What Chapel wore - Month 4

My favorite outfits from this month!

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4 months with Chapel Raines

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What Chapel wore - Month 3

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3 months with Chapel Raines

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Chapel's Tongue Ties

^^ The day before her revision and 3.5 weeks later ^^


Chapel's weight gain had been an ongoing concern since birth, and at her 2 month check up our pediatrician was really, really concerned. She was only a pound over her birth weight and that was coming back from losing a lot in the hospital. Our pediatrician told me I needed to start formula, which I said I was not going to do. I have exclusively breastfed 3 healthy boys, and I knew there had to be something going on. I left that appointment in tears and at a loss. I had agreed to pump for 24 hours to see how much I was getting to rule out that I wasn't producing enough. I was doing everything just like I'd done with my boys, so I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Honestly, I thought she was just a slow gainer and petite at first.  I made an appointment for the next day with a lactation consultant at our hospital. I sat in the waiting room, looking at my tiny baby and the words "Failure to Thrive" on the order my doctor had written for me to be seen by lactation. I tried to hide my tears from all the other people in the waiting room and the nurse at the desk. 
When I met with the lactation consultant, she was so wonderful and suggested that Chapel be evaluated by a specialist for a possible tongue tie. This is my fourth baby, and although I have heard plenty of times about tongue ties, the thought had never crossed my mind that Chapel may have one. And I had no idea that it could affect weight gain. I really think that lactation consultant was put in our path by God to help us. When I had called to make the appointment the girl who answered said they didn't take appointments that day, but the lactation consultant overheard her and said she would be there and she could fit us in. Tongue ties are hard to diagnose and I really just think God was looking out for me to have me meet with her. It would have been easy for someone to miss, and I am so thankful she caught it.
I immediately made an appointment with a specialist, who confirmed that Chapel did indeed have a tongue tie, as well as an upper lip tie, and 2 cheek ties. Four out of seven possible places. They explained that basically she had been "living on my letdown" because her mouth was too tight to actually nurse anything out on her own. And she was expending so much energy trying to nurse, that she was burning more calories than she was taking in. So even though I was nursing her on demand, she was still not gaining any weight, and she was actually too worn out to tell me she was hungry. Which was why she slept so much. 
I hated that she had this, but I was relieved that there was a reason behind her slow weight gain, and a solution. 
Ideally this is caught in the hospital and corrected when a baby is a few days old. Because Chapel was considered older, they didn't want to just go right in and immediately correct it. First they wanted us to work with a speech therapist who specialized in infant feeding, to help correct the "bad" habits Chapel and I had already formed. Things like Chapel chomping her jaw to nurse instead of using her tongue, strengthening her muscles, trying to get her to open her mouth wider and get used to having her mouth endlessly messed with, body work with a chiropractor to help relax her tightness...more I can't even remember. It was an ordeal. For a month we saw a chiropractor and the speech therapist once a week each, I saw another lactation consultant and did lots of therapy with her at home. All of the specialists we worked with were wonderful. On top of that, I was making sure to nurse her at least 8x a day, pumping after feedings to try and maintain my supply and giving anything extra I could pump to her in a bottle to get as many calories in her as possible.

OK, I want to share this...breastfeeding is so cool. It amazes me how your body responds to what your baby needs. How does it even know? God is so cool. So when I was pumping, usually I just pumped right after nursing, so I wouldn't get that much to ever realize this. But when I was pumping those 24 hours to see how much I was getting, I got this:

I have pumped plenty of times over 4 kids...I have never ever pumped milk like this. It is always mostly the watery part and then a thin later of the fatty milk on top. Its like my body knew she wasn't getting enough and was trying as hard as it could to make up the difference. My body knows exactly what she needs and changes hourly to meet that. I think it is so cool! Other breastfeeding moms...have you ever had a bottle like that??

At the chiropractor:

Finally, we got the go ahead that she was ready for her laser surgery to correct the ties.
Joey and I got to be in the room with her, and the procedure took maybe 2 minutes, and that's including the time it took to apply to topical numbing cream and let it sink in. The actual use of the laser on each tie took seconds. 

I kid you not we could see a difference immediately. I nursed her within minutes after the procedure and it was amazing. Her mouth could actually open wide and you could tell her tongue had been so restricted before.

I had expected this to help with breastfeeding, and that was the main reason we went through all this. But I have been amazed at all of the other positive changes we've seen as a result of her revision.
She was always very tense, with her shoulders scrunched up and her hands in fists right up by her face, even her feet were always scrunched up so tight. That has completely gone away.

Her tight little hands, before:

Napping in the swing, hours after the procedure:

Her face looks different. She always had a very serious look on her face, and I just thought that was her face. We even joked that she already had RBF (Resting Bitch Face). But since the revision its like shes relaxed. Her resting face is just calmer.

Serious face before:

It really immediately seemed like she could breathe easier, like the weight of the world was off her shoulders. She seemed lighter. Not like she weighed less...just lighter. Before, I couldn't lift her arms over her head. I felt like I was going to break her trying to get her dressed because she had her arms so tight and tense and afterwords it was like she was jello. Before, she still kind of just ate and slept. She wasn't super alert or engaging, which I just thought was because she was still kind of in the newborn stage. That changed immediately, too. She is so much more interested in us and whats going on. I think before her energy was just depleted from nursing being so hard for her. She was burning more calories than she was taking in. Sometimes when I fed her she was almost panicked. She would pant and wiggle and just seem so stressed trying to latch on. It was so sad. Before, she would literally poop once every 7-10 days. Which they say is normal for breastfed babies, so I never worried about it. But now, almost 6 weeks later she is pooping almost everyday, occasionally ever other day. I'm telling you this is nuts! I could go on and on.

 Dr. Tynan at Serendipity Dental in Lexington is who we worked with. She gave up general dentistry to focus solely on this. She is so passionate and knowledgeable about ties, and I knew immediately we were in good hands. I find this so interesting now, after seeing all of the positive changes in Chapel I want to have our whole family checked for ties. Dr. Tynan said that she has had a lot of clients who are older experience an "emotional release" after they have their ties corrected. That within hours after the surgery they will just start crying and be unable to explain why, because they're happy. She said that research is being done, but they believe that where we store emotion is somehow connected to this, and that's why people have the emotional release. She said that her husband had suffered from horrible migraines, and having his tongue tie corrected made them pretty much go away. She said he also is a big runner and that after the procedure he shaved nearly a minute off his mile, without any additional training - the tongue tie revision was the only thing he did differently. I just think this is so cool, and I wonder how many people are walking around with issues related to tongue ties.

I've cried so many happy tears. When Dr. Tynan called that night to check on her, I just immediately started weeping talking to her and thanking her.
Something she said to us that just makes me want to cry, was she said, "What a gift for her whole life that she had this. Now you get to see her true personality."
I hate to think of her going through life tense and carrying a weight we never would have realized the cause of. I'm so thankful we get the real Chapel.

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mom and papaw

I found this old picture of my mom and her dad. Does she not look so much like Shepherd?!
How handsome was my Papaw?!

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What Chapel Wore - Month 2

Those two photos at the very top were taken on Easter, and Chapel is wearing one of my outfits from 1986 that my mom saved for me. I literally cried when I put it on her...unfortunately so did she ;) She was not having it that day. Regardless, nothing makes me happier than her in that dress!
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