Thursday, March 4, 2010

My heart aches....

Ok, so yes, I must admit the title of this posting is a little dramatic.  When my precious little girls grow up to be major drama queens, at least they will have come by it honestly!!  So our latest dilemma.....teething.  UGH!!

Both girls have their two bottom teeth and are working on the top two.  Generally during the day, a frozen teething ring or the help of Hylands Teething tablets can soothe both girls.  The teething tablets are like crack to the girls.  Not that I know what crack is like, seriously I have no clue, but the effect that the tablets have on the girls is what I imagine someone on crack to be like.  I can tell that the tablets help, but the make the girls really hyper.  During the day this is not a major issue, but at night time having them bouncing off their cribs is not really doable!  Our pediatrician told us a few weeks back the Hylands Teething tablets can have a caffeine affect on babies under 20 pounds.  NICE!  Nothing like starting a Starbucks-like habit with my girls early!

Tuesday evening we did our nightly bed time ritual as usual.  We put the girls in their pj's.  They get cereal, applesauce and a few Gerber puffs, followed by Terry feeding Alexis a bottle and myself feeding Addison a bottle.  Everything was going smoothly until I went to place the bottle in Addison's cute little mouth.  She lunged her entire bottle backwards and starting kicking.  She was totally fighting me and didn't want any part of drinking her bottle.  Short of physically holding her down and shoving the bottle into her mouth, I tried everything I could to get her to drink it.  She went to bed without drinking her bottle and we fully expected her to be up in the middle of the night hungry.  Nope, she slept all night without even the slightest peep.  It took awhile to get her down but once she was asleep, she was out.

The girls and their food is what cause me the most anxiety lately.  They are still nowhere near being on the "official growth charts" that all our doctors keep referring to.  The doctors aren't very concerned since they continue to gain weight consistently, but have encouraged us to add "extra calories" to all their food.  They should be eating about 900-1100 calories a day.  If you think about it, that's ALOT of food for a baby.  On average 4-5 (6) ounce bottles a day contain about 600 calories.  A stage 2 jar of baby food (depending on kind and variety) has about 75-100 calories.  We are working hard to make sure that we keep their calorie count up there.  I've obviously never been a huge calorie counter myself, who knew I would be obsessing about calories for my munchkins?  Addison not drinking her bed time bottle was stressing me out.  I was praying that this wasn't going to be a consistent nightly issue.

Yesterday evening we once again were doing our nightly bedtime routine.  This time it was Alexis.  She hurled her body almost out of Terry's arms, refusing to drink her bottle.  She was restless and agitated.  You could see it in her big brown eyes that she just didn't feel well.  No fever, no signs of any type of sickness, but you could just tell that she was hurting.  After I got Addison to bed, Terry gave me Alexis to see if I could get her to drink.  Nope!  She wasn't having any part of it.  She was whining and just looked miserable.  This is where the title "my heart aches" comes from.  How can I help her?  What can I do to take away the pain?  How can I make it better?  Both girls had a dose of Tylenol before bedtime.  What else can I do? 

I reached out to some of my friends via FaceBook asking them for suggestions.  Within minutes I got the following responses....

1.  Rub Tylenol directly on their gums (I may try this in the future)

2.  Dampen a wash cloth & freeze it and let them chew on it (I have yet to try this but not really appropriate for bed time, in my opinion)

3.  Baby Orajel.  Baby orajel is a HUGE NO NO from our pediatrician.  Since the girls have issues with choking and swallowing already our pedi STRONGLY encouraged us to stay away from this.  The numbing effect can numb their throats and cause more issues.  She told us that she doesn't recommend this for any infant, not just those with choking issues.

4.  Hylands Teething Tablets.  Ok, see my above comparison to crack.  Not appropriate for bedtime.

5.  Vanilla Extract, it has to be the pure kind, not imitation.  Put it on their gums and it will help ease the pain and swelling.   Really?  I've never heard of this?  Anyone else ever tried this?  Seems a little farfetched to me???

6.  Take a hammer to their skulls.  Clearly not a viable option, but I appreciate Rick's comic relief during my melt down.

7.  Chilled teething rings sold at Babies R Us.  DUH!  Why didn't I think of that?  Clearly I'm not an idiot.  I know where to buy teething rings.  We own about 25 of them.  But again giving them a teething ring isn't going to help them fall asleep.

8.  Rub whiskey on their gums.  Ok, I'm not really sure how I feel about this one.  I can remember clear as day, the only Grandfather that I've ever really known, rubbing whiskey on my little sisters gums.  I can still see him reaching up to the cabinet above the refrigerator to pull out the jug.  A little dab and she was good to go.  HMMM?  Would I seriously consider giving my girls a shot of whiskey?  I know that a shot of whiskey would knock me out, but could I really do this?  I don't even think we have any whiskey in the house??  Would red wine work?  Are the liquor stores still open?  We already have issues with CPS breathing down our necks (a post for another time, probably tomorrow) due to the girls prematurity issues. NOPE!  Again, not another viable option.

9.  Give them a frozen waffle to chew on.  Really?  This doesn't really seem like that crazy of an option to me.  But can I really tuck my girls into bed for the evening like this.  "Ok, girls it's night night time.  I love you!  Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite".  "Oh by the way, don't forget your frozen waffle".  According to the new "Back to Sleep" guidelines, all infants are to be put to bed on their back with no toys, blankets or pillows in their cribs for the first year.  No one ever said anything about frozen waffles???  Could a frozen waffle pass the Back to Sleep guidelines?  Probably not.

Finally we decided to just let Alexis "cry it out" for a little while.  This hurts me in a way that I cannot explain.  I know that sometimes it is necessary, but I almost feel like I'm going to hyperventilate sometimes when we do this.  I have a seven minute time limit.  Why seven minutes?  I have no idea but I won't let them cry for more than seven minutes.  To me seven minutes feels like an eternity!!  I stood in the kitchen holding the baby monitor.  Not that I needed the monitor because I could hear her screaming without it.  This wasn't her normal cry.  This wasn't her "I don't want to go to bed" or "I just fell down" cry.  This was different.  I just stood in the kitchen watching the clock on the microwave.  I couldn't take it anymore.  At six and a half minutes I went upstairs and picked her up.  She instantly smiled and started bouncing around.  We rocked in the chair for about 20 minutes and she finally fell asleep in my arms.

This morning I got a text message from my dear friend, Shereen.  It said "my best advice is to just love them, hold them and comfort them the best you can.  It sucks because sometimes there is nothing you can do but love them".  Is love and comfort how we are going to get through this teething phase?  I hope I have enough patience to go around!!! 

Anyone who has suggestions on how to comfort my girls at bedtime to help them sleep more peacefully while teeting.....I'M ALL EARS!!! 


Elizabeth said...

Oh girl I understand about worrying about how much food they are getting. We are NO way on the charts both girls weigh around 15 at 13 months. Don't worry about it too much, they will be fine! I have never heard that about the teething tablets. When my girls are teething we give the teething tablets at night and my girls ALWAYS sleep through the night.

Courtney said...

You poor thing :(. I don't have a lot of advice, but I have a lot of sympathy for you. A combo of orajel, motrin or tylenol, and a washcloth (wet the corner put it in a ziploc bag and then put in the freezer for a few minutes) is what we do at our house. I also use the teething tablets some, but I haven't noticed the caffeine effect. Big hugs!!

Robin said...

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. It is soo soo hard to see our babies in pain or wondering what is going on with them and if they are going to be alright.

I am a strong believer that if you know there is something off, like you said you knew the cry was different, then follow your gut and comfort. It might be sickness, other pain, other issues. I used to let Alli cry it out most of the time, and she is now a good sleeper for the most part, HOWEVER if I felt like it was a different cry I would go in there and do whatever it took. I know you worry about starting a bad habit but you just have to be strong and not do it again the next time...

Anyway...I guess after all this rambling my point is... don't feel badly about comforting your girls!