July 16, 2014

I HATE Head Lice

and yes I am aware that hate is a strong word but let me state it again in case you missed it...I HATE  head lice. You may remember me saying in my last post that 9 days ago (no I have not forgotten how many days I have been living this nightmare) I found lice in Natalie's hair. Today is the first day these little buggers have not consumed me and made me an emotional mess. Let me start at the beginning. There are no pictures of the first 7 days because the words blog and pictures were the last thing I was thinking about so just create your own pictures if you want.

A little before the July 4th holiday I noticed Natalie scratching at her head a little more than usual but I didn't think much of it at the time. Then she started commenting that her head was itchy and since she wears her hair up most of the time I told her to just take her pony out and maybe that would help. I also thought since it had been warmer out maybe she was just a little more sweaty than usual. Then on July 7th Natalie woke up from her nap and came out scratching her hair. It was not hot out. Her hair had been down the whole day. Could she possibly have head lice? I had her come over to the window so I could take a look and my tummy become a ball of knots when I saw all sorts of little white looking things attached to her hair. As I walked to the computer to log onto Dr. Google I prayed we were not dealing with head lice. Our kids shower daily. Their hair has never looked cleaner since we stopped using shampoo. My kids don't go anywhere to even be able to use someone else's comb, pillow or hat. Please God this can not be what I think it is.

Oh how wrong I was. Did you know that lice actually like clean hair? I didn't but I have earned a PhD in lice over the last 9 days so ask me anything and I bet I have the answer. Lice can hold their breathe for 2 hours under water. A dryer on high heat will kill lice in 10 minutes. Colored nits are eggs waiting to hatch. White nits have already hatched. Those dang nits attach themselves to hair like glue. Lice can not lay eggs immediately once hatched, they must become adults first. Lice are fast little buggers and can move along hair faster than I ever imagined. They can only live with a blood source. Once they can not feed off the scalp they die withing 24-48 hours. Pets can not carry lice. There are over the counter products to treat lice but 80% of cases are now resistant to it because of how much it is used, telling us this is a widespread problem. I am sure you are all jealous of all this new found info I have obtained but don't be because I have laid awake more nights than I care to remember in tears because I have had no idea how to eradicated these dang bugs from my house.

As soon as Dr. Google filled me in that we were dealing with a case of head lice the first thing I did was start stripping all of our bedding, pillows, towels, stuffed animals and everything went into the hottest setting on my washer and dryer. Of course I was still recovering from my surgery and not lifting anything yet and Paul was gone overnight for a work conference. Thank goodness my mother in law was here to help save us. I spoke with the pediatricians office in regards to how to treat the lice and also how to not share this with every member of our family. After I got the tuna casserole made I headed off to Target and picked up 3 boxes of Rid, a box of brownie mix and a half gallon of mint chip ice cream. The wine was already cooling in the wine fridge. I treated both Natalie and Aubrey with Rid since they shared swim caps and then checked everyone else for evidence of lice taking up residency in their hair. Thank goodness I did not find anything. Over the next day everything got washed, vacuumed and sterilized.

The beginning of the bed washing. I kept adding to this pile so for many hours it didn't look like we were making any progress.
The next day I was paranoid about these bugs I had found in my daughter's hair so I treated her hair with Rid again. I felt so creepy crawly and totally violated. I also felt like an awful mother and couldn't believe I had not caught this sooner. The only place we can figure that Natalie picked this up because of our lack of going anywhere this summer with other people is VBS. It was cowboy themed this year and there was one evening in which the kids shared bandanas back and forth. I could be wrong but that is the only thing we can come up with.

The following day I felt like I had been transformed into a monkey because all I did was constantly check kid after kid for new cases of lice, I decided I would just treat our entire family with Rid. It is amazing to me how once lice is in your house your head starts itching like crazy! Fast forward a couple days and I felt we had a control of the situation. In theory we had killed all the live lice in Natalie's hair. Combed out and picked all the unhatched nits from her hair. And treated everyone else in our family. I was just waiting until tomorrow (Thursday) when we were suppose to treat our entire family once more with the overly expensive Rid. But than last Sunday evening I noticed Natalie starting to scratch more than she had been. She was miserable and could not keep from itching during an entire family movie night so I had her tip her head into my lap and I became a momma chimp again. What I found was more white nits in her hair which meant there were more live lice that had been hatched. I was frustrated and felt like a complete failure. I found myself on the computer again and searching for anything new that I had not read already. I told Paul I needed to start nit combing her hair again and I needed him to go get a magnify glass so we could really see what was going on in her hair. We started this comb out at 8pm (she usually goes to bed at 7) and it took us two hours to comb her hair out. By going half inch sections at a time I found more colored nits than I thought could possibly be in her hair but did not see any live lice but then Paul showed up with the magnifier and a flood light and in the first area we looked a live bug stared back at me and taunted me. I was one unhappy mom at this moment. How could these f**k**s still be alive? Paul and I started going strand by strand searching for colored nits or lice the size of a sesame seed or smaller. About 1/4 of the way into her hair I started crying. I had no idea how we were going to do this. How would we know where we had searched? How would we know we got them all? Why did I have to put my daughter through this? Thankfully between the iPad and a Popsicle Natalie endured 4 hours of us combing and picking at her hair with only about 15 minutes of her wanting to throw in the towel. Finally at midnight we told her we were done. She showered for the second time, got new jammies and clean sheets and was so excited to crawl into bed. I was emotionally exhausted and so while Paul sat and had doritos with salsa I went to bed. I wish I had slept but instead I wanted to cry because I had no idea how we would ever get rid of this lice problem.

In the morning I woke to a message via facebook from my old neighbor who had a friend that had used a lice specialist when faced with this exact thing and she had given me the phone number for them. Eight o'clock could not get here fast enough so I could give her a call. In the meantime I tried to figure out how one becomes a lice specialist. Do they grow up wanting to be that? Not to sure there are many preschoolers who say when they grow up they want to be pick lice out of hair. I thought it was bad when Aubrey came home and wanted to be a garbage sanitation worker but I think lice specialist may have topped that one. Deanna, aka Super Lice Lady, from Sacramento Lice Removal Services called me back and after telling her what was going on she booked us for the next morning to come to our house to check all of us for lice and then to treat Natalie. Tuesday morning could not get here fast enough.

At the beginning of the school year I bought Fairy Tales shampoo and conditioner which is to help prevent against lice. Towards the end of the year we ran out and I never ordered more off of Amazon. I can guarantee we will never run out again.
Drew being checked for lice by Deanna.
That afternoon Aubrey came to me and told me that behind her ears and the back of her neck were itchy. I literally wanted to cry once again with those words because those two areas are the most loved places for lice to be. Sure enough she now had nits and I got to spend another two hours of my day combing nits and lice out of her and Natalie. At one point while I was being momma chimp again Aubrey started to cry and told me she had wanted lice because Natalie had gotten special privileges but she no longer wanted them. Our life at this point was miserable and by the end of the evening my own head itched like crazy and I could not wait for Deanna to arrive the next morning because I was sure I was also filled with lice.   

A head full of nits ready to be evacuated.

This girl has endured more hair combings this last week and has amazed me with her positive attitude during everything we had to do. She never once complained that it wasn't fair.
Adios lice!!
Thank goodness that when Deanna came she only found nits and lice in Aubrey and Natalie. The rest of us were clean and that was the best news I had heard in 8 days. In 3.5 hours the Super Lice Lady was able to check 9 of us and remove all nits and lice from the girls. She also left us with products to use and a good nit comb instead of the cheap plastic one we got from the Rid box. Let me just tell you that it was the best $310 I have spent in a long time. Yes it sounds like a lot of money but knowing all these nasty bugs were gone was the best feeling in the world.

The babies were more than happy to watch Deanna from a distance because no one except Kenzie thought too highly of her service.
We are not done treating the girls yet. We will still put natural products in the girls hair and use the nit comb every night this week and then every other night next week to make sure that nothing was missed. And after this experience we have decided to run the nit comb through all the kids hair every night just like a regular brush after baths. This will allow us to get out any louse that may end up  attaching themselves to any of the kids hair during the day when playing with other kids. If we get them out before they lay eggs we should never have this kind of problem again. We will also use a tea tree oil spray on the kids hair every day before they go to school. Some may say I am taking this all a little too serious but going through this once has been one of the most trying times as a mom for me and I will not be allowing those critters back into my house again.                 

Getting this did humble me though because when the girls started school we got a note home saying the kids had been exposed to someone with lice. I was floored because here we are sending our kids to a private school that is not cheap and we have to deal with these kind of problems that I would expect to see in a  public school. Oh how naive and wrong I was. I now realize this is a problem we all can find ourselves in no matter what our income or hygiene levels are. If we do find ourselves with lice again I can guarantee you I will not be wasting money on over the counter products but will be calling in the lice specialist. I never knew they existed but I am so glad someone has been called to do it. Today when I treated the girls hair I think I grinned ear to ear because it was the first time in a week and a half that I did not find a nit or lice in my daughters' hair because in case you forgot I hate those things.                      

July 10, 2014

A Late July 4th (but not even by a week so I'm right on time in my book!)

I have had this post typed in my head and ready since the night of the fourth but was too tired to actually sit at the computer and put words to the screen. Saturday I had little time but did get all my pictures edited and uploaded but no time to put letters together to form words. Then the UNTHINKABLE happened; head lice invaded our home. I have never in all my life felt so violated and dirty. Because the 4th was so awesome I am just going to say we have all been treated, the house has been disinfected and anything & everything that could be washed in hot water has been. At this minute in time I don't feel itchy so I am going to savior the moment while the house is also completely silent and get this post out before it is a week late. The babies are down for their nap, the big kids are with dad who are taking grandpa to the airport after his 10 day stay and I am going to enjoy my lunch of a second iced coffee and a brownie (yes, super healthy but it is more than I usually eat during the day so I figure I am doing well) while I overload you with pictures of last Friday.

I just don't understand why kids do not understand the importance of getting these pictures. They truly do not appreciate the fact that they are all dressed similar, have their hair done and that mom remembered to get a picture before anyone got dirty. Someday they will get it...when they become parents themselves. 
When I was pregnant with the quads I had heard of a small town who knew how to have a 4th of July parade. I had mentioned it to Paul who was all for taking the kids and having an adventure. I was not on bed rest yet but knew I would be completely miserable since I was about 26 weeks pregnant with the babies. I snapped the mandatory pictures of the kids in the red, white and blue and sent them on their way with dad and grandma. When they got home all 5 of them kept telling me how awesome it was. The town's fire department is the main attraction in the parade and lets just say they show the crowd just how well their hoses work! Don't worry they are egged on by the crowd who com prepared with water balloons, squirt guns and hoses from the homes along the route. Of course there was also a fair amount of candy thrown so another major point for 3 kiddos. It sounded amazing but at that point in time I got exhausted just listening to them.

Last year we were not able to go because the weekend was dedicated to my little sister who was getting hitched. This year there was nothing that was going to stop Paul from attending the Dutch Flat parade. When we started looking at dates for my surgery his only hold up was that I had to have it done early enough that I would be able to go with them. That did not give me much time between when Paul's mom would arrive to help with the kids and the fourth. I had two weeks to recover before I had to throw on my party hat and I knew I would be cutting it close.

When you Google the town Dutch Flat you get information about an inn and nothing else except the mention of a July 4th parade back in 2006. When you call the inn they tell you 'yes the parade has always gone on for at least the 27 years, I am sure they will have it this year. I have no idea what time the parade starts but he should since he lives in the town. He will give me the number for the post office.' When I call the post office they answer "Dutch Flat Trading Post". I felt I was in a screen shot of the Oregon trail!

The night before I had one of my over tired moments when I wondered why we went for baby #4. Yes I love having a large family but at times it is overwhelming having so many young kids. Little things like going to a July 4th parade isn't just a simple adventure at this juncture in our life. I laid in bed thinking about how easy life would be if it was just the 5 of us. I was tired, could only be out of bed for small amounts of time before I needed to rest and was off my pain pills but was still dealing with a fair amount of pain. I was having pitty party for one and as I feel asleep I prayed I would feel better the next morning.

When I woke I knew I needed to make the best out of the day for Paul. It meant a lot to him to have me with our family and to share the tradition of attending a parade to celebrate our country. I needed to put a smile on my face and make the most of it. I broke down and took a pain pill before we left and in the end I had one of the best days I have had since the babies were born. I even let a total stranger take a picture of the quads without chasing them down afterwards and making them delete it in front of me. That is big people. Everything worked out perfect and I know it is a day I as a mom will not forget. The kids radiated with joy and excitement and it is so fun to watch the big girls as they get older really get into the festivities. The babies enjoyed watching all that was happening around them. Paul's parents got to celebrate a holiday with their grand kids which hasn't happened in forever. And Paul and I just soaked up the moment of being a family of 9.

After the parade we come home to dry off because if you don't know those fire truck hoses can spray a fair amount of water, ate, slept and then we were off to other celebrations. The quads and I made it til 7 before we waved the white flag and Paul brought us home but the big kids made it til 10:30 when the fireworks were over. I have realized as the kids have gotten older why families have certain traditions; it is for the joy of the children. Yes a parade as an adult is fun but watching your child come alive because they are having so much fun is what it is all about. Twenty-four hours after questioning why we went for baby #4 I was given my answer and it is because having #4 ( and #5, 6 & 7) added so many more opportunities to allow us to see life through the eyes of a child and to make days like the 4th truly memorable.

She wanted to get wet so bad but the fireman are really good about getting the parents permission to soak their kid but once they get it you come away dripping wet!

This girl I don't think has ever had so much fun!

Do you see the white car? They forgot to close their window all the way on the driver side. I have a feeling they may have had a wet bottom on their drive home.

These guys were my favorite!

Ummm...if you don't want to get wet just don't ride in the parade. Don't think the umbrella probably provided much coverage with the way the water was being sprayed.

And we are done!
Love this picture because when we got home from the parade we all took naps. The girls slept with me in my bed and Aubrey asked if she could hold my hand while she fell asleep. Why, yes sweetheart you can and please never become to old for this.

And just a little comparison of our family from 2 years ago to today:

July 01, 2014

Reality on the Good & the Ugly of a Mommy Makeover

I am a little over a week out form surgery and this is the point I was so excited to reach even before having surgery. Seven days out I knew I would know if I had survived surgery, the pain would be manageable, the drains would be removed and I would even be able to get in and out of bed by myself. Since I finally came to the conclusion to let everyone know that I was going to have a mommy makeover I decided it is only right to share all the post op details too! I promise to let you know when the not so pretty pictures are coming in case you would rather skip over those.

The morning of surgery I was actually very relaxed. I got up and took one last shower and used my antimicrobial dial soap like I had been instructed to do. Took me no time to get ready since I couldn't wear make-up, lotion or even deodorant. Thank goodness I could brush my teeth! I had an extra 30 minutes before we had to leave so I ended up throwing together a breakfast quiche for the kids to have when they woke up. Can you say nervous energy being put to good use especially since I was also up til midnight cleaning the house? I was very calm all the way to the hospital and then as soon as we got to the infusion clinic to get my Humate-P for my bleeding disorder is when the major tummy jitters started. I literally wanted to throw up. The first nurse couldn't get the iv in and it's never a good thing when I told her not to even bother flushing it because it was blown but she continued to tell me she thought it was good so of course I ended up with a beautiful bruise on my right hand when the iv was not in a vein. This is when she found out I was a nurse and called for someone else to start my iv!

The last picture we had like this we were getting ready to meet our four quadlings.
Pre-op was a breeze and our story quickly spread among all the nurses so we had quite a few people stop by and ask if we really did have quadruplets. It was also fun to see some of the nurses I use to work with when I worked as a trauma nurse. Anesthesia came in and reviewed my history, my plastic surgeon came and drew a pretty road map all over my body to help guide him during surgery. It was really weird to know that when I woke up my meat mallet skin was going to be gone. A kiss to Paul and I was wheeled away. I remember looking around the operating room and thinking it was so much smaller than the one I delivered the quads in and the very next moment I had someone asking me how I felt and all I could get out was that I hurt. Surgery was done and I was alive. I was happy about this fact for a brief moment and then the pain meds made me want to throw up so they gave me more meds which then made me realize I was still in a lot of pain and this is how it went for a couple of hours. My pain never improved, which is hard to do when your blood pressure is 90/60 to begin with so you are limited on what you can have. My mouth felt like I was sucking on cotton balls and I think I kept asking Paul to repeat what he had already told me ten times.

I had to wait around in recovery until 5pm because before I could head home I had to be wheeled back to the infusion center for another dose of Humate-P. I remember being taken over there but I was completely drugged. I think the nurse was seriously concerned because she kept asking Paul if I was okay. We finally did make it home and I somehow got lifted into bed. Have you ever tried to crawl into bed when you can't lift your own legs because your abdominal muscles have just been sewn together and you can not use your arms because your chest wall has just gotten a couple bra sizes bigger? There is just no possible way to do it and this is one of the only times I cried because I just didn't know how to move. I came home with one drain that I needed to empty as it filled with fluid from my belly and a very tight compression over both my stomach and my chest. At times I felt claustrophobic because of how tight everything was. I continued to have pain and I tried so hard not to complain because I had asked for this surgery and knew pain was part of the package.
This iv lasted 9 days! I was pretty darn proud of myself that through 10 days of treatment I only needed 2 iv's. Yes, nurses get excited over some strange things!
How I was wrapped after surgery
My one drain that I had for a week.
This pretty much sums up everything I needed for about the first 5 days.
The big kids got holy water from VBS last week so I was bathed blessed many times each day by them.
The first night went well except for my nurse, aka husband, not hearing his alarm which got my pain meds off by two hours and totally set me back again. By 7 o'clock in the morning I had to be back at the infusion center and thank goodness the nurse I had that morning had previously had the same surgery and just by looking at me knew I was not on enough pain meds. Within minutes she had my doctor on the phone and more meds ordered. I was so thankful for her because I don't think I would have ever allowed myself to admit I needed something more for pain. For 3 days I had to go twice a day for my iv infusion followed daily then for 7 days. I met some awesome nurses and actually enjoyed mt daily outings.

Day 3 was by far the worst day of the entire recovery period. Throwing up after abdominal surgery is the last thing that is on my bucket list. I had a caffeine withdrawal headache. I needed to poop which thankfully I remembered I had pediatric glycerin suppositories from when the babies came home from the nicu. Day 3 just plain sucked. My back was also on fire from walking hunched over. My back has been use to being overworked since it had to do the job of both my tummy and back muscles for 6 years but walking hunched over made a whole bunch of new muscles work. I cried out to a friend who had a tummy tuck two years ago because I just could not believe how bad it hurt. Almost worse than the muscle repair pain, almost!

My first follow up was Monday and I was still pretty slow moving but feeling better than the day before. The compression dressings were removed and it was a very surreal experience to see my tummy somewhat flat. Very bruised and wrinkly from the dressing but it was flat. And I never heard one complaint from Paul about the new cup size! The drain stayed in and we were to return a couple days later. Slowly, each day got better. Kept up on my Norco's and Valium's and moved around at a snails pace. I realized it was much easier if I allowed myself to do things on my own rather than have others lift or move me. That only hurt worse. The kids were amazing. Better than I could have ever expected. They actually wanted to be such big helpers that I pretty much had everything I needed at all times. I have never seen kids run so fast to grab their mom a Popsicle (Popsicles and Jumba Juices is what I survived off of for pretty much the first week). The babies must have understood mommy wasn't feeling well too because they would come in my room and stand quietly looking at me and then leave. Never whined for me to pick them up or even attempted to get on our bed. And the husband turned out to be a pretty darn good helper too. My mom and mother-in-law where awesome and tried to do everything they could to help me get comfortable.

My entertainment
Content to play with mommy by standing on the step stool
Finally allowed a child to climb up on the bed with me thinking she wanted some cuddles...nope just my water.
My personal nurse
I am the luckiest wife ever! He does this nightly on the days I work. I only vacuum the kitchen while he does the whole downstairs but I will not fill him in on that!
My view from my recovery bed.
Exactly one week after surgery I had another appointment with my surgeon and I actually remember this appointment compared to the first one. The most exciting thing that happened on this day was my drain was removed. I didn't realize that the pain I kept having in my left upper abdomen was actually the end of the drain. The steri strips around my new belly button (yes they actually created a new belly button for me after they pulled all the extra skin down and cut if off) was removed and I was surprised how good it looked. Over the next months as the tissue heals the skin will contract inwards to give me an innie. After our appointment I was feeling so good that Paul and I spent a leisurely two hours walking aimlessly around Target and bought way too much stuff that was on clearance. Besides having to walk hunched over I felt pretty darn good. Was ready for a pain pill when I got home but for the most part couldn't believe that it had only been a week since I had surgery.

Saturday I decided I was ready to be a mom again and took myself off all pain pills and the valium. I made it until about 2 in the afternoon and I was really starting to feel it. Then I had a coughing episode during dinner which brought me into the house and I sat and cried on the couch. Paul came in and reminded me that the doctors told me it would take me two weeks before I could even lift a kid or really do anything resembling my day to day life. I really dislike when the doctors are right but I did start my pain meds back up but am only taking them when I need to and not around the clock. I am finding myself doing really good for about 4-5 hours of being with the kids and then I must rest. Hopefully after another week I will have a little more energy back but all in all I am very happy with how I have done.

Day 8- Before the pain became too much!
Now you may be asking if I am happy with the results? Yes, Yes, Yes!!!! The girls are perfect and I will admit that this was the part of the surgery that made me the most nervous. I liked the size I was when I was nursing and both Paul and I were hoping I would be close to that again after surgery. The one thing I did not want was for my boobs to enter a room before I did. For some reason most plastic surgeons have a very different opinion on what 'big' is when it comes to breast implants. I went over and over many times with my surgeon that in the end I just wanted to look natural and to have breasts appropriate for my frame. I got exactly that. Now for the tummy that is taking a little longer to decide how happy I am with the final results. Reason being is that I still have steri strips on my incision. The incision is still raised and not the most attractive. I am bruised in multiple areas from the liposuction they did. And the biggest reason is I am still very swollen. It will take 3-6 months for the swelling to totally disappear. By the end of the day I look pregnant again because the swelling gets worse throughout the day. I do believe I will have a couple stretch marks once all the swelling goes down but they will be low enough that no one will ever see them. And seriosuly I had seven kids, I am okay with a couple stretch marks! My incision was made below my c-section scar so it will be well hidden when the day comes that I am ready to wear a two piece again. I never in a million years thought I would wear a bikini after having quads out in public. It is exciting to see my new body but at times I will admit I get impatient to see what the final results really will be.

Would I do this all over again as I sit here a week out? Yes I would. The pain was worse than I imagined it would be. Some compared it to the pain that accompanied a c-section but for me this was not the case at all. The mommy makeover was ten times worse but I do believe it was because of the repair of my abdominal muscles (diastasis recti). My surgeon thought I had about a 2cm gap prior to surgery, when he went in to repair the muscle I had a 10cm gap. A huge separation and another reason I am so happy to have had this surgery. I am glad that I had as much support for the first week because otherwise there is no way I could have handled the pain and my children. As far as figuring out a right time to have the surgery, I don't think there ever will be the perfect time. Yes it will be a solid two weeks before I lift my kids but they will never remember that and hopefully now I can fell better about myself which will allow me to be a better mom. I am more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding my experience with my mommy makeover and I will happily give periodic updates for those who are interested. If you have questions feel free to add them to the comments, comment via fb or send me a personal message on fb. One week out and can't wait to see the changes over the next couple of weeks!

Addendum: I had this written last night but wanted to edit it one more time. Well let's just say my good look on life attitude took a complete 180 today. I had some pain but it was mainly pure exhaustion. I could not deal with my older kids so to make sure I did not snap at them and regret it later I pretty much stayed in my room except to prepare meals. I pray I wake up without the funk tomorrow otherwise the husband and the in-laws may be high tailing it far, far away from here. So just know if you go through a mommy makeover you may have some bad days mixed in with the good ones; guess that is how life is too so at least not too much new there!

******Stop reading if you do not want to see bruised post op pictures******

Post op day 3. Dressings just removed.
Post op day 4
Post op day 6
Drain out!! Post op day 7

Post op day 8
So happy that my incision is low enough to be hidden. You can see how my belly swells below my belly button.
New belly button

Post op day 11
I wear a binder all day long except for maybe 15 minutes when in the shower. I feel like my insides are going to fall out without it on. Most people will wear their binder for 6 weeks. I also still sleep upright on a mountain of pillows at night because I can not stretch all the way out yet.
This is currently what my scar looks like. The surgeon reassured me that it will be smooth after a couple of months. I did not have a lot of extra skin to remove so the scar is not as pretty as it is after a c-section because the skin is much more stretchy after you have just given birth. 

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