expressed to them how grateful I am for their friendship.

I am so thankful this happened in a country with a great medical system rather than after our move. I am so thankful that it wasn't more serious and that Olivia is doing so much better. I am so thankful that we know to be aware of what's in Olivia's food and are prepared in case another allergy arises in the future. I miss my husband terribly and would give anything to have him just hold me right now.

Everyone keeps telling me how strong I am, but all I feel is doubt that I can do these next couple of weeks without my husband. I mean it's not even been one week and I already tried to kill one of three. At this rate I'm likely to put each of them in the hospital before he comes back! :-p But seriously - thank you so much everyone who's supported me and reached out to me for assistance, near and far. I'm truly grateful and would appreciate your continued prayers that Olivia doesn't have a relapse and I can have the strength to get through the next couple of weeks!

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